Saturday, July 21, 2012
A Warning Against Idolatry, Part 2
The following quotes are taken from evilbible.com:
"Death to Followers of Other Religions - "Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed." (Exodus 22:20 NAB)
"Kill Nonbelievers - "They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman." (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
"Kill Followers of Other Religions - 1) "If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst." (Deuteronomy 13:6-11 NAB)
2) "Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death." (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)
I have already discussed this topic in my earlier article, "A Warning Against Idolatry", so I'm only going to briefly reinstate what was said in that article.
The charge of idolatry is a very grievous sin, which God does not take lightly (see Exodus 20:3-6, 23; 23:13, 23-24; 34:17; Leviticus 19:4; 26:1; Deuteronomy 4:15-28; 5:7; 6:14-15; 8:19; 12:31; 17:2-7; 27:15; 29:17-18). God warned the Israelites on several occasions that if they committed idolatry, it was a crime that warranted the death penalty. The Israelites' covenant with God demanded that they worship and serve him only. They were not supposed to worship other gods or fashion idols for themselves. God had warned them that if they did these things, it would lead to their destruction: "If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed" (Deuteronomy 8:19, NIV).
Why is idolatry considered such a serious crime? The severity of the judgment, capital punishment, is due to the severity of the sin. God is the only God, the Lord and creator of all the universe. When anyone bows down and worships or pays tribute to a false god or idol, they are taking credit away from God and giving it to something undeserving of that credit. "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols" (Isaiah 42:8, NIV). The crime of idolatry was so serious that it was often referred to as adultery against God (Ezekiel 6:9).
Again, it is important to note that capital punishment commands such as these were given specifically to the nation of Israel during the time period and culture of the Ancient Near East. All of Scripture, both Old and New Testament, condemns idolatry; however, the capital punishments prescribed do not apply in our time period and culture (Romans 6:14; Galatians 3:24-26).