We have all heard it a million times. “In the Old Testament, people worshiped idols made of wood or stone or gold. In America, we don’t worship idols, but anything can become an “idol” to us—that is, something we put in place of God—like materialism, or our car, or a job, or our house, our spouse, our self….”

This idea is a summation of Luther’s doctrine, “Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God, your functional savior.” And while, on the surface, I completely agree with that statement (yes, we can “idolize” people and things above God) I think we are still fundamentally missing the point.

Technically, even in ancient times, people didn’t worship the actual piece of wood, stone, or gold. The idols were merely containers—or vessels—that they believed contained the spirit of their god; in much the same way that the Israelites did not believe that the Ark of the Covenant was Yahweh Himself, but a receptacle that held a fragment of the glory of Yahweh within it.

And while we may indeed love money, sex, power, and material possessions here in the United States, that doesn’t get us off the hook for being as deeply entrenched within the same exact kind of idol worship as our Semitic forerunners.

Moses writes in Deuteronomy 32:16–17, “They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded”

Leviticus 17:7 corroborates this idea. “They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot”

And lest we jump on the back of that tired old “Jesus abolished the Torah/the Old Testament is just for Jews” bandwagon, here’s some New Testament backup.

In 1 Corinthians 10:19-21 the apostle Paul explains, What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?  No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”

Maybe your pastor thinks idols are nothing more than a covetous desire for a large home or a  penchant for collecting Beanie Babies, but Moses, the apostle Paul, and the Holy Spirit (who inspired both writers) seem to think they are otherwise—they seem unified in their belief that these “wood, stone, and gold” idols were demons.

Wood, stone, and gold icons and statutes may no longer be in vogue, but last I checked, the earth is still crawling with demons—and just because they no longer hide in statues, doesn’t mean they aren’t still alive and well and every bit as much at work in 21st century America as they were back in ancient Babylon.

I explained in a previous article that Molech is still alive and well in America. Molech was a demon that required the blood sacrifice of babies and infants. Molech may no longer be lurking within the wreckage of the Valley of Hinnom, but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts he is prowling around the Planned Parenthood parking lot.

I wrote another article on Inanna—the goddess of sex and war who had castrated priests, homosexual consorts, and women “who were as men” as her cult prostitutes. And while Aphrodite has “left the building” she is alive and well penning gender dysphoria papers for our medical journals and transgender legislation for the LGBTQ community.

Dagon—the Babylonian god adopted by the Ninevites and the Philistines—is also alive and well in New Age spirituality. According to Donald Tyson in his book, “The Grimoire of the Necronomocon,” Dagon’s gate is the west gate of the astral realm which leads to the black throne—Metatron’s cube. He is the god of arcane knowledge, and those who seek his knowledge will learn, among other things–power over gates, portals, and thresholds. Which is why, perhaps, when the priests of Dagon found the idol bowing down to the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 5), rose one morning to find Dagon’s decapitated head and severed hands on the threshold of the temple. Dagon, to this day, is seeking to regain authority over the portals between the earthly and spiritual realm via sleep paralysis by lingering in the shadows of your bedroom doorway—hoping for an invitation over its threshold.

Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven, is also alive and well in modern culture. The custom of “Weeping for Tammuz” (Ezekiel 8:14) is mirrored in an annual Catholic and Protestant festival that bears her name—Easter. The “40 days of Lent” are the 40 days spent weeping for the death of her son, Tammuz, who was gored to death by a wild boar on a hunting expedition. The 40 days of weeping/Lent are followed by the ceremonial roasting of the enemy—a wild boar (or honey ham….) The Egyptians adopted the festival in honor of their moon god, Hathor, and added the tradition of making cakes that the women offered to the Queen of Heaven (Jeremiah 44:19) which they marked with the symbol of ox in honor of Hathor. These cakes are now referred to as hot cross buns, and the ox symbol is, conveniently, now a cross. I will spare you the gory details of where the tradition of dying eggs and the Easter Sunrise service originate.

These are just four of many (many, many) examples. Demons do not retire. They don’t switch careers. They do not die. They do not just get bored and go away. They have a job to do and they have been doing it—relentlessly—for thousands of years. So, yes, by all means, let’s all take a good, honest look at the idolatry in our lives. The materialism. The covetousness. The addictions.  The co-dependencies. But let us not use any of it as an excuse to write off the “idols” of Canaan, Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, etc., etc., or by assuming they have all packed up their bags and sailed off into the sunset.    

“In my life, and in yours, may the graven images
crumble before the Great I Am.”

Rachel Starr Thomson