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For example, the Biblical prophet Jeremiah complains: "According to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah. The psalmist described idols as being made of gold, silver, wood, and stone. They are described as being only the work of men's hands, unable to speak, see, hear, smell, eat, grasp, or feel, and powerless either to injure or to benefit.
The Bible presents Daniel and his companions as distinct, positive examples of individuals refusing to pay homage to another god, even at the price of their lives. During the time of the exile, Nebuchadnezzar erects a gold statue of himself and commands all subjects to worship it. Three Jewish officials — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — who had been taken to Babylon as youths along with Daniel, refuse to bow to the statue. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. In the centuries that followed the Babylonian captivity, Jews were willing to suffer death rather than pay the honor due God to any other man or god.
During the early days of the Maccabean revolt, for example, many Jews were martyred because they refused to acknowledge the claims of Seleucid deities. Idolatry is one of three sins along with adultery and murder the Mishnah says must be resisted to the point of death. While many verses in the Bible use anthropomorphic terms to describe God, e.
This is stated in the creation account and told to Noah when the commandment against murder is given following the flood. Although Jesus discussed the Ten Commandments in the Sermon on the Mount, he did not speak directly of issues regarding the meaning of the commandment against idolatry. According to the Acts of the Apostles, the apostles discussed the issue of what immediate behavioral changes would be required of gentiles who became followers of Jesus Christ. He condemned attendance at idol feasts, where participation was clearly participation with idolatry.
In Athens, Paul was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols,  and in the Areopagus, he presented the God of Israel as the creator of everything, as unique and not represented by any idol.
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He taught:. Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him [Jesus] from the dead. According to Ephesians, Paul incurred the wrath of silversmiths who were worried about losing income from decreased sales of idols when people responded to his preaching and turned away from idol worship.
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He considered it common sense that the worship of God and the worship of any other spiritual being are incompatible:. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say … Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.
Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he? You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.
Ex ; cf. Deut The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that this commandment is recalled many times throughout the Bible and quotes passages describing temporal consequences for those who place trust elsewhere than in God:. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
Beacon Bible Expositions, Volume 1: Matthew by William E. McCumber
God, however, is the "living God" Joshua ; Psalm ; etc. In his exposition of Psalm 96, St. Rather than alternate deities condemned by monotheism, these demons are portrayed by Augustine as malevolent beings seeking not to rule as much as to seduce people into sharing eternal punishment, much as a twisted criminal might implicate an innocent person to feed his own malevolence. The Catholic Church teaches that idolatry extends beyond the worship of images of other gods. It warns that it remains a constant temptation, even for the Christian, because it consists in divinizing anything that is not God, whether gods or demons, power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc.
Anthony, seeking to reform the inordinate desire for money he observed in some priests, compared to idols those priests who bought and sold offices and abandoned their flocks, using the language of the psalmist and Isaiah to describe them as having eyes but not seeing, having feet but not walking. John Calvin, a prolific and influential Reformation scholar, took a straightforward view of idolatry, patterned after the simplicity of the faith of the early apostles:.
In one word, their theology was in substance this--There is one God who created all the world, and declared His will to us by Moses and the prophets, and finally by Jesus Christ and His apostles; and we have one sole Redeemer, who purchased us by His blood, and by whose grace we hope to be saved: All the idols of the world are curst, and deserve execration.
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Explore Now. Buy As Gift. Overview A volume devotional resource on the New Testament designed to provide a systematic Bible study aid for individuals, teachers, and pastors. Includes complete KJV text.