“All the Gods of the Nations Are Idols”
JEHOVAH God takes the measure of worldly politics and national ambitions. “All the gods of the nations are idols”—that is how his inspired psalmist put it.—Ps. 96:5.
Note the exalting truths surrounding this verse: “Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols; but Jehovah made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength. Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. Oh worship Jehovah in holy array: tremble before him, all the earth.”—Ps. 96:4-9, AS.
But is there a single political party or faction anywhere on earth today that seeks such ends? No, the totalitarian spirit has infested the governments and societies of this world so that dictator-led peoples are crushed under military machines into outright worship of the state and their fuehrers, duces, caudillos, etc. In professedly democratic lands, though the method is more subtle—through political machines—the resulting exaltation of men, their programs, parties, “deals,” etc., is very similar. So flagrantly hypocritical do their boasts and promises become that the people generally and even the politicians smile cynically at their own antics.
A recent instance occurred early this past July when the president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, journeyed into Arkansas to view and dedicate two government power projects. Seizing the opportunity to exalt his political party, this prominent leader in world affairs told one crowd: “There is not a man or a woman in this audience who is not better off for twenty years of Democratic rule. Now if you want to throw that out the window and go off after false gods, that is your business and I can’t stop you. But just do a little thinking and you will find that your interests are with the party that represents the people as a whole and not special interests.”—New York Times, July 3, 1952.
In a similar vein, one that kept reminding his listeners how much they owed to the government administration, President Truman declared during a high point of his main speech of the trip: “My friends, I say to you that the progressive policies of the last twenty years have been the salvation of this country.”
Whether he said it in so many words or not, whether he meant to infer it or not, the obvious implication of Mr. Truman’s remarks is that the powers of the Democratic party represent the “true gods” of the American people. If he called his political enemies gods, “false gods,” it would not be beyond him to consider himself and his political associates and allies likewise gods, supposedly the “true gods”. If he meant the programs rather than the individuals in the two main American political parties, the effect is the same. As the president said, the people are free to do what they like in selecting human leaders and parties and programs to follow. But they do well to remember that following the mighty men or their promises in any human political party is to follow a sin-spoiled and dying creature. No more than one blind man can lead another can they of themselves bring a world born in sin back into divine favor. “Do you not know that if you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him, either of sin with death in view or of obedience with righteousness in view?”—Matt. 15:14; Rom. 6:16, NW.
Instead of “strong leaders” Mr. Truman should know that his modern political “gods” are weak and helpless men, frozen by fear, weighed down by worthless mutual agreements and in complete darkness as to the future. This is naturally so, for the powers of this world, the unseen too, Satan and his demons, are all as nothing compared with Jehovah the one true and almighty God. That is what the psalm says. The American Translation renders it: “The gods of the peoples are nonentities.” Msgr. Knox’s Catholic translation says: “They are but devils whom the heathen call divine.” (Ps. 95:5 in the Knox translation) In a footnote it states: “The word used in the Hebrew text rather signifies nothingness, worthlessness.” Is it not utterly foolish then to deck a fallen human creature in the robes of state, exalt him above his fellow sinners, heap praise over his head, surround him with a mighty army and expect that then he is able to deliver his comrades? Call them what one will, the fact remains that “even though there are those who are called ‘gods’, whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’, there is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him, and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him”.—1 Cor. 8:5, 6, NW.
It is an old trick of selfish political chieftains to delude their peoples into believing that God and Christ are sectarian or political divinities standing by ready to bless their various schemes. Their followers, through clergy influence, treat these leaders as the “higher powers” or “superior authorities”. (Rom. 13:1, NW) But the Bible clearly brands this as a fraud and shows the people have thus been made “slaves to those who by nature are not gods” and thus restrained from obtaining God’s true provision for everlasting life, “the salvation that is in union with Christ Jesus.”—Gal. 4:8; 2 Tim. 2:10, NW.
How insipid and childish to think that any political party is “the salvation of this country” or of any country. How can the “gods” of this world, visible or invisible, save anyone or anything when they will not be able to save even themselves at Armageddon? Are you content to rely upon that which God’s Word calls nothingness to deliver you in that time? Ezekiel foretold the end of idols and idol worshipers in forceful words: “Ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the places where they offered sweet savor to all their idols. And I will stretch out my hand upon them, . . . and they shall know that I am Jehovah.” Then the name of no political party will pass one for salvation, but only the provision made by Jehovah through Christ Jesus. “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”—Ezek. 6:13, 14; Prov. 18:10, AS.