The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Songs that God Hates: Before the Throne of God Above

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We humans were brought into existence by three glorious Gods: Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  True Christianity begins with the reverential submission to these three Beings as the only Gods in existence.  And once we become Christians, we find ourselves relating to three magnificent Beings who have massive egos and an insatiable appetite for praise.  Bring on those worship songs, for we certainly want to please our Gods by expressing our sincere adoration and appreciation for who They are.  Certainly music isn’t the only means by which we can worship our Gods, but it’s a nice one.  So worship songs are fabulous…provided we’re singing them with the right soul attitudes and that our lyrics are God-honoring. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

When it comes to writing worship lyrics, Christians have an uncanny ability to grossly insult their Gods.  Why is this?  How do we sit down with the motivation of praising our Makers, only to end up with a song that slanders Them?  There are two main issues here.  One is basic immaturity: our theology is quite flawed and we simply don’t recognize the errors in the things we’re saying.  But the second issue is far more common and not so excusable: we don’t want to learn better.

There is a very strong resistance against maturing among Christians.  When truth is presented to them, they close their minds and shove it away.  Like self-absorbed brats who are consumed only with their own perspective of things, we Christians often fail to show any regard for how our Gods feel about the lyrics we’re throwing in Their faces.  Certainly our Gods are gracious, but the day comes when They will not keep accepting our garbage.  The day comes when They start telling us that we need to improve the way that we are treating Them and start showing more concern for Their perspective.  After all, this universe does not revolve around us, it revolves around Them.  Our Gods are the Makers and Sustainers of all created things, and as such, Their opinions infinitely outrank our own.  Maturity demands that we stop calling something “good” just because we judge it to be that way.  It’s only the assessment of our Gods that matters, and if They don’t like something, that something needs to stop being exalted as wonderful.  The reality is that our Gods do not like many of the songs we sing at Them, and with very good reason, because the lyrics of those songs are irreverent, insulting, and an outright rejection of who They say They are.

Now we have three Gods, not one God with a split personality.  The Trinity theory is pure guff, and if you run too far with this “God is One” business, you will start talking as if there is only one God, and in Christian circles, the winner of the solo God title tends to be Yahweh.  But of course while we’re talking as if Yahweh is the only God, what are we saying about Jesus and the Holy Spirit?  We’re acting like They are somehow lesser Beings, and of course that’s unacceptable talk for true Christians.

Here’s a critical point that you need to grasp: the New Testament writers were Old Covenant Jews who did a horrible job of embracing New Covenant concepts.  As a result, you will find guys like Paul, Peter, and the author of Hebrews teaching that Jesus is less than God.  You see, the New Testament epistles do not promote true Christianity.  Instead, they are promoting a warped spinoff of Judaism.  This is why Yahweh is being hailed as the only true God, the Holy Spirit is being viewed as a mere extension of Yahweh, and Christ is being described as a mere human who scored big points with Yahweh by being such an obedient Fellow when He was walking around on the earth. Well, this kind of teaching is pure rot. Jesus is God Almighty, not some mortal who earned a gold star in Heaven.  The Holy Spirit is His own glorious Being, not just an extension of Yahweh.  Because the Church today teaches you to view the Christ bashing rot in the New Testament epistles as “God breathed,” you end up recycling the demented theology of the early apostles in the songs you sing to your Gods today.  This results in you frequently demeaning Christ, slandering Yahweh, and giving the Holy Spirit a bunch of snarky orders (see Songs that God Hates: Holy Spirit Come Fill This Place).  Is this worship?  Not hardly.

So then, as a Christian, you are supposed to be worshiping three separate and distinct Gods.  Not one glorious God and two bumpkins.  Not one God, one created human, and some mystical flame that needs to “fall afresh.”  Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are equal in power, Divinity, and magnificence.  Is it appropriate to praise one God at a time?  Certainly, and we do this all the time.  Many Christian worship songs specifically address Jesus, others talk to God the Father, others talk to the Holy Spirit.  Then we have songs which praise multiple Gods at once.  It can all be quite good, as long as our lyrics are correct.  But trouble arises when we get so focused on praising one God that we use language which insults one or more of our other Gods.  This happens in Christian music all the time, and to help you develop better discernment about this, we’re going to take a close look at the lyrics of the very popular song Before the Throne of God Above.  The goal of this song is to exalt Jesus, but in doing so, it makes some very nasty inferences about Yahweh, which we will help you identify.  In addition, this song promotes some very wrong theology from the New Testament which you also need to learn how to start spotting.  So now let’s get into it.

[VERSE 1] Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea;
A great High Priest whose Name is Love, Who ever lives and pleads for me

Right away we have two distinct Beings identified: a great High Priest, and a God who is sitting on a throne in Heaven.  Who is the God on the throne?  Yahweh.  Who is the High Priest?  Jesus.  Now take a closer look, because in just these two lines, these lyrics are painting one God as being the bad guy, while the Other is nice.

Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea

Notice the hostile language here.  You’re boasting of having some strong, perfect defense against Yahweh, who you clearly see as some kind of threat.  Why?  Well, this is a reference to Divine Judgment.  As is common for Christians, this song depicts Yahweh as a negative, merciless, “can’t wait to see you roast in Hell” kind of Judge while Jesus is being painted as Mr. Nice Guy.  You’re talking about Yahweh like He’s your Enemy here, and boasting of having secured some solid defense against His formidable wrath.  And of course your defense comes in the form of your fabulous Ally, Jesus, whose Name is Love.

A great High Priest whose Name is Love, Who ever lives and pleads for me

While you make Yahweh out to be your Enemy, you make Jesus out to be your Friend.  How do you think your Gods feel about you polarizing Them like this?

This issue of viewing our Gods as opposed to Each Other is a widespread problem among Christians, and one which we picked up from those foolish New Testament apostles.  If you want to know the true Character of our Gods, don’t look to the apostles for help, because those men were clearly out of touch with who Yahweh and Jesus really are.  To paint the glorious Yahweh as being so lacking in mercy and love is beyond obnoxious. Who was it that was chasing down rebellious Israel all of those centuries and showing such incredible patience and compassion towards unrepentant rebels?  That would be Yahweh.  And who was it that stood around firing off parables of Himself enthusiastically condemning souls in eternity without the slightest hint of remorse?  That would be Jesus.  All three of our Gods share the same basic characteristics.  They are incredibly gracious, yet They also hold boundaries and Their wrath is intensely fierce.  But when it comes to dealing with humans, there is one point that is vital for you to understand: our Gods always operate as a united front.

There’s none of this garbage about Yahweh hating us while Jesus loves us.  Under the current Covenant, salvation can only be acquired through reverential submission to all three of our Gods.  Refuse to submit to Jesus and you’ll never get accepted by Yahweh or the Holy Spirit.  Reject the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, and you’ll never be accepted by Jesus.  The “divide and conquer” strategy we employ with humans doesn’t work with our Gods.  As an individual soul, you’re either accepted by Them all, or you’re rejected by Them all.  If you insult just Jesus or just Yahweh or just the Holy Spirit, you’re going to get all three Gods mad at you.  Our Gods love Each Other infinitely more than They do us, and They always put Each Other first.  This means that if Yahweh really is furious with you, Jesus would side with Him against you.  You won’t see the day that Jesus sides with you against His own Peer.  You see, this nasty little song we’re reviewing is actually elevating humans as being more important to Jesus than Yahweh.  This is nothing more than our own egotistical foolishness.

HIGH PRIEST THEOLOGY

In this song, you call Jesus your High Priest.  Why?  This is certainly not how Jesus presented Himself.  Look through the Gospels and Revelation and you’ll find that Jesus never promotes Himself as functioning as our High Priest.  It was fools like Paul and the author of Hebrews who later attached this imagery to Jesus, because as Old Covenant Jews, they couldn’t get their minds around an atonement sacrifice that didn’t involve a priest.

When Jesus referred to Himself as an atoning sacrifice who would take away the sins of the world, He was speaking to Old Covenant Jews.  And while today we love to wax on about Jesus being the Lamb, we never get around to acknowledging what a gross violation of Yahweh’s Old Covenant Laws Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was.  You see, humans were not acceptable sacrifices under the Old Covenant, yet a human sacrifice was what Jesus claimed to be offering Yahweh as He died on the cross.  According to Yahweh, all atonement sacrifices had to be processed by authorized Levite priests.  No priest processed Jesus, nor did He meet Yahweh’s requirement for being a sacrifice that was free of injuries or blemishes.  Jesus was a bleeding, crippled mess by the time He was nailed to a cross by non-Jewish pagans.  According to Yahweh’s own Laws, Jesus should have been totally rejected as a sacrifice of any kind.  And yet Jesus was not rejected, because our Gods are wild, and They do whatever They want.  But like us Christians today, the New Testament Jews didn’t want to accept how wild our Gods are.

The idea of Yahweh accepting an atonement sacrifice without the aid of any human priest was utterly bizarre, thus we find Paul and the author of Hebrews inventing a priest.  Not just any priest, but a high priest, because under the Old Covenant, it was only the high priest who could offer sacrifices which would cleanse the entire community of believers.  So you see, this guff about Jesus being our High Priest was born out of an irreverent refusal to accept the wildness of our Gods.  Jesus simply said that His death on a cross ought to be viewed as an atonement sacrifice which would cover not just the sins of believers who were alive at the time of His death, but the sins of the whole world.  Well, here again is a foreign concept.  Under the Old Covenant, atonement sacrifices presented by the high priests didn’t atone for the sins of unbelievers, nor did they reach forward in time.  If anything, they reached backwards and were viewed as retro-covering the sins of believers for up to one year.  But then Jesus came and said He was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices.  Well, that’s weird.  So we then find Paul and the author of Hebrews rejecting what Jesus said and insisting that any atonement sacrifice for sins must be ongoing.  This is why you find imagery in the New Testament epistles of Jesus perpetually interceding for believers in Heaven.  Jesus said the whole sacrifice issue was over.  Yahweh tore the curtain in the Holy of Holies to underscore how done He was with the whole concept of a sacrificial system.  But are we keeping up?  Are we letting go of the old ways and embracing the new rules?  No, we’re stubbornly hanging on to Old Covenant concepts and insisting that things can’t be as simple and final as Jesus and Yahweh say they are.

In this song we’re examining, notice how you’re emphasizing the need for Jesus to perpetually intercede for you.  Notice how you imply that were He to ever stop interceding for you, you’d be booted out.

A great High Priest whose Name is Love, Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands, My name is written on His heart
I know that while in Heaven He stands, No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

So according to this song, how secure is your salvation?  It’s quite tenuous, because your Gods have a sharp disagreement going on about you.  Yahweh wants you to get out, Jesus wants you to stay.  It’s only Jesus’ incessant pleading that is coaxing Yahweh into letting you stay, but if Jesus were to ever stop hassling Yahweh about you, Yahweh would drive you out with one harsh command.  This is what you’re saying with these lyrics.  How is this worship?  You’re painting Yahweh as being a merciless, angry brooder who is in perpetual disagreement with Jesus. You’re painting Jesus as some boundaryless doormat who keeps begging and pleading for you to get to stay.  Why do we say that Jesus is boundaryless?  Because according to you, Yahweh’s mad at you and feels you shouldn’t be cluttering up His Heaven.  Well, Yahweh is an extremely gracious Guy, so if He’s mad, He must have good cause to be.  For Jesus to side against Yahweh, Jesus must be a doormat with no boundaries at all.  See how it works?  The other option is to make Yahweh out to be a merciless Judge who sweet Jesus is trying to keep in check.  You see, there’s no way for your nasty little picture to work unless you grossly insult the Character of One of your Gods.  This is what happens when you promote Them as being divided against Each Other.

It’s time for a little reality check about what the Gospel accounts actually say.  According to Jesus, He died on a cross out of a desire to please Yahweh.  According to Jesus, the whole cross thing was Yahweh’s idea.  Given that this is what Jesus said, how are you justified in making Yahweh out to be so hostile towards you when you’re claiming to be a Christian?  Wasn’t it Yahweh who prophesied about sending a Messiah centuries in advance?  Wasn’t He the first One to suggest the idea of a Savior taking away our sins?  Yes, He was.  So given this, how do you make Yahweh out to be the Guy without the grace?  How do you say that Jesus’ Name is Love, thus implying that Yahweh’s Name is not Love?  Are you seeing the insult here?  This song is hideous, and we’re only through the first verse.  Now let’s keep going.

[VERSE 2] When Satan tempts me to despair, And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there, Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died, My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied, To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

So while Jesus is Love, Yahweh is God the Just.  True justice cares only about the law being upheld.  True justice is inherently opposed to mercy, so by calling Yahweh God the Just, you’re actually insulting Him and  discounting how incredibly merciful He is.  You make it out like every time you sin, Yahweh starts fuming, and the only thing that calms Him down is to shoot some dagger look at Jesus and think, “Oh, yeah.  I guess He took care of it.”  Really?

In Verse 1 of this song, you said that Jesus is perpetually interceding for you.  You said that the only thing keeping you from getting driven out of Heaven by Yahweh is the fact that Jesus is standing there.  So, clearly Jesus really did not “make an end of all your sin” as you say in Verse 2.  Clearly your sin is still a major issue, because according to you, Yahweh would boot you out of Heaven if Jesus ever stopped nagging at Him to be nice.  Consider what this is saying about Yahweh’s personal view of Jesus’ dying on a cross.  Jesus said that His death put the atonement issue to rest, yet according to you, Yahweh doesn’t view it this way.  Yahweh seems to be quite unimpressed by Jesus’ death on a cross, because He is clearly unwilling to view your sins as being atoned for without Jesus constantly nagging Him.  Rather than view atonement as the done deal that Jesus said it is, Yahweh seems to be perpetually fuming over your sins, thus you need Jesus to keep intervening to shield you from that grudge holding God the Just.

As you might suspect, there are major theological problems with this view of sin.  In the first place, it is far too simplistic.  Your Gods don’t just shrug off your intentional rebellion as a “whatever” issue simply because Jesus died on a cross.  Jesus Himself never taught that His death on a cross should be viewed as negating the need to repent or reverentially submit to our Gods.  On the contrary, Jesus emphasized the importance of ongoing obedience.  He and Yahweh both teach that we humans are judged by our soul attitudes, not by how well Jesus cancelled out our debt of sin.  So you see, for you to breathe some sigh of relief because Jesus died on the cross as if that’s all that matters is totally wrong.

Consider this: Jesus said He died for the sins of the whole world, yet the vast majority of humans will end up in Hell.  How can this be if Jesus’ death on a cross atoned for all of our sins?  Because salvation is not acquired through atonement. Salvation is acquired through reverential submission to our Creators, and submission has nothing to do with atonement.  This is why, if you refuse to submit to your Gods, the fact that Jesus died on a cross won’t do bumpkus to help you.

When we yank the cross out of its historical context, we end up turning it into something it’s not.  The cross is not your free pass to Heaven.  It’s not some handy shortcut that you can use to get around having to ever reverentially submit to your Makers.  The real purpose of the cross was to get Old Covenant Jews to stop obsessing over atonement (see Beyond Atonement: Understanding the True Purpose of the Cross).  You see, throughout the Old Testament, Yahweh always taught that salvation was acquired through reverential submission, and that pleasing Him was a matter of retaining right soul attitudes.  The Jews blew off everything Yahweh said and spent centuries worshiping idol gods.  Then we come to the New Testament, and suddenly Israel is filled with Jews who are pretending to be devout Yahweh followers and acting spiritually superior to everyone else.  Yet their soul attitudes reek of unrepentant rebellion, so how are these guys telling themselves that they’re right in Yahweh’s eyes?  Because they have changed Yahweh’s salvation requirements.  They’ve decided that salvation is now a matter of atonement, and putting on a showy external act of obeying certain laws.  If you mess up, just toss Yahweh a lamb, and it’s all good.  There’s no need to bother with true repentance or reverential submission.  The leaders in Israel weren’t honoring Yahweh.  In fact they were treating Him abominably, and pretending that they could snow Him with their phony pretenses because He was too stupid to see their hypocrisy for what it was.

Along comes Jesus, and He starts calling everyone out for the rebels that they were.  Jesus fires off parable after parable in which He reminds the Jews that the salvation requirements have never changed: it’s reverential submission to Yahweh, or you’re going to burn in Hell.  Then Jesus announces He is Yahweh’s equal, thus everyone had better revere Him as well.  Then Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit, tells His disciples to start baptizing everyone using the Names of three separate Deities, and there we are: Jewish minds are sufficiently blown.

Guys like Peter, James, John and Paul don’t like this new emphasis on soul attitudes.  Of course, it’s not really new, it’s been the requirement since the beginning of this Creation, but these New Testament Jews are used to blowing off soul attitude, and they want to keep doing so.  Crack open James, 1 John, Hebrews, and many of Paul’s letters and what do you find?  Strong teaching that salvation must be obtained through external works.  James says “Faith without works is dead.”  He demands moral perfection, as does John, who claims that no true Christian is even capable of sinning because God’s “seed” is in him (see Salvation According to 1 John).  What a bunch of absurd baloney.  Yet this is what they teach.  And while they’re busy condemning everyone for not doing enough good deeds and not loving their fellow man, is anyone talking about reverentially submitting to God?  Is anyone talking about the great importance of soul attitudes and how pleasing our Gods is far more important than helping the poor and getting along with other humans?  No, the apostles drive us down useless roads of legalism while making acquiring salvation all about atonement.  According to Paul, all you have to do is believe that Jesus was Yahweh’s human Messiah, that Jesus died on a cross, that Yahweh raised Jesus from the grave (because obviously a human can’t raise Himself), and poof, you’re in.  You’re washed in that magical Blood, and it’s all good from then on.  Well, no, it’s really not.

Salvation is not about atonement.  In this nasty little song we’re examining, you describe yourself as being plagued with fears that all is not well between you and God.  What’s your answer?  Something akin to, “I’m covered by the Blood, so it’s all good.”  Well, no, it’s really not.  Jesus said the whole world was covered by the Blood, but most of the world is going to Hell.  So being metaphorically “covered” doesn’t do bumpkus, and you just pointing to the historical fact of Jesus dying on a cross won’t get you anywhere with your Gods.  They all know that Jesus died on a cross, but so what?  You’re not getting into Their Heaven without reverential submission.

If this song was promoting correct salvation theology, then you would be praising all three of your Creators for Their loving mercy in granting salvation to those who reverentially submit to Them.  You would be describing all three of your Gods as having the same attitude towards you—not this rot about Yahweh hating you while Jesus pleads for you.  You won’t see the day that Jesus tells Yahweh to get over Himself because Jesus thinks you deserve salvation.  Our Gods work as one.  If Yahweh really didn’t want you in Heaven, Jesus would be the One chucking you out the door, because Jesus cares way more about Yahweh than He does about you.  You see, we can’t get anywhere productive by exalting ourselves as being far more important than we are.  Our Gods come first.  Yes, They love us very much, but They love Themselves more, and we need to remember our place.  To ask Jesus to side with you against Yahweh is an utterly obnoxious request which Jesus will never grant.  But of course those fools who wrote the New Testament epistles encourage you to view your Gods as turning against Each Other for your benefit.  And instead of calling out such theology for the garbage that it is, the Church teaches you to accept it as correct and keep rehearsing it in your prayers and songs.

[VERSE 3] Behold Him there, the risen Lamb; My perfect, spotless Righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM; The King of glory and of grace

Jesus is not your perfect righteousness.  You don’t have perfect righteousness.  You’re still a sinful, depraved human being.  Salvation does not change your nature, as the apostle John so absurdly suggests.  Instead, salvation is about your Gods voluntarily deciding to change Their attitude towards you (see What happens to the soul at the moment of salvation?).

Notice how Jesus is referred to as I AM.  This is quite correct, for both Jesus and Yahweh used this title to emphasize Their superiority and uncreated Natures.  But then notice how Jesus is referred to as the King of glory and of grace.  If this song were only about Jesus, this would come across as complimentary.  But since Yahweh is also being mentioned in this song and painted in such a negative light, the reference to a single King of glory and grace makes it sound like we only think Jesus is worthy of that title.  So what’s Yahweh if not also a King of glory and grace?  Yahweh gets stuck with the title God the Just, and we’ve already discussed how insulting that is within the current context.

Be careful with this business about Jesus being unchangeable.  Christians often confuse sameness with predictability, thus leading to a resistance to accept how wild our Gods are (see Understanding Jesus’ Sameness).

One with Himself, I cannot die; My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high; With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God

Actually, you are going to die, and whenever we start using limiting terms like “cannot” when speaking of our Gods, we are deluding ourselves.  There’s nothing forcing our Gods to stay true to Their promises, fulfill Their prophecies, or take us to Heaven when we die.  We make this point not to freak Christians out, but to get us all back into a correct mindset.  We do not set limits on our Gods.  This song has already vaulted our importance to ridiculous degrees, and we need to get things back into perspective.  We are most certainly not one with Christ, and such language can easily lead us to all kinds of irreverent thinking.  Because Paul viewed Christ as a human, he promoted Christians as being equal to Christ—His co-heirs who would co-reign with Him in eternity. Paul was utterly delusional.  We are not Christ’s equals, because Christ is God Almighty, and Gods do not invite created specks to squeeze onto Their thrones with Them.  Good grief, what happened to the soul attitude of humility?  This song is a train wreck of ego and lies.

No, your soul really isn’t “purchased” by Christ’s Blood.  Christ never talked about buying people—that’s more guff that was added on later.  Your life isn’t hidden with Christ—you’re living your life right now, and the soul choices you’re making now are going to impact your eternal future.  Lastly, it’s annoying the way you refer to only Christ as your Savior.  Yahweh is just as much your Savior, and so is the magnificent Holy Spirit.  Since this song refers to two Gods, both Gods should be getting exalted.  But instead, we have two Gods getting insulted, while you totally forget your proper place as a created being.  This isn’t worship, it’s irreverent rot, so the next time you hear the opening chords of Before the Throne of God Above, pass on the opportunity to insult two of your Gods with these terrible lyrics.  Instead, close your eyes and use your own words to express sincere appreciation for who They are.  We have three glorious Makers, and we could all use to praise Them far more often than we do.

FURTHER READING:
Courtroom Drama: A Metaphor of Heaven that Insults Yahweh
Worship Songs from Satan: Fall Afresh
Hymns from Satan: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Intercession: Exposing the Lies
Hymns That Lead Us Astray: There is Power in the Blood

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