What is the Link between “Idols, gods, and demons?”


What is the Link between “Idols, gods, and demons?”

© 2023 C. O. Bishop

Psalm 106:37, 38; 1st Corinthians 8:1-6; 2nd Corinthians 4:4

“Thou Shalt Have No Other God Before Me”

We have sometimes asked the question, “What (or who) are the “other gods?” What ere the gods which the heathen nations served, and which Israel was warned to avoid?”

The LORD (the God of Israel) repeated the warning many times, that Israel must not serve other gods. Yet, in Isaiah 43:10, and other places, that same God of Israel (YHWH, “the Great I AM,”) says that there are no other gods…there never have been and never will be!

What other gods?

So, what is going on with the various other “gods,” mentioned, (sometimes by name,) in the Old Testament? (The scriptures mention Nisroch, Dagon, Baal (Baalim, plural), and Astarte (Ashtoreth, plural.) In addition, there are Moloch (sometimes spelled Molech, or Milcom), ‘The Queen of Heaven,” Tammuz, and others, by name.)

It sometimes confuses us, a little, to see them all named in various contexts, and then to see in other contexts that God, the Creator says that “there are no other gods.” God understands our confusion, so, He explains it to us:

The Physical Idols are not the Only Issue

In 2nd Corinthians 8:1-6, we see that the physical idols themselves, at least, are nothing. They are just a piece of wood, stone, metal, plastic, or whatever. But, in that passage, Paul says that, for believers, there is another problem. There is a “testimony issue” involved, regarding the “eating of meats sacrificed to idols.”

If your host (or whomever) told you that the meat in question was sacrificed to an idol, then don’t eat it. In that way, they cannot claim that “you took part in a sacrifice to an idol.” But, he also said, “if you are not told, don’t ask.” (The meat is not hurt by the sacrifice, nor are you. But your testimony could be damaged.)

The Spirits behind the Idols

However, in Psalm 106:37, 38, God gives us another, grimmer perspective. There, we see that there is a “spirit-entity” behind the worship of those idols. The service of those spirits is what is so strongly condemned. Notice that in verse 37, it says “…they sacrificed their sons and daughters to devils (literally ‘hairy ones…goat-gods.’)” As if in explanation, in verse 38, it says they sacrificed these innocent children “…to the idols of Canaan.”

Therefore, the idols themselves were just physical materials. But, as we understood from the passage in 2nd Corinthians 8, there were spirits represented by those idols. God concludes that, in reality, the people were sacrificing their children to those demonic spirits!

The God of this World

Finally, in 2nd Corinthians 4:4, Paul refers to Satan as “the god of this world.” (Hinduism is said to have 200 million gods…it is hard for me to even to imagine it. And there are thousands of other religions.) Ultimately, the millions of idols and false deities in the world all can be traced back to Beelzebub, the “prince of the demons.” (It literally means, the ‘lord of the flies.’) The same spirit is also simply called Satan (meaning, “the adversary.”)

The adversary (also called “the devil,” as we are told, in 1st Peter 5:8) is “prowling about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” He is not omnipresent, but he has millions of “henchmen” in the persons of the demonic host. As believers, we need have no fear of him. However we are warned that he never sleeps. He is always watching for the opportunity to entangle believers in sin, so as to render them ineffective for God. So, we are admonished to be sober and vigilant, watching against such traps. (Sober means “take this seriously.” Vigilant means “be watchful.”)

Covetousness and Idolatry

As believers, we may never find “classic idolatry” (with an image we worship) to be a problem. But, in Colossians 3:5, we see something that should reduce our complacency. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”

The usual word for “covetousness,” (Greek philargurion… “the love of silver”) is not used here. Rather, it is the broader term (Greek pleonexian…”greed” or “avarice”) used, here. God says that our constant yearning for “more,” (whether for physical things or worldly honor or whatever,) is a form of idolatry. We don’t see it that way, but God’s clear warning is there for us to read.

What Conclusion can we Draw?

We have to draw the conclusion, that, just as there was a “spirit entity” behind the idols of the ancient world, there is also a Spirit enticing us to greed. The whole pattern of Worldly pursuit draws us away from the path the Lord is walking, and in which He desires to lead His people.

There is a passage describing people who followed that lure. Philippians 3:19 says, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”

You see, these people had chosen an “attachment to things.” They never learned a genuine “attachment to the Savior.” And, the result is everlasting shame, instead of the glory of God. We really want to avoid any form of idolatry in our lives. Be warned: even though it is invisible to us, this is reality!

What Does the Bible say about “Judging?”

What about “Judging?”

© 2023 C. O. Bishop

We usually think of “judging,” and “judgment,” only in a negative sense. The unbelieving World claims that “all judgment is bad.” But, Jesus is the Judge of all things, and He is completely GOOD. Abraham recognized Him, face to face, and addressed Him as “the Judge of all the earth.” “(Genesis 18:25…compare John 5:22) therefore, we see that NOT “all judgment” is a bad thing. Furthermore, the specific Greek word being translated often determines the usage.

Primary Greek Root: Krinō  

For a primary example, the New Testament uses the verb “krino” to mean, “to judge.” This includes, but it is not limited to, the concept of condemning. In addition, it also includes the concept of making a good decision or discerning between good and bad. Next, it can also include making an authoritative decree , in a civil matter, as a Judge; or in church matters, making a weighty decision that calls for good judgment.

Finally, it can even involve something as common as just stating an opinion. (The New Testament uses this root 110 times as some form of krino, and translated it as “judge” 87 times.) So, in the following passages, we will see examples of each of those ideas, and the particular grammatical changes in the Greek root.

Other Root Words

Moreover, translators have also translated a few other Greek roots in the New Testament, as “Judge,” or “Judgment,” but these words are far less common:

The New Testament translates the Greek word Krima second-most-often as “Judge.” Krima means “to judge or condemn.” (We derive our words, “crime,” “criminal,” and “incriminate” from this root.) (The New testament uses Krima 29 times… and it translates it as “judgment” 13 times.)

Other Greek Roots:

Next, Hegeomai means “to consider.” The New Testament only uses it once, carrying the idea of “regarding, or considering.” Hebrews 11:11 (referring to the faith of Sara) says, “…because she judged Him faithful Who had promised.” We rarely use this form in modern English, but it was once quite common. (“We judged that a quart of water ought to be enough to prime the pump…”)

There are others, (dikē)  related to the concept of the judgment decreed by a ruler. (The New Testament only uses it in that regard nine times.)

And a few others are related to the concept of “knowledge…(thinking:)” three from the Greek root (“gnosko.”) Or the concept of perception, one from the Greek word (“aesthesis.”)

Various meanings of “Judgement from th e Root Word “Krinō

The majority of the occurrences of “judgment” in the New Testament are from the root “Krinō.

Judge notMatthew 7:1 (most commonly quoted.) (krinete with negative prefix mē.) but “krima” (condemnation) appears in the next verse “with what judgment (krima) you judge (krino) So, in this context, the “krino” judgment is connected to condemnation.

Judging, as righteous, ordained JudgesMatthew 19:28 (Jesus said that the apostles would serve as judges over Israel.) (krinontes…judging)

Judge: (krino, krinete) (meaning, to “give an opinion:” especially an authoritative opinion…a judgment) Acts 13:47, and Acts 15:19.

Judge,  (krinate) (meaning “sit in Judgment”…in court) John 18:31

Several Examples in One Passage

1st Corinthians 6:1-8 supplies us with several different examples, so it is a very good passage within which to see the various uses of the verb “krino.

1Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law (krinesthai) before the unjust, and not before the saints?

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge (krinousin)the world? and if the world shall be judged (krinetai) by you, are ye unworthy to judge (kritērion)the smallest matters?

Know ye not that we shall judge (krinoumen) angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

If then ye have judgments (kritēria) of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge (the word “judge” actually is not in the original, it is implied by the context…it just means “set them up”) who are least esteemed in the church.

I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge (diakrinai) between his brethren?

But brother goeth to law (krinetai)with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law (krinata)one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?

Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.


We see, obviously, that there are several different ideas lumped under the Biblical word “judgment,” and not all of them are negative. God advised some, He commanded others, (for example, 1st Corinthians 5:1-6) and He prohibited still others (See Romans 14:1-4.) We must read carefully and understand the context, to know what “judgment” is in question.