What is Idolatry

For many people, the word “idolatry” brings to mind grotesque images of people worshipping Satan or slaughtering goats at midnight.  It might conjure up images of virgins being sacrificed to some pagan deity before a bonfire in the middle of nowhere.  Maybe it’s a Wiccan princess performing rituals in the forest or howling at the moon.  Whatever image comes to mind, it is always the image of somebody else. Some people define idolatry as the worship of images and statues.  This was one of the big issues of the Protestant Reformation.  During that time, many Protestants removed statues from Catholic churches and burned them, often times by force.  The fact is that all of these can be examples of idolatry.

In the Bible, idolatry is considered one of the most heinous of crimes.  I find it odd that, with this in mind, so many people don’t really know what it really is.  The church attempts to define it as placing something above the creator.  This isn’t necessarily wrong. But, there is more to it that that.  Obviously, there is nothing that can be placed in higher regard than the Creator of the Universe.  But it is also worshipping Him in a way that He did not prescribe.

In Leviticus 10: 1-7, we find the story of Aaron’s sons  Nadab and Abihu. These two attempted to bring incense before the L-rd in an unprescribed manner.  They were both immediately consumed by the fire of G-d.  On the surface, one might think they were just trying to honor G-d.  It might seem harsh for them to lose their lives. But this story shows us how serious G-d is when it comes to worship.  We cannot worship Him in some way He doesn’t instruct.  It is strange worship.

Strange worship is translated to Hebrew as avodah zarah.  This is the term used in the Hebrew Scriptures which has been translated as idolatry. Therefore, by definition idolatry is actually strange worship. So, while worshipping statues, as well as the other examples above, is idolatry, so too is worshipping Jesus.  Here is why.  It is not prescribed in the Torah. It really is that simple.

Consider this.  G-d never says anywhere in the Torah that He has a divine son.  Even if it did say this, it does not say to worship him.  Worship can only be done according to the instructions. Anything else is different or foreign worship.  Christianity, in all of its forms, is by definition, idolatry because it seeks to worship G-d in a strange way.  The protestants got it just as wrong as the Catholics.

Idolatry is a serious offense.  It is an insult to G-d.  When you try to worship Him in a strange way, what you are doing is telling Him His way is not important.  You are placing your own ways above His.  Even if you have the best of intentions, you are violating the Torah.  The word Torah mean guide.  It is there to guide us into a deeper understanding of what He wants from us, and also what He doesn’t want from us.

Along with His guide book, He also gave us the Hebrew people, the Children of Israel.  They have been charged with being a light to the nations.  How is it that since their early beginnings, they have been hated by the other nations of the world?  The answer may surprise you.  Before Israel was chosen, the other nations of the world were offered that position of being the chosen people.  When they refused G-d offered it to Israel.  When Israel accepted, the other nations became jealous.  Jealousy begets hatred.  That hatred has festered throughout the ages, until today.

We are living in a new age.  It is not yet the Messianic Age.  But things have changed.  We are in the days leading up to the times of the Messiah. People all over the world are turning to the Jews in an effort to learn about G-d.  It is both a wonderful and a terrible time to be alive.  It is wonderful in that we know Messiah will be coming soon.  But the prophets tell of terrible times of war in these days.

It is my hope that those who find this blog might come to learn about the days in which we are living.  It is my hope that, if you are living in idolatry, you will turn or repent from it.  It is my hope that you will turn to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Copyright 2016 by:

William Bouker

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