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“You shall have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:3 ESV
The first of the ten commandments which forms part of the law of Moses, 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.
It 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 the worshiping or even associating with other gods is not allowed for G-d’s people;
‘…you shall not worship any other god…’
(Exodus 34:14 NASB2020)
The word ‘gods’ here has a lower case little ‘g’ which is appropriate in this instance.
By having g 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.
Did you know that in the Bible, that 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
‘…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].
One of the reasons for this is because ancient words can have multiple meanings.
Regardless however, we see 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 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)
The book of Colossians tells us that worship of anything but the uncreated G-d, 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.
We can 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, they would see that the legal definition that fits context here is more along the lines of ‘reverence’ or to ‘honor’ – much like how men used to respectfully greet one and another in ancient times.
Some examples of ancient greetings, where they honored earchother out of respect etc. read;
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
And today – more so than ever due to itching ears – anything past this 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
Instead, certainly the Gospel is everlasting;
‘…the eternal gospel…’
(Revelation 14:6 NIV)
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.