Insight into the Subtle Sin of Idolatry

sphinx-1218603_960_720Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah was a proud and powerful warrior and king. He built the city of Babylon, a city that was opposed to the very true God who saved his ancestors from the flood. I think he must have had quite a short memory span. “Nimrod attempted to prove that he had no need for God and so he attempted to build the Babylonian tower as a symbol of human effort in trying to find contentment apart from God.” – Dr Michael Youssef

Babel is the Hebrew word for Babylon. ‘Bab’ is the same word in Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic, and the word means door. ‘El’ is a name of God as revealed throughout the Bible (for example, El-Shaddai which means God Almighty). The name Babel is of Akkadian origin, and it means “gateway to god.” Nimrod and the people wanted to make names for themselves by creating a backdoor to God. But, as a result of their defiance, God turned their language upside down, and since then, the word Babel was referred to mean – a state of confusion.

In Genesis 11, the implication of the Babylonians’ figure of speech, “reaches the heavens,” is that the top of their tower would be dedicated to the worship of the heavenly bodies.  Some people think that back then they were either so foolish or way too advanced in technology than we are to really think they could build a tower that would reach all the way to Heaven. But that was not what they were doing.

What they were really trying to do was to build a civilization that would not only make the God of their ancestors obsolete, but they were trying to build a civilization that was opposed to the very God of their ancestors, with a tower atop the city dedicated to the worship of the occult such as zodiac (a front for Satan). The building of the tower was a symbolic way of them saying they wanted to worship the stars as their god. They thought that the stars could speak to them (just like so many people still think today), and they wanted to know what the stars had to say to them personally.

Astrology is based on the zodiac and associated with self-worship. It originated in Babylon, and from Babylon, it went all the way to Egypt. As a matter of fact, when astrology came to Egypt and got mixed up with all the local animism of Egypt, it produced the pyramids and the Sphinx. This comes about because the pyramids of Egypt were constructed mathematically in relationship to the stars. Even the sphinx has astrological significance. The Sphinx has the head of a woman (which symbolises Virgo a sign of the zodiac), and the body of a lion (which symbolises Leo another zodiac sign).

So what then is the mystery of Babylon? As a matter of fact, Revelation 17:5 says that Babylon is the mother of harlots and the centre of abomination on the earth. From Genesis to Revelation, Babylon is revealed as a symbol of living for self – a state of being at enmity to God. Babylon is the origin of all unfaithfulness to God. It is any household, community, denomination, city, civilization, or nation that rejects God’s moral absolute and begin to live with their own instinct and invented morality. This is the mystery of Babylon. Babylon is a symbol of any society that rejects the one true God. It represents any society that steals the glory of God, where man is glorified and not God.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the resurrected Jesus Christ are free from Satan’s enslavement while the non-believers are his slaves. But today, so many believers are still living like the non-believers (for example, we can spend hours in front of the television and internet but spend only a few moments at reading the word of God). When we draw our pleasure from ungodly things we make God jealous because He is totally committed to us while we put one step in the world and the other with God.

“It is just plain idolatry when God CAN’T have all of me.”

Harry Potter is a fictitious character based on a fictitious writing, nevertheless, Harry Potter has managed to bring respectability to occult and witchcraft. It singularly managed to lead millions of children into the world of black magic and satanic power. It has been able to do for Satan what Satan could not do for himself for 100 of years. What is that you might ask? Acceptance of his power, recognition of his strength, the legitimacy of his operation.

As silly as it sounds, one of the hardest thing for me to do was to give up my love for the television programme “charmed,” which is based on witchcraft and witches fighting other witches for the greater good of saving humanity. There are sadly so many of occult and satanic power promoted in the media (for examples in films such as X-Men, Black Panther, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc.), and they have a great impact on our lives more than we know, even though they are often based on fiction. Unless we open our spiritual eyes to see them for what they really are, we will remain blind. I think that is where the saying, ‘ignorance is bliss’ comes from. But in all truth, nothing comes from indifference.

  • With the very early Christians, when the gospel was preached into the pagan culture, the people embraced the truth of Jesus Christ, they abandoned witchcraft and the occult. But today, Christian dabble in the witchcraft, occult, yoga, horoscope, Tarots card and the list goes on.
  • Back then, pagans when they saw the light of Jesus Christ, they abandoned the darkness of idolatry. But today, so many church-goers are intrigued with the power of darkness.
  • Back then, when people received Christ, they rejected idol worship, but today those who have or claim to have accepted Christ are still keeping little idols.
  • Back then, new believers did not care how much suffering, how much ridicule they may receive from their culture and from their nations and from the popular culture of the day, but today, we don’t want to pay the price of standing up for the truth of the gospel.

The bible tells us very clearly that there are only two supernatural powers in the world – one is a little supernatural power and the other is a mighty supernatural power, there is Satan’s power and there is God’s power. The question you just have to ask yourself is this, “which power are you dealing with? Which power is being displayed or being promoted as good in the movie?” Although many will point to some good things that are performed by the characters and try and justify it. We need to remember that Satan is very subtle, he is clever enough at disguising evil as good, right as wrong, which he succeeded at right from the beginning when he tempted Adam and Eve to give in to sin.

“The one thing,” says the apostle Paul (in Philippians 3) is that “I forget those things which are behind me and then I’ll strain forward.” When you read something like this from the life of the apostle Paul, you have to be convinced that this is something he struggled with, a temptation that he constantly fought, the haunting of his past sins, the heavy weight of his past blasphemy, the painful vivid memory of  the stoning of Stephen which he witnessed  and approved, the nightmare of arresting innocent Christians and putting them in prison.

Just like the apostle Paul did, we also need to keep on nailing our sins to the cross, burn those bridges of idolatry in our lives, and press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.

Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve! As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord (Joshua 24:14-15).


Here are some questions I suggest are applicable for undertaking a Self-Examination:

  1. What do I want the most?
  2. What do I think about the most?
  3. How do I use my money?
  4. How do I use my leisure time?
  5. Whose company do I enjoy?
  6. Whom and what do I admire?
  7. What do I laugh at?
  8. How much time do I spend praying on behalf of a lost person?
  9. Is this the best way for me to serve the Lord?
  10. Is this consistent and not contradictory to God’s word?
  11. Will I be able to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ in this circumstance?
  12. Do I have the confirmation of a godly Christian leader (and not two dozen people)?
  13. Do I have inner peace towards the matter?
  14. As God opened the door wide or am I trying to beat it down?
  15. Has God set restless spirit within me in order to prepare me to seek His clarity or calling?
  16. What is more important for me to protect – my possession or my relationship with the Lord?