28 June 2022
So, the next item is (2) no blasphemy against Jehovah. Keep in mind that the formulation we have been handed is for subject nations that did not convert en masse under the Covenant of Moses. It was understood that these nations were recognizing themselves as vassals of Israel. It was common in the Ancient Near East that anyone taking up the role of vassal was obliged to worship the sovereign's chief deity. It was simply part of the game. This is why Abraham refused to become a vassal landholder under the Hittites, but insisted on full ownership of the grave site he wanted. He could not compromise on worshiping his own God. This also explains Naaman's odd request after his healing that he be forgiven for having to enter his lord's temple and perform rituals. He already knew something about the Code of Noah.
The biggest issue is that those coming from a pagan background might not understand the issue of blasphemy. The best explanation is that blasphemy is equating man and God, either by pulling God down to a human level, or by elevating man to His level. You can't even do it as a figure of speech. Jokes that suggest God has limits, or that someone is like God in any way, are forbidden -- "even God can't..." or "...has more money than God". Furthermore, there is the matter that no other deity was on Jehovah's level.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of the human race back before Christ could not comprehend the notion that there is only one God. It just completely flew over their heads. Even Israel suffered from this false assumption. Moses said God was the only deity, but it never registered with the nation during the Exodus, or for a very long time after the Conquest. It was just too foreign of a concept. So, instead of monotheism, a lot of the Old Testament speaks in terms of henotheism -- there might be other gods, but you are accountable to this One.
Thus, this line about blasphemy was included to instill reverence for the name of Jehovah. And not just His proper name, but any of His titles are protected in speech and writing. It's not that our Lord is so touchy, but that our fallen nature can get stupid and we defile ourselves. This reverence was really not so different from what a lot of human rulers required of their own people, so it's all the more applicable to a divine ruler. Never compare your Lord with someone else; contrast is the proper grammar.
You can be sure the Devil takes this stuff seriously. He is bound by this code, as well. His options are highly restricted when someone obeys these laws.
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