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“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).

For further information, please visit http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel

 

The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts

In the Bible, the term Holy Spirit may refer to the gifts of the Spirit or it may refer to the representative of Christ who dispenses the spiritual gifts.  Christ said that He was going away, and He would send the Comforter, who He calls the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7).

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26).

Quite separate from the representative that Jesus would send in His place, the term Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) is also used to refer to something that Jesus is said to have inside of Him and that He can give us so that we can have it in us in measure.

“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34).

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1).

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).

Holy Spirit Poured Out

As gifts, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers at Pentecost, in fulfilment of a promise that God made through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28, 29). Peter referred to this promise and its fulfilment in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost:

 

“But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17, 18);

 

Jesus says that we should ask the Father for the Holy Spirit:

 

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

 

Early Rain and Latter Rain

 

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was like the early rain that gave a kick start to the newly germinated seeds. When the plants are mature, latter rain showers are needed to ripen the crop and prepare them for the harvest.  Based on Joel’s prophecy there would be an Early Rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit and in the last days, a Latter Rain outpouring.

 

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” (Joel 2:23).

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” (Joel 2:28-31).

The Latter Rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit is described as the work of a Mighty Angel who descends from heaven and causes the earth to be lightened with his glory.

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev. 18:1, 2).

The Latter Rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit is given in the last days at a time when Babylon is taken over by demons and evil spirits.  This final outpouring of the Holy Spirit will empower God’s true and faithful believers to overcome the Devil as Moses was able to overcome the magicians of Egypt.

 

Representative of Christ Dispenses Gifts

 

It is important that we do not confuse the spiritual gifts that we receive in us with the representative of Christ who dispenses the gifts.  Whereas the Comforter dispensed the gifts at Pentecost as the Early Rain, the Mighty Angel of Revelation 18 will dispense the gifts in even greater measure as the Latter Rain.

 

The Comforter is not a third God-being like the Father and the Son.  Like the Mighty Angel of Revelation 18, the Comforter was sent on a mission to dispense spiritual gifts and to comfort the disciples.  He would not speak of himself but would speak only what he hears.

 

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13).

 

If the Comforter who brought the Early Rain was a third God-being, then we have a situation where the Mighty Angel would be dispensing spiritual gifts more extensively in the Latter Rain than the third God-being was allowed to do in the Early Rain.  Would that be signalling that the Mighty Angel is more powerful than this third member of the Godhead, or that he is a fourth member? Or rather, is it suggesting that the Comforter, like the Mighty Angel, is not a Divine Being to be worshipped, but rather, a messenger (angel) carrying out a similar mission?  The latter suggestion is more consistent with scripture.

 

The Adventist Pioneers in their Statement of Fundamental Principles published in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook 1889 and onward until about 1930 described the Holy Spirit as Christ’s Representative.  This is consistent with scripture.

Conclusion

 

The Holy Spirit is not a third God-being to be worshipped; neither is the Holy Spirit a being that takes up residence inside of us.  The Spirit of Christ that dwells in us in measure are the spiritual gifts of Divine light, love and power, by which we reflect the character of Christ and are empowered to be His witnesses.

 

In conclusion, the term Holy Spirit may refer to the spiritual gifts that we receive and that remain in us or it may refer to Christ’s representative (or messenger – angel) who dispenses the gifts to us.

 

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).

 

For further information, please visit http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/

 

Questions and comments may be sent by e-mail to: commandmentsofgodandfaithofjesus@yahoo.com

 

Follow on Twitter @JaZerubbabel