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Removing All Idolatry and Cleansing the Temple

John Collins07/15/2012
2 Kings 23 tells the story about how Josiah cleansed the temple of all idolatry after he read God's Word.

The people had filled the temple with all kinds of idolatry, from sacrificial vessels for Baal to child sacrifices unto Molech to male prostitutes for the Semitic breasted goddess of fertility, Asherah.  Josiah had read from the Book of the Covenant that he had found in the house of the Lord, and his heart and soul became dedicated to keeping the words of the covenant God had made with the children of Israel.

He gathered the priests and elders, prophets, and all the people great and small before the house of the Lord.  Josiah read the words of the Book of the Covenant to them, and all of the people joined in the covenant.

Josiah commanded the priests to bring all the vessels made for Baal, Asherah, and for all the host of heaven out of the temple to be burned.  Josiah himself deposed the priests who had participated in this idolatry.  Josiah beat the Asherah into dust after it was burned, and cast it upon the graves of the common people.  The houses of the male cult prostitutes were smashed down, the high places at the gates where offerings had been made were broken down, and the places of child sacrifice were destroyed.  The horses dedicated to the sun god were removed, the chariots of the sun were burned, and the alters to the sun god were destroyed.  

The temples were filled with the bones of the men who served in idolatry.  At Bethel, however, not all the graves were emptied.  When Josiah saw the monument next to certain tombs, he asked what the monument was for.  The men of Bethel told him that it was the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted Josiah's cleansing of the temple.  All the shrines were removed, and all the priests were sacrificed, but Josiah commanded that no man would move the bones of the man of God.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Have we cleansed ourselves of all idolatry?  When new religious movements spring up, bringing new ideas into the minds of the people they associate with, do we compare their beliefs scripturally before listening?  Do we listen to those who entangle the God of Abraham with the "breasted god" or those who teach ancient worship of the stars like the Gnostics do?  Has the teachings of Kaballah resurfaced into Christianity again today?  Have new idols came forth, things that we place before God?  Do we idolize great men of power, sports heroes, or women of beauty?  Is it time for the cleansing of our temple, which is now our bodies?