Why does the Bible say, “Have no other gods before Me?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The First Commandment, Exodus 20:3,: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (These “other gods” appear some 60 times in the King James Bible.) It is the adjective “other” that causes people to stumble. If Judaism and Christianity are both monotheistic—adherents worshipping and serving one God—then why would the Judeo-Christian Bible speak of “other gods?”

Simply put, sin causes counterfeit gods or usurpers to creation’s throne. These are those “gods” (lowercase “g” not capital “G!”). In this world, innumerable ideas and individuals are competing for the loyalty we owe to the Creator God alone. What we have to be most cautious about is ourselves—we want to worship and serve self, to be our own god, our own authority. That is what sin is. Romans 1:25 describes this as such: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” And, Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way….”

The “other gods” of which the Scriptures speak are idols that actually represent evil spirits (fallen angels). Gentiles, the nations, were given over to this heathenism back at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapters 9–11, especially 11; cf. Romans 1:18-32). The evil spirits behind the idols rebelled against the Creator God when Lucifer (Satan) rebelled. They are connected to the heavenly bodies, which is why Deuteronomy 17:2-3 says to Israel: “[2] If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, [3] And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;….” Worshipping and serving the idols of wood or stone, or the heavenly bodies, is a form of aligning with the evil spirits that the idols and heavenly bodies represent. Hence, JEHOVAH God forbade the Israelites from engaging in the heathen religion of their Gentile neighbors. “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;…” (Deuteronomy 6:14).

It is important to know that Satan himself heads the universe’s current rebellion against the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Satan is rightfully called “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is ultimately he who is worshipped and served when the Creator God is neither worshipped nor served.

Also see:
» Why does God let Satan exist?
» Why are the heavens not clean in God’s sight?
» Where in the Bible did God give Satan domain over the Earth?