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Heathens (the original Biblical word is also translated as pagans) are generally defined as those who worship false gods. During Bible History, heathens (also sometimes translated as gentiles) were viewed with utter contempt, not because of who they were (since anyone who truly repents and turns to and obeys God is accepted), but because of what they did: "living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry" (1 Peter 4:3 RSV).

Pagan god Idolatry

"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved." (1 Corinthians 12:1-2 RSV) (see Images and Idols)


"What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons." (1 Corinthians 10:19-21 RSV)

Heathenism In Israel

"And the king commanded Hilkiah, the high priest, and the priests of the second order [see Levites], and the keepers of the threshold, to bring out of the Temple of The Lord [see Temples] all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron [see The Kidron Valley], and carried their ashes to Bethel. And he deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah [see Kings of Israel and Judah] had ordained to burn incense in the high places at the cities of Judah and round about Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, and the moon, and the constellations, and all the host of the heavens. And he brought out the Asherah from the house of The Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes which were in the house of The Lord, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah." (2 Kings 23:4-7 RSV)

What Did Jesus Christ Say About Heathens?

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. " (Matthew 6:31-33 RSV)

"But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." (Matthew 6:6-8 RSV)

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." (Matthew 18:15-17 RSV)

Fact Finder: Did Aaron allow the Israelites to indulge in heathen revelry with a calf idol while Moses was up on Mount Sinai to receive The Ten Commandments from God? (see Rock Of Ages)
Exodus 32:5-7, 1 Corinthians 10:1-11

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