A Voice in the
January 8, 2003
Cross (re: "How to Get Rid of Idols")
When I see alternative rock stars wearing crosses and singing of devil worship, suicide, etc., I curdle. When I see a cross in a religious building, it reminds me of why I am there. I am sure this disappoints you because I so often agree with what you have to say. Help me with this, and please don't lose patience with me! I understand what's wrong with Halloween, Easter bunnies, Santas, etc. I know the birth of Jesus was not in December. I understand all that, but I don't understand why a cross can keep me on track and yet be wrong!
This commentary resulted in only 2 responses (the other was an "Amen" note)...which is usually the case with the 'stronger' writings/mailings like this one was. But I suspect this person's comments echo the thoughts of many of you. I suspect I might have even written one like it in years past. Since I hear from this person on a regular basis, I think I have come to understand that they do love the Lord.
But this, now, addresses 'application'. It's one thing to read the Ten Commandments. It is quite another to -fully- obey them. It is one thing to "call upon the name of the Lord" (Ac2:21), but it's quite another to have a "perfect heart" (2Ki20:3) before God.
If I may...let's take a few phrases from the comments, and address them:
Remember, the cross was not a Jewish symbol, nor from any of God's commands of the "patterns" to be observed carefully as they had "been shown" (Ex25:40) because it WAS NOT -SHOWN-, but is from Rome. It was a "Roman" cross upon which Jesus died, and Rome to-this-day continues to crucify Him, saying that His wounds "continually bleed"! But Jesus died "once for all". Rome, satan's emissary, wishes to keep Christ crucified. They reject His resurrection to Eternal Life, just like the early Jews did. (Ac4:2)
Saul excused his disobedience by saying it was for "sacrifice to God" (1Sa15:21), but Samuel retorts back to him, "Has Jehovah as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in to obey the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams." (vs22)
In contrast...and we already said this...but will repeat it: What did -GOD- give for "remembering" the Law? "And these -Words- which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart....and...You shall write them (the -Words-) on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (De6:6-9) The -WORDS-. The Word of God.
The very fact that rock stars wear the symbol, in and of itself, should be reason enough for a Christian -NOT- to! Satanists use the cross in their rituals. Catholicism continually makes the "sign of the cross". And as I understand it (although don't have the data at my fingertips at the moment) the cross actually originated in Egypt's paganism. If you want to have the cross, others might just as well consider you to be in affinity with the rock stars or catholicism..!! Seriously!!
The cross is -WORTHLESS- as a "witnessing" tool. All the years I would put out the 'cross' lights at X-mass time, I don't remember a single notice or comment about it, or its significance. However (in the January article I mentioned buying some 'calendars'...this year I got one for next to the customer counter area at the store with Scripture verses under the pictures) Friday (barely the 2nd day back for the new year) already, one of my customers noticed the Scripture, and commented on it. In light of these recent mailings, I took special note of the incident!
Again...that's why we have the Scriptures. Yes, we are creatures of feelings. When the Holy Spirit works in our lives, a by-product of His work, as our hearts are cleansed, getting them closer to "perfection", there certainly will be feelings of remorse for our sins, and feelings of gratitude for God's mercy. But if all we have is "feelings" (like that song..."feelings...nothing more that feelings..."), that is a slip-sliding-slope.
Again...that's why we have the Scriptures. Remember: the Holy Spirit wrote the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit indwells the Believer. And so... if our 'feelings' do not match up with Scripture's authentication, our feelings are 'wrong'. In other words, contrary to what the world teaches: If it feels right, it might not necessarily -be- right!
That's why we have the Scriptures! 2Tim3:14-17 Everything we need, to have a perfect heart before God is found there.
And regarding "what to do" regarding the cross? What did Hezekiah do with Moses' cross? He "broke it in pieces". (2Ki18:4) And what was the verdict upon his actions? Let's repeat the Word which we already have considered:
"He did what was right in the eyes of Jehovah...He trusted in Jehovah the God of Israel, so that after him was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he clung to Jehovah; he did not turn aside from following after Him, but kept His commandments, which Jehovah had commanded Moses. Jehovah was with him; he prospered wherever he went." (2Ki18:3,5-7)
Forget "feelings"... What does God's -WORD- say?
Related file: Q/A -the Cross is Pagan?
"You shall not make for yourself...any likeness of anything in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth.." (Ex20:4) I'd say "in the waters" pretty much covers "fish", don't you think.
And while we're at it, if "in the waters" covers -fish-, would you also not say that "in the heavens above" also covers the -dove-.
You 'are' gods?
And vs6 has actually been slightly mis-translated in other versions. The
word "are" is not actually in the text. It should actually be more like,
"I have said, You gods, all of you are sons of the Most High." It is
actually addressing all these false 'gods' that are worshipped, telling
them that they are no better than men. As men die and are judged, so are
they. (vs7) Any of the beings that are worshipped in idolatry
(demons...fallen angels) were created by God...thus, they are also
called "sons of God". (Gen6:2, Job1:6) The 'gods' are not ultimate...
God, the Most High, is.
This is done often, however...taking an element of Truth from out of the context of a broader subject...the broad subject containing many smaller potential sub-topics...and using the valid truth of the subtopic in the context of another separate broader topic.
e.g. Joel2:32 "..whoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall escape.." The word for "escape" there is "malat" meaning to "slip away, escape, be delivered"...to escape physical catastrophe/danger. The context is the time of God's physical catastrophic judgments upon the world with the earthquakes, volcanos, asteroids, etc. However, when Peter quotes from the same passage in Ac2:21, while he quotes the same -physical- context of God's judgment, his intent is for his hearers to be "saved" spiritually (as if Joel had instead said, "yasha") After all, David was continually "calling upon" God for "deliverance" (from his enemies -Ps3:7) as well as for "salvation" (as he was following God's precepts -Ps119:94), and David was, as Joel says, 'calling upon God' for both of these things.
It would seem that Jesus did a similar thing, in taking a Psalm concept of some entities other than "Jehovah" being called with the labels of "gods", something His hearers understood, to drive home a point to their stubborn/rebellious hearts about His own Deity. The Jews could understand that there were other entities called "gods", but could not allow for Him, who truly is God, to call Himself "God". It would seem obvious that Jesus was using the sub-topic in that O.T. example to try to "reason together" (Is1:18) with them.
And in using the word "are", perhaps Jesus was quoting from the Septuagint? If Jesus were walking the earth today amongst English-speaking people, He would likely be quoting from one of the current English translations (errors and all?). Since, as English is the world language today, Greek was back then, it would have made sense that He 'might' have quoted from the Greek translation of the O.T., as many of the others in the N.T. did?
But the word "are" is not in that spot in the Hebrew at Ps82:6. Even if a person doesn't have the study tools to look it up, in your KJV you will notice the word "are" is in italics; italics indicating a word that was not in the texts, but the translators decided to add, for whatever their reasons.
Worm does not Die? (re: "Who is God?")
I don't understand what it means when it says, "where their worm does not die? can you explain this to me?
I really do believe the answer is simple. I believe it is a figurative word for "body". As Jesus was dying on the cross, David prophetically proclaims of Him, "I am a worm, and no man.." (Ps22:6) As Job was in misery, he proclaims about himself "my flesh is clothed with worms.." (Job7:5) In speaking of man's depravity, Job proclaims, "..man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!" (Job25:6) In death, "worms" are mentioned repeatedly: "They lie down together in the dust, and worms cover them." (Job21:26) And again: "..the worm shall feed sweetly on him.." (Job24:20) Of those dead in Sheol it says, "The maggot is spread under you, and the worms cover you." (Is14:11) If there's no worms there, there's no body that they are feeding on.
Thus, if 'their' worm (notice the possessive case) does not die, then it follows that the bodies the worms are feeding on, are also not going away. They do not go into 'oblivion' and "cease to exist". There is always an existence. And in the case of the unbeliever, that existence is in the fire that is not quenched. And just as a magot-infested body is repulsive to others who see the body, so will unbelievers be to those enjoying Eternal Life.