A Voice in the
" Idolatry in the Sanctuary "
"I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of
the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall
not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything in the
heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the
earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them; for I, Jehovah
your God, am a jealous Mighty God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers
upon the sons to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,
but showing goodness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My
commandments. You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain,
for Jehovah will not leave unpunished one who takes His name in vain."
IMAGINE THIS SCENARIO FOR A MOMENT: A couple has gotten to know each
other, they have made plans together for their future, they conclude and
agree together in terms of the things they hold dear in life, they want
to spend the rest of their lives together, they have purchased a house
they plan to make their home and have furnished it, they pledge their
love and fidelity to each other...
AND THEN, on the day after their wedding night while the husband is out
gassing up and bringing the car around to take his new bride on their
honeymoon, while he is out those few minutes, the new bride goes out
quickly and finds another man, and when the husband returns to escort
his bride to the car, he finds her in the act, with another man...
IN THEIR MARRIAGE BED!
WHAT IS THE HUSBAND TO DO?
God has just rescued Israel out of bondage in Egypt. Now, God has just
made a covenant with Israel, given them His Law. In ch20 is the Ten
Commandments. ch21-23 contains the essentials of the moral codes; how
people should interact with each other, how to treat slaves, and such
things. The details of the overall universal laws...
"And as you would have men do to you, you also do likewise to them."
"..you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Le19:18)
All those basics are in Exodus ch21-23. Certainly Leviticus, Numbers and
Deuteronomy expand on these, but these are the root and core. For basic
human living, apart from details regarding temple service, these are the
And so in ch24 God invites the Elders of Israel to the mountain. They
kill the sacrifices, build an altar. Moses takes the blood and sprinkles
the book of the Law, the altar, the sacrifices, and the people. This is
a passage people don't often read. But this, right here, the first few
verses of Exodus ch24 is the 'wedding' where God and the people of
Israel pledge the covenant. God says: These are the standards. And the
"And all the people answered with one voice and said, All the words
which Jehovah has spoken we will do... And he took the Book of the
Covenant and read in the ears of the people. And they said, All that
Jehovah has spoken we will do and obey. And Moses took the blood,
sprinkled it on the people, and said, This is the blood of the covenant
which Jehovah has made with you according to all these words."
And then, as weddings are often conducted: after the pledges have been
exchanged, the couple becomes husband and wife; they "know" each other.
In similar fashion, God invites the Elders of Israel part way up the
mountain, and they -eat- of the sacrifices, IN THE VIEW OF GOD. It says
"and they SAW THE GOD OF ISRAEL. And there was under His feet as it were
a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the essence of the
heavens in its clarity. And He did not let loose His hand against the
nobles of the children of Israel. And THEY SAW GOD, and they ate and
Is not a Sanctuary a -holy- place. A place set apart. When we think of
Church or Temples, the "sanctuary" is the place where people gather
symbolically, spiritually, IN GOD's PRESENCE. Well, in this case it was
not only 'symbolic'...THEY actually -SAW- GOD.
So now, God calls Moses up into the mountain to receive all the laws and
patterns for the tabernacle, and objects and utensils for worship.
That's chapters 25-31. But as Moses leaves, he says to them...
"Wait here for us until we return to you." (24:14)
And then it says...
"a cloud covered the mountain. And the glory of Jehovah settled down
upon Mount Sinai...The appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like a
consuming fire on the top of the mountain before the eyes of the
children of Israel." (vs15-17)
Where was the "here" that they were to wait? Was it the place where the
elders saw God? ...where they sat to eat? Or did it mean, generically,
the outer bounds of the mountain...the vicinity where Israel was camped
out? Whatever the case: the -cloud- of God's presence is still visible.
And it describes the view of God as a "consuming fire". The elders have
just SEEN GOD, the glory of God's presence is still there, Moses has
said to "wait here" till we get back. ("we" because Joshua accompanied
Moses vs13) So there is no question in the minds of the people 'where'
Moses is, and 'Who' he is with. And with the cloud covering the
mountain, it is clear that God hasn't left. He is still there. And they,
Israel, are in God's -sanctuary-... God's 'presence'.
"Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the
mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, Arise,
make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who
brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become
of him." (Ex32:1)
40 days! That's all it took, and Israel is lusting for somebody -else-
in the wedding bed. The "wedding bed"? In case there is doubt regarding
this symbolic association...
"For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of Hosts is His name; and your
Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel." (Is54:5)
So where was Aaron, their assistant pastor? Did he stand up "in the
gap" for God to correct the people? (Ezk22:30) No! Instead... after
fashioning their gold into a calf, he proclaims...
"This is your god, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of
Egypt! And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron
made a proclamation and said, Tomorrow is a feast UNTO JEHOVAH. And they
arose early the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace
offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to
This reminds of the incident of "Micah's Idols"
where he had stolen silver from his mother, and when he returns it, his
mother has dedicated the money "unto Jehovah" (Jdg17:3), has a molten
image made from it, and that is the beginning of idolatry in the tribe
of Dan. Idolatry UNTO JEHOVAH! (as that study says: Here, have some beet
casserole, and let's toast each other with beet cocktail)
Here, Israel HAS CHURCH, offers sacrifices to the golden calf, wines and
dines, and gets up to dance. A regular night club of festivities and
debauchery. Some translations say they were "naked" (32:25kjv) The text
actually says they were unrestrained, running loose, running wild. It
must have been like that summer night (2-3 am) beer party about a year
ago, about a block away from my house, with who-knows-how-many dozens of
people... laughing, screaming, shouting, the kind of giggling suggestive
of lewd conduct...reverberating through the neighborhood.
Well... surely the Church doesn't do this? What do you suppose the
decorum and conduct in typical charismatic churches is? They "let go"
and "let loose" (in the spirit), and wiggle sensuously to the rock
music, as many of them (particularly the goddess females) often come
half-dressed. And charismania has pretty much spread to 'all' the rest
of the denominations in terms of their so-called "worship". Several
years ago we observed the indecencies of the choir from my Alma Mater
Bible college in Portland, OR as they had Hawaiian Hula dancing,
Regae/Rock music, the females shaking their bodies in the same way the
world parties, and at the end the audience was invited to stand up and
"dance with" them. [link] A subscriber
who moved to the Seattle area shared how his children were not allowed
to sit with them in the 'sanctuary' of this one church they intended to
visit, because of "adult content". Or like the Chuck Missler meeting I
attended years ago where the woman in the bluegrass band was dancing
like a stripper, only with her clothes on.
[link] And even the world
occasionally takes note to -question- in documentaries about "dance" in
church, as they showed (on the program I saw) the dancer on platform
elevated from the audience, doing ballet spins with raised leg, etc.
What's wrong with that? you ask? At the very beginning, after the Ten
Commandments are given, God explains the standards by which sacrifices
are to be made, and includes this closing remark...
"Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not
be exposed on it." (Ex20:26)
YES...TODAY's "church" DOES DO -EXACTLY- AS ISRAEL DID! Might not be a
golden calf, but they revel in "prosperity theology", and then "get up
to play". And this debauchery has gotten so far out of hand that,
somehow, any prior discussions of having crosses, fish, doves, flames or
other -objects- (images) such as statues and pictures (of Mary or Jesus
or any one of the 'saints') in church, or on the steeples, almost seems
like a non-issue, by comparison.
The question was asked: What is the husband to do?
Well...when Moses saw what was going on, he smashed the tablets on which
God had personally engraved the Law. God speaks to Moses of totally
wiping Israel off the map, and making a nation of Moses. This has been
discussed in the past. [link]
But he grinds up the calf, spreads the dust on the drinking water, and
makes the people drink, and the Levites put on their swords, and there
is a slaughter of the guilty. In later years when Israel insists on
engaging in idolatry and worshipping the Queen of Heaven (Jer42-44), God
sends them into exile. And due to their rejection of Messiah, they have
experienced nearly 2000 years of "diaspora".
Remember, God is a "JEALOUS MIGHTY GOD"
They've just witnessed wonders in Egypt. They are being fed manna from
Heaven (Ex16:15,31) They have just seen God and lived. The cloud/smoke
is -still- covering the mountain, thus they know God is STILL THERE.
They promised not to have any other gods. They are WITHOUT EXCUSE!
Well...the 'family' has had problems with idolatry even before Moses. We
can't blame it all on the "mixed multitude". (Ex12:38) Remember how
Rachel stole Laben's idols. (Gen31:19,32-34) As Jacob's family gets
ready to go to Bethel to offer sacrifices to God, Jacob tells his family
to "put away the foreign gods that are among you". They give them to
Jacob, and instead of destroying them, Jacob -hides- them in Shechem.
(Gen35:1-4) "Hiding" indicates that a person knows where they are, to
go retrieve them later.
The typical wedding vows, when a couple participates in the tradition of
the ceremony ritual, typically include the charge: Do you take so-n-so;
FORSAKING ALL OTHERS; to be your spouse?
While Jacob was following God, his family harbored idolatry. In Japan
where I grew up, years ago there were statistics as to how much of the
population was shinto, how many buddhist, how many sokagakkai, how many
this or that; and when the various numbers were added up, it was more
than Japan's population. In other words, people held to more than one
religion (and its gods); by a ratio, if I remember correctly, of 2:1.
Every Japanese person statistically held to two different religions
simultaneously. And so then, they would hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
they would want to -also- embrace "christianity"... along with all the
That's what many try to do today. They want to "make claims" for Jesus,
have Him "go along-side" and 'bless' their way, while they continue the
lives they've been living, without rejecting and forsaking their sin.
That is idolatry. It is not repentance. Biblical repentance...
"He who covers his sins shall not prosper; but he who confesses and
forsakes them shall have mercy." (Pr28:13)
A person who refuses to forsake sin, by definition is not repentant, and
by definition is NOT SAVED. As Paul says about Israel...
"Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant, that all our
fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all
were immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the
same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they
drank out of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was
Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for they were
scattered in the wilderness." (1Co10:1-5)
"For not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6b)
They were -in- the 'sanctuary', but were clinging to their pagan lives
as they had learned in Egypt, and as brought along by the "mixed
multitude" (Ex12:38, Nu11:4) If they whined to Aaron, and made the
golden calf, the rebellion was in their hearts before they acted.
"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual
perversions, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Mt15:19)
They made promises to God (all that God commands we will do); but it was
a lie, because IN THEIR HEARTS they were not repentant of their sin.
They wanted to have it both ways. When things were not 'happening' and
'snapping' in spectacular (miraculous) fashion: Where is God? Where is
"this Moses"? (32:1) The same expression they use regarding Jesus
Christ: Israel today scoffs in unbelief about "this man".
What was so great about Moses? He was great enough that the record goes
into detail to explain just exactly -who- Moses was.
"These were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out
the children of Israel from Egypt. THESE WERE THE SAME MOSES AND AARON."
Moses was the person who would go into the tent of meeting and converse
with God "face to face" (Ex33:11) And sometimes after he had been in
God's presence, and would come back out to the people his face shone
with the brilliance of God's presence. (Ex34:29-35)
So, when Moses told the people to "wait here until we return", he was
God's direct representative. Later when Aaron and Miriam would object to
(little brother) Moses' authority, God would judge Miriam with leprosy,
"Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, Jehovah, reveal
Myself to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My
servant Moses! He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him mouth to
mouth, even by appearance, and not in riddles; and he looks upon the
form of Jehovah. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My
servant Moses?" (Nu12:6-8)
When Moses spoke, it was as if God was speaking, as God said of the
relationship between Moses and Aaron,
"And [Aaron] shall speak for you to the people. And he shall be as a
mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God." (Ex4:16)
As God would say later of Ezekiel...
"As for them, whether they hear or whether they forbear; for they are a
rebellious house; yet they will know that a prophet has been among
Moses says... Wait here until I come back (with God's laws and further
directives). Wait here IN GOD's PRESENCE....God's Sanctuary. (I'll only
be a few minutes while I gas up the car and bring it around-front) Moses
returns to find them IN BED, committing adultery. Strong language?
"Adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the
world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore purposes to be a friend of
the world is shown to be opposing God." (Ja4:4)
Jesus gave His disciples the exhortation...
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive
you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go
you know, and the way you know....If you love Me, keep My commandments"
And so the exhortation to True Believers is...
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed
what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like
Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in
Him PURIFIES HIMSELF, just as He is pure... Whoever abides in Him does
not sin. Everyone who sins has not seen Him nor known Him... Whoever
has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and it
is not his nature to sin, because he has been born of God."
So... This is to True Christians, now...
We are the "temple of the Holy Spirit who is in [us]" (1Co6:19, 3:17,
Ro8:9); as such, we might even say we are God's sanctuary. His "holy
people" (Eph1:4,5:27, 1Pt1:16) When Moses went up into the mountain
God's sanctuary was next to a mountain; the tabernacle had not yet been
built. We might speak of physical objects such as idols in a (so-called)
"house of worship". But God's sanctuary is not about sitting in a
building -feeling- "holy". Inasmuch as the Holy Spirit is 'in' the
Believer, the Believer is part-and-parcel of God's holy presence... His
sanctuary... His holy place. As Jesus said...
"that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that
they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one
just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made
complete in one, and that the world may know that You sent Me, and love
them as You love Me." (Jn17:21-23)
As such, we are not to harbor any idolatry within us.
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off
the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk
decently, as in the day, not in carousings and drunkenness, not in
cohabitation and licentiousness, not in strife and envy. But put on the
Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its