The Challenge of the Christian Theology and more …
/ Ewald Frank
22. Thou shalt have no other gods …
- Does all happen by chance?
- The time is near
- The only valid measuring rod
- The old dispute
- The testimony of historians
- History confirms it
- God’s confession
- God manifests Himself
- In heaven and on earth
- The Lord visits His prophet
- The »I am«
- Was the Son born in heaven?
- Spirit and Truth
- Very peculiar
- Respect for the Great Mystery
- Everyone defends his or her own doctrine
- The rock
- The Great Commission
- Thou shalt have no other gods …
- Believe as the Scripture says
- An unbelievable tragedy
- The end-time
- A challenge to all
- No one can bypass Jesus Christ
- New creation
- The Son and the sons and daughters of God
- The two beginnings
- The course of church history
- No man’s influence
Whole chapters are dedicated to this theme in the Scriptures. Man created by God has always made gods for himself; he worshipped the sun, the moon, the stars and nature. In reality God alone is worthy of worship, for everything was made by Him, for Him and exists through Him. Any person or object being worshipped is an abomination to Him. Humanity does desire to give glory to God alone, but was deceived to honour other objects and therefore has fallen away from Him and lost fellowship with Him. Rather mankind was misled and has become the prey of a religious deception.
The Lord God descended upon Mount Sinai and said , »I am the Lord thy God … Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.« (Ex. 20: 2-3).
He continued with His commandments and included images, statues, icons etc., which are being worshipped in different religions and cultures. Thus saith the Lord: »Thou shalt not make unto thee any carved 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; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God , visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.« (Vv. 4-6). God classifies those who prepare such objects for worship as those who hate Him. Guilt rests upon them and is hunted down unto the third and fourth generation.
Again the Lord saith: »Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.« (v. 23). Time and again God warned His people through Moses and the prophets not to make any images, any symbol which are idols (Lev. 26: 1). Thus saith the Lord Who is utterly displeased and pronounces judgement, even the direct curse upon those who disobey: »Cursed be the man who maketh any carved or melted image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place.« (Dt. 27: 15). The word remains valid even if people prostrate before such an image, making the sign of the cross thinking that they can bless themselves. Only God can bless and He will bless but those who live according to His Word.
God knew man would make carved images, therefore He was very specific about the subject. Thus the Lord hath said in Dt. 4: 16 prohibiting the making of images resembling male or female. If done, the covenant with Him is broken (v. 23). For this reason Israel under the wrath of God was driven from the Promised Land and scattered among the nations who then asked, »Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land?« »Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them, when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt; for they went and served other gods, and worshipped them …« (Dt. 29: 24-26).
Has Christianity not done the same? Has she not broken the New Covenant? Did she not fall away from the one God by inventing and forming a tri-unity? Did she not make statues of Mary and the apostles, which she calls upon? Thus saith the Lord, »I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.« (Isa. 43: 15). God’s people only know One Who is holy , Who is worthy of worship, and they are sanctified by Him. Has not Christendom as a whole fallen into apostasy leaving God, with unscriptural canonisation and beatification of the dead?
Whoever teaches the Father to be the first person of the Godhead, the Son to be the second, the Holy Ghost to be the third, has in reality concealed the one unique God , even affirming that these three compose one God. Until now one and one is two, plus one is three. If we consider the multitude of saints and patrons, which observed the triune image, one wonders why God’s multiple word of warning went unobserved. Consider the veneration of Mary, the statue of Peter at St. Peter’s in Rome being kissed daily by multitudes who make their pilgrimage from all over the world. One has to consider the many images, statues, icons, and altars in catholic and orthodox sanctuaries the world over before whom people kneel down, making crosses and calling upon them, kissing images, lighting candles and worshipping! Pope John Paul II when elected into his office dedicated himself totally to Mary. In his hand he carries the shepherd staff with the image of the man-made Christ. That Christ is dead, he can’t walk, see or hear. Such practises are totally foreign to the Church of Jesus Christ and are directed against God. And according to the Scripture it is heathen idolatry. One also considers the idolatry in Hinduism, Buddhism and other religions the world over.
Even if you only believe the smallest portion of God’s Word you should, as a consequence comprehend that such worship of saints is breaking the commandments of the Most High. In the Reformation, the validity of God’s Word was placed into the centre by preaching, and therefore an end was made of emphasising icons, selling indulgences and to every other cultish practice. These two cannot exist together. When the Word, which is contrary to such tradition, is being preached, then action has to follow. Possibly no one dares to say it, but a voice cries in the wilderness, one who prepares the way must be heard: True worship can only be where God alone is worshipped in Spirit and Truth in the name of Jesus Christ! Where Mary, Peter and the multitude of canonised saints are called upon and even worshipped, such is, according to the Scriptures, practising idolatry.
Every crucifix and images are part of the respective churches but have no place in the ecclesia of Jesus Christ. They should not be hung up in municipal buildings, in schools, courthouses, parliamentary rooms etc. The crucifix originates from the 5th century A. D. The true Church of Jesus Christ never recognised such symbols.
The resurrected and living Christ is not in the dead Eucharist. He is not even in the consecrated wafer, where He is supposed to be present bodily in the tabernacle. He ascended into heaven bodily and is seated at the right hand of the Majesty. Transubstantiation is not reality either through the ringing of bells or through the practised consecration. Every priest knows that the wafer and the wine remain unchanged as they were before. Where is it written that Christ should be sacrificed anew over and over again? Certainly not in the Bible! Such practices only confirm that the final sacrifice of Christ has not been accepted. The Holy Scripture express this plainly, »… by which we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all … For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.« (Heb. 10: 10-14). Whoever reads Hebrews, chapter 9 and other parallel Scriptures will see that the work of redemption was done once for all. Christ as High Priest went with His Own blood into the heavenly sanctuary and put it there on the mercy seat and thereby accomplished the eternal redemption (Heb. 9: 11-12 a. o.). Through the power of God the redeemed are changed into a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5: 17). In the Lord’s Supper bread and wine represent the Body and the Blood of Christ. As in the Passover Israel celebrated their deliverance for a memorial (Ex. 12), until Christ returns true believers in the New Testament celebrate the Lord’s Supper and their deliverance and redemption, which happened through the sufferings and death of Christ till He come (1 Cor. 11: 26).
Christ is no longer the child in a manger, He is not on Mary’s breast or in her arms, He does not hang on the cross, and He does not lie in the grave. He was raised victoriously and declared with majesty, »All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth.« (Mt. 28: 18). He was taken up into heaven and will return with great glory and power. All images whether of Christ, Mary or any other saint have no part in original Christianity and have no place in any true worship service today. They are typical for the ecumenical churches. In the Assembly of Jesus Christ no relics, holy garments, or any other dedicated objects are to be found. Worship is not to be given to a man, place, or object. The living God is the only One worthy of all the praise in the name of Jesus Christ.
How long will the holy God who declares Himself to be jealous look upon these things? Multitudes all over the world, out in the open and also in dedicated buildings and places of pilgrimage, are still falling down before images. They recite prayers but do not speak to God, Who alone is omnipresent and hears prayer. The made holy ones, including Mary, who are long ago deceased do not hear you when called upon. She is in Paradise and does not hear and certainly does not answer prayer. The supposed appearances of Mary didn’t happen not even in Fatima, because they are not promised in the Holy Scripture.
Furthermore the communion with dead saints and the prayers to them is totally unscriptural. God’s Word addresses living saints — who are sanctified in Christ, as can be seen from the epistles: »… to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints …« (1 Cor. 1: 2; 2 Cor. 1: 1; Eph. 1: 1). Paul writes, »Greet every saint in Christ Jesus … All the saints greet you …« (Phil. 4: 21-22). The communion with and calling upon the dead is occultism and spiritism. Although everything is done with fanfare and celebration, the Bible declares it to be religious deception. People are sacrificing time, money for vain things, enduring hardship. All should know and understand: The veneration of saints in the religions of the world is not of faith, for then it would be united with God and His Word, it is ancient superstition!
The great falling away from Christ and His Word into heathenism, the separation from the only one true God, and the involvement of idol worship has taken place. Something terrible has happened and humanity is deceived. Using forms of celebration and oratory still leaves us with superstitions and folly from the minds of man. In Israel the turning away from the only true God to other gods has taken place plunging them into idolatry. Thus saith the Lord : »They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God; for the spirit of harlotry is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord.« (Hos. 5: 4). Based upon the many Scriptures people cannot turn to God unless they are set free from the spirit of idolatry. This can only take place through a real conversion to Christ. Paul warns, »Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry … Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of demons.« (1 Cor. 10: 14-22). The apostle ascribes idolatry to demons. One can only be a guest at the Lord’s table or otherwise at the table of demons. Apparently the enemy has deceived all that are under his influence into various idolatries.
Anyone taking time to consider this subject must admit that all the statues, carved images, and icons of gold, silver and various material have ears but cannot hear, a mouth which cannot talk, hands that don’t move, feet which cannot walk (Ps. 115: 1-8; Isa. 44: 12-20 a. o.). They are dead objects, which are set up for admiration. They do not represent nor have any association with the living God. The Apostle John earnestly warned about this, when he spoke about the true God who revealed Himself in the Son who is the eternal life: »Little children keep yourselves from idols.« (1 Jn. 5: 20-21).
In many countries on earth there are special places of pilgrimage. In Europe, Turin, the so-called »shroud of Christ« is exhibited, although independent tests in Switzerland, England, and the USA have proven that this shroud dates back to the 16th century. Many go to worship at the shrine of the so-called »Holy Coat of Trier«, others make their way to Lourdes, and again to Fatima and to Czenstochowa and so on. The number making the annual pilgrimage is given as follows: 6 millions to Guadeloupe, Mexico; 5 millions to Lourdes, France; 4 millions to Fatima, Portugal; 3.5 millions to Loretto, Italy, and so on. Never have we heard about a single person having found Christ in such a place. That is the shocking account of this treacherous deception.
Since the Reformation many articles have been written about the significance of relics. About their veneration Luther said, »The Word of God is the only sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yes, and the only one that we Christians know and have. Even if we had all the bones of the saints, their clothing in one pile, we would obtain no help, for it is dead, bringing satisfaction to no one. But the Word of God is the treasure, by which all things are sanctified, …« The Lutheran theologian and member of the church counsel, Karl-Hermann Kandler, adds , »Our faith is not in relics, not attached to some left over of saints. Their veneration and the pilgrimage to the holy places do not strengthen the faith, for there unto, as Luther said ›many open lies and invented nonsense were found. They were not commanded, or even suggested, for they are unnecessary and vain. Things, which cannot give indulgence or work forgiveness of sin to anyone‹, Luther said.« (Magazin Idea-Spektrum 17/1996).
More recently the spirit of reconciliation is at work; this does not proceed from God and His Word through Jesus Christ, our Lord. It is rather the ecumenical spirit who has penetrated into many protestant denominations.
In 1996 a group of German, Lutheran, high ranking clergy made a pilgrimage to the Holy Coat of Trier. As the legend goes, Helena, the mother of Constantine brought the seamless coat of Christ, being over ninety years old, in 329 A. D. to the city of Trier. For the first time this coat, called the shroud of Christ, was shown in 1512. Over twenty such relics exist in various places around the world.
In the same publication »Idea Spektrum« we read , »The reformer called such a pilgrimage ›a new cheating, a very peculiar masterly cheating with our Lord’s cloth‹. In his last sermon, 1546, in the city of Eisleben he referred to this relic and said, ”In Trier is the cloth of our Lord. Run there, have all your money devoured and buy indulgence on the Pope’s jumble market”.»
All Bible believing Christians must cry out »My God!« with great pain, »what have all these things — the places, relics, statues, carved images, and icons, which are being venerated — have to do with you?« What have such dead objects in different cults in common with the living God? Whoever seeks Him can only find Him in Christ. And to find Him requires no special place or image. Instead they are the actual hindrance which must be removed. In view of such things the Lord gave the best advice, »Seek ye me, and ye shall live. But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba!« (Amos 5: 4-5).