1 Samuel 15:23 (KJV)
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee…
When thoughts of idol worship come to mind, we instantly think of a “golden calf” or little “statues.” Our minds eye sees these “primitive” people bowing down to a carved wooden figure on their shelves worshipping it. We assume that those who worship idols lack a higher intellectualism and that their intelligence is more comparable to beasts rather than men. These people were uncivilized and devoid of the “higher pursuits” of a civilized world. In our “cultured” and “refined” world, bowing down to an action figure or a Barbie doll is utterly inconceivable. We know that these little figures are not god/s. So when we read about idol worship in scripture our natural conclusions are that they are very ignorant people.
Only with the development of mechanical cranes with steel cables and motorized engines did modern man master the skill of moving massive weights and fitting them easily together. The great pyramid of Giza is considered my modern man to be ancient wonder. The stones that were used in the construction of this pyramid fit together with such accuracy that only with modern lasers can man duplicate it. Egypt’s engineers had the ability to handle stones that weight as much as 30 tons. They had the gracefulness required to fit these heavy stones together with precision. The Egyptians were not the only ancient society that performed amazing feats. The Aztecs, Greeks, Romans, and Persians can be accredited with accomplishing wondrous things during their time of reign as well.
These ancient civilizations centered their cultures on “idols.” According to Wikipedia idolatry “is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god,or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honor and regard to created forms other than God.” One of these ancient civilizations was the Mayans. The Mayans were a bloody empire be-heading thousands of people to false deities. This empire has been lost to time but they left behind their great pyramids which attracts thousands of people annually. They also had a calendar that astonishes our scientists. Millions of people were following their “long count” calendar which just ended on Dec. 12 2012. These facts teach us a very important lesson: these societies were highly intelligent. In order to undertake and complete the wonders they did, they had to have a high level of intelligence.
Presently, our nation has a rover on the surface of Mars. We also have satellites orbiting the earth, and air planes that shuttle us across the world. These feats are amazing, but it does not make us a more sophisticated people and it does not add to our intelligence. Scientists in the 1940’s and 50’s had “on paper” inventions that would transform their world, but they lacked the technology. It would take decades for the technology to evolve enough for their inventions to be utilized. There are currently scientists that possess fantastic ideas about traveling faster than the speed of light, and all that they lack is the technology that warps space which would enable a vehicle to ride a “warp bubble” breaking the light barrier.
We should understand that technology is not a measurement of society’s intelligence because ancient men were capable of reason and thought, as well as they were able to comprehend beyond what they were capable of doing. Since ancient man was able to undertake great feats of architecture then it should stand to reason that they also were able to grasp ideas well beyond the skill level that it took to accomplish them. Although, we possess more truths about our environment because of the development of technology, the mental aptitude of both ancient men and present day men are relatively close together. If my argument is wrong, then in a thousand years when mankind looks back to our age we will appear as “primitive beasts.”
If we believe that ancient man was only capable of the most primitive acts based on their worship of idols and bowing down to false deities, we would have been wrong. This “false perception” that we have employed in view ancient people hinders us greatly in our pursuit to understand scripture. It is hard for us to grow spiritually because of this “perception.” When scripture expresses that Israel was “whoring after an idol” we are quick to dismiss it, because we not bowing down to carved figures. The message of God is missed because of false perception. If our society knows that “bowing down” to a carved figure is wrong, then they did as well. The children of Israel knew the “golden calf” that Aaron built was not God. They also knew the carved wooden images and steel statues were not God.
2 Kings 17:10-12 (KJV)
10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:
12 For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
By understanding that ancient man and modern man are relatively equals mentally, we can harness what we understand about ourselves and apply that to ancient man. So when we read a scripture such as 2 Kings 17:10-12 and how “they served idols” it can be applied to us. In our religious lives we could be serving idols.
The Idols of Men
The bible has three defining qualities that assure its readers the truthfulness of its pages. First is a historical book in that it has been proven to be historically accurate through the work of archaeologists. Physical evidence of the written scripture can be easily found throughout the “promise land.” This physical evidence gives credence that scripture is true. Secondly the bible is a prophetic book that has accurately predicted the rise and fall of histories’ men and nations. History has proven these prophecies to have been accurate. The Bible is also currently predicting future events that have yet been fulfilled. We are confident that these unfulfilled prophecies will come to pass because of all the numerous fulfilled prophecies. These fulfilled prophecies can be found in the channels of historical evidence. Finally, it is a spiritual book that must be spiritually understood. Jesus states that his words “are spirit” which should be foremost; however spiritual words without physicality (i.e. physical manner) are not truth but lies. God shows us this principle not only through the whole bible but most importantly with Christ as John 1:14 proclaims “the Word was made flesh.”
Genesis 1:2 “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” The Spirit always comes first when God reveals himself to both non-believers and believers alike; however there are many spirits and only one can be trusted. God gives us the physical evidence of fulfilled prophetic, and this evidence assures us of the Spirit. If physical evidence never comes to fulfillment then we are assured of the falsehood of the spirit. The culmination of the whole bible happens at the manifestation of “Christ and him crucified.” Without this manifestation we would be at a lost to know what truth is and what is false.
The majority of ancient Israel was in the snare of idolatry many times in biblical history. 1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples…” ancient Israel as our example was in the snare of worshipping idols. Examples come before the dilemma. Modern man is facing the dilemma of idolatry, but this dilemma should not exclude Christians! Christians must embrace the real possibly that they could be ignorantly worshipping an idol.
1 John 5:16-17 (KJV)
16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death (refers to direction other than the cross, done in ignorance), he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death (The believer who understands God’s Prescribed Order of Victory, which is the cross, should pray for those who are ignorantly going in a direction opposite of the cross). There is a sin unto death (speaks of unbelief; this group is not opposing the Cross because of ignorance but rather because they simply do not believe in the Atoning work of Calvary): I do not say that he shall pray for it (While it is pointless to pray that God would forgive such a person, it is proper to pray that the blindness of their unbelief will be removed).
17 All unrighteousness is sin (refers to any deviation from the Word): and there is a sin not unto death. (This is a lack of trust in the cross due to ignorance, not unbelief. While such sin will bring great disturbance upon the individual, it will not cause one to lose their soul.) Expositor’s Study Bible
What is the concept behind ancient and present idols? Idols are based on what humanity considers as excellent qualities such as strength, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. The opposites of some of these held “virtues” are greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. These false idols were built to represent one or more of these virtues. For example, when the children of Israel was liberated from Egyptian captivity and was camped at the base of Mt. Sinai they built a golden calf. The golden calf represented the manifestation of God.
Apis an Egyptian bull god
This is an image of “Apis,” an Egyptian god that was worshipped at the time of the Hebrew’s captivity.
“Apis was originally the Herald of Ptah, the chief god in the area around Memphis (Memphis is the region around the mouth of the Nile River.). As a manifestation of Ptah, Apis also was considered to be a symbol of the pharaoh, embodying the qualities of kingship.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_(god) (emphasis mine)
When Israel camped around Mt. Horeb they experienced a manifestation of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 4:10-12 (KJV)
10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
12 And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
When Moses failed to return in what the people thought a timely manner they built this “molten calf,” because the Egyptian god “Apis” i.e. the young bull represented the visible manifestation of God. They had just witnessed a great manifestation of smoke and clouds, and they memorialized it. Also, this young bull represented God’s anthropomorphic qualities of strength, fertility, and other human equivalent attributes that expresses greatness. From God’s perspective the children of Israel, who having just witnessed this great manifestation, turned around and built an idol in the place of God. The Children of Israel however did not believe what they were doing was wrong. They were not trying to worship an idol, but God. God had literally manifested himself right next to them on the neighboring mountaintop and they wanted to worship him. They failed and horribly so because the mind of man tried to interpret and comprehend what they witnessed. Many false idols have been built which has stemmed from a manifestation or experience with God. The manifestation of God was real, but man’s interpretation and comprehension of that manifestation was incorrect. The intended purpose for the calf was to worship God, but instead they were worshipping an idol and not God. The natural man cannot understand the things of God, but that does not mean the natural man does not try!
Deuteronomy 4:15-16 (KJV)
15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude (a shape, embodiment, and/or manifestation) on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female…
The Lord knew that if they saw his figure (a pre-incarnation of Christ) they would build a statue of him and corrupt themselves by worshipping it. The heart of mankind is bent on taking things that were never meant to be worship and worshipping them. The meaning of God’s example is changed from illustrations of teaching to false ways and philosophies.
Corrupting what is Good
John 5:1 (KJV)
After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
False religion and ways corrupt what God has ordained as good. This verse in John 5:1 is a good example of men corrupting themselves. The feast mentioned in this passage was not initially a feast of the Jews, but a feast of the Lord. Religion had changed the feast of the Lord into a similitude. Similitude according to the Strong’s Concordance means “something portioned (i.e. fashioned) out, as a shape, i.e. (indefinite) phantom, or (specific) embodiment (to give a tangible, bodily, or concrete form to (an abstract concept)), or (figurative) manifestation (of favor).” An example of the word usage can be found in Deuteronomy 4:15-16 “…for ye saw no manner of similitude…” Similitude simply means a visible likeness resembling something else. The Jews had changed the feast of the Lord into a visible likeness of God’s true feast; centuries earlier the molten calf was a visible likeness of the manifestation of God. They had corrupted something that was initially good and twisted it into something that it was never meant to be.
There are examples of Christians incorporating similitudes into their services. The Eucharist is an example of people creating a visible likeness of the body of Christ. Many Christian denominations classify the Eucharist as a sacrament. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the sacraments as “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.” The catechism included in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer defines a sacrament as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof.” (Emphasis mine) The Eucharist is a particular outward and visible sign made in a preheated oven of 350o. The Catholic Church is not the only “church” that has “sacraments.” Personally, I would rather have the mountaintop and not the calf.
Another example is the “tallit.” A tallit is a Jewish prayer shawl that covers a person’s head and shoulders during prayer. A very “pious” person may never take the shawl off, but wear it underneath their clothing during their daily activities. There are many other religious garments worn by men trying to attain holiness, but regardless of the clothing worn they all have one common denominator: a sowing machine stitched the fabric together. Here again, man is attempting to worship God but instead builds a calf; they have corrupted themselves by making a similitude. A very zealous person may have a hard time accepting the fact that their linen under-garments, prayer shawls, or other priestly garments have no sway in the service of God or obedience.
Numbers 15:37-40 (KJV)
37 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek (“spy” out) not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
The tallit was one commandment of many that had to be observed. However, just as the Jew had changed the “feast of the Lord” into the “feast of the Jews;” men have changed what God has intended to a false idol. During the time of Christ there were many zealous religious people that probably referred to this particular feast as “the feast of the Lord,” but in the eyes of the Lord it had been corrupted. There are many well-meaning religious people, who believe the things they are doing are of the Lord, but that may not be the case. The law is just and holy, but our flesh is not: (Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing). When a person tries to perform God’s holy law through their unholy flesh, God’s laws are corrupted. Jesus taught us this in Matthew 9:16, “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.”
1 Timothy 1:9-11 (KJV)
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
11 According to the glorious gospel (Jesus Christ and him crucified is the true gospel although there are many “gospels” that claim to be truth.) of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
Idols snare and entrap us. They hold millions in captivity. Israel struggled through the course of biblical history with their idolatrous behavior; modern man struggles with the same condition of idolatry. Their similitudes always allured them back time and time again.
The opium of religion has man at the center. Like opium or any other narcotics, religion is a highly addictive. Our society deals with these types of drugs on a daily basis. Some of us may have a family member that is addicted to a narcotic, and we have watched our loved one’s lives be ravaged by narcotics. In the end addicts are a shadow of their former self. Many times addicts try to quit but fail to only be drawn back time and time again. Religion has the same effect upon billion of lives.
Doctors have labeled drug addiction as a disease because it is something that people will live with their entire lives. AA members who have been sober for months and years suffer from a constant “pull” to use. Addicts give everything they have and more to quench the thirst for the drug. There are also those that do not want to quit, but give themselves totally over to the addiction reveling in it. Religion is stronger than any narcotic on the street and this “narcotic” will not only take hold of someone’s life, but soul as well.
The addict who is drawn back to their drugs is same as the religious man that breaks away from religion and falls back into the snare of idolatry. The same “pull” the drug addict feels is the same “pull” that religion has upon the heart. For those that have found true freedom from drug addiction know that it is possible. However, the far majority of addicts do not find liberation from their addiction. The world does not know the correct answer to the horrible problem to both drug addiction and religion.
The only answer to the world’s problems both spiritually and physically is “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” The reason why Israel kept falling back into the snare of Idolatry was because they were never really freed from it. The “back” of false religion was never broken. Israel witnessed great miracles of God, but witnessing miracles was not enough to overcome their corrupt hearts. The majority of them never accepted “Jesus Christ and him crucified” but always turned back to “self.” Ignorant Christians have unknowingly turned away from true message of the cross unto a false gospel.
The Worship of Idols and the Second Coming of Christ
The “second coming” of Christ is one of the most fundamental doctrines in the Christian belief. This belief varies from one denomination to another but they all have the same basic foundation: Christ is coming again, judgment of the wicked, reward of the righteous, resurrection of the dead, and that his kingship shall reign forever. When Christ was physically with his disciples he gave them signs that believers could look for his coming.
Matthew 24:3 (KJV)
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Here is a short list of some of the signs Christ gave his disciples in Matthew 24:4-14 (KJV):
· For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many
· …wars and rumours of wars
· …For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom
· …famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places
· …ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake
· …many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many
· …the love of many shall wax cold
· …this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations
These signs of Christ imminent return are among many others that were given. Another sign Christ gave his disciples was the sign of “Noah.”
Matthew 24:36-38 (KJV)
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark…
This particular sign is one that we can study by comparative analysis. A comparative analysis is simply the comparison of two or more models and can be used to forecast upcoming events. The signs represented in Christ’s return have been happening since the ascension. There has always been famines, wars, earthquakes, etc. There is one sign however that has only happened once in history: the days of Noah.
The days of Noah symbolizes a specific occurrence in biblical history by presenting God “saving the righteous,” “destroying of the wicked,” and “regenerating the earth.” This specific sign says “…as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” By knowing what the world was like just moments before the destruction, we can form a conclusion on how the world will be right before the second coming of Christ.
As we begin to try and understand the conditions of the antediluvian there are a few questions we must ask. First is physically consuming of food, drink, or marrying wrong? God instituted marriage in the beginning with Adam and Eve. We also need substance to survive. In the garden the Lord provided food stuffs for Adam to consume. The word for “drinking” could be understood as alcohol though it should not be restricted to that specific definition. It could reference other types of drink i.e. water. Our bodies cannot go without water either for an extended amount of time. Humans can only survive without water for estimated 8 – 14 days depending on physical factors. Marriage, eating, and drinking have been a part of mankind’s life since the dawn of time and has remained as such even unto today. Consequently, the physical marriage of man and wife, consumption of food, and water are not signs of the “days of Noah” and Christ’s return.
The Lord may have been referring to something else entirely. How can we understand this sign? What question can we ask that will lead us to the right conclusion? We simply need to understand the purpose for God flooding the earth.
Genesis 6:11-12 (KJV)
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
God brought the flood upon the earth because it was corrupt. The population according to Lambert Dolphin at the time of Noah can be estimated at around 9 billion people. Today there is an estimated 7.8 billion people in the world and by the end of the century 10.9 billion. The statement “ALL flesh had corrupted his way” is unfathomable to believe, because if Mr. Dolphin’s calculations are correct then 9 billion people were considered by God as wicked and corrupt. In the end world was engulfed by the suffocating waters from the abyss and only eight souls out of the 9 billion were saved. These numerical values shed new light on the statement Christ made in Matthew 7:13-14 “…wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat… narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” “Many” is an understatement when compared to basically 9 billion people! In this biblical narrative only eight people out of 9 billion were saved! For a moment let us consider that there must have been many out of those 9 billion that thought they were “right” with God. I am in no way saying that God will only save eight people in the end of our age, but if we do not repent then we in like manner will perish.
The sign Christ gave the church concerning Noah in Matthew 24:36-38 was not essentially against civilization’s participation of marrying and eating, but against corruption. He was telling us that all flesh will be corrupt. The corruption that happened thousands of years ago is currently overrunning the earth, and will happen to a greater degree in the coming future until the fullness of corruption has been reached.
What made these ancient people corrupt before the Lord?
Deuteronomy 4:25 (KJV)
25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:
These ancient people did not think or believe that what they were doing was wrong. How could it be wrong when their heart was telling them something different? Their heart was confirming their actions were right. However, God testifies that their hearts were continually upon evil.
The worship of idols is an outward sign of an inward corruption that infests the hearts of mankind. As mentioned earlier the majority of Christians that partake in “sacraments” believe that they are an outward expression of an inward grace. They believe this participation is just and good. Isaiah said it best, “woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.” The outward sign of idolatry is infests the hearts of men. This infestation, which consumes humans, did not allow the people to believe the righteousness that Noah preached. They would not hear Noah’s words but continued down the path that their hearts lead them. In the days of Noah all of mankind was corrupt with the exception of Noah.
According to Medline Plus a “sign” means “objective evidence of disease especially as observed and interpreted by the physician rather than by the patient or lay observer” http://www.merriam-webster.com/medlineplus/sign.The great physician makes the observation in Genesis 6:11-12 that corruption had consumed the earth. Idolatry must have been extensive since it is the “sign” of corruption. When the disciples asked the Lord what “sign” they could look which would indicate his return, Christ gave them the “sign of the days of Noah.” This informs us beyond a shadow of doubt that idolatry is taking place in the lives of people today! Secular man is worshipping money and material wants while religious man is forming their own spiritual idols. Religious man may not be literally forming idols of wood and stone, nevertheless they are spiritually shaping idols that can be equated to wood and stone. The “patient or lay observer” cannot properly interpret the “sign” of corruption, but as long as man is “self-diagnosing” then he will remain sick. Only the Great Physician can accurately diagnose and cure the world.
How Mankind becomes Corrupt
We now know that idolatry was being practice “in the days of Noah” and that it is applicable to present day man. Idolatry is not the cause of corruption that the Lord is referring to in Genesis 6:11-12 because it is merely the outward expression of corruption. What then corrupted the ancient people of Noah’s day and currently corrupting mankind?
Genesis 6:1-5 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God (“The term ‘sons of God’ in the Old Testament, at least as it is used here, is never used of human beings, but always of Angels, whether righteous or fallen.” The Expositor’s Study Bible.“The term ‘sons of God’ can be interpret as ‘the divine beings’ because the Hebrew here is b’nei elohim. The word b’nie often means ‘members of a category, so that the Hebrew phrase here means ‘members of the category of divine beings’” Etz Hayim “Torah and Commentary. Some scholars also believe that the “sons of God” refer to the descendants of Seth. ) saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives (“woman; wife; betrothed one; bride” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words) of all which they chose. (This “chosen generation” is the same one that is emerging into the world today.)
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
This marriage of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of man” should be viewed with comparable semblance to the marriage of Christ and his bride. Personally, I have a literal wife, but at the same time I am married to Christ. As individual Christians we should be married to Christ; however the far majority is refusing to progress further in the relationship process. This is the type of union that was taking place between the daughters of men and the “fallen angels.” The “daughters of men” were being married to “fallen angels” just as Christians are married to Christ. The concept of being married to Christ is a fundamental teaching in most if not all Christian circles, but applying this concept towards the marriage between a false deity and believers are not.
1 Samuel 7:3-4 (KJV)
3 And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth (“The name of a Sidonian deity;” “god of increase” Strong’s Concordance) from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim (“a master; hence a husband, or (figurative) owner” Strong’s Concordance. The children of Israel were “marring” to the false deity who the Lord referred to as “Baal.”) and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
The children of Israel, whether knowingly or unknowingly, were serving multiple gods and at the same time trying to serve God. As the proverb goes “they were splitting the fence.” Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:21, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” Jesus states in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” We should serve the “Lord only” but so many unwittingly are trying to serve two masters. Many walk down the road of destruction with “good indentations!” Their intentions may not be to have two masters, but they are oblivious to their own double mindedness. If we are divided in our service then we cannot stand, and a great fall is in our future.
From the passage in I Samuel we are shown unequivocally that many can be deceived into trying to serve more than one master. Many do not realize that they are setting at “Lucifer’s” table, because a false gospel has been mixed with the truth. Lucifer’s con is very subtle and by offering scripture mixed with little deception it leads millions of people away easily. Many countless of souls have swallowed the “pill” of deception. People believe that scripture is true, but error occurs when trying to understand scripture. “Lucifer” presents something that looks and sounds legit; understanding scripture is the battlefield that Lucifer has chosen to deceive the people. As a fallen angel Lucifer transforms himself into a carrier of light. Light is a synonym for the gospel. “Jesus Christ and him crucified” is the true light of the gospel, but Satan offers the world another light i.e. another gospel.
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (KJV)
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (Satan transforms himself into an angel of the Gospel. The gospel that he presents to humanity is a false gospel that is not after “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” In his message the meaning of the gospel has changed. Words such as Christ, cross, blood, and many others words that relate to the true gospel may be used but the true meanings and definitions have been twisted. The message that is presented might not necessarily be a “cross-less” message. In other words a “cross” may be a part of the doctrine, but who Christ is and what he accomplished is where the subtle changes occur.)
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness (This righteousness is a false righteousness. These ministers may believe they are preaching the “true gospel,” but are manifesting a false light that is not after the cross of Christ [I Cor. 1:17-18, 21, 23; 2:2; Gal. 1:8-9]); whose end shall be according to their works. (reliance is ultimately upon “their works” and not the cross of Christ. Even for those that believe in the true gospel of Jesus Christ can and do rely at times on their works. 1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Salvation is attained by those that have the true gospel, but beyond that a false gospel is embraced. The primary difference between these two groups is one is initiated in the true gospel of Christ and the other is not.)
Our human perception of the light spectrum does not vary much except in clarity or brightness. The light that we turn on in our homes illuminates everything in that particular room. The room that was once dark is now illuminated. It is hard for us to comprehend that there could be two separate and distinct types of lights. One light is the true light of the gospel of Christ (Jesus Christ and him crucified) and the other light is a false gospel of Satan posing as Christ. Jesus said in Luke 11:34-35 “Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” We must take Christ’s words to heart and “TAKE HEED!” We must pay careful attention and give considerable consideration to what we believe because it could be a false light.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (KJV)
3 But if our gospel (Cross of Christ) be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god (false god)of this world (The god of this world is Lucifer. Lucifer’s desire is to be like the one true God and parades himself as if he is God. Isaiah 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning…For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven… I will be like the most High. If Lucifer wants to “be like the most High” then logic demands that he is not “like the most High.” Children are born after their father’s likeness and image. Children inherit traits that from to both the father and mother. The child is “like” their father and mother. This shows us that Lucifer was not born in the image of God as some suppose but was created as a separate being from that of God. The definite article “the” in front of “god” provides us with a great deal of evidence that there are not “many” false gods but one. Whatever “god” that is being worshipped by whatever religion this is the false god that is ultimately being worshipped. [Ephesians 6:11-13 “rulers of the darkness of this world”]) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not (many are “enemies in their mind” [Col. 1:21]), lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ (The true light of the gospel is Jesus Christ and him crucified), who is the image of God (The trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and these three are one. The image of God is God the Son. Jesus Christ IS the image i.e. righteousness of God (Colossians 1:15 Who [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature). The righteousness and holiness of God the Father was manifested in the flesh as Jesus Christ. Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… The first Adam was created after the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, or in other words Adam was created after God’s righteousness and his true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. While in the garden Adam displayed the image of Christ, but when Adam fell from that world to this world the image became a “false Christ.” The image of the now “first Adam” is a “false Christ,” and is perpetuated through his linage unto all of humankind.), should shine unto them. (shine unto their minds)
While Adam was in the Garden of Eden his image and likeness was the expression the righteousness and holiness of God, but when Adam fell the image fell with him. The image that WAS after the righteousness and holiness of God is now in a corrupt state. It is presently a fallen righteousness and holiness that men possess. The image initially was an expression of Christ, but now it expresses a false Christ. This fallen expression is presently not after the true holiness and righteousness of God, although it does contain a resemblance superficially of righteousness and holiness. Jesus conveys to us this superficial holiness by connecting humanities image with “whited sepulchers” in Matthew 23:27 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward.”
Superficially the Pharisees and scribes had a form of righteous. We should try to understand their mind frame and grasp a deeper understanding of what is taking place. As Pharisees and Scribes, they had dedicated their lives to God. They consecrated their lives to the work of the Lord, and were continually trying to perfect themselves after the word of God. Their devotion to God and their religious duties knew no bounds. However, there was one fatal flaw in their makeup – they were faithful in the “letter” of the law but did not understanding the true spirit of the law. If we follow the example of our image it will lead us in error because it portrays a corrupt righteousness and holiness that is after a “false Christ.”
Genesis 5:3 (KJV)
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
Even though the image that men bare has the “fingerprints” of God upon it, the fall has corrupted it. Men can recognize the “residue” of God’s fingerprints upon their personal image. However, this recognition deceives men, because we live in a fallen corrupt state. Everything we perceive is from a corrupt perspective.
Genesis 6:5 (KJV)
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil (We attribute evil with such acts as murder but from the perspective of God: evil is anything that is not solely based in Jesus Christ and him crucified.) continually.
True and false worship takes place in the heart of man. According to Ezekiel 14:3 “men have set up their idols in their heart” men prostrates themselves in their heart to worship God. Outwardly a person could appear to be prostrated, but inwardly the heart could be standing proud. The opposite is true as well outwardly men may not appear to be bowing down, but inwardly their hearts are prone before a false deity.
“The verb ʿālâ (set up) that Ezekiel 14:3 uses is a causative stem to signify ‘presenting an offering’ to God. In 63 cases, the word is associated with the presentation of the whole burnt offering (ʿōlâ). ʿĀlâ is used of the general act of “presenting offerings” when the various offerings are mentioned in the same context (Lev. 14:20), or when the purpose of the offering is not specifically in mind (Isa. 57:6). Sometimes this verb means merely “to offer” (e.g., Num. 23:2).” (Emphasis Mine)
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words.
The Vine’s suggest that men “present an offering to God.” My question would be what are men presenting to God? With this newly acquired information of the verb “ʿālâ” we go back to Ezekiel 14:3 with a better understanding of this specific passage – “men have ‘offered up idols to God’ in their heart.”
Traditionally idols are not thought of as something offered to God but worshipped. Idols are commonly assumed of as what men worship, and that is true to a certain extent. They are worshipping “God” through their offering. This means that they are not necessarily worshipping the “idol” but “God” through their idol.
“Theologically significant is the fact that this verb (ʿĀlâ) is used in relationship to a person’s appearance before God, one must go up to stand before the Lord.” AMG’s Complete Word Study
Humanity endeavors to have a relationship with God. How men go about establishing the relationship is the dividing line between idolatry and true worship. In order to have a relationship with God, we need both the correct altar and sacrifice i.e. the work of the cross and Christ. If we believe correctly in one but neglect or misunderstand the other our relationship with God suffers.
Idols and images carry two separate meanings. Idols are used for the means of the relationship while the purpose of images is for representation. Idols and images are distinct in purposes; they cannot be separated one from the other. Idols and images work in correlation with each other i.e. cannot have one without the other, and it is because of this that most assume they are one and the same. An easier way to explain this phenomenon is that an image and an idol is the imitation of Jesus Christ and him crucified.
A person could believe in the correct image (Christ) and at the same time have an idol in their life. If a person believes that obedience to “certain” laws will please God, then that person is serving an idol. Or, if living a certain life style, church attendance, or any other religious activities that thought to bring a person in a closer relationship with God then it is idolatry. They have taken to their “backs” an unholy burden.
Deuteronomy 12:1-3 (KJV)
1 These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.
2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire (These nations served their gods upon “high places.” High places are where altars, pillars, and groves are built to serve god. There is a high place that an altar can be built for the service of God: Jesus Christ and the cross. High places are referred to in scripture as “places of worship” according to AMG Complete Word Study. 2 Kings 12:3 But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. “This noun occurs in other Semitic languages, meaning the “back” of an animal or of a man (Ugaritic), the incline or “back” of a mountain (Akkadian), and the “block” (of stone) or grave of a saint (Arabic). (Emphasis Mine) Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can a person “take up his cross” upon their “back!” Luke 9:23 … let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. If we try to “take the cross” up by our own power we will build another “high place.” Luke 23:26 And as they led him (Jesus Christ) away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian …on him they laid the cross (on his back), that he might bear it after Jesus.); and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
A person can also have the correct altar i.e. the cross and at the same time have a graven image laid upon it. If the sacrifice upon the cross is wrong then God cannot accept it, and if the sacrifice is correct but the altar is wrong he cannot accept that either.
1 Kings 18:23-32 (KJV)
23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
Both the false prophets and Elijah had the same sacrifice but the altars were different. Elijah had to tear down the altar that the false prophets used to sacrifice their “bullock” upon and rebuilt it properly. This is an example of people having the correct image (Christ) but a false idol (cross).
Leviticus 10:1-10 (KJV)
1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;
Nadab and Abihu both offered strange fire (false image) upon the “holy” censer (correct altar.) People can believe in the correct altar (cross) but if they have who Christ is wrong then the sacrifice will be improper. They are worshipping a false image upon the cross.
Many in the world today incorporate both a false idol and graven image. These people are not limited to “non-Christians” either, but could fall under the Christian title as well. Both Christ and the cross must be both properly understood.
 Isaiah 57:6 (KJV)
6 Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these?