Christianity, faith

The Commandments: No Other Gods

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” Exodus 20:3

This verse starts what are known as the 10 commandments of God. Given to Moses on Mt. Sinai after being brought out  of Egyptian captivity and going across the Red Sea. But what is the meaning of this verse? Many believe it says that only God Jehovah is the only god. But as you go down through history, there are three types of gods that can be seen in this quote.

The definition of a god is simply something a person worships. There are three classifications to this: spiritual gods, men who are seen as gods, and inanimate objects. All three will be discussed and to show why the GOD of the Abrahamic faiths is the one that is the one true God.

Spiritual Gods

Spiritual gods in this article are referring to the multitude of pantheon gods of bygone cultures and civilizations. I will not say that this entities had no abilities. The bible proves they did at some point. After all, the bible tells us in Exodus that the priests (magicians) of the the Pharaoh could perform certain things like Moses and Aaron. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (Exodus 7:8-13)

The actions of Aaron’s ‘serpent’ show that God Jehovah was superior. Later, when it was time for the Israelites to leave God used some of the Egyptian gods to plague the Egyptians and proved He alone was almighty. (http://www.stat.rice.edu/~dobelman/Dinotech/10_Eqyptian_gods_10_Plagues.pdf) Look through Exodus 7:1-12:36 and study the hyperlinked pdf.

Then we move to areas like Babylon. Where there gods were put to the test. So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it.And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.”And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made.And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down.Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,”and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs[a] of seed.And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.”And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time.And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word.Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.” (1 Kings 18:20-40)

As we move through the points of history, the gods and goddesses of every pantheon have fallen. From Medo-Persian and Roman of the ancient world to Celtic, Viking/German, African, and Meso-American. In the end, all of these pantheons fell to the Judeo-Christian God. And were left buried in antiquity until modern times. Now these pantheons are making a comeback. But like then, they will again fall.

Here’s where these false gods came from. They created nothing. They can’t save the soul of their believer. And they must bow down and forfeit to the one true God because they came from him. They are nothing more than the fallen that sided with Lucifer against the Creator himself. Because of lust of self and power, Lucifer and one third of the angels were cast from heaven. Where did they go? Here. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15). Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Men who place themselves as gods

Throughout man’s history, there are men who have placed themselves as god on earth. Pharaoh was believed to be the sun god Ra walking on earth. In more modern times, people like Jim Jones and David Koresh have led followers to their deaths with these claims. Most of these are demigods of man’s making. Take how people flocked and followed to Donald Trump over the last few years. They have been blinded by his words and emotional influence. Much like men throughout history: Julius Caesar, Adolph Hitler, and quite a few television evangelists/prosperity preachers (such as Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland). But one seems to be set above all others. The Pope of Roman Catholicism. Over his reign, the pope has commanded countries who bowed, armies who fought (inquisitions and crusades), and placed himself as god on earth.

The Catholic church believes they have the ability to forgive sin, According to the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” confession involves either “venial” (minor sins) which are confessed to God and “mortal” (major sins) which must be confessed through a priest. This means the priest (or above) acts as mediator between man and God. But we are told in Scripture that not understanding that Jesus was God in flesh (John 1:1-14) they made the statement Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21). The Catholic also tends to forget that there is only one mediator between man and God, and the priest is not it.For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

In Pope Leo XIII’s 1885 Encyclical ‘The Reunion of Christendom’ he states, “the pope holds upon this earth the place of Almighty God”. His title is, besides Pope and Bishop of Rome, is Vicarious Filii Dei ‘Vicar (replacement or agent) of God on Earth’. So, by the Church’s own admission, the seat of the papacy is the thrown of a man that is seen as a god. The power and influence of the papacy have grown majorly, especially since the Francis became Pope. We see the spiritual and political influence this man has throughout the world.

Inanimate objects

Everything else that can be worshiped falls within this category. Money, power, and position are the main points of this category. This are tangibles that man seeks for. Now, these things may be needed (try buying groceries without financial ability or having a business operate without a person in the lead). BUT when the desire for these become the main component of one’s life and ambition, that is when they become a god to that person. For these things when they reach that level of importance, mankind has killed, cheated, lied, warred, and stolen to get them. They have taken precedents over his soul and his compassion for his fellowman.

Conclusion

There is one reason that the first commandment is what it is. With all of these categories of false gods, we need reminded that there is only one God over all. He is the Creator of all things. He is the spoken word that became flesh in Jesus the Christ. HE IS GOD ALONE. Because we fell for the great satan, the liar and deceiver, the once great Lucifer, we need to be reminded who our Father really is.

Take a moment and ask the Father, the one true God to help you always remember who He is and to have the strength through him to turn away from these false gods. We all need that repentance and forgiveness. As an earthly parent may chastise his children, he will also have their back when they need him. How much greater will the Father that created all protect His children. As time draws near to the end of all things and the return of Christ the King, please remember who the true God is, and seek His protection and salvation.

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Christianity, faith

Today’s Preacher are Cowards

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

America has gone from the Great Awakening to Woke generation. And the one entity that, up until the last few decades has turned to apostasy. The church was the guardian of morality and the American conscience. The church pews are full of those that ask ‘why is there no revival’ while subverting, demonizing, and denying the edicts of our Creator. Like my grandmother used to say ‘you can’t guard the hen house by letting in the fox’, which is exactly what the men behind the pulpit has done.

The first Great Awakening during the Colonial Era of our nation was brought into a complacent church. Men like George Whitfield, who had a voice that Ben Franklin said he could hear a half mile away. And probably the greatest preacher of that revival time, Jonathan Edwards. He preached a sermon that came to be know as the greatest sermon ever given. It was called ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’. It was based on the scripture of Deuteronomy 32:35 “Their foot shall slide in due time”. (https://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/sermons.sinners.html)

The first Great Awakening had 5 major points of discussion:

  • All people are born sinners
  • Sin without salvation will send a person to hell
  • All people can be saved if they confess their sins to God, seek forgiveness and accept God’s grace
  • All people can have a direct and emotional connection with God
  • Religion should not be formal and institutionalized, but rather casual and personal

(https://www.history.com/topics/british-history/great-awakening)

The second Great Awakening came post American Revolution and lasted until about 1830. It brought with it Camp Meeting. In 1802 Kentucky the camp meeting counted 20,000. (https://www.ushistory.org/us/22c.asp) The best known concept to come from this revival movement was the concept that freewill prevailed. The idea that one could choose to be saved, and salvation was for everyone. It also had greater roles for women and the black community.

It was at this time, men like Charles Finney found his salvation. In 1821 he said he was going to the woods in New York to determine the reality of his soul’s salvation. He is quoted as saying “I will give my heart to God or I never will come down from there”.  In 1824 he was ordained. He had a unique way of reaching those that heard him and a message that didn’t tickle the ears. Ending one of his sermons he told the listeners, “You who have made up your minds to become Christians, and will give your pledge to make your peace with God immediately, should rise up”. The congregation sat still. His reply was “You have rejected Christ and his gospel”. This made the congregation, and the community angry. To the point of anger, the next evening a gentleman was intent upon killing him.

The next evening he preached again. This time, those present at the end of the message stood up to give their pledge. While others fell down groaning and bellowing. Sorrow for their sins and the understood need for repentance took over the congregation. (https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/evangelistsandapologists/charles-finney.html).

Other great revivals have hit our nation when needed through the ages since then.

  • The Great Prayer Meeting Revival 1857 (at least 1 million were converted)
  • Civil War Revival (an estimated 300,000 converted, both USA and CSA)
  • The Urban Revivals  1875-1885 (DL Moody saw the conversion of hundreds of thousands)
  • The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905 came to America (Billy Sunday preached to the conversion of at least a million)
  • Azusa Street 1906 started as a home prayer service (lasted for 3 straight years, everyday all day and night)
  • From WW2 to the 90s , America saw great preachers like Henry Blackaby, William Branham, and Billy Graham.

These men (and women) planted the seeds that converted millions in the US alone. They preached the recognition of sin and need for salvation through Christ. The bible was their only used material. God said it, the writer’s wrote it, so these preachers preached it. They gave no quarter and did not worry themselves about what people thought  about them or their message. They understood that God’s message of sin and repentance was like a sword, not cotton candy.

Today we have weak preachers that seek to fill the pews and not offend. They want to be liked not hated. They want to be seen as friend to the masses not the continuance of the Apostles. Because of the loss of power in the pulpit message and compromise of the Word of God, Christian churches have become social clubs where sin and repentance is not discussed, and the love of God requires nothing but to be kind. And we are warned of these types of preachers. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’. (2 Timothy 3:5)

The men praised today and almost worshiped are men like Kenneth Copeland, Joel Olsteen, and Creflo Dollar. These types are called prosperity preachers. Their message is simple. If you are not healthy and wealthy you lack faith. If people hate you, you are preaching wrong. Send us your money as a seed (many have lost all they have to these charlatans) and God will bless you. No call to repentance, no calling out of sin, and no need to go into the prayer closet.

Churches today allow homosexuality to flourish because the rules of God’s morality does not matter, just love each other. Go ahead and commit abortion because the command to not kill (murder) does not apply, just be nice. The use the verses that say do not judge and sliver in the eye to justify a weak worldly message. They care more about tickling the ear than the state of the soul.

Of course Christians are not perfect. However many claim to be so or have given in to the concept is love is all that matters. A true Christian will search his /her heart, see where the sin is, repent, ask for forgiveness and grace from God. A person who only claims to be a Christian says there is no need to because “God loves me and I said one time I believe so I’m good to go”.

Christ and the apostles answered this question. If you love me, you will keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). ‘Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.’ (John 14:21). I am amazed how quickly you are deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–‘ (Gal 1:6). ‘But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea’ (Matthew 18:6).

Today we are seeing the Church of Laodicea. To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:14-22).

The church is ineffective because it is dead. It is dead because it has compromised the teachings of the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus the Christ himself. This compromise has happened because of the weakness of the message from the pulpit. The message is weak because those preaching have decided that being popular is more important than the souls of the sheep they are suppose to tend. In nations of Africa and the Middle East, Christians die for their unwavering faith in the the message of Christ. The apostles were jailed, beat, killed, and banished for their faith in Christ. In America, these preachers fear mocking and ridicule. Imagine what will happen when Christ makes his glorious return and sees the church in America.

‘Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!…’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

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faith

Twenty Years Later: A Reflection

As I reflect on the last 20 years, I am more than disheartened and ashamed about what our nation has become. The moment that the first plane hit, what we thought as our worst fear occurred. Attack from the outside. An attack by those that have, for years, screamed “Death to America”. The attack was meant for the three biggest symbols of American Superiority in the world: our financial status, our military strength, and our seat of freedom. Two of those got hit. The latter was saved by brave American citizens that said “not on my watch”. True American domestic heroes lost their lives, along with the innocent that day. But what came from it in the terms of American brotherhood, love of neighbor, and the American Spirit only lasted for a moment.

President Bush did the right thing in going after those that were committed to bring America to her knees. As well as those that aided them. But in doing so, he placed this nation into the same category as those we have always sworn to fight and defeat. He curtailed civil liberty for a sense of protection. Founding father Benjamin Franklin said that a person who gives up civil liberty for security, deserve neither. How prophetic that statement was.

Both Patriot Acts diminished civil liberties. It brought an allowance to the NSA to eavesdrop without warrants on whom they wished, created free speech zones, and allowed some forms of non-allowance of Constitutional protections. All in the name of security. He then allowed the CIA to run black ops detainment, transferred captives to foreign nations for torture, and failed to conform to the Geneva Convention and international law. We have seen this in Abu Grhaib prison and Gitmo. For those who do not know about the Geneva Convention or international law during war: enemy combatants (the enemy) when captured are to be given quarter, treated with human rights, and not tortured. We became that which have always fought.

President Obama fared little better. Promise after promise were broken on the war front. His failure to approval to close Gitmo and transfer those held into any type of court. And because of his judgments and the end of the Iraq war, Al Qaeda came back stronger as the Islamic State. He did keep the promise to eliminate the 9/11 mastermind.

On the home front, he helped the nation weather the financial crash. Many did not agree with how it was done, but by the end of his term, the economy was back on an upswing. A big issue in his administration was domestically. While anti-Islam sentiment started because of 9/11, he also ended up feeling the bite of it. He suffered for two reason from those that opposed him. The first was his name and the fact he was raised in a predominately Muslim nation. But that needs to be placed where it was rightful to do so, his mother’s love for the men she married. The second was the color of his skin. From the beginning of his campaign and through the end of his second term, he face faced some rightful criticism. But he also faced a hatred no other president had. Solely, because of these two things.

In comes President Trump. A businessman that had no business in the top elected position of this nation. His decisions only inflamed the nation. For those on the liberal side of political thought, he placed a ban on all Muslims and Islamic nation from US entry. Including Muslim Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, refugees, etc. He then further inflamed the liberal society by attacking immigrants that weren’t predominately European. Going so far as calling all Latinos as murders, drug dealers and rapists. And yes, while a few may have slipped through the cracks, the majority were seeking what all those that have come to this nation have sought: freedom from fear and death. He even attacked DACA recipients. You know, those that were either born or brought here without proper paperwork through no real choice of their own.

He also inflamed the right. he brought out underlying prejudices and hates that, while always present, were kept dormant for the most part. But his rhetoric of distrust of the minority communities brought to a head, clashes between the left and the right of our society in ways that have not been seen since the civil rights marches. He called members of extreme militias and white power racists good people. Seriously? His four years became more of a dystopian surrealistic nightmare that even George Orwell hadn’t seen coming. His rhetoric (speeches, tweets, etc) had brought back in force, what we as a nation thought was about gone.

I do not condone the extreme riots of places like Ferguson, Seattle, and Minneapolis. Nor do I condone the violence of places like Baltimore. The extremes on both sides were fed one way or the other into becoming what they did. Violent and extreme radical terrorists. Those communities had a reason for their discontent, a desire to see the end of an oppressive system that saw their members getting wrongly executed. And yes, before you crucify me for being ‘woke’ (I’m a realist with a brain and the ability to research), I believe that a person has a right to plead their case in court for any alleged crime. And a non-violent traffic stop or a non-confrontational issue is NOT a reason for someone to lose their life. Different minorities still face oppressive issues that will not be dealt with until two things happen. The first is this, both sides need to learn to shut up and listen to the reasons for discontent. The second is that the violent actions need to cease because the message gets lost in the violence. And while it was starting to rear its head in the Obama administration, that dragon came full force and spewing fire in the Trump administration. Why? Because Trump was, and is, an opportunist that has the ability to read people and play them for his benefit. It worked in business, it worked in television, and the last few years has shown that it worked in politics.

From calling the election as stolen, before the election had even occurred, to the speech that fired up the crowd just before they did the unthinkable. They listened to his rhetoric, used it to boost their own inaccuracies and prejudices and attacked the seat of the political process. Even, at times, calling for Vice President to be brought out to be executed. Like I said, even Orwell didn’t see it this bad. We won’t even talk about his actions and coercion of the masses, or their inability to actually research the science of the pandemic themselves. And we continually fight this ignorance even now.

President Biden, in his first year (so far) has made an error or two. The issues of mandates and vaccinations to curb the virus isn’t once of them. The biggest is without doubt, the ending of the war in Afghanistan. I’ll put this out there, we needed out of that situation. In withdraws, he made the right decision in deciding to leave. How he did it, is properly in question. However, not all of it is his fault. Trump, in his last year of office, negotiated with the enemy Taliban leadership. Going as far as to push other nations into releasing certain key members of the ruling Taliban cadre. He set an inoperable time frame for with draw that Biden had to extend. Yes, mistakes were made. Horrible ones. But, Biden allowed the blame of it all to rest squarely on his shoulders. Something his predecessor never would have done.

The last two decades have brought out the best and the worst in this nation. But the worst has steamrolled the best into a small speck of time. I love my country. And most of the citizenry here are honest, hard working, and generally speaking are honorable. But those that aren’t get the media coverage and the rhetoric. We are better than this. While we still have a way to go on many issues, given the chance, we will get those dealt with as well.

May the souls of those lost on 9/11 and since find the peace they didn’t find on this rock. To the heroes that lived and those that sacrificed all on that dark day 20 years ago……Thank you for showing what the American Spirit is about. For those that fought and those who never made it home, our nation owes you so much for answering the call to duty.

May God once again bless this nation.

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