True News 4 U — Truth-Religion — 11/21/2020
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
“4 You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve [Literally worship] them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting [punishing] the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,”
(Exodus 20:4-5, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The Second Commandment is cited seven times in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:4, 20:23, 34:17; Leviticus 19:4, 26:1; Deuteronomy 4:23, 5:8) and three times in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 10:7, 10:14 and 1 John 5:21).
Many Christians have difficulty distinguishing between the First and Second Commandments because they both relate to the worship of false gods. The following is a simple rule of thumb for determining whether a passage is addressing the First or Second Commandment of disobedience: First Commandment transgression is worshiping anything created by YHWH. For example: the sun, moon or stars. The Second Commandment transgression is worshiping anything formed by man. For example: images of the sun, moon and stars, etc. Moses dealt with both of these sins in Deuteronomy Chapter 4. We see in verses 15-18 that it is addressing the Second Commandment disobedience and in verse 19, it is addresses the First Commandment disobedience:
“15 Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form [similitude] of any figure: the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth.”
(Deuteronomy 4:15-18, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given [divided] to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.”
(Deuteronomy 4:19, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The Second Commandment infraction is usually described as idolatry. The Prophet Isaiah depicted an idol as something men form with their hands:
“Their land is also full of idols; They [the house of Jacob] worship the work of their own hands, That which their own fingers have made.”
(Isaiah 2:8, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The Prophet Ezekiel also described an idol as something that men erect in their hearts:
“2 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, these men [the elders of the house of Judah of the nation of Israel] have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?” ”
(Ezekiel 14:2-3, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Thomas Watson, a Fifteenth Century Presbyterian preacher, pointed out the paradox of idolatry:
“God made man of the dust of the earth, and man makes a god of the dust of the earth.”
 Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments (Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965) p. 56.
An Anglican minister by the name of South summed up the folly of idol-worship:
“Idolatry is certainly the first-born of folly, the great and leading paradox, nay the very abridgment and sum total of all absurdities.”
 South, quoted by George Southwick, Kingdom Treasure, #108, p. 5.
The Apostle Paul agreed in his letter that he wrote to the Romans:
“21 because, although they [earth’s inhabitants] knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible [perishable] man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
(Romans 1:21-23, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
King David and the Prophet Isaiah were no more charitable with their descriptions concerning idolaters:
“4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; 6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell; 7 They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat. 8 Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.”
(Psalm 115:4-8, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“9 Those who make an image, all of them are useless, And their precious things shall not profit; They are their own witnesses; They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed. 10 Who would form a god or mold an image That profits him nothing? 11 Surely all his companions would be ashamed; And the workmen, they are mere men. Let them all be gathered together, Let them stand up; Yet they shall fear, They shall be ashamed together.
12 The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals, Fashions it with hammers, And works it with the strength of his arms. Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails; He drinks no water and is faint.
13 The craftsman stretches out his rule, He marks one out with chalk; He fashions it with a plane, He marks it out with the compass, And makes it like the figure of a man, According to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house. 14 He cuts down cedars for himself, And takes the cypress and the oak; He secures [Literally appropriates] it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.
15 Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it. 16 He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
18 They do not know nor understand; For He has shut [Literally smeared over] their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 And no one considers in his heart, Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire, Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” ”
(Isaiah 44:9-19, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Simply put, idolatry is the epitome of stupidity.
What Idolatry Is Not
We are commanded not to make for ourselves any likeness of anything in YHWH’s creation whether it is something in heaven, on earth or in the water. Does this mean that we are prohibited by the Second Commandment from taking photographs of our ourselves and our children, from hanging panoramic pictures on our walls, from carrying coins in our pockets or from using stamps on our parcels? Must we dispose of all calendars and books containing pictures? Must we remove from our wardrobe all shirts or dresses that have flower prints? Must our children desist from playing with stuffed animals? Must we destroy all topographical maps and globes of the earth? Must the medical profession destroy all models of the human anatomy? Is this the intent of the Second Commandment? If it is then YHWH, Himself, is guilty of promoting idolatry because in Exodus 20:4 YHWH commanded that “you shall not make [Strong’s Concordance #H6213 “asah” – Hebrew] any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” Yet, in Exodus Chapters 25, 28 and in Numbers Chapter 21 YHWH commanded the Israelites to make [“asah” – Hebrew] the following items:
“And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat.”
(Exodus 25:18, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem [of the robe of the ephod], and bells of gold between them all around:”
(Exodus 28:33, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” ”
(Numbers 21:8, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Moreover, in Exodus 20:4 YHWH commanded His people not to make any graven images. The word “graven” is translated from the Hebrew noun “pecel” and it comes from the verb form “pecal.” Immediately following YHWH’s rebuke and punishment of Aaron and the other Israelites for their idolatrous act of making and worshiping the graven calf; YHWH gave Moses the following instructions:
“And the Lord said to Moses, “Cut [KJV Hew, pecal – graven] two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke.” ”
(Exodus 34:1, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
YHWH was not commanding Moses and the Israelites to break the Second Commandment and neither are we in transgression of the Second Commandment if we have in our possession the previously mentioned items. Idolatry does not depend so much on what we have in our possession but instead on what we are doing with those things in our possession:
“4 You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve [worship] them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting [punishing] the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,”
(Exodus 20:4-5, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God.”
(Leviticus 26:1, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
It is not primarily the making of those things that was evil in YHWH’s sight; it was the purpose for which they were made.
Although the First and the Second Commandments differ slightly, nearly all of the First Commandment statutes can also be placed under the Second Commandment. Therefore, rather than re-addressing those statutes in this study that fall under the First Commandment, we will be examining our modern-day manifestations of the Second Commandment transgression.
We need to first consider just how serious idolatry is. Individuals as well as different religions that fashion idols, statues or totem poles are often considered foolish. This sin is not just foolishness in YHWH’s sight; we see the Prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel comparing idolatry to something much worse:
Israel Is Shameless
“1 “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, And she goes from him And becomes another man’s, May he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you [Judah] have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me,” says the Lord.
2 “Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain [been violated] with men? By the road you have sat for them Like an Arabian in the wilderness; And you have polluted the land With your harlotries and your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, And there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; You refuse to be ashamed. 4 Will you not from this time cry to Me, ‘My Father, You are the guide of my youth? 5 Will He remain angry forever? Will He keep it to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken and done evil things, As you were able.”
A Call to Repentance
6 The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. 7 And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. 9 So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.” ”
(Jeremiah 3:1-9, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“16 You took some of your garments and adorned multicolored high [Places for pagan worship] places for yourself, and played the harlot on them. Such things should not happen, nor be. 17 You have also taken your beautiful jewelry from My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images and played the harlot with them. 18 You took your embroidered garments and covered them, and you set My oil and My incense before them. 19 Also My food which I gave you—the pastry of fine flour, oil, and honey which I fed you—you set it before them as sweet [Or a sweet aroma] incense; and so it was,” says the Lord God.
20 “Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your acts of harlotry a small matter, 21 that you have slain My children and offered them up to them by causing them to pass through the fire? 22 And in all your abominations and acts of harlotry you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, struggling in your blood.
23 Then it was so, after all your wickedness—‘Woe, woe to you!’ says the Lord God— 24 that you also built for yourself a shrine, and made a high [Place for pagan worship] place for yourself in every street. 25 You built your high places at the head of every road, and made your beauty to be abhorred. You offered yourself to everyone who passed by, and multiplied your acts of harlotry. 26 You also committed harlotry with the Egyptians, your very fleshly neighbors, and increased your acts of harlotry to provoke Me to anger.
27 Behold, therefore, I stretched out My hand against you, diminished your allotment [Allowance of food], and gave you up to the will of those who hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. 28 You also played the harlot with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; indeed you played the harlot with them and still were not satisfied. 29 Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, Chaldea; and even then you were not satisfied.
30 How degenerate is your heart!” says the Lord God, “seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot.
31 You erected your shrine at the head of every road, and built your high [Place for pagan worship] place in every street. Yet you were not like a harlot, because you scorned payment. 32 You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband.” ”
(Ezekiel 16:16-32, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
In YHWH’s eyes an idolater is the same as a harlot, a whore or an adulteress and it was for these sins that He divorced the house of Israel (the Northern Ten Tribes) and later the house of Judah (the Southern Tribe) as well (Matthew 21:43). Some people think that idolatry is something that only ancient civilizations participated in or that existing primitive tribes today are involved with. They would be shocked to learn that idolatry applies to anything modern-day Israel does. However, man’s basic immorality has not changed (1 Corinthians 10:13) any more than YHWH’s morality has changed (Malachi 3:6). Idolatry filled the land before Yeshua/Jesus came and it still continues to fill all our lands today all around the world 2,000 years after Yeshua ascended into heaven. Modern day man may not carve idols out of wood or stone as their predecessors once did, yet he is still up to his eyebrows in idolatry, he has just refined the practice. In other words, sophisticated man has sophisticated the sin. Anything man creates with his own hands or heart and places before YHWH is idolatry. The Prophet Hosea equated just the forsaking of YHWH as committing flagrant idolatry:
 God’s Covenant People: Yesterday, Today and Forever by Evangelist Ted R. Weiland.
“When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry [idolatry, spiritual adultery] By departing from the Lord.” ”
(Hosea 1:2, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
In other words, anything man-made that interferes with or keeps us from seeking first YHWH’s Kingdom and His Righteousness is a Second Commandment transgression.
The Love of Money
The love of money is one of the more obvious manifestations of modern-day idolatry. The New Testament defines idolatry as covetousness, sometimes it is translated as greediness:
 In using the word “money,” it is not with the true economic definition in mind. Instead the generally accepted modern usage of the term is intended. Consequently, the use of the word “money” is not employed as a designation for gold or silver. One who worships or serves gold and silver, which was created by YHWH has committed the First Commandment transgression. One who worships or serves either coinage fashioned from silver or gold or currency made from paper commits the Second Commandment transgression.
“For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
(Ephesians 5:5, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
(Colossians 3:5, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Second Commandment coveting has to do with coveting simply to have more whereas Tenth Commandment coveting is coveting what belongs to someone else. The Greek word “pleonexia” is translated as “covetousness” and it is defined by James Strong:
 James Strong, “Dictionary of the Greek Testament,” The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990) p. 58.
In Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, it defines avarice as follows:
“Avarice … excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain.”
 “avarice,” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, (Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1975) p. 77.
So, covetousness or greed is idolatry because it replaces love for YHWH with love for money. YHWH requires one hundred percent devotion to Him and only to Him:
“29 Jesus answered him, “The first [or foremost] of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” ”
(Mark 12:29-30, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
There is no room for covetousness or greed for those who truly love Him and earnestly desire to serve YHWH. This helps to explain why the rich young ruler was told to “go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21). Not everyone is required to sell all their possessions to feed the poor. This was required of this young ruler because his riches had control of his heart:
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
(Matthew 6:21, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
In a nutshell, this rich man’s money was his god because he placed more value on his riches than he did with his relationship with YHWH.
Someone, at this point, may be thinking to themselves, “Thank God I’m not rich!” However, what is considered to be riches to one man/woman is refuse to another and what is refuse to one man/woman is considered riches to another. Your riches can be anything, thus whatever it is that has your heart. YHWH requires that you surrender it to Him. Yeshua explained the reason for this:
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
(Luke 16:13, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The covetous person can never put YHWH first in their life because their greed consumes him:
“He who loves silver [money/wealth] will not be satisfied with silver [money/wealth]; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.”
(Ecclesiastes 5:10, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Solomon also admonished:
“4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! 5 Will [Literally Will you cause your eyes to fly upon it and it is not?] you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”
(Proverbs 23:4-5, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Following Yeshua’s dialogue with the rich young ruler, He admonished His disciples:
“23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” ”
(Matthew 19:23-24, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
With so much wealth, the super-rich can buy whatever their heart’s desire. They find themselves living not by the slogan “In God We Trust,” but rather “In Gold We Trust,” or something else that replaces gold. Although, this sin may be especially prevalent among the rich, it is also found among the middle class and the poor as well. For example, consider habitual gamblers who cross all economic levels. The definition for avarice fits chronic gamblers perfectly. They, too, have fallen prey to the vice of idolatry.
Christians who rob YHWH of His tithes and offerings are, likewise, idolaters. The Apostle Paul equated this sin with “covetousness, which is idolatry:”
“Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort [encourage] the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging [Literally covetousness] obligation.”
(2 Corinthians 9:5, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Idolatry is a replacement for Almighty YHWH. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that our money/wealth is sometimes deemed The Almighty Dollar. In this same light, it is not a coincidence that one of the first credit cards ever issued is named Master Card? A master necessitates servants or slaves. Many Americans are enslaved to their credit cards or the debt incurred through the use of these credit instruments:
“The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.”
(Proverbs 22:7, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Those who borrow are slaves to their lenders and yet the Apostle Paul wrote that Christians “were bought with a price,” and they are not to “become slaves of men” (1 Corinthians 7:23). Slavery to moneylenders is often the result of covetousness, which is idolatry.
Whether it is manifested in metal, paper, plastic or something else, the love of money is indeed a form of modern-day idolatry. Today’s Christians would do well to heed Paul’s warning and admonition:
“9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The Good Confession
11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate [Sovereign], the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
Instructions to the Rich
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
(1 Timothy 6:9-19, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
In the same way where some people worship their money/wealth, others worship what money/wealth can purchase. There is only a subtle difference between the two. Those who worship money/wealth revere the purchasing power of their money/wealth, that is, the power/authority of their money. Others worship what money/wealth can buy them, that is, the power/authority of their money. It is said that money is the international language. The latter group is only interested in what money/wealth can buy like houses, automobiles, boats, clothes, jewelry, businesses, etc. This form of idolatry is often defined as materialism which has another term known as “Keeping up with the Jones.”
This sin knows no financial boundaries; it equally afflicts the rich and the poor alike. It has been said, “The silliest thing people do is to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t even like.” Yet, this Second Commandment transgression is more than just silly. It is the sin of people who seek first their own kingdom and well-being rather than seeking “His Kingdom and His Righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). In the first chapter of Haggai, YHWH chastised the house of Judah because they were neglecting the Temple of YHWH while building their own paneled houses. The consequences of their sin of idolatry is depicted in tragic terms:
“You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
(Haggai 1:6, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
This could have been written just as easily for our current twenty-first century Israel here in America. Our wallets also have holes in them – federal taxes, state taxes, county taxes, city taxes, sales tax, workman’s compensation, compulsory insurances, usury, etc. Although our tyrannical and oppressive government is at the root of these problems, it might be prudent to look closer to home for the real reason for these afflictions. Patriot-minded people are inclined to blame the government for America’s fraudulent money system and unlawful taxes but when was the last time the same patriots were heard to say that the Federal Reserve is simply a consequence of America’s idolatrous lifestyle? In other words, today’s government has become part of YHWH’s judgment upon an idolatrous people. Most people have never thought of it this way but here we are.
If our present state of affairs is ever going to be changed on a national scale, we must individually heed YHWH’s admonition:
“7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple [of YHWH, Literally house], that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.”
(Haggai 1:7-8, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Under the New Covenant, the Body of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus Christ consisting of believers both individually and collectively are the Temple or House of YHWH (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16). Therefore, we, as believers, must not neglect the Body of Messiah Yeshua; it must not be put second to anything:
“15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness [all covetousness], for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
16 Then He spoke a parable to them [His disciples], saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” ”
(Luke 12:15-21, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Today’s collective Temple or Body of Messiah Yeshua is often neglected because of materialistic idolatry. Ministries to the remnant are often unable to efficiently perform their duties because they are often financially strapped. It is a travesty when ministries to the remnant of YHWH’s people can barely stay afloat, while the Baal ministries of our day are thriving. If this continues, do not expect any different results than what was declared by YHWH to the Prophet Haggai:
“9 “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
(Haggai 1:9-11, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The first instance of the type of idolatry described by Haggai is found in the first book of the Bible:
“And they [the descendants of Noah] said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
(Genesis 11:4, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
These early idolaters were essentially seeking first their own kingdom while rejecting the Kingdom of YHWH. The essence of idolatry is the rejection of YHWH’s Laws, while serving the laws of some other god. In Genesis Chapter 1, YHWH commanded Adam and his descendants to “multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” The builders of the tower of Babel were instead attempting to subdue heaven.
After man’s basic need for protection from the elements has been met, man’s architecture traditionally reflects what he honors most and also to what he aspires to. The tallest buildings in a city are often indicative of what the leading men of the city both literally and figuratively look up to. In Babylon, it was the tower of Babel. In Egypt, it was the pyramids, which were built to the Pharaoh pagan gods. In Greece, the tallest structures (situated on the Acropolis, the highest point in the city) were temple statues dedicated to the Grecian pagan gods. In Rome, the top of the highest hill served as the foundation for the temple of Jupiter, chief of the Roman gods. Ancient Israel was no different:
“9 Also the children of Israel secretly did against the Lord their God things that were not right, and they built for themselves high [Places for pagan worship] places in all their cities, from watchtower to fortified city. 10 They set up for themselves sacred pillars and wooden images [Hebrew Asherim, Canaanite deities] on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 There they burned incense on all the high places, like the nations [heathen] whom the Lord had carried away before them; and they did wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger,”
(2 Kings 17:9-11, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
When the high place of YHWH, the House or Temple of YHWH, is neglected, Israel always replaced it with secondhand high places of her own making:
“Meanwhile the people [of the nation of Israel] sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the Lord until those days.”
(1 Kings 3:2, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Consider today’s American cities. Church steeples previously dominated the skyline of the typical American city whereas banks, insurance buildings, luxury hotels and condominiums now dominate them. These monuments to mammon now dwarf the steeples that formerly towered above everything else. On the subject of steeples, most Christians do not know that spires and steeples predate Christianity. In fact, they go back to ancient pagan fertility rites. The male symbol of fertility was represented by the pagans as an upright stone, pillar, obelisk, or slender tower. According to Edward Carpenter, in his book “Pagan and Christian Creeds,” the lingam (a stylized phallic symbol) occurs all over the world.
The Biblical Cyclopaedia, by McClintock and Strong, says: “Even the spires of churches are symbols retained from the old phallic worship” (“Phallus,” vol. VIII, p. 55).
Thomas Inman, in his book “Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism,” writes that ancient fertility rites and phallic worship resulted in the setting up of various architectural structures such “as we now see towers or spires before our churches, and minarets before mosques” (p. XXII).
This is sufficient evidence that our churches should not be adorned with such pagan symbols and they should have no connection to the worship of Almighty YHWH.
The rich and famous, who own today’s skyscrapers, are not the only people guilty of this kind of idolatry. YHWH speaking to the Prophet Ezekiel warning us that idols can also be set up in our hearts:
“Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?”
(Ezekiel 14:3, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Consequently, anything that replaces YHWH in someone’s heart is also idolatry. We should instead follow King David’s example. David declared that he had “installed [his] King [YHWH] upon Zion, [His] holy mountain” (Psalm 2:6). In other words, David had enthroned YHWH on the high place of his heart. We should all do this.
Obsessions often manifest themselves as addictions. Noah Webster’s first edition of his American Dictionary of the English Language defines “addict” and addiction” as follows:
“ADDICT … To apply one’s self habitually; to devote time and attention by customary or constant practice….”
 Noah Webster, “ADDICT,” American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition reprinted (San Francisco, CA: The Foundation for American Christian Education, 1828, reprinted 1967).
“ADDICTION … the state of being devoted.”
 Noah Webster, “ADDICTION,” American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition reprinted (San Francisco, CA: The Foundation for American Christian Education, 1828, reprinted 1967).
YHWH expects habitual devotion from those who truly love Him. In fact, the King James Bible translators used the word “addicted” to describe devotion to ministry:
“I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted [Strong’s Concordance #G5021] themselves to the ministry of the saints,)”
(1 Corinthians 16:15, KJV, emphasis added)
For many people today, addictions of all kinds have supplanted YHWH in their hearts. Thus, He condemns these kinds of obsessions. The Apostle Peter warns us:
“While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption [depravity]; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage [slavery].”
(2 Peter 2:19, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The Apostle Paul, likewise, warns us to not allow ourselves to be mastered by anything other than our Master (Lord) Yeshua:
“12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful [profitable]. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any [or anything]. 13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
(1 Corinthians 6:12-13, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
In other words, if you have made a lifestyle of anything that has gotten out of control, in other words, something that is controlling you, then that thing by which you have been overcome has become an idol in your life. YHWH’s scorn for gluttony, for example, is stated in several Old and New Testament passages. The following passages are but two examples that record YHWH’s disapproval of this sin:
“19 Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way. 20 Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”
(Proverbs 23:19-21, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, But a companion of gluttons shames [humiliates] his father.”
(Proverbs 28:7, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
At this point, someone may say that foods are something created by YHWH not man and that the First Commandment transgression is worshipping or serving that which has been created by YHWH. This is true; however, it is unlikely that someone will become a glutton on carrot sticks, cauliflower and celery. Gluttony is a prepared food problem and therefore, it is a Second Commandment infraction.
What is true for gluttony is also true for all addictions. Consequently, any obsession, such as alcoholism or drug addiction that would come between us and our devotion to YHWH and His will for our life, is a Second Commandment transgression. The same applies to workaholics. Yes, that is correct. These addicts put their work before their homage to YHWH, as well as robbing their families of time and devotion that they deserve.
Along with gluttony, drunkenness is listed as one of the sins for which the rebellious son in Deuteronomy Chapter 21 was to be put to death by the elders of the city. It is so serious a sin that it will keep a person out of the Kingdom of YHWH:
“9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals [catamites, those submitting to homosexuals], nor sodomites [male homosexuals], 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication [sexual immorality], uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
(Galatians 5:19-21, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Drug addiction constitutes the same sin because it impairs mental discernment and physical control. Like drunkenness, it also hinders or impedes altogether a person’s devotion to YHWH. Therefore, the Scriptures prohibiting drunkenness also condemn drug addiction. They are both idolatry:
“11 Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart. 12 My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, And their staff [Diviner’s rod] informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, And they have played the harlot against their God.”
(Hosea 4:11-12, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play (Exodus 32:6).” ”
(1 Corinthians 10:7, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The enemies of Christianity understand that alcohol and drugs, like immorality, can assist them in turning a person away from their God:
“Behold the alcoholized animals, bemused with drink, the right to an immoderate use of which comes along with freedom. It is not for us [“the learned elders of Zion”] and ours to walk that road. The [non-Jewish] peoples of the goyim are bemused with alcoholic liquors; their youth has grown stupid on classicism and from early immorality, into which it has been inducted by our special agents – by tutors, lackeys, governesses in the houses of the wealthy, by clerks and others, by our women in the places of dissipation frequented by the goyim.”
 Protocol 1, Article 22, Sentences 1-3, Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, translated from Russian by Victor Emile Marsden, 1905.
According to translator Victor Marsden, the “Protocols” give the substance of addresses delivered at the First Zionist Congress held in Basle, Switzerland in 1897 under its president and the father of modern Jewish Zionism, the late Theodor Herzl (Binyamin Ye’ev). The Protocols reveal the plan of action for Talmudic Zionism’s quest for world domination. Sergiei Alezsandrovich Nilus included the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” as an appendix to his book Velikoe v Malom — The Great in the Little, or The Coming of Anti-Christ and the Rule of Satan on Earth, which was translated from Russian by Mr. Marsden and published in Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin), Russia by Tip. Tsarskoeselskago Komiteta as The Jewish Peril: The Protocols of the Learned of Zion and republished many times under various titles. An original copy of Mr. Nilus’ book containing the “Protocols” is in the British Museum bearing the reception date of August 10, 1906.
This modern form of idolatry not only applies to alcohol and illegal drugs but in an alarming number of cases, it also applies to drugs prescribed by physicians and sold through pharmacies. Consider the following two definitions for “pharmaceutical” and “pharmacy:”
“PHARMACEUTICAL … to practice witchcraft or use medicine….”
 Noah Webster, “PHARMACEUTICAL,” American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition reprinted (San Francisco, CA: The Foundation for American Christian Education, 1828, reprinted 1967).
“Pharmacy … pharmacia administration of drugs, from Greek pharmakeia, from Pharmakeuein to administer drugs, from Pharmakon magic charm, poison, drug; akin to Lith burti to practice magic….”
 “pharmacy,” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, (Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1975) p. 859.
Our English word “pharmacy” is derived from the Greek word “pharmakeia.” The Greek word “pharmakeia” appears twice in the New Testament and it is translated as “witchcraft” and “sorceries:”
“19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication [sexual immorality], uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery [KJV: witchcraft], hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
(Galatians 5:19-21, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
“The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your [Mystery Babylon’s] sorcery all the nations were deceived.”
(Revelation 18:23, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
A significant portion of modern medicine is nothing more than pharmakeia, that is, legalized drug pushing. YHWH did not design our bodies for drugs. He designed our bodies for food. Food is medicine. Consequently, it may not be all that much of a stretch to compare this element of modern medicine with sorcery or witchcraft. According to the Prophet Samuel, witchcraft is closely akin to idolatry:
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft [divination/foretelling], And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
(1 Samuel 15:23, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The Hebrew word “qecem,” Strong’s Concordance #H7081 is translated “witchcraft” is most often translated in the King James Bible as “divination.” The first edition of Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language and Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines “divination” as follows:
“DIVINATION, … 1. The act of divining; a foretelling future events … experiments or observations, as by sacrifices … observation of entrails….”
 Noah Webster, “DIVINATION,” American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition reprinted (San Francisco, CA: The Foundation for American Christian Education, 1828, reprinted 1967).
“Divination … 1: the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge….”
 “divination,” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, (Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1975) p. 334.
This sounds very much like what many modern medical doctors do when they predict or foretell how long a patient has to live, which is something only YHWH knows for certain. Regrettably and oftentimes tragically, patients accept their doctor’s predictions as gospel. These people are modern examples of Asa, King of Judah:
“And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.”
(2 Chronicles 16:12, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
The outcome of such Second Commandment transgressions is often the same as the four-part consequence initially endured by the women with the issue of blood:
“25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had (#1) suffered many things from many physicians. She had (#2) spent all that she had and (#3) was no better, but (#4) rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.”
(Mark 5:25-27, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)
Some honest doctors are their own worst critics. For example, consider the testimony of Doctor Alonzo J. Shadman:
“I have practiced medicine for forty-three years. I built and conducted my own hospital of a hundred and twenty-five beds, and had a courtesy staff of 400 Allopathic doctors. I did the surgery for nearly all of these men, and during all these years I have seen nearly every doctor in Boston in action. I have observed their limitations, their inefficiencies, and their awful blunders; and I do not believe I exaggerate when I say that orthodox medicine is killing more people yearly than the war and diseases combined.” (emphasis added)
 Dr. Alonzo J. Shadman, courtesy of the Health Committee, Box 101, Lennox Hill Station, New York City. Copied from an article appearing in Physical Culture, October-November, 1951.
The April 14, 1998 issue of The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article admitting that adverse drug reactions are among the top causes of death in the United States:
“Chicago – Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in U.S. hospitals may be responsible for more than 100,000 deaths nationwide each year, making it one of the leading causes of death, according to an article in the April 14 issue of The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)…. The authors estimated that 2,216,000 hospital patients experienced a serious ADR and 106,000 deaths were caused by ADRs in the United States. This could account for 4.6 percent of all causes of recorded death [sic] in 1994, making these reactions between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death.”