Some teach that "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me" and "Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image" are two Commandments (Septuagint, Eastern Orthodox, Reformed Christians), while others (Jews, Catholics, Lutherans) consider the statements as one Commandment - Wiki(10Cmd) . For the purpose of this article, when I say idolatry, I will usually be talking about both.
My purpose is to compare idolatry in ancient Israel with idolatry in modern America.
If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.
And click the "Follow" button so you don't miss an article.
History of Idolatry
Perhaps the most familiar Biblical example of idolatry is the story of the Golden Calf. I just want to highlight a couple verses. When Moses came down Mount Sinai, the people had managed to violate Commandments 1 and 2. Here is how God describes their actions to Moses:
Exodus 32:8 How quickly they have turned aside from the way that I commanded them! They have made for themselves a molten calf and have bowed down to it. They have sacrificed to it and said, 'These, O Israel, are your gods, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.'"
Note how this language parallels the commandment.
Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol ... 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them;
See how tightly linked Commandments one and two are? The behaviors that define apostasy (commandment 1) and idolatry (commandment 2) are:
bow down to it
sacrifice to it
What did Israel make for themselves? A golden calf.
Another familiar Biblical example of idolatry is the story of King Jeroboam, who made for himself two golden calves to worship. Note how he describes them.
1Ki 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Works of Your Hands
Is America guilty of making idols for themselves? Consider Isaiah's words.
Is 2:8 Their land has also been filled with idols; They bow down to the work of their hands, That which their fingers have made.
Acts 17:29 NASB Therefore, since we are the descendants of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and thought.
|Cell Phone Worship|
The word translated here as skill is techne, from which we get the word technology. Much has been said and written about people glued to their phones. I don't think it is a stretch to say “bowing down to them” - Today.com .
Do we serve the works of our hands?
The Unholy Trinity
Ancient Israel served many false gods, Steve Shirley  lists 35 of them, but they seemed to serve three particular gods above the rest – Baal, Molech, and Ishtar - Jonathan Cahn *. They also go by other names. Let's look at them in ancient Israel and today.
Baal was the title of the false god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. The worship of Baal penetrated Jewish (Israelite) religious life during the period of the Judges (Judges 3:7), became common in Israel during the rule of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31-33), and also influenced Judah (2 Chronicles 28:1-2).
BaalIn artistic depictions and archaeological finds, Baal took the shape of a bull or ram and had associations with fertility.And of all the foreign gods the Israelites came into contact with, they appeared to struggle the most with worshipping this one - Who Is Baal .
Or how about this? A giant mechanical bull called Raging Bull was rolled out during the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Raging Bull stands 30 feet tall and has red glowing eyes. During the ceremony, the human performers all bowed down to Raging Bull after it was subdued by a woman. The Washington Standard  gave this story the headline “Now They Are Literally Bowing Down & Worshipping Baal Right In Front Of Our Eyes”. 72 nations participated in the Commonwealth Games, the international audience estimated at 1.5 billion people - FirstMats .
Baby placed in Molech's arms
TST has petitioned the state of Texas to allow Satanic Temple members the ability to continue receiving voluntary abortions as part of a religious ritual - The Satanic Temple .
One of the most complex and important Mesopotamian goddesses was Ishtar - The Collector .In the ancient world, it is difficult to overstate the importance of Inanna/Ishtar - World History .
She goes by other names, in the Bible she is called Astarte or Ashteroth, or Queen of Heaven; in Sumeria, she is called Inanna, and also other names in other places. Ishtar was known as the goddess of love, sex, and war, but not motherhood – or any of the traits normally associated with women, like nurturing, compassion, or comfort. The Bible doesn't say much about the specific practices of Ishtar worship, but it's not a secret, there are plenty of sources available today, sometimes contradictory however.
As America began to kick God out of its culture (one famous example is the Supreme Court banning school prayer in 1962 Wiki(School Prayer) ), the void was filled by Baal, Molech, and Ishtar. Legalizing abortion in 1973 was like an invitation to Molech. You could say that Ishtar brought the sexual revolution of the 1960's. It started as a movement to liberate women to be more independent. By the end of the decade, the sexual revolution embraced homosexuality. But this was nothing new to Ishtar. She was the original gender bender. Homosexuality among her male “priests” was common - Wiki(Inanna) . And that was only the beginning.
A hymn to Inana for Išme-Dagan (Išme-Dagan K)19-31. Inana was entrusted by Enlil and Ninlil with the capacity to gladden the heart of those who revere her in their established residences, but not to soothe the mood of those who do not revere her in their well-built houses; to turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man, to change one into the other, to make young women dress as men on their right side, to make young men dress as women on their left side, to put spindles into the hands of men - Sumerian Literature 
We now live in an age and culture where it is considered OK “to turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man, to change one into the other”.
Why should we be worried about idols? The Bible tells us they are nothing, right?
1Co 8:4 Therefore, concerning the eating of food sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing at all in the world, and that there is no God but one.
While it is true that the physical idol is nothing to fear (1 Corinthians 8:4), the diabolic presences behind them are something we should be concerned about. Just like John and every other apostle, prophet, and saint, Paul understood the spiritual realities behind idols; that these are demons, working toward the destruction of man by removing him from the worship of the one true God and engaging him in the worship of all that is evil and opposes the Almighty (1 Corinthians 10:20-22) - Christianity.com .
1 Co 10:19 YLT what then do I say? that an idol is anything? or that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything? — 20 (no,) but that the things that the nations sacrifice — they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not wish you to come into the fellowship of the demons.
We don't see idols in the same way as the ancient world. Surely WE don't serve THOSE idols. Maybe not in the same way as ancient Israel, but America is serving those demons. Whether people even know the names of these idols, they serve them. Remember, Rom 6:16 "you are slaves to the one you obey".
As in ancient Israel, so in America - after all, we are their descendants**. They turned away from God, and to fill the void created, they turned to other gods. They sacrificed their children, they served the Astheroth. America has also turned away from God, sacrificed millions of babies, and served Ishtar. God sent Israel into exile because of their idolatry, and He will do the same to America.
* Jonathan Cahn's book "Return Of The Gods" gives LOTS more information than I've presented here. My intent was to show some of the themes of his book, but not rely on it as my only source, rather to verify it from independent research.
** Prophecy can be better understood when you know the identity of the tribes of Israel today. The prophecies can't all be fulfilled by the tiny nation called Israel. Check out these sources for information on a very large topic.
THE “LOST” TEN TRIBES OF ISRAEL…FOUND! by Steve Collins 
The Tribes: The Israelite Origins of Western People by Yair Davidy 
The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy by United Church of God