The prophet Isaiah, one of four of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament, expressed himself in this way: “Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of Armies!” (Is. 6:5). Isaiah confessed two things:
- He learned to use vile language with his people, whose heart was full of wickedness (Matt. 12:34).
- He also confessed that Jehovah could not stand uncleanness, and for this reason he was going to be killed. Then one of the seraphim above the throne of Jehovah took a burning coal, flew to him and purified his lips, removing his iniquity (Is. 6:6-7).
Jehovah proved with this that, being holy and pure, he does not use people who are impure and sinful. Following this line of holiness that Jehovah followed, the priest could not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a profaned woman, only a virgin (Lev. 21:13-14). Along these same lines, why did Jehovah force the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute and to have three children with her? Through it Jehovah denounced the corruption of Israel and Judah, but did not have pity on the prophet Hosea and his three children. The command of Jehovah to the prophet is an indecency, and the apostle Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, declared: “(Love) does not act unbecomingly” (1 Cor. 13:5). There are many Christians worshipping Jehovah today who say, based on Hosea: I am as I am because God made me so. If Hosea could be a prophet, I can be a pastor. With this, the doctrine of the new birth is discarded (John 3:3-6). But Jehovah was so demanding in the area of morals! The woman divorced by her husband was forbidden to return to him when she was defiled by another man (Deut. 24:1-4). If the daughter of a priest played the harlot, she was burned alive (Lev. 21:9). A disobedient and stubborn son was stoned to death by the command of his own father (Deut. 21:18-21). The command of Jehovah was: “You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am Jehovah your God” (Lev. 20:7). Next, he says: “The adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 20:10). If a man lay with another man, both would be put to death (Lev. 20:13). If man or woman approached an animal to mate with it, they were stoned, and also was the animal (Lev. 20:15-16). And the text ends with the words: “Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I Jehovah am holy” (Lev. 20:26). Many doctors and theologians oppose me saying: “Do you not take into account the historical and cultural context of the time? God had to be stricter, then.” And I answer: Jehovah demanded from them holiness and a moral behavior that was impossible in those days in which they lived. What demoralizes these doctors and theologians is that those things that Jehovah forbade them, under death penalty, within our developed historical and cultural context are freely practiced. Pornographic commerce is free in the whole world in every instrument of communication, and Jehovah does not command the stoning of the Christian who adopts these practices.
Jehovah was so contrary to the immorality and corruption of customs, that a certain day, when Balaam, the crazy prophet, counseled the Israelites to get corrupted with the Moabites, a people that Jehovah hated, and to sacrifice to Baal of Peor (Lord of Peor) with the Moabites, Jehovah sent, in his wrath, a plague that killed 24,000 (Num. 25:9). He commanded Moses to take all the heads of the people and hung them in sacrifice to Jehovah (Num. 25:4). The wrath of the killer god stopped only when Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the son of the priest Aaron, took a spear and pierced both of them through, the Israelite and the Moabite woman, through the belly. Then the wrath of Jehovah ended (Num. 25:7-8; 31:16).
Since Jehovah is so holy and has such pure eyes that he cannot see evil (Heb. 1:13), why did he allow indecent narratives of such low moral level in the Old Testament? Lot, Abraham’s nephew, left his uncle and went to live in Sodom. His daughters were perverted, and when two angels delivered the family, at the destruction of the Sodomites, they went to live in a small village named Zoar, in a cavern. The older one gave wine to Lot, her father, and lay with him, and conceived. On the following day she said to her younger sister: Let us give wine to our father, and you will lie with him. And they did so. They both had their children. They were children of incest, practiced with their own father. Why did Jehovah, who cannot look at evil, allow a narrative offensive to good costumes? The narrative teaches how to accomplish an abominable act. In the book of Proverbs we have a detailed narrative, which incites a woman to betray her husband when he is travelling. She goes seeking another man, and says to him, “I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s take our fill of loving until the morning. Let’s solace ourselves with loving. For my husband isn’t at home. He has gone on a long journey” (Prov. 7:17-19). The description is insinuative and suggestive. Why did Jehovah, so opposed to such acts, allow such narratives that rouse carnal pleasures? In the book of Song of Songs, Solomon describes what he desires in his beloved woman, the Shulammite: “How beautiful are your feet in sandals, prince’s daughter! Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a skillful workman. Your body is like a round goblet, no mixed wine is wanting. Your waist is like a heap of wheat, set about with lilies. Your two breasts are like two fawns, that are twins of a roe” (Cant. 7:1-3).
The text has plenty of poesy and sensuality. If Jehovah is so pure of eyes, why did he place in the Old Testament narratives that feed impure eyes?
Israel degenerated greatly and Jehovah declares that this corruption comes from far, from their birth. He said to Ezekiel, the prophet: “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother: and they played the harlot in Egypt; they played the harlot in their youth; there were their breasts pressed, and there was handled the bosom of their virginity. And the names of them were Oholah the elder, and Oholibah her sister: and they became mine, and they bare sons and daughters. And as for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem Oholibah” (Ezek. 23:2-4). Jehovah spoke to Ezequiel 1,100 years later, that is, Israel degenerated in Egypt and the kingdom ended 100 years later because of the corruption of Egypt. But Jehovah was the one responsible for their move to Egypt. Jehovah describes to Ezekiel the debauchery of his people, and also declares that he delivered them to the same debauchery (Ezek. 23:19-20). But Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, said: “Love does not act unbecomingly” (1 Cor. 13:5).
The story of David was scabrous, for he committed adultery, and commanded the death of the husband in order to be able to adopt the child of prostitution. Jehovah severely rebuked David, condemning his terribly sinful act. Then Jehovah says something that makes the most ignorant Christian shudder. What you have done, David, is too base and vile for my pure eyes and my divine holiness to bear, for this reason I will do worse than you did. I am going to take your women before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, who will lie with them in broad daylight (2 Sam. 12:11-12). How could Jehovah do the very thing he forbids? To whom did Jehovah give David’s women? To his son Absalom (2 Sam. 16:22)! But charity, that is, love, does not act unbecomingly; and God is love. How is this? The answer is that the love revealed by Jesus Christ, the love that comes from the Father, the love that is characteristic of the Holy Spirit was not known to Jehovah, the destroyer of souls (2 Kings 1:9-12; Luke 9:51-56). Jehovah knew only wrath, fury, and vengeance. We know the love of God thanks to Jesus, for we love and pray for those who persecute us.
By PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA