What does respect of persons mean? It means to show uneven treatment. We give a shocking example. The Bible is the word of God; therefore it is considered the “HOLY SCRIPTURES.” And why, HOLY? Because it was inspired by God; in other words, the author is God, by means of the prophets. The apostle Paul says: “For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). In the Holy Scriptures we read the following about men: “God looks down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there are any who understood, who seek after God. Every one of them has gone back. They have become filthy together. There is no one who does good, no, not one” (Ps. 53:2-3). We read in the New Testament: “Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). And Paul says more: “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” Rom. 3:23).
The question is: if all are sinners condemned to death since Adam; if God looked for a man that had the understanding to seek him and did not find him; if, therefore, all men fall short of the glory of God because they are all sinners, why did Jehovah treat the Egyptians as cursed and the offspring of Jacob as blessed, when the two peoples were equal in essence? Jehovah was a respecter of persons! However, the book of the law of Jehovah says: “For Jehovah your God, he is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the awesome, who doesn’t respect persons, nor takes reward” (Deut. 10:17). It is difficult to accept that! How did Jehovah, who calls himself the only God, was capable of such blunder? But that could be a chance happening! Let us see this: Jehovah chose the offspring of Jacob as his children, and rejected the other races. However, how could he treat the other children as his enemies, if his own children were worse? It is confusing! Time has passed and Jehovah called his two kingdoms Sodom and Gomorrah (Is. 1:9-11).
Let us look at the way the spirit of Jehovah was a spirit of acceptance of people:
- Jehovah sent Moses to say to Pharaoh: Jehovah told Moses to say to Pharaoh: This is what Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘Let my people go that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let them go I will send a pestilence to kill all your livestock that are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, and also on all the camels.’ Jehovah will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt; and nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel (Ex. 9:1-6). It all agrees to form a pattern showing that he was a respecter of persons and animals. It is important to remember that Pharaoh did not let the people go free, because Jehovah hardened his heart (Ex. 8:32).
- In order to harden the heart of Pharaoh Jehovah said to Moses: Stretch forth your hand toward the sky, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man, and on animal, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. Moses stretched forth his rod toward the heavens, and Jehovah sent thunder, hail, and lightning flashed down to the earth. The hail struck throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and animal; and the hail struck every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel lived, there was no hail (Ex. 9:22-26). Once more it all formed the pattern that Jehovah had a spirit of acceptance. The hail was so violent that Pharaoh sent for Moses, desiring to quit. When the storm eased, Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh again (Ex. 9:27-28, 34).
- Again, Jehovah sent Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh, saying: “This is what Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me’” (Ex. 10:3). There is an inconsistence in Jehovah: he demands that Pharaoh let the people go, but he is always hardening his heart to prevent them from leaving. What did Jehovah want? Suspense? Why would he harden the heart of Pharaoh and of the Egyptians? The facts and events were not real: they were provoked; and in this case the story of the Exodus is not a story anymore, but a comedy; better yet, it is a tragicomedy, for everything was done by Jehovah, not by men. The deaths, thought, were real: deaths of innocent people. Jehovah sent a cloud of grasshoppers over all the land of Egypt. The sky grew dark and the grasshoppers ate all the grass, and did not leave any green thing, or any fruit on the trees. Pharaoh humbled himself before Moses and asked for forgiveness (Ex. 10:14-17). Jehovah hardened again the heart of Pharaoh (Ex. 10:20). No grasshopper was seen in the land of Goshen.
- Moses, then, obedient to the command of Jehovah, reached his hands to heaven, and there were dark clouds over all the land of Egypt for three days. One person could not see another, and no one got up from their place for three days; but all the sons of Israel had lights in their homes. Pharaoh called Moses, for he had decided to get rid of the Israelites. Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh again. This time he threatened Moses, saying: If you see my face again, you will die (Ex. 10:21-28). The reading of the texts is boring, for the plagues are different, but the story is always the same. Pharaoh, deciding to let the Israelites go, and Jehovah, hardening his heart to keep the people under slavery.
- If the main goal of Jehovah were the deliverance of the people, there would not be necessary to harden the heart of Pharaoh. But the main goal was to make the show notorious, so that he would make himself look as god in the eyes of the nations. The proof is found in the book of Joshua, chapter two. Rahab, the harlot, says to the spies of Israel in Jericho: “I know that Jehovah has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how Jehovah dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and to Og, whom you utterly destroyed” (Josh. 2:9-11). We are faint with dread.
Jehovah promoted himself to be like god by electing his offspring and rejecting the nations of the land of Canaan through wars and slaughters. The act of choosing and rejecting was the weapon and the scheme used to promote himself.
When he announced the last plague, which was the death of the firstborn, Jehovah then revealed his principal project, saying: I will kill all the firstborn of Egypt, and there will be great cry throughout all the land of Egypt such as there has not been, nor shall be any more, so that you may know that Jehovah makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel (Ex. 11:5-7).
But God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the God of all men, Israelites and Gentiles (Rom. 3:29). And God, the Father, wants all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira