Biblical Answers to the World Mission Society Church of God

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.--1 John 4:1

Are you or a loved one struggling with this group? Do you need Biblical answers about the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCoG or CoGWMS), their founder Ahnsahnghong (Ahn Sahng/Sang-Hong) or their current leader "Mother Jerusalem" (a.k.a. "Heavenly Mother God," Zang/Zahng Gil-Jah, or Chung Gil Cha)? Thank you for coming here. I hope my blog helps you. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Is the Cross an Idol? - Part 4 - Symbols in the Bible

A continuing look at why the cross is not an idol...

There's a beautiful song that's been playing on K-LOVE (my favorite radio station) lately, called "Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)" by Casting Crowns.  The chorus of the song says this:
Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, Oh glorious day
It reminds me of my last post, Part 3 -- that if the cross of Jesus only reminds you of death, you are lacking the deeper experience of life and freedom that comes through that cross.  It's as if you sang, "Living, He loved me; Dying," and stopped right there.

But even with this deep meaning and feeling associated with the symbol of the cross, another question surfaces.  Does God forbid this type of symbol or image as idolatry?  If so, then we must not use it, no matter the meaning we may ascribe to it.  If not, then we are free to use such symbols or images to help our faith.  That's what I'll explore today...

Do you remember in Part 1 we examined one of the World Mission Society Church of God's videos about the cross? The video starts with a quote of Exodus 20:4.  (It actually includes part of verse 5, though the video only references verse 4.)
"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them.  (Exodus 20:4)"
And at minute 3:54, the video tells us,
"God forbids us to make any kind of religious image."
Obviously, God forbids us to make any form or image as an idol, worshiping it instead of God.  But does God actually "forbid us to make any kind of religious image"?  Does the Bible allow us to use symbols to help us in our faith, to remind us of spiritual truths or things God has done?  Yes!

Here are just a few of the images God has given us.  Whenever we see these things, whether in real life or in art, we can remember the lessons God gave through the symbols.

Rainbow (Gen. 9:12-17) -- The Noahic Covenant
Dove (Matt. 3:16) -- The Holy Spirit
Rock (1 Cor. 10:4; Matt. 16:18) -- Christ
Vine and Branches (John 15:1-8) -- The relationship between Jesus and the believer
Potter and Clay (Is. 64:8; Jer. 18:6) -- God's sovereignty in our lives
Arrows (Psalm 127:3-5) -- Children as a blessing from God
A Torn Curtain (Mark 15:38; Heb. 10:20) -- We can draw near to God because of Jesus
Water (John 4:1-14) -- Eternal life through Jesus
Fish (Matt. 4:19) -- Making disciples as fishers of men
Lion (Rev. 5:5) --  Jesus, who has triumphed
Shepherd and Sheep (John 10:14) -- Jesus takes care of us
The Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7) -- Christ who saves us from death by His sacrifice
Gate or Door (John 10:9) -- Jesus as the only way to heaven

There are so many!  God liked to give us symbolic imagery.  We find it all through the Bible.  But it wasn't for us to only visualize in our heads--God told people to make concrete symbols they could look at and hold.  Here's a list of some of God's concrete symbols and what they were meant to remind us...

Cherubim (Ex. 25:18-22; 26:1) -- God's presence
Jar of Manna (Ex. 16:32) -- God's provision through the wilderness
Pillar of Stones (Josh. 4:19-24) -- The miracle of entering the Promised Land on dry land through the Jordan
Fringes on Garments (Num. 15:38-39) -- The commandments of the Lord
Bronze Snake on a Pole (Num. 21:8) -- The healing power of God

So as you can see, God does NOT "forbid us to making any kind of religious images," as the WMSCOG claims.  He commands and encourages us to use symbolism and imagery!

What is forbidden is worshiping those images and symbols, but we must let God Himself be the judge.  Only He knows the true heart of the person kneeling before a statue or a cross.

Next time--Biblical support for the symbol of the cross.

Click here to go on to Part 5.


  1. I have seen people kiss a cross. I've seen people kneel at an ole cross. I even saw a hurried mother and daughter looking and looking in the grass for a cross necklace the daughter had dropped. The mother was so aggrivated she yelled and lightly hit the daughter. They found the cross. The mother kissed the cross and handed it to the daughter and scurried off.

    It is worshipped, admired, and most of all "before" God. Look at an ole cross and it causes the thoughts toward God.

    All those other physical things you listed are not things one kneels to.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I think you are saying that these are actions you would consider worship, and that a cross should not be worshiped in this way?

    Have you seen anyone kiss their wedding ring, or search the grass to find it if is dropped, or get upset if they lost it? Have you seen anyone kneel or bow before their country's flag, or kiss it? Have you seen anyone kneel before a war memorial?

    Would you say that those symbols are being worshiped? Would you wish to get rid of wedding rings, flags, and memorials to prevent them from being worshiped?

    Those are all symbols that cause thoughts toward the things they represent. That is what a symbol is meant to do.

    If you have never had a life experience that would cause such an emotional response to a symbol of love or freedom, I hope you can imagine how it might happen.

    The symbol of the cross does turn people's thoughts toward God, probably more so than the other physical things on the list. Let God be the judge of their hearts, for only He knows what is inside.

    1. hello genny

      I just want to ask you if anyone you know has told you if someone from wmscog has passed away after celebrating the passover, and not because of the feast, but because of the date and time it was celebrated, Also if someone has passed away what has the church said or done in a case like this. The reason i ask is because I get a feeling that if that was to happen, they would most likely say, that the person had no faith. What do you think Genny?

    2. Hi Sam,
      I'm not sure what you mean by "not because of the feast, but because of the date and time it was celebrated."
      I have heard about wmscog members who died after taking the Passover, so it is possible. I expect, like you do, that they would make some kind of excuse.
      If you think about it, though, they 'advertise' (if you don't mind the word here) that the Passover will protect you from disasters, but they also teach that only 144,000 will be left to go to heaven alive with 'mother.' Therefore, with over 1 million members (that figure is from 2008), only 10% will really be protected (according to their teaching). Do they ever share that when they are trying to recruit you to join?