Keep Yourselves from Idols

Page Title

Paul  Wong

Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed to the heavenly Father"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the Only True God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."  (Jn. 17:3  Here Jesus in His humanity as the Son of Man was praying to God His Father.  In His divinity Jesus declared: "I and My Father are One." (Jn. 10:30)  Some try to explain this oneness as that of the intimate relationship between a husband and a wife.  Others explain they have one in purpose, but the truth is this, Jesus and the Father are One and the same God.  If you read the next verse you will see that "the Jews took up stones to stone Him. . . . The Jews answered Him, saying, 'For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God." (Jn. 10:31-33)  By saying "I and My Father are One"  Jesus actually made the declaration that He is the One True God.  This truth has been prophesied by the prophet Isaiah:  "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa. 9:6)  It will help us to understand how the Lord Jesus Christ can be called "Mighty God" and "Everlasting Father" by recognizing His two natures.  In His divine nature He is God and in His human nature He is a Man.  After His death, burial and resurrection the disciples worshiped Him. (Lk. 24:50-53)  The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Person in the whole universe who is both God and man.   There is no other Person like Him therefore He is the only LORD of lords and King of kings and the only Savior.


"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.   This is the True God and Eternal Life.  Little children, keep yourselves from idols, Amen." (1 Jn. 5:20-21) 


 Here we have a clear definition of "other gods" or "idols."  Any other god, person, object, or pursuit which is not directed by the One True God's revealed will and way declared in His Son Jesus Christ is an idol.  We must not allow anything to lessen even slightly our worship, service, or devotion to the One True God.


There are two forms of false religion in idolatry.  The first one is the worship of "false gods" other than the One True God.  His sacred name is "YAHWEH" that has meaning of "I AM WHO I AM." (Ex. 3:13-15)  The second form of idolatry is worshiping the One True God or "other gods" by means of images. 


The Second Commandment forbids Idolatry


In the Second Commandment the One True God says:  "You shall have no other gods before Me.  You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or 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; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.  For I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." (Ex. 20:3-6)  Bowing or kneeling down before an image of Jesus, Mary, the apostles, saints, cross or any object in prayer is idolatry.


Idolatry of Sun Worship


Since the most ancient times, the sun has been a favorite "god" or god symbol of pagan people all around the world. The Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all had their sun gods.  The native peoples of North and South America widely practiced sun worship, as did their Asian ancestors. The Europeans too were deeply involved in sun worship, and many of their sun-god festivals were carried over when they professed conversion to Christianity.  These can still be seen today in the Easter bonfire and sunrise services, and the Christmas burning of the Yule log.


Sun worship was also widely practiced by the people of the Middle East, and even the Israelites were sometimes corrupted by it:


“Then He said to me, "Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these." So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.” (Ezek. 8:15-16)


For research of  SUN-WORSHIP please click on the URL below:


Idolatry of Angel Worship


Angels have been the object of man's worship because they are more powerful than human beings.   However, the worship of angels is forbidden.  The Bible has given warnings concerning this false worship.  “Let no one defraud you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,” (Col. 2:18)   Worshipping of angels comes from denying “the Head” (verse 19) and “have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, ” (verse 23) rather than true worship. Revelation 22:8-9 informs us of the occasion when John “fell down to worship before the feet of the angel” and the angel refused his worship saying, “See that you do not do that.  For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. worship God.”  This reveals to us that angels cannot accept man's worship because they know that only God can be worshipped.


Idolatry of Men Worship


Cornelius fell down at the feet of Peter, “and worshipped him.”  But Peter did not accept that worship saying, “Stand up. I myself am also a man” (Acts 10:25-26).   Every true Christian should have this correct attitude.   None of us are worthy of worship.   In the Early Apostolic Church one of the signs of the apostles is to perform signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” (2 Cor. 12:12)   When the people of Lystra saw Paul's power to heal they said, “The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men” (Acts 14:11). They wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas. However, Paul responded to this by saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.” (Acts 14:15)


Idolatry of Self Worship


The Bible gives us an understanding that idolatry extends beyond the worship of images and false gods.   It is also a matter of the person’s heart that is associated with pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony, and a love for possessions.


Pride was Satan’s sin and also Eve’s sin.  The devil deceived her, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’  So the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Gen. 3:5-6)  The devil was deceiving Eve that she could become more like God by defying God’s authority, by taking God’s place and deciding for herself what was best for her life.  In effect, he told her to become her own god.  Self-exaltation leads to rebellion against God.  As soon as we begin to leave God out of our plans, we are placing ourselves above Him.  This is exactly what Satan wants us to do. 


There is a prophecy on the idols that will characterize humanity in the last days. "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves." (2 Tim. 3:1-2) Men were created to be lovers of God, learning to pour out His love upon others. The number one characteristic of mankind in the last days is "lovers of themselves."  Consequently, the foremost idol to threaten Christians would be "self."  Self-worship abounds in this age.  It can be found in the popular values of self-confidence, self-assertion, self-fulfillment, self-actualization, self-exaltation, and self-esteem.  Such idolatrous perspectives encourage self-will, self-service, and selfishness. Clearly, this tragically undermines what God wants to develop in the Christian character.


Idolatry of Sex


Sexual immorality is a form of idolatry is evident from many scriptures.   In Ephesians 5:3-5 and Colossians 3:5, fornication, uncleanness, filthiness, inordinate affection, and evil concupiscence [unrestrained sexual craving] are enumerated among the lusts of the flesh which constitute idolatry.  In Psalms 106:28, 35-38 we are told that when the Israelites "joined themselves also to Baal of Peor", "they even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons" and "sacrificed to the idols of Canaan" and "served their idols: which became a snare unto them." Idolatry is defined as "inordinate love and admiration."  False worship and moral corruption have always gone hand in hand. The friendship of the world or worldliness is called adultery in James 4:4. This is not only because union with the world constitutes spiritual fornication, but also because physical licentiousness has always been the climax of abandonment to the spirit of worldliness. The most worldly and idolatrous ages of human history have also been the most sexually immoral and corrupt.


Outside of marriage any sexual activity is sinful. "This includes pornography of whatever sort, whether it be literature, photo images, videos, and television/motion-picture programming and internet web sites where explicit and ungodly language and sexual relationships are depicted.  Sexual union in marriage is a blessed gift from God. "Marriage is honorable . . . and the (marriage) bed undefiled" (Hebrews 13:4).  “Flee sexual immorality." (1 Cor. 6:18)


Idolatry of Power


Lucifer fell from heaven because of pride, self-centeredness and lust for power.  “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be the Most High,’  Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” (Isa. 14:12-15)  He wanted to usurp God’s power and authority. 


David was the most successful king that ever reigned over Israel but he too had weaknesses like other humans.  One of the mistakes that he made was to take a census of the army. (2 Sam. 24) There is nothing wrong in taking a census after all God had commanded Israel to do so. (Num. 1:2; 26:2)   At the time of war a census would be necessary for conscription into the army.  At that time the land was at peace.  David’s sin was pride, ambition in counting the people so that he could glory in the size of his nation and army, its power and defenses.  By doing this, he put his faith in the size of his army rather than in God’s ability to protect them regardless of their number.  Ministers and administrators can fall into this sin by boasting about the size of their congregations, staff budgets and programs.  Christians must give all the glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.


Worship of power can lead to hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, jealousies and even schism in the religious organizations and congregations.  These are descriptions of wrongful emotions, attitudes, and actions commonly exhibited by those seeking to gain personal or group advantages.  In these ways self-love prompts hatred and hostility, in it's many and varied manifestations, toward those who get in the way of personal desires and ambition.


Idolatry of Money


Another prophecy for an idol in the last days is money.  "For men will be . . . lovers of money." (2 Tim. 3:2)  Many Christians think that wealth is a blessing and the means to fulfill one’s desires. Money is their God.  They live for money; they pursue after money; they yearn for money; they virtually worship money.  Even some Christians are more motivated by love of money than by love for God.  Some wrongly assume that money could not be an idol in their lives, since they have very little of it.  Yet, it is not money itself, but rather the love of money, that is idolatry.   It is actually possible to have little money and still carry on an idolatrous love relationship with it.  Our Lord Jesus Christ said: "No one 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.” (Mt. 6:24)  For many, money and riches have become their idols.  Whether it be a large stock portfolio, a mansion, an expensive sports car, rare art, or diamond rings, these items can become idols.  For many, vanity towards their physical appearance has become an idol.   Men and women have become obsessed with various beauty products and fitness techniques, which serve to make them more physically attractive. 


Idolatry of the World


Christians are admonished, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)   Love for the world and what it has to offer can be a serious stumbling block.  It can become an idol.   Love for the world makes it impossible to be devoted to God and to pursue the true spiritual riches.  "For all that is in the world -  the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:16–17) Idols can take many forms.  One who is enamored by this world, by its concepts, its philosophies, and its rewards is enmeshed in idolatry.   An idol is anything that one places ahead of God.   Mammon, which is material wealth, is the idol here.  James tells us, "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4).


Idolatry of Pleasure


Hedonism is the doctrine that pleasure and happiness is the highest obtainable good.  Paul refers to those who practice this as "lovers of pleasure." (2 Ti. 3:4)   Again, we are to be lovers of God.  Loving pleasure means that pleasure is replacing the love of God.  Those who love God can experience pleasure, since He "gives us richly all things to enjoy." (1 Tim. 6:17)   However, we must not live for pleasure.   In this age of amusement and recreation, the false god of pleasure dominates many households.  Television, movies, videos, video games, and trips to major amusement centers become virtually the primary motivation for living.   Even congregations that have professed a love for God and for His word have significantly changed into religious entertainment centers.


Idolatry of Modern Celebrities


Idol worship is a sin that has remained with humanity for as long as we have been on this planet.  Human beings seem to possess a fierce desire to place eminent people upon a pedestal as objects of worship.  In the United States and elsewhere, pop singers, musicians, entertainers, as well as sports superstars have become icons of idolatry! 


In pop music Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley may have reached the status of demi-gods.  Both are called “kings” and idolized by their fans all over the world.  It is reported that more than ninety million people tuned in to watch Oprah Winfrey interviewing Michael Jackson on her television show.  Elvis Presley is no less popular than Michael Jackson in America even long after his death.  Some diehard fans refuse to believe that Elvis is dead.  The 1993 postage stamp that featured Elvis Presley is the most widely publicized stamp issue in the U.S. Postal Service’s history and is the top-selling commemorative stamp of all time.  Graceland has become the shrine of this pop idol, and next to the White House it is the most visited home in America.   Princess Diana of Great Britain has a universal appeal close to being the pure archetype of a goddess comparable to Venus.  Some have even prophesied falsely that she would be resurrected from the dead.


Perhaps the most venerated and celebrated sports figure in modern times is Michael Jordan.  The movie “Be like Mike” showed his influence on children in America.   A statue of this basketball superstar has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chicago.  Following in Michael Jordan’s footsteps is the phenomenal golfer Tiger Woods.  It may not be the celebrities’ fault if someone happens to idolize them.  Surely it is a great test for them to not get carried away by all of the adulation heaped their way.


Idolatry of Religion


The Ark of the Covenant was the most sacred piece of furniture in the Tabernacle.  The presence of God was on the Mercy-Seat.  Inside it were the Tablets of the Ten Commandments written by God's own finger, the golden pot that had the manna, and also Aaron’s Rod that budded.  The High Priest alone was allowed to go into the Holy of holies where it was kept.  The presence of the Ark within the camp had brought special blessings to the people.  Yet the very same Ark could do the children of Israel no more good than any common wooden box, when they regard it as an idol with divine power to protect them.  Here is what they said, “Let us bring the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of the enemies.” (1 Sam. 4:3)  Note that they said “it may save us” and not the LORD may save us.”  They had placed their faith in the Ark of the Covenant instead of on the One True God. “And when the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.” (1 Sam. 4:5)  All this shouting was for nothing because they were honoring the ark and not the LORD.  “So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent.  There was a great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.  Also the Ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.” (1 Sam. 4:10-11)  And why were the Israelites defeated?  It was because their religion was idolatry.  They had placed their faith in the Ark rather than on the God of the Ark.


Today we find churches; congregations and ministries committing the same sins as the Israelites.  They have placed their faith, trust and honor in the organizations and institutions of their own creation rather than in the One True God.  Their gospel is that God can only be found in their churches, so they preach the only way a person can be saved is to join their churches.  Jesus taught that any believer can worship the Father anywhere as long as it is in Spirit and truth and also where two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ Name. (Jn. 4:20-24; Mt. 18:20)  Their dogmas that are products of seminaries, church councils and committees take precedence over the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, the apostles and prophets. (Eph. 2:19-20)  This heresy and idolatry is one of the characteristics of the Church in the last days.  These false believers will have "a form of godliness but denying its power." (2 Tim. 3: 5)  In many ways, this may be the most treacherous of all idolatries because the church leadership does not recognize this aberrant doctrine and the rank and file believers do not question their authority.  The blind is leading the blind and they all fall into the same pit.


Idolatry of Holidays

with Pagan Origin




Of all the holidays celebrated in America and western countries there is nothing more sinister and pagan in origin than Halloween. The celebration of Halloween was observed by idol worshipers long before Jesus Christ was born. The ancient Druids of Britain, the Romans and Greeks and others all kept a Halloween festival. It was not until many centuries after the death of Jesus Christ and his apostles that apostate Christianity began to observe this festival as All Souls Day. The custom of celebrating an All Souls Day can be found throughout the world. Funk and Wagnalls' Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend tells us: "Essentially, All Souls is the adaptation of an almost world-wide custom of setting aside a part of the year (usually the last part) for the dead. The Babylonians observed a monthly Feast of All Souls in which sacrifices were made by priests." From the Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed., Vol. XII, pp. 857-858) we read: "It was a Druidical belief that on the eve of this festival Saman, lord of death, called together the wicked spirits that within the past 12 months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals."




The following is a quote from the 2000 Encyclopędia Britannica, Volume 11 ; page 390.

"During the later periods of Roman history, sun worship gained in importance and ultimately led to what has been called a 'solar monotheism.' Nearly all the gods of the period were possessed of Solar qualities, and both Christ and Mithra acquired the traits of solar deities. The feast of Sol and Victus (open unconquered Sun) on December 25th was celebrated with great joy, and eventually this date was taken over by the Christians as Christmas, the birthday of Christ."

Notice how it says "both Christ and Mithra acquired the traits of solar deities"? The Christians were apparently trying to get more converts so they tried to "paganize" the Messiah to make Him more attractive to pagans. They even officially brought the feast of the unconquered sun into their worship in 336 AD. This is the origin of Christmas.




Easter is said to be pagan because it falls near the Vernal Equinox and because many believe that the word Easter comes from "Eostra" or "Ostara", an Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring. This would seem to make Easter a remnant of some pagan Spring festival in honor of Eostra.


Yet this theory is disputed. Some philologists say that Easter comes from the word "east", referring to the rising of the sun, a metaphor for the Resurrection of Christ (see Malachi 4:2).


The name of this festival, itself, shows its heathen origin. "Easter" is derived from Eastre, or Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of spring and dawn. There also is some historical connection existing between the words "Easter" and "East," where the sun rises. The festival of Eostre was celebrated on the day of the Vernal Equinox (spring). Traditions associated with the festival of the Teutonic fertility Goddess survive in the Easter rabbit and colored eggs.

Spring is the season of new life and revival, when, from ancient times, the pagan peoples of Europe and Asia held their spring festivals, re-enacting ancient regeneration myths and performing magical and religious ceremonies to make the crops grow and prosper.


God’s Word against celebrating holidays with Pagan Origin


Deuteronomy 12:29-32 -- God warned His people Israel to destroy all forms of pagan worship that they found in the land that they were going to possess. Not only did God want to prevent His people from being enticed to worship false gods, but He specifically revealed that He did not want His people to worship Him in the same manner in which the heathen worshiped their gods. We know, therefore, that our Lord is displeased by practices which profess to honor Him, but which are copied from the tradition of false religions. The command here was to worship God only in His way, i.e., do only what God commands -- not adding to God's commands nor taking away from them.


Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:14-18)


Idolatry of the Occult


The One True God in the Holy Bible explicitly denounces the occult practices. 


"When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.  For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.  You shall be blameless before the Lord your God.  For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.” (Deut. 18:9-14)


Christians cannot engage themselves in astrology.  “Thus says the LORD: "Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them." (Jer. 10:2) The prophet goes on to equate astrology with idolatry and describes the vain way in which the heathen seek to please and follow their astrological gods.  Consulting one's horoscope, whether seriously or casually, is an act of defying one of the most solemn warnings of Scripture.

 Here are some of the other occult practices that are abomination to the One True God.


·         Magic: The use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces; magic rites or incantations; an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source; something that seems to cast a spell (Isaiah 47:9-15; Ezekiel 13:17-23; Acts 8:9-24; Acts 19:19-20; Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 18:23; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15) 

·         Sorcery:  The use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits especially for divining; A wizard is a sorcerer - one possessing magical influence. (Exodus 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:9-16;  Leviticus 19:26; Isaiah 47:9-15; 2 Kings 17:17; 2 Kings 21:6; Malachi 3:5; Micah 5:12; Galatians 5:19-21; Acts 8:9-24; Acts 13:4-12) 

·         Talisman:  A talisman is an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune.  Examples of talismans include healing crystals, rabbit’s foot, Indian dream-catchers, good luck charms, and hex signs.  Household idols in the Bible are possibly examples of talismans.  (Genesis 35:2; Judges 17:5; 1 Samuel 19:13; Hosea 3:4).   

·         Witchcraft: The use of sorcery, magic, or communication with spirits to influence persons and/or events.  A witch/warlock is one thought to have supernatural powers through contact with Satan; one credited with usually malignant supernatural powers (Deuteronomy 18:9-16; 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Ezekiel 13:17-23; Galatians 5:19-21; Acts 19:19-20)

Links to Christian Web Sites on the Occult

Please Click on the Titles

Home Page of  “The Occult”

Evil Occultic Computer Games

A Biblical View of Dungeons and Dragons  


Pokemon:  Your kids are playing with Fire 

Harry Potter And The Christian... Or Anyone


May God bless you


This article is the response of Paul Wong to a
discussion in the ARK Forum on October 16, 2002

This article was published on this Website on August 11, 2009
For comments please write first to:


Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
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