“Get up. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 17:6)

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." (Matthew 17:6-7)

Why were they terrified?

After hearing this voice coming from God, Peter, James and John fell to the ground face down in fear. But were they "terrified?"

If they were "terrified" why did they fall prostrate - an act of obeisance or prayer? Why didn't they just run off? Most people run away if they are terrified. They don't fall to the ground facedown, where they would remain in harm's way.

Laying down before someone is an act of trust. It is an act of humility and faith that the person they are laying down in front of will not harm them. This means that "terrified" was the wrong word.

Yes, the Greek word φοβέω (phobeō) can certainly mean "to fear, be afraid." But it can also mean "to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience" according to the lexicon.

This confirms they were not "terrified." 

But why then did Jesus tell them not to be "afraid"? Well, strictly speaking, the word Jesus purportedly used was also φοβέω (phobeō). This would mean that Jesus would have told them that they didn't have to stay in "reverential obedience." They could get up.

We also see from the Greek that Jesus says the word "and" (kai) between saying "Get up" (or "rise") and the next thing. So it is very possible that Jesus was speaking to their reverence, saying something like:

"Get up and take it easy." In other words, he was saying that they didn't need to stay in the prostrate, facedown position any longer.

And when they did get up, only Jesus was there. So it is likely that Jesus told them this after the Supreme Being's appearance had ended.

Now, if we are insistent that Jesus did tell them not to be afraid, this means that Jesus was telling them that they did not have to fear the Supreme Being. Either way, Jesus was telling them that God should be loved, not feared.

But doesn't the Old Testament say we should fear God?

Because God’s appearances in the Bible have been shrouded in power and mystery, and there are many statements about “fearing” God, there has been a tendency among the Christian world to fear God rather than love Him. This is an unfortunate situation.

It just so happens that much of the current Bible’s translations from the original Hebrew and Greek to Latin then to English by sectarian institutions translate the Hebrew word יָרֵא (yare') to "fear," instead of its more logical translation, according to the lexicon, "to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe." It also describes the word as "reverence, honor, respect."

But instead of translating all those cases of the Hebrew word יָרֵא (yare') to "revere God" or "honor God" or "hold God in awe," they decided to use "fear God."

Why did these institutional translators want to see the Supreme Being as someone to fear?

First, because they didn't know God.

Second, because they wanted to control people - and fear was a better means than reverence.

This interpretation began among institutional temple teachers who taught that God was to be feared, in order to control their assemblies and followers.

The interpretation was furthered by the Roman Catholic Church, with the politically organized Synods of Nicaea. The First Council of Nicaea of 325 AD was assembled by the Roman Emperor Constantine, creating a political structure to rule over early Christian followers. This was followed by the Second Council of Ephesus of 449 AD, put together by the Roman Emperor Theodosius II, which led to the creation of the Roman Catholic Church.

In these councils, Jesus was defined and Biblical interpretations were developed. The First Council led to the Nicene Creed. This defined Jesus as God the Son.

They also carried on the determination that it would better meet their objectives if God the Father were a God the people feared. If the people feared God, they would come to church under threat that He would punish them if they did not attend church and pay tithings.

For this reason, we find many translations, especially among the books of the Bible using the phrase “fear” rather than its original intention to “honor" or "revere" God.

A long tradition of loving God

In doing so, they bypassed a long tradition of loving God that had been passed through the centuries by the Prophets.

This can be confirmed simply, by the loving relationship that existed between God and the saints of the Bible, such as Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jonah and so many others. We also have to consider Moses' and Joshua's statements:
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:5)

"Love the LORD your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, his laws and His commands always." (Deut. 11:1)

"So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul—" (Deut. 11:13)

"If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to Him—" (Deut. 11:22)

"because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the LORD your God and to walk always in obedience to Him—then you are to set aside three more cities." (Deut. 19:9)

"For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess." (Deut. 30:16)

"and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." (Deut. 30:20)

"But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Josua 22:5)

"So be very careful to love the LORD your God." (Josua 23:11)
So we know that the instruction to love the Supreme Being is not a fluke. It was emphasized over and over by Moses, and then Moses' student Joshua. We also know that David instructed his followers the same:
Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. (Psalm 31:23)
And of course, Jesus reiterated this teaching:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)

What about 'fear God' from the Old Testament?

Now consider just a few of the verses from the Old Testament that have been translated into "fear God" that could have been translated more appropriately (see bolds):
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you honor God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12)

On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I revere God. (Genesis 42:18)

But select capable men from all the people — men who revere God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain — and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. (Exodus 18:21)

“Does Job honor God for nothing?” Satan replied. (Job 1:9)

Come and hear, all you who revere God; let me tell you what he has done for me. (Psalm 66:16)

Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore honor God. (Ecclesiastes 5:7)

Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who honor God, who are reverent before him. (Ecclesiastes 8:12)

Yet because the wicked do not honor God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. (Ecclesiastes 8:13)

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Revere God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
The translations to either "honor" or "revere" actually make much more sense given the context of these and other events of the Old Testament. Consider, for example, Ecclesiastes 8:12 above, where it defines being reverent. That is not fear. That is honoring God. Revering God.

There is a big difference between honoring someone and being afraid of them. Being afraid is a self-centered emotion. Honoring or revering someone is the opposite.

How can a person love someone they fear?

You can't. Love requires a person come to know and feel comfortable with the person they love. Love requires trust, and in the case of the Supreme Being, also feeling protected by God.

In other words, we cannot feel protected by the Supreme Being and fear Him at the same time.

Furthermore, the idea of fear is a self-centered notion, while love is a selfless notion. Love means caring about the other person more than one cares about oneself. Therefore, love and fear are not compatible emotions.

Are they blurring God?

The glaring error of the Nicean creed is the individuality between the Supreme Being and Jesus were blurred. By blurring their individuality, they erased their loving relationship.

The other offensive error is that the Creed basically says God became a man. This would mean God somehow came under the control of the physical world and became crucified to redeem humanity. Why would God need to be crucified in order to redeem people? 

Are we saying that God does not have the ability to save people without dying on a cross? Are we saying that God does not control things? That he has to suffer for us?

No way. God does not have to suffer for us. God is the Controller of all things. God is the Creator of everything. God does not have to follow any rules. He makes the rules. The Supreme Being could save everyone one of us with one thought.

So why doesn't the Supreme Being do this? Because He gives us the freedom to make this determination. He only brings home to Him those who want to return to Him.

Jesus is the loving servant and representative of God. This concept of Jesus being the "only begotten son" of God was interpreted in an attempt to create exclusivity. Are they saying that God is impotent? That even humans can have many sons but God can only have one? Don't be ridiculous.

If we are not God's children, then why did Jesus say:
"They are God's children...." (Luke 20:26)
Who begot us then? To be begotten means to be created. Surely this language was put forth to be politically expedient. They had to create a statement that would give their church sole access to God. Without their church, the people would have no other way to reach the Supreme Being.

This isn't the situation at all. Jesus is the child and loving servant of God. Because he had dedicated himself to pleasing the Supreme Being, God empowered Jesus to represent Him. Jesus' life was spent serving God in an effort to please Him. This is confirmed by God directly, as He stated:
"with him I am well pleased." (Matt. 17:5)
It is Jesus' loving service, and the teachings coming from loving service that have the ability to save us. And this is why God also said, "Listen to him!” (Matt. 17:5)