(359) – TABERAH (BURNING) Num. 11:3

The divine word says that Jehovah is a burning fire: “For your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God” (Deut. 4:24). In the New Testament, in the letter to the Hebrews, it is also written: “for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). The author of the letter to the Hebrews is certainly referring to Jehovah. The prophet Daniel saw, in a vision by night, the throne of Jehovah surrounded by flames of fire, and its wheels were of burning fire. An ancient of days was sitting on the throne, and a river of fire flowed from before him (Dan. 7:9-10). That was the judgment of Jehovah. And the prophet Malachi tells us: “But who can endure the day of his coming? And who will stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire (to melt the people).” (Mal. 3:2).

What is this fire that surrounds Jehovah, and that flows from it? It is not a fire of love, for it destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and sulfur: “Then Jehovah rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Jehovah out of the sky” (Gen. 19:24). And Jehovah did the same with the children of Aaron, the high priest, chosen to ministry in the sanctuary. The text says: “Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. And fire came forth from before Jehovah, and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah” (Lev. 10:1,2). Then Moses said to Aaron: Jehovah said: I will be sanctified and glorified before the people (Lev. 10:3). Jehovah is sanctified and glorified before his people, not for the forgiveness, not for the mercy, not for gentleness, not for virtue, but for the wrath and fury that produce the fire that kills and consumes. Certainly Nadab and Abihu meant to please Jehovah with the fire they brought.

Every time the fury of Jehovah was kindled, the devouring fire consumed indistinctly men, women, and children. When the people of Israel sojourned in the desert for 40 years, aimlessly, the tired people complained: The people were complaining in the ears of Jehovah. When Jehovah heard it, his anger was kindled; and Jehovah ‘s fire burnt among them, and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people cried to Moses; and Moses prayed to Jehovah, and the fire abated” (Num. 11:1,2). Moses disapproves of Jehovah’s frequent fits of anger and refused to go on, begging for death (Num. 11:10-15). “Now the man Moses was very humble, above all the men who were on the surface of the earth” (Num. 12:3). For not even Moses with all his gentleness could stand the murderous and cruel fire of Jehovah.

Ahab, the wicked, died because a lying spirit from Jehovah stirred Ahab to fight against the king of Syria for some lands. And all the prophets, minus one, Micah, prophesied deceitfully, because Jehovah wanted to kill Ahab, which actually happened (1 Kings 22:23-34). This happened because Jehovah was avenging the death of Naboth, who refused to sell his vineyard to King Ahab. The prophet Elijah, who killed the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah that sat at the table of Jezabel, passed sentence on the house of Ahab, Jezabel’s husband (1 Kings 18:19). The test proposed by Elijah was that the prophets of Baal should build an altar, and Elijah, another altar. They cried from morning until noon, but Baal did not answer. About noon, Elijah mocked them. They cried out with loud voices, and cut themselves with knives, but Baal did not answer. Then Elijah prepared his altar with wood, cut the ox in pieces and laid them on the wood. He filled four pitchers with water and had them poured over the altar three times. The water flowed around the altar, and filled the trenches. Elijah, then, called to Jehovah, and fire fell down from heaven, which consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and also the water. All those who saw it fell on their faces and said: Jehovah, He is God; Jehovah, He is God! Elijah, then, brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there (1 Kings 18:36-40).

But they had believed that only Jehovah was god. And they sang: “Jehovah, He is God.” and Jehovah had declared: “Tell them, As I live, says the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11). At another time, he said: “For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord Jehovah: therefore turn yourselves, and live” (Ezek. 18:32). It was the perfect time to save those 850 souls who recognized that their god was false, and not to kill them. But the command of Elijah was settled: “Elijah said to them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal! Don’t let one of them escape!’ They seized them. Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there” (1 Kings 18:40). Elijah not even considered giving them a chance of repentance. But Elijah was part of the ministry of death (2 Cor. 3:6-11).

At another time, King Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, because he hated Elijah, sent for him with a platoon of 50 soldiers and a captain. When they arrived, the captain said: Man of god, the king says: Come down. And Elijah answered: If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men. Then fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The king sent another captain with another 50 soldiers. Elijah called and fire came down from Jehovah and consumed them (2 Kings 1:9-12). Speaking of this, Jesus called Jehovah a destroyer of souls (Luke 9:55-56).

Jesus then took the human form in the womb of Mary and manifested himself to his people, saying: “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him” (John 14:7). And Jesus revealed another God. Jehovah was an angry god: “…a God who has indignation every day” (Ps. 7:11). “I have given you a king in my anger, and have taken him away in my wrath” (Hos. 13:11). Read also Deut. 9:19-26. And after Jesus revealed himself, Jehovah turned meek and loving? Does God change? John declares: “He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Jehovah was the god of vengeance: “Jehovah is a jealous God and avenges. Jehovah avenges and is full of wrath. Jehovah takes vengeance on his adversaries, and he maintains wrath against his enemies” (Nah. 1:2). And did he change into a forgiving god, after Christ? Once more, the word is from John: “I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake” (1 John 2:12). Jehovah was the god only of Israel, for he said: “You are the children of Jehovah your God: you shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For you are a holy people to Jehovah your God, and Jehovah has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deut. 14:1,2). For this reason he was going to submit all the nations under Israel’s feet (Ps. 47:3). After Jesus, does Jehovah want to save everyone? (1 Tim. 4:10). Jehovah was the god of the flesh (Jer. 32:27; Is. 66:22-23). Did he change, after Jesus? “Because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God” (Rom. 8:7-8). Jehovah was the god of the gold and the silver: “‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ says Jehovah of Armies” (Hag. 2:8). After Jesus, did he become the god of the poor? “Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5). Jehovah has always been the god of war, and for this reason he has a secret book of his wars, and his name is Jehovah of the Armies (Num. 21:14). After Jesus, did he become the God of peace? “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).

The solution of the enigma is that Jehovah does not change (Mal. 3:6). Jehovah will always be angry, furious, vengeful, destructive, and creator of evils. Jesus came down from heaven and revealed a good, forgiving, saving, and kind God in his acts and his life, even to the evil and unrighteous (Luke 6:35; Matt. 5:43-48). James, in his epistle, says: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow” (James 1:17).

They are two: One dark, who does not change: another luminous, who also does not change (1 Tim. 6:16; 1 John 1:5).


By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira

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