Are we living in the last days? It's very possible as Matthew 24:24 warns us, "For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible even the elect." So with this in mind, let's look at how Satan has many idolaters practicing this very thing of which they defend as righteous.
Nelson’s Bible dictionary tells us that idolatry is the worship of something created as opposed to the worship of the Creator Himself. I think we can safely say that idolatry is whenever we have something between God and ourselves. Now it may be taken for granted that we shall not worship another God, for God is one and there are no others. And I’m sure that people would understand that there are many religions that indeed have false gods such as Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, Jehovah Witnesses and many others. These religions have a different Jesus with a gospel that saves no one. But what about those subtle little idols that Satan has planted over the years to where many people of our time would be guilty of not only doing them, but defending them to be Scripturally acceptable? And what about those practices in which people aren’t even aware of being idolatrous in nature? Paul describes many such people as, "That they are enemies of the cross, whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly and whose glory is their shame, who set their mind on earthly things." Now I don’t know of anyone who worships their belly, but obviously there are those of whom are preoccupied with satisfying the hunger of the flesh - making their belly, their god - which is an example of idolatry.
There are a few other examples, but let's look at some of those in today’s main stream religions. Take, for instance, in Hebrews 4:16, we are told that, "We can boldly go before the throne of grace. that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need." Add to that other Scriptures, such as the second commandment, which tell us, "You shall not make for yourself a carved image - any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God." (Hebrews 20:4) and "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." (Deuteronomy 4:24). We can also know why God can hear and answer all of the many prayers that go to Him by His characteristics for He is omnipresent, a theological term that refers to the unlimited nature of God or His ability to be everywhere at all times; omniscient, a theological term that refers to God's superior knowledge and wisdom, His power to know all things; and finally He is omnipotent, a theological term that refers to the all-encompassing power of God. (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary.) Since our heavenly Father has these qualities, it makes me wonder why would anyone pray to anyone else? Wouldn’t that be considered idolatry regardless how much you loved them or they loved you? Just as in the stomach example given above, you may not be intentionally doing such, but to pray to a dead person, you are assuming that this person has the God-like ability to hear prayers and react accordingly. And this is done despite Biblical verses such as Isaiah 8:19 that tell us, "....should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?" (Acts 4:12 ) "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved," and 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Another example of idolatry is the worship of the Host as if that were the "real presence" of His body and blood, for the same type of reasons as in the praying to dead people given above. Jesus, standing before the disciples on the night before His death, was explaining that He was giving His body to die for us, and that we should partake in the communion in remembrance of that salvational point, not creating a means of eating yourself to Heaven. Again, this is verified with other Scriptures such as in Matthew 15:11, 17 where Jesus tells us, "Not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this is what defiles a man," and "Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes to the stomach and is eliminated?" Tie this to how Jesus spiritualized the eating of John 4 as to believing when the disciples brought back food. Just look at verses 33 to 34 of John 4, "In the meantime, the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent Me and to finish His work.’" Furthermore Scriptures tell us that, "...the most High God does not dwell in temples made with hands," (Acts 7:48) and that, "when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:3) Both of these examples of idolatry have only been touched upon slightly, but without a doubt, they are examples of today’s idolatry in practice.
So what does the Bible say about idolatry? Fortunately, the Scriptures are very clear in how God views this sin. Colossians 3:5 tells us, "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience." 1 Corinthians 6:9 says, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."
In closing, we at Gospel Light Ministries encourage you readers to carefully consider your religious views and what God’s Word says about idolatry. And ask yourself if indeed you are guilty of idolatry because of traditions that actually do go against the Word of God. Then decide for yourself, "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" and make that change before you die. The Bible reminds us, "among whom also we once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (Hebrews 2:3) until we were born again in truth and the truth set us free. Praise God!