Friday, March 14, 2014

Is the Bible a Lascivious Book?

I found this posted on Facebook today. It will probably spread, causing laughter for those who do not understand and upset those folks that should understand.  As with movie posters, it is designed to entice and shock.

The debacle regards the twentieth verse of the twenty-third chapter of Ezekiel and speaks of sexual immorality.

This was originally put on Facebook by a fictional character known as Mrs. Betty Bowers, Americas Best Christian. She is a denizen of the fictional community of Freehold, Iowa and a member of a fictional liberal church known as Landover Baptist Church. This web creation is a satire by Chris Harper, flimsily based on Jerry Falwell’s Church. Harper was a student at Liberty University, which was founded by Falwell.  He was kicked out of school for doing a satirical radio show that the school found to be offensive.

Though the author who posted this on Facebook is indeed quoting the chapter and verse correctly, please keep the following in mind when reading it.

Much of the news reported in the media usually has another side that we are not told. Quotes are twisted and edited to have a much different meaning.  This particular chapter of the Bible is victim to being taken out of context, mostly because the preceding an ante ceding chapters are not considered. A reader may want to read the entire chapter 20 of Ezekiel for a better understanding.

Ezekiel ben-buzi was a Hebrew prophet and priest. He is also recognized by Christians, Jews and followers of Islam as a prophet. Ezekiel lived in exile in Babylon. His book in the Bible contains his prophecies, the most famous being about vision of the flaming wheel. (Which proves the existence of flying saucers based on Discovery Network shows.) The book of Ezekiel is concerned with the exile of the Jews (Judah) to Babylon, which is expressed as a purification and he predicts the Jews returning to a purified Jerusalem.

Biblical prophets were special, appointed and anointed people that listened to and heard God’s instructions, many times in differing ways, then spoke God's Word to the leadership, be it religious or political, and spoke it to the people. Many times these were spoken as allusions that may have meant something to the contemporary listeners, and may also have a different meaning for those in the future. The Bible/Torah/Tanakh and the Koran were first handed down over the ages in oral tradition before being put into writing. The Priests and Rabbis of days gone-by kept the words in the oral tradition for a purpose. 

The twentieth chapter of Ezekiel deals with the rebelliousness of the Jewish people and God's cry and warning against them.

The chapter of Ezekiel describes the sin of idol worship of Samaria and Israel and compares these people to two sisters that became prostitutes going back to Israels days in Egypt. The text addresses the despicable practices some people picked up from other cultures. Assimilation is bound to occur, but these are people who should not believe in God because they are told to; They have seen the Cloud and the Pillar of Fire. They have witnessed the stone tablets with God's commandments etched on them.

The prophet, speaking God's Words blasts these nations as whores who would lay with anyone (any nation) and pick up the wicked customs of those nations as one would a sexually transmitted disease.

Any reading of the Old Testament will emphasize Idol worship is particularly egregious to God. Ezekiel did not mince words in his description of the behavior of both nations, which he describes as whores who have lain with other lovers (nations), specifically Assyria, the Chaldeans and Babylon, and turned away from God. Specifically worship of Moloch and Rephan are mentioned. The emphasis on male genitals may have to do with asherah poles. Although the passage seems lascivious, it was written that way for emphasis.  

Verse 32 states, “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, you must bearthe consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.”

The Lord goes on to say to Ezekiel: The Lord said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them. They have also done this to me: At that same time they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my Sabbaths. On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house.

 “They even sent messengers for men who came from far away, and when they arrived you bathed yourself for them, applied eye makeup and put on your jewelry. You sat on an elegant couch, with a table spread before it on which you had placed the incense and olive oil that belonged to me.

 “The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; drunkards were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the wrists of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads. Then I said about the one worn out by adultery, ‘Now let them use her as a prostitute, for that is all she is.’ And they slept with her. As men sleep with a prostitute, so they slept with those lewd women, Oholah and Oholibah.  But righteous judges will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are adulterous and blood is on their hands.

The text in the poster is but a small portion of what it said in this portion of Ezekiel. As you can see it is there for a reason.

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