239 – DO NOT CALL ANYONE ON EARTH YOUR FATHER
Jesus Christ made the following statement: “And do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father, He who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9). What is Jesus saying? He is saying that the Father God cannot be seen on the earth.
Moses wrote the five first books of the Bible, called the PENTATEUCH, which is the five books of the law of god. In these books god appears on the earth. This is what happened on the first time he did: “And Jehovah God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed” (Gen. 2:8).
This heavenly garden, even though on the earth, was wonderful. It was very well watered by four large rivers. There were all kinds of fruit trees, scented trees, medicinal trees, and decorative trees. The garden was all ornamented with very beautiful and scented flowers. Right in the middle of the Garden one could see two very different trees. One of them was the tree of eternal life; the other one was the terrible tree of the science of good and evil. And Jehovah Elohim put the man in charge of the Garden, to keep it. Man received a command, though. He could not eat of the fruit of the tree of the science of good and evil. If he ate, he would die (Gen. 2:8-17). Seeing all the animals with their mates, he felt lonely and sad. Jehovah Elohim, then, from one of his ribs made a woman, with whom he promptly fell in love(Gen. 2:18-25).
The strange part of this story, which we cannot understand, is that Jehovah Elohim placed Satan in the Garden, where Adam and Eve were (Rev. 12:9). This is a strange thing, because Adam and Eve were innocent as children, and did not discern between good and evil, that is, between what is right and what is wrong. They were so innocent that they walked about without clothes and were not ashamed of it. No father leaves his inexperienced children in the hands of evildoers to see what happens. The serpent, that is, Satan, incited Eve with amenities, and she plucked the forbidden fruit, ate it, and gave it to Adam, who ate with her (Gen. 3:1-6). The result was tragic. Eve was placed under men’s dominion to be humiliated and controlled forever. Adam was condemned to work hard, with nature as his adversary, for the earth became cursed, and started to produce weeds, thorns and thistles. Adam and his wife were cast out of the paradise, condemned to death with their offspring (Rom. 5:12; Gen. 3:16-23). To top it all, Jehovah Elohim shut the Garden of Eden forever, and set cherubim and also a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life.
A god who exposes his children to mortal dangers, when these children are ignorant and inexperienced, who sees them fall, and seeing it condemns them to forced labor until they die, cannot be called father, but executioner. We will focus on a detail. Jehovah used to walk in the garden in the evening. He was, therefore, on the earth. And Jesus said very clearly “And do not call anyone on earth your father” (Matt. 23:9; Gen. 3:8).
Men are evil and sinners, but they take care of their children, and protect them against evildoers, thing that Jehovah did not do (Matt. 7:11).
After almost 2,000 years from this tragedy, Abraham lived by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite (Gen. 13:18; 14:13). Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent, and there appeared three men (Gen. 18:1-2). One of them was Jehovah. The scholars give us an absurd explanation. They say that the three men were a theophany, an unreal image, as in a television. The truth is that these men washed their feet and ate bread (Gen. 18:4-5). Sarah ran to prepare cake bread, and prepared a tender calf. The three men sat down with Abraham and ate their fill, something that a theophany cannot do (Gen. 18:6-8).
One of these men was Jehovah, who sent for Sarah and promised her the hoped and waited for child, for Sarah was barren. Sarah, when she heard this promise, laughed, and Jehovah said to Abraham,“Why did Sarah laugh […]? Is anything too difficult for Jehovah? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son” (Gen. 18:9-14). After that Jehovah began to speak with Abraham about Sodom and Gomorrah, and said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me” (Gen. 18:20-21). Jehovah declared out loud that he had descended to Sodom to see what was happening. Two serious problems came up. The first one is that Jehovah is not omniscient, for he was going to make sure of what was happening. The second one is that he descended to the earth, and therefore he could not be called father, for Jesus said, “And do not call anyone on earth your father” (Matt. 23:9; Gen. 3:8). The Father has never descended to the earth, for Jesus also said, “AND NO ONE HAS ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, BUT HE WHO DESCENDED FROM HEAVEN” (John 3:13). Only Jesus descended and only Jesus ascended, therefore the Jehovah that descended and ascended cannot be called Father. And he cannot be called father because he descended to condemn the Sodomites and the men of Gomorrah, and also to destroy the two cities with fire (Gen. 19:24-25). Now, Jesus saves the Sodomites who believe, and he does not destroy them, so that they may have many chances of repentance. The Father also does not destroy, for he wants all men to be saved. God, the Father, is love (1 Tim. 2:3-4; 4:10; 1 Cor. 6:10-11). Also, if Jesus was the only one to ascend and to descend, he descended to save, not to condemn, and he came down from the Father (Rom. 10:6-13). Any other who might have descended and ascended did not do it under the project of Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2).
We have a third time when Jehovah descended. It was to give the law, when he delivered the people from Egypt, and from the slavery of Pharaoh. Moses, servant of Jehovah, took the people to the feet of Mount Sinai. The text says, “Remember the day you stood before Jehovah your God at Horeb, when Jehovah said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ And you came near and stood at the foot on the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom. Then Jehovah spoke to you from the midst of the fire” (Deut. 4:10-12). After Jehovah had spoken to the people, seventy-four people went up to Mount Sinai, “And they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they beheld God, and they ate and drank” (Ex. 24:10-11).
If Jehovah descended from Mount Sinai and was seen by men, he cannot be called father, unless Christians turn against Christ for the love of Jehovah.
At another time Moses said to them, “I pray Thee, show me Thy glory” (Ex. 33:18). Jehovah answered, “No man can see Me and live! […] There is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. […] You shall see My back” (Ex. 33:18-23).
Jehovah declared that he dwells in the earthly Jerusalem (Ps. 135:21; Ezra 2:68).
Jehovah declared that he dwells on Mount Zion (Is. 8:18; Joel 3:17).
Jehovah intended to make his dwelling on the earth. “So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, the tent which He had pitched among men” (Ps. 78:60).
The Father, our God, the Father of Jesus, has never been on the earth, and no man has seen him, or talked to him (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12; John 5:37). Anything beyond that is darkness. We can only know the Father in Jesus (Matt. 11:27; John 14:6-11).e abandoned the dwelling place at ShilohHe
By PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA