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Sunday, January 15 2012

The Gods Of The People

Parents (at least the responsible ones) warn their children to stay away from "bad company." Our Father also warned His children (conceived by the Holy Spirit, but not yet "born again"; see Conceived Again and When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin), through our Firstborn Brother, "the LORD God," Jesus Christ (see The Rock Of The Church), Who was sent to deliver God's children to, and on, the day of their birth ("7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" Romans 7:22-25 KJV).

"6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. 6:14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; 6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. 6:17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God [see the series of 10 studies beginning with The Way To Salvation: Step 1], and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. 6:18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, 6:19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken." (Deuteronomy 6:13-19 KJV)

The Israelites eventually entered their promised land (see Milk and Honey), on their second attempt (see Why Did Joshua Lead Israel Across The Jordan?), under the strong and righteous leadership of Joshua. After Joshua's death however, the Israelites failed to heed the repeated warnings that they were given (including the one quoted above) and "forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them."

Israel and Judah

"2:8 And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 2:9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

2:10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. 2:11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 2:12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt [see The First Christian Church], and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 2:13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 2:14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies." (Judges 2:8-14 KJV)

Despite his many problems, King David remained faithful to the LORD. It was for that reason that Israel reached its greatest territorial extent, during the latter part of the reign of David and the earlier part of the reign of David's son and successor Solomon. David proclaimed "16:25 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. 16:26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens."

"16:23 Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; show forth from day to day his salvation. 16:24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations. 16:25 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. 16:26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. 16:27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place. 16:28 Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 16:29 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 16:30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. 16:31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth. 16:32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. 16:33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth." (1 Chronicles 16:23-33 KJV)

In the latter part of his life, King Solomon became a lustful and corrupt old fool, worshipping "the gods of the people." The result was the severing of Israel into "Israel" and "Judah" (see Rehoboam's Answer).

"11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 11:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 11:8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

11:9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, 11:10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11:11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant." (1 Kings 11:1-11 KJV)

"For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens"

The reason for warning against forsaking the LORD to worship non-existent gods is obvious i.e. "For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens." Idols are worthless. But the warning included something much more insidious - people using heathen religious practices to worship the true God - which is also worthless. An example of that may be found all the way back at Mount Sinai (see also Paul's Geography Lesson) with the famous "golden calf" incident that the people created to represent the LORD i.e. "a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

The Golden Calf

"32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play [see The Mount Sinai Riot].

32:7 And the LORD said unto Moses [see also Moses Of Midian], Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 32:1-8 KJV)

The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah (see the map above), which came into existence because of Solomon's worship of "the gods of the people," were both later taken off into exile because of their "gods of the people" idolatry. The people of "Israel" (the "lost ten tribes"; see The Galilee Captivity) were taken by the Assyrians completely by 721 BC (and have never returned, yet - see The Gathering of Israel and Judah), while the people of "Judah" were taken away by the Babylonians by 586 BC. For the sake of the Messiah's coming, the nation of Judah was permitted to return, after seventy years (see Jeremiah's Field), in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.

It was from the time of that return that the religious parties of Judah were established (see The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees), with their man-made traditions and interpretations (see Is Your Religion Your Religion?), that eventually were worshipped more than the LORD who they claimed to be worshipping with their man-made traditions. They became, in effect, just like the Israelites who danced around that golden calf at Mount Sinai - while claiming to be worshipping the LORD in doing so. It was for that reason that the Messiah rebuked them for their self-righteous "god of the people" idolatry i.e. "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

The High Priest's House

"15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias [i.e. Isaiah; see also What Did Isaiah Know About Jesus Christ?] prophesy of you, saying,

15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

15:10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?

15:13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matthew 15:1-14 KJV

The merely Christian-professing world (as opposed to the Christian living world; see Works Means Obedience and Friends Of Jesus) has become those self-righteous religionists who rejected the Messiah, while claiming to be His people and His Church, because they use the heathen traditions and philosophies of the "gods of the people" around them. What did Jesus Christ say to those who use His Name to do as they please with it? "7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

A Pope

"7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate [see The Strait Gate; also The Path To Glory and The Yoke Of Freedom]: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves [see Is Your Church A Cult?]. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7:13-27 KJV)

Fact Finder: What are two major examples (among many others that are recognized when people read what the Word of God actually and truly says - see A Word Of God Reading Plan) of heathen idolatry that have infested Christianity?
See Why Observe The True Sabbath? and Who's Hiding On Your Wall?


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This Day In History, January 15

588 BC: During the reign of King Zedekiah (see Zedekiah Of Judah), King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began the siege of Jerusalem; the city fell about 18 months later, in 586 BC (see Jerusalem In Flames; also The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today).

69: Servius Sulpicius Galba, the Roman Emperor who succeeded Nero (see Nero's Torches), was assassinated by the Praetorian guard in the Roman Forum (see The Politics Of Rome and Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire).

1077: German Emperor Henry IV stood barefoot in the snow for three days at Canossa, Italy, pleading for a reversal of excommunication by Pope Gregory VII (see Emperors and Popes and The Holy Roman Empire; also Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).

1519: Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa died at age 44. He was the head of the first stable settlement on the South American continent (1511), and the first known European to sight the Pacific Ocean (September 25 1513). His last years were troubled by conflicts with his superior, who had him seized on unfounded charges of rebellion and treason from which Balboa was condemned to death and beheaded.

1535: After his split with the Papacy, King Henry VIII became Supreme Head of the Church of England under the Act of Supremacy.

1552: The Treaty of Chambord was signed by Henry II of France and several German princes including Maurice of Saxony who ceded Metz, Toul and Verdun to France.

1559: Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn was crowned at Westminster Abbey as Queen Elizabeth I.

1582: The Peace of Jam-Zapolski was signed between Russia and Poland, ceding Livonia and Estonia to Poland.

1697: The citizens of Massachusetts spent a day of fasting and repentance for their roles in the 1692 Salem Witch Trial hysteria. Judge Samuel Sewall, who had presided over many of the 20 capital judgments, published a written confession acknowledging his own "blame and shame."

1759: The British Museum opened at Montague House in London.

1889: The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, was incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia. As its name indicates, the original formula for "Coke" used the same "natural" ingredients as that used for making various legal and illegal drugs. The drug in the beverage was later replaced with sugar and caffeine to maintain its stimulant effects.

1906: Britain relinquished its naval bases at Halifax, Nova Scotia and Esquimault, British Columbia to Canada.

1919: Karl Liebknecht, 48, and Rosa Luxemburg, 49, founders of the Spartacus League which in 1919 became the German communist party, were killed in Berlin by soldiers who were taking them to prison.

1922: The Irish Free State was formed.

1965: Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill suffered a severe stroke.

1970: Israeli archaeologists reported uncovering additional evidence supporting the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by military forces of the Roman empire (see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones? and Pella; also Legions Of Men And Angels).

1970: Biafran forces surrendered, thereby ending Biafra as an independent territory of Nigeria.

1971: The Aswan Dam was officially dedicated by President Sadat of Egypt and President Podgorny of the Soviet Union.

1973: Golda Meir became the first Prime Minister of Israel to meet with a Pope.





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