The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity



And it is curious as well as important to notice how idolatry aided in this bad development. EB xv.1

First, they did know God, but they rejected Him. They chose not to glorify Him as God, nor to be thankful, nor even to recognize Him: “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” 23 Then idols were put in His place. But these idols were but the creation of their own perverse imaginations. The idols were only the imaging of their own false conceptions, and so were but the representations of themselves. And when they had put these idols in the place of God, the idols being but the representations of themselves, it was perfectly easy and also perfectly natural and logical that they should presently put themselves in the place of the idols, as the agents of the idol, and the executors of its will which from the beginning was but their own will cast from the occasion upon the idol. EB xv.2

For, strictly and truly speaking, literally the idol was nothing. All that it could possibly be was what its creators and worshipers conceived it to be. This conception was altogether their own. Then, whatever will, character, or purpose the idol could possibly have was but the will, character, or purpose of the one who made it or worshiped it. And the idol being helpless to execute this will or to manifest either character or purpose it fell inevitably to the maker or worshiper of the idol, himself to make this manifest. And since the idol had been put in the place of God, and since all the idol could ever possibly be was simply what its maker and worshiper himself was, this was simply to put the man, the worshiper of the idol, in the place of God. And when apostasy had reached this point, confusion and turbulence had reached the point at which it was only the power of force that could prevail; and the force which prevailed most, maintained its place and power by the assertion of dominion over others according to the will and purpose of the one man who exerted it. Thus arose monarchy in the world. In the nature of the case, the monarch was in the place of God. EB xv.3

Nor is this mere theory; not yet is it merely philosophy. It is fact—fact according to the records of the times in which this bad development occurred. For in the earliest records of the race, in totally and widely separated places, such is the record. In earliest records in the plain of Shinar, the cradle of the race of the Flood, in every instance the ruler bears not the title of king, but of “viceroy” of the idol god, which is held to be truly king. These records reveal clearly that there had been a time when these same people recognized god as the only King and the only Ruler. These records also reveal the fact that these people had not yet gone so far in apostasy that the one in authority, the one who exercised rulership, could dare to assume positively the title of king. But the idol which had been put in the place of God could be made to bear God’s title of King and true Ruler; and then the man who would usurp the place and prerogative of God over men, could deftly insinuate himself as viceroy, vicegerent, or substitute, of the idol god who, in the figment of men, still bore the dignity and title of king. EB xvi.1

Such also is the record in earliest Assyria, in earliest Egypt, and even among our own ancient Anglo-Saxon progenitors. The persistence of the principle of illustrated in the conception of king in our own English language; for “among the English, at least, the kingly houses all claimed descent from the blood of the gods. Every king was a son of Woden.” EB xvi.2

Thus, by these widely separated and independent records, it is demonstrated that the concept of kingship in the human race was originally recognized as belonging only to God. And this so exclusively that when idols were put in the place of God (which idols were themselves nothing, but were in fact the reflection of the maker of the idols), this title must abide exclusively with the figment, which stood in the place of God. EB xvi.3