Exalting Man Part 2
Let_s begin by looking at Hebrews 2
6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: "What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.
It seems to me that this passage alone should put to rest any claim that man is divine. We know that angels are not gods and this passage tells us that man has been made lower than angels. How can we be everything that God is and be lower than the angels? Hebrews 1 tells us that the angels came to worship Jesus Christ. If Jesus is the object of the worship of angels and we are lower than the angels, how can Word-Faith doctrine say that we are little Messiahs or that when you look at us, you are looking at Jesus Christ? Consider these passages:
Isaiah 43:10: "You are my witnesses," says the Lord, "And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me."
Isaiah 44:6: "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts, 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.'"
Isaiah 45:21-22: "Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together, Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me."
Isaiah 46:9: "Remember the former things of old, for I am God and there is no other, I am God and there is none like Me."
God doesn_t leave any doubt _ there are no such things as gods. There is only one God and He has revealed Himself in His word. You can_t become a god. The scriptures state, _before Me there was no god formed, nor will there be after Me_. Word-Faith teaches that you are anything that He is, but in the Bible God said, _there is none like Me_. Word-Faith teaches that you are a Christ, but the Bible clearly states that God is the only Savior.
You are equal to God
Look at Isaiah 40:
25 " To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.
The Bible tells us that God is not a man and that man is not like God. Who can be God_s equal is a redundant question. The answer is no one and nothing. Biblical doctrine says that no one is to be compared to God, but the Word-Faith doctrine teaches a completely different gospel. Here is how this doctrine compares man to God:
Man was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God's presence without any consciousness of inferiority. God has made us as much like Himself as possible. He made us the same class of being the He is Himself. Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God. The Believer is called Christ. That's who we are; we're Christ! - Kenneth Hagin
We are Christ? This claim sounds strikingly similar to Jesus_ warning about those who would come in His name in the end times. Look at Jesus_ warnings:
8 And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them.
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
When we see 10,000 people in an auditorium applauding these teachers, it isn_t hard to see that Jesus_ warning that many will be deceived has indeed come to pass. As we look and see billions of dollars being poured into these ministries by _the many_, we can know that we truly are nearing the end. These teachers justify their beliefs by twisting the scriptures. Look at this explanation:
"God does not even draw a distinction between man and Himself. You can never do that in a covenant relationship". _ Paul Crouch
I can only ask, _Why?_ Why can you never draw a distinction in a covenant relationship? Because Word-Faith teachers say so? That is not a legitimate explanation. A covenant is simply a pledge or a will. Even if we concede this issue to the Word-Faith teachers, their doctrine is still false. The covenant is not between God and us, it is between God and Himself with us as the benefactors. Abraham benefited from God_s covenant, but He was not allowed to participate in the actual covenant. In Genesis 15, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Abraham and God walked between the pieces of the sacrifice to seal the covenant. God appeared as both a smoking pot and a burning torch. Abraham slept while God sealed the covenant between Himself and Himself.
Now compare this to the cross. Jesus was God in the flesh. The blood was His own and the covenant was between God and Himself with us as the benefactors. God sealed the covenant while the world slept. Everyone was completely in the dark until after the covenant was sealed. Abraham prepared the sacrifice, but God made the covenant. In Jesus_ time, men prepared the sacrifice but God made the covenant. How does this make us equal with God? Clearly it doesn_t. It only shows that grace is not by works, but by faith in what God alone has done for us. We may have the benefit of a relationship because of the covenant, but the covenant is not dependent on us. Thank God the covenant is not between us and God. If it were, it would have been broken the first time man sinned. What good would the covenant be if man_s failure put us back into the same position mankind was put in at the fall in the Garden? God has already showed that righteousness dependent on man has failed. Now righteousness depends on Christ who cannot fail.
What does it mean, you are gods?
Before we move on, I would like to take the time to address a couple of pet verses that Word-Faith teachers use to persuade people that the Bible supports their _you are god_ theory. The first passage is Exodus 7:
1 So the LORD said to Moses: "See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.
I won_t spend much time on this passage because the intent is quite obvious. The KJV words it, _I have made thee a god to Pharaoh_. Pharaoh was the highest god in ancient Egypt_s pagan religious world. They had gods for everything. Some gods had higher powers than others. The Egyptians believed that it was necessary to appease all the gods so that their wives could be fertile, their crops would yield harvest, the rains would come in season, and so on. The plagues God sent were specific against the powerful gods of Egypt. Pharaoh went down to greet the Nile floods and honor this god. God sent Moses to turn the water to blood. This was a direct assault against this false god. One of their gods was a frog, so God sent a plague of millions of frogs. Because Pharaoh thought he was a god, Moses was like a rivaling god against Pharaoh. To yield to Moses was to admit before his people that Pharaoh wasn_t the strongest god. Moses was not a god. However, to the pagan worshipping Pharaoh he was a god. It was only in Pharaoh_s eyes that Moses was considered divine.
Now look at Psalm 82:
1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.
2 How long will you judge unjustly, And show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.
5 They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
6 I said, "You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.
7 But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes."
This passage requires a little more thought, but it is still quite clear. In the context of this passage it is clear that the _gods_ are not called so because they are divine, but because they are set up to be judges. God established His leadership to judge and do justice among the people. This has nothing to do with divinity. We know this because God follows up by saying, _You are gods and children of the Most High, but you shall die like men_. Look at the entire context of this passage. God is judging the judges He has ordained because they became arrogant and unjust. In stead of using the power God had given for to defend the helpless and needy, they used it for greed and gain. They afflicted the needy and gave favor to the wicked. Jesus used this same passage against the Pharisees. They thought they were above the people. The passage declares that these _gods_ are wicked, without understanding, walking in darkness, have an unstable foundation, and they will die like all men do. This doesn_t sound much like the claims of divinity the Word-Faith and other religions proclaim it to be.
There is one last reference to gods I would like to bring to light. Look at Isaiah 41
20 That they may see and know, And consider and understand together, That the hand of the LORD has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.
21 " Present your case," says the LORD. "Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob.
22 "Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come.
23 Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together.
24 Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.
In this passage, God is challenging those who call themselves gods. God challenges them, if they are gods, present your case. Show us what will happen in the future. Show us the past. Declare what is to come. What is the purposes of God, they should know since they are gods. God challenges them to show their power since they think they are gods. Then God follows up by saying, _you are nothing; your work is nothing; and he who chooses you is an abomination_. That is a very divisive statement. God declares that anyone who chooses these who claim to be gods are an abomination.
There are only two ways that we can be so-called gods. When we stand in the place of authority that God has ordained us to be, we are gods in the sense that we represent Him. We are nothing, but in His will and by His authority, we are instruments for His purposes. The other way we are gods is found in the beginning of scripture. In Genesis 3:22, God said, _Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil_. We are like God in the sense that we know right from wrong. Satan promised Eve that she would be like God. It was a half-truth. She was like God only in that she could identify good and evil. Sin has plagued man every since. If someone claims that we are a god in any other context is a false statement and a false god. Satan_s lie is still the same _ you will be like God. Man_s pride believes the lie because he does not want God, rather he wants to be god.
Look at Romans 1
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man -- and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Just because someone claims to be wise does not make them wise. Wisdom based on the world will fail. As we saw earlier, Jesus warned that just because someone comes in His name does not mean that He sent them. Preachers claiming Jesus_ name are deceivers and anti-Christs if they are contradicting His word. When someone reshapes God into the image of corruptible man, the Bible says that they have become fools. If the Bible calls them fools, how can we allow them to be teachers of foolish doctrine within the church? If Word-Faith doctrine says that God is like man (Romans 1:23), the Bible says that they have already rejected the truth and are not worshipping God, but are worshipping the creation of God _ which is idolatry. If God has said that He has given them up, we should not be afraid to expose them. The only revelation they posses is to reveal who is seeking God and who loves the lie.
It is the responsibility of every believer to uphold the truth so that each person can make a clear choice. If someone is deceived, it should be a knowing choice to reject the scriptures. We can_t make people want God, but we can uphold His truth so that people can see what choice they are making.