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‘The Unknown God’

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‘The Unknown God’

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You could not read an article more important than this! It will forever change your perception of what you have been taught about who and what is God.

Virtually every student of the Bible is familiar with the Ten Commandments. The famous movie of the same name is rerun every spring in connection with the celebration of the ancient supposed Christian tradition of Easter. Many millions have come to know the Hollywood version of the Bible account of the receiving of the Ten Commandments.

In the 2000s, when the United States was embroiled in a legal battle over whether the Constitution allows for the Ten Commandments to be displayed publicly in courts and government buildings, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia put it best when he said, “I think 90 percent of Americans believe in the Ten Commandments, but 85 percent probably couldn’t tell you what they are.” And how many could even paraphrase half of them is another question.

Therefore, largely lost in this astounding account in the book of Exodus is the all-important first commandment, establishing Who it was that gave these laws to ancient Israel in the wilderness. This commandment—the identity of the true God—lies at the heart of all religion!

Moses recorded God’s words: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3).

Surely, if the Bible is the inspired instruction book of an all-wise and all-powerful Creator God, who was also the only true God in the universe, His first commandment could not have been otherwise. Under no circumstances would that God want other gods worshipped in His place. In fact, in the very next commandment, the Author of these laws describes Himself as “a jealous God.”

Notice this second, longer command: “You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God” (vs. 4-5). This commandment is a very broad, sweeping, explicit prohibition intended to cover every form of false worship involving every other kind of supposed “god,” and representation of such, that human beings with creative reasoning could devise. Like any parent whose children chose to come home to a different house and to different parents after school, the Parent who made all human beings—His children—would certainly be jealous if they went off after idols and false gods.

Even the third commandment is tied directly to the first two. It describes the careful reverence with which the God of the Bible wants His name to be used at all times. Here is that command: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain” (Ex. 20:7). The meaning of this commandment is that when people even reference the true God, they should be very careful how they do this (Psa. 111:9). They should think about the purpose—the reason—for which they mention His most holy name.

The fourth and final commandment that we will examine here is also tied directly to the identity of the God of the Bible. Let’s first read this considerably longer command before examining it more closely: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Ex. 20:8-11).

Although the world has generally discarded observance of the seventh-day Sabbath in place of Sunday, the first day of the week, this is nevertheless an extraordinary command, given for a vital purpose. This command also creates a special problem for the evolutionist—even the one who professes to believe in God, and more specifically, in the God of the Bible.

Here is how: God expects all of His servants to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. Why? So that they would never forget which God it was Who “in six days” created “heaven and earth,” and who sealed this by resting on “the seventh day.” In this way, the God who authored the Bible directly ties all of the Ten Commandments to the Creation account, which, in turn, leaves no room for His servants to drift into following and worshipping other gods. While one may not otherwise be correctly worshipping God, at least by observing the Sabbath every seven days, the adherent is forced to be cognizant of the sole God of Creation.

The God of the Bible leaves no room for doubt in the first four commandments. He expects to be worshipped as He is, including on the day that He, not man, has selected for this worship. He allows no room for confusion and does not want human opinion added—He accepts no substitution of the true for the false.

The evolutionist has a big problem trying to explain belief in a God who created all life on Earth in six days. Having rejected the Creation account of this God, it becomes much easier to go on to the next step—the very rejection of that God, and possibly the idea that there even is a God! Of course, faithful Sabbath observance would eliminate this problem.

God Most Plain

These commandments are not difficult to understand. The God of the Bible speaks plainly—He says what He means and means what He says! (Note that God repeats in Deuteronomy 5 the same Ten Commandments verbatim for emphasis.)

We might pause at this point and ask: Do these four commands, when understood collectively, sound like the laws of a God who takes lightly those who worship any other but Himself? Do they seem like mere wishful instruction on the part of this God—things that He only hopes His followers will remember to do? Do they sound like the words of a God who is willing to let people worship idols, false gods or even any other wrong form of supposedly who and what He is, as long as the proponent proclaims such to be the true God?

A relationship with the God of the Bible begins with a recognition, understanding and acceptance of the first four commandments. All other approaches will preclude contact with Him.

To Be a Model Nation

God first revealed Himself to an entire people when He called the nation of Israel and led them out of the land of Egypt. God intended that ancient Israel be a model nation that all other nations would copy. This was always His purpose. He expected His people to set an example for these surrounding nations of how happiness, peace, abundance, blessings and protection from enemies would result from obedience to Him.

Sadly, despite an early willingness and determination to obey God, starting when the commandments were first given at Sinai, Israel repeatedly found herself copying the nations around her and worshipping their gods, thus achieving the very opposite of God’s purpose! (Recall how quickly Israel fell into worship of the “golden calf” after the Ten Commandments were given—before Moses could even get down from the mountain.) This worship of false gods has had repercussions lasting thousands of years.

The long, broken history of Israel is that she turned from the true God and fell into the seductive trap of idolatry and the worship of foreign gods, doing this over and over again. Each time this pattern repeated itself, God sent her back into captivity and slavery. After a time, she would cry out in bondage, offering repentance, and God would raise up a judge and deliver her. This cycle, described in the book of Judges and elsewhere, was never broken until ancient Israel and Judah finally went into captivity (for the next-to-last time), with 10 of the 12 tribes becoming lost to history. Only the Jews—the tribe of Judah mixed with one other tribe—have retained their national identity, and this is largely attributed to having continued to observe God’s Sabbath.

Jeremiah Summarizes

Here is how God, through the prophet Jeremiah, describes and laments the continual actions of His people—His “nation”: “Has a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be astonished, O you heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be you very desolate, says the Lord. For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (2:11-13).

The latter phrase in this passage accurately describes all the false gods devised by men and nations over the last 6,000 years. These man-made “gods”—made of wood, stone, metal and false thinkingare truly “broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Yet those nations (and religions) cleave to these fictional gods with a faithfulness Israel never showed to the true God. In fact, it has become both politically and culturally correct today to acknowledge and “respect” the myriad of different “gods” that are nothing more than inventions of men.

Jeremiah continues, describing Israel’s approach to gods she had copied and created: “Saying to a stock [of wood—a mere carved idol], You are my father; and to a stone, You have brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto Me, and not their face.” Speaking for God, Jeremiah then says of these gods, “but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. But where are your gods that you have made you? Let them arise, if they can save you in the time of your trouble: for according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah” (Jer. 2:27-28).

This is a classic description of what is seen throughout the world in all the modern nations that consider themselves to be based upon Judeo-Christian roots. Idols, carvings, religious statues and stained-glass windows abound on and in every church in every city, with no one thinking anything of it.

Worldwide Confusion—Gods and More Gods

The world is filled with gods of every sort. It is as though mankind has reserved the very best of its creative powers for the invention of every conceivable type of god and goddess—whether composed of physical matter or defined by ethereal concepts in the mind. The world’s billions worship literally millions of gods.

The apostle Paul expresses it best as he introduces the true God of the Bible: “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…” (I Cor. 8:5-7).

The Romans worshipped and built temples to an almost endless array of gods and goddesses. But it is said that the ancient Greeks worshipped as many as 30,000 gods. Not to be outdone, the Hindus of today reportedly have 5 million, including their own trinity consisting of Sheva, Brahma and Vishnu! Of course, the Egyptians, as did other civilizations, also had their own brand of a trinity—Osiris, Horus and Isis. Then there is Tao, Confucius, Buddha, Allah and a host of other gods, goddesses and idols, worshipped today, including totem poles, nature, snakes, animals and fish in the sea, volcanoes and mountains, fire, wind, rocks, sun, moon, planets, stars and even certain human beings who are considered to be divine. Again, then, there are all the different kinds of metaphysical concepts of gods adored and worshipped in the mind—some of which have been depicted by physical symbols and representations rendered by artists. This describes the trinity.

Yet, and most are probably not aware of this, vastly more people believe in the three-in-one god of modern Christianity than any other form of god.

The Unknown God

A longer and fascinating passage illustrates how superstitious mankind will worship almost anything, including worship of many gods at the same time to avoid possible offense to whatever god they may have overlooked. This account paints an astounding picture. Take careful note of the last sentence. The story from Acts involves Paul in Athens:

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing He gives to all life, and breath, and all things; and has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent” (17:22-30).

Notice Paul’s reference “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD” (also found in capital letters in the King James Bible). God had to reveal the identity of this God to the superstitious Greeks through Paul. They had devised a catch-all inscription designed to include any other god missed in their devotions. Paul took note of how they had “covered themselves” in their determination to leave no stone unturned in the worship of every possible deity. But they had not tried to “seek,” “feel after” and “find Him”—the true God.

King Solomon recorded that there is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9). Truly, the God of the Bible has been unknown to countless millions who have been content to worship a god selected for them by men. Theologians and religionists have sought the opinions of philosophers, scholars and supposed experts, instead of the only important opinion—that of God, found in His Word. Centuries ago, these religious leaders reported their findings to the masses, who were only too willing to swallow what was presented to them without proof.

The God Who Is Alive

Ultimately, we ask, what is the difference between the God of the Bible and all other gods? How does God Himself differentiate who and what He is from all others?

Throughout Scripture, God describes Himself over and over again as “the living God”—the “Eternal”—“I AM THAT I AM” (the name in Exodus 3:14 that Moses was instructed by God to use when representing Him to Pharaoh). In other words, the God of the Bible establishes who He is and separates Himself from all other gods by declaring Himself to be alive!—LIVING!—meaning all other gods are nonexistent or, in a sense, “dead.” In effect, put another way, the true God states, “I AM,” meaning other gods “are not”—period.

The reader must ask whether he or she is worshipping the one true God—the God who is alive—or something nonexistent, inert and “dead,” a god who is not! This question towers over everything else regarding the subject of the true God.

Some who have accepted evolution have not been willing to turn to outright atheism. But, influenced by evolutionary thinking, modern theologians and religionists have not honestly explored their god in light of the plain facts of history and Scripture. They have professed themselves to be Christians, meaning that they have wanted to appear to be followers of the God of Creation. Again, in the end, these have not been willing to face the facts about their “god.” They have not been willing to come to understanding of the true God—the living God!

Then, in succession, millions of professing Christians, unwilling to explore the facts for themselves, follow such men. They remain duped by dishonest, seductive arguments designed by the god of this world to lead them to worship of himself. This is because, in their vanity (Rom. 1:22), they have foolishly rejected vital knowledge. The result has been that so many have unnecessarily become “darkened”—blinded—to the plain understanding of the true God, believing Him to be triune in nature.

For God to require strict obedience to His first four commandments without explaining who and what He is would be tantamount to cruel and inhuman punishment. If God had given this instruction without carefully equipping His worshippers to be able to distinguish Him from all other gods, He would have been most unfair.

He has not!

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