Friday, October 28, 2011

The golden calf

In Exod 32, what does the golden calf represent? Yahweh? Heathen deities? The terminology is ambiguous.

i) In v4 the Israelites say: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”

a) In one respect that might seem to denote Yahweh. After all, Yahweh was the one who delivered them from Egypt.

b) But notice the consistent use of plural verbs, nouns, and pronouns to describe the divine referent (vv1,4,8,23). The actual wording is polytheistic.

ii) Moreover, bovine cults were common in Egyptian and Mesopotamian religion. Cf. J. Currid, Exodus, 2:271. So that leaves open two possibilities:

a) The golden calf stands for some heathen deity or pagan pantheon.

b) The golden calf stands for Yahweh, but Yahweh assimilated to pagan iconography. A pagan depiction of the one true God.

iii) Furthermore, they thought Yahweh had abandoned them (v1), so they might well be seeking the assistance of other gods to guide them in the journey ahead. 

The common thread is syncretism. Blurring the boundaries. Indifference to which God or gods delivered them. Any one will do. The more the merrier.   

The reason the terminology is confusing is because their theology is confused. 

3 comments:

  1. To the question,

    "In Exod 32, what does the golden calf represent? Yahweh? Heathen deities? The terminology is ambiguous."

    I would answer it in two parts. To them, in their own fleshly carnal minds, it was to Yahweh. From God's point of view, however, He knew their attempt was another way of reaching Him, albeit, not according to His Law of Righteousness, which Law Moses was presently going to give; the Law is always holy, righteous and good even when given through Moses, that murderer and liar and thief, oh my! :)

    You are right making this point, either from yourself or reiterating another's:

    The reason the terminology is confusing is because their theology is confused.

    How I am coming at it "now" is rather different than before now that I've been enlightened and anointed with the Holy Spirit.

    Now that the Holy Spirit has opened up some understanding to me just how bad it was for me when seeking God, or god, on my own, before the enlightenment, I realize the confusion they were most certainly struggling with, especially when you factor a couple of verses into the mix, one from Leviticus and the other from Deuteronomy.

    Leviticus:
    Lev 17:7 So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.


    Deuteronomy:
    Deu 32:17 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.

    The whole miserable world just before the flood was turned into wickedness with wicked living.

    Who rejoiced in that but the demons?

    God has a strange way of laying out the reality of this world system, I suppose?

    And here we are now in the thick of things knowing full well what is about to happen in the created heavens and then on earth, such things as these prophetic insights written about long ago:

    Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
    Eph 1:8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
    Eph 1:9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
    Eph 1:10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.


    God, through Christ by the Holy Spirit is certainly not going to "unite" us to demons.

    Rather, we have this very ominous reality about what's about to be experienced by saints and sinners alike on the planet and in every nation when the full administration of that mystery written about above is manifested and matured among those of us here dwelling on the earth during the following days after this event occurs:

    Joh 12:28 Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven: "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
    Joh 12:29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
    Joh 12:30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not mine.
    Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
    Joh 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."


    It's apparent to me, when Christ returns, not everyone drawn to Him will like it!

    Heb 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
    Heb 9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

    ...

    Rev 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.


    Oh, go ahead then, if you want to bow down to goat demons through idols to worship the Living God!

    Not!

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  2. "The common thread is syncretism. Blurring the boundaries. Indifference to which God or gods delivered them. Any one will do. The more the merrier."

    Amen. And our culture is the same today. I suppose it is a constant the same old thing, with different "looks".

    here's one: http://dlsands.blogspot.com/2007/10/praying-for-peace-at-washington.html

    Enjoy your Lord's Day and weekend! Nothing like being in our Father's house is there.

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  3. A compilation of most if not all our posts on the topic of graven images and the second commandment can be found here.

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