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Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions - Lesson 5

Are There Many Gods?

In this lesson, we explore the implications of polytheism in the context of the Bible. We will examine the nature of God and the roles of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as well as the impact of polytheism on beliefs and practices.

Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Lesson 5
Watching Now
Are There Many Gods?

I. Introduction

A. Overview of the Topic

B. Historical Background

II. The Biblical Response to Polytheism

A. The Nature of God

B. The Role of Jesus Christ

C. The Role of the Holy Spirit

III. The Implications of Polytheism

A. The Impact on Beliefs

B. The Impact on Practices

IV. Conclusion


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  • This lesson provides an overview of the various aspects of Theology of Religion, and explores the complexities of engaging in dialogue with other religions.
  • You will gain an understanding of the exclusivity of Christ and its implications for other religions, as well as the challenges to exclusivity presented by atheism, theological pluralism, and other religions. You'll also learn how to engage other religions and live out Christian witness in a pluralistic world.
  • This lesson will provide you a deeper understanding of how Jesus is the central figure of Scripture, and how Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament.
  • You will gain insight into the similarities and differences between the religions of the Ancient Near East and the religions of the Bible, looking at concepts such as Hebrew monotheism, the theology of salvation, and the theology of creation. You'll also explore how mythology and evil are portrayed in both the Ancient Near East religions and the Bible, as well as how the Bible incorporates cultural elements from the Ancient Near East religions.
  • You will gain insight into the implications of polytheism from a biblical perspective and understand the nature of God and the roles of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a better understanding of the New Testament and its relationship to other religions. You will gain insight into the theological messages found in the various books of the New Testament, and learn how the New Testament relates to other religions in terms of Jesus, salvation, evangelism, and relationships.
  • This lesson you will receive an overview of universalism, its historical context, and its implications for the Bible and theology. You will learn the different types of universalism and examine the biblical passages related to universalism, as well as the theological perspectives on universalism.
  • You will gain an understanding of what pluralism is and how it has evolved over time. You will also explore the challenges to pluralism and the implications it has for religious dialogue and multiculturalism.
  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of inclusivism, its history and theology, as well as its application in missions. You will learn that inclusivism is an approach to theology that respects and works with different religious paths, and offers a robust theology of salvation that is both inclusive and faithful to the biblical message
  • This lesson will teach you about the presence and role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, including Ancient Near Eastern Religion, the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, Wisdom Literature, and Prophets.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the person and nature of the Holy Spirit, the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, the process of receiving the Holy Spirit, and the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the critical questions related to the gospel, salvation and other religions, and the importance of asking them. It explores questions of homogeneity, essentialism and pluralism with definitions and examples.

With Todd Miles, Ph.D. Western Christianity’s interaction with world religions used to be, for the most part, overseas. Today, “religious others” often live next door. At a changing time when one public prayer spoken during the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration festivities was addressed to “O god of our many understandings,” the evangelical Christian church should do more than simply dismiss non-Christian religions as pagan without argument or comment. The Church needs a theology of religions that is Christ-honoring, biblically faithful, intellectually satisfying, compassionate, and that will encourage Spirit-powered mission.

 
 
 

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Dr. Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions 
th320-05
Are There Many Gods?
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:10] When the children of Israel were camped on the eastern side of the Jordan River, they are poised to enter the land, that very land for which their parents had refused to trust the Lord and and Moses delivered to them the law of the Lord. A second time for this generation. That's why we call the book of Deuteronomy, the Deuteronomy second law. And after rehearsing the history of the Israelite wanderings since the exodus from Egypt, Moses exhorted them in Deuteronomy Chapter four four Ask now of the days that are passed, which were before you since the day that God created man on the Earth and ask from one end of heaven to the other whether such a great thing as this has ever happened or was ever heard of. Did any people ever hear the voice of a God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any God ever attempted to go and take a nation for Himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes. To you, it was shown that you might know that the Lord is God. There is no other besides Him. Moses asks a series of rhetorical questions here. There is no other God who has done what the Lord has done for Israel. But the question we need to ask as we try to develop a theology of religions, Do these questions acknowledge the existence of other deities? Was Moses his statement that the Lord is God? There is no other besides Him, only a call for the loyalty and worship of Israel to be exclusively devoted to the Lord.

[00:02:03] Or was it an on to logical statement? What is it? A statement that denied the existence of other divine beings? There are two words here that I want us to understand monotheism and narcissism. Monotheism is the belief that only one God exists. There is only one God cannot. Theism is. There is only one God for you in the midst of perhaps many other gods. But your loyalty, your devotion is to be exclusively toward one God. That is not theism. And so the question that arises for us as we consider it, how are we supposed to comport ourselves with religious others? Is are there other gods? Are there other deities? Are there other supernatural powers, or is there only one? God? Is our loyalty to be to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because He is the only God? Or is our loyalty to be to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is greater than any other rival, the first command of the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue. It forbids the worship of any God other than the Lord who had delivered them out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. And there is a consistent call throughout the Old Testament given to Israel to exclusive worship of the living God. And this call for exclusive worship is grounded in two different kinds of arguments. One is God is unique. There is no one like him, and the second one is like it, but slightly different. God is incomparable. Compare the Lord God your God to all the other rivals and you will find that He is vastly superior. So the first one, the uniqueness of God, who is like the Lord, the Israelites were to worship the Lord alone because He is absolutely and transcendently unique.

[00:04:12] They were to be solely devoted to him because there is no other on heaven or on Earth that you can even make a comparison to this, this uniqueness of God. It says, Don't even try to compare God to to any other rival. Oftentimes this kind of argumentation comes in rhetorical questions. The psalmist, for example, asks In some 7119, your righteousness reaches heaven, God, you who have done great things, God who is like you. Here is the uniqueness of the Lord is grounded in His character and how He governs. Sometimes the questions point to a specific attribute, as in some 8090 Lord of God, Lord, God of hosts who is strong like you Lord. Other times it's the Lord Himself who asks the question Who is like me? Who will summon me? Who is the shepherd, who can stand against me? Jeremiah Chapter 49, Verse 19. Sometimes the rhetorical questions are are framed as comparisons to other so-called gods. Has it God ever attempted to go and take a nation as it's known out of another nation by trials, signs, wonders, and war? We've read that in Deuteronomy four. And the answer is no, that no other God can do this. There's no one like the Lord your God. So the point of contrast is that there is no comparison. Significantly, the question is asked in the context of the Lord's election and redemptive redemption of Israel. No one can do the things that the Lord has done and can do, and He is uniquely identified and revealed himself through mighty acts for Israel. The second category, the comparability of the Lord throughout the Old Testament Jewish monotheism was based upon the superiority of the Lord over any so-called gods of the surrounding nations. The Lord superiority was demonstrated by both predicating something of the Lord that was claimed of pagan deities, and then by achieving a victory over a rival nation or the gods themselves.

[00:06:16] And so what what the prophets would do was they would take something that was predicated of a veil or of Ashura, and they would take that attribute and they would say, But the Lord has it in spades. The Lord has it in a way that even Bale doesn't have it. There are some instances in Scripture where there is a direct confrontation between the Lord and the gods of the nations. It was it was common custom in the ancient Near East to attribute the victory of one nation over another to the superiority of the victors God over the God of the conquered. We see that in First Samuel Chapter five, for example, in Isaiah 36 four Samuel Chapter five is where the Philistine Gods were, where the Philistines felt justified in believing that their gods, the gods of the Philistines were superior to the God of Israel, because because the Philistines had conquered Israel. What we find a New Testament, though, is the greatest different difference between the Lord and other so-called Gods is that only the Lord God can save, while other gods are powerless to do so. In the Song of Moses, in Deuteronomy chapter 32, Moses taught the Israelites. This for the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. When He sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining bond or free. Then he will say, Where are their gods? The rock in which they took refuge, Who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you. Let them be your protection. See, now that I even I am here and there is no God beside me. I kill and I make a life.

[00:08:00] I wound and I heal. And there is none that can deliver out of my hand. Moses is inviting the Israelites If they get involved in a dollar tree, which we will cover here in a few moments, to take that pagan God with them on the day of judgment and see if that God can deliver out of the hand of the Lord God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God of Gods. The Lord has the exclusive right and ability to exercise judgment over the nations. The Israelite conquest of Canaan, which was not to be interpreted as a statement that the Lord of Israel was able to win a territorial battle because he was stronger than the gods of the Canaanite nations. Rather, entrance into the land marked a period when the Lord of Israel was judging the other nations for their disobedience and rebellion against him. He warned the Israelites not to follow the pagan nations in their detestable worship practices. And Moses says at one time, for the men who were in the land prior to you have committed all these abominations and the land has become defiled. If you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it has vomited out the nations that were before. You notice here that the religious rituals of the pagan nations, and they're doing this out of devotion to other gods, they are an abomination to the Lord. And it doesn't matter about the fervency of their devotion to their gods or the so-called piety or the or the zeal with which they are worshiping. In God's eyes, it's an abomination. The Lord gave to Israel the responsibility of purging the land of false religion. In Deuteronomy 13, even when Israel went into exile, it was not to be interpreted as meaning that the gods of the Assyrians and the gods of the Babylonians were stronger than the Lord.

[00:09:58] I mean, that was common, ancient near East thought, but not to the Israelites. And when they went into captivity, it was because their God was stronger and he had raised up another nation to punish them. The Israelites. For their disobedience. The arrogant Assyrian monarch Sennacherib, who taunted and challenged the people of Judah in the Lord. He was a mere tool in the hand of God to exercise judgment on his people. Israel and Judah. Israelite claims about the sovereignty, the superiority of their God. They might have appeared ridiculous when the immediate context is considered. I mean, after all, Babylonian or Babylon had conquered had conquered Judah. But Israel and Judah, we're about to be swept away and sent into exile in the prophets, were adamant, though, that while other gods cowered, the Lord declared, I am God. There is no other. I am God. No one is like me. I declare the end from the beginning and from long ago. It is not yet done saying My plan will take place and I will do my will. The Lord does not just control the events of His own covenant people, his master, and judge over all that transpires throughout the world. And so when we ask the question, do other gods exist? Well, the Bible speaks unequivocally that there is no God but the Lord, and he is unique above all of his created order. But Scripture does indicate that the gods of the other nations, they have a subjective existence in the lives and cultures of those who worship them. And often there is a supernatural yet created power not equal to the Lord, but powerful nonetheless that stands behind the gods of religious others. We find this the statement throughout the Bible that only the Lord is God.

[00:11:54] Deuteronomy Chapter four provides one of the strongest statements of biblical monotheism in the entire Bible. There is a comparison made to other gods in 434 as a God ever attempted to go and take a nation as his own out of another nation by trials, science wonders in war, by strong hand outstretched arm, great terrors as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes. Again, the question is rhetorical. The point is that the other nations of the world, they've never been privileged to experience what Israel had experienced and that they and that Israel possessed unique knowledge of the one true God. This point is emphasized in the following verse of Deuteronomy four. You are shown these things that you would know that the Lord is God and there is no other besides Him. No other nation had heard their God speak or had been delivered through miraculous means by their God. Why? Because the Lord is God and the gods of the nations are actually not gods at all. They're pretenders. Knowledge that the Lord alone is God was not to be limited to Israel either. It was to be universal. Remember the dedication of the Temple? Solomon asked the Lord to uphold Israel. Why? So that all the peoples of the Earth may know that the Lord is God. First Kings eight. Solomon's request cannot mean that He desired the world to know that the Lord is only the God for Israel, but that the Lord alone is God over the entire Earth. The pagan naming He understood the absolute reign of the Lord When following his miraculous healing, he declared, Behold, I know there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel. Strong statements throughout the Old Testament that only the Lord is God.

[00:13:41] And yet there is indication that other so-called gods do exist, especially in the culture and the religious practices of the other nations. The word Elohim, it refers directly to an idol as when Jacob told his family, Get rid of the foreign gods that are among you. In Genesis 35, Elohim is also used to compare the Lord to rival beings or things things, real things imagined. Moses said, Lord, who is like you among the gods. In Exodus 15 here, Moses refers to other supernatural deities. But the point is to highlight the vast superiority of the Lord over these so-called gods. Scripture is clear there is no God but the Lord, and He has no rivals. Nothing can be compared to the God of Israel, because only the Lord possesses the attributes of deity and only the Lord is able to save and deliver. There might be other people, there might be others that people worship as gods, but they do not deserve the title of God because they are categorically inferior to the Lord and they are unable to deliver. Zephaniah Chapter two, verse 11, I think is definitive. The Lord will be terrifying to them when He starves all the gods of the earth and all the distant coastlines of the nations will bow and worship to him, each in its own place. Nevertheless, even though these so called gods are nothing in comparison to the Lord, they are something in the hearts and minds of those who worship them. Scripture may deny the reality of other gods, but they were absolutely real in the subjective experience of the pagans. So if the gods are not truly God in any sense, that rivals the Lord but are undeniably real to those who worship them, then what are they? What are they? What are the gods of the other religions? If the gods are something but are not God, then they have to be part of the created realm, something that God created.

[00:15:55] If the gods are part of the created realm, then they must either be a part of the physical realm that is created by God, or created or formed by a created being, or the invisible world of non-human spirits that was created by God. Seems to me we have to conclude the gods must be either objects within the physical creation demons or the creation of human hands. And that is precisely what we find as we read through the rest of the Old Testament when compared to the New Testament. The Old Testament contains relatively few references to the demonic. It's very interesting. Once you get to the Gospels, demonic activity increases dramatically in the Old Testament. Very little mention of demons. They're rarely invoked as the causal agents for evil, keeping with the incompatibility and the exclusive and the exclusive claims of Jewish monotheism. The Lord is sovereign over all aspects of life, from death to life, from harming to healing, from calamity to blessing. Demons are rarely presented as the first cause of bad things that happen. There are, though, a few Old Testament texts that connect the worship of other gods with the worship of demons. Deuteronomy Chapter 32 for example, specifically tie sacrificing to for an unknown gods with sacrificing two demons. Quote They provoked his jealousy with foreign gods. They enraged him with detestable practices. They sacrificed to demons, not God to gods. They had not known new gods that had just arrived, which your fathers did not fear. Leviticus Chapter 17, verse seven, called for a cessation of the offering of sacrifices to go to demons after whom they horror. But the reasons for the prohibition on worshiping demons were identical to the reasons for worshiping the Lord alone. The demons were no equal to God, and they were no more equal to God than the gods of the Pagan nations were equals to God.

[00:17:56] Worship of other gods, whether demonically inspired or not, provoked the jealousy of the Lord because it was worship directed at something or someone other than the only one to whom worship is rightfully do. We have to remember that when we think through how we are to comport ourselves around religious others, where is their devotion going? Is it going to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Or is it being directed to another? It's important for us to consider what idolatry is and what the argument the polemic against idolatry was in the Old Testament. I think oftentimes we think of idolatry is just bowing down before idols. But but it was something far more sinister. And the theological reasons for why idolatry was was prohibited are very important for us as we consider how we are to interact with religious others. The Old Testament idolatry can refer to either the worship of images and things or even the worship of foreign gods. It's all swept into the same bin of idolatry. The first commandment of the Ten Commandments prohibits the worship of foreign gods. The second commandment declares this You shall not make for yourself a 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. You shall not bow down to them or serve them for either the Lord. Your God may jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. This command includes a prohibition of every kind of idolatry and then an explanation of how seriously the Lord takes idolatry.

[00:19:52] Why here? Because it has an ability to corrupt the. Generations. Most of the commands against idolatry are found in the Book of Exodus. The books of Exodus through judges. They recount the Lord, preparing Israel to drive out the pagan nations and take the promised land. You see, the relationship between a pagan god and its idol was more than representative. The pagans did not believe that when they made an idol, they were creating a deity. They didn't believe that. But the essence of the God would attach itself to the idol to such a degree that to be in the presence of the idol was to be in the presence of the eye of this pagan deity, at least in the mind of the worshiper. And so for this reason, the biblical writers usually did not distinguish between the pagan gods and their idols because of the prophets in the Psalms. There was simply no distinction in reality. The alleged gods had no real power, no existence of their own, and they were just as much a product of human creation as the idols purported to represent them. The Old Testament, though, is unequivocal in its condemnation of idolatry. The prohibition against Idol worship is repeated throughout the Pentateuch. The psalmist hated those who were devoted to worthless idols. Ultimately, the Lord sent his people into exile. Why? Because they return to the sins of their ancestors. They followed other gods to worship them. Children of Israel were to be literally iconoclastic. They were to tear down idols. When the Israelites entered the land, they were not to enter into any treaty alliance with the nations which that the Lord would drive out before them. For that would inevitably lead to spiritual adultery. Rather, the Israelites were, to quote, tear down their altars, smashed their sacred pillars, chopped down their ash or poles.

[00:21:47] Exodus 3413. Why is a dollar tree an abomination? Well, because the Old Testament says that a dollar tree is demonically inspired. A dollar tree is an abomination because in some biblical texts, worship of idols, again, is explicitly tied to worship of demons. We looked at Deuteronomy 32, a clear link between four and gods and sacrificing two to demons. The worship of worthless Idols. The connection is again explicitly present in Psalm one or six. They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan. So the land became polluted with blood. These passages make clear that in the Old Testament economy, sacrificing to idols and foreign gods is sacrificing to demons. The New Testament will make this connection very clear. Another reason given for the prohibition on idolatry is that idols are the work of human hands. So why worship them? The polemic response to a dollar tree in the Old Testament here is instructive. The most prominent strategy used by the prophets was to contrast the incomparable Lord with the gods or idols of the other nations, and there is no comparison. Oftentimes, this strategy led to satirical ridicule, whereas the gods and idols were the works of human hands. The Lord is the creator of both humanity and the materials used to fashion the idol. In Isaiah 41 versus 21 through 23, for example, the Lord challenged the gods to do that, which only God can do, namely tell the future. Of course they can't do that. And the Lord's conclusion is, Behold, you are nothing. Your work is less than nothing an abomination to he who chooses you. Occasionally there was a direct confrontation between the Lord and the Idols or gods of the other nations.

[00:23:50] Remember the story of Elijah facing the prophets of Bale on on Mt. Carmel, and he to use this strategy of of deriding bail with taunts that expose the sheer stupidity of worshiping idols. Elijah ridiculed the prophets of Babel. He implored them to speak louder so as to capture the attention of their God. And the result of this affair is poignant and it is decisive. Listen to verse 29 the first Kings 18. All afternoon they kept on raving until the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no sound. No one answered. No one paid attention. Why? Because they're not there. Because they don't exist. And Elijah mocked the prophets of bail for this. So the Lord wins a mighty victory on the day when the prophets of bail are first mocked and then they're destroyed. Remember when Jerusalem was surrounded by the formidable forces of the Assyrian monarchs? Inaccurate and his deputies the rapture? He attempted to liken the Lord of Judah to the impotent gods of the other nations. And this prompted the righteous Judean king Hezekiah to pray this Lord God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim. You are God, you alone of all the kingdoms of the earth, you made the heavens and the earth. Listen closely, Lord, and hear. Open your eyes, Lord, and see. Hear the words of Sennacherib as sent to mark the living God. Lord, it is true that the Kings of Assyria have devastated the nations in their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but made by human hands, wood and stone. So they've destroyed them. Now, Lord, our God, please save us from his hands so that all the kings of the earth may know that you are the Lord God.

[00:25:48] You alone. See? Hezekiah rightly understood that because human hands made the gods of the other nations, they were not able to see. They were not able to hear. Nor were they able to save even themselves, let alone the nations from the fire. But in contrast, the Lord is the creator of all, including the human hands and the wood and the stone used to fashion these so-called gods. He is able to see and hear. Recall the response to Hezekiah's prayer. I have heard your prayer to me and God is able to save, he said. I will defend this city. I will rescue it for my namesake and for the sake of my servant. David. False gods and their idols never fail to fail. The trouble is, we never fail to forget this. The theological ground for the denunciation of idolatry, though, is the jealousy of God. Exodus 34 says you shall worship no other God for the Lord whose name is jealous is a jealous God. The reason for the Lord's jealousy is not because God is petty or catty or that sort of thing. It's because he's incomparable and he has a unique ability to care for his people. Any attempt to fashion an image of him for the purpose of worship will inevitably reduce the Lord to something far less than he actually is. This was precisely the reason Moses gave to the Israelites. Be extremely careful for your own good, because you did not see any form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire, not to act corruptly and make an idol for yourself in the shape of any figure. Deuteronomy chapter four, verse 15. Idolatry robs God of the glory of which He alone is worthy.

[00:27:38] The Lord demanded exclusive worship, and he was not tolerant of any rivals. See, See Isaiah Chapter 42, verse eight. Other gods were incapable of performing the most basic godlike acts, and they could certainly not save other people. They were only gods in the sense that the pagans believed the promises attributed to them. Compared to the Lord, though the gods were impotent, completely unworthy of any devotion to divert devotion, praise and glory to a so-called God for actions that only the Lord can do. That's a heartbreaking abomination. So, Jeremiah, there's this lament. Has a nation ever changed its God? Yes. They are not gods at all. But my people have exchanged their glory for worthless idols. One more interesting condemnation of idolatry we find is that idolatry, as you read to the Old Testament, corpus, is actually failing to worship the Lord according to his commands. Another implication of the Lord's jealousy is his absolute requirement that people approach him on his terms and his terms alone. And what we'll find here as we read some of these passages is it doesn't matter how devout or how pious these wrongheaded or wrong thinking people were. It doesn't matter how much sincerity you conjure up in your heart if you ignore the Lord's revelation instructions on how you are to approach him. Worship was acceptable to the Lord only if it was based on true knowledge of the Lord and according to His will, according to His instructions. Remember the requirements of the Old Testament for worship. Sacrifice. Construction of the tabernacle in the temple. They are detailed. They're tediously detailed. Oftentimes it's so tedious to read through that passage. Those passages where they give instructions on on how the sacrifices are to be performed, how the tabernacle was to be built, all these exact measurements.

[00:29:43] What can we conclude from this? Not that the Lord is trying to bore us, but that He is very specific about how He is to be approached and the penalties for ignoring the Lord's requirements. What we find here on record, these penalties are devastating and they are immediate from the earliest stages of the biblical narrative. The Lord differentiated between the worship practices of the people for reasons not specifically given in Scripture. For example, the Lord, quote, did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Genesis Chapter four. We're not told exactly why. Lots of speculation why the Lord didn't regard Cain's offering, but we're just told he did not have regard for it. Exodus 2531 It provides critical instructions for the construction of the tabernacle, including the creation of a sanctuary, a holy place for the Lord. It's ironic that the account of the golden calf in Exodus 32 is set immediately after the Lord sets apart His own spirit inspired craftsmen to make his tabernacle according to his prescriptions. That's an Exodus 31 from the outer court to the holy of Holies. The Tabernacle was designed by God to reflect His Holiness, coupled with the sacrificial system in the Day of Atonement. The entire system expressed the truth that human beings could not come into God's presence on their own terms. The cultic practices that they included sacrifices offering Sabbath observance as festivals, dress diet, all of these prescribed by the Lord, how to do them. And they were designed to keep sinful people in relationship with the covenant Lord. And these sinful people were absolutely dependent upon God for instruction on how to do this throughout the Old Testament. There are severe penalties for ignoring God's prescriptions in approaching him. After the inauguration of the Leviticus priesthood, Nadav and Abdu are put to death for presenting unauthorized fire before the Lord.

[00:31:49] No explanation is given concerning their exact offense, but the Lord's words are repeated. I will show my Holiness to those who are near me. I will reveal my glory before all the people. In Leviticus ten, Saul was rejected as the King of Israel for, among other things, offering improper sacrifice to the Lord. For Samuel, 13. Even King use a righteous king described in Scripture as one who did what was right in the Lord's sight. In Sin Chronicles, 26, was severely punished with an unclean skin disease for illegitimately offering incense. Remember when David attempted to move the Ark of God, the Lord put Uzair to death quote on the spot for his irreverence? What was his crime? Reaching out to steady the ark from falling into the mud. David and his men had dishonored the Lord when they did not, quote, inquire of him about the proper procedures. They should have gone. They should have gone to the law and seen how the ark was to be handled. They failed to obey the Lord's specific command through Moses. The Levites are to carry the Ark on pause, not only with David and the Levites to obey the Lord in approaching him. They also required his enabling to do so. It was quote, Because God helped the Levites who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant to the Lord that the procession and sacrifices were acceptable to God. Worship the Lord is to come on His terms and his terms alone. And in fact, what we find is we need his presence. We need his spirit in order to approach him in an acceptable way. One is a condemnations of idolatry that is very important as we considered how to comport ourselves among religious others, is where to approach the Lord on His terms and his terms alone.

 

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