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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Fifty-Ninth (What is a god)

How are you doing today? Well, I hope! Do you ever just feel a peace and calmness? Just a comfort and knowing that Yehovah's got this? With the chaos, confusion and contradiction in the world, that's when you know that feeling is from Him! This week we're going to cover a topic that is the source of the feelings of the world, the things/beings with which the world has replaced Yehovah.

Let's start at the in, the very beginning. Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." I've talked about the Hebrew word elohim before, but did you know that it is the plural of eloah? So you could translate this verse as "In the beginning, Gods created the heavens and the earth." In fact, Yehovah's name does not actually appear until Genesis 2:4. So is Genesis 1:1 stating that He made the heavens and the earth? Or some other gods?

Well, Genesis 2:4 tells the answer to that! It says, " the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens." And as I've written about before, when you see an all caps "LORD" it was translated from the Hebrew, YHVH, or Yehovah, Yahweh to some. So this verse tells us Yehovah is who Genesis 1:1 is talking about. But what does that mean about the word elohim? Can we substitute Yehovah any time we see that word?

Short answer is no, we can't. You can almost consider eloah, and likewise elohim, like a pronoun. Just like "he" can refer to me, Rob, the proper noun, eloah can refer to the King of the Universe, Yehovah, the proper noun. And apparently, so can elohim, the plural version. This is because there is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and we know that in the beginning, Jesus, The Word, was with Yehovah (John 1:1).

So if we can't always substitute elohim with Yehovah, we have to take every occurrence in context and determine if the pronoun is referring to Him or something else. In 2 Chronicles 32:15, we see a verse that includes both a reference to Yehovah and a "god of any nation." We can see which one is which by how it's used. And we can't just assume because our translation has a capital God that it's referring to Yehovah! Seek it out for yourself to discern. For example, there is debate about whether or not it should be capitalized at all in Daniel 11:37-38(KJV). We don't want to assume the translators got everything exactly right or we may get very confused!

Then what is a "god of any nation?" It's something a person treats as Yehovah, but is not Yehovah. So it's anything that a person lets dictate how he or she should live. Anything that gets put in a place of importance in a persons heart which results in that person being controlled by it. Anything that a person performs rituals to, whether they consider them rituals or not or whether they know they are rituals or not. Do you see any of that in the world today?

We can see in Deuteronomy 12:29-32, Yehovah commands not following the gods of other nations, not even asking about them! He even points out that they commit abominations by serving them, in some cases sacrificing their children to them. Do you think that's some description of bygone rituals? Do you think that's ancient history? Absolutely not. These rituals still happen today. Some states are fighting against the ultimate action committed in the rituals, abortion, but in many states it's legal, and even our current administration has money set aside to fund it. If you're someone that's on the fence or even ok with allowing abortion because "it's their body," or whatever the reason, I strongly encourage you to actively research it and study scripture. Hands that shed innocent blood is one of the things Yehovah hates (Proverbs 6:16-17). There is nothing more innocent than an unborn child, and it is our duty as Christians to fight for them because they don't have anyone else to do that.

Ok, soapbox over! Child sacrifice is not the only ritual referenced in scripture, however. Decorating trees (Jeremiah 10:3-4), making idols of course (Exodus 20:4-6), making children pass through fire (2 Kings 17:17), sacrificing to demons (Deuteronomy 32:17), witchcraft and divination (2 Kings 21:6) are also discussed. While these still happen today as well, we look to the New Testament to see another major god being served today (possibly the most served, if I had to guess): mammon, or wealth/riches - money (Matthew 6:24). There's even reference to worshipping angels (Colossians 2:18), which I believe is where the Greek and Roman gods came from.

Really, a god can be anything we make it. It's not listed in scripture, but I personally made time a god without knowing it. I focused on trying to do everything as efficiently as possible, worrying about not having enough time, becoming depressed when I felt like I wasted time. It's not just the scriptural rituals or worshipping that can become a god in our lives. And we cannot serve Yehovah and another god.

Take the time this week to do an inventory of where your focus is, what drives your life, what have you made into an idol or a god. You may be surprised about what you find. And you may find it's harder than you realized to destroy or dismantle the idol/god you least expected to find. But through prayer and supplication, and through Christ, we can bring them down and make Yehovah our one and only God! (Philippians 4:13)

Shabbat Shalom and have a wonderful week!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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