It is possible to be theologically correct and live in darkness. It is possible to be the recipient of generations of spiritual information and historical data about Jesus and still interact and relate to one another in ways that are incongruent with our beliefs.
At the time of the appearance of the Messiah, the Jewish nation had received the writings from Moses to all the prophets before the intertestamental period; endless information revealing the nature of God as the supreme Elohim, Creator of heaven and earth, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Yet during the darkest moment of earth’s history, when the Son of God was made the object of Satan’s ripened hatred manifested through the viciousness of the religious leaders of Israel, the people exclaimed, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).
Centuries earlier, when the Israelites requested a king, the prophet Samuel tried to explain to them that they already had a King. He reminded them they weren’t supposed to be like the other nations. But they refused to listen. They wanted what they wanted — a human leader who would lead them politically, socially, and militarily.
We have no king but Caesar!
Who is your king? Who or what do you serve? To whom or what do you dedicate your thoughts, time, and energy?
We are living in a time of religious syncretism. This syncretism is far from being essentially made out of Christian concepts. Many are mixing biblically grounded Christian traditions with concepts that are derived from a diversity of religious traditions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, new-ageism, and many other world traditions. It is not rare to meet individuals who call themselves Catholic Hindus or Baptist Buddhists.
More than ever before, individuals are tailoring their religious constructs to fit their self-made paradigms. After all, the epicenter of the universe is “me.” To this end, we venerate the many “gods” we worship and render service to. The worship of my gods meets my transcendental need for something bigger than myself. I create and adopt earthly gods that promise to satisfy my earthly needs.
We have no king but Caesar!
In actuality, the Israelite religious leaders had many “kings.” They worshiped the king of social and religious power, the king of religious pride, the king of theological correctness, the king of admiration and adulation, and the king of generational pedigree — as proud descendants of Abraham.
Earthly idols and earthly solutions will always result in an empty, meaningless spiritual experience. A false gospel with false kings will create pseudo-wellness. Idol worship makes us intolerant, cynical, irritable, and cruel.
We have no king but Caesar.
Pilate proclaimed, “Behold your King! ... But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’ ” (John 19:14,15).
The Son of God, the friend of Abraham, the God of Isaac and Redeemer of Israel, sent to the nation as the long-awaited Messiah, was rejected and sentenced to die. “This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19, 20).
In The Desire of Ages, Ellen White wrote,
In the Sermon on the Mount He sought to undo the work that had been wrought by false education, and to give His hearers a right conception of His kingdom and of His own character. Yet He did not make a direct attack on the errors of the people. He saw the misery of the world on account of sin, yet He did not present before them a vivid delineation of their wretchedness. He taught them of something infinitely better than they had known. Without combating their ideas of the kingdom of God, He told them the conditions of entrance therein, leaving them to draw their own conclusions as to its nature. The truths He taught are no less important to us than to the multitude that followed Him. We no less than they need to learn the foundation principles of the kingdom of God.1
The proud heart strives to earn salvation; but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ. The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then he can receive the gift that God is waiting to bestow. From the soul that feels his need, nothing is withheld. He has unrestricted access to Him in whom all fullness dwells. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15.2
There is only one name given under the sun in whom we can be saved; His name is Jesus. Current religious dogma amalgamates some elements of truth with human ideologies. The truth is that the Spirit of God has unmistakably moved among other cultures around the globe, sharing rays of light, declaring the glory of God. In reality, many men and women throughout history have been moved by the Holy Spirit to declare truth and knowledge among all nations, tribes, and tongues. But God’s truths will always be aligned with one another, always in harmony, always according “to the law and the testimony! If they don’t speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
The original version of this story was posted in the North Pacific Union Conference Gleaner. César De Leon is vice president for Hispanic ministries and ministerial director of the North Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
1. Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1911), 299.
2. White, The Desire of Ages, 300.