[Behind Images No.1]
Many of you have not known Demetrius, but his examples were among the traditions of many people today, both in business and in religious practices. It is like the mentality of ancient people, and we are told;
Statue by Peter Griffin
2Ki 17:33 “ They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.”
- Is it OK to fear the Lord and serve another?
- Why it is needful to correct this kind of mentality?
Who is Demetrius ?
Demetrius is a man whose job is making materials sacred to Paganism. He is not the one mentioned in 3 Jn 1:12 who has a good report, but from the Book of Acts 19:23-27
“23And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 24For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 25Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26Moreover 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: 27So 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.”
This man believes that Diana is god and the things he may be referring to are images they thought as gods.
This is like the thinking of those Israelites who were made captives in Egypt
Act 7:39-41 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, 40Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 41And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
We can learn that their mentality is from the practices of Egyptians way back when they are still with them during captivity, and it was passed on .The Demetrius mentality therefore is a mindset that those images and representations they have for a deity, or for God, is god. We can see more of this during Paul’s time
Act 14:11-12 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
But Paul rebuked them openly renting his clothes (14) to mean rejection of their acts of worship to them.
Act 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
This should also serve as a rebuke for those until now have that same thinking with the Lycaonians and Demetrius.
Gal 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
The Development of that Mentality
The worship of idols, or images referred to by the scriptures as ‘gods’, started not with the making of representations made of material things. It begun when God’s created archangel, Lucifer, withhold worship due to God and desired to have it for himself (Isa.14:12-13).
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
The major factor in idolatry is ‘SELF’ as it is indicated by the word “I” .It is through the Inspiration of Satan (Deut.32:16-17; Ps.106:36-37; 1 Co.10:19-20). He was jealous of God and he doesn’t want the True God to be worshipped, so he desired to have it for himself.
This enemy of righteousness, Satan, is so crafty. He even loves to share something, although it is not for good. There could never be a practice of idolatry if there’s no Introduction of sin in the world and that is how he shared his deceitful ways. Through the Instrumentality of Satan came the fall of man at the Garden of Eden. It is when Adam disobeyed God’s counsel (Gen.2:15-17 ; 3:1-19). Notice that part of the temptation as said to them “and ye shall be as gods“(Gen.3:5).
When man sinned, it all gave birth to a more and more perversion in God’s sight (Ps 106:43). “Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.” Thus, the Iniquity of man is another factor.
God even saw the wickedness of man developing to a more perversion in His sight through man’s Imagination (Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.) We can read also in the book of Romans
Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Before the rise of mythological personalities, we can already read from the Scriptures that there are already such customs and traditions of idolatrous practices, even before Moses was born ,and also before the existence of the tribes of Israel.
The father in law of Jacob was mentioned to have images he called as ‘gods’ (Gen.31:30) and it was stolen by Rachel, Jacob’s wife (Gen.31:19).We may wonder where Laban learned of it, but looking back to some historical accounts, we can learn that the Invention of carving tools and other instruments led to the making of those images.
Gen 4:20-22 And Adah bore Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bore Tubal-cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
The reason we can find expert craftsman like Bezaleel and Aholiab (Exo.31:1-11). The reason why Noah was able to make the ‘Ark’ ( Gen.6:14,22) and the reason why the craft of making images became tradition.
Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Psa 106:39
The Israelites dwell in many places in the midst of pagan countries. They saw their neighbors and imitated them. Imitation is another factor and that is doing what others are doing.
Psa 106:34-35 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. (Also: Deut.29:16-18; Jer.10:2-9)
According to Jeremiah the prophet Jer 16:19-20 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? This point to us that Inheritance is another factor. Different ancestors were passing different beliefs and practices, and the things concerning a deity place as the major one.
The Ignorance of many concerning the word of God is another, Act 17:29 – 30 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (Also: v.23). When you do not know what God wants to do,then you can be sincerely wrong.
Imperialism of one country, for example, of Rome, is another factor. Many countries were colonized by Spain, some were colonized by Britain, and some by other countries.Our parents were forced to swallow the faith of our conqueror. Those who questioned were silenced for more than a year, or 300 years, some 400 years and beyond.We learned to obey no matter what the colonizers taught us. And because they have beliefs and traditions, we have to obey no matter what.
All these factors contributed to the development of the practice of idolatry. But seeing that all these did not originated from God, it is needful for us to find out what He really wants. Our Maker deserves to be known in the way that pleases Him (Ezk.20:44). We can be sincere for doing a certain tradition, but if it is not according to His will ,we are sincerely wrong.So it is needful to align our faith in His words.
Now here’s some questions ; Are you Involved ? Does it not matter what you believe as long as you are sincere?
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. 2Co 13:5