“The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands, they did not stop worshipping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9: 20-21)
“Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.” (Jeremiah 3: 9)
“Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say ‘We are safe’ – safe to do all these detestable things?” (Jeremiah 7: 9-10)
The condemnation and ensuing judgment because of worship of idols as we see in the above quotations from Jeremiah, is universalized in Revelation 9 so that idol worship will bring judgment upon Gentiles as well as Jews who have rejected Jesus Christ. In the 6th century BC, Judah was wiped out, the people led into captivity in Babylonia, and Solomon’s world famous Temple was razed to the ground. Idol worship, even more than sexual immorality, led the Lord to take this extreme action.
The Jews, especially since the reign of Manasseh (2Kings 23), in addition to their so-called worship of Yahweh, were worshipping Baal and Ashteroth. The priests and kings, except for Josiah, led them in this apostasy. This worship led to such horrible practices as sacrifice and burning of their own children, and to the implementation of temple prostitution as well as worship of gods who were not gods. Do today’s Jews realize that they had engaged in these practices? Are they revolted and ashamed of these horrible practices? Do they understand that the destruction of Israel and Judah so many centuries ago was the result of just judgments by a holy God, and not simply vicious acts by some bad power players in the region? Do they realize that horrible events experienced are from God and intended by God to bring them to repentance?
In Revelation, this same principle of the need for repentance and divine judgments to bring about that repentance is repeated, but in Christ the promise of these judgments is now a universal theme. Idol worship among both Gentiles and Jews will bring judgment. Judgment reveals God’s mercy. Just as the Jews were called by the prophets to turn away from their idolatrous and immoral ways and turn back to the exclusive worship of Yahweh, now all peoples are called to turn away from their idolatrous and immoral ways and turn to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Thus the Buddhists who worship their precious, porcelain little Buddhas before shrines in their homes or temples are bringing judgment on themselves. Hindus who worship before images and statues of Shiva, Vishnu, or Brahma or practice tantric yoga with its sexual immorality are likewise giving themselves to idol worship. They are guilty before a holy and just God. Further, in the Islamic world, there is worship of the holy stone, the Ka’aba in Mecca. Every day, five times a day, Muslims across the world face the holy site of Mecca and pray, but it is not actually Mecca they are facing but a building called the Ka’aba. The Ka’aba is a mosque and on one corner of this sacred building, is a cornerstone known as the Black Stone. And Catholics who bow down and venerate statues of saints or of Mary are making Gods out of people. This clearly falls under the heading of idol worship, that is, worshipping a thing, an inanimate object, or a person rather than the true and living God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – made possible by the birth, life, obedience, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today, in the West, idol worship is in the form of worship either of self or of the state. Self worship includes worship of entertainment celebrities, sports figures, politicians, professors, and scientists. Self worship extends to material things we love which sometimes extends to a point of worship including our homes, cars, computers, furniture, clothing, or the food we eat. I know one woman who was raised in a large family. Her father forbade any conversation at the dinner table “out of respect for the food.” This bordered on or was worship of the food.
Worship of the state is derived from the pre-Christian Greek and Roman origins of the modern state. The law is considered self-interpreted and self-justified by many scholars and as providing its own inherent justification for the principles it enacts and the principles of interpretation it uses. Referral back to eternal, immutable moral law as found in Scripture which was accepted by William Blackstone, the father of modern jurisprudence, is now rejected out of hand and not taught at any law school in the USA. Instead, even the more conservative judges and lawyers simply teach the basis of the “original text” meanings for interpreting law. The origin of the “original text” in God’s law cannot be used and is not used in any legal opinions.
Is God still judging the Jewish people, and judging humanity? The answer is a definite “Yes!!” Is the world in general and the USA in particular inviting calamitous judgments upon itself? Again the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Have you repented of your idol worship, sexual immorality, thefts [includes covetous thoughts and lack of gratitude], and murders [includes harboring hatreds in one’s mind, heart, and soul]? Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? (John 1:12) If you have, then you have overcome, and have escaped the wrath that is and is to come.