"I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume. Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them." Eze. 35:12, 13
In the above passage of Ezekiel's prophecy the word 'blasphemies' in the original text is, neahtzoth, (neh-aw-tsaw') reproaches, contumelies [insulting language], &c. or, in the words of the prophet, 'great things spoken with the mouth against' an object.
In the Greek, neahtzoth is expressed by the noun blasphemiai, which the English or anglo-Saxon reader will readily perceive is the anglicized word blasphemies in its Greek dress. It is derived from the verb, blasphemeo, which is itself derived from the phrase, blaptein ten phemen, to injure the reputation or fame of any object; which, if undeservedly done, is to calumniate, rail against, revile, reproach it, &c.
In scripture the objects of blasphemy are various, such as 'God, His name, his tabernacle, them that dwell in the heaven,' the Jews, the mountains of Israel, the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of God, the word of God, the sanctified of the Father, the king of Israel, &c.
The following passages will sufficiently establish this. In Rev. 13:5-6, it is said, that a mouth was given to the Gentile Beast or System of Powers, 'speaking great things and blasphemies. And he opened his mouth (papal) in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and those dwelling in the heaven;' that is, to the injury of the reputation of all these in the estimation of society.
'The Jews' are blasphemed by pretenders to that honorable community who cannot establish the claim to citizenship in the commonwealth of Israel. Thus in Rev. 2:9, the king of the Jews says, 'I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan;' and in chapter 3:9, he styles them liars.
The text at the head of this article shows that the mountains of Israel may be blasphemed, and that in blaspheming them, Jehovah is himself blasphemed.
Mark testifies to the Holy Spirit being an object of blasphemy in his day, in chapter 3:29-30; and Paul exhorts or commands that Christians, who are servants and wives, be respectful and obedient to their masters and husbands, that the name, doctrine and word of God be not blasphemed. -- 1 Tim. 6:1; Titus 2:5.
To blaspheme is, therefore, in a scriptural sense, to bring divine things into disrepute; so that whatever words or doings tend to, or really do accomplish this, are blasphemies.
The punishment of blasphemy, by divine law, is death. 'He that blasphemeth the name of Jehovah shall surely be put to death, as well the stranger as he that is born in the land.'-- Lev. 24:16.
For men to say they are Jews, while yet they are not, is blasphemy, because it is a lie, whether they intend to lie or not. The intention does not alter the fact. Lying is the hypostasis or substance of blasphemy; for no good thing can be injured by the truth. When Gentiles, who are neither Jews outwardly nor inwardly, pretend to be Jews, they calumniate that society of which the King of Jews is the chief; and in so doing they calumniate or blaspheme him: the change of object from the less to the greater only enhances its iniquity. Verbal and practical lying are both mortal sins; but their iniquity is aggravated when the lie is against God, his name, and his doctrine or word. Practical lying is profession contradicted by practice. Thus, 'If we say we have fellowship with God and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.' 'If a man say I love God, and hateth his brother he is a liar.' 1 Jno. 1:6; 4:20; and 'If ye love me, keep my commandments;' for 'ye are my friend if ye do whatsoever I command you.' Thus, the truth of men's professions is made to turn upon the conformity of their actions to the words of God. When those actions are a denial of his doctrine or word they make God a liar, so far as their influence extends. If their words and actions agree, and both give the lie to God or his word, which is the same thing, though less hypocritical, they are not less impious; and the impiety is itself blasphemy.
No greater offence can be committed against God than not to believe what he has promised. The reason of this is because he 'HAS MAGNIFIED HIS WORD ABOVE ALL HIS NAME;" and not to believe that word is to treat him as a liar, which is blasphemy; and "he that blasphemeth the name of Yahweh shall surely be put to death,' whether Gentile or Jew: this is the reason why it is decreed that 'he who believeth not (the gospel) shall be condemned.' When we do not believe we walk in darkness; and walking in darkness, or unbelief, we do not the truth; for in relation to the truth no man can walk in the light of what he does not see, or do that in which he does not believe.
There is another form of lying or blasphemy against God which is brought out in the text from Ezekiel. It is this: If men in their ignorance or impiety affirm a thing, which in its logical or practical bearing contravene the promises of Yahweh, they blaspheme, or speak evil of the subjects of those promises; and in so doing speak great words against, or blasphemies against the promiser.
If the reader peruse Ezek. 35, in the light of God's covenanted promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and their seed, he cannot, we think, fail readily to perceive the truth of our statement. In that writing, Mount Seir, the seat of Edom's dominion, is addressed as a Power, having perpetual hatred against the descendants of Jacob; rejoicing in their calamities, and in actual occupation of their country, commonly styled THE HOLY LAND. While thus possessed of Palestine as the fruit of conquest, Seir is represented as saying of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, 'These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it thought Yahweh were there.' Upon this the prophet forewarned them that Idumea shall be recompensed according to its hatred of Israel, who shall be delivered after Idumea is destroyed; 'I will make myself known among Israel when I have judged thee, O mount Seir, saith Yahweh; and thou shalt know that I am Yahweh and that I have heard all thy blasphemies Which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume; thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me; I have heard them.'
The reader will observe that Yahweh regards blasphemies, or false statements, concerning the destiny of the mountains of Israel, as great words or boastings against himself: the Idumean Seir declares that those mountains, even though Yahweh were there, would never belong to Israel, but to Edom; for it says, 'they are mine, and we will possess it though the I SHALL BE WERE THERE.' But why is this declaration a blasphemy against the Holy Land? and why, if a blasphemy against that land, is it a boast and multiplication of words against Yahweh? Because it states falsely the destiny of Palestine. At present the two nations of Israel and Judah, and their special divisions of the Holy Land, are in the hands of Esau, Edom, or Idumea, synonyms of the power that in the latter days inherits the hatred of Isaac's eldest son against Jacob; 'for,' says Adonai Yahweh, (the Old Testament title rendered 'Lord Jesus' in the New,) 'when the whole earth rejoices I will make thee desolate. As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the House of Israel because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee; thou shalt be desolate, O Mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it.'
Idumea, then, represents a power to be made desolate when the whole earth rejoices with God's people, Israel, as Moses has predicted. Idumea now triumphs over Israel and their land, and blasphemes them both; the Idumean's decree that Judah and Israel's two territories shall for ever constitute integral parts of the Ottoman Empire; and , consequently, that the two nations or twelve tribes of Jacob, shall never constitute one independent kingdom and nation in the land: this is pronouncing a sore evil against Israel and their native mountains; but being a lie against their destiny it is a blasphemy against them all.
But why are these blasphemies against the Jews and their inheritance, boastings or calumnies against Yahweh? Because, if it should so happen, the Idumea, in this controversy concerning Zion, were to establish its power in the Holy Land, to the final exclusion and suppression of the kingdom and throne of David there, it would make the promises of Yahweh, which he has sworn by his own life and holiness to fulfil, of none effect. It is impossible that such a result should come to pass; but to attempt to establish it, or to declare such a result, or to believe the declaration, is equivalent to denying and rejecting the contrary, and in effect declaring that Yahweh is a deceiver and a liar.