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King Solomon Thought He Knew Exactly How Idolotry Started

The Words of God, Concerning idolatry: 

From Exodus Chap 20 (KJV) 

 1And God spake all these words, saying,

 2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

 3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 4Thou 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.

 5Thou 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;

 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

In Jude 1:9 we find that Satan and the arch-angel Michael battled for the dead body of Moses.  It was thought by some in ancient times that this was to prevent it from being worshipped as an idol.  Maybe this was a justified concern, if so.  The feelings of the Jews towards Moses are, it seems to me anyway, a pious regard bordering on reverence even as it is. What if his body's resting place had been preserved...wouldn't some have wanted to offer prayers there? 

Oddly, there are a few carvings or reliefs that God specified should be created for certain specific purposes that He had in mind.  Even these have in some cases been worshipped   One example of such a carved image is from the Israelites' 40 years of wandering the desert of the Sinai under the direction of Moses.

From Numbers 21:4

  "From Mt.Hor, they set out on the Red Sea road to bypass the land of Edom.  But with their patience worn out by the journey they complained against God and Moses.  "Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water?  We are disgusted with this wretched food!"

"In punishment the Lord sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died.  Then the people came to Moses and said "We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you.  Pray the Lord to take the serpents from us."  So Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord said "Make a saraph and put it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover."  Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent  and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered."  End Quote

***As a related topic, do you suppose bronze was chosen not only because it is a metal that withstands fire more readily than others (as Jesus could not be held in the fires of hell, but rose from there to ascend), but also it may have been especially appropriate because it was associated with the Greek empire in Nebuchadnezzar's vision (Book of Daniel), and when the Jews rejected Jesus, the Apostles spread Jesus's words among the Greeks (gentiles) -a people denoted by bronze in the statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream - who were more willing to accept Him?  Who knows?*** 

  So that bronze snake on a pole, able to heal you if you only witnessed it with your eyes, is an example of a very wonderful miracle, and truly pre-figured the power of a crucified Jesus.  But where is that object today?  The Bible tells us.

2 Kings 18:4 says this following happened in the beginning of the reign of good King Hezekiah of Judah, around 650 years after Moses most likely.  It speaks of some of the reforms undertaken by Hezekiah:

 "It was he who removed the high places, shattered the pillars, and cut down the sacred poles.  He shattered the bronze serpent called Nehushtan which Moses had made, because up to that time the Israelites were burning incense to it.  He put his trust in the Lord, the God of Israel; and neither before him or after him was there anyone like him among all the kings of Judah.  Loyal to the Lord, Hezekiah never turned away from him, but observed the commandments which the Lord had given Moses.  The Lord was with him, and he prospered in all that he set out to do."  End Quote

  So, people, even people well educated in the sensibilities of their Creator, turn to idolatry with surprising ease.  Some churches won't keep anything but a cross inside their church, to avoid idolatry.  Some denominations won't even keep a cross inside, preferring to worship Jesus without one in sight.  They think more along the lines of Hezekiah, I would say.

God hates idol worship.  God HATES idol worship. His first 2 commandments instruct us to steer clear of any form of it.  That's pretty significant that he devotes His first two of only 10 commandments to getting our minds right on this subject.

  God's first two commandments involved preventing people from worshipping anything but Him - their Creator.  And also forbidding them to make copies of created things, which could lead, in time, to those things being worshipped. 

  God knows all when it comes to humans.  What we spend our time looking at, we spend our time thinking about.  What we look at can influence us.  What influences us to any degree will influence us either rightly or wrongly.  So, God wants us to focus on nothing else but Him, because He truly does love us and He has our good in mind.  Satan also understands this relationship, and has always worked to introduce idols and idol worship.  

   Solomon was one of King David's sons, and succeeded his father David as King of Israel.  As a young man just become King, he said a prayer to Yahweh, asking to be given the wisdom needed to lead Yahweh's chosen people well.  This pleased God greatly, because Solomon had not asked for wealth or power, etc., but for wisdom to serve the Holy Father well while King.  So the scriptures say Solomon was made the wisest King that ever had been, or ever would be (aside from Jesus as it turned out, once He came).  Solomon's wisdom became legendary even during his lifetime.  People came from everywhere to meet him and listen to him speak of what he knew during his 40 year reign.  Even the Queen of Sheba came. 

   To add to this, God gave Solomon a relatively peaceful reign in all of his early years as king.  His father King David had subdued all of the nearby enemy nations, giving Solomon a smooth start. Sort of like John the Baptist made straight paths for Jesus, and there may be an allegorical connection there.  

  Also, Solomon was given tremendous riches.  666 talents of gold was a yearly tribute he received while king (a talent was about 75 lbs or 32 kilograms), and there were other sources of wealth for his kingdom; he traded widely, and much trade passed through Israel on its way to other lands.  

  The 666 may be a clue to us that something about Solomon or his reign may be analogous to the 'Coming World Leader' spoken of in the Book of Revelation, who will require a mark associated with the number 666 to be placed on people's right hand or forehead if they wish to buy and sell in his kingdom.  Christians are commanded to refuse this mark even if it costs your life or the lives of those dearest to you. Don't worry, our God can bring us back to life at the time of His good pleasure! 

  Solomon wrote proverbs, some psalms, and a lot of writings concerning wisdom (living wisely / being wise).  They are great reading - I'd say that they are 'must reading'.  I wish I'd read them when I was young.  It might not have soaked in, but it could't have hurt. 

  Some of his writings are not in the Protestant Bible, but are retained in the Catholic's Bible.  One of those is the book actually called Wisdom.  You can also find most all of it on-line, I think.  In Wisdom, Solomon happens to mention the incident which, to his knowledge, began the terrible practice of 'Idolotry'.  The worship of statues as if they were gods.

Solomon wrote in Wisdom Chapter 14:12 - 31:

  For  the source of wantoness is the devising of idols, and their invention was a corruption of life.

  For in the beginning they were not, nor shall they continue forever.

  For by the vanity of men they came into this world, therefore a sudden end is devised for them.

  For a father, afflicted with untimely mourning, made an image of the child so quickly taken from him,

  And now honored as a god what was formerly a dead man, and handed down to his subjects mysteries and sacrifices.

 Then, in time, the impious practice gained strength and became law, and graven things were worshipped by princely decrees.

  Men who lived so far away that they could not honor him in his presence copied the appearance of the distant king,

  and made a public image of him they wished to honor out of zeal to flatter him when absent as though present.

  And to promote the observance among those to whom it was strange, the artisan's ambition provided a stimulus. 

  For he, mayhap in his determination to please the ruler, labored over the likeness to the best of his skill. 

  And the masses, drawn by the charm of the workmanship, soon thought he should be worshiped who shortly before was honored as a man.

  And this became a snare for mankind, that men enslaved by either grief or tyranny, conferred the incommunicable Name on stocks and stones.

  Then it was not enough for them to err in their knowledge of God, but even though they live in a great war of ignorance, they call such evils peace.

  For while they celebrate either child slaying sacrifices or clandestine mysteries, or frenzied carousals in unheard of rites, they no longer safegaurd either lives or pure wedlock,  but each either waylays and kills his neighbor, or grieves him by adultery.

 And all is confusion - blood and murder, theft and guile, corruption, faithlessness, turmoil, perjury, disturbance of good men, neglect of gratitude, besmirching of souls, unnatural lust, disorder in marriage, adultery and shamelessness.

  For the worship of infamous idols is the reason and source and extremity of all evil.

  For they either go mad with enjoyment or prophesy lies, or live lawlessly, or lightly foreswear themselves.

  For as their trust is in soulless idols, they expect no harm when they have sworn falsely.

  But on both counts shall justice overtake them:  because they thought ill of God and devoted themselves to idols, and because they deliberately swore false oaths, despising piety.

  For not the might of those that are sworn by, but the retribution of sinners, ever follows upon the transgression of the wicked.

(End)

   Again, Jesus admitted to being wiser than Solomon, but other than Jesus Solomon was the apogee of human wisdom.  So, Solomon becomes a default example of what human wisdom can lead to, in it's highest form.  It's like saying "If you were as wise as a human could be, what would your life be like?" Maybe it would be like Solomon's life.   

 How odd is it that Solomon, through the many hundreds of wives and concubines that he took in his lifetime, brought a great deal of idolotry into Israel.  Sources and traditions outside of the Bible say that Solomon caused it by allowing his wives - often political alliance marriages - to have little chapels for the worship of their false gods from back home.  Pretty soon, idolotry had spread widely throughout  Israel, and Solomon - the wisest human - is therefore thought by some to be the chief introducer of this terrible deadly stumbling block of idolotry into Israel.  They had left their false idols behing them in Egypt, back in the days of Moses and the Exodus (though there was the golden calf they built), and so they had been a relatvely non-idolatrous people since that time, for several hundred years until Solomon's time.

 Solomon was one of God's annointed.  He was allowed to build the first Holy Temple, and it was done with a magnificence that astounded men of that era.  His father David did prepare for it all by amassing materials, money, and drafting plans, but God forbade David to build it ; his hands were too bloody from his many wars for so holy a building to be raised by him.  God chose Solomon for the building.  I know that Solomon was a man crowned with quite a lot of honor by God, as was David.  

  But perhaps even Solomon would tell us, if he could, to obey God and have no idols in your land.  By the end of his life he surely saw what it had led to. 

  Once we men begin to rationalize why it should be acceptable to do just a little of what God tells us to not do at all, we are lost to the wiles of Satan.  Satan was a high creature in heaven before his fall, and he is simply too much for a man to contend with once we leave God's good path.  And the demons that obey him were once fallen angels, I believe, or their progeny.  Even those may be greater than a human in many ways.  Even our wisest fall prey, as I'm sure Solomon would tell us if he could. 

  But never Jesus.  Though offered everything that Satan thought he posessed if He would only worship Satan, Jesus revered God the Father and God the Father alone.  That's our good example. Jesus is the God-given and rightful Lord and judge of the souls of men.  He is the one allowed to gather and cleanse a flock of men and women for the Father's glory.  He is the narrow door by which we must enter heaven if we are to enter at all. 

  Jesus is a real Lord and was a form of the true God as real man, yet is and always has been a God, and the Son of the even greater Father.  So let's worship what is real and proven, instead of what is false and proven to lead only to damnation.  And don't worship both the real and the false equally.  Jesus and God will tolerate no lumping together of the true and the false.  It's one of those things that really will affect the end state of our very soul.....forever. 

***I saw a Catholic Church in a town which adjoins Sioux City, which is basically in Iowa and South Dakota in the United States.  I like South Dakota, and used to live there in Springfield for a while.  My parents were born near White River, South Dakota.  Anyway, I was in one of the towns that has kind of grown into Sioux City, and I saw a Catholic Church there which had one of these pretty large stone '10 Commandment' displays.  It made me really happy to see a Catholic church that has one of those, placed prominently near the side walk in front of their church for all to see.  It was the first time I had seen a Catholic church that had a 10 commandments display.  I had always assumed it was because they often have a lot of statues of saints, and Mary, and Jesus, so it might seem strange to display a marker showing God's prohibition of making idols and images, and praying to them.

  I walked up to admire it.  It was a handsome monument.  Each of the commandments were numbered as commandment 1 through 10.  Then my jaw about dropped.  The first commandment was correct.  (They had shortened it a little, as often is done for right or wrong on the stone monuments that show the commandments, but I'm used to seeing that.) 

  The second commandment was actually missing.  There was no mention of idols or images at all, anywhere in the second commandment.  The second commandment was actually the third commandment, concerning using the Lord's name in vain.  They had eliminated the actual second commandment, moved up the third commandment, and numbered it as number 2. 

  So, all of the rest of the commandments were numbered wrong also, (though the Bible doesn't actually show a number beside them)  until the last one.  The usual number 10 commandment had been broken into two parts.  One part reminded everyone not to covet our neighbor's goods apart from their wife.  And one part reminded us not to covet our neighbor's wife.  By doing that, whoever inscribed the stone had restored the total number of commandments to 10.  The  commandment that says "Thou shalt not commit adultery" was number 6 as they numbered things, so they had already covered adultery right after "Thou shalt not kill."

  Isn't that an interesting approach to dealing with a programmatic and planned violation of a comandment?  Just edit it out of the picture.  Maybe the stone carver messed up, I don't know.  I asked a man that was greeting people at the front door.  He walked over and looked at it with me, and assured me it was right. 

  It's bad enough we follow the 10 commandments so poorly as a nation, but getting rid of the ones we find inconvenient is a whole new subject altogether.  God, please continue being merciful! **** 

      

   

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