As we know, many of the Roman Emperors wanted to be considered gods during the time they lived. Julius Caesar was declared a god upon his death, while Augustus allowed people in Asia to build temples to him while he was still living. Emperor worship began with the first two emperors of the Roman Empire. Many times, in order to show your loyalty to the state, a person was required to take a pinch of incense and offer it to a statue of whichever emperor was in power.
I doubt if many of the populace believed their monarchs were gods, and surely those closest to them realized their frailty but emperor worship continued on until the reign of Constantine in the fourth century. We look back and know for certain that those men were not gods and we think of it as part of an earlier time in history but emperor worship still continues today.
As we look around the world, we see that there are leaders who wish to be deified and demand worship from the people in their society. We just shake our heads as we watch the populace treat their leader like a god, and yet…
Look at the way some treat our recent presidents. Donald Trump certainly has a cult following. Those in his cult believe him to be a savior of this country and are willing to believe an outlandish narrative that has him returning to office this August. As with previous leaders, those closest to him know his frailties and have no illusions about him being a god or a savior of the union.
Lest we look down our noses at Trump’s cult following, we know that Obama had those that believed he was some sort of a god or savior not only of the nation but also of the world. Before he was elected president, he could garner crowds in the thousands in other countries and I believe his cult following continues to this day, hoping that someday he will return to power.
We might think that the people who regard our leaders in such a high capacity have not a belief in any form of religion and so accept these men as their gods or saviors, but that is not true. Many are believers in God but somehow He seems to have been replaced in their thinking by these mortal men.
Why is this important? Because if we believe that any man can save this country or the world instead of the one true God, we have opened ourselves up to a huge deception and we will more easily fall for The Great Deception that is coming on the world. The Bible speaks of a man that will come on the scene who will want to be worshiped as God. In fact, he will demand it and those who will not worship him will be killed. (Revelation 13:11-17)
What is the first step in this false worship? It is looking to another human being as a savior of our country or our world. We need to ask ourselves if we have put any politician on a pedestal in our minds. Do we think that a person can save us from ruin? If so, we better put him back on terra firma where he belongs. If we don’t, we will be part of a modern day version of emperor worship, whether we know it or not.
Photo by Michael Cullers, taken in Ravenna, Italy.