In the Bible, we can notice a multitude of idols who were worshiped and to whom people gave divine cults. These are the so-called false gods of the bible. These idols were usually statues made from the hands of men. We could mention:
The False Gods of the Bible
- The gods of Sepharvaim
- The goddess Diane
” … The men of Sepharvaim burnt their children with fire in honor of Adrammelech and Anammelech, gods of Sepharvaim ” (2 Kings 17:31).
Adrammelech (meaning: the magnificence of the king) is an Assyrian idol worshiped in Samaria as the god of flocks. Anammelech (meaning: the image of the king) is an idol of the Sepharvians symbolizing the female principle of the sun. The worship of the false gods of the Bible was something abominable, which made their worshipers cruel.
” A certain Demetrius, a silversmith, made silver of the temples of Diana and gave his workmen a considerable gain. He gathered them together with those of the same profession and said: O men, you know that our well-being depends on this industry; and you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a crowd of people, saying that gods made by human hands are not gods. The resulting danger is not just that our industry is falling into disrepute; it is also that the temple of the great goddess Diana is taken for nothing, and even that the majesty of that revered throughout Asia and the whole world is reduced to nothing. ” (Acts 19: 24-27).
The Goddess Diana of Ephesus
The goddess Diana of Ephesus was, among the Romans, the goddess of hunting and fecundity, mother of Asia Minor; his Greek name was Artemis. His temple was considered one of the seven wonders of that time. Goldsmiths, such as Demetrius, took great advantage of making silver miniature temples of Diana. The worship of the false gods of the Bible was not limited to the Jewish people but to almost everyone.
- The idol Astarte and the gods Baal
- The queen of heaven
- The Hermes god (or Hermas)
- The god Moloc or Moloch
- The Remphan statue
- The god Jupiter
- The cult of the golden calves, in the time of King Jeroboam
Baal (meaning: Master, Lord) is a deity of the Phoenicians and Canaanites (see Numbers 22:41, 1 Kings 18:22, Jeremiah 11:13, 19: 5, 32:29). Baal was an idol worshiped by the Israelites too (more than 30 verses speak of it, for example, Judges 2: 11-13, 1 Samuel 7: 4, 2 Kings 10: 18-28, Jeremiah 2: 8, 23, Hosea 2: 8, 13, 17, Zephaniah 1: 4, Romans 11: 4 …)
There is also the idol Baal-Berith (meaning: master of the covenant) whom Israel worshiped (see Judges 8:33). Let’s talk about Baal-Peor (meaning: master of the breach), it is a Moabite idol worshiped by the Israelites (see Numbers 25: 3, 5, Deuteronomy 4: 3, Hosea 9: 10). Note also the idol Baal-Zebub (means: master of the fly), is a philistine idol worshiped by Ekron and who had the reputation of healing the sick (see 2 Kings 1: 2, 3, 6, 16). For the Astartes idol (see 1 Samuel 31:10).
The altars and prophets of Baal were destroyed by Gideon (Judges 6: 25-32) – by the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 18:40) – by Jehu (2 Kings 11:18) – by Josiah (2 Kings 23: 4-5, 2 Chronicles 34: 4).
Speaking of the worship of the false gods of the Bible, the Baal gods occupy a very important place because the people of Israel turned to this god.
” Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough, to prepare cakes for the queen of the sky and to make libations to other gods, in order to irritate me. ” (Jeremiah 7: 17-18).
This was done by libation by offering divine worship.
A Greek Deity
Hermes or Hermas is a Greek deity who transmitted the messages of the gods; another name, among the Latins: Mercury (in Acts 14:12).
Moloc (means: king), is a principal deity of the Ammonites to whom one offered human sacrifices. Stephen reproaches the Jews for having worn the tabernacle of Moloc, and for having paid tribute to it (see Acts 7:43, 1 Kings 11: 5, 7). Moloch is a pagan god.
Remphan, this statue was an Egyptian idol. Stephen reminds the Jews that the Israelites worshiped this idol in the wilderness (see Acts 7:43). The emblem of this god was an idol.
Jupiter is a supreme deity of the Romans, identified with Zeus among the Greeks. After Paul had healed a man impotent to Lystra, the crowds called Barnabas by the name of Jupiter and Paul by the name of Mercury (see Acts 14:12, 13).
King Jeroboam built two statues of golden calves, and placed one of these calves at Bethel, and put the other to Dan. This was a sinful occasion for Israel (1 Kings 12: 25-33).
– We see other scenes of idolatry such as King Solomon and idolatry (1 Kings 11: 1-11), idolatry and rejection of God by the people of Israel (2 Kings 17:15-18), idolatry even in the time of God (the chapter of Ezekiel 8), idolatry in the desert by the people of Israel (Exodus 32: 1-9) and idolatry by human idols (Acts 14: 8-15).
Until then, by studying the worship of the false gods of the Bible, we have just enumerated some scenes or forms or manifestations of idolatry. This list is not false gods of the Bible cited in this article is not exhaustive.
Conclusion on the Adoration of False Gods of the Bible
The worship of the false gods is idolatry.
Israel thought to be in agreement with God, associating the worship of Baal with that of the one and true God. The height is that it happened in the temple of God. Israel wanted to worship God in their own way, and that made them fall into idolatry. God does not share his glory or his worship with another false god. No. Never. Because idols are not true gods and they cannot compare themselves to God. They are helpless and lifeless. They are only the fruit of imagination and human creation. It is an erroneous way that men worship to worship God according to their own conceptions of the worship of the living God, the Creator Almighty God.
We note that idolatry breeds polytheism (believing in many gods, false gods, trusting in men, or living beings, or objects, or statues).
This mixture of religions born of the idolatry of Israel shows how we can take paths of misguidance thinking to be worshiping God, associating it with objects, idols, statues, or the same, by a living being.
Idolatry Is Always Dangerous and Harmful
However, no matter how we practice idolatry, it is always dangerous and harmful to the idolater. Idolatry discards the idolater from the true God. Thus, she makes the idolater a slave. She holds him captive in the bonds of the enemy (Satan). It makes us rebels against God. Idolatry regardless of these forms is strongly against the will of God and the way of God.
We will not be able to complete an article devoted to the worship of the false gods of the Bible, without mentioning the principles concerning idols. Indeed, we must remember this:
– They have no real existence (1 Corinthians 8: 4-6).
– They cannot save and are helpless (Psalms 115: 3-11, Jeremiah 10: 3-7).
– They are like nothingness and weak (Daniel 5:23).
– They are only vanity (Isaiah 44: 9-20).
Now that we have an idea of what idolatry is, and how it manifested itself in the Bible, what about idolatry nowadays? It is to this problem that the article answers under this link: MODERN IDOLATRY OR IDOLATRY IN THIS CURRENT WORLD.