Friday, July 16, 2010

No Other Gods Before Me Or After Me - An In Depth Look into Isaiah 43:10

I wanted to address a scripture, which is probably the most used by Anti-Mormons and certainly the most mis-quoted. I am a very big stickler about reading scriptures in context and it bothers me when they're not. Scriptures are not written words to mold to one's understanding. They must truly study Ancient Israel in all of its aspects while also having a running understanding of the Bible in order to understand these verses in context. The verse I want to address today is Isaiah 43:10

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."

If we were to ONLY read this verse without verses 9 leading up to it and 11 after wards, then I can see how easy it would be to go willy nilly in the internet and drop this verse all day long to suit ones purposes. If you were to read it WORD for WORD with these collection of words, as it appears in the English Language, one may possibly be hearing... "No God Formed" and they might loosely interpret this as saying, "No God Created" or "No God Born" but this isn't even what the question is all about. Continuing in verse 11, we learn...

"I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour."

Let's remember at what point in time this was written also. It is late in the years after Israel has already been organized and have been living in the promised land for quite some time. They had already dealt with the introduction of other false God's such as Baal. They have already been influenced by the God's of other nations.

So what is Isaiah really writing? It's the Lord saying the same thing here as he did on Mt. Sanai when he told Moses this:

Thou shalt have NO other GODS before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
(Emphasis Added) *Exodus 20:3-5*

What evidence do we have that there were other Gods that were worshiped before the one true God, the God of Israel? One only needs to go back to the book of Joshua.

Joshua 24:15-16

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;

So we learn that we must not follow after the Gods that were worshiped by Men during ANY other time in the history of this world, that exist now, or can possibly be invented before the great day of judgment shall surely come to pass. The words mis-quoted in Isaiah do not disqualify Men from reaching their true potential. The Lord himself said, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Revelations 3:30. These are not IDLE words spoken by the Lord to his servant John while on the Isle of Patmos. Those early church members once had a perfect knowledge of their true potential. To him that overcomes the world will be granted the opportunity to rule and reign in the house of Israel as the Kings and Priests which they are.

In conclusion, chapter 43 of Isaiah are the Lord's words to ancient Israel, that they should rely upon ONE savior and only that ONE TRUE MESSIAH and to not follow after the God's who were worshiped in those days, worshiped in the past, or could POSSIBLY be invented in the future. This reference holds no connection to Man's potential to becoming like his Father in Heaven; which I have found more evidence in the Bible than can possibly be written on this blog that supports Man's true potential versus a badly, mis-quoted verse of scripture such as Isaiah 43:10 being quoted out of context. Chapter 43 is all about the Lord's word to Israel. The Lord says: "I am thy God; I will gather thy seed; beside me there is no Savior; ye are my witnesses."

All who belong to covenant Israel are now the witnesses for the Lord and we witness unto the world with the power of the Holy Ghost that there are prophets once again in Israel and for the whole earth. We testify to the world that Isaiah said it best. There is only one name under heaven through which men can receive a forgiveness from their sins and that name is Jesus Christ.

2 Nephi 31: 20-21

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God...

If you are already a member of this new and everlasting covenant, then continue to press forward as covenant Israel in these latter-days. Let not the gods of this world occupy your time and attention. Let not the graven images of our world today replace the one true Lord, which is Jesus Christ, in our importance. Let the words of Isaiah, spoken in true context, teach men on earth that there is only ONE God, as far as he is concerned, that we must worship and laud as the only means through which we may be saved in that glorious kingdom which is shortly to come to be. But make no mistake about this...the Bible talks repeatedly about the deification of man and of man's potential to be sanctified and made holy!

Some have confused this passage of scripture to mean that we are all 'judges' and not literal children of God. (See Psalms 82:1,6-8) If you read carefully in this Psalm, it was well understood by the ancient Hebrews that we were literally the 'children of God' being thus also called gods. This did not mean that we were 'immortal' or that we would never die in the sense of how God is, yet. One day our bodies would be renewed and one day we would ALL be immortal. We would all become perfected in Christ and through the atonement, if we gave it cause to work within us. (See Galatians 3:24, Philip. 3:15 (14–15) - See also 2 Tim. 2:10–12, Romans 8:15-18, but best explained by Paul's writings to Timothy.)

John 10:29-39 explains more about why the Lord used the passage in Psalms to explain how he and the father were both divine and enjoyed the same level of Godhood. This does not necessarily explain to the world regarding our 'true potentials' but that this could never be accomplished on our own regardless. The need for a 'savior' and 'sanctification/purification via the baptism of Fire and the refiners fire would still need to enact itself upon those disciples of Jesus..."

John 10: 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. 39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,"

It wasn't written in error about 'ye are gods' because each one of us are prince's ... which are prince's to become kings and then like the father, who is the King of Kings. This was also well explained in Revelation 1:5-6 - the early saints had no doubt that mankind's potential was to 'join the father' and become like him. Many Early Christian saints held this belief, to be sure.

Potential to become 'like God' is Un-Christian?

Some Christians insist that the doctrine of theosis is unBiblical and unChristian. However, a review of Christian history illustrates that this doctrine was and is a common belief of many Christians.

Irenaeus (ca. AD 115-202) Saint Irenaeus, who may justly be called the first Biblical theologian among the ancient Christians, was a disciple of the great Polycarp, who was a direct disciple of John the Revelator. Irenaeus is not a heretic or unorthodox in traditional Christian circles, yet he shares a belief in theosis:

While man gradually advances and mounts towards perfection; that is, he approaches the eternal. The eternal is perfect; and this is God. Man has first to come into being, then to progress, and by progressing come to manhood, and having reached manhood to increase, and thus increasing to persevere, and persevering to be glorified, and thus see his Lord. Like the LDS, Irenaeus did not believe that this belief in any way displaced God, Christ, or the Holy Ghost: there is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption....Since, therefore, this is sure and stedfast, that no other God or Lord was announced by the Spirit, except Him who, as God, rules over all, together with His Word, and those who receive the Spirit of adoption.

Bibliography Notes: Henry Bettenson, "The Early Christian Fathers: A Selection from the Writings of the Fathers from St. Clement of Rome to St. Athanasius" (London: Oxford University Press, 1956)pages 16–17, page 94. ISBN 0192830090. Visit this link for more research on the matter and the thoughts and beliefs of many other "Christian Fathers" who lived from 100-400 A.D. who held the same beliefs. http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Deification_of_man#endnote_fn1

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

show us where in the bible that we will become as gods

TheLdsLife said...

(See Psalms 82:1,6-8) If you read carefully in this Psalm, it was well understood by the ancient Hebrews that we were literally the 'children of God' being thus also called gods. This did not mean that we were 'immortal' or that we would never die in the sense of how God is, yet. One day our bodies would be renewed and one day we would ALL be immortal. We would all become perfected in Christ and through the atonement, if we gave it cause to work within us. (See Galatians 3:24, Philip. 3:15 (14–15) - See also 2 Tim. 2:10–12, Romans 8:15-18, but best explained by Paul's writings to Timothy.
Then when desired, Cross reference Psalms 82:1,6-8 with John Chapter 10:29-39... Jesus would not have mentioned the Psalm if he was trying to proclaim himself to be God versus 'like a judge' as some Christians have attempted to portray this into meaning.
Does this help? Any questions thus far? We've got a fair amount of material to digest...

I stress though that the most important verses here were found in 2 Timothy... I also like Revelation 1:5-6;3:19-21 to explain what it is that we will all be doing after we TOO will be crowned with glory.

Evidences everywhere in the Bible talk about the deification and sanctification of man... to become priests and kings unto the most high God... to sit on thrones 'with God' and to become one with him as Jesus is one with the father. (See also John 17:21)