Copyright 1994 - 2019 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
November 9, 1998
Last Updated :
January 3, 2009
NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.
God Is Slow To Anger, Chastisement In This Life, Snare Of Pagan Gods And Idolatry, Iconoclasts Secular Humanism, Wicked Human Heart, Sin Of Worldliness And Materialism, One Of Two Masters, False Doctrine Of Abundant Life, Temporal Or Eternal Rewards?, God Of This World, No Other Gods, Satan The Deceiver, Don't Glory In Your Flesh, The Creative And Destructive Power of Words, The Invisible Spiritual War
The Scriptures clearly point out to us that under normal circumstances, the Lord is very patient, and very merciful, and slow to anger with His wayward children. Consider the following set of verses, all found within the Old Testament:
"And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not."
Nehemiah 9:17, KJV
"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy."
Psalm 103:8, KJV
"The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy."
Psalm 145:8, KJV
"And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil."
Joel 2:13, KJV
"And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil."
Jonah 4:2, KJV
"The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet."
Nahum 1:3, KJV
There are two things we can learn from these verses. While the Lord is slow to anger and full of mercy, if it does come time for Him to chastise His children, it must mean that we have really pushed Him to the limit with our rebelliousness. This is clearly evident by the story of vain King Herod. The time came when Herod's evil heart was so lifted up against the Lord, that God finally felt obligated to mete out His swift judgments. Herod had more than filled up his cup of iniquity; and thus the righteous judgments of the Lord fell upon him. This also teaches us that Divine Punishment is not always reserved for the afterlife as many people have been led to believe; that is, at the Great White Throne Judgment. If certain people are evil enough, God will deal with them here and now; and sometimes quite severely. Please keep this point in mind, as I will be discussing it again towards the end of this series. I am reminded of the following verse found in Peter's first Epistle:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
1 Peter 4:17, KJV
Of course, in most cases, when the Bible discusses idolatry, it isn't normally referring to actual people, but rather to wooden, stone or metal images created in the likeness of the false gods of the heathen. As I've explained in my in-depth series 'The Fruits Of Disobedience', it was this very same pagan idolatry which became a snare for the Israelites, and caused them to fall into deep sin against the Lord time and time again. The Lord specifically warned them of what would happen if they didn't obey His Voice and destroy the heathen in Canaan, but they stubbornly refused to obey; and this ultimately resulted in His fierce judgments falling upon them, either through plagues, or else through the hands of their heathen enemies. Consider the following verses:
"And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee."
Exodus 23:31-33, KJV
"And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee."
Deuteronomy 7:16, KJV
"And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you."
Judges 2:1-3, KJV
Rather than go into great detail concerning the idolatry of ancient Israel, I encourage you to read the aforementioned series, as it is quite a thorough treatise on the subject. In the New Testament, the word 'idol' is transliterated from the Greek 'eidolon'. Similar to this word is the Greek word 'eikon'; which is transliterated into English as 'icon', or 'ikon'. An icon is any type of sacred image. It is from this word that we derive our word 'iconoclast'; which is a person who destroys false idols, or icons, of any kind. Some good examples of iconoclasts would be the God-fearing kings of ancient Israel who removed the idol worship and the child sacrifices from the land; such as David, Hezekiah, Josiah, etc. Consider the following example:
"Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about. And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem."
2 Chronicles 34:1-7, KJV
The common denominator between all of the various forms of idolatry that I have described for you, is that they all center around the worship of man and human achievement, with little, or absolutely no regard for, the God of the Bible. Regardless of whether we are discussing the idolatry of our modern day, or of idolatry from thousands of years ago, all of these things are the product of man's pride and vanity, which are born of the evilness of his own heart. They are all proud attempts by sinful man to elevate himself above his Creator. This worldly attitude in which evil men seek to become the center of their own existence, instead of living God-centered lives is today referred to as secular humanism. While some people proudly resist admitting their own evil condition, as I point out in many other articles, the Lord, through the Prophet Jeremiah, clearly exposed the wickedness of the human heart when He said the following:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9, KJV
What the Lord is basically saying here, is that our heart is so evil, that we can't even begin to fathom the depth of its wickedness! Working in conjunction with our brain, our heart protects itself by feeding us all kinds of lies to keep us living in a state of delusion. Our heart will tell us how good we are, and how great we are, and that there is really nothing wrong with us; so why do we even need a God? This is the same old satanic lie disguised in the modern wrapper of 'I'm okay; you're okay; everyone is okay; there is no such thing as sin'. Of course, as Christians, we know that is in direct contrast to the words spoken by our Lord in the New Testament where He also exposed our sinful nature:
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
Matthew 15:18-20, KJV
The main point I wish for you to consider here, is that all of these different forms of idolatry, whether they be the worship of man, or the worship of things created by man, are a manifestation of our own wicked hearts. As I have stated before, the physical world is simply a manifestation of the spiritual; and if we use that as a barometer to measure our spiritual condition, the vast majority of humankind is doing very poorly. The Bible clearly indicates that the artificial world in which we now live, is clearly inspired by Satan, and is most certainly not of God. In his first Epistle, the Apostle John wrote the following revealing lines:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15-16, KJV
The above verses should really shock any Christian who finds himself trapped in the world and enjoying it. John clearly tells us that if we love this present world, the love of the Father is not in us, because these desires are not of Him. In other words, we don't really love God; we love the world and all of the things that it has to offer. Jesus Himself told us that we cannot possibly love both. We must make a choice between our Heavenly Father, and the materialistic world of mammon around us. In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, our Lord said:
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24, KJV
It is so sad, because there are many people in the world today, including many Christians, who honestly think that they can serve both, in total contradiction to our Lord's own words. They preach this modern lie called the 'abundant life'. They have been deceived into believing that God, our Heavenly Father, has blessed them with their wealth and lavish material lifestyles; even though Jesus Christ and His own Apostles did not live this way; nor any of the Disciples who followed in their footsteps. This lie of materialistic worship was introduced to Christianity several hundred years later after the compromise had occurred between the rulers of Rome, and the Disciples who had never known Jesus Christ nor the First and Second Generation Christians. These were the formative years of what is today known as the Roman Catholic Church.
While John tells us that these things are of the world, and while Christ tells us that we cannot serve God and mammon, the Apostle Paul goes a step further by telling us exactly who has blinded us to the Truth of God's Word, and who we are serving, when we love this present world, and all of the things which pertain to it. As the following verses reveal, he tells us that we are serving the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air; that is, Satan himself:
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
Ephesians 2:2, KJV
When we walk 'according to the course of this world', not only are we contradicting the words of Jesus Christ who told us that we His followers are not of this world; not only are we contradicting the words of the Apostle Paul who told us to not conform to this world, but we are in fact making ourselves the very enemies of God; because we have set up another god before Him! These ideas are clearly supported by verses such as the following:
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:19, KJV
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
John 17:14-16, KJV
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
James 4:4, KJV
You, my friend, are the enemy of God if you think that you can be a part of the world, and a part of God's Kingdom. Do you understand that? When you say that you can have one foot in the world, and one foot in the Kingdom of God, you are denying the Truth of every Scripture I have just presented to you. You are calling Jesus Christ, His Disciples, and God the Father liars. That is how serious it is; and this is why I detest all of those false preachers and teachers who push the false doctrine of the abundant life. Instead of waiting patiently for their rewards in Heaven as Jesus instructed us to do, they want it all now in this world. They want worldly recognition; they want worldly wealth; they want a late model automobile; they want people to praise their name on radio and television. They want their picture plastered on book covers, or across the Internet, and wherever else they can get it. They want their name on everyone's lips. They want the praise, and they want the glory; and they want it now; but what did Jesus say?:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:19-21, KJV
Well, do you know what? God will give them exactly what they want; He will give them their reward in this life; after all, He did the very same thing with the spiritual leaders of Israel several thousand years ago. While they too were convinced that their material abundance was a blessing from God, Jesus Himself told us quite plainly that they were bowing to another master. Consider the following verses:
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
Matthew 6:1-5, KJV
"Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
Matthew 6:16-18, KJV
"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
John 12:42-43, KJV
The worldly reward that these people received, came not from the God of Heaven, but rather from the god of this world; from the father of lies; Satan himself; their true master; into whose hand this power has been given for a time. As I point out in other articles, Satan boasted of this very fact when he tempted our Lord just before the commencement of His Earthly Ministry. Consider the following verses:
"And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it."
Luke 4:6, KJV
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV
Not only did Jesus clearly expose those materialistic and pharisaical Jews as being of their father the devil, but He also informs us that Satan has been a liar since Day One. As most of us know, since the beginning of Creation, Satan, disguised in one form or another, has sought to cause man to fall into sin; that is, to transgress the Laws of God; for as John tells us, sin is the transgression of the Law. In the Book of Exodus, we discover that one of God's primary laws is that we will have no other gods before Him. Consider the following verses:
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
1 John 3:4, KJV
"And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"
Exodus 20:1-5, KJV
Despite this very explicit commandment from the Lord, for literally thousands of years now, mankind has done the exact opposite. Not only has he worshipped many false gods, but as we have clearly seen, man has worshipped himself; he has worshipped the works of his own hands; instead of the one true Creator; who alone deserves all of the praise, and all of the glory. Since the days of Adam and Eve, that vile serpent Satan has convinced man that he can be his own god; and that he doesn't need a far away invisible God in Heaven. Allow me to remind you again of that subtle deceiver's first words to foolish Eve:
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Genesis 3:5, KJV
'You can be your own gods Eve! Just eat the fruit, Eve! You can be the master of your own fate! You don't need the Big Guy in the sky! Here; give some to Adam so he can share in your glory!'; and thus began the awful downward spiral of humankind, which has continued to this very day. It began with the murder of righteous Abel; and it will end with a One World Government under the Beast and the False Prophet, who will likewise persecute the Saints of the Most High God. From the Tower of Babel where man tried to make a name for himself, only to be brought down by Divine Confusion, to the final confusion of worldwide Babylon the Great found in the Book of Revelation, the whole story has already been written since thousands of years ago. This then is the ultimate form of idolatry; man worshipping man, and the creations of his own hands; trying to create his own utopian world without any room for, and without any help from, the one true God of the Heavens; El Shaddai.
While King David was dearly loved by the Lord, as we all know, he was only human, and had problems with yielding himself to the desires of his flesh. We are all familiar with the story of David and Bathsheba. While the Lord viewed this as a great sin, it upsets Him even more when we strive to glory in our own strength and wisdom; instead of giving Him the credit for everything. Our God is indeed a jealous God, and whenever we place anything before Him, including worshipping our own power and achievements, He becomes very angry. In the article 'Nephilim: The Giants Of Genesis', I mention how, against the better judgment of his peers, King David decided to take a census of Israel. In his vanity, he wanted to measure the size and power of Israel. He wanted to feel a little glory in the flesh. As a result of this grave sin, the Lord sent a plague into the land; and we are told that seventy thousand people died because of it. You can read the whole story in 2 Samuel chapter twenty-four, and in the first Book of the Chronicles chapter twenty-one.
This is one of the key lessons that the Lord has been trying to teach humankind since the beginning of Creation; to trust only in Him; to look only to Him; and to not dare take any credit to ourselves; to not glory in our flesh, for we most certainly are not any kind of gods as Satan would have us to believe. Perhaps it was after the previous bitter experience that King David wrote the following wise line found in the Book of Psalms:
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalm 20:7, KJV
As I have shared many times before, we must never look to ourselves for the answers; we must never look to our own strength or wisdom for the answers; we must only look to the Lord. This is precisely the message that the Angel gave to the Prophet Zechariah to deliver to Zerubbabel, who was responsible for building the Second Temple following the return from Babylon. Consider the following verses:
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV
"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
Zechariah 4:6, KJV
Exactly what was the weapon that Satan used to bring about the original downfall of humankind? As I have pointed out before, it was three simple words which he stated in the form of a doubt; 'hath God said'. Those three words were enough to 'upset the applecart' so-to-speak. Remember' the devil is a copycat; he is a usurper. He doesn't have an original 'bone' in his body as we say in American slang. All Satan knows how to do is to take God's Word, and to twist it and to pervert. We know for a fact that God was the first one to use the power of the spoken word, for as we are told in the Scriptures:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
John 1:1-3, KJV
"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
Hebrews 11:3, KJV
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
2 Peter 3:3-7, KJV
Thus we can see that while God normally uses His word, or Word, meaning Jesus, to create, Satan also uses words to try to destroy the very same work of God. This is also why he is sometimes referred to as the destroyer in the Bible. I have mentioned in some of my Endtime articles that the two Hebrew and Greek names Abaddon and Apollyon mentioned in the Book of Revelation, both mean 'destroyer' or 'destruction'. This is the name of the angel of the Bottomless Pit; and this is also where we are told that Satan will be cast during the Millennium:
"And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."
Revelation 9:11, KJV
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."
Revelation 20:1-3, KJV
Just as God's Word creates, and Satan's words destroy, in like manner, God's written Word gives faith, while Satan's words produce doubts. They are two forces as opposite as night and day. I'll be sharing a very clear example of this with you in just a moment. Sadly, through the inspiration of Satan, ungodly men have also learned to harness the awesome power of words. The right words can be world shakers and psychological manipulators. He who controls the flow of words in the world, controls the world; and the invisible behind-the-scenes powers who control the mass media of the world know this full well. Through the crafty manipulation of words, public opinion is shaped; and one is praised as a hero, while another is condemned as a villain. Bombs leave an ugly mess to clean up afterwards, but words are an invisible clean killer. History is not necessarily what is true, but rather what is written by the victor, whether he be good or evil.
The reason our words are so powerful, is because they are spiritual things. The thoughts we think, and the words we speak are influenced by spiritual forces. Our words either reflect how yielded we are to God, or else our submission to Satan. These ideas should not seem foreign to you; after all, in the New Testament, we find verses such as the following:
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
"...he [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44b, KJV
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."
2 Peter 2:19, KJV
It should be clear then that there is a great war currently in progress; and the invisible weapons being used are words. On one side of this great Endtime Battle are the emissaries of God who are submitted to His Will and who speak the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, while on the other are the political and religious false prophets of the world who speak the deceitful lies of Satan and promise peace, peace when there shall be no peace; just as occurred during the days of the Prophet Jeremiah:
"For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace."
Jeremiah 8:11, KJV
To find out what will be the final outcome of this great warfare of words, I encourage you to continue reading this series. In part three, we will be taking a look at some of the subtle tactics which are currently being used to prepare the world for the arrival of the master of dark sayings, and his deceptive propaganda agent. Foremost in our discussion will be an expose on the music from hell, which will include a look at the philosophy of John Lennon, as expressed in his world renown song 'Imagine'. I trust that you will join me.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .