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The golden calf - worshipped as if too God or as if it was a god?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by onajourney87, Feb 20, 2006.

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  1. onajourney87

    onajourney87 Contributor

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    First and formost, please do not get into icons and the like in this thread; I am not asking this because of icons or anything like that.

    Okay, now that that is outa the way... :p

    In Exodus 32, the Isrealites have a golden calf made and it is stated to the Isrealites that it is "your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt" (vs. 4). Later on, Aaron "built an altar in front of the calf and announced, 'Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.' " (vs. 5).

    Now my understanding of this passage has been that the sin of the people was that they worshipped the golden calf in place of God. However, a buddy of mine has suggested that the issue is not the Isrealites worshipping the calf in place of God, but worshipping God through the calf, a practice not expressly allowed by God (essentially, the Isrealites were in violation of the regulative principle of Worship).

    If anyone has any insight to this passage, I'd greatly appreciate it. :)
     
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  2. Yusuf Evans

    Yusuf Evans Well-Known Member

    +580
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    They were worshipping the calf as God, not through the calf to the Lord. Remember, the Israelites were whining the whole time they were traveling to their promised land. Pretty arrogant in my opinion, since the Lord had just freed them from hundreds of years of oppression and slavery. Now, Moses was on Mt. Sinai kicking it with God, and getting the low down on all the regulations that the Lord was going to established. The Hebrews, not having any patience and appearing to abandon the same God that freed them and fed them on their journey, decided to make something they could see and worship it instead. That's why the Lord let them wander in the desert for so long. :prayer:
     
  3. Asinner

    Asinner Seeking Salvation

    +324
    Eastern Orthodox
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    It was udder cow worship. ^_^


    God Bless
     
  4. Catholic Dude

    Catholic Dude .

    +63
    Catholic
    This event is where the modern day "Holy Cow" gots its name from.
     
  5. InnerPhyre

    InnerPhyre Well-Known Member

    +1,409
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single

    Grooooaaaan








    ^_^
     
  6. Caliban

    Caliban Guest

    +0
    32:5 And when Aaron saw [it], he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow [is] a feast to the LORD.


    in this translation it uses LORD but the original hebrew word used is eueil which means "to-Yahweh" so this calf was created for the glory and imagery of Yahweh. Two more golden calves were created in Dan and Bethel to attract the israelites with Jerobaom saying that they were made in the image of the LORD (kings 12:28-29) referring to the hebrew Kiela which means Elohim-of-you which is used in the same context as LORD.
     
  7. shinbits

    shinbits Well-Known Member

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    .
     
  8. DanielRB

    DanielRB Slave of Allah

    +128
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    Shalom, Seeking :wave:

    I believe that the golden calf was supposed to be a symbol of YHWH God. They refered to this calf as the god who brought them out of Egypt (Ex 32:4), and they celebrated a "feast to YHWH" (Ex 32:5), as has been already pointed out.

    I think that the incident of Gideon making a golden Ephod (Judges 8:27), the Terephim taken by the Danites (Judges 17), and the calves at Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12) were the same thing.

    The Canaanites worshipped El (the supreme God, a term often used for YHWH God) as "Bull-El", and so there can be some support that the Israelites (at least after the Exodus) were fusing some of the ideas about YHWH with the Canaanite El. Since the term is the same as the Biblical God (El, though not YHWH), one could see where the seeds of confusion were set: "Hey, the Canaanites worship El, the same God we worship! Let's worship El the same way they worship him, with the Golden Bull as a "symbol" of him!"

    Finally, Moses said:

    and,

    To me, this clearly indicates that some might be tempted to worship YHWH with carved images, but Moses specifically warns against doing so.

    In Messiah,

    Daniel
     
  9. eoe

    eoe Guest

    +0
    Thsi is easy. He is directly referring to the idols as the gods "rought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

    He is not saying "This(singlular) is a symbol" HE is saying These(plural) ARE your gods"

    Did they take away his symbols? No. They took away his gods that he had mande.
    Same thing here.

    He is no saying "These represent" he is directly and in no unclear way saying "behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."
     
  10. Caliban

    Caliban Guest

    +0


    Actually in hebrew the reference to "thy Gods" you put above is actually "Elohim-of-you" which translates as "the LORD thy GOD"
     
  11. eoe

    eoe Guest

    +0
    Interesting point - you are right on this.

    rephrase: he is directly stating that the calf *IS* Elohim.
     
  12. Iollain

    Iollain Jer 18:2-6

    +46
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    In Relationship

    :thumbsup:
     
  13. KEPLER

    KEPLER Crux sola est nostra theologia

    +214
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    Your buddy is incorrect. They were worshipping another (egyptian) God. They had turned their backs on YHWH.

    It is clear from verse 1 that they thought Moses was dead (or that he had abandoned them). Their conlcusion was that the God whom Moses was following around had abandoned them, and they ask Aaron for "gods who will lead us".

    Aaron makes the idol, and attributes to the idol what in fact YHWH had done (which is a textbook definiton of blasphemy, BTW).

    No possible way to interpret this passage any other way. The calf was not an idol of YHWH.

    Kepler
     
  14. Iollain

    Iollain Jer 18:2-6

    +46
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    If it was or not, it is not the way to worship God.
     
  15. Iollain

    Iollain Jer 18:2-6

    +46
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    I'm sure they had some idea of who God was as they were there and saw the miracles in Egypt, and coming out of Egypt.
     
  16. KEPLER

    KEPLER Crux sola est nostra theologia

    +214
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    I have no beef with puns...

    K
     
  17. Iollain

    Iollain Jer 18:2-6

    +46
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    Exd 32:4 And he received [them] at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
     
  18. KEPLER

    KEPLER Crux sola est nostra theologia

    +214
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    Exactly. IOW, it's not the God that Moses was following (and where is he anyway?), it's these gods who brought you out of Egypt....

    K
     
  19. Iollain

    Iollain Jer 18:2-6

    +46
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    there was only one calf
     
  20. KEPLER

    KEPLER Crux sola est nostra theologia

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    Likewise, there is only one YHWH.

    But Egypt had multiple gods...the calf is possibly an allusion to Apis, a type of Egyptian God who became incarnate, in the form of a calf, from a VIRGIN cow (hmmm), that was then raised to maturity into a Bull and sacrificed.

    [​IMG]
     
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