Identifying the idolaters
When you read the Bible you will find that idolatry is mentioned a lot, but in this modern world it is as if the idols have all but disappeared, but has this really happened? The easiest way to find out if the idols are still about, is to compare how the people behaved then, with how they behave now. We can see that God purposely hid His form by reading Deuteronomy 4:9-19 which says "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven." and you notice at the end that a good description is given of the things that will play a major role in the performance of idolatry, by the people of the world.
How to be and not to be an idolater
Idolatry came about as a means to replace the one true God with gods who are more convenient and will allow people to behave in a more wild way. We can read of the first big occurrence of this in the Bible in Exodus 32:1-6 which says "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play." and you notice how quick they were to attribute the miracles that they had seen to a false god that they could see. Note also what they did at the end and you will find that a lot of so called churches will have lunch on a Sabbath and then afterwards they will put on the loud music and then start dancing again, which would then seem to be a more pagan thing to do. We can see what the true God would expect from a feast in Leviticus 23:26-32 which says "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." and you see here that there is no mention of rising up to play, so if you end up in a church that just seems to like having fun all the time, then there is a very good chance that they serve an idol god.
Identifying the idols
When idolatry is described in the Bible, it usually relates to the things that the children of Israel were doing in rebellion against God's laws, statutes and commandments. The things that they did back then are obviously different from what we do now, but you can still work out where the idolatry is by remembering that it was always something that was done as a replacement or corruption of something that God had asked them to do. A good place for doing this comparison in the Bible is Ezekiel 20:1-9 which says "And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me. Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye come to enquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you. Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers: And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the LORD your God; In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt." and we see here that God had asked them to cast away the abominations of their eyes, which obviously means that they were looking at things that they were not supposed to be. The main supplier of abominations for our eyes is the television set, but you will have a hard time getting a modern person to cast away their televisions, so that they can then study God's word and do what it says. It is not possible for a person to watch television and read a Bible at the same time because the programs are designed in such a way that you cannot miss a moment of the action on the screen, so in the end you are probably going to have to chose between the one true God and the one eyed idol that you might currently watch. Note also that they did not forsake the idols of Egypt and if you do an internet search for "Egyptian Idols" then you will find a load of pictures that mainly show men wearing mini skirts and bare arms, while the women will have long dresses, but their arms will be bare. If you look at how people like to dress now, then it is not too difficult to see where the idols have gone, even if the styles have been swapped around a little bit. The easiest way to know that the current fashion industry is idolatry is by asking someone with a load of fancy clothes if they are willing to give them away. If you are brave you could also ask a woman, who is wearing some tight and revealing clothes, if she would wear something a lot more modest, then see how she reacts.
Idolaters vs the Sabbath
The sad story of how God tried to convert Israel continues in Ezekiel 20:10-14 which says "Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out." and we see here how God tried to convert them over to His culture, but they still rebelled and polluted the things that He had set up. This is a bit like when I go to some churches on a Sabbath and see the women wearing tight dresses like the Egyptian female idols and some of the men will have the corner of their beards shaved off like the Egyptian male idols, most men also seem to like getting rid of their beard completely, as if God has given them something that they are not happy with. I was also speaking to a female church member and she was talking about how she liked to dance on the Sabbath day in the service and she said that she was doing it because of how she did feel. So I asked her how the dancing is supposed to edify another person, but she could not give me a reply from the Bible (which is not surprising because God has said that all things in the church should be done unto edifying [1 Corinthians 14:26]), so her actions could actually be polluting something that God has set up. You also have to remember that God's word has to be put aside when the loud music starts and the people start to dance, so the easy way to see who the idolaters are is to say that the dancing is cancelled and then see who leaves.
God continues with His attempt to convince Israel that His ways are better than the ways of the heathen in Ezekiel 20:15-22 which says "Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth." and we see here that God could not even convince the children of the original people that left Egypt, so it is obvious that humans have a very strong attraction to idolatry, so it should be something that we see a lot of today as well.
God vs the idolaters
Amazingly the children of Israel would even practice idolatry right in front of God's face as we can see in II Chronicles 25:14-16 which says "Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand? And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king's counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel." and this reminds me of the way that God has given the modern church their buildings and money, but they have still decided to use the techniques of the heathen in order to draw people in, like loud music with loud singing, cutting down the teaching of God's word and shortening the preaching. You would be amazed at how much idolatry did happen in Israel, during the Bible times, especially considering that the temple at Jerusalem was still there, along with the Levite priests, who could still get direct advice from God. We can read of a properly ignorant king, who decided to ignore God's seriousness, in II Chronicles 26:14-21 which says "And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones. And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense. And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men: And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God. Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him. And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land." and if it was so easy for the Israelites to commit idolatry, with God being so near to them, then you could imagine how much more easier it is for modern church people to serve their hidden idols, without having any concerns. When is the last time that you have seen God smite someone in a church? Notice also that there do not seem to be any prophets speaking against what is happening in the modern Christian church, while if God was near to it then you would expect Him to be continually sending prophets, in order to try to fix things.
Getting away from the idols
With all of this idolatry happening in and out of the church, you would think that God would have reacted by now, but I feel that He is waiting for a moment when the change can happen in a way so that people will know that He was the one who caused it to happen. If all of the current churches are just practising idolatry, due to the fact that God does not seem to be punishing them for any wrongs that they have done, then where is the true church? You would expect the true church to speak out against the current idolatry that is going on in the world, rather than telling their members that they can carry on having a good time, while enjoying the things that the Devil has set up, then making sure that they are paying their tithes. A recent example of where this was not happening was when I was at my parents house and there was a news report on their television where the Pope was being welcomed by a crowd, that had a large quantity of screaming women in it. The news reporter said that he was getting a rock star welcome, but the Pope should have told the people to stop screaming and show some more respect, because God prefers things to be done decently and in order, but some people would mistake this as being boring. If you have read this and are also looking for the true church then get in touch and you can help us in the search for this seemingly mysterious organisation, that obviously must exist because God is the one who originally set it up.