Modern Rediscovery: Idols That Topple & Totter
“Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for
yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it.
I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 26:1). Right from the beginning the
Israelites were admonished not to worship idols. During their wanderings through
various nations after coming out of Egypt, Moses
warned: “You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and of
stone, of silver and gold.” Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe
among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God […]” (Deuteronomy
after prophet, priests and kings warned about the dangers and futility of
following the idols of the nations made of wood, stone, gold and other materials
… idols that cannot see or hear. Even the pagans were reprimanded and punished
for praising idols. For example, Belshazzar, the last Babylonian ruler, was
judged and found wanting for celebrating his idols of “[…] gold and silver, of
bronze, iron, wood and stone” (Daniel 5:4, 23). Yet, the Israelites persisted:
"’We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood
and stone’" (Ezekiel 20:32).
was a long time ago. Reading these accounts today, it all sounds so primitive …
so irrelevant to our time. Modern civilized people do not worship idols made of
wood and stone.
may think. We read this in the book of Revelation: “The rest of mankind that
were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their
hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze,
stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk” (Revelation 9:20). Here a
shocking fact is revealed to the sensibilities of modern man. We see a pagan
civilization worshiping material idols in the future. Yes, in the future—from
our day and throughout the Tribulation period. Actually, pagan idolatry today is
as rampant as perhaps never before. Do we recognize it for what it is?
Tottering Idols Require
What is an idol? Consulting a
dictionary, we will read descriptions such as this: “[…]
representation or symbol of an object of worship […] a false conception […]”
and so on. The Bible, however,
provides an easy, useful definition: An
idol is any object of human reliance that is vulnerable to toppling. For
example: “A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not
rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple”
(Isaiah 40:20). This is a most humorous depiction. After all, why worship
something that we ourselves must prevent from toppling with our own hands?
Again, Isaiah tells us: “The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who
smooths with the hammer spurs on him who strikes the anvil. He says of the
welding, ‘It is good.’ He nails down the idol so it will not topple” (Isaiah
41:7). Jeremiah, too, made the same observation: “[…]
they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it
will not totter” (Jeremiah 10:3-4).
God must surely laugh at mankind’s attempts to build and set up their own gods.
He chuckles that mankind does not see the futility of their idols if they indeed
must be nailed down and defended.
Gideon's father, Joash, when coming to his senses after Gideon smashed his
idols: "If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down
(Judges 6:31). Anything that mankind allows to become an idol will be sure to
disappoint and come up empty.
This is one of the key lessons of the recent storm of economic and financial
tremors that has radiated across the world. Idols topple and totter. Many things
held to be venerable emblems of mankind’s achievements and hopes have been
toppling of late.
Comically, they must therefore be propped up by man.
Consider that some of the
world’s biggest and most swaggering companies, once revered as unstoppable
global juggernauts, have needed propping up.
bank failure occurred—Washington Mutual Inc., with $307 billion in assets. The
largest insurance company needed to be rescued—American International Group. The
world’s one-time largest car company, General Motors, was technically bankrupt,
requiring bailout financing from governments. The biggest investment banks
(Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley) all needed government help. One of the largest
and most trusted investment funds ended up utterly worthless, due to the Ponzi
scheme swindle of Bernie Madoff. $50 billion disappeared into thin air. (All of
these entities were headquartered in the United States.)
They could no longer stand on their own.
be overlooked, of course, are the phenomenal crashes of various financial
markets themselves. At one point in 2008, the entire world stock market had
fallen by over 50% (measured in US dollars) from the previous year.
Just what creature is so fickle about the value of its wealth? Surely,
the widespread belief that modern-day financial markets—the supposed source of
prosperity and wealth of mankind—would continue to rise to ever higher extremes
qualifies them as idols.
popular beliefs, which have been regarded as doctrinal truths to the humanist
mind, have also been tottering. Consider that 2009 will likely record the
largest decline in global trade since World War II. Trade has been the central
pillar of globalization and the long-promoted condition that will knit mankind
into a common mutual dependency. It is believed by humanists that once mankind’s
prosperity is tightly interdependent globally, the required incentive for world
peace will have been established. But now, many fret that the means to achieving
this ideal is under threat. Indeed, globalization may take a step backward
during the present worldwide economic downturn.
However, in the end it is likely that most nations will recognize that it is
much too late to disengage from world intercourse. As it is, given the
experience of the Great Depression of the 1930s, policymakers are today
extremely wary of protectionist trade policies. There are no longer any easy
exits from the road to globalism.
The Bible allows us to foreknow that the nations will eventually huddle together
to prop up their three favorite idols of the endtimes—the “unknown god, the
“foreign god” and the “god of fortresses” (Daniel 11:38-39). (See also the
article series on the “Three False Gods of the Endtimes,” Midnight Call
magazine, November 2000 – February 2001.)
long-held notions are also under threat. The case for “free-market based”
economics is threatened. Just what is meant by the term “free market”? It is the
simple, liberal idea that people, if left to act freely in their own concepts of
morality and self-interest—without much government or regulatory intervention in
markets—will together achieve progress and greater prosperity for the world.
This is the sure path to a world without poverty, it is thought. To no surprise,
policymakers have again discovered that too many people have been acting too
freely in pursuing their own selfish interests. Uncontrolled greed eventually
devours its own house, weakening its very timbers and stones. That is an aspect
of the curse to which Zechariah’s vision of the great flying scroll points
(Zechariah 5), the result of a global commercial system built upon the
cornerstones of “stealing” and “lying.” This curse “[…] will remain in his house
and destroy it, both its timbers and its stones’” (Zechariah 5:4).
not being overly harsh in our views. Why? Consider these three widely held
economic maxims: “1.
Man seeks to gratify his desires with the least amount of exertion. 2. Man’s
desires are unlimited. 3. Man hoards consciously and systematically.”
 These are not our own definitions.
These maxims of “self interest” are in fact enthroned and
institutionalized as advanced, sophisticated theories today. It all
represents a grisly, competitive world in which mankind celebrates the
satisfaction of self. It is the worldly parallel to the terrible times that Paul
sees invading the Church in the last days: “People
will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,
disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving,
slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous,
rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God […]”(2 Timothy
Propping Up the Golden
in a day where mankind has reached the highest zenith of self-determination ever
in history. Today, man is in the position to seek global solutions. God, He that
chose to reveal Himself through his Son Jesus Christ, is not allowed into the
public square of debate for the answers to mankind’s problems. The boards and
committees of cities, states, countries and transnational organizations do not
think to consult Him nor observe His statutes. They choose to make their own
way. They think: “He will not see us” (Ezekiel 8:12), and, “’What does God know?
[…] Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us as he goes about in the vaulted
heavens’” (Job 22:13-14).
is this attitude more brazen than in the field of economics. Why is this so? We
can best understand its revolutionary “endtime” impact upon mankind’s rebellion
if we see it for what it is—a religion … a global religion. It is one of those
disciplines that is not a science, but rather closer to sorcery in its recent
globalist applications. That is not
to say that certain economic principles do not have their uses.
Yet, most economic macro-policy theories—ideas that are applied by
governments to manage economies and societies—remain just that, theories. None
can be marshaled to create a certain outcome in the future.
today, the entire world awaits the wizardry of the economic guru, the modern-day
seat of the false prophet. For example, the new economic advisors of the US
Obama administration: Timothy Geithner, Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Larry
Summers, and Laura Tyson—all of them very smart people—have been called in to
steady the tottering economic edifice.
It is expected that their recommendations of various policies of economic
tinkering will overcome America’s deep troubles. They are
likely to be no better than the advisors of Nebuchadnezzar’s day.
advisors are sought to solve challenges on a global scale. They devise ways to
get the world back on the road to peace and prosperity. Most of these efforts
are underpinned by the notion that future prosperity can be manufactured at will
… conjured out of mid air … and that past sins and excesses have no
consequences. No. God says He “cannot be not mocked” (Galatians 6:7). He says
that whatever you sow, you will reap. It is a spiritual law as well as one that
applies to the physical world. To the extent that the world’s policymakers and
economists ignore this admonition, they are “pillow prophets” … the whole lot of
them. Against their high imaginations, God says: “I form the light and create
darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these
things” (Isaiah 45:7).
Expected in the Millennium
In the present
dispensation, the Prince of the Air continues to rule the earth. Though God is
on His Throne and Jesus Christ remains seated at his right side, Satan still is
allowed great influence in the world of man. While God clearly has the uppermost
power, declaring that it is He who sets up and deposes rulers (meaning also
under His allowance), Satan is still able to entice key people with “the
kingdoms of the world and their splendor” (Matthew 4:8).
Nebuchadnezzar—the most illustrious of all the Gentile potentates that the Bible
informs us about—pictured as the head of gold, finally bowed down to the God of
the Bible. After being deposed from his throne and punished for seven years, he
came to his senses, acknowledging, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and
glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all his ways
are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37). His
experience serves as a foreshadowing of that future seven-year Tribulation. At
the end of it, mankind will finally acknowledge, “everything He does is right
and all his ways are just.”
Millennium age, a new economic system will prevail, which will be based on
completely different doctrines. Yet, they are doctrines of old, long counseled
by the Scriptures. They are based on the one surefire strategy that will never
fail. One little, three-word verse unlocks this key, and is found in 1
Corinthians 13:8: “Love never fails.” Both Royal Laws are extensions of this
doctrine: one directed toward God and the other to our neighbors without
favoritism (James 2:9). When the Lord returns and restores all things (Acts
3:21, Matthew 17:11), surely the world under his rule will be based on these
Royal Laws, not today’s worldly economic maxims that focus on self. Regrettably,
various teachers who identify themselves as Christian today endorse this
veneration of self.
recognize the idols of wood and stone today? They may be robed in the supposedly
sophisticated concepts of our time; therefore, they are much more deceptive. At
the same time, these idols are as arrogant and deadly as ever.
You can either
choose to serve God or Mammon—the spiritual entity incentivized by money and the
harbor of all idolatry. This is a Bible verse that we have all often heard
(Matthew 6:24). But do we really understand what it implies for the world in
which we live? It speaks of a polarity that gives rise to a great struggle and
the ultimate curse. We can choose to serve the One; yet the other is always
seeking our affections. Our eyes wander between them all too easily. No matter
our best intentions and devotion, idolatry is always only a hairbreadth away …
perhaps a brief flicker of wandering affection. Yet, in repentance, we are saved
from our sins.
mankind will come to the point where their idols of gold and silver will be
thrown into the streets. “In that day men will throw away to the rodents and
bats their idols of silver and idols of
gold, which they made to
worship. They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags
from dread of the Lord […]” (Isaiah 2:20-21). This prophecy aligns with the very
same event that John saw, as written in Revelation 6:15: “Then the kings of the
earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and
every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.”
Referring again to the polarity between God and Mammon, the
disciples were gravely puzzled by this apparently irreconcilable chasm. Jesus
said: “’I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of
heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a
needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then
can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but
with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:23-26). We therefore trust in the
God of the Impossible, accepting His salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.
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About the Author:
Wilfred J. Hahn
is a global economist/strategist.
Formerly a top-ranked global analyst, research director for a major Wall Street
investment bank, and chairman of
country’s largest global investment operation, his writings focus on the endtime
roles of money, economics and globalization.
He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in
numerous other publications and languages.
His 2002 book the The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free
accurately anticipated and prepared its readers for the Global Financial Crisis.
His newest book, Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied:
Preserving true riches in an age of deception and trouble,
looks further into the future and will be bookstores September 2009.
Economic Axioms. San Francisco School
of Economics. <http://www.sfschoolofeconomics.com> Accessed January 30,