Ex: 20 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.
In the above passage, we read that the God who creates a law that we should have no other image before Him is the same God that redeemed His people from slavery.
Have you ever been in slavery? I don’t mean someone who has a servant position, where their needs for clothing and food are met, or where they might find honour or status in working for their employer.
Slavery can come in many forms, from existing in a place of hard labour, deprivation, and sickness, to a place without hope, where the only way out is death, or it can come when our liberties and abilities are constrained, making our futures difficult to achieve. This is a place where you have become dependent on someone else to provide for you. In the medieval period, a person would have some semblance of freedom, perhaps a farm for example, but their produce, rent, and taxes went to the landlord. Nonetheless, times could still be hard, especially if their work and crop quota was increased. There would be no added benefits for them. The outcome would only produce wealth for their landlord.
Social conditions such as these were referred to as feudalism. The Bible differentiates between a slave and a servant, and it’s important to understand the difference. It was incumbent upon a good Hebrew master, to look after his servants. They were representatives of him. Their conditions reflected their welfare in the house. They could also, eventually, be redeemed by their kinsman in the Shmita and Jubilee years. Servants had the choice at such time, when freedom was imminent, to choose whether they wanted to be set free or remain as a bondservant to their master. Their well-being, thus gave their master a good name and a good image.
The first commandment is the primary condition in accepting the covenant. We have been redeemed by our kinsman, God the Father, in this case, and atoned for by a ransom price by the death of the Son of God upon the cross. It is now incumbent upon the Father to provide for us according to the terms of the covenant. Remember, human beings had no input in the terms of the covenant. It was written by the hand of God for us. Its purpose, fundamentally, was to lay a set of ground rules which allow us to be looked after as His children, and to be prepared, through salvation, to live in the house of YHVH. He has taken on the responsibility of looking after his children. All we have to do is agree and abide by the terms.
In addition, the responsibility upon us is to reflect His name and His image in this world. We are supposed to be reflectors of Him as we work through our journey of salvation, through a world where we too, want others to know Him and their redemption.
If we choose not to accept His work, then the causal effect of this action will prevail in our lives. It will affect every aspect of our world including our minds and bodies.
There are those who say they love God and those who have no feelings toward Him at all. For those who say they love, to what degree do they do this? There is a barometer to measure this and it is clearly stated in scripture.
Yeshua said, ‘if you love Me, then you will obey My commandments’ — John 14:15.
He also said in the book of Revelation that we can be hot or cold Rev 3:15
To place some gravity on this statement, we see that these remarks are directed at believers, and not at anyone else.
Having said this, our position in terms of the covenant becomes precarious if we choose to no longer observe it. Above all else, this absolute arrogance is diabolical. How can we, the created of God change one letter of His word when we had no part of it in the first place? As I have said, God did not discuss with us the terms of the covenant. He laid them down and we had to agree to them. That is a matter of His grace and our freedom of choice.
Remember that He also restrained Himself within the terms.
As human beings made in the image of God, we have no right at all to change the image of our maker or His laws that hold the whole of creation together.
The scriptures describe God with human faculties — breath, nostrils, eyes, ears, fingers, and hands. These are all symbols that relate His movement to us. If He is the maker and the potter then it stands to reason that he must have all of these senses to do the task. So in a sense, we attribute human likeness to Him and say that our image is therefore His image.
God, however, does not, of course, exist in human shape and thus He has not the human traits of a human being. He can, if He so desires manifest himself anthropomorphically to us as human, as He did to Abraham for example. But generally, His manifestation of the Angel of the Lord relates to some incarnation of Christ, who from the beginning was and is God (John 1).
His shape is incomprehensible. No one has seen God, but we have beheld Him in Christ ( John 1:18).
This incomprehensible shape of God also dwells, encompassing a different dimension, beyond physical time and space. He does not consist of the matter of the cosmos — we do.
To give God human characteristics denies His divine shape. If we cannot accept this, then we have to make Him into something we can understand, see and feel.
The Israelites within a few days of leaving Egypt made for themselves a golden calf.
They could not visualize God and thus made for themselves an image they could relate to, an image that represented power and supremacy above human beings. However, they did not make Him into the shape of a human. They understood that humans serve the deity, regardless of its form.
God has given us something that is an attribute of Himself. We have the ability to recreate ourselves. Remember that Adam was made in the image of God but we are made from the fallen image of Adam.
Our capacity to recreate also gives us the authority to change our world. The law of adaptation, I would argue, does not, therefore, pertain to the human being. Our knowledge gives us the capacity to change environments. We have been effective in doing this but we have also made a very great number of mistakes.
Our increase in knowledge has also, through an innate level of pride and arrogance, been a leveler and highlighted our natural ability to ignore the obvious. This is a lack of common sense, and this is what happens when the human mind is turned away from the mind of God. It will be our downfall.
The lack of common sense is due to the lack of wisdom.
We have been given a great capacity for good and to enhance and repair our damaged world and its human populace. But we have the propensity to do calamitous harm. We are of course seeing this now.
Of course, the rhetoric of destruction and the harm we are doing to our world, has been the discourse for many decades. However, the response to providing its healing is like someone putting a dressing on a wound without providing the healing balm first.
The wound will either take longer to heal or it will become infected.
In another analogy, if we put a single drop of a powerful poison in a glass of water, that water will become undrinkable though it has much more mass than the poison. This is like the word of Ha’Satan, depositing, drop by drop his serpent venom into the ears of the mind.
The water that once had the capacity to sustain life is now the destroyer of it.
If we decide to change the makeup of God we also change His function. If He is no longer reliable, then His words have no integrity — they simply hold no truth. Again the words of the serpent whisper into the ears of Eve.
We were made to be caretakers of this world, but that does not give us the authority to change the image of God. Ha’Satan is making every effort to get his voice heard and to influence us into changing our human image. He argues that it is wrong to believe that God is incomprehensible and that He has no substance or is invisible. If we can make an image of Him and change ourselves then we can also see Him. We don’t have to be constrained by our own image. If we reshape and redefine ourselves then we can also do it to God.
Where are we today?
Psalm 10 says,
Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble?
2 The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord.
4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.
When the people decide in their own wisdom, that God is not enough for them, He will remove Himself, and His sanctuary will become cold and dark. If we do not acknowledge Him in His fullness, then what we build for Him is inappropriate and not acceptable and that includes our worship of Him and the prayers we offer up to Him. He won’t have any of it.
If we want our image and not His, then we will be handed over to a deluded mind.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
God will watch us from afar, waiting for us to acknowledge our wrongs; this is the depth of His grace. He does not want us to be ignorant of Him but wants us to come to the full knowledge of Him.
A man who does not fear God has no knowledge of Him. If he denies that he has no need of such knowledge then he is a fool. Wisdom and understanding are supposed to be attributes of His children.
The journey toward God is uphill. The Hebrew word ‘Alliyah’ means to ascend. If we are not doing this, ascending that is, then we are sliding back down to the edge of the precipice.
We may argue that by simply believing in God makes us His children, but sometimes children and the unwise, who have become rebellious in nature, want to have their cake and also to eat it. It is not that they are denying the Father, but simply don’t want to obey His voice.
The times have changed
We should really and fearfully be concerned about the present state of the church. The ground opened up and took those who would side in Korah’s rebellion and on the day of Moses’ return from the mount of Sinai, YHVH commanded that all who rebel, be put to death.
The children of God as His reflectors should shine like the brightest light in this world. How strange and coincidental that when light is broken up it shows us the colour of the rainbow, and how even more strangely the rainbow reflects the schism among ourselves.
The subject of our identity must loom large for us. Believers must take on the double-edged sword and rightly divide error from truth. It must come down upon anything that corrupts the knowledge of God.
God’s commands are not burdensome. In other words, it’s not difficult to live by them (1 John 5:3). It becomes difficult when we choose to lay alongside it another set of rules. In doing this we struggle with compromise and human wisdom which at its root is in conflict with the truth.
Acts 5 tells us, 29 But Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree. 31 God exalted Him to His right hand as Prince and Savior, in order to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
We conclude from this that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey God. Therefore His dwelling in us is based on the condition of obedience. If the Word of God is not to be found in us, then there is no connection between the person and the Holy Spirit.
If the Word is not found in the church and among the leaders, then there is no word or wellspring from which to drink. This leads to desolation and dryness, which causes barrenness, and that leads to a lack of good fruit.
The effort to genderize God transfers human nature to Him. This is what the so-called wise, the hirelings, regard as progressive — understanding God in a far deeper way. His image is a plethora of images as are the many ways to Him, they profess. He is no longer the Father and Jesus is no longer the son. They now have human gender and are neither male nor female. This is Ha’Satan’s effort to distort the prophecy of God, which speaks of those who will dwell in our future state and shape. It is his attempt to bring this state of being down to his domain, the earth.
Jesus referred to God as the Father, and if we want to genderize that, then it means He is male and the Son is also male. His reference to them both as ‘one’ creates for us the bond of unity between them. It also shows us undeniably a family link and the identity of to whom we belong. There is no ambiguity, no distraction, or confusion.
In human reality, both males and females are needed for procreation. At conception, both genders exist together but become separate during the development of the foetus, unless something occurs to stop the defining split during pregnancy.
Humans are conceived in the mind of God but perceived in their own minds. We will have a different understanding of who are if we fail to perceive who we are in Christ.
Through the transforming of our minds, through His word, and the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we can conceive a future event, and if we believe it will happen, it will. It’s called faith, and faith ‘now’ is connected to the future, to the ‘then’. Faith is therefore the combination of the physical and the spiritual existing together, permanently.
There is no permanence in Ha’Satan’s world. We don’t need faith there. We can have all we want and desire, now! We can change ourselves and are lives now! Those in Christ see themselves as His image in the future. They see themselves joined with Him and thus one with the Father. If believers are holy, separate, and chosen by God, then there should be no doubt in knowing who we are. We should be certain about that.
Christ atoning for us on the cross was also the physical and spiritual coming together. What we are emphasizing here is unity or oneness, not separation, ambivalence, or ambiguity.