I Am God, There Is No Other

“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22)

Since the beginning of the world, mankind has failed to see that God is God and there is no other. All was perfect and beautiful within the Garden of Eden; God had provided rivers of water for drinking (Gen. 2:10-14), verdant trees brimming with nutritious fruit for eating (Gen. 2:9), and an environment teeming with life (Gen. 2:19). Everything that man needed was provided by God Who also imparted dominion over the earth and its creatures to humanity (Gen. 1:26-28). Man would rule over the earth with authority and power exceeded only by that of God Himself. God exalted man to a height that only His own throne would exceed, yet it was that throne for which man would grasp. For Satan tempted Adam and Eve with the notion that they, too, could be like God (Gen. 3:5).

Not much has changed in the time since man was expelled from the Garden of Eden. Mankind has yet to really learn and understand that God is God and there is no other. Consider the false gods and idols worshipped by the ancients. From the primitive heathen who would carve out for himself a “god” from wood and stone to the philosophers of Greece and Rome who would create an entire pantheon of deities and worship the creation of their own imagination, man, frustrated by his inability to raise himself to the throne of God, has sought to place something of his own construction in the place occupied by God alone.

But where are these gods, and whither have gone these idols? What has become of the pantheons of Rome, or Greece, or Egypt? Does anyone yet bow their knee before Osiris, or Zeus, or Mercury? The sands of time have faded their memory and they have been overturned from their places of honor. The false gods and idols of the ancients have been cast down and are worshipped no more. “For I am God, there is no other.

And what of those who put their hope in philosophy or science? What of those who exalt intellect, knowledge, and “reason” above all else? One has only to look at the history of such pursuits to realize that what we call brilliance today will eventually be seen as foolishness by our grandchildren. The span of two or three generations is usually more than sufficient time for mankind to realize that what he revered as incontrovertible truth just yesterday has come to be shown as nothing in the world but unfounded nonsense and vain imagination. Intellectuals are often seen as the divine prophets for the secularly-minded, but few of their thoughts and ideas will ever stand the test of time and will one day be regarded as the product of the ignorance of a by-gone era. “For I am God, there is no other.”

Can anything different be said of those who would build empires and rule over the lives of others? Is the legacy of one such as Alexander The Great, Caesar, Napoleon, or Genghis Khan any more lasting than the false deities or philosophers of yesteryear? Consider the end of such who sought to be kings and queens over the whole world. Not only have they passed from the world’s stage, but so have the empires and kingdoms which they struggled so hard to build. They sat upon a throne for a moment in time and now only their names survive the decay of history. “For I am God, there is no other.

The false religions and false gods of today will eventually suffer the same fate as those who came before them, of that we may be certain. Those who put their faith and hope in man have misplaced their faith indeed. Those who follow the teachings of Muhammed will one day be disappointed, because Muhammed is dead and buried. Or those who worship the Buddha will in no way find everlasting life because he, too, is dead and buried. And those who exalt the teachings of people like Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, and others who have founded pseudo-Christian cults above the clear teachings of God’s own Word, the Bible, will find that these men and women were not gods either. The Word of God is eternal and will never pass away (Luke 21:33), but the words of these false prophets and false teachers will one day be proven to be dangerous delusions which deceived many. “For I am God, there is no other.

Finally, there has been a great return in recent times to that very first idolatry: the exaltation of self. Not that this self-worship has ever really left. Man has continued to believe the serpent’s words in the Garden – “you shall be like God.” Many of those living in modern times say that there is nothing worthy of worship and would agree that all these things we’ve considered are not gods either. Yet they fall down at the altar of their own ego and have replaced faith in anything with pride. Claiming to adhere to a doctrine of atheism, these people put their own success, their own happiness, their own pleasure above everything and are not really atheists at all. They are not without belief in a god because they ultimately consider themselves to be god; at least of their own little world. Perhaps they do not seek to rule upon a throne over others or build their own kingdom, but they do esteem their own will and desire as more valuable and important than that of anyone else. Yet God Almighty says to them:

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:” (1 Peter 1:24-25 KJV)

Though they would exalt themselves above the stars, though they would, as Lucifer, ascend above the heights of the clouds (Isaiah 14:14), though they would happily receive the praise and adoration and worship of men, as did Herod when he spoke and the people cried out, “It is the voice of a god and not a man!” (Acts 12:22), in the end, God will have the final word. “For I am God, there is no other.

At life’s end, and end it shall, nothing will remain of the fortunes and kingdoms which men have built. Though a man rule over half the world he will, at last, occupy no more than a six foot by three foot plot of land. And though he possesses more riches than can be fathomed, he will leave this world just as he came into it (1 Timothy 6:7). The story is told of John D. Rockefeller, the Bill Gates of his time, dying and his family waiting eagerly outside of his accountant’s office to find out how much of his staggering fortune he had bequeathed to them in his will. When the account emerged, one relative, unable to control his greedy excitement blurted out, “Well, how much did he leave?” The accountant simply responded, “He left all of it.”

God has sought since time immemorial to teach mankind that He is God and there is no other, not so that His ego might be stroked but that man would look unto Him for Salvation. Man has looked unto every other possible source for Salvation, joy, and fulfillment and has come up empty. God alone can save, God alone can provide fulfillment and lasting peace. The first part of the verse we have been considering says, “Turn to Me and be saved...” Do not turn to a false god, or false religion, or some other person, or the works of your own hands. Turn to Me. It is only by turning to Jesus Christ that a person may be saved (Acts 4:12). How do we know that “God” speaking in Isaiah 45:22 is referring to Jesus Christ? Because of what it says in the next verse:

“I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” (Isaiah 45:23)

Let’s compare that to Philippians 2:10:

“So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

 This demonstrates the truth of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit are One God. So, we are saved when we turn to Jesus. Yet who may turn to Him? All the ends of the earth. This is likely referring to spiritual condition as much as geography. Not only may the man in Australia and the woman in Peru both turn to Jesus and be saved, but so may the drunkard in Belgium and the convicted murderer in India. The dregs of society stand on equal footing with the heads of state when it comes to access to God for Salvation. None are excluded based on location, neither are any disqualified due to transgression. May we all today acknowledge that God is God and there is none else and may we turn to Him and be saved.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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Strange Fire

“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them.  And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” (Leviticus 10:1-2)

Leviticus chapter 9 ends with a wonderful picture of worship done correctly. Every step of the way throughout the offering of sacrifices Aaron and his sons heed the words of Moses as he issues the commands that God Himself has given. In verses 9, 12, 18, and 20, Aaron’s sons are specifically mentioned as participating in the ceremonies and assisting their father. Verse 24, the final verse of the chapter, finds God sending out a holy fire upon the burnt offerings and the people of Israel shouting and falling to their faces in praise and worship of God Almighty.

I wonder just how much time passed between what is described in Leviticus 9:24 and the very next verse, 10:1. Because the entire mood and feel of the narrative takes a very dramatic turn for the worse. Now we have two of the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, deciding to stray from the clear instructions of God spoken through Moses and taking it upon themselves to offer strange fire, that is, fire not commanded by God to be brought. And the same fire that had just been said to consume the burnt offerings came again and consumed the two men.

Although we are not specifically told in detail what the strange fire was that they brought, we are given some hints. In verse 3, Moses recounts the words of the Lord when he tells Aaron,

“By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.”

And in verse 9 God, Who has spoken nearly exclusively with Moses throughout the time the Children of Israel were in the Wilderness, directly addresses Aaron saying,

“Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die—it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations—”

Perhaps the two sons of Aaron were drunk and sought to recreate the experience of worship just for the thrill of it. Maybe, since they were Levitical priests, they felt that they were at liberty to come before God at any time and in any condition they wanted. Whatever the case, they were indicted by God Himself as treating the Lord with dishonor and failing to make a distinction between the holy and the profane (v. 10).

It is significant that this incident directly follows the act of Aaron and the priests making atonement for sin through the sacrifice of sin offerings and burnt offerings since the Old Testament ceremonies of Atonement are a direct foreshadow of Christ’s work of Salvation on the Cross; as evidenced in the Book of Hebrews. It is, therefore, appropriate to find parallels between the actions of Nadab and Abihu profaning the God-ordained rites of Atonement and the works of Salvation performed by the Lord Jesus.

Nadab and Abihu came to God in a way, and at a time, and in a place that God had not instructed them. In short, they came to God on their own terms, not on His. They violated the Law of Moses given by God by seeking to come to God some other way.

We do not live in the age of the Law of Moses, but in the age of the Grace of God through Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, there is a Way by which we are instructed to come to God that we are no more able to bypass than were the sons of Aaron able to bypass the instructions of Moses. Jesus Himself said,

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

And, again, in the Book of Acts, we find the words of Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaiming about Jesus:

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

People still offer strange fire to God by seeking to come to Him on their own terms and in their own way. But we have as clear-cut instructions for how we are to approach a Holy God as the Hebrews living under the Law of Moses did. There are those who feel that, because of who they are or what position they hold, they are free to come to God in any way they deem fit.

There are also even believers who offer strange fire to God when they try to recreate the thrill and excitement that genuine worship of the Lord brings when our hearts are right before Him and, like the two sons of Aaron, profane the holiness of God by coming before Him drunk in their own pride and vanity, attempting to persuade God to respond to their own efforts apart from Him.

We have an access to the throne of God that those living under the Old Testament never had (Hebrews 4:16), but let us never forget that we are only permitted into the Presence of God through the Lord Jesus. God is still a holy God and we must never approach His holy Presence in an unholy way. Before we come before God, let us make sure that our hearts are right before Him and that we are coming through faith in Jesus Christ. If our hearts are not right, then that should be the first order of business when we do come to Him. Not that sin should ever keep us from Him, on the contrary, He is the only One Who can cleanse us from sin. But let us not presume to come to Him offering the strange fire of our own self-righteousness and expecting God to accept it.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Were Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us?

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They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

The two travelers to Emmaus were astonished by their own unbelief after the Lord Jesus revealed His identity to them. How could they have walked so many miles beside the Savior, hearing His own exposition of Scripture and not have even recognized Him?

The Lord Jesus speaks into the ears of many, both those who are His own and those who are not. Some recognize Him, others don’t. Yet the day will come when we shall see Him for Who He truly is and wonder, like the two travelers, did not my heart burn within me as I heard His Words? How could I have failed to recognize, in so many instances, the voice of the Son Of God speaking into my life?

“And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther.” (Luke 24:28)

Jesus had appeared to these two men for the specific purpose of showing them that what had happened to Him in Jerusalem was not the end, it was only the beginning. All that had transpired was according to the plan of God. The Crucifixion, the Resurrection, all of it had been spoken of by the Holy Spirit, through the prophets, and recorded in the Scriptures.

And it was the response of the two disciples to what He had said that caused Him to tarry long enough to show Himself to them. Though He did not intend to go farther, Jesus acted as though He would. They asked Him to stay with them. Their prayer, as it were, was that the Lord might remain with them.

God is speaking to us daily; through His Word, through the preaching of His ministers, through the circumstances of our lives. He would that we would all pray Him, “Abide with me.” But for some His voice makes no impression at all and the heart remains hard and the ear closed. So He goes father, just as He has before. And with each passing the hardened heart grows colder and His voice seems all the fainter. It is never His intention to pass us by, He only acted as if He would go farther along the Road to Emmaus. No, His business and purpose was within the place where Clops and his companion were staying.

May we all stay sensitive to the voice of our Shepherd. May we recognize Him when He speaks. And may we, too, bid Him to stay with us.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

New Comment Policy

My intention when first beginning this blog was to allow any and all appropriate comments and questions to be published. As long as the opinion expressed was free from obscenity I have always been careful to allow even the most disagreeable comments to appear on Answers From The Book. I believed that remarks which challenged my beliefs and writings were mostly healthy and, since I really have nothing to fear from opposing viewpoints, could possibly open a door for a fruitful discussion.

Over the past 7 and a half years, I have received hundreds of messages ranging from the inspirational and uplifting to the debased and blasphemous. At one point, I had the time and interest in addressing many of these negative comments with the hope that, even if the person writing the comment itself was unreceptive, perhaps someone else reading the discussion might find the information helpful. Long ago I abandoned trying to directly respond to each and every detractor and became much more selective over which ones I would engage with.

Now I find it necessary to take things a step further. Over recent months, this website has attracted the attention of more and more people who seem to enjoy spending their time heckling websites about Christianity, a belief-system that they vehemently assert they reject entirely. What would possess someone to compose lengthy attacks against something that they regard as nonsensical fairy tales is curious in itself, but such is the nature of their obsession.

To be honest, I myself have grown tired of reading their garbage and no longer wish to have my website littered with their hateful diatribes. I have spent a great deal of time attempting to reason with many of these folks and have learned that most of them have no real interest in what those who disagree with them have to say. Anything that challenges their pre-conceived notions is usually brushed aside or ignored altogether.

This blog is written for the purpose of edifying Christians and for presenting the Gospel message to the unsaved who are willing to listen. It is not a sounding board for militant atheism and those frustrated and angry with the Christian Faith. There are enough websites and forums for that and precious few which present a God-centered, Biblical worldview.

It is not my intention to silence opposing views but to discontinue allowing those with their own agenda to come here and attempt to “shout me down” in the comments. I’m not afraid that their arguments are unanswerable, it’s just not worth my time and effort to try to persuade those who won’t even listen. I would never allow skeptics to come into a church and spray paint their anti-Christian messages on the walls and I suppose that I feel similarly about allowing them to virtually do the same thing here.

I will still be allowing comments on my posts, but if your purpose is to ridicule, mock, heckle, and attack Christianity in general, be aware that your comments will not be published.

Loren

Blood Tipped Ears, Thumbs, and Toes

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“Then he presented the second ram, the ram of ordination, and Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram. Moses slaughtered it and took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.” (Leviticus 8:22-23)

Many of the rituals mentioned in Leviticus may seem strange to us unless we remember that “blood” throughout this book is a foreshadow of the blood of Christ which covers all believers. The blood mentioned in Leviticus 8:22-23 is no exception.

The event being described here is the ordination of Aaron the High Priest and the other priests who will serve in the Tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were being prepared for priestly service and were being covered with the blood of sacrifice.

Since the New Testament tells us that every believer has been called into the priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), that is, into service to Jesus Christ our Lord, much of the symbolism present here is applicable to those of us in the Body of Christ. First of all, to be fit for service, a person must be covered in the blood, the blood of Jesus Christ. How many hypocritical “servants” of the Lord have done great harm to the cause of Christ because they never really knew Him? Before we are fit to serve, the sin question in our own lives must be resolved and we must be trusting in the Lord Jesus for our own Salvation. Before a Levitical priest could be ordained for service he had to be covered in the blood of sacrifice.

But why the ear? the toe? the thumb? Because the ear must be anointed to hear and rightly divide the Word of God. Any service or ministry must be grounded in the Word. We are not all called to teach or preach, but our service, whatever it might be, must be grounded in Biblical truth. Whether our calling is evangelism or tending the nursery during church services, our ministry is not as effective as it should be if we remain ignorant of the Bible.

The thumb represents our actions and our labor. Every ministry is a ministry of action and a blood-covered and anointed thumb speaks of this. That action may be the arduous labors of a missionary to a Third-World country or it might be the action of a wheelchair-bound widow folding her hands to pray for God’s people. God has not called any of us to sit on the sidelines and watch. Service to the Lord is not a spectator sport.

The toe speaks of movement; service is a mobile endeavor. No, we are not all supposed to travel abroad in order to serve God, but our steps should be leading us along the path He has laid out for us. “GO into all the world…”, Jesus said (Mark 16:15). Not “Sit and wait for the world to come to you.” So many churches have been built, furnished, decorated, prayed over and dedicated, and then filled with a few folks who wait anxiously for people to come and find them. Service to God involves going out to where the people in need are. We can’t just build a building and hope they come, we should be taking the Gospel to them and inviting them to come into our churches with us.

Finally, notice that the ear, thumb, and toe mentioned are the right ear, thumb, and toe. The right-hand side is spoken of in the Bible as the side of strength and power since most people are right-handed. Rachel wanted to name her son Ben-oni, the son of my sorrow since she felt her life slipping away during her labor. But Jacob, his father, named him Ben-jamin, son of my right hand since he would need to lean on the boy for strength now that his beloved Rachel was gone.

Christian service is to be done in our strength and with the fulness of effort. We are not supposed to just give a little bit of time and effort that we have left after everything else we wanted to do is done. God does understand and expect us to fulfill our obligations to work and family, but too often we relegate any service to Him into the “if I have enough time to squeeze it in” category. This one does sting a little because I know that I can do better in my own service and ministry which is writing this blog! Praise God He’s still working on me.

It is my prayer that everyone within the Body of Christ, including myself, will be more mindful of the service and ministry into which God has called us. Let us go forward with blood-tipped ears, thumbs, and toes and make 2016 the year where we begin to reclaim territory that has been lost.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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