I think it is safe to say that people in general, gather inanimate objects to help them remember the places they have visited. It is not unusual for us to collect a rock or a piece of wood discovered in a natural setting, to remind us of our visit. I have a pile of rocks to prove it. Possibly we may boast to others of our find, as evidence that we once enjoyed an extraordinary place in the world. It seems we just have to collect a souvenir of some sort, something to bring the experience back into focus.
It is commonplace to treasure an item previously owned by a loved one who died, by including it in our own possessions. It helps to reminds us of the person we miss. I had a sweater belonging to my father that I held onto for years. I just came across it a few days ago after it being packed away and forgotten. When I acquired it from his clothing after he died, that and one of his favorite checkered shirts provided a sense of security; flooding me with memories about him that I didn’t want to lose. I wore the shirt to tatters, using it as an additional covering on chilly spring or fall days. Just recently, I put the sweater out at the end of our road, along with other things for someone else to take care of. I realize that I don't need that sweater to create the image of my father in my mind. It had been out of my sight for a number of years, yet I had never forgot my father’s generous smile, nor was I unable to hear the deep quality of his voice in my mind. I can still draw on experiences of his love and patience for me, ready to provide comfort, while not always knowing why. I have not lost the image of my father, in my mind.
There can be a dangerous projection of imagery, that can transgress our relationship with God. This imagery leads to idol worship.
In 1 John 5:21, the Amplified Bible reads such:
“Little children (believers, dear ones), guard yourselves from idols—[false teachings, moral compromises, and anything that would take God’s place in your heart].”
The nation of Israel was highly influenced by what its leaders taught. Israel’s kings promoted worship to false gods, while many times adjoining it to their worship of YHVH. (1 Kings 12:28-30) When deep in idolatrous practices, their pride and self-confidence resulted in forgetting their God; worshiping Him “in pretense” (“deception” – Jer 3:10), with an unfaithful heart, which resulted in Israel suffering severely. (Deut 6:14,15; Jer 3:6-10; 1 Kings 12:28-30; Judges 3:7; 10:10)
It was only a minority of Israel’s kings who stressed worship to be given exclusively to God. (2 Kings 18:1,4-6) (Exod 20:4; Matt 22:35-38)
“But the Lord your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” However they did not obey, but they followed their former rituals. 41 So these nations feared the Lord, yet served their carved images; also their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day.” 2 Kings 17:39-41
“Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Asheroth from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only; and He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Sam 7:3
I came across a statement under the topic “image” in the organization’s magazines. It said that the early Jews “had a tendency to attribute Jehovah’s acts to idols”.
The organization has created their own altered version of the Almighty God. There are personality traits assigned to “Jehovah” that are not those of YHVH; the God whom we must give exclusive devotion. (Deut 13:4; 1 Sam 12:24; Col 3:23,24) To serve “Jehovah”, requires serving the idol – the organization. (Rev 13:1,4) The spirit of “Jehovah” is said to be infused within the idol/organization, allowing it to become the channel of “Jehovah’s acts”. (Rev 13:15)
Likewise “Jehovah’s acts” are controlled by the operations of the organization – by those who direct it. (Rev 13:11,12) If the organization experiences negative results, one must “wait on Jehovah” to correct it; if it experiences positive results, “Jehovah” has blessed its efforts. It is assumed that they are spiritually connected – a “spirit-directed organization”. The counterfeit personality of YHVH as “Jehovah”, has “breathed” spirit into the organization. This is the teaching of the WT.
Yet the reality is, a false prophet has been granted to “breathe” spirit into the idol. (Rev 13:11-15) (Rev 13:1,2)
At Rev 13:15 it reads; "The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed."
Rev 13:8 tells us, that all the land, worships this beast (not its image).
How is that idolatry accomplished, through the events of Rev 13:15?
We see a very interesting relationship, between the actual Beast, and its own image ... and the effect and result, to those who worship.
First, the false prophet uses the power given him (Rev 9:1), to give the Beast an image of spirit-inspiration, so that it CAN speak, and, condemn to death.
How can a mere Idol, do such things?
(Ps 115:4-8; Isa 44:10,17,18,20)
Please let me illustrate:
Imagine that you have respect for the laws of the land, and wish to obey the authority and power of the police. If a man approaches you and shows you his police badge, you will comply with all his demands.
But suppose a different man approaches you, and he does not have a badge, nor is he a representative of the police. Do you still comply with all his demands?
Essentially, there is no difference between the two human men. The only difference between them, is that one of them represents an identity that you respect to have the power and authority to direct your behavior. The police officer is the tangible representative of that image of authority and power.
It is the same with the beast and its image.
Once the false prophet gives the Beasts' Image an appearance of being divinely inspired; the tangible beast (as the physical manifestation of its' own image), is empowered with the authority to judge and kill ... thereby giving this unique idol, the ability to speak, through its tangible representatives.
This causes the beast itself to be worshiped, because it represents its own image.
I hope that the present fulfillment of this scenario is perceived in the minds of readers.
I know this explanation, sounds convoluted. But this is the greatest and last-ditch effort and machination of Satan, to take captive the remaining ones of the woman's seed. He is the crooked and twisted serpent, and the very father of deceptions. In the time of the end, Satan finally creates an idol, that can speak.
Pearl Doxsey – “The Beast and the Image / An Idol that can speak”
The Beast “speaks” through its “tangible representatives” – the “divine” elder body/false priesthood including the governing leaders; while the representatives of God’s living Temple, the ambassadors of Christ/ anointed sons of God, are restricted from speaking. (1 Pet 2:5,9; Heb 13:15)(Matt 24:48-51; Rev 13:5-7) Their spiritual “sacrifices of praise” have been cut off and replaced with “burnt offerings” to an idol. (Dan 8:24,25; 11:31,32,37-39)
King Josiah was one of the few kings who ‘rid the land of idols’ during his reign. (2 Kings 23:3-5) In the organization’s drama about King Josiah, there is a scene where a son is alerting his father, who is a priest of the god Baal, of Josiah’s intentions to destroy all forms of idol worship.
He tells his father, “You don’t understand. Josiah plans to tear down all the high places”.
“Oh, I understand alright. When his extremist ideas become the law of the land, there will no longer be any joy. No tolerance, no freedom of worship, only narrow-minded rules and oppressed people. Do you understand that?”
We can flip this comment around and direct it to the organization that produced it. Through evidence of its “narrow-minded” man-made rules, intolerance to scriptural independent thinking through a regulated spiritual feeding, we can comprehend the deceitful irony in this comment. (Rev 13:16,17) The anointed Temple members of God’s spiritual dwelling must respect the unity of all, by not bonding as a body; they are barred from offering their sacrifices of praise and truth under their Head. The organization’s mask of holiness falls away, to reveal its idolatrous apostasy. (Isa 5:20; 2 Cor 11:14,15)
Can you see that the spirit that operates the organization, is the spirit of Satan? (Rev 13:2) The truth in Christ sets us free of oppression and slavery to an idol. (John 8:32) In Christ, we are not locked down to serve an earthly organization and the commands of men. This ideology contradicts God’s word. (Ps 97:10; John 14:21; Gal 5:1; Rom 1:25; Col 2:8)
Marduk or “Bel/Baal” (meaning lord, master) was the god of the Babylonians – an agricultural deity, and storm god, as well as possessing benevolent traits. At his side is a dragon, with “a head of a snake, hind feet claws of a large bird of prey, front paws of a lion and the tail of a deadly scorpion.”
This god was the creator of the world, including humans, and was Babylon’s protector while housed in the temple in Babylon. Marduk's reign decreed unity among all people. Under his rule, was a divine force of lesser gods, whose role was to care for and supply the needs of all humans in the scope of their supervision. These humans accomplished all other work of the Babylonian society, out of respect for the gods and the will of a compassionate and caring Marduk, who ruled with justice.
We are well aware that Satan is the source of false worship, false gods and idols; and these practices and have crept through time, down to his most profound machination against the anointed remnant in the last days. (Rev 12:3; 13:1; 12:4;13:1,7)
Personally, I believe it is ingenious for him to use his previous ideas, utilizing personalities of past gods to alter one’s perception and worship to be given the true God, into one of blasphemy. And, we see similarities in spiritual “Babylon” happening today. The false “gods”/elder body/locust-scorpions promote organizational unity among its people. JWs do the work that the “gods” have no time for, while these gods supply all with spiritual food. In turn, JWs willingly obey and respect the “faithful and discreet slave” including the entire elder body, while “Jehovah” watches protectively from above. His spirit resides in his “temple” – the organization. (Dan 11:36; Gal 4:8; 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 9:3-5)
It appears that Satan’s “last ditch effort” as Pearl called it, has required a mixed plethora of past forms of deceit, using his “gods”/false priesthood of today, to hunt down and “overcome the saints”. (Ezek 13:20-21; Jer 5:26; 2 Pet 2:12-14,17,18; Col 2:8; Rev 13:6,7,10)
It was a prophetess that spoke God’s words to Josiah and all of Israel, about their hideous practices of idolatry:
She said to them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: Say to the man who sent you to me, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, fulfilling all the curses written in the book that they read in the presence of the king of Judah, 25 because they have abandoned me and burned incense to other gods so as to anger me with all the works of their hands. My wrath will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’ 2 Chron 34:19-25
Also today, it is a prophetess in the spirit of “Elijah”, who carries a similar message to spiritual “Israel”. They have been influenced into idolatry by a leading Harlot, directing/”riding” the Beast organization. (Isa 52:1,2,8,11,12; Mal 3:1-6; Matt 17:11; Matt 25:6; Rev 11:1-3)
“Israel” has allowed God’s Temple to be ransacked and trampled by an abomination standing in the midst of them. (Deut 32:16; Ezek 44:10,12,13,6-9) (1 Pet 2:5,9; 1 Cor 3:16,17; Eph 2:20-22)
“But when you see the abomination of desolation (“I.e. the detestable one who desecrates the temple.”
…standing [in the temple sanctuary (1 Cor 3:16,17)] where it ought not to be (let the reader understand) then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” Mark 13:17
They have allowed their worship to God to be compromised by “evil ways”. (Jer 11:9-12) Keeping their faith in the “mountainlike organization” is stressed, and paramount for salvation, over and above, one’s whole-souled worship to YHVH. (Deut 32:37; Rev 6:15-17; Deut 32:4)
Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob,
all you clans of Israel.
5 This is what the Lord says:
“What fault did your ancestors find in me,
that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
and became worthless themselves.
The priests did not ask,
‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
following worthless idols.
9 “Therefore I bring charges against you again,”
declares the Lord.
“And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and observe closely;
see if there has ever been anything like this: 11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols. 12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord. 13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
“How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;
I have not run after the Baals’?
See how you behaved in the valley;
consider what you have done.
You are a swift she-camel
running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert,
sniffing the wind in her craving—
in her heat who can restrain her?
Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;
at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare
and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!
I love foreign gods,
and I must go after them.’
“As a thief is disgraced when he is caught,
so the people of Israel are disgraced—
they, their kings and their officials,
their priests and their prophets. 27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’
and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs to me
and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
‘Come and save us!’ 28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves?
Let them come if they can save you
when you are in trouble!
For you, Judah, have as many gods
as you have towns.
On your clothes is found
the lifeblood of the innocent poor,
though you did not catch them breaking in.
Yet in spite of all this 35 you say, ‘I am innocent;
he is not angry with me.’
But I will pass judgment on you
because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
Jeremiah, chapter 2
The Living Idol
Who is the False Prophet Who Gives Breath to the Image of the Beast?
Who is Your God?
Who are the “gods”?
“The Disgusting Thing Standing in a Holy Place” Matt 24:15