Idolatry

 

 

The Holy Scripture commands us to flee from idolatry, for Paul says: “Flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14 – NKJV) and John says at the end of his first epistle: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21 – NKJV). Let us see now how idolatry manifests itself in order to understand what we must avoid in order not to become idolaters in the sight of God.

While the Israelites were camped before Mount Sinai it came to pass that they became idolaters, here is what the Scripture says: “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:1-6). As you can see, the Israelites gave themselves over to idolatry because they made an idol and offered sacrifices to it. The apostle Paul took this example of idolatry in order to admonish us and warn us against idolatry, here are his words: “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (1 Corinthians 10:6-7). But why are we forbidden to make for ourselves an idol in order to worship it? Because those who make for themselves idols and worship them provoke God (who is a Jealous God, who wants men to worship Him only) to jealousy and move Him to anger. For the Israelites, by making idols and worshipping them in the wilderness, provoked God to jealousy and anger, as God said: “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities” (Deuteronomy 32:21). That’s why God said to Israel: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Exodus 20:4-5) and again: “Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth” (Deuteronomy 4:15-18). As you can see, among the sculptures and the images forbidden by God there are also those sculptures and images representing men and women, and this confirms that according to God are idols not only the sculptures and images that represent animals, but also those which represent a man or a woman, therefore those statues or images representing Jesus, Paul or Mary are idols. Yet, as we all know, the Roman Catholics don’t call them idols and don’t want us to call them idols but ‘holy images,’ because they say that they don’t worship them rather they venerate them because these images help them to remember those who are represented by those statues and images in order to imitate their virtues. And since someone could try to persuade you into making for yourselves these so called holy statues and images, I want to tell you these things. First of all, God commanded us not to make for ourselves an idol in the form of any figure, whether formed like a man or a woman or like any animal or any bird or any fish or any creeping thing of the earth; secondly, He commanded us not to serve them, which means that we must not clean them, nor carry them on our shoulders, nor put flowers or candles before them, nor offer sacrifices to them, nor honor them in any way, which are all things that will happen once the statue or the image has been made, for as we saw before, after the Israelites made the golden calf they worshiped it and offered sacrifices to it. And let no one of you think that by serving a statue or an image you would serve God because that is a lie, rather you would serve the demons which hide themselves behind any idol. For the apostle Paul said that “the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God” (1 Corinthians 10:20 – NKJV); we can say the same thing about every service or sacrifice offered to a statue or an image, it is offered to demons and not to God. Therefore, we must flee any service or sacrifice offered to a so called holy image or holy statue, lest we provoke God to jealousy. In regard to the sacrifices offered to idols I want to tell you that we must abstain from things offered to idols (Acts 15:20,29; 1 Corinthians 10:14-31); no matter if they are fruits or animals or sweets or something else, we must abstain from them because those things are polluted by idols, being offered to demons and not to God. Therefore when the day of the so called patron saint of your town or country comes, you must abstain from every thing which is made to honor that dead man or that dead woman. Brothers, if you still have in your house some statues or images of the Roman Catholic Church, destroy them.

However, there are not only idols made of wood, of plaster or of stone or of paper representing animals or human beings, but also other kinds of idols. For instance, when someone begins to love money he becomes an idolater and thus money becomes his idol; that’s why Paul said that a covetous man “is an idolater” (Ephesians 5:5 – NKJV). Even those who love one of their relatives more than Jesus Christ are idolaters, that’s why Jesus said: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37 – NKJV). And the same thing must be said about those who love their job, or their house, or their car, or any other object, more than Jesus Christ. They indeed are not worthy of Jesus.

Also the worship offered to a minister of the Gospel or to the angels of God is idolatry, for the apostle Peter rebuked Cornelius, when he fell down at his feet and worshiped him, saying to him: “Stand up; I myself am also a man” (Acts 10:26 – NKJV), and the angel who showed John the things to come rebuked the apostle, when he fell down to worship before the feet of the angel, saying to him: “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God” (Revelation 22:9 – NKJV). As for the worship of angels, Paul warns us saying: “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels” (Colossians 2:18 - NKJV). Last but not least, also the worship of Satan (Satanism) is idolatry, for when Satan tempted Jesus to worship him in exchange for power and glory, Jesus said to him: “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matthew 4:10 – NKJV).

Therefore, to conclude, brothers, let us not provoke God to jealousy nor provoke Him to anger by any form of idolatry. Know that idolaters will not inherit the Kingdom of God but they will be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone where they will be tormented forever (1 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 21:8). We must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but he is an idolater (1 Corinthians 5:8-12).

Fear God, brothers, love Him with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength and worship Him in spirit and truth until the end of your life. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

 

 

 

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