252 – COHERENCE - VIII
Paul said, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thess. 2:7). What does “the mystery of lawlessness” mean? If it is a mystery, it is something that exists, but no one is aware of, or sees it. Paul says further: whoever restrains the mystery of lawlessness will be brought to an end only when Jesus returns; then the lawless one will be revealed (2 Thess. 2:7-9). This lawless one is not Satan, for if he were, it would not be a mystery. This lawless one comes according to the activity of Satan, but no one knows who he is. This mystery is also mentioned in Rom. 8:19-23.
Now, if the righteousness of God came to this world only through the incarnate Christ, before Christ there was not righteousness. Let us read a few enlightening texts. When Jesus came from Galilee to meet John the Baptist by the river Jordan to be baptized by him, John resisted him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? But Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness’” (Matt. 3:15). All righteousness, said Jesus. There was nothing of the Father’s justice until the baptism of Christ; therefore, baptism is a serious thing. Paul tells us, “For him who had no knowledge of sin God made to be sin for us; so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Until baptism, Jesus had not known sin, that is, until he was 30 years old (Heb. 4:15). In the baptism, Jesus takes on our sins, and we are forgiven. This is why Peter said to the first converts of the growing Church: “Let your hearts be changed, every one of you, and have baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will have the Holy Spirit given to you” (Acts 2:38). Paul turned to Jesus in the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6). After his conversion he was blind for three days, and recovered his sight at the time of baptism (Acts 9:8-18). Later, on a speech on his own defense, Paul gives the account that his sins were erased only through baptism. If Paul had been forgiven in his conversion, it would have been forgiven three days previous to the speech. The text says: “And now, why are you waiting? get up, and have baptism, for the washing away of your sins, giving worship to” (Acts 22:16). The justice of God was fulfilled through Jesus. Now, if there were no justice before Jesus, God would not declare that there was, but Jehovah declared that there was. “Give ear to me, you who have knowledge of righteousness, in whose heart is my law; have no fear of the evil words of men, and give no thought to their curses” (Is. 51:7). In this verse, Jehovah declared that righteousness was tied to the law. In Psalm 119:142 we read: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is truth.” But righteousness was not in the Law, neither truth was. Paul says, “But now without the law there is a revelation of the righteousness of God, to which witness is given by the law and the prophets; That is, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all those who have faith” (Rom. 3:21-22). “For this reason, then, a man may get righteousness by faith without the works of the law” (Rom. 3:28). In Gal. 3:12 Paul affirms that the Law does not proceed from faith, therefore Jehovah was mistaken when he said that the righteousness of God comes to the ones who keep the Law (Is. 51:7). Paul makes an important revelation: “But Israel, going after a law of righteousness, did not get it. Why? Because they were not searching for it by faith, but by works. They came up against the stone which was in the way” (Rom. 9:31-32).
If the righteousness of God was not in the law of Jehovah, the Law works out the mystery of unrighteousness, and its mentor does, too. Let us look at it:
1. If righteousness dwells in the kingdom of God (2 Pet. 3:13), why was there unrighteousness? “Son of man, let your face be turned to Jerusalem, let your words be dropped in the direction of her holy place, and be a prophet against the land of Israel; And say to the land of Israel, These are the words of the Lord: See, I am against you, and I will take my sword out of its cover, cutting off from you the upright and the evil” (Ezek. 21:2-3). More so, being that Jehovah declares that he keeps the souls of the saints (Ps. 97:10; 37:28, 39-40; 31:23).
2. If the kingdom of God is a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17),why did Jehovah rule through violence (Ezek. 20:33)? He made Jerusalem to be a furnace of affliction(Is. 31:9; 48:10).
3. Jesus and the Father are one, that is, what one of them does, the other does in the exact way. And Jesus said, “And if any man gives ear to my words and does not keep them, I am not his judge: I did not come to be judge of the world but to give salvation to the world” (John 12:47). Now, if Jesus and the Father do not condemn those who do not believe, why did Jehovah sharpen the sword, and prepare the bow with deadly fiery arrows? (Ps. 7:12-13).
4. If Paul affirms that each of us will give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:12), “For we all have to come before Christ to be judged; so that every one of us may get his reward for the things done in the body, good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10), why did Jehovah punish the sons and women the sins of the father and husband? (Is. 14:21). David sinned, and Jehovah killed his son (2 Sam. 12:14). He punished Saul’s sons for the sins of Saul (1 Sam. 28:18-19; 31:2). He did the same with Jeroboam (1 Kings 15:29). The sons of Ahab, king of Israel, also died (2 Kings 10:1-7).
5. Jehovah lied when he declared in the Law that the children do not pay for the sins of their parents:“Fathers are not to be put to death for their children or children for their fathers: every man is to be put to death for the sin which he himself has done” (Deut. 24:16).
6. If Jehovah god is the truth (Jer. 10:10), if the word of Jehovah is the truth (Ps. 119:160), if “the truth of Jehovah is everlasting” (Ps. 117:2), if the works of Jehovah are true (Ps; 111:7), if Jehovah loves truth (Ps. 51:6), if Jehovah is the god of truth (Ps. 31:5), why did Jehovah place the spirit of lies in the mouth of the prophets? (1 Kings 22:23).
7. Men are responsible for their acts, and will answer for them in the final judgment (Rev. 20:11-15; John 5:28-29). But how can it be that the evil men will answer for their evil, if Jehovah made them evil? Jehovah is the potter (Jer. 18:6; Is. 64:8). The apostle Paul refers to the issue: “Or has not the potter the right to make out of one part of his earth a vessel for honor, and out of another a vessel for shame? What if God, desiring to let his wrath and his power be seen, for a long time put up with the vessels of wrath which were ready for destruction: And to make clear the wealth of his glory to vessels of mercy, which he had before made ready for glory” (Rom. 9:21-23). If the potter made the wicked, they cannot be responsible for their acts, for they are driven from the outside. This is unjust and incoherent.
8. Similarly, if Jehovah changed the hearts of the Egyptians to hate Israel (Ps. 105:23-25), they are not guilty; they were hurt by the ten plagues, even though they were innocent, and afterwards they were destroyed in the Red Sea. The author of this is the one to blame. The despotic god used the Egyptians, innocent victims, for his own exaltation.
9. If God, the Father, loves the sinners (Rom. 8:5-10; 1 John 4:10), why did Jehovah hate them?(Amos 9:8; Ps. 78:59; Ps. 106:40; Amos 6:8; Hos. 9:15; Jer. 14:11-14, etc.). But God, the Father, is love, and saves everyone (1 John 4:7-8; 1 Tim. 4:10).
10. If whoever sees the Son of God, and believes in him, has eternal life (John 6:40), why do all who see Jehovah die? (Ex. 33:18-23). And Moses, who saw Jehovah from his back, died, and did not go into the Promised Land (Deut. 34:1-5). But God, the Father, is coherent.
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA