God’s War against Idolatry

Isaiah 2:18
       And the idols he shall utterly abolish.

 C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Brethren, the whole history of the human race is a record of the wars of the Lord against idolatry. The right hand of the Lord hath dashed in pieces the enemy and cast the ancient idols to the ground. Behold the heaps of Nineveh! Search for the desolations of Babylon! Look upon the broken temples of Greece! See the ruins of Pagan Rome! Behold the dilapidated temples of the gods and the ruined empires of their foolish votaries. The moles and the bats have covered with forgetfulness the once famous deities of Chaldea and Assyria. The Lord hath made bare his arm and eased him of his adversaries, for Jehovah, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

 J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The desolation which reigns where Cyprian and Augustine once preached―the living death in which the churches of Asia Minor and Syria are buried―all are attributable to this sin. All testify to the same great truth which the Lord proclaims in Isaiah, My glory I will not give to another, Isaiah 42:8.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): There is nothing that is so condemned in the Scripture as idolatry. We are not to make “graven images,” Exodus 20:4.

 THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): It is idolatry, not only to worship a false god, but also [to worship] the true God in a false manner. “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: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God,” Exodus 20:4,5. All ideas, portraitures, shapes, images of God, whether by effigies or pictures, are here forbidden. Take heed lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make the similitude of any figure, Deuteronomy 4:15,16. God is to be adored in the heart, not painted to the eye. Thou shalt not bow down to them. The intent of making images and pictures is to worship them. No sooner was Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image set up, but all the people fell down and worshipped it, Daniel 3: 7. God forbids such prostrating ourselves before an idol. The thing prohibited in this commandment is image-worship. To set up an image to represent God is debasing Him…An image lover is a God hater. 

C. H. SPURGEON: With what indignation, then, must the Lord look down upon that apostate harlot, called the Romish Church, when, in all her sanctuaries, there are pictures and images, and relics, and poor infatuated beings are even taught to bow before a piece of bread…I have seen it, and my soul has been moved with indignation like that of Paul on Mars Hill, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry; I have seen thousands adore the wafer, hundreds bow before the image of the Virgin, scores at prayer before a crucifix, and companies of men and women adoring a rotten bone or a rusty nail, because it is said to be a relic of a “saint.”

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: This is nothing but sheer idolatry.

 THOMAS WATSON: To pray to saints is idolatry advanced to blasphemy.

 J. C. RYLE: As for the church of Rome, if there is not an enormous quantity of systematic organized idolatry, I frankly confess that I do not know what idolatry is. To my mind, it is idolatry to have images and pictures of saints in churches, and to give them a reverence to which there is no warrant or precedence in Scripture. To my mind, it is idolatry to invoke the Virgin Mary and the saints in glory, and to address them in language never addressed in the Scripture except to the Holy Trinity. To my mind, it is idolatry to adore that which man’s hands have made―to call it God, and to adore it when lifted up before our eyes. And if this be so, then with the doctrine of transubstantiation, and the elevation of the host, I say there is idolatry in the Church of Rome. Romanism is a gigantic system of Mary-worship, saint-worship, image-worship, relic-worship, and priest-worship―in one word, a huge organized idolatry.

 THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): I know they have many evasions; but yet the stain of idolatry sticketh so close, that all the water in the sea will not wash them clean from it.

 C. H. SPURGEON: It is vain for the Romanist to assert that he worships not the things themselves, but only the Lord through them, for this [bowing down before images and relics] the second commandment expressly forbids, and it is upon this point that the Lord calls himself a jealous God.

 J. C. RYLE: Whether in the [Hindu] adoration of the idol of Juggernaut, or in the [Roman Catholic] adoration of the host in St. Peter’s at Rome, the idolatrous principle is in reality the same. And whenever this is done, whether in heathen temples, or professedly Christian churches, there is an act of idolatry. [But] the end of idolatry shall one day come. Its doom is fixed. Its overthrow is certain. Whether in heathen temples, or in so-called “Christian” churches, idolatry shall be destroyed at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then shall be fulfilled the prophecy of our text, The idols he shall utterly abolish.


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