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Idols, Graven Images & Satan's Master Plan

Article by Bill Petri

A question I hear often is, "Why does God condemn the making of images, and the reverence given to those images." This idea is addressed very early in the Ten Commandments committed to Moses for the children of Israel.

Exodus 20:3-5

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. [4] Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: [5] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

This is a very important issue for us to look at. It is important because many in Christianity do pray to graven images. In fact, many religions and philosophies which are not Christian also engage in this behaviour. Many in Christianity bow down to these images, and many indeed pay a service of sorts to them. We can go into Christian stores and see the proliferation of guardian angels throughout the store.

I began to look at this issue while researching what seemed to me to be a contradictory prophetic issue. Consider the following verses:

Rev. 13:3

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Rev. 13:12

And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Rev. 9:20

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:

The initial prophetic contradiction I was trying to unravel was this: If the whole world worships Antichrist after the midpoint of the seventieth week, why would people be worshipping devils and idols at the same time? It is clear that the Word of God teaches that mankind will be worshipping devils and idols of their own making, while Antichrist will receive the world's worship during this period. Isaiah refers to this same idol worship during the same season of time, during the reign of Antichrist:

Isaiah 2:12

For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

Isaiah 2:17-20

And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. [18] And the idols he shall utterly abolish. [19] And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. [20] In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;

In other words, when the world is supposedly worshipping only Antichrist, Scripture tells us that the world is also revering devils and idols. How can the world both give worship to the beast (Antichrist) and be venerating devils and the idols they have made with their own hands at the same time, especially in light of the significance of worshipping anyone or anything other than the Antichrist?

Because God's Word is inerrant and therefore consistent in every detail (when rightly divided), there is always a biblical explanation that will reconcile any seeming contradiction or inconsistency if one looks long and hard enough. The answer to this problem, though frightening, is rather simple.

The Apostle John informs us that the second beast (Rev.13:11), the enforcer for the first beast (Antichrist), makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the Antichrist. He (the second beast) performs great signs, so that he can even replicate Elijah by making fire come down out of heaven to the earth.

Rev. 13:12

And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Rev. 13:14

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

This becomes even more terrifying when we read verse 15.

Rev. 13:15

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

The most common explanation of this passage is that all the inhabitants on earth are commanded to make a single image of the beast. It is important to note that this word is singular or a collective singular noun, hence, it is more likely that each person is commanded to make his or her own individual image and that everyone will have a personal image (idol) of the beast. This idea seems to be confirmed by verse 14 where it states: "saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they (plural) should make an image (singular) to the beast."

When we note the context of verse 16, which clearly uses the idea of collective singular for the word "hand," it only confirms the conviction that it is many people making the same singular image. The culture of the Apostle John also confirms this. In order to control the diverse peoples and nations in a vast empire, and to promote some degree of unification, the Romans erected statues of, and temples to, Caesar, or the Emperor, in the cities of the lands they conquered. These conquered peoples were then demanded to worship those statues, a method of showing loyalty to their captors. Certain historical records report that some priests in pagan temples employed a form of ventriloquism to make it appear that the worshipped statues themselves were speaking. Hence, what at first seemed to be a contradiction becomes a confirmation of the incredible accuracy of Scripture.

Two words, translated "image" and "life" in our critical passage, need to be examined more carefully. The Greek word "eikon," translated "image" means statue, as it is the same Greek word from which the English word "icon" is derived. These images, then, that the second beast commands the people of the earth to make in the image of the Antichrist will be idols, statues and icons of the great world ruler.

From the passages quoted earlier, we know that these are images people can and will make themselves with their own hands, and that they will be made out of a variety of materials (gold, silver, bronze, stone, wood, see Rev.9:20; cf. Isa.2:20). These "images" will proliferate to the ends of the earth and will be in the personal possession of the vast majority of people everywhere, made as an appropriate substitute for the specific purpose of worshipping Antichrist.

These images will be made under the deceptive influence of the second beast when he makes the earth, and those who dwell in it, to worship the first beast (Rev.13:12) by performing great signs, so that he makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. He will deceive those who dwell on the earth by telling them to make an image to the beast (v.14).

Rev. 13:12-14

And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. [13] And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, [14] And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

The second word "life" (in Rev.13:15) should cause many in religions which advocate reverence towards man-made objects to stop and think about what they are advocating. The Greek word is "pneuma." We read earlier that the second beast was given power to give life to the image of the first beast (Antichrist). This word is usually rendered as "spirit" (as in "holy Spirit" or in "evil spirit"), and sometimes as "life" as in Rev.13:15.

The meaning of this passage is that after the world is commanded to build its own "images" or idols of Antichrist, some form of spirit or life will be put within these images, so that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Rev.13:15). Hence, these idols will be different from all the idols the world has previously known.

The prophet Habakkuk speaks directly to the uniqueness of these end-time idols by his comparison to what idols were like before these last days.

Habakkuk 2:19

Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.

In the last days the worship of the idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, spoken of in Revelation 9:20, is specifically said to involve the worship of devils, which are, of course, spirit beings. In other words, the idols of 9:20 and the images of 13:14-15 will be indwelt by Satan's devils to form a world-wide monitoring system to enforce the worship of Antichrist (whose likeness the idols will bear), and to destroy any human being who refuses to comply with that worship.

Fortunately those idols, despite their fearsome powers, will be blind, deaf, and immobile.

Rev. 9:20

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:

The idols in themselves are nothing more than immaterial creations of mankind's own making. It will be the devils, the evil spirits, that give these inanimate objects their "life." Although the devils are limited to these inanimate objects, they, unlike the idols they indwell, can see and hear, even though their movement is restricted to the objects they indwell. For this reason the passage makes no reference to the idols' inability to speak. The reason is clear. They will be able to talk once the second beast gives "life" to the image of the first beast (Antichrist), that the image might even speak and cause those who do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Rev. 13:15

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

The devils' movements will be limited by the inanimate object that they indwell. Hence the reason for a proliferation of these idols is obvious. There must be enough of them to cover the whole planet so that those who refuse to worship the Antichrist's image cannot avoid detection.

Revelation 9:20 refers to those who, during the rule of Antichrist, worship devils and the idols; the next verse tells us the result:

Rev. 9:21

Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

In other words, the idols are deaf and dumb; the devils that indwell them are not, but are limited to the idols they possess and thus must instruct the followers of Antichrist to kill those who refuse to comply. A passage in Matthew sheds considerable light on the power and limitations of devils who manifest themselves on earth.

Matthew 8:28-32

And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. [29] And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? [30] And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. [31] So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. [32] And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. This familiar passage reveals several important truths about the nature and operation of devils that will give us better understanding concerning the end-times devil-indwelt idols.

First, devils require some physical object, animate or inanimate, through which to operate.

Second, the devils must have permission to indwell the object and are unable to determine their own destiny. In the Gadarene instance, multiple devils originally inhabited two men. When the devils realized Jesus was about to cast them out of the men, they pleaded with Him for permission to enter a nearby herd of swine so they would have some place to reside. Because the devils indwelt animate objects, they had movement. In the end-time, however, they will indwell inanimate objects and therefore will have no movement on their own. In addition, the devils will be assigned to their respective abodes by the second beast (Rev.13:15).

Third, the devils speak through the person/object they indwell. To my knowledge there is no instance in Scripture of devils speaking apart from the physical object they indwell. During the great persecution at the hands of Antichrist, Satan's devil monitors will speak through the idols they indwell.

Fourth, although devils are restricted to the objects they indwell, they are able to create great havoc both within and through those objects. The devils who indwelt the two men in the country of the Gadarenes, took over those men's minds and gave their bodies superhuman strength (see Mk.5:3-4). In Matthew's account the devils are described as being "exceeding fierce" (8:28), but these devils possessed animate objects. During the time of Antichrist's rule, the devils controlling the inanimate idols of Antichrist can only "cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."

How then will these inanimate idols suddenly be indwelt and empowered by devil spirits? The first part of the answer is found in a careful reading of Revelation 13:15. This passage seems to indicate that the image will not initially be empowered when they are made by individuals around the world. They only come to life later when the second beast gives a spirit to these images. People, therefore, will initially fashion their individual images without even knowing the diabolical purpose for which they will soon be used.

The second part of the answer is found in Revelation 12:9.

Rev. 12:9

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

This event occurs at the midpoint of Daniel's seventieth week - just before the Antichrist demands the world's worship and just before the second beast deceives mankind throughout the world into worshipping the beast and making an image of him for their own personal use.

In these two passages we see that people will make their images during the euphoria of the world's initial amazement and worship of Antichrist.

Rev. 13:3

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

The images of the Antichrist will, without the world's knowledge or understanding, be suddenly indwelt by the horde of Satan's fallen angels that have been cast down to the earth with Satan just prior to that time. By that supernatural and pervasive scheme, Antichrist will exercise universal control over the vast majority of all unbelievers, even those living in the most remote regions of the earth.

It should be very apparent that presently, images, idols, and statues abound in every nation of the world - even Canada and the United States. Ask yourself what would happen if all of these statues, images, and idols, or whatever, no matter how pious our purpose may have been for having them initially, were suddenly devil possessed, with the power to have caused to be killed any and all who did not worship or show reverence to them. The world, to say nothing of Canada, would be in the vice grip of the one who controlled the devils. In the last days it will be Satan who will control these devils, the same Satan who comes with great wrath!

Rev. 12:12

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

Antichrist, as we have seen, will be revealed as a man "wounded to death," a man come back to life at the midpoint of Daniel's seventieth week, whereupon he will enthrone himself in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, claim to be divine, and demand the worship of the world.

2 Thes. 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

He will then initiate a twofold test to identify those who do - and those who do not - truly worship and give their allegiance to him. The test will consist of two specific things: First, everyone will be required to worship the image of the Antichrist, or, be killed (Rev.13:15). We have already looked at this issue in some detail. Hence, we shall look at the second test in some detail. Everyone will be required to take the mark of the beast (Antichrist), or, they will be unable to buy or sell anything.

Rev. 13:16-18

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Again we see the critical dilemma facing individuals at this time. First, the potential of death for not worshipping the Antichrist or one of his images, and the inability to purchase or sell anything unless an individual has taken Antichrist's mark in their right hand or forehead. Satan will, therefore, use this twofold test to try to identify and kill all who refuse to submit to his lordship. He does this to prevent Israel's salvation, thus preventing God from establishing His kingdom on the earth.

The great tragedy is that many professing Christians within the Body of Christ are helping this system to gain acceptance. We see Christian bookstores selling images of the Virgin Mary, or guardian angels, or even of Christ. Paul warns Timothy that the Church of this dispensation will give heed to seducing spirits and devils.

1 Tim. 4:1

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

This verse clearly states that the end of this dispensation will pave the way for Satan's master plan. To see a person who professes Christianity submitting to an idol or graven image is sad. Make no mistake about it, many today are preparing the way for the future worship of Satan himself.

In like manner, Ezekiel prophesies that Israel will, for the most part, choose to worship these images before God's wrath destroys them:

Ezekiel 7:19-20

They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold (remember the elements used to make the idols) shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity (remember that the world is worshipping these idols, hence, they embody the idea of salvation). [20] As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images (idols) of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.

Next time you see someone selling, or paying homage to an image, think about telling that individual about Satan's plan for world worship. Return to home page



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