Most people in modern western society today are probably not aware they are engaging in or have engaged in the worship of idols. While people live their everyday lives in modern western society they unknowing violate a command from the Almighty Creator many of them don’t acknowledge even exist. Many of these people attend religious services and hear sermons on different subjects, however very few pastors, ministers and religious leaders tell them that most people in modern western society break a command from the creator, but instead tell them they do not need to keep the commands of the Almighty Creator.
The scriptures in the books of the Old Testament seem to indicate that an idol is a cast image made by men to kneel down to worship. However, even dictionaries define an idol as something or things more than a cast image or a figure made form wood.
Idol (plural i·dols) n 1. object of adoration: somebody or something greatly and often fanatically admired and loved.
The above definition is for an idol taken from the Encarta Dictionary. An Idol is something the Creator warns about in the scriptures. The first time the word idol is used in the bible is in the book of Exodus chapter 20. This is the chapter where the Creator, whose name is Yahweh, gives his Ten Commandments to the Israelites.
4 ” You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 ” You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, Yahweh your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments
Elohim using Moses as his messenger had just saved the Israelites from harsh slavery in Egypt. Moses performed miracles in Egypt with Yahweh’s power and acted as Yahweh’s messenger proclaiming a death on the firstborn of man and animal if the Israelites were not released by t he pharaoh. The Israelites had lived in Egypt for 400 years and had not heard Yahweh’s commandments before their pronouncement at Mount Horeb; at least there is no mention in the scriptures that these Israelites knew of the commandments before this issuance at Mount Horeb.
One commandment is the order in Exodus chapter 20: verse 4-6 for the Israelites not to make for themselves an idol. Yahweh then gives an indication of just what he considers the definition of an idol. Yahweh instructs, in these verses, that the Israelites are not to worship or serve anything that is any likeness of any item or items that are in the heavens, the earth or below the earth.
Many people who read the scriptures don’t understand the significance the tribes of Israel in the scriptures. The tribes of Israel are in the scriptures as an example and witness to power of the Creator from which people can learn.
1 Cor 10:6-12
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did — and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did — and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did — and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
The Apostle Paul who witnessed and preached to both Jews and Gentiles made it clear that idolatry is a sin.
1 Cor 10:14-15
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
The word idol is found approximately thirty-nine times in the Bible. The word idols is used approximately one hundred and seventy-three times in the Bible and the word idolatry is used approximately eight times in the Bible, four of which are in the New Testament.
Why would the Creator be so concerned about a cast image (idol) that the scriptures seem to depict is an idol? The Creator Yahweh told the Israelites that he would punish their descendants down to the fourth generation for the sin of idol worship. That seems like harsh punishment indeed for just making a harmless image or idol. Of course, Yahweh would be displeased if people worshiped a harmless idol because that meant people were ignoring Yahweh and his rules, but so what? Yahweh made rules to punish people who chose not to worship him and follow his rules. In fact Yahweh allowed people to choose whether to worship him or seal their own fate of punishment for false worship. There must be something more to idol worship.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
kakos (kak-os’); apparently a primary word; worthless (intrinsically, such; whereas NT:4190 properly refers to effects), i.e. (subjectively) depraved, or (objectively) injurious:
GREEK poneros (pon-ay-ros’); from a derivative of NT:4192; hurtful, i.e. evil (properly, in effect or influence, and thus differing from NT:2556, which refers rather to essential character, as well as from NT:4550, which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); figuratively, calamitous; also (passively) ill, i.e. diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, i.e. derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners:
END GREEK pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah); from NT:4123; avarice, i.e. (by implication) fraudulency, extortion:
GREEK pleonektes (pleh-on-ek’-tace); from NT:4119 and NT:2192; holding (desiring) more, i.e. eager for gain (avaricious, hence a defrauder):
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
The above definitions are from the Greek Interlinear scriptures and give the definition of evil desires and greed as used in the NIV version of the English Bible.
In the view of Yahweh a person or person who commits idolatry is worthless, depraved, degenerate, derelict, guilty, a defrauder, that is eager for gain or an avaricious, vicious person willing to defraud or extort others. An idolater is willing to hurt others to get more for themselves. These people will not inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Idolaters are willing use deceit, lies and other actions to gain for themselves to the detriment of their fellow man and that is the reason Yahweh dislikes a person who commits idolatry.
Most people alive and who have lived do not and did not consider the example of the Israelite tribes recorded in the Old Testament relevant their own lives and possible eternal life. But, the example of Israel in the Old Testament reveals exactly how Yahweh will deal with people, even today, who commit idolatry and most have, according to the scriptures.
The Example of Israel
The scriptures explain that if the Israelites did serve or worship anything to replace Yahweh as their Elohim he would pass on the punishment to the fourth generation children of those who committed the iniquity of placing an idol or idols before Yahweh. This commandment must have been important to Yahweh since he warned the children, grandchildren, and even great great grandchildren would suffer some consequence for the actions of their forefathers.
The Israelites saw a great display of Elohim’s power when Moses was able to part the waters of the Red Sea for them to escape the powerful army of the Egyptians who decided to recapture the Israelites. The Israelites walked on dry land through the Red Sea when the waters were parted by Moses on the instruction of Yahweh. The waters returned when the Egyptians tried to pursue the Israelites, over the same seabed resulting in the death and destruction of the pursuing Egyptian army.
All the Egyptians that tried to follow the Israelites were killed. Yahweh also demonstrated his power with the display of smoke and fire at Mount Horeb. It didn’t take long for the Israelites to forget the power of Yahweh, however, because they disobeyed him and would not enter the land of Canaan, do to an unfavorable report some of the men sent into Canaan gave that discouraged the Israelites from following Yahweh’s order to enter the land of Canaan.
Because the Israelites did not obey the command of Yahweh to enter the land of Canaan’s
were destined to wander through the desert for 40 years. In that time period all of the men of fighting age that refused to follow Yahweh’s command died wandering in the desert. Only Joshua, whose name in Hebrew is pronounced Yahshua, and Caleb from among the men sent into Canaan as scouts lived to enter the land of Canaan. Yahweh favored them because they encouraged the Israelites to follow Yahweh’s command to enter the land. Joshua and Caleb had faith in the words of Yahweh telling the people to trust Yahweh and his promise to deliver the people of Canaan into the hands of the Israelites. You can read of this account in chapters one through three of the book of Deuteronomy in the words of Moses given as instructed by Yahweh.
In chapter four of the book of Deuteronomy Moses gives a warning to the Israelites to follow the commands and statues of Elohim and predicts what the Israelites will do and the results of their actions.
3 “So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of Yahweh your Elohim which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which Yahweh your Elohim has commanded you. 24 “For Yahweh your Elohim is a consuming fire, a jealous Elohim.
25 “When you become the father of children and children’s children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of Yahweh your Elohim so as to provoke Him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 “Yahweh will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where Yahweh drives you. 28 ” There you will serve Elohims, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29 ”
Moses warned the Israelites not to forget the covenant they made with Yahweh and not to make a graven image in the form of anything they had been warned against by Elohim. He also warned the Israelites that if they acted corruptly and made an idol Yahweh would be angry with them and remove them from the land given to them. Elohim would scatter them among the nations and in those nations they would serve Elohim’s that would be made by the hands of man made of wood and stone. What did happen to Israel?
I brought you into a fertile land
to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
and made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests did not ask,
‘Where is Yahweh?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
following worthless idols.
Yahweh explains the actions of Israel through his prophet Jeremiah who tells that the Israelites defiled the fertile land given them by Elohim. The Israelites did not know the law of Elohim and prophesied by a false Elohim and followed worthless idols.
As a result of their disobedience, Elohim removed Israel from the Promised Land; first the ten northern tribes were taken captive by Assyria never to be heard of again and then the Babylonians took Judah into captivity. While some of Judah returned to the land of Canaan for a short period of time they were again removed by the Romans in 70 AD and did not return until 1948 as a nation.
Unless the ten lost northern tribes were completely exterminated they must be scattered among the nations, as Moses forewarned, where certainly they have built idols for themselves and worship falsely, just as predicted.
Elohim tells us in scripture that those who wish to do the will of the father should pay attention to the actions of Israel. What unfolds in the verses of scripture, in the bible, concerning the actions of Israel is not an example one should follow, but to avoid. Israel disobeyed the commands of Elohim and was punished for there disobedience. Israel’s actions are an example not to be followed. If people follow the example of Israel and put idols before Elohim they will not share in the promised rewards to those who obey the commands of Elohim.
1 Cor 10:1-22
10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Messiah. 5 Nevertheless, Elohim was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Yahweh, as some of them did-and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did-and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And Elohim is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Yahshua? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Yahshua? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to Elohim, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of Yahweh and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both Yahweh’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse Yahweh’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
There are many scriptures, in the bible, telling those who seek salvation from Elohim they must avoid idolatry. When asked, most people will declare they do not commit idolatry. They do not have any statues or figurines they bow down to worship. But is an idol merely a statue, object, or figurine religiously designed to set on a pedestal or the mantel?
The opening of the study was the definition of an idol taken from the Encarta Encyclopedia. The definition of an idol is somebody or thing adored. Do the scriptures concur with this definition?
The idols speak deceit,
diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep
oppressed for lack of a shepherd.
9 All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
Idols can be both objects and people. Many people are idolized; they can be political leaders, movie stars, sports athletes, and even religious leaders. In 2005 a pope died, millions of people traveled long distances to view his body lying in state. His death and funeral were worldwide news; certainly this man and his office were idolized. How can a person or persons who are idolized be in any way idols as described in the scriptures?
The scriptures also make clear that idols are works of man.
18 “What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it,
Or an image, a teacher of falsehood?
For its maker trusts in his own handiwork
When he fashions speechless idols.
19 “Woe to him who says to a piece of wood, ‘ Awake!’
To a mute stone, ‘Arise!’
And that is your teacher?
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
And there is no breath at all inside it.
Judah had idols in its temple. This tribe was conquered partly because they had material riches in their possessions that were desired by other nations.
Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. 2 When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of Elohim which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank the wine and praised the Elohims of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
The scriptures have many instances where Israel was forewarned not to build idols, yet they somehow repeatedly disobeyed Elohim and had idols of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. Idolatry is strongly disliked by Elohim, so disliked that he warns Israel, and therefore any one who wants to find favor with the creator, not to have any form of idol before him or in his mind and heart.
7 “‘When any Israelite or any alien living in Israel separates himself from me and sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet to inquire of me, I Yahweh will answer him myself. 8 I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am Yahweh.
Idols cause people to separate themselves from Yahweh; they care more about the idols of gold, silver, stone, and bronze than they do obeying Yahweh by keeping his commands. Anything whether human, animal, or material that people put before their obedience to Yahweh is an idol and causes idolatry.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of Elohim is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
When the apostle Paul addressed the assembly at Colosse he wrote that sexual immorality. Impurity, lust, evil desires and greed were idolatry. The word translated here, as sexual immorality by the NIV translators and fornication by the King James translators is the Greek word pornia from which the English word pornography is derived also has a figurative meaning in Greek and that meaning is idolatry.
The meaning of the Greek word translated in English to idol is:
eidolon (i’-do-lon); from NT:1491; an image (i.e. for worship); by implication, a heathen Elohim, or (plural) the worship of such:
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
porneia (por-ni’-ah); from NT:4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry:
KJV – fornication.
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
The worship of idols is not only a physical act it is a mindset. People who willing commit physical acts have their minds set to ignore Elohim’s commands on how to live and let their own desires take over their actions. These people give into their desires for physical possessions, physical acts of greed and lust for materialism that come first in their minds over Yahweh. These desires, lust, and greed for themselves are first in their lives.
Yahweh’s commands are in the book of Exodus chapter 20, they are what he expects those who desire to share in his plan for salvation to keep. Most of the people in the world choose to ignore Yahweh’s commands. They seek to follow their own plans and desires striving to please themselves while trying to camouflage their real intentions to others by appearing to be religious or sensitive to the needs of others. They give small amounts of their incomes to charities either to relieve their guilt or to mislead others into believing they are kind and generous while accumulating material goods for themselves or secretly performing sinful acts of greed, sexual immorality, taking advantage of their employees and misusing funds entrusted to them by others.
We read in the news and see on TV where business leaders lie in financial statements for the purpose of misleading more people to give their companies money while they are living in grand style on money illegally obtained. Religious leaders are charged with fraud because they divert funds given to them to their own use instead of using the money for the purpose it was given. Politicians are indicated for misuse of funds, they seek gifts from lobbyist and sell their votes, not for their constitutes, but for their own gain and retention of power. Ordinary men and women commit adultery every day causing mistrust and divorce.
One of Yahweh’s commands is to keep the seventh day Sabbath holy by making it a day of rest and worship to him. The seventh day of the week is now named Saturday a day when most people do what they please such as working around the house, their job, shopping, attending sports events and in general living their lives as they please and not observing the Sabbath.
Most people have not and will not take time out of their self-imposed busy life styles to read the scriptures and try to understand what Yahweh expects of them to receive salvation from a death sentence. That’s correct a death sentence.
People somehow foolishly think they can attend worship services on a non –Sabbath day,
Ignore the scriptures by breaking Yahweh’s written laws and continue to sin by performing their acts of greed and selfishness. They somehow think they will be rewarded by Elohim and go to heaven when they die in spite of the fact they did not do the will of the father. Why do they think this?
They think this way do to their own human selfish nature and partially because they have been mislead by their religious idols that speak lies.
14 Then Yahweh said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore, this is what Yahweh says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them or their wives, their sons or their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.
Notice carefully what Yahweh proclaims to the Israelites and to people today about false prophets and those who follow them. Those prophets, who falsely claim they are teaching the words of Elohim and are preaching their own words, leading people astray, will perish. Those who listen to and believe them will perish along with their spouses and children.
These are the words of the mighty creator of all we know; the world and the universe. They are written in the bible that everyone can have access to and read for themselves.
People worship false religious leaders, politics, houses, jewelry, cars, money, jobs, , sports and entrainment figures along with various other idols that lead them to disobey the commands of Yahweh. What do the scriptures foretell will be their fate for their idolatry?
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
People who let their idols lead them to idolatry will not have their name written in the book of life. They will be judged by their deeds while alive physically on earth. These people will be resurrected to face judgment. If they have committed idolatry they will be forcefully thrown into the lake of fire, which is the second death. If people choose to continue to do as they please foolishly ignoring the commands of the father they will not be able to claim they could not have learned how to obey Elohim and seek salvation from death. They could have read the scriptures for themselves.
Men and women can have eternal happy lives if they will obey the rules listed in the scriptures. They must not follow the example of the tribes of Israel if they desire to live happily forever. However, most people choose to selfishly live for their own desires. They are greedy and seek to enrich themselves some even to the point of fraud and physical robbery.
Men and women who ignore the words of the Creator could have read the words of Yahweh for themselves clearly written in their bibles. Most have chosen instead to ignore the scriptures, commit idolatry, by their selfish greedy acts even leading their children into idolatry thereby possibly prohibiting their own children and grandchildren from enjoying a life of eternal happiness.
The choice is up to each individual.
May everyone choose wisely!!