Idolatry and Why You Need to Run from It

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Idolatry and Why You Need to Run from It
Idolatry and Why You Need to Run from It is part 2 in a series that provides biblical teaching concerning the issue of idolatry and why it is so dangerous.

Idolatry and Why You Need to Run from It

I have already written an article entitled, Roman Catholic Idolatry and Why You Must Put it Away. You may wish to read that either before or after reading this article. This article addresses even more regarding the topic of idolatry which was not covered in that previous article. For completeness, I recommend you read both articles, as they cover entirely different issues with little to no overlap.

First, what is idolatry? In the Bible, an idol usually took the form of an engraving, image, statue, or other physical item (like a golden calf or Asherah pole) which became the center of worship of a false deity (god) which was not the real God of the Bible. Since the real God of the Bible created everything there is, any other “god” becomes an imposter, a thief, who is stealing the glory away from the real God.

“For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but Yahweh made the heavens.” (Psalm 96:5)

Imagine someone who is not your father telling you, “I am your father.” That would be a lie. This man would be an imposter. Idolatry is like this. The idol seeks to imitate the real God of the Bible and robs him of his position in your life. Rather than coming under the authority of God, you are now coming under the authority of a false god, which is no authority at all. Instead, it is a false authority. But do such false gods actually exist in real life? Or, are they simply a product of one’s mind? In fact, they exist, and they are called demons (or fallen angels).

“... Satan masquerades as an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

Thus, demonic entities exist, which also influence people. These are fallen angels, which masquerade, or pretend, to represent the real God, but which are imposters. Since these demons are fallen angels, if you get involved with them (knowingly, or unknowingly), you may end up experiencing certain “results” which do not come from God at all. These “results” can appear positive (like the ability to practice divination forbidden in the Bible). They may also (eventually) appear negative, and include sickness, disease, mental problems, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and fears.

Thus, it is very important to be discerning, and you may think that you are wise enough to discern all demonic activity, but if your theology is not correct (and many churches teach bad theology), then you can be easily fooled by these “doctrines of demons” which are there to deceive you.

“But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1)

In short, there is a network of demons (fallen angels) who attempt to fool people into thinking that they (the demons) are the real God. They use primarily poor theology (bad religious teaching), among Christians as well as non-Christians, to fool and influence people. Therefore, when someone says, “I am not interested in theology,” or they tend to dismiss theology then you know that that person has already come under the influence of “doctrines of demons” who would not like you to study the Scriptures. But as believers, we are commanded to do so, so that we are not led astray.

“Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Consider, for example, the Bereans, who were diligent to check out what the apostle Paul was teaching. They did not simply give him a “pass” because he was an apostle (for anyone can tell you they are an apostle, but many people who call themselves apostles today are deceitful workers). Like the Bereans, we must be diligent to verify each message that is preached, even if the teacher is the apostle Paul! We verify by checking everything against the word of God. This means we must know the word of God ourselves! Are you willing to study it? You must if you are not going to be led astray!

“Now these (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

While it is true that we may often think of idolatry as being practiced by non-believers, and involving explicit false gods, it is also possible to practice idolatry in our day-to-day living, even as believers. We can do this almost without thinking about it whenever we elevate something above God. In short, anything that gets in the way of worshipping the true and living God becomes an idol. Even preachers can become idols, when we look to them, instead of God, for the answers.

Here is a partial list of idols, which is anything that can and does get in the way of our worship of the true and living God:

1. Food

2. Narcotics, alcohol, tobacco, drugs

3. Horoscopes

4. Any occult activity

5. Actors, celebrities, sports figures

6. Time on smart phones, social media, that is not “in the Spirit”

7. YouTube videos, games

8. Books

9. Sports, hobbies

10. Cars, items purchased

This is a partial list only, but you get the idea. Not all of these are bad. A car, for example, is not in and of itself bad. But we can become so fixated upon it, that we become preoccupied with serving the car, rather than serving God. Of course, money can become a god, and the idol of many people is money.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

The issue of covetousness is very much connected with idolatry. If we covet clothes, then clothes becomes an idol. If we covet money, then money becomes an idol. If we covet sports, then sports becomes an idol. In short, covetousness and idolatry and intertwined.

“Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:5)

The Lord is Looking at Your Heart

Your heart is completely open before the Lord, and he sees every intention and every thought.

“Sheol and Abaddon are before Yahweh— how much more then the hearts of the children of men!” (Proverbs 15:11)

With your heart, you honor God. But with your heart, you can also dishonor God. The first two of the Ten Commandments deal with our need to be single minded in our devotion to God, and addresses the issue of idolatry. Primarily, however, it is an issue of the heart.

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6)

Notice how the curse comes for entering into the sin of idolatry! I would like to stress this is first and foremost idolatry of the heart and is not necessarily connected with overt false religious worship. This can happen even if you are idolizing money or a material item, for the idol or “image” is first and foremost something that you store in your heart! Yes, in ancient day Israel, these were real physical idols, including images and carvings. But no, it is not limited to that, and Jesus made it very clear that the sins of the heart are first and foremost, even above physical sins, when he said,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery;’ but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

Here, Jesus addresses the “heart” of the issue, which is the heart. It is no different with the sin of idolatry. The idol is first formed in the heart. Afterwards, it is (or may be) constructed as a physical idol or image. In reality, however, and even among seemingly non-religious individuals, we may carry many unseen idols in our heart. We look at them all the time, as we visualize them. This is why role-playing games, and visual mind games, can be so devastating. Many people today including many so-called Christians play role-playing games, and these can totally turn a person’s heart away from God. Consider the following quote from the on-line Indie Wire website:

‘As reported by The Independent this week, Microsoft has been granted a patent that allows the company “to make a chatbot using the personal information of deceased people.” Under the patent, Microsoft can create an artificial intelligence bot “based on images, voice data, social media posts, electronic message, and more personal information” of a deceased person.’1

This will allow people to play a type of role-playing game, in which they can imagine themselves talking with their deceased loved ones. Due to technology, they will receive an answer back! And it will sound like the real thing. Does this sound like God to you? Absolutely not! This is the mind of Satan at work, trying to lead people astray in their minds.

This is akin or equivalent to necromancy (attempting to talk or communicate with the dead). It is this type of visualization that leads the heart completely astray and opens a person up to demonization, in which demons begin to control that person’s life.

This is one of the most dangerous games that has ever been invented. Think about it. Why would a person want to play a role-playing type of game, in which they communicated with one of their dead relatives? In order to find comfort from their dead relative? In order to find out some information, perhaps? In order to treat that “person” as a type of “Alexa” perhaps? This is certainly not what God commands us to do! Instead, we are commanded to:

“Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:2-3)

Therefore, we are to put away fleshly things such as these, which can only serve to greatly harm up. Furthermore, the end-goal, from the demonic perspective, is to lead a person away from God, since all of this activity is clearly forbidden in the Bible. I’m not saying this is known or understood by Microsoft, but Satan does use people to accomplish his objectives.

“There shall not be found with you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who tells fortunes, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or someone who consults with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to Yahweh. Because of these abominations, Yahweh your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless with Yahweh your God. For these nations that you shall dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery and to diviners; but as for you, Yahweh your God has not allowed you so to do.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-14)

In particular, in the above quote, notice how being a “necromancer” is forbidden. A necromancer is someone who talks with the dead (in reality, they are communicating with demons). Microsoft is, in short, encouraging necromancy. It’s a very very dangerous “game” they are playing which has eternal consequences. (All of this falls under the category of idolatry, as it places a false god or ideal above God something which takes the place of God, and which is expressly forbidden by him.)

This is a very real (spiritual) war that is going on today, being facilitated by tech-giants such as Microsoft and others. This is the world that we live in, which is why Paul wrote,

“But know this: that in the last days, grievous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, not lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding a form of godliness, but having denied its power. Turn away from these, also.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

 

1. https://www.indiewire.com/2021/01/microsoft-black-mirror-deceased-people-chatbots-1234610894/

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