How Many Gods Are There?

by Lynnford Beachy

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We read in the Bible of the heathen who had many gods. They made gods of wood and stone who could not see or hear, yet they worshiped them, ignorant of the fact that they were worshiping devils. "What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils." (1 Corinthians 10:19, 20)

We learn from these verses that if we are serving a false god we are actually serving Satan, and we certainly don’t want to do that. Satan desired to be like the Most High. He said, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:14) It has been Satan’s purpose to make himself equal with God, the Father. You may ask, "How do you know that Satan’s goal was to be equal with God, the Father, and not Jesus Christ?" Notice it says that he would be like the Most High. Who is the Most High? A devil possessed man came up to Jesus, "And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not." (Mark 5:7) Jesus is the Son of the Most High God. John had a vision of the New Jerusalem and wrote, "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." (Revelation 21:22) Christ is the Lamb, and the Almighty is His Father.

The Most High is God, the Father, and this is who Satan is seeking to be equal with. If he can get you and me to worship a false god, then he knows that he is the one who gets the worship; and if he can make you and me think that this false god is equal with God, the Father, then he has succeeded in his attempt to make it appear that he is like the Most High. As you can see we must take special care that we are not worshiping a false god.

Do You Serve a False God?

Just prior to his death, Moses was commanded to teach the children of Israel a song. Moses said of Israel, "They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not." (Deuteronomy 32:16, 17) Before Moses’ time the Israelites followed after strange gods. However this applied much more to them after the death of Moses. In fact one commentary calls this song a "prophetic song." (John Gill’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 32:28) It was prophesied that new gods would come up, and that many people would worship these gods. It is true that this prophecy was for the Jews, but it is just as applicable to us today. Do we know of any new god that has come up, which no one had heard of before?

Just as prophesied, a new god has arisen. Not a god made of wood and stone, but one who claims to be equal with the Most High God, for this really is Satan’s goal. Satan cannot fulfill his desires and be thought of as equal with the Most High God, unless He makes himself out to be the God of the Bible, or equal to that God. This he cannot do using pagan deities. Therefore he has successfully transplanted a pagan concept of God right into the "Christian church." This may seem too hard for you to believe, but read on. It is the truth!

Pagan God Transplanted Into "Christianity"

In the book of Daniel we read of a "little horn" that arises and speaks great things against the Most High. "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time [3 ˝ years]." (Daniel 7:24, 25) "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [3 ˝ years]. And he opened His mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." (Revelation 13:5, 6)

The amount of time given in each of these verses is exactly the same; obviously referring to the same power. The angel Gabriel, speaking of this same power, told Daniel, "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all." (Daniel 11:36, 37)

Notice the insight John Gill has concerning these verses:

"Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, &c. Of the apostles of Christ, from whom he pretends to descend, and whose successor he would be thought to be: …though he would be thought to be his [Christ’s] vicar on earth; yet slights him, yea, opposes and acts contrary to him, in his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, and therefore is rightly called antichrist:

"nor the desire of women; or ‘wives’ … not desirous of having wives, or enjoying women in lawful marriage; but forbidding his priests to marry, as is notoriously a tenet of antichrist, and foretold by the apostle, in agreement to this prophecy, 1 Timothy 4:3, otherwise, none more lustful or desirous of women in an unlawful way than the Romish priests:

"nor regard any god; either the true God, and his laws, or any god in a metaphorical sense, any king or potentate on earth; showing no respect to any authority, or to any laws, divine or human:

"for he shall magnify himself above all; above all gods, real or nominal, as in 2 Thessalonians 2:4." (John Gill’s Expositor on Daniel 11:37)

Gabriel explained that this little horn power would not "regard the God of his fathers." He goes on to say, "a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour… a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory." (Daniel 11:37-39) The Scriptures foretold that when the papacy arose to power it would reject the true God and honor a "strange god" in His place. Has this happened?

The Papacy Invents a False God

In the fourth century a new teaching arose. Prior to the papacy coming to full power she formulated a doctrine about God that was contrary to what Christ and His apostles taught. This "strange god" would come to be known as the Trinity. This doctrine was thrust upon the world with power. All those who rejected this "strange god" were threatened with persecution and even death.

This new concept of God removed Christ as being the actual Son of God and distorted Christ’s work as our Mediator and High Priest. The Scriptures state, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5) The papacy says, "No, there is one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." We need a mediator between God and us and if Christ is exactly equal with His Father we must also need a mediator between Christ and us. Hence the papacy instituted Mary and dead saints as mediators between Christ and us.

As if that were not enough, the papacy then instituted her own priesthood to take the place of Christ ministering as our High Priest in heaven. The papacy certainly has spoken great words against the Most High.

Here is a brief history of the events associated with how this doctrine surfaced and became widely held as truth though it is without Scriptural backing. [For an in-depth study into the formulation of the Trinity doctrine, contact us and ask for the booklet entitled, The Formulation of the Doctrine of the Trinity.]

In 325 AD a council was held in a town called Nice (known as the Council of Nicaea). In this council a group of people led by Athanasius pressured Constantine, the Roman Emperor, to accept their creed that they had written up during the council. This creed was not in existence prior to the Council of Nicaea. The so-called "Christian" doctrine of the Trinity had its beginning right there in that council. Much dispute was raged, both during and for many years after the council, as to whether or not this creed was correct. Both sides won the controversy at different times during the years that followed. Finally in 380 AD the Athanasians won the upper hand—still very much in the minority, they gained power of the government, and this was all it took. The Athanasians wrote up a law commanding all to adhere to their creed or suffer severe persecution. The word trinity was applied to their creed and passed off as gospel truth, however, many would not submit to such confusing terms and suppositions.

This law stated: "let us believe the sole deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: under an equal majesty and a pious Trinity. We authorize the followers of this doctrine to assume the title of Catholic Christians; and as we judge that all others are extravagant madmen, we brand them with the infamous name of ‘heretics,’… they must expect to suffer the severe penalties which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think proper to inflict upon them." (A law written by Theodosius as quoted in The Two Republics by A. T. Jones, page 387)

The Catholics won the upper hand in this dispute and passed down a doctrine that found no support in the Scriptures. Today most Christians blindly accept this absurdity without searching "the scriptures daily whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11) Many pastors ease the conscience of their flock by stating, "This doctrine is a mystery and we will never understand it, so don’t even bother trying to figure it out or trying to prove it from the Bible." May God have mercy on both the pastors and their flocks, that they would open their eyes to this deception.

The Arian Heresy or the Trinitarian Heresy, Which?

Many have said that the "Arian heresy," which taught that "there was a time before creation when Christ was begotten of His Father," arose in the fourth century. This teaching was around in the fourth century, this is true, but it was also around in the third century, the second, and even the first century. In fact this teaching was around hundreds of years before Jesus was born on earth, clearly spelled out in Proverbs chapter 8. Jesus speaking said, "Before the hills, I was given birth." (Proverbs 8:25 NIV) There is plenty of evidence that this teaching was all that was known to man from Adam on down to the fourth century, and known by the angels before man was created.

From the evidence about to be presented, it will be clearly seen that the teaching that "Christ never had a beginning" is the new teaching that arose in the fourth century. This teaching was modified and re-modified until finally they formulated the doctrine called the Trinity. This is one of the "new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not." (Deuteronomy 32:17)

The teaching that "there was a time before creation when Christ was begotten of His Father" was around long before the fourth century. If you take time to study the events of the controversy that took place back in the fourth century, you will see that the teaching that, "Christ never had a beginning" was a new teaching in the fourth century, and many people were shocked to hear such speculations. Read carefully this letter written by Eusebius of Nicomedia (a man who was at the Council of Nicaea): "We have never heard, my Lord, of two beings unbegotten, nor of one divided into two; nor have we learnt or believed that He could suffer any thing corporeal, but that there is one unbegotten, and another truly from Him,… We believe not only that His origin cannot be explained in words, but that it cannot be comprehended,…" (A letter written by Eusebius of Nicomedia as quoted in A Historical View of the Council of Nice, by Isaac Boyle, page 41)

The strange idea that the Father and the Son were both unbegotten (without beginning) was new to the people of that time. They had always understood that there is one unbegotten (without beginning) and another begotten by Him (with a beginning). This was the common understanding of the majority of people at the time of, and prior to, the Council of Nicaea.

The Creed Used Before the Council of Nicaea

Also notice what Eusebius of Caesarea has to say about this subject. He was in the Council of Nicaea, and presented a creed before the assembly with this preamble, "Next, Eusebius of Caesarea, — Constantine’s panegyrist — thought to bring the parties together by presenting a creed that had been largely in use before this dispute ever arose. He stated that this confession of faith was one which he had learned in his childhood, from the bishop of Caesarea, and one which he accepted at his baptism, and which he had taught through his whole career, both as a presbyter and as a bishop.… "As soon as this was read in the council, the party of Arius all signified their willingness to subscribe to it. But this did not suit the party of Alexander and Athanasius; it was rather the very thing that they did not want, for ‘they were determined to find some form of words which no Arian could receive.’ They hunted about, therefore, for some point or some word, upon which they could reject it.…" (The Two Republics by A.T. Jones, pages 347, 348)

As you can see, the statement of beliefs that Eusebius presented was the widely held standard long before the Trinitarian controversy ever arose. Notice also that it was agreeable with the Arians for they believed just like Eusebius of Caesarea, who was highly regarded in his day for wisdom. Not only that, but this belief was one that was taught as far back as anyone could remember, and the teaching "of two beings [the Father and the Son] unbegotten," was unheard of at that time.

Eusebius of Caesarea completed a book called Ecclesiastical History in the year 325 AD—the same year the Council of Nicaea was held. In this book he states the views that he held since his childhood, which were believed by the majority long before the Trinitarian controversy ever arose. Carefully read the following quotations: "For as no one hath known the Father, but the Son, so no one on the other hand, can know the Son fully, but the Father alone, by whom He was begotten. For who but the Father hath thoroughly understood that Light which existed before the world was — that intellectual and substantial wisdom, and that living Word which in the beginning was with the Father, before all creation and any production visible or invisible, the first and only offspring of God,… the true and only Son of the Father,… who has received power, and dominion with divinity itself, and power and honour from the Father… the second after the Father,… intrusted with the second rank of sovereignty and rule over all, ‘the captain of the Lord’s host,…’" (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, pages 15-17)

This is the teaching of the Bible. This is the faith for which we are to earnestly contend. "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3) Not only did Eusebius believe that Christ was born of the Father, he used Proverbs chapter 8 as a proof text for his position. [For a thorough study on this subject contact us and request the study entitled, "The Truth About God."]

As you can clearly see, the Trinitarian idea is the false doctrine that surfaced in the fourth century, and not the other way around.

The Central Doctrine of the Catholic Faith

Benjamin G. Wilkinson, in his book Truth Triumphant, wrote, "The burning question of the decades succeeding the Council of Nicaea was how to state the relations of the Three Persons of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The council had decided, and the papacy had appropriated the decision as its own." (page 91) To this day, the papacy admits that the doctrine of the Trinity was formulated by her.

"The mystery of the Trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the Church…

"The Church studied this mystery with great care and, after four centuries of clarification, decided to state the doctrine in this way: in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…" (Handbook for Today’s Catholic, page 16)

One Catholic writer wrote the following: "Our opponents [Protestants] sometimes claim that no belief should be held dogmatically which is not explicitly stated in Scripture… But the Protestant churches have themselves accepted such dogmas as the Trinity for which there is no such precise authority in the Gospels…" (Life Magazine, October 30, 1950)

The Catholic church arose in the fourth century on the strength of this false doctrine, and is spoken of by Paul in this way: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4)

By introducing a false god that is supposed to be the God of the Bible Satan has succeeded, in the minds of most men, to "be like the Most High," "so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." But praise God, because the Bible says that the man of sin will be revealed. God is making known His truth more and more so that His people will be ready for His soon return. Thank God that He has sent this message to you. Thank God that now you can share it with others.

Let’s Look at Another Issue

There are many people who believe that the Father and His Son are the same being; that they are not two separate beings but rather one with two, or three, titles or roles. Generally those who believe this are known as Unitarians, but there are also some who call themselves Trinitarians who believe this teaching. Notice this quote from a Catholic Trinitarian named St. Austin: "The Son is one Person, and the Father is another; they do not, however, constitute two Beings, but the Father is the same Being that the Son is, that is, the only true God." (Tract 36 in Joann as quoted in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 John 5:7)

Let’s Examine This in Detail

If Jesus and His Father were the same being, then how could the Father speak to His Son at the baptism of Jesus? "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17) If the Father and His Son are the same being, then Jesus would have had to throw His voice to make it appear as though someone else had spoken. Not only that, but He would have been lying, for how can one being be the father of himself, or yet be the son of himself. This clearly makes no sense and would make God a liar, which He certainly is not. John wrote, "he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son." (1 John 5:10) Let’s not make God out to be a liar.

Please consider this quotation from a man who had a pretty good insight into this matter.

"To believe that doctrine [one God with three personalities or roles], when reading the scripture we must believe that God sent himself into the world, died to reconcile the world to himself, raised himself from the dead, ascended to himself in heaven, pleads before himself in heaven to reconcile the world to himself, and is the only mediator between man and himself. It will not do to substitute the human nature of Christ (according to Trinitarians) as the Mediator; for Clarke says, ‘Human blood can no more appease God than swine’s blood.’ Com. on 2 Sam. 21:10. We must believe also that in the garden God prayed to himself, if it were possible, to let the cup pass from himself, and a thousand other such absurdities.

"Read carefully the following texts, comparing them with the idea that Christ is the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Supreme, and only self-existent God: John 14:28; 17:3; 3:16; 5:19,26; 11:15; 20:19; 8:50; 6:38; Mark 8:32; Luke 6:12; 22:69; 24:29; Matt. 3:17; 27:46; Gal. 3:20; 1 John 2:1; Rev. 5:7; Acts 17:31. Also see Matt. 11:25,27; Luke 1:32; 22:42; John 3:35,36; 5:19,21-23,25,26; 6:40; 8:35,36; 14:13; 1 Cor. 15:28, &c. "The word Trinity nowhere occurs in the Scriptures. The principal text supposed to teach it is 1 John 5:7, which is an interpolation. Clarke says, ‘Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no Manuscript before the tenth century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Lateran, held A. D. 1215.’ - Com. on 1 John 5, and remarks at close of chap.

"Its origin is pagan and fabulous. Instead of pointing us to scripture for proof of the trinity, we are pointed to the trident of the Persians, with the assertion that ‘by this they designed to teach the idea of a trinity, and if they had the doctrine of the trinity, they must have received it by tradition from the people of God.’ But this is all assumed, for it is certain that the Jewish church held to no such doctrine. Says Mr. Summerbell, ‘A friend of mine who was present in a New York synagogue, asked the Rabbi for an explanation of the word ‘Elohim’. A Trinitarian clergyman who stood by, replied, ‘Why, that has reference to the three persons in the Trinity,’ when a Jew stepped forward and said he must not mention that word again, or they would have to compel him to leave the house; for it was not permitted to mention the name of any strange god in the synagogue.’ (Discussion between Summerbell and Flood on Trinity, p. 38) Milman says the idea of the Trident is fabulous. (History of Christianity, p. 34)

"This doctrine of the trinity was brought into the church about the same time with image worship, and keeping the day of the sun, and is but Persian doctrine remodeled. It occupied about three hundred years from its introduction to bring the doctrine to what it is now. It was commenced about 325 A. D., and was not completed till 681. See Milman’s Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iv, p. 422. It was adopted in Spain in 589, in England in 596, in Africa in 534. - Gib. vol. iv, pp. 114, 345; Milner, vol. i, p. 519." (J. N. Loughborough, Review & Herald, November 5, 1861, page 184)

J. N. Loughborough made some excellent points. I am sure if you read all the verses he made reference to, you would be convinced by the evidence he has to support his statements.

What About Isaiah 9:6

A text that is used by both Trinitarian and Unitarian alike to prove their position is Isaiah 9:6. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Because Christ is here called "the everlasting Father" many assert that He is God the Father. He is called Father, but is He the Father of Himself or is He the Father of "the children which God hath given" Him? (Hebrews 2:13; see also Isaiah 8:18) Surely He is not referred to here as being the Father of Himself, but rather the Father of the children which His Father gave to Him. Our Lord Jesus Christ cannot be "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,…" (2 Corinthians 11:31)

What about the word everlasting in Isaiah 9:6? Doesn’t that mean that He always was and that He was never begotten of His Father before the world was? The Bible informs us that we can have everlasting life. Surely this does not mean that we always were in existence in the past! The Hebrew word de ad that was translated "everlasting" can mean this: "for ever (of future time)." (Brown-Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon) Notice how this same Hebrew word is used in the following verse: "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever 5703 [Hebrew: de ad]." (Psalms 37:29)[1] Certainly nobody would claim that the righteous never had a beginning. This verse is showing that they will never have an end. So, clearly, Jesus is our everlasting Father because He is the Father of the children God has given Him and He will never have an end.

What about in Isaiah 9:6 where Jesus is called the mighty God? Notice that in this verse He is called the mighty God and not the Almighty God. We read of mighty men, but never Almighty men. Look up the word mighty and you will find it applied to people almost every time it is used, but look up Almighty and you will find that it only applies to God and none else.

Isn’t Jesus called the Almighty in Revelation 1:8? "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8) The Greek word that was translated "Almighty" in this verse is pantokrator, which is formed by the combining of the Greek words pas and kratos. Pas means "all," and kratos means "power." Jesus declared, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18) Jesus said that "all power" has been given unto Him. Therefore He now has all power and the term "Almighty" can rightly be applied to the Son of God. Yet this does not indicate that He is the Most High God, for the Most High God is the one who gave Christ "all power."

"I And My Father Are One" (John 10:30)

The Father and the Son are one, but how are they one? Are they the same being? Jesus prayed to His Father, "the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:" (John 17:22) Jesus prayed that His disciples would be one in the same way that He and His Father are one. Jesus was not contemplating one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples united in one purpose with the same mind. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5) Jesus is one with His Father because He and His Father think alike. This verse certainly is not speaking of the Father and His Son as one being.

Daniel was given a vision of one Being sitting upon a throne and another Being coming near before Him. Daniel wrote, "I beheld till the thrones were cast down [literally: "to be placed" (Ibid.)], and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire.… I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him." (Daniel 7:9,13) Certainly there cannot be one being who goes from one place to another to be near to himself.

"I came out from the Father"

Jesus was speaking to His disciples when He said, "For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out 1831 [e*xevrcomai "to come forth from physically, arise from, to be born of" (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)] from God. I came forth 1831 from the Father, and am come 2064 [e*vrcomai "to come from one place to another" (Ibid.)] into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." (John 16:27, 28) Jesus was born of the Father, then He left His Father and came into the world. Afterwards He left the world and went back to the Father. It would be impossible for one person to leave himself in one place, and go to another place and then return to himself again where he had left himself. To believe that the Father and the Son are the same being is contrary to Scripture and certainly is contrary to common sense.

The Unitarians believe there is but one being worthy of our worship. The Trinitarians believe there are three beings worthy of our worship. These are the two extremes between which the truth lies. The Bible says there are but two Beings worthy of our worship—the Father and His Son. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9) Think about it! ?

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