by Mike Ratliff
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. (John 18:36-38 ESV)
We use that word “truth” quite a bit here on this blog. Truth is not relative. It is absolute. Of course, when I speak of truth this way I am referring to God’s truth, not man-made truth. What a wonderful thing it is that God gave His people His revealed truth in a form that the regenerate can read or hear and understand. Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us in John 18:36-38 that the purpose of His incarnation was to bear witness to the truth and that everyone who is of the truth listens to His voice.
The Greek Word John used here that is translated “truth” is ἀλήθεια or alētheia. This word is defined as the unveiled reality lying at the basis of and agreeing with an appearance; the manifested, or the veritable essence of matter; the reality pertaining to an appearance. This truth, however, is more than simply the facts. This truth speaks of the reality of God’s Kingdom and that unregenerate Man is guilty before our Holy God. No one in this condition is part of this Kingdom. However, the crucifixion that was about to come upon our Lord after this trial before Pilate would take care of the matter. Those purchased by the blood of the Lamb at the Cross were those who are “of the truth.” These redeemed hear and listen to Christ’s voice (John 10:1-5).
Only Jesus Christ was born for this purpose and He completely fulfilled His mission. However, unregenerate Man cannot see this truth. Idolatry is the sin in which Man makes something or someone other than God his or her god. Tragically, there are many false versions of Jesus Christ being worshipped in our time. These other forms of Jesus are not the real Saviour, but are man-made versions in the form that is easy for the unregenerate heart to love and worship. These idolatrous forms of Jesus never demand holiness and repentance. They never confront false teachers and false prophets because that would be divisive.
The Word of God tells us that in the end of these last days that an evil man will be declared to be the Messiah and demand that he be worshipped as God. Most of the World will follow hard after him in a great deception. Only those who know the real Jesus because they are “of the truth” will be able to see the truth. I am not saying that any of this is happening right now, but I would like to share with you something that brought all of this to my mind today.
This is a painting by Michael D’Antuono titled “The Truth!” It will be unveiled at Union Station in New York on the day marking the first 100 days of the Obama Administration. The following is from the official press release for the event.
The 30″ x 54″ acrylic painting on canvas depicts President Obama appearing much like Jesus Christ on the Cross; atop his head, a crown of thorns. Behind him, the dark veil being lifted (or lowered) on the Presidential Seal. But is he revealing or concealing and is he being crucified or glorified?
D’Antuono insists that this piece is a mirror; reflecting the personal opinions and emotions of the viewer; that “The Truth” like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. D’Antuono expects that individual interpretations will vary as widely as they do in the political arena. The work will be seen by one viewer at a time behind a voting booth-inspired public installation.
This is a form of idolatry. Some have termed this “Obama Worship.” I also saw this in the painting during the election in which an Obama portrait was over one word in English, “HOPE.” I agree with several of my friends with whom I discussed the painting above today, that it is blasphemous. It depicts Barak Obama as the “messiah” who is giving hope to a certain group of people. The “crown of thorns” is what disturbs me. Our Lord endured that prior to and on the Cross as part of His shame in taking our place, to pay for our sins. What has Obama done other than run for office and win? Of course, he ran on an ultra-liberal platform that is decidedly socialist in form and function. He made many campaign promises to change the social landscape in this country securing rights for homosexuals as if they are a legitimate minority. He has also proved that Christianity to him is just another religion and God’s truth is just a part of that religion and has no bearing whatsoever on how obtrusive the U.S. Government becomes in the lives of its citizens in order to reform this country into the image he and his supporters have envisioned.
When I saw the name of this painting I was convinced that I must address this by showing you that God’s truth is the true reality while “this truth” which the “Obama Worshippers” are saying is “The Truth” is only another lie from the enemy. I know that those who are “of the truth” see this very clearly and there is no doubt, but I also know that anyone whose heart is full of darkness because of sin, rebellion, idolatry, fleshly living, and self-focus can be deceived. I can almost hear the shrill protests now, the shrieking protests that will try to tell us that there is nothing wrong with this sort of thing.
My point is that this and many other instances of elevation or glorification of this man as if he is somehow our hope are place settings of what is coming. As Christians, we must keep our eyes and hope on Christ alone. Do not elevate any Man to this sort of level. Yes, God gave us leaders, but none of them are Christ. I do not know when our Lord is coming back, but He is and when He does there will be no doubt about who is our Hope is and what the truth really is.
Soli Deo Gloria!