(275) – GOD IS LOVE

 

“Journaler” was, in the times of Jesus, the Greek word that designed a man who worked by day. The Greek word used for the payment of a day of work was JOURNAL. The “journaler,” that is, the day-worker, daily received the journal, that is, the daily rate (Luke 15:17): “Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Armies. You have lived delicately on the earth, and taken your pleasure. You have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter” (James 5:4-5). The Lord of the Armies, referred to in James in the verses 4 and 5 is Jehovah, the killer, for the Father of Jesus and the god Jehovah are present in both the New and Old Testaments.

Zebedee, the father of John and James, apostles of the Lord Jesus, had workers, that is, “journalers”; therefore, John and James were from a prosperous family. Every child of parents who have money is a little imposing; John and James were nervous. Jesus, when he chose the apostles, named James and John Boanerges, which means “SONS OF THUNDER,” for they were bossy (Mark 3:17). One day they wanted to sit on the right and left of Jesus in his future kingdom (Mark 10:37). It is obvious that they considered themselves superior to the other apostles. Another time they wanted Jehovah to send fire from heaven over a village of Samaritans to destroy men, women, and children, as Jehovah used to do (Gen. 19:24-25; 2 Kings 1:9-12; Lev. 10:1-2). Jesus rebuked them saying that the spirit that was in them was other and strange (Luke 9:51-56). The power of the love of Christ coming over John was so strong, that John was changed into a gentle and loving man. He became so loving that he is known as the apostle of love, and wrote the following: “BELOVED, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER, FOR LOVE IS FROM GOD, AND EVERY ONE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF GOD AND KNOWS GOD” (1 John 4:7-8). Jesus Christ came to this world to reveal the love of God through his teachings and his works; therefore he said: “Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?’” (John 10:32). Jesus gave his life for the sinners to save them (Gal. 1:4), and said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another” (John 13:34).

The question we ask is this: Did the love that Jesus Christ revealed, taught, and lived out exist in the Old Testament, that is, before He came to this world in the flesh? If Jehovah, who revealed himself to Moses as the god of Israel, practiced this love, he was known; but if he did not practice, he was not known; and in this case Jehovah and Jesus would be strange to one another. Let us look at it:

1.  Jesus taught forgiveness to those who offend us, in the Lord’s prayer: “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors … For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt. 6:12, 14). The apostle Peter, worried about the problem of forgiveness, asked of Jesus: “Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven’” (Matt. 18:21-22). Now, those who do not forgive do not love. Jehovah never taught nor practiced the forgiveness that Christ lived and taught. Jehovah commanded in the Law: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise” (Ex. 21:24-25). And Jehovah forbid the people to show love, saying: “Your eyes shall not pity; life [shall go] for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deut. 19:21). Ben-hadad, the king of the Syrians, was an enemy of Israel, and imposed on them a heavy yoke. The people of Israel groaned under the yoke and the oppression of Ben-hadad. Jehovah sent a prophet, who said to Ahab: “Behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel, and said, ‘Thus says Jehovah, “Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into your hand this day; and you shall know that I am Jehovah”’” (1 Kings 20:13). Ahab gathered his 7,232 men and left to war against 32 allied kings and their armies. It was a crushing victory. Ben-hadad gathered another army and left against Israel again. Jehovah was in favor of Ahab, who killed 100,00 Syrians in a single day. Ben-hadad and his captains went before Ahab dressed in sackcloth to ask for mercy. Ahab made a covenant with Ben-hadad (1 Kings 20:42). The eye of Jehovah does not spare of forgive. It is eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and life for life. Ahab did not kill Ben-hadad, and died in his own place. The worst of it is that the people of Israel got destroyed instead of the Syrians. What beautiful example of love of Jehovah for his people. 

2.  Love does not have enemies. The father, that is, God the Father, does not have enemies. The Bible calls sinners—“world.” And why? Because they are all sinners (Rom. 3:23; 5:12). So, we can say that the world sins. The Bible also says that whoever sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8). As everybody sins, we conclude that the whole world is of the devil. The apostle John defines the situation of the world with the following words: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). In the original Greek the word “lie” means to be dead, to be buried, to be fallen. “So and so lies sick in bed.” So the apostle John meant in 1 John 5:19 that the world is fallen in the evil one. It is dead and buried. When John says: “the one who practices sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8), he is saying that the one who sins not only is fallen, but dead and buried, for Jehovah says: “The soul who sins will die” (Rom. 6:23). And James further says in his epistle: “You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). God, the Father, is not anyone’s enemy. Man is the enemy. Paul wrote: “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10). God the Father is love, and if he is love, he is not an enemy of anyone; for this reason he is called FATHER (ABBA).

Jehovah is different from Christ and the Father, for he is an enemy of men. Look at what he said to Israel: “But if you indeed listen to his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies” (Ex. 23:22). Absurd! God being an enemy of men, going against the New Testament and the voice of the apostles! Jehovah was against his enemies, and in this way he became their enemies. “Let Jehovah arise, let His enemies be scattered” (Num. 10:35; Ps. 68:1). The Holy Spirit of Jehovah is also an enemy of those who disobey (Is. 63:10). This cannot be the Holy Spirit of the Father, for the Holy Spirit of the Father is love (Rom. 5:5; 15:30). Whoever does not love becomes an enemy. Jehovah said to Israel in his wrath and fury: “I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the punishment of a cruel one, because your iniquity is great and your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous” (Jer. 30:14). And Jesus said through the mouth of Paul: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20). Paul is saying that the greater the sinner, the greater the conversion and the deliverance; and the range of the sacrifice of Christ. But Jehovah does not know the love of Christ, for he is an enemy of men. Jehovah became an enemy of his own people (Lam. 2:2-5).

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BY PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA

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