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Thursday, February 11 2016
Zechariah 1: When Democracy Becomes Demolatry
"Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong ... The victor will never be asked if he told the truth ... The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one"
"Democracy" originated from a compound Greek word, demos, that means people, and kratos, that means power, or authority. Other man-made applications of the suffix are found in words such as bureaucracy (power in the hands of government officials), or theocracy (a government based upon a religion).
"Idolatry" originated from another compound Greek word, pronounced eidolon (keeping in mind that the Greek language uses a different alphabet), which means an image, or a reflection, and latreuo, which means to worship. Note the original literal definition of idolatry involved either, or both, an image (a religious portrait or statue) or a reflection of something or someone. The term included state worship, where democracy becomes demolatry - people not only making a god for themselves, but making a god of themselves i.e. making their reflection into a god.
The term is not in common use (while the principle is rampant in the world), but here are two historic references from events of the twentieth century in which demolatry was a prime factor, when its dangers were ignored, in causing two world wars (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion and Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?):
"He knows nothing of hero-worship: the Russian spirit, he says, does not much believe in great men. To him, it is the soldier who wins battles; the general has nothing to do with it. But even while crediting the people, collectively and individually, with every success and honor, he by no means deifies them: He is just as sternly set against demolatry as against hero-worship. And while he exalts the peasant before the man of culture, his portraits of him are not in the least flattered. His pictures of peasant life are not idyls." (The Empire of the Tsars and the Russians by Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu [author] and Zenaide Alexeievna Ragozin [translator], 1896)
The Roman Empire is a familiar example of demolatry (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). When some of the Roman emperors declared themselves "divine," the people extended the principle to themselves, with the delusion that their nation was itself a god. By no coincidence, the origin of the Church of Rome's doctrine that the Kingdom of God is here now, because the Church of Rome is here now, originated from that time and attitude.
The people of the united kingdom of Israel (see A History Of Israel's United And Divided Kingdoms), and then, after the division, the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah), were not immune to demolatry. Not long after the division, the Kingdom of Israel invented their own state religion, that while based upon what the LORD actually gave to them, became a gross perversion of it (see The Politics And Religion Of The Lost Ten Tribes).
The Kingdom of Judah, after the return from the Babylonian exile (see Why Didn't The Exiles Want To Go Home?), also created their own state religion, known today as "Judaism" - the religion of the Kingdom of Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism and Israel Never Knew Purim, Hanukkah Or Judaism). It was for that demolatry that the Messiah rebuked them, and why He was assassinated by them for the Truth that He spoke:
"7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:6-9 KJV)
Zechariah, from the Hebrew name pronounced zek-ar-yaw-hoo, meaning the LORD is remembered, was a prophet of the LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour) to the nation of Judah (it was actually never a kingdom again after its fall to Babylon in 586 BC), during their return after the seventy-years Babylonian exile. Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai (see Haggai's Message To Zerubbabel And Joshua), who together taught and preached as the Temple was being rebuilt in the time Nehemiah (see Nehemiah: The Return Of The Governor) and Ezra (see Ezra: The Return Of The Levites To Jerusalem).
Zechariah lived in the time when the people of Judah had returned, not only to Jerusalem, but to the true obedience to the LORD that they had before they self-destructed their kingdom with demolatry. No Pharisees or Sadducees yet existed in the time of Zechariah (see The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees).
Zechariah's prophecy wasn't about getting a corrupt nation to repent; it was about warning the people to not repeat the self-worship that destroyed their ancestors. Unfortunately for them, they later failed to heed the warning.
"1:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
This Day In History, February 11
660 BC: The traditional date for the founding of Japan by Emperor Jimmu Tenno.
55: Britannicus, a son of Roman emperor Claudius, was poisoned. It paved the way for Nero to become emperor (see also Nero's Torches).
1531: King Henry VIII appointed himself supreme head of his new Church of England after the Church of Rome refused to permit the king's adulterous re-marriages.
1554: Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for 9 days, was beheaded for treason along with her husband Lord Dudley.
1573: English explorer and naval hero (i.e. in the battles against the Spanish Armada) Francis Drake sighted the Pacific Ocean.
1703: Godard van Reede-Ginkel, 1st earl of Athlone, died at age 59. The Dutch soldier, while in English service, completed the conquest of Ireland for Prince William of Orange (King William III of England) against the forces of the deposed King James II after the Revolution of 1688.
1790: The Religious Society of Friends, known as the Quakers, petitioned the new U.S. Congress for abolition of slavery in "the land of the free." The request was denied (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence remained slave holders for their entire lives).
1812: Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry signed a law changing the state's electoral boundaries to ensure a Republican victory. The manipulation gave rise to the term "gerrymandering."
1858: Bernadette Soubirous, 14, began 5 months during which she claimed to have 18 visions of Mary at Lourdes (if the girl saw anything at all, it wasn't Mary - Mary is dead, awaiting her resurrection like everyone else; see Wednesday April 10 2013 - What Does The Bible Really Say About Mary? and The Sleep Of Death).
1873: King Amadeo of Spain abdicated. It led to the proclamation of the first Spanish republic.
1919: Friedrich Ebert was elected the first President of the German republic. He helped to bring about the Weimar constitution that tried to unite Germany after the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1922: The discovery of insulin by Frederick Banting and Charles Best was announced in Toronto.
1929: In the Lateran Palace in Rome, Benito Mussolini (representing the Italian king) and Cardinal Gasparri (representing Pope Pius) signed 3 historic documents (1) The Lateran Treaty gave the pope full sovereignty and temporal power over the 110-acre Vatican City. (2) a financial agreement compensated the Vatican for its surrender of claims to the old Papal States. (3) a concordat established Roman Catholicism as the official religion of Italy.
1945: The Yalta Conference of Winston Churchill of Britain, Franklin Roosevelt of the U.S. and Joseph Stalin of Russia ended.
1953: U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower refused a clemency appeal for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The couple were later executed by electric chair at New York's Sing Sing prison. Eyewitnesses recorded the Rosenbergs' death, noting that Julius Rosenberg died after the first electric shock, while his wife did not. After three electric shocks, guards removed her strapping and hood only to find that Mrs. Rosenberg was not dead. Two more electric shocks were then applied, from which smoke and the odor of burning flesh rose from her body in the chamber.
1970: Japan became the 4th country to put a satellite into orbit.
1975: Margaret Thatcher became the first woman leader of a British political party when she was elected leader of the Conservatives.
1990: Nelson Mandela released from a South Africa prison after 27 years on charges of treason.