Bible Study Series

Modern Idolatry

Part 6 – There is None Without Sin

It might be tempting at this point to throw up two victory signs and declare “I’m innocent!  I’m so glad it’s their fault, not mine.”  Alas, the purpose of this study is not to re-introduce the “devil made me do it” doctrine.  We are not suggesting that a believer is not responsible for his own sins.  It might be a good time, in fact, to “turn the microscope around” and reflect on our own behavior, as “sons and daughters of God” and future “morning stars.”

Do we control others for the sake of feeling powerful?  Do we engage in censorship when questions arise that we are unable to answer?  Do we conceal knowledge because we are afraid it will weaken our faith?  Do we degrade others so that we can feel like gods in comparison?  Do we enforce consensus opinions instead of seeking the truth?

As a “priest class” of students and teachers we are prone to the same temptations and pitfalls as the corrupt shepherds in the Bible.  We must not abuse our power.  We should not be as Baalam, using the power of evil intentions to curse all the people whom we resent.  We should not conjure up mob spirits in order to get our revenge or get our point across.  We should not mix “flavor of the day” progressive propaganda into our 2,000-year-old tradition of simple truth.  We should never push their “Johnny-come-lately,” “enlightened,” “scientific” dogma.  The trusty word of God needs no reinterpreting or amending.  It becomes truer every year!

So far, we have shown that the idol-pushers engage in the agendas above, and much more.  They encourage us to “partake of the Kool-Aid” and do the same.  We have discussed a few of the nightmarish aspects of these world-controller’s programs but have barely scratched the surface.  Before discussing their “end game” and their specific plan to get there, it might be worth asking what our role is.  In our study, we have used the analogy of Babel, Babylon, the great red dragon, and the image of the beast to represent modern idolatry.  In that context, we can ask: Are we awake and anticipating a forced worship of the image of the beast (Rev. 13:15)?  Do we acknowledge the deceptive power of the red dragon (idolatry/paganism)?  Are we ready to come out of the mind-controlling panoptic labyrinth of Babylon before it collapses on our heads?  Or, are we enjoying living in Babylon?  Worse yet, are we busy helping to rebuild Babel?

Who Is Running the Show?

Most sermons about idolatry ask us to think about things that we do that take our time away from God’s work.  “These are modern-day idols,” the preacher might say, and then list them off: “television, pornography, pop music, alcohol, drugs, hobbies, sports, gambling, video games, money, entertainment.  Virtually anything can be an idol!  Even your job can be an idol, if it takes away from the promises you made to God.”  This is undeniable.  Inevitably, however, what ends up happening is we feel bad for about 20 minutes… then get over it.  Clearly, we think, “doing something” about idolatry in our lives is much too big and broad of a task.  So, we generally go back to our normal routine without making any fundamental change in attitude or behavior.

In this series, we suggest that you pull back the curtain and look at who is behind the idols of the modern age.  Who is “dangling the carrot” (of drugs, television or money)?  We think you will find that, in the 2020s, Paul’s analogy of a slave master is, frankly, no “analogy” at all (Rom. 6:12-23).  We are truly being whipped, harassed and subjugated by some of the vilest diabolos (devils) and archons (demons) to ever walk this earth!  And the red dragon (pagan Rome, occult worship, idolatry, etc.) is still twisting the knobs and pulling the levers from behind the curtain.  We are hoping that this opportunity of “gazing into the abyss” will fill you with terror and disgust.  We are hoping that this unmasking will curb our taste for idolatry out of sheer revulsion.  We are hoping we can use our indignation to resist and even rebel against this cruel master.  It might sound trite, but “the world really is out to get you!”  We need to wage war (with battle plans) if we hope to ever get this monkey off our backs.

Yes, the T.V. is an idol, but for the idol-pushers, it is merely a means to an end.  The T.V. is a trojan horse.  When we willingly bring it into our castle, we invite the world inside.  We invite the blood-sucking vampire across our threshold and offer up our soul in the form of time.  Similarly, most pop music isn’t about music, it is carefully designed to loosen morals.  The sports (“bread and circuses”) are there to distract us from reading or discussing anything important, the drugs are there to make us dependent, the entertainment is there to brainwash us, and money is there to transfer our faith to riches.  The idol-pushers want us dumbed down, numbed down and bummed down.  Are we going to submit to their deceitful devices and machinations?  Or are we going to do something?

Choose a Role

Perhaps there still exist some readers who are “non-conformist,” “not-of-this world” “strangers and pilgrims,” who feel confident of being above these mantraps.  But for those of us who can feel the hosts of darkness progressively herding us into nether gloom…what can we do?  As we said before, God does not want robot slaves, but the idol-pushers sure do!  God has given mankind freewill.  He expects us to do something.  We are not to bury our talent in the ground.  Do something.  Anything.  Choose a role.

A passive, detached role might be appropriate when there are matters of politics and culture that are unimportant; “silly controversies” as Paul calls them in 2 Tim. 2:23.  However, we have entered the last days, and the orders to bow to the idols of Babylon are everywhere we look.  Let’s not forget Daniel’s three friends who would not just “go with the flow” but instead made a stand.  Let’s not forget Jesus, who finally had enough of the moneychangers and drove them from the temple.  Another example was John the Baptist who “spoke truth to power” by rebuking Herod (Mat. 14:4).  Paul did the same when routinely faced with the “white-washed walls” in “heavenly places.”  Daniel mustered the nerve to openly defy the king’s decree against prayer.  Similar laws are being pushed in our Western world today, as Christians are told that “hate” speech is not free speech.  If we had time, we could make a good case that the injustice, persecution, lust for power, perversion, deception and Godlessness of Bible times pales in comparison to the idolatry we face today.  Are we defying it, standing up against it, speaking out against it, or dare I say…attacking it where it lives?

Choosing a role is simple.  I don’t think we have the option to be at the top of the pyramid, so controller and hijacker are unavailable.  Hopefully we are not an idol pusher.  Unfortunately, many pushers have deceived themselves and don’t realize they are pushing the agenda of those waging war on God.  We must pray for them to wake up.  Even if we are not actively pushing their new age idol garbage, we might unknowingly be a leader.  As a leader, we might not be deceiving others, but by being a successful “man of the world,” we are corrupting others by example.  Or, maybe we don’t attract the envy of anyone, but still enjoy full immersion (baptism?) into the cosmopolis.  In this case, our role is not leader, but may be active follower.  While we are not inspiring anyone, we are actively enjoying the “new mythology” being pedaled to us and it frankly makes life worth living.  On the other hand, maybe we are not as “into it” as the active follower, but still like to have a taste of the “latest sickness,” dipping our feet in the water from time to time.  Then our role is passive follower.  Sadly, we will probably not make it out of falling Babylon if we choose any of these roles.  We will probably find ourselves worshiping the image of the beast…perhaps without even knowing it.  “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light (Eph. 5:14).”

Fight the Good Fight

If we are awake to the idol-pushers’ con job, we will probably end up either being complicit, objecting, or fighting.  Choosing a neutral role, or being complicit, may seem like a reasonable approach.  After all, who doesn’t want to “get along?” Who wants to “make waves?”  “Going with the flow” may seem like the Christian “turn the cheek” way to go.  After all, we are told that the “meek shall inherit the earth.”  This approach is probably fine if we have indeed “dropped out” and become actual “strangers and pilgrims,” but if we are honest, most of us will admit that we chose the fertile valley and are living in Sodom while claiming that we are spiritually out in a tent somewhere.  This is self-deception, and we are playing right into the idol pushers’ hands.  Their holistic approach of 24-hour, full immersion idolatry will make “resistance futile,” especially if we are not even putting up resistance.  If we are deceived, we will be assimilated.  We need to draw lines, set boundaries, and build walls against the enemy.

For these reasons, we should strive for a more active role, and at least be an objector.  If we strive for the defensive role of objector, we will refuse to comply with every empty-headed suggestion and use the military gear God has provided us with to mount a defense.  It is a real war, fought in the mind, using ideas and information. “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and put on the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.” (Eph. 6:10-16) The war for our souls becomes much more real once we have become aware of the intentional attacks that the “world rulers of this present darkness” are stealthily hitting us with.  It should encourage us to know that when we resist (like Daniel and his friends) the shield of faith is there to protect us.  “Resist the devil, and he will flee.”  We should never forget who we are and where we came from.  We need to stand for something, or we will fall for anything.

Finally, as we watch the kingdoms of men dissolve into the kingdom of God, we will be called on to take an ever-increasingly active role.  No longer a mere objector, we are destined to be fighters.  This means we will go on offense.  Someday soon, this will mean politically.  For we, like John will be told “Come up hither” and will begin to take charge over kingdoms as kings and priests in the political heavens.  But to get to this point, we will need to be trained.  The proof of the completion of this training is found in Revelation 2 and 3: “he who conquers” is mentioned 7 times!  This does not sound like a path of least resistance role like being neutral or defensive.  “Conquer” sounds more like how the apostle Paul saw life.  “I have fought the good fight,” is the boxing and martial arts imagery used in his letters to describe the struggle against evil.  While this does not mean that we start a violent revolution, it does indicate that an offensive is appropriate when dealing with the enemy.  We need to use the weapons we are given.  “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).  “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:17).”  We know that the pen is mightier than the sword.  We know that words are ideas, seeds and sparks; and there is no stopping a good idea.  Words bring things to life.

Watchman on the Wall

As believers in the last days, we are armed with the prophetic oracles of future events found in scripture.  What were once puzzles and symbolic allegories are becoming literal fulfillments.  As “knowledge increases (Dan 12:4),” the entire trajectory of history is available for us to plot.  We no longer see “in a mirror dimly (1 Cor. 13:12),” but rather can see clearly where our path is leading.  This gives us incredible fear, hope, and motivation.  But it also gives us great responsibility to warn others of the coming judgement.  We are like modern-day “Ezekiel,” “watchmen on the wall.”  God tells him of his duty in Ezekiel 33:7-9, “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore, thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

We must blow the trumpet.  Knowledge is power.  We must raise awareness.  We must educate by planting seeds in the mind.  We must combine the Word with knowledge of history and current events to show people how desperately wicked the agenda of the idol-pushers is.  “Convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire (Jude 22-23).”  We must be fearless against the demonic master of this psychopathic world that worships only death and power.  As Gandhi would say, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”  The prophet Isaiah says in chapter 59:19 “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”  There is no contest.

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