Aaron and the golden calf


#1

Was Aaron trying to set up a different worship that was
“open” to the worship of the true God when he built an altar to
the Lord in front of the golden calf (Ex. 32:1-6)?

Did the calf represent Yahweh?

If so what does this tell us about imagery and Idol worship?


#2

Exodus
Chapter 32
1
When the people became aware of Moses’ delay in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will be our leader; as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him."
2
Aaron replied, "Have your wives and sons and daughters take off the golden earrings they are wearing, and bring them to me."
3
So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron,
4
who accepted their offering, and fashioning this gold with a graving tool, made a molten calf. Then they cried out, "This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt."
5
1 On seeing this, Aaron built an altar before the calf and proclaimed, "Tomorrow is a feast of the LORD."
6
Early the next day the people offered holocausts and brought peace offerings. Then they sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.


#3

No, the calft did not represent Yahweh (God).

And **they **said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt.

In their eyes, it wasn’t the God…but gods.

We only know the only true God who brought them out of Egypt…not other gods.


#4

Meant to represent Yahweh, otherwise why the altar why the statement “who brought you out of egypt”?


#5

Not insinuating anything just think this is a worthy read.

When Aaron made the golden calf for the Israelites, the golden calf represented Yahweh, the true God. The Israelites identified this golden calf as the God who brought them out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:4) which was Yahweh (Exodus 3:14-17).

And yes, it still angered God!.
Exodus 32:7-35

Exodus 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
Exodus 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.

god here used is the word 'elohiym, which by the way is used,2606 times and 2347 of those refering to God Almighty…notice how the “s” is added to the hebrew word by the translators, since it is a plural word to start with, but didn’t 2347 other times? Interesting bit of meat there Just because they didn’t use a capital letter in the English version, doesn’t mean anything at all.

So, the evidence is clear. Even the translation in my catholic bible says as such.


#6

1 [5] The calf . . . a feast of the LORD: from this it is clear that the golden calf was intended as an image, not of a false god, but of the LORD himself, his strength being symbolized by the strength of a young bull. The Israelites, however, had been forbidden to represent the Lord under any visible form. Cf Exodus 20:4.

usccb.org/nab/bible/exodus/exodus32.htm


#7

It is because “they…have adored it, and sacrificing victims to it, have said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt.”


#8

I beg to differ, it is because with their lack of faith they felt it necessary to have visible representation, much like the calfs placed at bethel and dan!

Eerily familiar…


#9

Simon, this is where I find a fault in your logic - the very first line:

Exodus
Chapter 32
1
*** When the people became aware of Moses’ delay in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will be our leader; as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt***, we do not know what has happened to him.”

They are already denying that it is the Lord who brought them out of Egypt. It hadn’t been that long ago that Yahweh had performed all those miracles and declared, “It is I who brought you out of Egypt, who lifted you up as on Eagle’s wings” (paraphrasing). Israel heard Yahweh say this, themselves.

Secondly, Yahweh himself accuses Israel in verse 8:

They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it, sacrificing to it and crying out, ‘This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’


#10

It is-reminds of people who worship a book rather than God.


#11

3
1 kings 12:

28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.


#12

Also, do you know of any parts after this episode where God says to Moses, “Say to my people…”, like He did previously throughout Exodus". From this point on, if I heard correctly, God says to Moses, “Say to your people…”

As another example, look at Exodus 33:1, "The LORD told Moses, "*You and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, are to go up from here to the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob I would give to their descendants.
*
Exodus 34:10 - *** "***Here, then," said the LORD, "is the covenant I will make. Before the eyes of all your people…

BTW, I’m not so sure if this point is germaine to the thread, I just find it interesting, and tells you how much the Israelites offended Yahweh. OK, maybe it is germaine to the thread. :slight_smile:


#13

If this is your attempt to prove that Catholics are falling into the same hole as the Israelites by having images of Jesus, Mary, and the Saints, your efforts will prove futile.

First, we must point out that God made no physical form for us to see in the OT. When Jesus came, we now do have a physical form of God to look for. For the Israelites, since they have not had a picture of God, they could build statues or images that could be anything. It could be a beast, a fish, a bird, etc. In Deut. 4:17-19 we see this happening.


 Deut. 5:8 says "Thou shall not make a graven image". This refers to idol worship. Catholics worship God, not the images that represent Him.

Going further back in Exodus, we read in 25:18-22 and 26:1,31 that God instructed an image of a golden cherubim be built. The Israelites did not worship this cherubim. Rather, the cherubim disposes their minds to the supernatural and thus draws them to God. Sounds Catholic eh?


  1 Kings 6:23-36; 7:27-39; 8:6-67 shows that Solomon's temple contained statues of cherubim as well as images of lions and oxen. Not once did God condemn the use of these statues and images in woship.


 Col. 1:15 tells us that Jesus Christ is the only image of God that we worship. The Greek for "image" is "eikon" which tells the reader that we do worship only one image, and that is Jesus Christ. This image is different from a painting or a statue because Jesus Christ is real. Jesus is God in human form, and since it's God, we are right to worship Jesus. Catholics have never worshipped a statue or an image, and we will never do so.

#14

7And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

Explain the alter John!


#15

Since it was forbidden to represent God as an idol, even if they WERE representing the REAL GOD with the calf, they were still sinning in doing so.

There is either worship of the true God, or the worship of gods (idols).

There is no worship “open to” God, while also “open to” gods. They are mutually exclusive things.

What are you trying to get at with this question?

Mahalo ke Akua…!
E pili mau na pomaikai iaoe. Aloha nui.


#16

The Altar was instructed by Yahweh in what, chapter 30?


#17

Exodus 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

The cherubim, as part of the Ark, were shadows pointing to the reality which was fulfilled in Christ.
God never proposed for these cherubim to be venerated by kissing, bowing down before them, burning of candles, or incensing, and the Israelites were never tempted to do so .

All but the High Priest were forbidden under the pain of death to even enter this room.
And the High priest’s every action while in the presence of God was strictly regimented according to the Lord’s own instruction.

The shadows of the Old Testament had their immediate use, but Jesus is their eternal reality.

Moses and his people didn’t have the revelation of Jesus we have today.

A last point to made here is that though God gave orders to make the bronze serpent and the cherubim, He never ordered the Catholic Church to make any images.


#18

What ya saying here fella?


#19

Exodus
Chapter 32
1
When the people became aware of Moses’ delay in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will be our leader; as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him."
2
Aaron replied, "Have your wives and sons and daughters take off the golden earrings they are wearing, and bring them to me."
3
So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron,
4
who accepted their offering, and fashioning this gold with a graving tool, made a molten calf. Then they cried out, “This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
**5
1 On seeing this, Aaron built an altar before the calf and proclaimed, “Tomorrow is a feast of the LORD.” **


#20

You had some very valid points until you made this false assumption, for you are ignoring the Spirit who guides the Church.


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