Epictetus, Stoic philosopher, born in Phrygia, was a slave in Rome in the days of the Emperor Nero. Someone asked him:
— Who governs the world?
— Interest — he answered.
— But what is interest?
— Interest, profit, an advantage that someone finds in something. Where there is interest there is no love, for interest seeks only the welfare of the subject, and love seeks only the good of the subject.
Paul gives us the following rule of love: May no one seek his own profit, but each one what is of another (1 Cor. 13:5).
Jehovah was interested in the building of a temple, in order to be worshipped and served there. He then carefully chose the place. “Then it shall happen that to the place which Jehovah your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the wave offering of your hand” (Deut. 12:11-13). Jehovah forbade that the offering of burnt offerings would be made in any place (Deut. 12:13-14). Jehovah had plans to edify a sumptuous temple for his habitation. David, a faithful and dedicated servant of Jehovah, decided to edify the temple, that is, the house of Jehovah, saying, “I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within the curtains” (2 Sam. 7:2). With this in mind, David voted, “Surely I will not come into the structure of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids; until I find out a place for Jehovah, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob” (Ps. 132:2-5). Jehovah, then, answers to David, saying, “But the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, ‘You have shed blood abundantly, and have made great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight’” (1 Chr. 22:8). David vowed that he would not lay with a woman until he had built a temple to Jehovah to make amends for the adultery he had committed, and Jehovah forbids him to build it. What does Jehovah claim as the reason for it? David’s wars. What was the drama of David? It was to be forced to become a eunuch because of this vow. Jehovah sought his own interest in detriment of David’s interests. What David vowed ensnared him unless, by being free from building the temple, he was freed from his vow. Jehovah, though, does not accept the desistance from a vow (Eccl. 5:4-6). If David broke his promise, the curse of Jehovah would come upon the third and fourth generations after him (Eccl. 20:4-5). In his old age, David could not keep warm. His servants sought the most beautiful virgin in all the territory of Israel, and she lied close to David to keep him warm, but David did not cohabit with her (1 Kings 1:1-4). That was a snare to make David fall.
We have another case in the enlightening pages of the Old Testament. When they went into the Promised Land, after crossing the river Jordan, the first city that Israel overcame was Jericho. Jehovah gave the following commands to the people: You will circle the city seven times. Seven priests will go before the ark of Jehovah with seven ham’s horns. In the last day they will circle the city seven times, and when the sign sounds they will play the horns, and the people will shout out loud, and Jehovah will give the victory. They will not take a single thing from the city, for it is anathema to Jehovah. The gold, the silver, and the metal objects will be consecrated to Jehovah (Josh. 6:16-21). Jehovah was interested in the silver and the gold, and despised the souls, for they were all killed by the sword: men and women, boys and old people. In the New Testament Jesus despised gold and silver, and saved men, women, and children, because Jesus does not seek his personal interests as Jehovah does, but sought the good of the poor, the sick, the lame, and the lost.
There are other instances in the history of Israel that reveal the particular interest Jehovah had in forming the kingdom of Israel. In the book of Isaiah, we read the word of Jehovah: “Everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yes, whom I have made” (Is. 43:7). When Jehovah appeared to Moses in the burning bush and sent him to deliver the people from the slavery to Egypt, he said: “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:7-8). Reading these words we have the impression that Jehovah sought the welfare and interest of that people, but it is not true. The interest of Jehovah was to form a people in order to be glorified in the eyes of all the other peoples. As Israel persevered in the wicked practices of Egypt, and did not observe the law of Jehovah, he was filled with fury, seeing that his interests were not fulfilled, and destroyed the kingdom of Israel. The destruction of the kingdoms, of both Israel and Judah, proves that Jehovah only sought his own interest. He declares: “Therefore tell the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Jehovah: I don’t do [this] for your sake, house of Israel, but for my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations, where you went” (Ezek. 36:22).
Let us look at another obscure issue. When he took the people from Egypt, Jehovah declared that he was motivated by the affliction of the people and by hearing their cry (Ex. 3:7). After leaving Egypt they passed through the Red Sea by the power of Jehovah. They were then taken to Mount Sinai, and Jehovah presented a covenant with the people. It was the covenant of the law, which the people had to obey. Before dictating his laws, Jehovah was interested in being their king, and delivered the people to gain their sympathy and to rule over Israel in the end. He was not interest in the welfare of the people that he delivered, but in the kingdom that he was going to form, and in ruling over all the peoples of the earth through the kingdom of Israel. The Psalmist declares: “God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne” (Ps. 47:8). Jehovah’s intolerance, his plagues, his vengeances, and his killings, hardened the heart of the people to such extent, that they asked the prophet Samuel for a human king (1 Sam. 8:4-5). Then Jehovah said to Samuel: “They have rejected Me from being king over them” (1 Sam. 8:6-7). The plans and the interests of Jehovah were not succeeding. He then announced that the king they had asked for would be bad (1 Sam. 8:9-18). Jehovah declares that the king would be so bad, that the desperate people would pray and cry, but Jehovah would not answer (1 Sam. 8:18). This is this wicked god’s vengeance, which only thinks of his own interest. In reality, establishing wicked kings, Jehovah kept his rule from hiding behind them. This is deceit and tyranny. And Ezekiel spoke on the part of Jehovah: “As I live, says the Lord Jehovah, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, will I be king over you” (Ezek. 20:33). Not being able to rule over his people, whom he had created, being the god of evil, Jehovah destroyed the two kingdoms (2 Kings 17:20-23; 23:27; 24:1-3). When the kingdom ended, the king also ended.
Jesus said out loud: ”MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD” (John 18:36). The apostle Paul also declared: “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom; to whom be the glory forever and ever” (2 Tim. 4:18). Peter declared the same thing: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn’t fade away, reserved in Heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:3-4). Jesus is interested in saving men from this world of Jehovah (Ps. 24:1) and in taking them to the kingdom of God, which is not of this world, while Jehovah is interested in establishing his kingdom on earth, under a regimen of force, with an iron rod. Zechariah says: “And Jehovah will be king over all the earth” (Zech. 14:9). The nations that do not submit will be under the curse of Jehovah (Zech. 14:12-18). The three texts of Revelations that affirm that Jesus will rule with an iron rod, as Jehovah has predicted in Psalm 2:8-9, do not belong in the Greek original manuscript, and were unduly put there by the worshippers of Jehovah in an effort to achieve their interests (Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira