This fact can be abundantly proved by the Bible and the historical records that have come down to us from antiquity. This proves that FALSE religion CAME LATER and was not a part of God’s original plan. It did not enter into the thoughts of men to worship anyone or thing but God himself.
This truth means that for well over a third of recorded human history, no one in civilized society thought it proper to worship divine beings through images made of earthly materials. Such early people would have considered that procedure to be silly and absurd.
When it finally occurred, it represented a major departure — actually, a degeneracy — into a form of worship that the earliest people on earth would have found ridiculous and childish! Believe me, this includes those who would have been living in the areas of Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, or Palestine.
This may be difficult to believe but it is a truth that can be absolutely proved from the biblical revelation if one is willing to pay attention to what it teaches. But people are more prone to conveniently overlook (either by accident or design) what the Bible actually says on these matters. This is a sad state of affairs because the Bible is so clear and understandable if people would just pay heed to what it says.
What emerges is this: Pagan idolatry (in which images made of stones, metals, woods, etc., were used) had its origin only about 3500 to 3600 years ago. It developed at a time when almost the entire world went into a wholesale idolatry IN A VERY SHORT TIME.
The series of historical events that brought about its evolution occurred within a one-hundred to a two-hundred year period. The biblical record shows that hardly anyone in the civilized world used images through which to worship God, and then suddenly the whole world seems to have gone over to the error of using material substances to worship God.
Sacred Cows are SIMPLY cows in the end!
It is time that this historical truth is made known to the general public.
Strangely these false teachings, which should have been jettisoned by thinking people years ago, have become firmly entrenched within the very fabric of modern Christianity itself!
The Bible tells us that the move into idolatry was a deliberate attempt on the part of some intelligent people to corrupt the simple teachings of God.
Paul gives us some facts about the origin of idolatry, and he is very pointed in saying that the people who devised such erroneous beliefs were well aware of their falsity.
Do you worship the Cross of Christ or Carry your cross?
Romans 1:20–21, 18
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they KNEW GOD, they glorified him not as God … [these were they] who HOLD BACK [original Greek] the truth in unrighteousness.”
There was a definite reason why paganism and idolatry were inaugurated. And though many false teachings began to emerge not long after the Flood of Noah, the use of image/idolatry was something that came on the world scene at a particular time.
That period was just after the death of Joseph (who had ruled as second in command next to Pharaoh in Egypt). By the time of the Exodus from Egypt by the Israelites, idolatry was a prime religious factor in the worship of all deities.
Why Was Idolatry So Wrong?
The representation of divine beings in image forms, or planting trees in commemoration of divine favors, or making pictures was not wrong in itself! In the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph such things were done without the slightest condemnation by God.
They only became idolatrous when persons reckoned the image itself to have some power from God, or that the image partakes of some kind of “life” or “spirit-essence.” When Jacob set up the first Bethel-stone he did not believe that God entered the stone, which was what the later pagans came to believe.
“These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4). This was a great error and God showed how evil it was in the latter part of the Exodus 32. Even Israelites became idolaters!
This was the main reason that there is a prohibition against making any images of anything in the Ten Commandments. The only exceptions were statues of the two cherubs in the holy of holies and their pictures on the curtains.
Since these were within the holy place of the Tabernacle (and later the Temple), God allowed these images to continue under the supervision of the priests. But the common people were prevented from making any other images or pictures.
What this shows is that people are prone to turn things that God allows (or even ordains) into illegal and promiscuous uses. This is why God forbade the common people to employ any images, pictures, etc., in the worship of Him.
They misused what God once allowed!
The same thing happened with the brazen serpent. God actually commanded Moses to construct such an image as a symbol (or as a reminder) of God’s protection from the serpents at that time (Numbers 21:8).
The righteous king Hezekiah saw the evil of this Mosaic image (commanded by God himself) and he ordered it destroyed (2 Kings 18:4). Our modern medical profession has adopted the image as a symbol
Frankly, this is perfectly all right as long as it represents a mere symbol (as did Moses’ first caduceus) and not an idolatrous emblem to be worshiped or through which to worship God. If the latter is done, it turns the innocent image into a dangerous idol — as far as the biblical revelation is concerned.
Do you Worship the Alter or Sacrifice Self upon it?
“… made an ephod, and put it in the city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.”
The fact is, it makes no difference how holy and proper something might be (and even if previously ordained of God himself ), if people misuse the item in a wrong way, the biblical writers would call the thing idolatrous.
Your Faith must stand out, not blend in!
And that means anything — even if it included Sabbaths, new moons, and holidays (Galatians 4:10; Colossians 2:16)! Men have sorely mishandled all these things over the centuries, as well as images, caduceuses, ephods, trees, pillars, temples, etc.
One could even eat meat which had been offered to idols, and even do so within an idol’s temple, and be none the worse off, if one truly believes that such things are mere ornaments and have nothing to do with real religion or Christianity (1 Corinthians 8:4–13).
If one sees, however, the slightest spiritual influence in an image (be it good or bad), such things should be avoided because they take a person away from a proper relationship with Christ Jesus and the Father in heaven (1 John 5:21).
A survey of the origins of religion shows that great numbers of heroes worshiped as gods and goddesses were at one time individuals who lived on earth, and were deified by later human beings.
Even many of the rituals and emblems of religious worship which we associate today with outright heathenism were in many cases corrupted forms of solemnities which were once acceptable to God.
What has happened is the fact that people of later times have taken even the good things given to mankind by God and turned them into evil. This has happened with almost everything that one can imagine.
In the early parts of the Bible it was perfectly respectable to call God by the name of Baal WHY?
Because it simply means Lord, Master, or Owner. But the name got so connected with heathen worship that God expressly prohibited even the phonetic use of the name in association with His true worship (Hosea 2:16).
This same thing has happened since the canonization of the New Testament.
2 Corinthians 11:13–15
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness: whose end shall be according to their works.”
It has always been the common custom of the false prophets mentioned in the Bible to use the righteous institutions, ceremonies and offices which ordinary people recognize as being God-ordained, in order to twist their meanings for their own gain.
This even applies to those who misuse such Old Covenant ceremonies as the seventh-day Sabbath, new moons, and the Mosaic holy days.
There have been men who have adopted such things into their church for the purpose of ruling and dominating people. If this is done for wrong reasons, the Bible shows that God would be displeased.
This is idolatry!
Even people who claim to walk with Christ and have many charismatic gifts are not immune to corrupting the simple teachings of Christ. Because people look good and righteous on the surface is no standard by which to judge the issues regarding pure and undefiled religion.
We live in EXTREME DAYS, and we CANNOT EVER lose sight of that;or we all lose out!
“Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [lawlessness].”
We should now be ruled by the law of faith by which we should see and practice these things (Romans 3:27), and having the fruits of God’s Spirit actively in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23), “against such there is no law.”
In truth, no law is against those fruits — this means that the principles of love, joy, faith, peace, patience, etc., are the laws for Christians today!
BUT LET ME BE VERY CLEAR HERE :
If some OF US wish to keep the Old Covenant rituals as Jewish Christians DO,THIS IS PERFECTLY FINE AND WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM as it adds to our MUTUAL HERITAGE AS BELIEVER’S IN YESHUA, as long as people realize that there is not one ounce of salvation in any ritual or ceremony (Ephesians 2:8).
A person could keep every day mentioned in the Old Testament if one wants (and Jewish Christians normally wish to do this — and it is perfectly all right), but even in doing this there should be certain modifications to account for later Christian teaching.
For example, it would not be Christian to fast on the Day of Atonement, since it is made clear that Christ has forgiven us of all our sins and it would be wrong to recall them every year by fasting on the Day of Atonement. This is even testified in the Old Testament itself.
However, the use of images, rituals, holy days, and other physical ceremonies have always been acceptable to God as long as such things are not turned into idolatrous actions —or misused to enslave people or to MISLEAD PEOPLE TO BELIEVE WHAT IS NO LONGER TRUE, it should be obvious to all who is guilty of doing this in the religions of the day.
This is where ALL RELIGION GOES WRONG!
They first worshiped idols and second they worshiped days and customs! Both of these practices enslaved men. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
The truth is, many of the men and women that later pagans deified, or rituals and symbols that God once allowed, have been turned into false deities or idolatrous institutions.
If one had the ingenuity to strip away all the nonsensical additions that have been attached to some of the early teachings, it might be possible to discover many truths of early mankind and to see that God has never let any of the human race to be utterly destitute of His divine truths.
It is hoped that some of these truths may one day be discovered within the records.
The key, however, to interpreting all data, both of a historical or religious nature, is the Holy Bible.
It is the only vehicle by which all teachings (both ancient and modern) can be properly judged. But even here, one must be careful because over the centuries men have even turned the pure teachings and artifacts of God into idolatrous things.
The Christian, however, should hardly have trouble with any of these matters provided that the principles of love (and the fruits of the Holy Spirit) are firmly placed in his or her life.
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols!” (1 John 5:21).
Such things happen with all of us. It is the nature of us humans to supplement stories with ideas that originate with ourselves. In most cases it is not an attempt to deceive deliberately. It occurs simply because we want to make the accounts more interesting.
Description, Translation, and Explanation of Babylonian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Ugaritic, Anunnaki and Phoenician Cylinder Seals, Slabs, Inscriptions, … the Middle East, Near East, and Asia Minor.)