The Imaginations of Men

“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:29-31

Paul stood on “Mars Hill” outside of Athens and addressed the Greeks speaking about their idols, trying to relate to them the true God, Yahweh יהוה. Mars was the Roman god of war, and more accurate translations will call this place Areopagus because the Greek god of war was Ares. Studying mythology of the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Chaldeans and Sumerian’s is very helpful in understanding the gods of the nations and their symbols that are spoken about all through scripture. Most of the ancient gods have similar biographies even though they come from different regions and cultures. Mythology is full of gods that left their heavenly estate, came to Earth and had children with mortals. These are the same sort of events described in Genesis six of the Hebrew Bible. However, their legends, symbols and gods became objects of worship to the nations. Yahweh is clear as to what He thinks of these gods.

Deu 7:4 For their sons and daughters will cause your son to turn away from following me, and so they will serve other gods, and the anger of Yahweh would be kindled against you, and he would quickly destroy you.
Deu 7:5 But this is what you must do to them: you shall break down their altars, and their stone pillars you shall smash, and their Asherah poles you shall hew down, and you shall burn their idols with fire.
Deu 7:6 For you are a holy people for Yahweh your God; Yahweh your God has chosen you to be for him a people, a treasured possession from among all the peoples that are on the face of the earth.

Deu 7:25 You shall burn the images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, and so you take it for yourself, so that you are not ensnared by it, for it is a detestable thing to Yahweh your God.
Deu 7:26 And you must not bring a detestable thing into your house, or you will become a thing devoted to destruction like it; you must utterly detest it, and you must utterly abhor it, for it is an object devoted to destruction.

Paul uses the gods of the people of Athens to explain to them that there is one true God, creator of the universe, and he wants to release them from the spell of their imaginations, and the dark forces that are behind these gods, demigods and their symbols.

Act 17:22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.
Act 17:23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
Act 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
Act 17:25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Act 17:26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
Act 17:27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
Act 17:28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
Act 17:29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.
Act 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
Act 17:31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

The Greeks in Athens even had an unknown god. Paul explained that their unknown god was Yahweh. He relates to them the story of Jesus, whose name means the salvation of Yahweh, and that they have to repent of their vain, sinful ways because of the impending judgement. Earlier in history, we see the people of Yahweh entrapped by similar gods and judged in the book of Ezekiel. This also is speaking to the people of Yahweh today who have turned back to these same entities.

Eze 8:1 And then in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, I was sitting in my house, and the elders of Judah were sitting before me. And the hand of the Lord Yahweh fell on me there,
Eze 8:2 and I saw, and look! A figure like the appearance of a man; from the appearance of his waist and below was fire, and from his waist and upward was like the appearance of brightness, like the outward appearance of amber.
Eze 8:3 And he sent out the form of a hand, and he took me by a lock of hair of my head, and the Spirit lifted me between earth and heaven, and it brought me to Jerusalem in visions of God to the doorway of the inner gate that faced north, at which there was the seat of the image of jealousy, which was making jealous.
Eze 8:4 And look! There was the glory of the God of Israel like the vision that I saw in the valley.
Eze 8:5 And he said to me, “Son of man, lift up now your eyes toward the north.” And I lifted up my eyes toward the north, and, look, there was to the north of the gate of the altar this image of jealousy at the entrance.
Eze 8:6 And he said to me, “Son of man, “Do you see what they are doing—great detestable things that the house of Israel is committing here so as to drive me from my sanctuary, and yet you will see again greater detestable things.”
Eze 8:7 And he brought me to the doorway of the courtyard, and I saw, and look! A hole in the wall.
Eze 8:8 And he said to me, “Son of man, dig now through the wall.” And I dug through the wall, and look! There was a doorway.
Eze 8:9 And he said to me, “Come and see the detestable things, the evil that they are doing here.
Eze 8:10 And I came, and I saw, and look, all kinds of creatures and detestable beasts; and all of the idols of the house of Israel were carved on the wall all around.
Eze 8:11 And seventy men from the elders of the house of Israel, and Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan, was standing in the midst of them, and they were standing before them. Each one had his censer in his hand, and the fragrance of the cloud of the incense was going up.
Eze 8:12 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man, what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in the inner rooms of his idol, for they are saying, ‘Yahweh is not seeing us; Yahweh has abandoned the land.'”
Eze 8:13 And he said to me, “Still you will see again greater detestable things that they are doing.”
Eze 8:14 And he brought me to the doorway of the gate of the house of Yahweh that is toward the north, and look! There were the women sitting weeping for Tammuz.
Eze 8:15 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man? Still you will see again greater detestable things than these.”
Eze 8:16 And he brought me to the inner courtyard of the house of Yahweh, and look, at the doorway of the temple of Yahweh, between the portico and the altar, there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of Yahweh and their faces toward the east, and they were bowing down toward the east before the sun.
Eze 8:17 And he said to me, “Have you seen, son of man? Was it too small a thing for the house of Judah to do the detestable things that they did here? For they filled up the land with violence, and they provoked me to anger again, and look! They are putting the branch to their nose.

Tammuz was the resurrecting god of spring of the Sumerians. The image of jealousy was likely a phallic symbol of a stone pillar or Ashera tree, and we also see men facing the sun worshipping it. The Greek sun god was Appollo and the Roman sun god was Sol or Mithras from Persia. Once a person gets familiar with these symbols from other religions and their gods, it is easy to see them all around us today. These symbols attract demons and the gods themselves are actually demons, because that is where they originated.

Deu 32:17 They sacrificed to the demons, not God, to gods whom they had not known, new gods who came from recent times; their ancestors had not known them.
Deu 32:18 The rock who bore you, you neglected, and you forgot God, the one giving you birth.
Deu 32:19 Then Yahweh saw, and he spurned them, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.

Paul speaks of this same thing in his time.

1Co 10:19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?
1Co 10:20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.
1Co 10:21 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.
1Co 10:22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Paul also warns Timothy that this problem of imaginary characters, mythology and all the lure of their trappings will persist.

2Ti 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
2Ti 4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

2Ti 4:5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

There is prophecy of the people of Yahweh waking up and turning from their vain imaginations and myths that they inherited. This speaking of the future, so why not do it now?

Jer 16:19 O Yahweh, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth, and they will say, “Our ancestors have inherited only lies, vanity, and there is no profit in them.
Jer 16:20 Can a human make for himself gods? Yet they are not gods!”
Jer 16:21 “Therefore look, I am about to let them know, this time I am going to let them know my power and my might, and they will know that my name is Yahweh.”

Once a person learns the truth of the word of Yahweh, there is no desire to follow myths, and no one’s itching ear will be satisfied by the truth of scripture. Take heed and study God’s Word for yourself, not to be led astray. Look at what Jeremiah is saying about the priests, prophets and pastors in the latter days-which is now!

Jer 23:16 Thus says Yahweh of hosts, “You must not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They are deluding you with visions of their mind, They do not speak from the mouth of Yahweh.
Jer 23:17 They are continually saying to those who disregard the word of Yahweh, ‘Peace it will be to you,’ and to each one who walks in the stubbornness of his heart they say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’
Jer 23:18 For who has stood in the council of Yahweh, that he has seen and heard his word? Who has listened attentively to his word and heard it?

Jer 23:19 Look, the storm of Yahweh has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest. It will whirl upon the head of the wicked.
Jer 23:20 The anger of Yahweh will not turn back until his doing and until his keeping the plans of his mind. In latter days you will look closely at it with understanding.
Jer 23:21 I have not sent the prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
Jer 23:22 But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have caused them to turn from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.

These visions of the mind, idolatry and mythology are not just a thing of the past. It is dealt with in the future at the coming of the Messiah.

Rev 9:17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths.
Rev 9:18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths.
Rev 9:19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.
Rev 9:20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk,
Rev 9:21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

There are also those teaching doctrines of demons right from Paul’s time. Another warning from Paul’s letters to Timothy:

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
1Ti 4:2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,

1Ti 4:3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
1Ti 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
1Ti 4:5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Today, some will say this refers to the Torah’s explanation of which animals are to be consumed for food. The words of Yahweh being called “teachings of demons” should not need addressing to anyone who knows the Bible. The only meats that are made holy by the word of God are listed in Leviticus. However, today we have many examples of doctrines forbidding marriage of certain people and forbidding eating food that Yahweh does set apart as good. These people with seared consciences reject the instructions of the creator. Are you one who is under a delusion and deceived?

2Th 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
2Th 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Jesus gives a warning to the church at Pergamum.

Rev 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
Rev 2:13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
Rev 2:15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
Rev 2:16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.

What are the teachings of Balaam? What is the teaching of the Nicolaitans? We need to know to fully understand these warnings because Jesus will war against anyone who does not repent of these things. Jesus does not tolerate anything that was not tolerated by Yahweh. The judgement may happen at the end, instead of immediately, but the outcome is the same.

Num 25:1 When Israel dwelled in Shittim, the people began to prostitute themselves with the daughters of Moab.
Num 25:2 And they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and worshiped their gods.
Num 25:3 So Israel was joined together to Baal Peor, and Yahweh became angry with Israel.

Num 25:4 Yahweh said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and kill them before the sun, so the fierce anger of Yahweh will turn from Israel.”
Num 25:5 So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill his men who are joined together with Baal Peor.”
Num 25:6 And behold, a man from the Israelites came and brought to his brothers a Midianite woman before the eyes of Moses and before the eyes of all of the community of the Israelites, and they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of assembly.
Num 25:7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest saw, he got up from the midst of the community and took a spear in his hand.
Num 25:8 He went after the man of Israel into the woman’s section of the tent, and he drove the two of them, the man of Israel and the woman, into her belly. And the plague among the Israelites stopped.
Num 25:9 The ones who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.

Augustine wrote the City of God, which is a book I recommend that everyone should read. There are two worlds that Augustine explores, that of Yahweh and that of Babylon. We can see a similar comparison in the book of Daniel with the dream King Nebuchadnezzar had of a statue.

Dan 2:31 “You, O king, were looking and, look, there was one great statue. This statue was huge and its brilliance extraordinary, standing there before you, and its appearance was frightening.
Dan 2:32 The head of this statue was of fine gold, its chest and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze,
Dan 2:33 its legs of iron, its feet, part of them of iron and part of them of clay.
Dan 2:34 You were looking on until a stone was chiseled out—that not by hands—and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and it broke them in pieces.
Dan 2:35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold all at once broke into pieces and they became like chaff from the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away and any trace of them could not be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and it filled the whole earth.
Dan 2:36 “This was the dream, and now we will tell its interpretation to the king.
Dan 2:37 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power and the might and the glory,
Dan 2:38 and also human beings wherever they dwell, the animals of the field and the birds of heaven—he has given into your hand and made you ruler over all of them—you are the head of gold.
Dan 2:39 And after you another kingdom inferior to yours will arise, and another third kingdom of bronze that will rule over the whole earth.
Dan 2:40 And a fourth kingdom will be strong as iron, and just as iron crushes and smashes everything, and as iron shatters all of these other metals, so it will crush and it will shatter these nations.
Dan 2:41 And just as you saw the feet and the toes, partly potter’s clay and partly iron, it will be a divided kingdom; and some hardness of the iron will be in it, just as you have seen the iron mixed with the wet clay.
Dan 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so part of the kingdom will be strong and partly brittle.
Dan 2:43 And in that you saw the iron was mixed with wet clay, so they will mix in marriage and they will not cling to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
Dan 2:44 And in the day of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and the kingdom will not be left for another nation, and it will bring an end to all these kingdoms, but it will stand forever.
Dan 2:45 Inasmuch as you saw that a stone from the mountain was chiseled out but not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, thereby the great God made known to the king what will be in the future, and the dream is certain and its explanation trustworthy.”

We have seen these kingdoms of the dream in ancient history; Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and all of their traditions, gods and symbols remain. Remnants of these kingdoms still exist today, and we see evidence of them in the holidays that the world celebrates, the geopolitical structure of the world, and all the symbols of their gods woven into our culture. Even popular Christian culture, holy days and traditions come from these worldly kingdoms’ gods and traditions. The God of heaven, Yahweh, set up His kingdom and will eventually crush all the other kingdoms. Therefore, the question that remains is this: do you want to stay in the kingdoms of the world, or join the kingdom of the Yahweh? If you answer “join the Kingdom of Yahweh”, then why would you continue celebrating the things of the soon to be destroyed Kingdom from the imaginations of men? Yahweh gives us the elements of His kingdom, His special days and His instructions. For example, Yahweh’s special days are explained in Leviticus 23:

Lev 23:1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 23:2 “Speak to the Israelites, and say to them, ‘The festivals of Yahweh that you shall proclaim are holy assemblies; these are my appointed times.
Lev 23:3 “‘For six days work is to be done, and on the seventh day shall be a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy assembly; you shall not do any work; it shall be a Sabbath for Yahweh in all your dwellings.
Lev 23:4 “‘These are Yahweh’s appointed times, holy assemblies, which you shall proclaim at their appointed time.
Lev 23:5 In the first month, on the fourteenth of the month at the evening is Yahweh’s Passover.
Lev 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of this month is Yahweh’s Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
Lev 23:7 On the first day there shall be a holy assembly for you; you shall not do any regular work.
Lev 23:8 And you shall present an offering for Yahweh made by fire for seven days; on the seventh day there shall be a holy assembly; you shall not do any regular work.'”
Lev 23:9 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 23:10 “Speak to the Israelites, and say to them, ‘When you come to the land that I am about to give to you and you reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruit of your harvest to the priest.
Lev 23:11 And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh for your acceptance; the priest shall wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
Lev 23:12 And on the day of your waving the sheaf you shall offer a yearling male lamb without defect as a burnt offering to Yahweh.
Lev 23:13 And its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of finely milled flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire for Yahweh, an appeasing fragrance; and its libation shall be a fourth of a hin of wine.
Lev 23:14 And you shall not eat bread or roasted grain or ripe grain until this very same day, until you present your God’s offering. This must be a lasting statute for your generations in all your dwellings.

These are examples of some of Yahweh’s special days, and they have nothing to do with the worldly festivals of the kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in which Daniel was given the interpretation from Yahweh as to its meaning. Yahweh gives us instructions about mixing ourselves with the practices of these other kingdoms:

Jer 51:42 The sea has risen over Babylon, she has been covered by the roar of its waves.
Jer 51:43 Her cities have become as an object of horror, a dry land and a wilderness, a land in which no person lives, nor does a son of humankind pass through it.
Jer 51:44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will wrench out from his mouth what he has swallowed. And the nations will not stream towards him any longer what’s worse, the wall of Babylon has fallen.
Jer 51:45 Come out from her midst, my people, and save each one his life from the burning anger of Yahweh.
Jer 51:46 Now so that you are not fainthearted, and you are afraid at the rumors that are heard in the land—and in the year the rumor comes, and in the year after it the rumor, and violence is in the land, with ruler against ruler—
Jer 51:47 therefore look, days are coming, and I will punish the images of Babylon, and all her land will be put to shame, and all her slain ones will fall in the midst of her.

Once again in the Apostle John’s revelation, we are told to come out of Babylon.

Rev 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
Rev 18:5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

Rev 18:6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
Rev 18:7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’
Rev 18:8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

It is time to forsake the imaginations of men and come out of Babylon. Learn the ways of Yahweh exemplified in the life of Jesus the Messiah, and written for us in the scriptures.

Featured picture taken by Emma Vail.

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