176 – THE OMNISCIENCE
What does omniscience mean? This word comes from two Latin words, “OMNES”, which means “all,” and “SCIENTIA,” which means “knowledge,” that is, God has all knowledge. God knows all. And because he knows all, God produces the best results possible through the best possible means. These definitions do not render concrete in Israel’s history, because of the means used by Jehovah. His method to perfect his people consisted of pestilences, plagues, hunger and thirst, captivities, and the two kingdoms were completely corrupted in the end. The kingdom of the north disappeared in the Assyrian captivity 2,700 years ago, and the kingdom of the south, Judah, disappeared in the Babylonian captivity 2,600 years ago, approximately. We read in the book of Jude, verse 5, that Jehovah saved his people from the land of Egypt, but he afterwards destroyed everyone who did not believe. Those who did not believe were all of the people, with the exception of two—Joshua and Caleb. If they were unbelieving, why did he save them? The impression we have is that Jehovah did not know that they were unbelieving.
Jehovah observes all that goes on over the earth. The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). He saw when Cain killed Abel, and rebuked him (Gen. 4:8-10).And Jehovah told him, “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground” (Gen. 4:10). When Jezebel ordered the death of Naboth to steal his vineyard and give it to her husband, Jehovah told Elijah: “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth where he has gone down to take possession of it. And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says Jehovah, “Have you murdered and also taken possession?”’ And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says Jehovah, “In the place where the dogs liked up the blood of Naboth the dogs shall lick your blood”’” (1 Kings 21:18-19). Let us read a portion in the law of Jehovah: “If a slain person is found lying in the open country in the land which Jehovah your God gives you to possess, and it is not known who has struck him” (Deut. 21:1). The text continues saying that Jehovah commands that a heifer be sacrificed in a valley that has not been plowed or sown. When the heifer has been killed, the elders of that city, in the presence of the priests, wash their hands over the heifer, and say, “Our hands have not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it.” The blood of the heifer makes expiation, and the issue is concluded (Deut. 21:1-9). Did Jehovah know or did he not know who was the murderer? If he knew, he covered the crime, and was accessory to the crime. Or did he not know it? There are texts in the Bible that show clearly that Jehovah does not know everything. Therefore, he does not see everything. Let us look at a few.
Jehovah appeared to Abraham and made mention of the corruption of Sodom and Gomorrah. He said, “I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know” (Gen. 18:21). Jehovah unquestionably confesses that he wanted to know the truth, and in order to do that he had to go down to the place. Here the subject is not omniscience, but control. Jehovah does not see everything; therefore he is not omniscient, even if he says so. “‘Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?’ declares Jehovah. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares Jehovah” (Jer. 23:24). Let us look at another case. King Hezekiah was healed of a mortal sickness. The son of Baladan, king of Babylon, knowing of Hezekiah’s sickness and of his miraculous healing, sent gifts to the king of Judah. Hezekiah, touched, opened the doors to the messengers and showed them the treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the best perfumes. There was nothing that he did not show them (2 Kings 20:12-15). Jehovah, the god of vengeances, reproved this attitude of Hezekiah, and said to him, “‘All that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says Jehovah. And some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, shall be taken away; and they shall become officials in the place of the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 20:16-18). Jehovah, mistrusting Hezekiah’s intentions, left him alone, to test him, that he might know all that was in his heart (2 Chr. 32:31). It is, therefore, well proven that Jehovah is not omniscient, for he did not know the heart of Hezekiah. He would know his thoughts only through the works of revolt.
We have another more serious case. It is the case of the people of Israel. These people were in captivity in Egypt under a heavy yoke. Jehovah sent Moses to Pharaoh with the following message: “Thus says Jehovah, ‘Israel is My son, My first-born” (Ex. 4:22). He took his first-born son from Egypt with mighty plagues, to take him to a land of freedom and bounty, of rivers of water, of wheat and barley, and of vineyards, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive trees where the olive oil and the honey were abundant (Deut. 8:7-10). Nevertheless, Jehovah did not know the heart of his first-born son, for he is not omniscient, and he oppressed the people to know what he did not know. The text says: “And you will remember all the ways which Jehovah your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deut. 8:2). He took from Egypt a people that loved Egypt, and ignoring this love, called them his first-born son. To deliver them, he killed the first-born sons of Egypt, including the first-born son of Pharaoh (Ex. 12:29-30). And after that, he killed his own first-born son in the desert (Ex. 4:22; Num. 14:28-29; Jude 5). When we say that he killed his own first-born son, we are referring to the people that left Egypt, a million people, or more. Only two were saved (Num. 14:30).
Jehovah does not know what man has in his heart, for he is not omniscient. A dreadful case was the case of Solomon, son of David. David set in his heart to edify a house for Jehovah, but this god did not allow him, saying that David had shed too much blood (1 Chr. 22:7-8). Jehovah said to David: “Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days (1 Chr. 22:9-10). Neither Solomon nor Israel had peace; a peace that Jehovah, not knowing the future, had said that they would enjoy, for he is neither omniscient nor omnipresent (1 Kings 11:23-25). It was Jehovah who gave Solomon his name, and who loved him from the womb (2 Sam. 12:24; 1 Chr. 22:9). Sure that Solomon would be the greatest king, he gave him his divine wisdom (1 Kings 3:12). He promised to confirm the kingdom in Solomon’s hands forever (1 Chr. 22:10). But things took a contrary turn. Solomon made use of Jehovah’s wisdom to plunder the people (1 Kings 12:4,11). Solomon, sensual and lustful, united himself to every woman, 1,000 in all, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite, besides the daughter of Pharaoh. They were all women that Jehovah had prohibited (1 Kings 11:1-3). And Solomon was corrupted by the women, and turned away from the faith (1 Kings 11:4-8). Instead of confirming the kingdom in the hands of Solomon, Jehovah, as a punishment, divided it in two, bringing, in this way, the kingdom of Israel to an end (1 Kings 11:12).
Jesus Christ is different from Jehovah, for he knows the hearts of men (John 2:23-25). Jesus knows the thoughts of men (Matt. 9:4; Luke 5:22; 6:8; 9:47).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira