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“You shall have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:3 ESV
The first commandment of the famous Ten Commandments which form part of the law of Moses (Torah), can potentially be misunderstood by some, and explained away by others.
When it says you shall have ‘…no other gods before Me…’, this means you shall not worship any other god at all.
The commandment does not mean, ‘you can have other spiritual worship practices, but should just try to keep G-d as number one on your list.’ – and we see this in other verses which state that even the mentioning of another god’s name, the worshiping or associating with other gods is not allowed for G-d’s people;
‘…do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.’
(Exodus 23:13 NASB2000)
‘…you shall not worship any other god…’
(Exodus 34:14 NASB2020)
Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.
Deuteronomy 4:39 NIV
The word ‘gods’ here has a lower case little ‘g’ which is appropriate in this instance.
By having a lower case ‘g’, this means the verse is making a distinction between the uncreated creator of all things (the G-d of Abraham), and all other spirits which He created that qualify for the title god, with a lowercase ‘g’.
Angels and Men Referred To As ‘gods’
Did you know that in the Bible, angels, and even men are referred to as gods? We see such examples in verses such as;
I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you will die like men, And fall like one of the princes.”
Psalms 82:6-7 NASB2020
‘If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came…’
(John 10:35 NASB2020)
‘…you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”’
(Genesis 32:28 ESV)
[Re: no man can or should wrestle with God, thus here he likely wrestled with an angellic spirit type creature; the rendering should be ‘god’.]
One of the reasons for this is because ancient words can tend to have multiple definitions and meanings.
Breaking The Commandment Is Forbidden And May Lead To Disqualification (Evential Death, Perishing).
In the book of Revelation, we read that the practice of worshiping men, and even angels is forbidden.
When John went to worship an angel (by accident, as he may have probably thought it was G-d for a moment), the angel said you must not do that – instead worship the actual uncreated God;
‘…I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel… but he said to me, “You must not do that!… Worship God.”’
(Revelation 22:8-9 ESV)
Further, the book of Colossians tells us that the worship of anything but the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – is worthy of disqualification with regards to this faith and everlasting life;
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
Colossians 2:18 ESV
It is listed as a negative, forbidden, sinful practice (Exodus 34:14, Romans 1:24-25).
Encouragement And Exhortation To Those Who Are Currently And Sadly Occult Idolaters
If you are currently involved in the worship of a created spirit god or idol (e.g. perhaps even the beast/devil), which is a forbidden practice, and you would much prefer to do what is known as good with this faith (Romans 7:12) – here are some encouraging exhortations that might resonate with you;
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
2 Corinthians 6:17 NIV
I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive any of her plagues;
Revelation 18:4 NASB2020
in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
Ephesians 2:2 ESV
Also many of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they added up the prices of the books and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.
Acts 19:18-19 NASB2020
And you were dead in your offenses and sins, in which you previously walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the rest.
Ephesians 2:1-3 NASB2020
But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.
Ezekiel 33:19 KJV
Holy Scripture states a person can only benefit from forsaking sin.
It also states that this is especially true when a person believes in G-d and in Christ (Isaiah 50:10, John 14:1) – as this means everlasting life (Isaiah 28:16, Ephesians 2:20, John 3:14-16), above in the new heaven and new earth (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22, Revelation 22:1).
Those in times past who were seeking a better home by faith – did so by faith, and not by sight as they were in the world, though not of the world (Genesis 47:9, Psalm 119:19, John 15:19, 17:16);
‘All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own…. By faith…’
(Hebrews 11:13-14, 11:16-17 NASB2020)
We Have One High Priest And Mediator
We could conclude here, but just quickly if someone reads Holy Scripture and notices it states in verses such as Matthew 14:33, that people ‘worshipped’ the Lord Jesus Christ (Yehoshua); if one was to quickly review the ancient word being translated (Strong’s Concordance G4352), they would see that the valid legal definition that fits context here is more along the lines of ‘reverence’ or to perhaps ‘honor’ – much like how men used to respectfully greet one and another in ancient times as fellow men, without ‘worshipping’ each other.
Hear are some examples of ancient greetings, where they honored earch other out of respect etc.;
Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land.
Genesis 23:12 ESV
He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
Genesis 33:3 ESV
With this, Scripture states clearly that with regard to spirit type angelic creation, there is only one mediator between G-d and mankind;
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,
1 Timothy 2:5 NIV
always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father;
Ephesians 5:20 NASB2020
More so than ever due to itching ears, anything past this with regards to communicating with G-d in prayer or giving thanks etc. – is outside of the bounds of Holy Scripture – it says;
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV
‘…the lusts of their hearts,… they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.’
(Romans 1:24-25 NASB2020)
Instead, certainly the Gospel is everlasting;
‘…the eternal gospel…’
(Revelation 14:6 NIV)
and we pray to and thank G-d in the name of His risen Son.
Shalom and hoping it is fruitful.
May the Holy G-d bless you beyond maximum, believing in His created, risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua/Yeshua HaMoshiach). Amen.