What was the golden calf spoken of in the scriptures?
Out of all the possible images, why did Aaron choose a golden calf?
What does the golden calf represent?
Are we worshiping a golden calf today?
We read in the scriptures that Aaron made a golden calf. Later in 1 Kings, chapter 12, we read of Jeroboam who made golden calves in like manner. But why?
When Aaron made the golden calf, it appears that everyone accepted it. There is no record of anyone who objected to the worship of the golden calf! Even after coming out of the land of Israel with great and mighty power such we have never experienced.
Why did Aaron choose an image of a calf? He could have chose anything.
The word calf is translated from the Hebrew word, moschos: a calf, heifer, young bull (Strong’s).
Therefore, we can easily substitute the word, calf, for “young bull”.
But the question still remains… why a young bull?
Aaron walked and talked with Moses. He saw the amazing miracles. He saw the wonderful works of the Lord that so many of us would love to see. He knew the Lord in a way that most would not. He knew that the “young bull” was a symbol of God Himself.
After all, Aaron made the image of the young bull, and said, “Behold, your GOD”!
The word used for “God” here is Elohim, which is the same word used for God in most of the Bible.
Look at Revelation chapter 4:6…In the middle of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. 7 The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle.
Aaron knew what he was doing! …At least in part. He knew that the calf (young bull) was a symbol of God.
But what was the significance of the golden calf?
Aaron took that which was spiritual (invisible) and made it visible. He took the “calf” from the spiritual realms at per Rev 4, and molded it into a physical, material image.
It was his intent to make “God” known to the people in a way they could see and feel in the flesh! In other words, Aaron’s purpose was to make God into someone, or something that the people could see without spiritual revelation. He wanted to make God into something that appealed to the material world.
Aaron made it of gold for the same reason. Gold is abundant in heaven. Gold is the symbol of holiness and immortality. That is why gold was used in the construction of the holiest articles of the temple. That is why gold was used in the construction of Solomon’s temple. Gold was the symbol of purity, holiness, and immortality.
In summary, Aaron made “God” into an image that any sinful man could see and appreciate. You didn’t need supernatural revelation. You didn’t need to be “holy”. You didn’t need to turn from your sins! In fact, this “God” doesn’t even speak up against sin! It just sits there. It is beautiful, pleasant to the senses. It represents prosperity. It represents a God that accepts anything.
People sacrificed to the golden calf. And as could be expected, the calf took it all! It never complained. It never refused a sacrifice. And it never had a problem with the sensual pleasures that the people were indulging in.
This brings me to my final point: Today, we worship a golden calf!
Today we have the same problem as they did then. Our leader, Jesus ascended – just as Moses ascended the mountain. Our chief church leaders (Aaron) have a burning desire to present God to the people as a God who looks beautiful – a God that can be easily understood by any carnal man – and “best” of all – a God who does not lash out against our sinful practices.
This God is a god of pure “love”, who never judges sin! After all this God (our golden calf) is too beautiful, and pleasant to judge!
The people indulged in all kinds of sin because they believed that “God” was OK with it. After all, “God” (golden calf) didn’t show any displeasure. The golden calf didn’t judge them for it. It just sat there looking pretty.
That is exactly the way it is in our churches today. We have set up golden calves of “God” who looks beautiful to the common man, does not need any spiritual revelation to see, does not require holiness and righteous living, and worst of all – does not speak out against the sin that has permeated our society. It is a “God” who is pleasant to behold! It is a “God” who represents blessings, prosperity and “gold” for us – no matter what we do!
Most of the developed world have churches on virtually every corner, steeped in hypocrisy. In the west, the greatest objection to going to church is “they are all hypocrites”. I have spent a vast amount of time preaching on the streets, and talking to many people one-on-one. The greatest objection to the notion of attending church is it is full of hypocrites.
Muslims likewise condemn Christians saying, “they are too unholy!”
I spent a considerable amount of time researching why so many “Christians” are becoming Muslims. By far the most common reason is because of the way the church does not set moral standards like Islam does. One Caucasian lady, who grew up in church, and now wears a traditional Muslim head covering expressed such displeasure about the church. She said that when she was a church-going Christian she could go to the bar. She could sleep around. She could smoke and drink. That was OK. But now that she is a Muslim she cannot do those things – thus heaping reproach upon the Name of Christ through the indifference of the church towards sin. This, my friend, should be the other way around!
I have heard it time and time again.
This is sad. Yet it is of our own doing. We do not preach against sin like Enoch did, like Noah did, like Moses did, like David did, like Isaiah did, like Jeremiah did, like Daniel did, like Jesus did, and like the apostles did!
It is the responsibility of every pastor, priest, and church leader to preach righteousness, turning from sin, cleansing your heart and life from all iniquity… because after all, we can have an amazing ministry, and yet meet our end when Jesus says, “Yes, you prophesied. Yes, you healed people, Yes, you spoke in tongues. Yes, you did many mighty works BUT – I don’t know you! You worker of iniquity. You who live without a law! Away from me into eternal fire!”
Don’t think He cannot or will not say it. He PROMISED He would!