Have you ever played the game telephone? One person whispers a short story to another, and that person whispers it to still one more. This continues through several people until the last one repeats what he or she has heard and the original storyteller repeats what was actually said. Then everyone laughs because what is stated is usually very distorted from the original story.
Unfortunately, the same type of thing has happened over time with God’s Word. Not only has it been distorted, but some leaders of the past have deliberately changed Scripture to comply with their own beliefs or to suit their own needs or wants. It is often surprising to people how many of these beliefs they have do not match up with the Bible. However, it is essential that we become aware of them so that we might better our relationship with our Creator and live how He would have us to live. So what are some of these beliefs?
Believing that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant
We often hear references to Moses’ law. It is why many have decided the Ten Commandments are irrelevant. They believe that the law was only of Moses' time and does not apply to anyone today. However, it is not Moses’ law, it is God’s law. We are never told that the law is dead, only that a new covenant would be made with God’s people. We are also told that not one jot or tittle will be removed from the law (Matthew 5:17-19).
Those who do believe the law was done away with often believe so because they think that Jesus’ statement about the two great commandments overturns the “old” law (Matthew 22:36-40). But when you consider what Jesus states, it cannot be true. Jesus speaks of the love of God and the love of our neighbor. You cannot honestly obey Christ without keeping the original Ten Commandments.
Making incorrect assumptions about life after death
Have you ever heard someone talk about their dead loved one watching over them? It is common for people to believe that their parent, grandparent, friend or child is watching their every move. They will comment on how proud their loved one would be, or they believe that person helps them in their day-to-day lives or sends messages. They may also believe that someone who died a violent death now haunts them or the place that they died.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 tells us that the dead know nothing. They have died and are in the grave or are ashes. They are not in heaven watching over us. Nor are they sitting with God, Jesus Christ or the angels (John 3:13). You may wonder why Scripture talks about Elijah being taken up into heaven (2 Kings 2:11). We must remember that there are three levels of heaven. The sky (firmament), outer space and where the throne of God is (e.g. Genesis 7:11; Exodus 32:13; Revelation 4:2; and 2 Corinthians 12:1-4). Elijah was taken away up into the sky (the first heaven) and set somewhere else so that Elisha could then lead (2 Kings 2:16-17). We also know that Elijah was still alive at a later time.
Believing that mankind has the answers
As I mentioned, the reason there is often confusion over God’s Word is that man’s ego gets in the way. We often believe we have all the answers and do not need God. Have you ever heard someone say that God “told” them to do one thing or another so they could feel good about what they were about to do—but you could clearly see that it was not the godly thing to do? When we allow our own personal feelings to get in the way we can make great mistakes. Our ego can also affect our relationship with the Father when we think we know better than He does or take credit for things that only could be done by Him.
We see an example of this with King Nebuchadnezzar. God had to humble him because this king boasted of how wonderful things were by his own creation (Daniel 4:25-35). Eve too was deceived into eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil. When she was told she surely would not die she took it upon herself to decide to go against God’s word. King David is another good example. When he ignored God’s word and guidance he made horrible mistakes, but when he followed God’s way he was blessed.
Another huge mistake people make is turning their leaders into gods, or listening to their church's doctrines as if they held all knowledge on God’s Word. A leader of a church is supposed to be a helper and servant of God. They are there to guide people in the way of God, not to make their own rules. This was the mistake the Pharisees made. They were overly zealous in trying to keep God’s law. To be on the safe side, they made their own rules for people to follow and did not always follow them. Jesus condemns these excessive actions (Matthew 23:1–39).
In our history, we have seen leaders who claim to be of God change many of God’s laws and ways. The changing of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday is one example. The declaration that all unclean meat is now okay to eat, and the removal of God’s law and God’s Holy Days are just some of the changes men have made.
Loving sin more than God
Satan is the originator of sin—his name means "adversary" in Hebrew. So when we intentionally sin we are essentially worshipping the devil. There is a lot written about the love of sin in the Bible (e.g. Proverbs 26:11; John 3:19; James 1:14). It is a weakness we all have. We are told that no man is sinless (Romans 3:10; 1 John 1:8). But we are also told to repent of our sin and attempt to sin no more. Why should we try so hard not to sin? Because the penalty is great. If we continue in our sinful ways, we lose out on the awesome future God has in store for us (Revelation 21:8).
We have no excuse not to do as God says. Referring to the Bible when we have questions is the wisest thing we can do. We cannot say we do not know what to do, because we have God’s Word at our fingertips through technology or through the printed word. All we have to do is read what He has to say and pray for understanding. We should continually be asking what God wants us to do. The apostles knew to focus on God and Christ, and they were inspired to write what they saw and learned so we could also learn to do right. I have only touched on this subject, and I encourage you to look for other articles on these specific topics to learn more.