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Tuesday, March 17 2015

Psalm 115: What Does Idol Really Mean?

" Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands"

The English-language word "idol" originated from a Latin word, idolum, that itself originated from an older Greek word, pronounced eidolon, that meant an idea (the English word "idea" actually originated from that Greek word). Although "idle," meaning not active, is a different word, its original meaning is the same as idol i.e. empty, or vain.

"Idol" is used to translate a number of Hebrew words of the Holy Scriptures, including:


  • The Hebrew word, pronounced el-eel, which means nothing. Example:

    "16:26 For all the gods of the people are idols [i.e. nothing]: but the LORD made the heavens." (1 Chronicles 16:26 KJV)

  • The Hebrew word, pronounced mif-leh-tseth, which means horrible thing. Example:

    "15:13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol [i.e. horrible thing] in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron." (1 Kings 15:13 KJV)

  • The Hebrew word, pronounced seh-mel, which means a likeness i.e. a portrait statue of someone. Example:

    "33:7 And he set a carved image, the idol [i.e. a likeness - a portrait statue of someone] which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:" (2 Chronicles 33:7 KJV)

  • The Hebrew word, pronounced ghil-lool, which means a carved log or tree trunk. Example:

    "17:12 For they served idols [i.e. a carved log or tree trunk], whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing." (2 Kings 17:12 KJV)

  • The Hebrew word, pronounced aw-tsawb, which means an image of someone or something. Example:

    "115:4 Their idols [i.e. an image of someone or something] are silver and gold, the work of men's hands." (Psalm 115:4 KJV)

The Second Commandment is about not worshiping things that are nothing. The LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The Christian Ten Commandments) is real

"20:4 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: 20:5 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; 20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:4-6 KJV)

Idolatry is not always a simple matter of "religion." Very often, the primary promoters of the reverence of someone or something do so as a matter of business. The apostle Paul encountered such a situation in Ephesus (see also Paul's Ephesus Ministry) when he told the people that their idols were worthless (religiously and financially - the price that they paid for them). His statement caused a riot that was not incited by the idol worshipers, but by the idol manufacturers and merchants who "called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth."

The Ancient Theater at Ephesus

"19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 19:25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 19:26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 19:27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth." (Acts 19:24-27 KJV)

The Holy Scriptures are solidly-consistent in content and teaching. In the Psalms too are found the reality that "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands" and the warning "They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them."

"115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.

115:2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. 115:5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: 115:6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: 115:7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. 115:8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

115:9 O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. 115:10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.

115:12 The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron. 115:13 He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.

115:14 The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children. 115:15 Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.

115:16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men. 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence. 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD." (Psalm 115:1-18 KJV)

Fact Finder: When and where did idolatry originate?
See The History Of Idolatry

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This Day In History, March 17

45 BC: Julius Caesar defeated the Pompeians at the battle of Munda in Spain. The Pompeians, led by two sons of Pompey the Great, lost over 30,000 men (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). It was one of a number of strategic battles led by Julius Caesar that turned the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Roman Judea and What Does Peace Really Mean?).

The Battle of Alesia 180: Marcus Aurelius died, thereby leaving Commodus as the sole emperor of the Roman Empire (see Romans: In The Heart Of The Beast).

455: By means of the support of the Roman Senate (see The Politics Of Rome), Petronius Maximus became emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

461: The traditional date of the death of St. Patrick, the "patron saint" of Ireland.

624: Led by Muhammad, the Muslims of Medina defeated the Quraysh of Mecca in the Battle of Badr (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

1337: Edward III created the Duchy of Cornwall for his eldest son, Edward, who was later made Prince of Wales.

1805: The Italian Republic, with Napoleon as President, was proclaimed to be the Kingdom of Italy, with Napoleon as King.

1808: The Revolt of Aranjuez; it forced the abdication of Charles IV of Spain.

1861: Victor Emmanuel was proclaimed the first king of Italy, uniting most of Italy under the House of Savoy.

1914: Russia increased the number of active duty military from 460,000 to 1,700,000.

1942: Nazis began deporting Jews to the Belsen concentration camp (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

1948: The "Brussels Treaty" was signed by Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. They agreed to take whatever action necessary in the event of a renewal of German aggression, and to come to the defence of each other if attacked by any aggressor in Europe i.e. the Soviet Union. It was a shadow of NATO which came a year later.

1957: An airplane crash in Cebu, Philippines killed Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay and 24 others.

1959: The Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to India.

1969: Golda Meir became the first female Prime Minister of Israel (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah).

1992: In South Africa, a referendum was held to end apartheid.

1992: A suicide car bomb attack on the Israeli Embassy attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina killed 29 people and injured 242.

2011: During the Libyan civil war, the United Nations Security Council proclaimed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, authorizing UN military intervention to protect civilians in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (see also Libya In History And Prophecy).


Copyright © Wayne Blank