Man is a religious being by nature. There were evidences of this since the beginning of humanity. The primitive peoples considered thunder, for example, a manifestation of the wrath of God. We find in the Bible reference to thunder as the voice of God (Ps. 77:18). Sorcerers and magicians availed themselves of the people’s ignorance and assumed the place of messengers of the gods. With time there came up priests and priestesses that ministered and served in the temples. The Caldean priests consulted their gods by throwing arrows, similar to what he prophet Elijah did when he told Jeoas, king of Israel, to shoot his arrows to find out about the deliverance from the Syrians, through them (2 Kings 13:14-19). The Romans were guided by the flight of birds, as messengers of the gods. And all nations had oracles and signs by which they were guided in their wars. Every people and kingdom had their gods, which they consulted before war. Their wars were truly a war of gods.
About this war of gods, we should say that it was a calamity. The god Saturn, sovereign in Mount Olympus, the seat of the Greek gods, was married to the goddess Cibele, and was the father of Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto and Juno. His son Jupiter dethroned him, making himself king over the gods of Olympus, to the Greeks and the Roman people. These gods were always ambitious gods and avid for glory and power. Since men consulted these gods in war, the impression we have is that these gods would use poor and blind humans in war, in which all kinds of imaginable and unimaginable atrocities were done. The conquered ones were hung on stakes to be eaten by birds of prey; others were forced to drink boiling oil; others had melted lead poured in their ears. Their nobles were turned to slaves, and their women and daughters were violated. There were rivers of blood, and fire destroyed the cities.
In this brutal scenario, a stronger God shows up. It was the God of the Hebrews, who revealed himself to Moses as Jehovah, the God of gods.
Jehovah, the great and glorious God of the Hebrews, sent so many plagues, pestilences and deaths in Egypt, that Moses’ father-in-law said: “NOW I KNOW THAT JEHOVAH IS GREATER THAN ALL THE GODS” (Ex. 18:11). And Jehovah said at the time of the last plague: “I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and I will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am Jehovah” (Ex. 12:12).
The Hebrews were so convinced that there were other gods, that this caused the psalmists to sing, “For Jehovah is a great God, and a great King above all gods” (Ps. 95:3; 97:9; 135:5; 138:1, etc.). Moses stated that Jehovah was a man of war (Ex. 15:3): “Jehovah IS A WARRIOR” (Ps. 24:10; 46:7,11). Jehovah was responsible for bringing Sargon, king of Assyria, against Israel, to take them into captivity (Is. 8:7-9). Jehovah was responsible for bringing Nebuchadnezzar against Judah and Jerusalem, who took them into captivity (Jer. 27:1-6). Jehovah, the Lord of the Armies, also said that Nebuchadnezzar, the bloody and idolater king, was his servant.
The book of Daniel tells us that there were princes (gods) which waged the wars: “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me” (Dan. 10:13). A man dressed in white linen said to Daniel: “’O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!’ Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, ‘May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’ Then he said, ‘Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. (Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince…’” (Dan. 10:5-7; 10-21)
Since Michael is an archangel (Jude 9), it is clear that the other princes are angels or gods. In the face of a dark and confused scenario where men, gods, princes and the very Jehovah grappled with one another in wars, greed, destructions and vengeances, Jesus devised a glorious way of revealing the Father, which would not implicate him or mistake him by another unrelenting and bellicose god.
John said, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18). “No one has beheld God at any time” (1 John 4:12).
Paul said: “[He] who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). And again John registers the words of Jesus, “And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form” (John 5:37).
The Scribes and Pharisees said to him, “‘Where is Your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also’” (John 8:19).
Nobody knows the Father: neither good men, nor bad men; neither saved men nor lost men; neither Jews nor Gentiles. Christians do not know Him either. Jesus is the only one who knows the Father (Matt. 11:27).
If anyone knew the Father they would glorify Him and forget about Jesus but “…there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Also, the Father is the head of Jesus Christ and not of men (1 Cor. 11:3). The Father put all things in the Son’s hands (John 13:3). The Father does not judge anyone, but has constituted the Son as judge of the living and of the dead (Acts 10:42; John 5:22). Nobody receives the Father if they do not receive the Son first (Matt. 10:40). Nobody is able to directly honor the Father. It is by honoring the Son that someone may honor the Father (John 5:23). No one can belong to the Father if he does not belong to the Son first (1 John 2:23). Also, nobody can become a child of God if they do not receive Jesus as Savior first (John 1:12,13). That is why Jesus said, “I AM THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE; NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER, BUT THROUGH ME” (John 14:6).
Jesus is the exclusive author of salvation (Heb. 12:2), as it was Jesus who died for sinners on the cross. If a person knows the Father, loves the Father, obeys the Father and serves the Father, but does not obey the Son, this person does not get saved. This is what happened to a certain rich man in Matt. 19:16-24. On the other hand, if anyone hates the Father, blasphemes against the Father and disobeys Him, in the very moment in which he accepts the Son, he is saved. This is easy to prove, because Paul reveals that, when we were still enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, and we will be saved (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:24). God does not attribute sin to anyone who is in Jesus (2 Cor. 5:19). So, we can be sure that the Father is not outside of the Son, neither does He operate besides the Son, nor does He save, except by the Son; but He reveals His love in the Son. He raises the dead with the son, He pours His Holy Spirit by the Son, and the Son performs all His creation.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira