and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. ó Isaiah 29:24
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,
|April 1, 2010||
Volume 9 Number 7
God is a Spirit
Moses gave final instructions to the people of Israel before
they entered into the Promised Land. He cautioned them that Yahweh had revealed
Himself to them in
"no manner of likeness." Otherwise, they might be tempted to make images and become corrupted by them:
15 Take you therefore good heed unto yourselves; for you saw no manner of likeness on the day that Yahweh spoke unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
16 Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flies in the air,
18 The likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
19 And lest you lift up your eyes unto heaven, and when you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, should be driven to worship them, and serve them, which Yahweh your God has divided to all nations under the whole heaven. -Deuteronomy 4
Moses continued that the people of Israel must be careful not to make any kind of image or the likeness of anything as part of their worship:
23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of Yahweh your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which Yahweh your God has forbidden you.
24 For Yahweh your God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. -Deuteronomy 4
However, Moses prophesied that their descendants would eventually "corrupt" themselves with images and provoke Yahweh to anger. Therefore, he told them, they would be removed from the land and scattered among the heathen, where they would continue such practices:
25 When you shall beget children, and childrenís children, and you shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of Yahweh your God, to provoke him to anger:
26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over the Jordan to possess it; you shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
27 And Yahweh shall scatter you among the nations, and you shall be left few in number among the heathen, where Yahweh shall lead you.
28 And there you shall serve gods, the work of menís hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. -Deuteronomy 4
Along with these images, Moses further cautioned the people of Israel against learning the religious practices of the nations they were going to dispossess:
9 When you have come into the land which Yahweh your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. -Deuteronomy 18
He called these practices "abominations" and went on to specifically describe nine of them:
10 There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. -Deuteronomy 18
It was because those people were doing these "abominations" that Yahweh would take their land and give it to the people of Israel:
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto Yahweh: and because of these abominations Yahweh your God does drive them out from before you. -Deuteronomy 18
Moses then cautioned Israel, saying "you shall be perfect with Yahweh." He told them that they are "not allowed" to do the things that the other nations were doing:
13 You shall be perfect with Yahweh your God.
14 For these nations, which you shall possess, listened to observers of times, and to diviners: but as for you, Yahweh your God has not allowed you so to do. -Deuteronomy 18
By telling Israel to be "perfect," Moses was telling them that their affection must be upon Yahweh completely. They could not divide their affections between Yahweh and any thing. However, the people of Israel struggled with their desire to worship the images of gods and goddesses:
12 And they forsook Yahweh God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves to them, and provoked Yahweh to anger.
13 And they forsook Yahweh, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. -Judges 2
Finally, King Solomon of Israel fell into the trap of worshipping other gods and goddesses, in addition to Yahweh:
4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with Yahweh his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and went not fully after Yahweh, as did David his father.
7 Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed to their gods. -1 Kings 11
Following Solomonís sins, the united kingdom of Israel was destroyed and divided into two kingdoms (see 1 Kings 12). Eventually, because those kingdoms continued in the abominations that Yahweh commanded them not to do, they were both also destroyed and scattered (see 2 Kings 17:21 and 2 Kings 25:9).
There is, however, good news for those of us who have disobeyed Yahweh in our religious practices. He calls us to repentance:
29 But if from there you shall seek Yahweh your God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things have come upon you, even in the latter days, if you turn to Yahweh your God, and shall be obedient to his voice;
31 (For Yahweh your God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which he swore to them. -Deuteronomy 4
In His mercy, Yahweh promised to raise up a Prophet, who would speak again all of His words:
15 Yahweh your God will raise up to you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, like unto me; unto him you shall listen;
16 According to all that you desired of Yahweh your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17 And Yahweh said to me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
19 And it shall come to pass, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. -Deuteronomy 18
Peter explained that Yahshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was that promised Prophet:
19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Yahshua the Messiah, which before was preached unto you:
21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord Yahweh your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall you hear in all things whatever he shall say unto you.
23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. -Acts 3
Finally, Yahweh declared Himself clearly to His people through Yahshua the Messiah:
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Yahshua the Messiah.
18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him. -John 1
Coming in the physical form of a man, Yahshua came as the "image of the invisible God:"
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: -Colossians 1
Even though Yahshua revealed God to us through His image, He makes it clear that God is a Spirit:
23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. -John 4
Yahshua, the image of the invisible God, came in the likeness of a physical man to shed His own blood to forgive our sins and redeem us back to God, who is a Spirit. Therefore, God cannot be worshipped as an image, but only "in spirit and in truth."
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Scriptures are taken from the Proper Name Version of the King James Bible.
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