Silencing the Prophets – a Response to David
Thanks again for taking the time to contribute to this discussion. I recognize that you are not happy with my habit of making new posts out of my responses to your comments, but this blog is my responsibility and I need to do things the way I understand. The purpose of this blog is to give people a forum to argue things out respectfully because such arguments ultimately lead to clarity. I have a responsibility to manage this blog in a way that I believe most effectively brings clarity to the discussion.
This post is in response to the following comments –
This discussion is about Trinitarian Christianity. It is you who are trying to whitewash that form of idolatry by saying that the Scriptures never explicitly prohibit this form of idolatry and that the Scriptures never provide an example of someone worshiping idols in this way. It is not I who has created a new class of idolatry it is you.
It is my contention that the Scriptures explicitly prohibit the idolatry of Trinitarian Christianity and that Scripture has provided examples of idolatry which shares some of the mitigating factors that are present in Trinitarian Christianity.
In order to make my case I will be repeating myself so please bear with me – but I will not be ignoring your responses.
I pointed out that Deuteronomy 4:15 reminds Israel that they saw no form at Sinai and it is for this reason that they should make no idol. This reminder only makes sense if Israel would one day want to worship God together with an idol. Because if Israel is planning to completely turn their backs on God and on the Sinai covenant then the fact that they saw no form at Sinai would not discourage them from making an idol. It would encourage them to make an idol because if you want to turn your back on someone you go and do what that person told you not to do.
To illustrate let us imagine two different scenarios. In one scenario a person decides that he has enough of God and the Bible and he wants to worship ba’al. His friend tells him; hey, don’t you know that at Sinai we were shown no image?
Scenario 2 – A fellow decides that it’s ok if he worships God through the golden calf. His friend tells him; hey, don’t you know that at Sinai we were shown no image?
In which of these two scenarios do you think that the fact that we were shown no image will impact the decision to worship idols?
Nothing that you wrote mitigates this argument. Cutting and pasting your previous comments does not add clarity to the discussion. Please try to understand what I said before responding.
Now for the examples. But before I begin let me state that even if Scripture would not provide one example it would not mitigate the sin. As far as I can remember, Scripture does not provide one specific example of someone committing the sin of bestiality (Leviticus 18:23). This does not make it a lesser sin.
I just happen to believe that Scripture did provide examples of people worshiping idols and in some confused way mixing that idolatry with worship of God.
I already stated that the worship of the golden calves that the Northern Kingdom engaged in was associated with worship of God. I believe that I provided ample evidence to this theory – and I will add a detail that I did not mention previously. In 2Kings 17:28 it tells us that a priest from the Northern Kingdom taught the Samaritans how to fear God. What kind of priests did the Northern Kingdom have? – They only had the priests appointed by Jeroboam – see 1Kings 12:31; 2Chronicles 11:15 where we see how Jeroboam appointed his own priests and 2Chronicles 11:13 how all the authentic priests and Levites abandoned the Northern Kingdom. It is clear that this priest was one of the worshipers of the golden calf – but he was still someone who was considered knowledgeable in the fear of God.
This factor coupled with the evidence of 2Kings 10:16 where a golden calf worshiper describes himself as “zealous for God” or 2Kings 13:14 where a golden calf worshiper humbles himself before God’s prophet, all lead us in the direction that the worshipers of the golden claves were confused and they did not clearly identify their worship as a rebellion against God and as a rejection of God. The Scriptures however teach us that regardless of their self-delusion, their worship was indeed a rejection of God and a rebellion against Him.
You seem to have a problem understanding the concept of self-delusion. I see this happen all the time. You have people who think that they are motivated by kindness when in fact they are motivated by a craving for recognition. There are people who think that they are motivated by zealousness for righteousness when in fact they are motivated by an enjoyment of lording over others. There are people who tell themselves that they are motivated by a love for God when in fact they are motivated by an unhealthy fear of death.
Man is capable of self-delusion but the Scriptures speak the searing truth, cutting through all the delusions of men. So the worshipers of the golden calves of Jeroboam may not have consciously identified their worship as a rebellion against God and a rejection of Him, but the prophets come along and tell us that that is exactly what they were doing.
It is for this reason that the prophets were often persecuted, it is because they spoke the searing, uncomfortable truths that tore through the self-delusion of the people. I believe that it was for this reason that the authors of the Christian Scriptures needed to demonize the Jewish people. It is because the Jewish people saw through their self-delusion, that the man that they were idolizing was simply a man.
Throughout history, the Church has attempted to silence the voice of the nation that God appointed as His witnesses for the same reason that some Jewish people moved to silence God’s prophets. The Jewish people testify to the world that God hears all prayer and that He is close to all who call upon Him. The Jewish people testify that every heart belongs to the Creator of all hearts and to Him alone. The Jewish people testify that no being that walked God’s earth can rightly claim the devotion of our hearts. And the searing truth of this testimony disturbed the Churchmen and they moved to silence God’s witneses. Ironically, as they attempted to silence God’s witnesses the Church accused these same witnesses of being “prophet killers.”
David, God’s witnesses will continue to testify. And my prayer is that this humble blog serve as a fraction of a fraction for that testimony.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal