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On the Wisdom of Solomon, Part 20: The Paths to Hell
Of course, when I use the word hell here, I am using it metaphorically to describe the punishments we suffer for the consequences of our sin in this life, which is how the word Gehenna was used by Christ Himself in the New Testament.
One dictionary informs us that a cliché is generally a phrase or opinion that is “overused and betrays a lack of original thought on the part of the speaker.” But if the cliché is true, perhaps it reflects the only valid reaction which the speaker should have to a given situation. In those cases, it may be reckless to simply dismiss an idea because it is a cliché, at least by some portion of those who hear it. Repent. Jesus is coming. These warnings have become meaningless clichés in our modern society, since few people believe them and as Jewish entertainment and media has mocked them in various ways for many decades. But they are still true, whether the enemies of Christ mock them or not.
In our last presentation in this commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon, we discussed the patterns of idolatry, the inevitable decadence which results from idolatry, and how the ancient Israelites were oppressed by their enemies every time they turned to idolatry until they were finally sent off into captivity. The lessons from history could not be more clear. What matters is not what our enemies are doing, or what they may be trying to do. What really matters is only what we, the modern nations of Christendom, White Europeans, are doing as a people. When we turn to idolatry and sin, we shall inevitably be oppressed by our enemies. When Jews and all those who hate Christ rule over us, it is only because we have sinned, and there will never be a solution until we repent.
Because we as a race have repeatedly followed this same pattern of idolatry, sin and judgment throughout our history, the pattern itself has become a cliché, although the cliché is certainly true. As a result, we have not yet experienced and we do not even understand the potential for excellence which is inherent within us. It is that potential to which Paul of Tarsus had referred in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 where he wrote “9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” We certainly will never fulfill that potential as sinners.
Here, as we discuss Wisdom chapter 13 and compare it to some of the writings of Paul of Tarsus, we may realize that historically, there are two different paths for men who had turned to idolatry, and they are both paths to hell. The one is out of ignorance and short-sightedness, while the other is out of willful disobedience. There is a segment of society which cannot repent from sin until they learn what sin is, and there is another segment of society which has the Word of God but willfully disobeys His law. So as we proceed with the Wisdom of Solomon, we shall see that both of these paths were addressed by Paul of Tarsus, who very likely had Wisdom for his own inspiration and learning:
Wisdom 13:1 Surely vain are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is: neither by considering the works did they acknowledge [or recognize] the workmaster;
The phrase “who are ignorant of God” is more accurately translated “among whom is ignorance in the presence of God”, speaking of “all men”. The word for acknowledge may also have been recognize, and the word for workmaster may have been craftsman, referring to God. By saying “all men are vain by nature, who are ignorant of God”, Solomon also seems to infer that men will overcome vanity through God, but that concept is the theme of Ecclesiastes.
Perhaps drawing his inspiration from Wisdom, Paul of Tarsus had made similar statements in his epistle to the Romans, but while here Solomon attributes the failure to recognize God to the ignorance of men, in Romans Paul was speaking of men who purposely refused to acknowledge God. We shall see later that Paul addressed men who were ignorant of God elsewhere, such as where he had addressed certain Athenians in the Book of Acts.
So Paul wrote in Romans chapter 1: “18 For the wrath of Yahweh is revealed from heaven upon all profane and unjust men, who withhold the truth with injustice. 19 Because that which is to be known of Yahweh is visible among them, since Yahweh has made it known to them. 20 Namely, the unseen things of His from the creation of the order are clearly observed, being understood in the things made both of His eternal power and divinity; for this they are inexcusable.”
But while the path to idolatry may differ, the pattern of idolatry is the same, as Solomon goes on to explain how men being ignorant of God instead begin to worship elements of the creation:
2 But deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven, to be the gods which govern the world.
We may translate the final clause to read: “to be the gods which are rulers of Society.”
Here Solomon had used the heavenly bodies and the elements of nature as his examples of the things which men worshipped in ignorance, where in Romans Paul of Tarsus had chosen for his own example the living creatures which men had also worshipped, and either circumstance was true. So where he continued in Romans chapter 1 Paul wrote: “21 Because knowing Yahweh, they thought of Him not as God, nor were they thankful; but they became foolish in their reasonings, and were darkened, their hearts void of understanding: 22 alleging to be wise they became fools, 23 and they changed the estimation of the incorruptible Yahweh into a resemblance of an image of corruptible man, and birds, and four-legged animals, and reptiles.” Later on in this chapter, Solomon will also describe the worship of beasts in this same manner. But while Paul was chastising men for the perversions to which their idolatry had led them, Solomon’s more immediate purpose here is to illustrate that the beauty and power of Creation was in itself a proof of God of which men should take notice, so he continues in reference to the elements:
3 With whose beauty if they being delighted took them to be gods; let them know how much better the Lord of them is: for the first author of beauty hath created them. 4 But if they were astonished at their power and virtue, let them understand by them, how much mightier he is that made them. 5 For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably [archaic: proportionally] the maker of them is seen.
As Paul said in Romans 1:20, “the unseen things of His from the creation of the order are clearly observed, being understood in the things made”, and as he also wrote in Hebrews chapter 11: “3 By faith we perceive the ages to be furnished by the word of Yahweh, in which that which is seen has not come into being from things visible.” The majesty of Creation should be enough to convince man of the glory of the invisible God, that the wonders of nature are a sufficient testimony that He exists. This argument is still valid to this very day, and it is the most potent refutation of that “science” which is promoted by the enemies of God, which claims that life evolved randomly from out of things which are dead, having come from the chaos of some primordial ooze. Those “scientific” concepts are actually a rebirth of ancient paganism which is now disguised as scholarship, and the leading advocates of such claims have always been Jews.
Now Solomon makes an analogy describing the culpability of idolaters who worship the elements of creation as gods out of ignorance, and the first premise is that at least such men had sought God, even if they had erred:
6 But yet for this they are the less [or little] to be blamed: for they peradventure err, seeking God, and desirous to find him.
We would translate the last clause to read “for perhaps they go astray, seeking and desiring to find God”, and it is not the process of which Solomon speaks, but the outcome. Seeking God, they fell short and esteemed the elements of creation as gods rather than perceiving the Creator behind the elements, so he continues and says:
7 For being conversant in his works they search him diligently, and believe their sight: because the things are beautiful that are seen.
The verb ἀναστρέφω, which is “being conversant” here, means to turn up or over, and it is used metaphorically to describe digging into something, so as to more closely examine it. The phrase “and believe their sight” may have been rendered more literally “and are persuaded by sight”, as the idolaters are once again described as having failed to consider the Maker of such beautiful things even after they had studied them diligently. So while they were less blameworthy for seeking God, he now criticizes them more harshly for falling short and worshipping the creation instead:
8 Howbeit neither are they to be pardoned. 9 For if they were able to know so much, that they could aim at the world; how did they not sooner find out the Lord thereof?
The clause “that they could aim at the world” may have more literally been translated “that they are able to endeavor the age”, which seems to speak of men who would dominate their own time, or world in the temporal sense that the word originally signified. Yet today these words may be much more true than they were in Solomon’s own time. While Solomon may have had the ancient Chaldean priests or the magicians of Egypt in mind, now we have organized scientific institutions which actually do assert authority over the world in the name of “science”, while at the same time they ignore the Word or even the existence of God. So they dig into all the marvels of Creation and pretend to know it for themselves, but they fail to think of the Creator. Whether they do it out of ignorance or out of willful disobedience, in any event they are on the path to hell, and they seek to pull all of mankind down with them.
In Galatians chapter 4 Paul had admonished his readers while having instructed them at the same time. First, he informed them that the law was a schoolmaster for them, to bring them to Christ. But he is also speaking of their former idolatry, which he described as having put them in bondage to the natural elements, where he wrote: “3 Just as we also, when we were infants, we were held subject under the elements of the Society. 4 And when the fulfillment of the time had come, Yahweh had dispatched His Son, having been born of a woman, having been subject to law, 5 in order that he would redeem those subject to law, that we would recover the position of sons. 6 And because you are sons, Yahweh has dispatched the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Father, Father. 7 So you are no longer a bondman but a son, and if a son, then an heir through Yahweh. 8 But while at that time not knowing Yahweh, you had been enslaved to those who are not gods by nature; 9 and now knowing Yahweh, and still more being known by Yahweh, how do you again turn back to the weaknesses and poor elements of knowledge to which from above you again desire to be enslaved?”
Paul harshly admonished the Romans who had turned to idolatry, since they had one time also had the truth of God and changed it into lies. Now here we see that he had also admonished the Galatians, because they were under the law, and they were redeemed in Christ, but some of them still sought to return to worldly elements whereby they would be trapped in bondage once again.
In Galatians, Paul’s main objective was to warn his readers about the Judaizers of his own time, who sought to bind men to rituals so that they could control them, while promising to save them. Today’s Judaizers are scientists, doctors or politicians who bind men to rituals so that they may control them, and promise to save them. Many of these men are perceived by the people to be saints, but they are actually devils, and men worship them. It is all the same ancient deception which has always been employed by professional priests, whether they call themselves “father”, “rabbi”, or “doctor”. However now, instead of ritual sprinklings and circumcision of the flesh they use masks and vaccinations. Instead of putting men in fear of unseen devils, they put men in fear of unseen viruses, which are devils nonetheless. While it is all “scientific”, it is still idolatry, and it is the same path to hell.
However while the disobedient Romans and Galatians had once had the truth of God, and departing from it their idolatry would be an act of willful disobedience, Paul was easier on the Athenians, who acted in ignorance since they were not of the children of Israel and therefore they had never known Yahweh God. So Paul used an analogy which took advantage of the fact that the Athenians had a temple dedicated to “the unknown god”, which was not necessarily the God of Creation, but Paul was taking advantage of their ignorant superstitions for a rhetorical device. The Athenians more closely paralleled the ignorant men whom Solomon had in mind here, from his own historical perspective.
So where he had addressed the Athenians, Paul more closely agreed with the assessment of Solomon, that out of ignorance men had begun to worship the elements of the creation rather than the Creator, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 17 where we read: “22 Then Paul standing in the middle of the hill of Ares said: ‘Men, Athenians, I observe that in all respects you are most superstitious! 23 For passing through and considering your objects of worship I found even an altar upon which was inscribed ‘To The Unknown God’. So that which is unknown you reverence, this I declare to you: 24 God who made the order and all the things in it. He being Prince of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made by hand. 25 Neither is He attended by the hands of men, being in need of anything, Himself giving to all life and breath and all things. 26 And He made from one every nation of men [Adamic men, i.e. Deuteronomy 32:8] to dwell upon all the face of the earth, appointing the times ordained and the boundaries of their settlements [Genesis 11], 27 to seek God. If surely then they would seek after Him then they would find Him, and indeed He being not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and we move and we are, even as some of the poets have said concerning you, ‘For we also are of His offspring.’ 29 Therefore being the offspring of God we are not obligated to esteem gold or silver or stone, engraved crafts and of the inventions of man, to be like that of a god. 30 So therefore the times of ignorance God is overlooking. Now altogether He instructs men everywhere to repent. 31 For that He has established a day in which He is going to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness, by a man whom He has appointed, having provided an assurance to all: raising Him from the dead.’”
The times of ignorance to which Paul referred in that address are precisely what Solomon is describing here. But rather than find God, men took to worshipping elements of the Creation, as Paul had also described. Worshipping the elements of Creation, man is on a path to hell, as immorality is the inevitable outcome of his idolatry. Now Solomon speaks likewise, of the ignorant men of his own experience who, like the Romans of Paul’s time, had even taken to worshipping beasts:
10 But miserable are they, and in dead things is their hope, who call them gods, which are the works of men's hands, gold and silver, to shew art in, and resemblances of beasts, or a stone good for nothing, the work of an ancient hand.
The phrase “to show art in” actually comes from two words which mean “a practice of art”. As it is described in the Book of Acts, the most formidable opponents to the preaching of the Gospel in Ephesus were the silversmiths, who profitted from the idols which they had sold in the temple of Artemis. This we read in Acts chapter 19: “24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; 25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. 26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.”
But it is good to marvel at the wonders of Creation or in the works of God as they are experienced by men, so long as Yahweh God, the author of those works, is given the credit and honor for them. So we read in the 77th Psalm: “11 I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. 12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. 13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? 14 Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. 15 Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.” then in the 104th Psalm: “24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. 25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.”
But the works of creation should not be worshipped, yet today men worship beasts in many different ways. When governments pass laws that place any concern for beasts above the interests of men, or at the expense of men, they are actually worshipping the beasts. So if a farmer loses his livestock, or a lumberjack his livelihood for the sake of wolves or some species of toad, it is because of idolatry. If Yahweh God wanted tree frogs to thrive in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, man would never be able to eradicate them. We worship beasts in other ways, by personifying and glorifying them on television and in theaters, whether it be animated resemblances of beasts, or actual beasts on film. So men take beasts out of the jungles and dressing them in uniforms to play roles in theater or to play games on television while giving them large sums of money.
Even before organized sports and the invention of television, negros were taken from Africa and put on exhibit in zoos in Britain, France and America, and the people would flock to the zoos and pay money in order to see and admire the beasts. These are all forms of idolatry, and they are all paths to hell whether they are followed in ignorance or in purposeful disobedience. Christians should know better than to worship either man or beast. But as we saw earlier in this discussion of idolatry in Wisdom, man is punished by that in which he has sinned. So today, the fruits of that idolatry are manifest in the fact that in Britain, France and America, and everywhere else that beasts have been worshipped, specimens of those same beasts are rising to enjoy political control of each of those nations.
However since man did not always enjoy our modern conveniences, it had to start somewhere, and now Solomon describes a more rudimentary form of idolatry:
11 Now a carpenter that felleth timber, after he hath sawn down a tree meet for the purpose, and taken off all the bark skilfully round about, and hath wrought it handsomely, and made a vessel thereof fit for the service of man's life; 12 And after spending the refuse of his work to dress his meat, hath filled himself;
In the last clause of verse 12 a participle was left untranslated, and we would translate the clause to read “… consuming it he was filled”, or perhaps satisfied.
The thought is not complete, but we will pause here and consider that now Solomon has spoken of useful work, by which a man made a necessary implement or vessel, and then where it mentions refuse in verse 12 the word is ἀπόβλημα, which is anything that is cast away. So evidently in this context it is referring to spare time, that having finished his workday a man would make his meal in his spare time, and now Solomon goes on to speak of what else he may do with the balance of his spare time, and also with the spare materials he had left over after having created the vessel, as the same word is used in relation to that:
13 And taking the very refuse among those which served to no use, being a crooked piece of wood, and full of knots, hath carved it diligently, when he had nothing else to do, and formed it by the skill of his understanding, and fashioned it to the image of a man;
The word ἀπόβλημα appears here again as refuse, but this time it was used in relation to discarded pieces of wood left over from the vessel which the man had made during the course of his workday. The phrase translated as “when he had nothing else to do” may have been better rendered as “in his leisure”. So there is an allegory here, that even the first idols were formed from things which had no other useful purpose. If perhaps such a man as this had created many such idols, he would have become like the silversmiths of Ephesus, making profit in the manufacture of idols and for that reason, becoming an enemy to the Truth. The priests, scientists and doctors of today are no different, as they make their own livelihoods from idolatry. Continuing with the description, as the wood was not always carved to look like a man:
14 Or made it like some vile beast, laying it over with vermilion, and with paint colouring it red, and covering every spot therein;
The word translated as vile is more literally cheap or worthless. Over the last few decades much evidence has been discovered that the ancient Greeks and Romans had painted their statues quite intricately, and technicians (or actual, legitimate “scientists” as opposed to theoretical charlatans) have been able to reproduce many of the hues that were used in their painting. But here we see the art of painting statues was also known to Solomon, so it is very old indeed. Notice also that this image is painted red, as devils have traditionally been depicted in western art.
Now once the construction of the idol is complete, Solomon describes the next steps of the workman:
15 And when he had made a convenient room for it, set it in a wall, and made it fast with iron:
Hammers and nails have also been with us for a long time, and we may use them for purposes good or evil. But we should never blame our tools for our sins, and that includes the more advanced tools which we are able to devise today. The phrase “convenient room” is more literally a “worthy dwelling”. To set the idol in a wall implies that an enclave such as a niche or an apse was made for it.
But more importantly, here we see the context of the commandment given to the ancient Israelites, which is also relevant today, that “4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” This commandment is found in Exodus chapter 20, but it is oft repeated in Deuteronomy, and graven images are condemned in the historical books and in the books of the prophets. So we read in Isaiah chapter 44: “9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. 10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? ”
Today as Christians, we have images, paintings and photographs hanging on walls or on furniture in our homes for various purposes, and mostly only for decorative purposes. Likewise the earliest Christian assemblies which have been uncovered by archaeologists also were decorated with certain images, such as mosaics or paintings, many of them commemorating historical events found in Scripture. We can claim not to worship those images, but in certain subtle ways which we may not even perceive, we might sometimes worship them.
However some Christians, especially the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics, make painted images framed with silver and gold, set them up in niches within their homes or in their churches, and bow or kneel before them, praying to them. Although they themselves would not accept any comparison, it is nevertheless true that they are practicing the same ancient pagan idolatry that we see described here in Wisdom, making images of men or of other elements of the Creation and worshipping before them. Then the priests justify the practice, because just as Demetrius had said at Ephesus, “by this craft we have our wealth.”
Returning to the workman, who found it necessary to nail his idol into place within his house:
16 For he provided for it that it might not fall, knowing that it was unable to help itself; for it is an image, and hath need of help:
As it is described in 1 Samuel chapter 5, Yahweh God had mocked the Philistines when their idol Dagon had fallen repeatedly, and each time it fell the priests of the idol had to put it back in its place. But even after the statue was broken beyond repair, the Philistines continued to claim Dagon as their god, so that they themselves were smitten. Evidently, the Philistines preferred to suffer rather than to admit that their god was useless to help them. So at that point, having no excuse for their ignorance, their idolatry was indeed a path to hell.
Discussing graven images, further on in that same chapter of Isaiah, chapter 44, we read another description much like that of Solomon here in Wisdom, by which we can also further understand the commandment prohibiting such images: “ 14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it. 15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. 16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: 17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.” So we see that just as Solomon did here, in Isaiah there is an analogy where it is described that part of the tree which was felled was for a useful purpose, but then man is tempted to fashion an idol from the portion which is typically cast away. Perhaps there is also an allegory in that, since we often commit sin with things which should be cast away. Isaiah continues: “18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. 19 And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? ” Likewise, the statues of the modern churches are made of plaster, which is composed of gypsum, lime and sand, so when people pray before them they are actually worshipping dirt. They may claim otherwise, but they cannot prove those claims because the idols which they pray before cannot speak, or pick themselves up when they fall.
17 Then maketh he prayer for his goods, for his wife and children, and is not ashamed to speak to that which hath no life.
Some of the supposed Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic “saints” of antiquity were not saints at all. Some of them were actually devils. Yet people pray to their images and beg them for favors, and doing so they are actually worshipping devils. Then as Paul of Tarsus alluded in Colossians chapter 2, many of the gods of the heathens, some of whom also became Roman Catholic saints later in history, were indeed from of the ancient fallen angels, and therefore they were devils. So we read in Revelation chapter 9: “20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. ”
Even with that, the churches have historically continued to justify their idols of wood, plaster, stone, gold and silver, while encouraging men to pray to images of dead men they never knew, men who may well have been devils, rather than praying to God in the privacy of their own homes. As Christ has said, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 6, “6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” That is also how David had often prayed, as we read in and admonition in the 4th Psalm: “ 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” Once again, in the 63rd Psalm: “1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. 9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.”
Solomon, continues to illustrate the folly of praying to idols:
18 For health he calleth upon that which is weak: for life prayeth to that which is dead; for aid humbly beseecheth that which hath least means to help: and for a good journey he asketh of that which cannot set a foot forward:
The second clause is properly “for life he considers worthy that which is dead”. The piece of wood from which the man had made his idol is both weak and dead, and it cannot move on its own. Generally, this form of idolatry is no longer found in our Christian society, or perhaps our “post-Christian” society, as the Jews like to call it. But instead, the traditional Churches, namely the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic, have created idols of wood, silver, gold, plaster or other materials, call them icons instead of idols, and set them up for which to pray. These idols often represent dead men and women. Then they claim to venerate rather than worship them, playing games with words of similar meaning.
Praying to men for salvation, whether it be dead men in the form of graven images or live men in the form of politicians, scientists and doctors, people look to salvation from idols that cannot see, speak or hear, or from men that cannot even save themselves from illness or from death. Hoping for a vaccine, or hoping for a political solution to perceived economic or social problems, is tantamount to praying to men for salvation.
When the people of Judah sinned in ancient times, and Yahweh began to have the prophet Jeremiah warn them of their sins, we read in Jeremiah chapter 2: “28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.” If you pray to an image for salvation, or look for help from a man living or dead, you have already turned your back on God.
Turning your back on Yahweh God, He may not hear your prayers in the time of your calamity, as we read in Jeremiah chapter 11: “10 They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. 11 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. 12 Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.” Little do they know it, but as the political situation throughout the nations of Christendom continues to deteriorate, many supposed Christians are already far down the path to hell.
Now, the final verse of the chapter, where Solomon is still speaking of the man who created the idol and the things which he expects from it:
19 And for gaining and getting, and for good success of his hands, asketh ability to do of him, that is most unable to do any thing.
So this man who set up his own idol and expected it to be able to help him in time of need also expected it to be able to bless him in his endeavors. Yet when the Romans began to worship such images, Paul said that “24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Most people today have willfully turned their backs on God, and they worship men and modern images of beasts in sports, entertainment, or politics. When there are troubles, or when problems are reported on television and in print media, they believe what they read and without even questioning what they have heard, they look to politicians, scientists and doctors for cures or solutions. If they have a god in their thoughts, it is not the God of Scripture, but rather, it is a god of their own making, formed in an image they themselves have devised, even if they do not carve an idol to represent it.
But even many of those people today who do seek God do not find Him, as they are shortsighted and look only so far as the established churches, where they are sent down the path to idolatry. When we look at the state of decadence into which the society of today has fallen, it should not be a mystery as to why that is so. It should not be a mystery as to why we see so many fornicating race-mixers, so many sodomites and lesbians, and so many children who are lost to their own parents. There are several paths to hell, and now the Christian children of Israel seem to be on all of them at once.
While Solomon described these different paths to hell a little differently than we may see society today, the paths themselves have not changed as he wrote at the end of chapter 14 of Wisdom: “27 For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil. 28 For either they are mad when they be merry, or prophesy lies, or live unjustly, or else lightly forswear themselves. 29 For insomuch as their trust is in idols, which have no life; though they swear falsely, yet they look not to be hurt. 30 Howbeit for both causes shall they be justly punished: both because they thought not well of God, giving heed unto idols, and also unjustly swore in deceit, despising holiness. 31 For it is not the power of them by whom they swear: but it is the just vengeance of sinners, that punisheth always the offence of the ungodly.”
This concludes our commentary on Wisdom chapter 13. This theme of idolatry and its consequences continues for several more chapters of Wisdom. The phrase “path to hell” may be a cliché, but in regard to at least most of Christendom it is certainly true. If all Israel is not saved, then none of us should be saved, as we have all had our idols at one time or another, or perhaps in some ways we still do.