169 – SLAVE MERCHANTS
Slavery is the most miserable and degrading condition of a man. A slave has never any saying, because he does not have rights. A slave does not have a home or a family. He does not have dignity or a will. He is like a working animal, and does not receive any payment.
After the discovery of Brazil, the incursions of the French and the English forced the Portuguese government to colonize Brazil. They needed working hands, and the cheapest and most practical way was to bring in slave labor, so that the Portuguese settlers might be stimulated to move to the new land. In 1,550 AC ten per cent of the Portuguese population consisted of African slaves. Then slave trade begins, which in those days was a commercial activity as any other. The Portuguese went to the chiefs of the tribes, generally on the coasts of the Golf of Guinea. The traders selected men as if they were animals, for the blacks were considered objects, machines. They were transported in slave ships, without a minimum of cleanness, piled in filthy holds. A great number died during the trip. At the end of the long cruise, they landed in Recife, in Salvador, or in Rio de Janeiro, where they were auctioneered in the open plazas. Those who bought them were cruel, for the slave had to bring profit to them. They lived in Senzalas. The disobedient slaves received bodily punishment. The instruments for this were thebacalhau, palmer, tree trunk, scourge and chibata. The hot iron was applied to the especially rebellious. The ones condemned to the tree trunk stayed there during three days, exposed to the sun and the rain, with no food or water. The chibata was a long rod used to flog. The scourge consisted of a wooden handle to which various strips of leather with knots at the end were attached.
In Rome, slaves were taken from the conquered peoples. A great many of them were destined to the galleys, ships propelled by sails and oars. Chained, they rowed until they died. Many of the condemned men were from noble descent. Every people of the ancient times slaved the conquered men. Between the years 1,347 and 1,389 AC, there ruled a powerful monarch, a Turkish sultan. He marched against Tamerlane, king of the Tartarus, with an army of 400,000 horsed men, and another 400,000 on foot. The armies of Tamerlane, the Tartarus, the founder of the second Mongol empire, overcame this king. In the morning Bajazeto was the rich and powerful sultan, and in the afternoon he was made into a slave, and the humiliation that Tamerlane imposed over him was that, at every meal, Bajazeto was brought under the table and forced to gnaw at the bones with the dogs. And every time that Tamerlane mounted his horse, Bajazeto was forced to be on his hands and knees to serve as a footstool for his master to climb to his horse. Bajazeto lived like this for many years, until he died of sadness and passion. This is slavery.
The people and the kings of Israel were brought to this degrading and miserable state, not by the will of their conquerors, but by the will of their god Jehovah, for Jehovah approved of slavery, as we showed in the bulletin #157. “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. And it shall come about, if it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then it shall be that all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.” (Deut. 20:10-11). “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you” (Lev. 25:44-46). Slavery involves preference of one person over another. Jehovah said that he does not show partiality; therefore, he lied. Moses said, “For Jehovah your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe” (Deut. 10:17).
Jehovah forced his people into slavery, giving them over to the Chaldeans. We will transcribe a part ofLamentations of Jeremiah: “Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our houses to aliens. We have become orphans without a father, our mothers are like widows. We have to pay for our drinking water, our wood comes to us at a price. Our pursuers are at our necks; we are worn out, there is no rest for us”(Lam. 5:2-5). “Slaves rule over us; there is no one to deliver us from their hand. We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the wilderness. Our skin has become as hot as an oven, because of the burning heat of famine. They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah. Princes were hung by their hands; elders were not respected. Young men worked at the grinding mill; and youths stumbled under loads of wood. Elders are gone from the gate, young men from their music. The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned into mourning” (Lam. 5:8-15).
We agree that there should be punishment for the rebellions child, but as for Israel, they were delivered to cruel slavery, to a yoke of corruption, not reeducation. Verse eleven tells us that the women and virgins became feeding places for corruptors. If anyone wishes to defend the acts of this cruel, vengeful and despotic god, we mention Psalm 44, which reads, “THOU DOST GIVE US AS SHEEP TO BE EATEN, AND HAST SCATTERED US AMONG THE NATIONS. THOU DOST SELL THY PEOPLE CHEAPLY, AND HAS NOT PROFITED BY THEIR SALE” (Ps. 44:11-12). The psalmist, so declaring, affirms that Jehovah did not wish to educate his people, but to tread over it, scourge, corrupt, and destroy. He sold them cheaply and did not have any profit, that is, he did not intend spiritual profit. That was pure sadism. Jehovah himself said, “I have forsaken My house, I have abandoned My inheritance; I have given the beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies” (Jer. 12:7). “And Jehovah rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight. When He had torn Israel from the house of David” (2 Kings 17:20-21). He had a similar plan for Judah and Jerusalem. “I will remove Judah also from My sight, as I have removed Israel. And I will cast off Jerusalem, this city which I have chosen, and the temple of which I said, ‘My name shall be there’” (2 Kings 23:27).
The Father of Jesus and the true God wants to save all sinners, every evil person, thieves, murderers and prostitutes, liars and idolaters, everyone. “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). “God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers” (1 Tim. 4:10).And how does the Father accomplish this? Is it by sending to captivity? By striking with plagues and pestilences? No. Jesus saves everyone by grace, for he paid the debt on the cross. Paul said, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15)
Jesus came to completely deliver from slavery.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira