244 – YES AND NO
“But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Sylvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as may be promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:18-20).
These are the words of Paul, and through them Paul declares that all the promises of God are always yes in Jesus Christ, that is, they are irrevocable. Let us look at some of them: “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). He will certainly be saved, because Christ died for the sins of that one who believed. It is done and sealed. There is not a way that what has been done will be changed. Let us listen to the apostle Peter as he answers some who believed and were asking for guidance, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The gift of the Holy Spirit was promised in Joel 2:28-29, Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4-5. This promise, also irrevocable, was fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4. This Spirit poured in the heart of the convert transforms him in a son of God, and for this reason Paul said: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba Father!’” (Rom. 8:15). This is a work of God the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, who paid the price on the cross. There is no way that it can be changed. It is done. The things that God does are “yes,” and cannot be “no” any longer.
Paul makes a brilliant declaration, “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20).
Going through the Old Testament we can declare with assurance that each and every promise of Jehovah are yes and no, that is, he promises and later changes his mind. Let us look at some of them:
1. Jehovah promised to Abraham that his offspring would be multiplied. “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have but withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies” (Gen. 22:16-17). This was an irrevocable promise of Jehovah, for it was made with an oath. But Jehovah backed up on his promise and on his oath made to Abraham, his friend. He declared the following to his people Israel, after delivering them from Egypt: “And it shall come about that as the Lord delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the Lord will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you” (Deut. 28:62-63). How can this be? A god discarding a promise that has been done with an oath? Who can believe in this god? Jehovah declared that the only one who is going to live with him is the one who, even to his own hurt, does not change his word (Ps. 15:4). In this case, man is superior to the god Jehovah, who promises and afterwards changes, unashamedly!
2. Speaking of oaths, let us read the following: The people of Israel, wandering through the desert under the leadership of Moses, thirsty and hungry, murmured against Jehovah. Moses, then, said from Jehovah, “Then the Lord heard the sound of your words, and He was angry and took an oath, saying, Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers” (Deut. 1:34-35). Jehovah is saying the following: I swear that that which I promised is not longer valid. What goes on to be valid is what I am promising now; better, that oath was a false promise.
3. Before entering the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve men to spy the land of Canaan, a man from each tribe. Ten of them returned, and cowardly influenced the people. Two, only two of them, Joshua and Caleb, displayed the determination to face the giants that lived in the land. But the people murmured against Moses and against Aaron. They began a rebellion to return to Egypt. Jehovah, displeased with the people, said to Moses, “I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they” (Num. 14:12). Moses was convincing in his intercession for the people, and demanded that Jehovah forgave their sin. Jehovah then said, “I have pardoned them according to your word” (Num. 14:13-20). Afterwards, though, he killed everyone twenty years old and upward. Just two of them were saved: Joshua and Caleb. What a strange forgiveness. To forgive, and then to kill. He did not forgive, then (Num. 14:21-30). The truth is that Jehovah is yes and no. Nothing is definitive, except evil. In the book of Jude we read the following,“Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that Jehovah, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5). In other words, he says that he saved, but he did not save, for if they had been saved, they would not have been destroyed. Jehovah begins with a yes, and ends up with a no.
4. Jehovah married Israel. He declares this himself. “Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine” (Ezek. 16:8).Jehovah perceived that he had married an adulteress only after he was married to her. He then accuses his wife to play the harlot with Egypt (v.26) and with the sons of Assyria (v.28). He called her adulteress (vv.32-33). And Jehovah, the betrayed husband, gets a divorce. This is what Isaiah, the prophet, says (Is. 50:1). Jeremiah relates the details of this divine divorce (Jer. 3:6-10). A man can marry an adulteress without knowing it, for as man he can be deceived. But Jehovah says that his eye sees everything. He knew that the woman was not a good one, and said that in Isaiah 48:6-8. When a man knows that the woman is a harlot and marries her because he loves her, he does not leave her. But Jehovah married without love, and he knew who the woman was (Ezek. 23:1-4; Jer. 23:24). Jesus is different from Jehovah. He will only marry at the end, when he returns. Paul says that in 2 Cor. 11:2. But Jehovah said yes at the altar, and afterwards said no, away from the altar.
5. Israel is a vine that Jehovah planted. “Yet I planted you a choice vine, a completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me into the degenerate shots of a foreign vine? (Jer. 2:21). As we read in Ezek. 16:1-6 and 23:1-4, we get to know that the seed was contaminated from the womb (Is. 48:6-8). It is obvious that that people needed special care in order to live. Knowing that, Jehovah declares that he guards his vine at every moment, watering it so that no one can do it any harm (Is. 27:2-3). This is not true, though. Ezekiel reveals that the vine was destroyed (Ezek. 19:10-14). And this was a work of Jehovah: the very one who declared to keep the vine, destroyed it (Is. 5:5-7). Jehovah destroyed them because they sinned (Is. 51-4).
Well, then. Let us draw a comparison with Jesus.
Jesus, instead of destroying the sinners, gave his life for them (Gal. 1:4; Rom. 4:25; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Tim. 1:15). The guilty sinner, the robber and thief, the adulteress and the harlot, the sodomite, the murderer, and the wicked, by believing in Christ, have their sins covered with the blood of the cross. With Jehovah they were condemned. Those condemned before the last judgment are not condemned anymore when they believe in Christ (1 John 3:18). And Jesus does not change as Jehovah does. “For as many as may be promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). Jesus is not yes and no. He declared in the Sermon of the Mount, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; and anything beyond these is of evil” (Matt. 5:37). And he forgave them.
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA