“Thou shalt have no other gods before me”
Christians, Muslims and Jews believe in common that there is one true God. While they all differ in general beliefs, they are all agreed that this one true God is presented in the Old Testament Torah of the Bible. The New Testament continues the same concept of the one true God and speaks even more specifically about who this one true God is. The New Testament equally testifies to the divinity of Christ. How then should we understand the biblical teaching that there is one true God? Is the one true God three persons, two persons or one person? And does it matter? It matters in that a concept of God that is inconsistent with the scriptures is a creation of man – an idol. Would this not be a violation of the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3)? Let us see what the Bible says about the one true God. Judge for yourself.
About the one true God, the Bible says the following, starting with the words of Jesus himself:
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:1-3.
Jesus identified His Father as “the only true God” and himself as the “Son” of that only true God. The question has been answered. If Jesus cannot settle it, then who else can? Is that the only place in scripture that this is said? No! The same thought is expressed elsewhere. In another instance, almost as if anticipating a question as to whether there is someone else to whom the title ‘only true God’ could also apply, the Apostle Paul says:
“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge” – 1 Cor. 8:4-6.
The Apostle Paul says that “there is none other God but one”, that “there is but one God, the Father” but “there is not in every man that knowledge”. One would hope that Christians are not among those that the Apostle Paul says do not have that knowledge. The Bible is clear when it says that there is “One God and Father of all, who is above all” (Eph. 4:6). He is clearly the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” – 2 Cor. 11:31. There is only one Person who is above Christ and that is His Father. The Father of Christ “appointed” Him “heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2), “anointed” Him (Heb.1:9), “sent” Him “into the world” (John 10:36), “raised him from the dead” (Gal. 1:1) and has “highly exalted him” (Phil. 2:9).
No true revelation will contradict what either Jesus or Paul said.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus himself declares that He is the “only begotten Son” of God (John 3:16). God Himself also spoke from heaven more than once and said that Jesus Christ is His Son (Matt. 3:17; Mark 9:7). The Bible says that Jesus “hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name” than the angels (Heb. 1:4). Jesus is so much better than the angels that God commanded angels to worship Jesus, His Son (Heb. 1:4-6). The Father addresses Jesus as God while indicating at the same time that He is the God of Jesus and the One who “anointed” Him – “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (Heb. 1:8, 9). This confirms Jesus’ full divinity while showing that even as God (being divine but not the one true God), Jesus is subject to His Father.
Jesus Christ is the Mediator between us and God and there is no other way to God but through Jesus Christ. The Bible says: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” – 1 Tim. 2:5. And Jesus said: “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” – John 14:6. There ought to be no confusion as to who the one true God is and who Jesus is.
Eternity has no break
Of God, the Bible further says that He is:
“the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto” – 1 Tim. 6:15, 16.
According to that scripture, the Father is the only one who “hath immortality”. All who have or will receive eternal life, would have received it from Him. This means that even the life of Jesus was obtained from His Father. Jesus himself said this as follows:
“For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” – John 5:26.
Jesus died and was raised from the dead by His Father (Gal.1:1). The fact that Jesus died means that He has not always existed and is therefore not eternal since eternity has no break.
God has no equal
God declares of Himself: “I am God, and there is none like me” – Isa. 46:9. The Bible reveals God as a majestic being who has no equal in heaven or in earth. Jesus came to earth to reveal Him to us so that we can be reconciled to Him. Various prophets have gotten a glimpse of Him (His form, not His face – Ex. 33:20-23) and described the majesty of His being. Among those are Ezekiel (Eze. 1 and Eze. 10); Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy elders of Israel (Ex. 24:9, 10); Daniel (Dan. 7:9-14); and John (Rev. 4 and Rev. 5). This is the God who says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – Ex. 20:3. Therefore we ought not to have a concept of God that places anyone else on equal footing with Him. That would be idolatry. He is the Creator of whom the Bible says there is none else:
“For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.” – Isa. 45:18. (See also Isa. 46:5, 9)
The Creator sits on the throne
In heaven, God sits on the throne and is worshipped as the Creator of all things –
“a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Rev. 4:2);
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:10, 11).
Jesus is identified separately as the Lamb who died:
“And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:7-9).
True God or false Christ?
It is interesting that Jesus told us who the “only true God” is (John 17:1-3), yet people are saying something else, that God is a Trinity or that God is “Jesus only”. Paul told us that even “though there be that are called gods” whether in heaven or in earth, but to us there is but one God (1 Cor. 8:5, 6) and he tells us who He is, yet people prefer to go by their own speculation, saying that God is three-in-one or that the Most High is Jesus Christ himself rather than the Father of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that Jesus died, yet people insist that Jesus is co-eternal with the Father as if Jesus never ceased to live at one point.
Are people worshipping a false Christ that they consider to be “like the Most High” as Lucifer sought to be (Isa. 14:14) as opposed to worshipping the Christ who is the Son of God? Will the true Christ accept from them a designation that belongs only to God, His Father, or will He tell them in that final day that He never knew them, as the Bible says that He will tell many who would have been saying “Lord, Lord” (Matt. 7:22, 23)?
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).
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