Christian Churches of God
The First Commandment:
The Sin of Satan
(Edition 2.0 19960227-19991020)
The Bible is predicated upon the story of the creation and the rebellion of the heavenly Host within that process. The chief figure in that rebellion was one of the sons of God who the Bible refers to by various names – the most common is Satan. Satan was known by other names which bear light on his nature and indicate his sin.
The First Commandment: The Sin of Satan
The Bible is predicated upon the story of the creation and the rebellion of the heavenly Host within that process. The chief figure in that rebellion was one of the sons of God who the Bible refers to by various names – the most common is Satan (1Chr. 21:1; Job 1:6; Jn. 13:27; Acts 5:3; 26:18; Rom. 16:20).
The name Satan is the Hebrew word sawtawn (SHD 7854), which is derived from another Hebrew word sawtan (SHD 7853) which is a prime root meaning to attack, hence accuse. Thus the meaning is adversary. The word, especially when accompanied by the article, refers to The Adversary, Satan, the arch-enemy of good. The word has the meaning of adversary or to withstand. The connotation is thus of rebellion. The New Testament uses the word satanas (SGD 4567) which is a transliteration of a word of Chaldean origin which corresponds to the Hebrew word Satan (SHD 7854; and appearing as SGD 4566). It means the accuser. It is thus also beyond dispute that the theological frame of reference in the New Testament was based upon the Hebrew/Aramaic structure.
Satan was known by other names, which bear light on his nature and indicate his sin. He was referred to as Azazel in the Hebrew writings, both biblical and non-biblical. The Azazel goat appears in Leviticus 16:10 and has the meaning of complete removal.
Leviticus 16:5-10 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. 7And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (KJV)
The distinction here is between two goats. One is for Yahovah and the other is the so-called scapegoat here. The term rendered scapegoat is translated as for complete removal by Green (The Interlinear Bible). The word is ‘aza’zel (SHD 5799) which is made up of two Hebrew words, the first is ‘azal (SHD 235) meaning to go away or disappear. It means to fail, gad about or go to and fro. However, in Ezekiel 27:19, the word is rendered by many as from Uzal, and by others as yarn (see Strong’s note). The second word is ‘ez (SHD 5795) which is a she goat, but is masculine in the plural. This word is itself derived from ‘azaz (SHD 5810) which is a prime root meaning to be stout. Literally or figuratively it means to harden, be impudent, prevail or strengthen the self or to be strong. This word is taken on to SHD 5811 meaning strong. Azazjahuw (SHD 5812) means literally Jah has strengthened. Azazel might thus be taken to mean literally El has strengthened. The use of El names for the fallen Host is beyond dispute.
The Ethiopic Book of Enoch shows that there were understood to be two hundred angels who descended to the Earth in rebellion. Chapter 6:1ff. shows that they had intercourse with and attempted to produce offspring from human females (M. A. Knibb The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, vol. 2, p. 67ff.). The leader was listed there as Semyaza (Aramaic; Shemyahzah) which apparently means the (or my) name has seen or he sees the name. The allusion is to displaying (or possibly coveting) the name which perhaps has the meaning of attempting to usurp the name and hence the rank.
Fifteen of the top twenty sons of God were understood to have had El names. They appeared, from the construction, to be organised into groups of ten under a senior angel. They were understood as descending on Ardis, the summit of Mt. Hermon (see Knibb, p. 68). The tenth of the leaders was Asael meaning God has made.
Knibb holds the term Azazel, who appears in chapter 8:1 (ibid., p. 79), is a corruption of Asael in the original list. The sense would be that God has made becomes God has made stout (or impudent). This is conjecture.
From the positioning in the text it is also possible that Semyaza was understood to be allocated the Azazel name, as Azazel appears to be the teacher of men to make swords etc., hence, war, and the making of jewellery and cosmetics. And the world was changed (ibid., p. 81). At any rate, Azazel emerges as the leader of the rebellion and the corruption of humanity. He is referred to with Semyaza, from 9.6 (p. 86). The being, Azazel, is linked with the revelation of the eternal secrets made in Heaven and Semyaza has made known spells, (he) to whom you gave authority to rule over those who are with him (9.7, ibid.). Azazel and Semyaza are referred to in the same context. They are either two entities working in concert or, equally possible, they are two names of the one entity. The names imply two aspects. Semyaza means he sees the name in that God has delegated His name and authority to him as leader, as He later did to Yahovah Elohim of Israel (Deut. 32:8 RSV, LXX, DSS; Ps. 45:6-7; Zech. 12:8; Heb. 1:8). The name was removed and Semyaza/Azazel was bound in the abyss until the judgment. Enoch is seen by the texts as the scribe or messenger that condemns Azazel and he speaks to him. This seems to confirm that Semyaza and Azazel are perhaps two names for the same entity. Azazel is confined in the bottomless pit in the Ethiopic Book of Enoch. The Bible identifies Satan as this Being.
The implication was that the world was changed through the teaching of the angels or sons of God (ibid.). The Nephilim were also understood as the giants who were the offspring of the angels and mankind (chs. 14 to 22; pp. 95-112). The sense of the texts was also that, afterwards, the mysteries were taught to mankind by the angel Asradel. The text identifies the four great archangels as Michael, Uriel, Raphael and Gabriel (9.1; p. 84).
The name Abaddon in Revelation 9:11 is of Hebrew origin and refers to a destroying angel. It appears to refer to Satan as the Angel of the Bottomless Pit. Apollyon (SGD 623) is a participle of appollumi (SGD 622, from SGD 575, and the base of 3639) to destroy fully and hence to perish or to lose, hence destroy, die, lose, mar, or perish. Apollyon thus means a destroyer and hence Satan (Rev. 9:11). Other names are Katelogos from kata as down or opposing, distribution or intensity and logos the word, hence accuser (of the brothers) (Rev. 12:10); also the adversary (1Pet. 5:8). The connotation here is that Satan accuses God of making an error in creating humans. Thus He could not be omniscient. This is a central aspect to Satan’s sins.
Other names are Beelzebub (Mat. 12:24; Mk. 3:32; Lk. 11:15). This name Beelzeboul (SGD 954) is of Chaldean origin being a parody of Ba’al Zebuwb (SHD 1176), the God of Ekron (from 1168 and 2070) where Baal means the Deity and Zebuwb means a fly, especially used of the stinging type. The word in the Greek text is thus an Aramaic word which is a parody meaning the dung god and, hence, Satan (see Strong’s).
Another term is Belial (SGD 955; 2Cor. 6:15) which is of Hebrew origin and means worthlessness (SHD 1100); hence it is used of Satan. The term devil is derived from the term diabolos (SGD 1228) and is also used of Satan (Mat. 4:1; 13:39; Lk. 4:2,6; Rev. 20:2).
Diabolos is derived from diabollo (SGD 1225) and means to traduce or accuse. Hence a verb for false accusation, which is a characteristic of Satan, has been turned into a noun. The condition of false accuser is the object that is destroyed in the lake of fire. It is not the Being that is destroyed.
Another term is enemy (Mat. 13:39; SGD 2190, echthros) which comes from a prime root echtho; to hate (Strong’s, ibid.) and means hateful or odious or hostile hence an adversary or foe especially used of Satan. It is coupled here with diabolos. Satan is also referred to as an evil spirit (1Sam. 16:14) and a lying spirit (1Kgs. 22:22). He is the Father of Lies (Jn. 8:44).
He is understood by some Trinitarians as being referred to euphemistically as the gates of Hell (Mat. 16:18). However, the gates of death is the sense of this text, meaning that the Church survives persecution.
Revelation refers to him as the great red dragon (Rev. 12:3). The term is also applied as the old serpent (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). He is also the serpent (Gen. 3:4,14; 2Cor. 11:3). John 8:44 classes him as a murderer because, through false teaching and lies, men are killed through sin.
The power of darkness is also applied to him from Colossians 1:13. He is the prince of this world (Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Matthew 12:24 refers to him as the prince of devils. He is also the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), and ruler of the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12).
From these attributes he is the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). He is a tempter (Mat. 4:3; 1Thes. 3:5) through these powers. He is thus the god of this world (2Cor. 4:4) and an unclean spirit (Mat. 12:43) and the wicked one (Mat. 13:19,38).
From these terms we can deduce that he rebelled against the nature of God. He was an anointed guardian or Covering Cherub as we see from Ezekiel 28:14. He was placed on the mountain of God. He was perfect from the day of his creation until iniquity was found in him (Ezek. 28:15). He attempted to ascend above the stars or sons of God and be like The Most High (Isa. 14:12-14). His sin thus lay in attempting to make himself like the Most High and attempting to have other sons of God rebel against the Most High God and follow him in activities contrary to the nature of God, which was made available to the sons of God through the Holy Spirit (see the papers The Holy Spirit (No. 117) and Consubstantial with the Father (No. 081)).
The sin thus lay, in the first instance, as a breach of the First Commandment. This commandment is
Exodus 20:1-3 And God spake all these words, saying, 2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (KJV)
The words are: thou shall have no other elohim before me. The elohim were a plurality, understood as the Council of the Elders (Rev. 4:1 to 5:14), or Gods of Justice, which included Satan and the fallen Host in the first instance. The confining of the Godhead in worship to Eloah and not to any of the elohim is central to the Faith. It is the centrality of the Covenant of Israel. Satan breached this relationship on a spiritual and a physical level.
God had to set about restoring this covenant. He did this through another of the Host who was faithful. This Angel of the Covenant was also an elohim (Zech. 12:8). He was placed at the head of Israel (Deut. 32:8; Zech. 12:8).
The most basic issue of the covenant between God and His people is understood even by those who themselves do not understand the nature of Satan’s breach of the First Commandment. An example is that of R. J. Rushdoony, who is a Trinitarian.
The restoration of that covenant relationship was the work of Christ, His grace to His elect people. The fulfilment of that covenant is their great commission: to subdue all things and all nations to Christ and His [God’s] law-word (R. J. Rushdoony The Institutes of Biblical Law, The Presbyterian Publishing Company, USA, 1973, p. 14).
Satan’s essential sin was to elevate himself and, through him, other sons of God to an equality of will and position with Eloah who is God the Father. Christ and the loyal Host did not make this error.
The Shema deals with this basic position.
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: (KJV)
This text has been used by Trinitarians and Binitarians, to attempt to assert a unity to the elohim such that God and Christ are one elohim. However, this is false. The singularity of Eloah is absolute and does not include the son selected as Messiah as Proverbs 30:4-5 shows. Indeed it includes none of the sons of God, of which there are, and always have been, many (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7).
The base text is Shema Yishrael Yahovah Elohenu Yahovah Ehad.
The basic assumption by Trinitarians (and confused by self-professed Binitarians) is that the term Elohenu is related to elohim. Elohenu is a derivation of Eloah and is singular, as Eloah is singular. Elohim is a plural word and is not the root of this word. Eloah is the basis of both terms.
Christ himself cites Deuteronomy 6:5 as the First and Great Commandment (Mat. 22:37; Mk. 12:30; Lk. 10:27) and the essential and basic principle of the Law. Satan thus breached this rule and Christ did not. This was the essential distinction between them.
The concept of the elohim being one is as under the rule and will of Eloah who is the One True God (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn 5:20). Jesus Christ is not the One True God and as such this text cannot refer to Messiah, but to the Father only. Trinitarians and, to another extent, Binitarians are thus in breach of the First Commandment.
First Principle: There is One True God
Rushdoony sees that the first principle of the Shema is that Israel cannot admit another god or elohim. There is thus one God, one Law (ibid., p. 18). It is the declaration of an absolute moral order to which man must conform.
If Israel cannot admit another god and another law-order, it cannot recognize any other religion or law-order as valid either for itself or for anyone else. Because God is one, truth is one. Other people will perish in their way, lest they turn and be converted (Ps. 2:12). The basic coercion is reserved to God (Rushdoony, p. 18).
Here God is one and truth is one. Truth is one because, like the nature of goodness, it proceeds from the omnipotence and omniscience of God. Omniscience is understood as the knowledge of all true propositions, hence truth is a centrality of the power of God. Thus there is one truth.
Despite this understanding the incongruity of their position on the Godhead is not addressed by such Trinitarian or Binitarian thinkers.
Trinitarians, such as Rushdoony, see that the First Commandment is central to the Covenant and attempt to reconcile the contradiction in the elevation of Christ to a level and co-eternality with God by merging the entities, despite the clear evidence of the biblical texts. Co-eternality is overruled because 1Timothy 6:16 shows that only God is immortal. God confers eternal life on Christ (Jn. 5:26).
John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (KJV)
Christ is thus dependent upon God for eternal life. Thus Christ cannot be co-eternal with God prior to the beginning of creation. Only God stood alone, eternally, before the beginning of time. Hence, Christ is not a true God in the same sense that God is the One True God. He was the glory as of an only born son (uios) and god (theos or elohim) (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20; Jn. 1:14,18; see Marshall’s Greek-English Interlinear).
Trinitarians attempt to evade this intellectual dilemma by merging the beings and then avoiding the ontological problems by appeal to mystery. Essentially, this is the sin of Satan. Trinitarians and Binitarians seek to accuse Christ and Christians of the same sin of which Satan was guilty.
Binitarians are in fact in greater dilemma than Trinitarians. The sin of Satan is a clear breach of the First Commandment. A Binitarian asserts that Christ has eternally existed (Constitution of the United Church of God, an International Association, Revision of 21 November 1995).
This Satanic heresy strikes at the capacity of the elect to be co-heirs with Christ. Logically, the position implies that there are two true Gods, namely God and Christ, and that they have eternally existed. The assertion is implicit that Christ had existence independently of the power of God. This assertion is a damnable heresy because it breaches the logical requirements of the omnipotence of God and is directly contrary to Scripture. As Binitarians assert a complete logical and actual independence of the two separate beings they are logical dualists. Dualism attacks the very nature of the monotheist structure and the power of God. The doctrine leads to the blasphemous assertion that God and Christ could have had a discussion as to who would go down to be sacrificed. This assertion has actually been stated by an American evangelist at rallies, (e.g. in Canberra, Australia, during Tabernacles 1990), as a theological probability. This blasphemy strikes at the very heart of the First Commandment. Also see the comment at page 6 of the March-April 1989 edition of The Good News magazine.
The admission of a second true God eternally extant before the beginning of God’s activity, and hence creation, establishes another elohim as an object of worship beside Eloah. This is expressly forbidden. Such a teaching produces another God and is idolatry. Such teaching forfeits the adherents right to the first resurrection (Rev. 20:1-6) and is idolatry.
Second Principle: The Unchanging Nature of God and the Law
Rushdoony isolates a number of significant subsidiary premises, which are fundamental to the first commandment, despite his problem with the Trinity. The other premises are:
2. An absolute unchanging God means one absolute unchanging law. The alternative to law is not grace it is lawlessness (ibid., p. 20). To speak of the law as being for Israel but not for Christians is not only to abandon the law but also to abandon the God of the law. Since there is only one true God, and His law is the expression of His unchanging nature and righteousness then to abandon the biblical law for another law system is to change gods. The moral collapse of Christendom is a product of this current process of this changing gods (ibid., p. 20).
Principle 2 has a number of sub-elements.
2.1 is that the unchanging nature of God means that the law is unchanging. This is essential, as the law must proceed from a premise, other than the fact that God issued it from whim or fancy. The only basis for the issue of the law is that it proceeds from the nature of God and He could issue no other system.
2.2 is thus developed from this premise. Grace thus cannot be an alternative to the law. It must be an adjunct to that system and a means of perfection within the system. The alternative to law is lawlessness. This is termed anti-nomianism, from nomos or law. This is essentially a Gnostic doctrine which emanated from Alexandrian Gnosticism and which was developed by both the Romans and the Greeks in their theological exposition of Christianity. It first attacked Judaism and thence Christianity. Henry A. Green (The Economic and Social Origins of Gnosticism, SBL, Dissertation Series 77, Scholars Press, Atlanta, Georgia, 1985) said in his work:
For the majority of the Gnostics who were indebted to the Jewish story of creation, anti-nomianism was in fact opposition to the Mosaic Law, the cosmic law. All law became identical to oppressive cosmic fate. Pneumatic morality, determined by hostility towards the cosmic world, concentrated on liberating the Gnostic from Mosaic Law and Jewish morality. ... Allegorical interpretation of the Mosaic Law or its rejection in part or whole could easily have led to heterodox movements characteristic of the rebel’s response. Expressing the viewpoint of the anomic, disenfranchised Jew, Greek ethics and attitudes could surface openly, stripped of the Jewish God and [H]is Laws.
There is a great deal of evidence from both the Church Fathers and the Nag Hammadi library that the Gnostics opposed the Mosaic Law (pp. 204-205).
The elevation of Christ served two purposes. It removed the Messiah ontologically from the elect and hence struck at the inheritance of the elect as co-heirs. However, it was necessary because only by the elevation of Christ to equality and co-eternality with God could it be asserted that Christ had eliminated the law of the God of the Jews and, in its place, a structure based on Greek ethics and theological understanding could be advanced. The Gnostic doctrines, which resulted in the Trinity, were essential to Hellenist thought within the new faith. Only through this process could Satan subvert the message and ensure non-compliance with the law of God. The entire law/grace argument of modern Christianity is a demonic inspired, Gnostic position (see also the papers The Relationship Between Salvation by Grace and the Law (No. 082), Works of the Law Text - or MMT (No. 104) and Heresy in the Apostolic Church (No. 089)).
Third Principle: Obedience to God
The third principle of the first commandment is perhaps the most difficult but the most central to the activities of Christ. That principle is the principle of obedience. Christ learnt obedience from all that he suffered (Heb. 5:8). By the obedience of Christ many shall be made righteous (Rom. 5:19). The purpose of the faith was to make the Gentiles, or nations, obedient (Rom. 16:19,26). Rushdoony says:
3. A third principle of the Shema of Israel is that one God, one law, requires one, unchanging, and unqualified obedience: “thou shall love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deut. 6:5). The meaning is that man must obey God totally, in any and every condition, with all his being. Since man is totally the creature of God, and since there is not a fiber of his being which is not the handiwork of God and therefore subject to the total law of God, there is not an area of man’s life and being which can be held in reservation from God and His law. Therefore, as Deuteronomy 6:6 declares “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” (ibid., p. 20-21).
The purpose of the Holy Spirit was to instil these processes of obedience to the law of God into the hearts of mankind. Monotheism is predicated entirely on this third principle of obedience to the will of God, which, as law, stems from His nature. Thus His will is law, being an expression of the divine omniscience and omnipotence as creative power. All beings are under the divine will as expressed by the law, or they are polytheist, having wills external to the will of God. In this sense Binitarianism is polytheist in that it seeks to establish two eternal wills.
The Soul Doctrine takes this polytheism a step further in that it seeks to assert multiple wills external to the power of God and independent of God for eternal life. The biblical position is that Christ is dependent upon God for eternal life as God has life in Himself. Christ is thus not a true God and the so-called Immortal Soul cannot exist, or monotheism is logically breached as is Scripture (Jn. 5:26; 14:28; 1Tim. 6:16).
To rebel against God’s will, and His will as law, is to assert an independence from God and impugn the logical necessity of monotheism. Hence, rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (1Sam. 15:23).
Fourth Principle: Education in the Law
The principle of obedience to the law follows on to the fourth principle. This principle of education in the law is inseparable from both obedience to the law and from worship. These are the first elements. Worship is entirely centred on Eloah who is the object of worship and the focus of the Temple (Ezra. 4:24; 5:1-2,8,12-17; 6:3-12). Thus: There is no God but Eloah.
Rushdoony says of this principle.
4. A fourth principle which follows from the Shema Israel is stated in Deuteronomy 6:7-9, 20-25; education in the law is basic to and inseparable both from obedience to the law and from worship. The law requires education in terms of the law. Anything other than a Biblically grounded schooling is thus an act of apostasy for a believer: it involves having another god and bowing down before him to learn from him. There can be no true worship without true education, because the law prescribes and is absolute, and no man can approach God in contempt of God’s prescription
From Deuteronomy 6:8 Israel derived the use of Tephillin, the portions of the law bound upon the head or arm at prayer. Of 6:8,9 it has been observed:
As these words are figurative, and denote an undeviating observance of the divine commands, so also the commandment which follows, viz. to write the words upon the door-posts of the house, and also upon the gates, are to be understood spiritually; and the literal fulfilment of such a command could only be a praiseworthy custom or well-pleasing to God when resorted to as the means of keeping the commandments of God constantly before the eye. The precept itself, however, presupposes the existence of this custom, which is not only met with in the Mahometan countries of the East at the present day, but was also a common custom in ancient Egypt. (Keil and Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, vol III, The Pentateuch (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1949), p 324)
What is required, certainly, is that mind and action, family and home, man’s vision and man’s work, be all viewed in the perspective of God’s law-word.
But this is not all. The literal fulfilment of the command concerning the frontlets and the posts (Deut. 6:8,9) is clearly required, as Numbers 15:37-41 (cf. Deut. 11:18-20) makes clear. The blue thread required cannot be spiritualized away. God requires that He be worshiped according to His own word. (ibid., pp. 21-22)
Deuteronomy 6:8 is modified by Deuteronomy 6:6. The spiritual intent is reflected by the ribbons (Num. 15:37-41) (cf. also the paper Blue Ribbons (No. 273)). The elements of the law are thus central to the principle of education and mental preoccupation with service to God. The first commandment thus has predicated upon, or within it, a series of subsidiary ordinances, which develop and explain its intent and purpose (cf. the paper Law and the First Commandment (No. 253)).
Another aspect which Rushdoony develops in this principle is that
worship in an unknown tongue (1Cor. 14) is a violation of this commandment, as is worship which lacks the faithful proclamation of God’s word, or is without the education of the people of the covenant in terms of the covenant law-word. (ibid., p.23)
Hence, speaking in tongues either of men or of demons, either foreign and real, or garbled and unintelligible or imaginary is a breach of the principles within the first commandment also. This point leads then into the fifth principle, which is that the response to grace is the keeping of the law (see Jas. 1:22-26).
This is perhaps the most misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued principle. The entire Grace/Law argument stems from the misapplication of the biblical texts. The errors are quite condemned by the entire structure of the Reformation system (see the paper Distinction in the Law (No. 096)).
Rushdoony says of the principle of grace:
A fifth principle which is also proclaimed in this same passage, in Deuteronomy 6:20-25, is that, in this required education, it must be stressed that the response to grace is the keeping of the law. Children are to be taught that the meaning of the law is that God redeemed Israel out of bondage, and “that he might preserve us alive,” “commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always” (6:24). There is no warrant for setting this aside in either the Old or New Testament. Where the churches of the Old or New Testament have set up a false meaning to the law, that false meaning is attacked by prophets and apostles, but never the law of God itself. Because God is one, His grace and law are one in their purpose and direction. This passage makes pointedly clear the priority of God’s electing grace in the call and redemption of His chosen people. The relationship of Israel was a relationship of grace, and the law was given in order to provide God’s people with the necessary and required response to grace, and manifestation of grace: the keeping of the law. (ibid., p. 23)
The law thus stands intact and is kept by Christians. It is defended by the prophets and apostles. If professing Christians speak not according to the Law and the Testimony, there is no light in them (Isa. 8:20).
Sixth Principle: The Fear of God and His Jealousy
In Deuteronomy 6:10-15, another central point is made with respect to the implications of the Shema Israel:
And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land which He swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee - great and goodly cities, which thou didst not build, and houses full of good things, which thou didst not fill, and cisterns hewn out, which thou didst not hew, vineyards and olive-trees, which thou didst not plant, thou shalt eat and be satisfied - then beware lest thou forget the LORD, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; and Him only shalt thou serve, and by His name shalt thou swear. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples that are around about you; for a jealous God, even the LORD thy God, is in the midst of thee; lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee; and He destroy thee from off the face of the earth. (Masoretic Text of the Jewish Publication Society of America, hereinafter referred to as MTV).
Here, the sixth principle of the first commandment is the fear of God or the jealousy of God dependent upon the perspective from which the activity is viewed. The central point is that there is no other law-order than that established by God. Thus Christ could not do away with the law as he was an image of the invisible God and, hence, having the Holy Spirit he partook of the divine nature and could issue no instruction other than that which was conveyed to him from the nature of God through the Holy Spirit. Rushdoony says:
Thus the sixth principle is the jealousy of God. This is a fact of cardinal importance. The chosen people are warned, as they occupy and possess a rich land which they did not develop, lest they forget God, who delivered and prospered them. Seeing the wealth which came from a culture hostile to God, God’s covenant people will be tempted to see other means to success and prosperity than the Lord. The temptation will be to “go after other gods ... the gods of the people around about.” This is to believe that there is another law-order than God’s order; it is to forget that the success and the destruction of the Canaanites was alike the work of God. It is the provocation of God’s wrath and jealousy. The fact that jealousy is associated repeatedly with the law, and invoked by God in the giving of the law, is of cardinal importance in understanding the law. The law of God is not a blind, impersonal, and mechanically operative law. ... But the jealous God prevents the triumph either of Canaan or an apostate Israel or church. Without a jealous, personal God, no justice is possible. (ibid., pp. 24-25)
The assumption that is often made from this principle is that might and numbers constitute the Church of God. This assumption is incorrect. The triumph of the Church of God is at the resurrection at the return of Messiah for the millennial rule. It is for this reason that the trinitarian system, and specifically the Catholic Church, must allocate to itself the function of true Church under the reign of Christ now, when clearly that is not so according to Scripture. Scripture advances a false church of great power under a world system ruled by Satan and the power of the beast. This church (represented by the term woman) is drunk on the blood of the saints and martyrs (Rev. 17:1-6). This system exists in and accommodates a world ruled by the god this world (2Cor. 4:4) and the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2).
The blessing of the Covenant Israel proceeds to the nation by birthright and is kept by the individuals within the nation who adhere to the faith. It was evident from the fifteenth century that perhaps half of England was privately Unitarian over the Reformation and indeed the Godhead is identified by many within trinitarian structures in Unitarian terms. For this reason God has protected Israel His chosen regardless of the suppression of theological truth in many areas.
Seventh Principle: God is Not to be Tempted
The seventh principle, which flows on from the Shema is that of tempting God. This is distinct from the concept of testing God which He says specifically to do in regard to tithing (Mal. 3:10). Tithing is specifically related to the first commandment and, although expounded separately as a doctrine, is determined by the worship of the One True God. Tithing to an apostate system is worshipping a false god and a breach of the first commandment (cf. the paper Tithing (No. 161)).
A seventh principle which follows from the Shema Israel is declared in Deuteronomy 6:16-19:
Ye shall not try the LORD your God, as ye tried Him in Massah. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and His testimonies, and His statutes, which He hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD; that it may be well with thee and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to thrust out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken (MTV).
It was this that Satan tried to tempt Jesus to do: to try God, to put God to the test. Israel tempted God at Massah by raising the question, “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Ex. 17:7).
The worship of Jehovah not only precludes all idolatry, which the Lord as a jealous God, will not endure (see at Ex. xx.5), but will punish with destruction from the earth (“the face of the ground,” as in Ex. xxxii.12): but it also excludes tempting the Lord by an unbelieving murmuring against God, if He does not remove any kind of distress immediately, as the people had already sinned at Massah, ie., at Rephidim (Ex xvii. 1-7). (Keil and Delitzsch, op. cit., III, 325 f.)
This seventh principle thus forbids the unbelieving testing of God: God’s law is the testing of man; therefore, man cannot presume to be god and put God and His law-word on trial. Such a step is a supreme arrogance and blasphemy; it is the opposite of obedience, because it is the essence of disobedience to the law. Hence, it is contrasted to a diligent keeping of the law. This obedience is the condition of blessing: it is the ground of conquest and of possession, in terms of which the covenant people of God, His law-people, enter into their inheritance. (ibid., pp. 26-27)
The first commandment is thus central to the faith and upon this commandment hang the other commandments and the ordinances. James was able to carry the entire argument through to posit that the breach of one breaches them all. This was then extended to respect of persons being a direct attack on the law. The necessity for works in the faith under the law is a central thrust of the epistle of James. It is denigrated by theologians because of this message.
James 2:1-26 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. 14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (KJV)
The second great Commandment of Love of Neighbour is predicated also upon obedience to the law. Thus, the entire thrust of the teaching of Jesus Christ is predicated upon the law of God. This is the perfect law of liberty (Jas. 1:25). Respect of persons is sin and a breach of God’s law and will (Jas. 2:9) as surely as is idolatry and witchcraft (cf. the papers Respect of Persons (No. 221) and The Second Great Commandment (No.257)).
Satan had respect of persons in his accusation against the brethren and humanity. Thus the activity of the demons commences with a breach of the first commandment and continues into the breach of the entire law. Those that breach or diminish the law and teach others to do likewise are guilty of sin and do the work of the adversary. For this reason they are considered least in the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat. 5:17-20).
Matthew 5:17-20 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)
The capacity to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is predicated upon the resurrection. The capacity of these false teachers is consequently reduced and they are removed to the second resurrection where they can be re-taught. Only those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ can enter the first resurrection as saints with the right to the tree of life (Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 22:14 KJV).
If you believe that there is one God you do well. Satan and the demons know that there is One True God and tremble (Jas. 2:19). The aim of the demons is to deceive as many as possible so that fewer people enter into the Kingdom and the plan is frustrated. Satan breached the first commandment and is attempting to mitigate his position by misleading others and thus justifying the demons in their activity. Worship God and serve Him only (Mat. 4:10).
Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (KJV)
There is only One True God, Eloah, and Jesus Christ is the son that He sent to us (Prov. 30:4-5; Jn. 17:3; 1Jn 5:20). Christ is the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14) and is faithful to He who made (SGD 4160 poieo) him (Heb. 3:2). The word meaning make or do is here rendered as appointed to obscure the text. It was argued as made at the Council of Nicea. Eloah alone is immortal and no man has ever seen Him or ever can see Him (Jn. 1:18; 1Tim. 6:16). You shall have no other elohim before Him (Ex. 20:2-3; Deut. 5:6-7).
Exodus 20:2-3 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (KJV)