Marriage is the strongest love there is. All other loves do not cause two beings to merge and become one. The love between man and woman is so strong, so powerful, that the woman ceases to be an individual to become the body of the one she loves. “Even so it is right for husbands to have love for their wives as for their bodies. He who has love for his wife has love for himself” (Eph. 5:28). And Jesus declares: “For this cause will a man go away from his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and the two will become one flesh?” (Matt. 19:5). Jesus is explaining that the love of a husband is so strong that he leaves his father and mother for the woman he loves. If this incredible love comes to an end, this man loathes his wife, despises her, mistreats her, and gives her a letter of divorce, and marries another woman.
Let us consider the love of Jehovah for Israel, whom he calls the apple of his eyes: “For the Lord’s wealth is his people; Jacob is the land of his heritage. He came to him in the waste land, in the unpeopled waste of sand: putting his arms round him and caring for him, He kept him as the light of his eye” (Deut. 32:9-10). “For this is what the Lord of armies has said: In the way of glory he has sent me to the nations which have taken your goods: for anyone touching you is touching what is most dear to him” (Zach. 2:8). Zachariah was the next-to-last prophet, and was probably born in the Babylonian captivity. This means that Israel was the apple of the eyes of Jehovah until the end of the kingdom of Judah, so great was the love of Jehovah for his people Israel. Jehovah declares this to Judah: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you” (Jer. 31:3). Israel was, really, the wife of Jehovah—the beloved wife. The prophet Ezekiel describes the events of this marriage, saying on the part of Jehovah, “Now when I passed by you, and looked at you, behold, your time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yes, I swore to you, and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord Jehovah, and you became mine” (Ezek. 16:8). “Thus you were decked with gold and silver; and your clothing was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered work; you ate fine flour, and honey, and oil; and you were exceeding beautiful, and you prospered to royal estate” (Ezek. 16:13). And this charming wedding, this divine marriage union happened on Mount Sinai, soon after Moses delivered Israel from the Egyptian yoke. “Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Jehovah” (Jer. 31:31-32). The husband was a god; the wife was human and carnal. The deal could not be between equals if love did not play a great role in this relationship. Love bears all things, endures all things, hopes all things, and believes all things (1 Cor. 13:7). And Jehovah promised eternal love. We have to believe in what a God says. Let us examine details of this loving conference, in which the wife was chosen and sought out by Jehovah god, who said:
1. “If you in spite of this won’t listen to me, but walk contrary to me; then I will walk contrary to you in wrath; and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins. You will eat the flesh of your sons, and you will eat the flesh of your daughters” (Lev. 26:27-29). Is this how you treat a beloved wife? To walk contrary? The husband must captivate the wife with love and kindness, and not frighten her with fury. A wife could not love such a husband. The worse part is to force the woman to eat her own children. But the children belong to their own father, that is, to Jehovah. The father who forces the wife to eat her children is cannibalistic and destroys the wife. Jeremiah reveals that pious women were forced to this wild act. “The hands of the pitiful women have boiled their own children; They were their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people” (Lam. 4:10). Jehovah declares that the Israelites are his children: “For you are a holy people to Jehovah your God” (Deut. 14:1). How come he forced his wife to eat her children? And Jehovah confesses that he was responsible for polluting his wife in her gifts: “And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through [the fire] all that opens the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am Jehovah” (Ezek. 20:26). What husband is this that pollutes and devastates his wife, causing her to pass her firstborn through the fire? And blind Christians sing hallelujah to such a god? Hallelujah means, Praise be to Jehovah. When they sing and praise, they approve these acts of cannibalism and these devastations imposed on the beloved wife. There is not a single woman who can stand this torture.
2. Jehovah married Israel (Jer. 31:32), and commanded a law saying: “But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of Jehovah your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day, that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you” (Deut. 28:15). Curses do not consolidate marriages, but, on the contrary, destroy them, because they put a strain on relationships and feelings. Among us, humans, when we know that a father has cast a curse against his child, we execrate this father for this hideous crime. A father who curses a child or the mother of his children is not human. Well, Jehovah curses and forces humans to go through the worse humiliations. The people complain, saying: “Our skin is black like an oven, Because of the burning heat of famine. They ravished the women in Zion, The virgins in the cities of Judah. Princes were hanged up by their hand: The faces of elders were not honored. The young men bare the mill; The children stumbled under the wood” (Lam. 5:10-13).
3. The mistreated wife, hurt, fearful, runs away from the husband in the attempt to hide from him. The husband, the almighty El Shaddai, bawls from his throne: “Can any hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him? says Jehovah. Don’t I fill heaven and earth? says Jehovah” (Jer. 23:24). And Jehovah continues to threaten: “Though you mount on high as the eagle, and though your nest is set among the stars, I will bring you down from there,” says Jehovah” (Ob. 4). “Though they dig into Sheol, there my hand will take them; and though they climb up to heaven, there I will bring them down. Though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out there; and though they be hidden from my sight in the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it will bite them” (Amos 9:2-3). Poor virgin of Israel, whose husband’s love ended in eternal hatred. With his divine powers he persecutes her in heaven and on earth and in the bottom of the sea to torment her with the poison of a serpent (Deut. 32:22-25). Enough with this morbid love, and let us talk about the love of Jesus for the lost and condemned of Jehovah, which, with their pestilences, plagues, curses, wars, slaughters, captivities, and malignant spirits turned this world into a pit. These infernal evils are the abyss with which Jehovah covered the earth (Ps. 104:6). In the Revelations of John we read that Abaddon, that means moral ruin, is the king of this dark abyss infested with germs, microbes, viruses, bacteria, all of them placed here by Jehovah to destroy the lives of men.
Jesus, for the love of the condemned of Jehovah, came down to this abyss to save whoever believed in his love (Rom. 10:6-9). And the love of Jesus is proven because he does not condemn anyone and atoned for the sins of all. Therefore Paul says: “But God [the Father] commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira