Angelic Conflict part 192: Human history (idolatry) – Rom 1:21-23; Exo 12:12; 1Ki 12:26-29; Luk 10:41-42; Phi 4:19-20; Psa 37:4-5.

Class Outline:

Title: Angelic Conflict part 192: Human history (idolatry) - ROM 1:21-23; EXO 12:12; 1KI 12:26-29; LUK 10:41-42; PHI 4:19-20; PSA 37:4-5.


I, Pencil
My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read


I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.


Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that's all I do.


You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery—more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, "We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders."


I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that's too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.


Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.


Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye—there's some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser.


Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my background.


My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!


The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are among my antecedents.


Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill's power!


Don't overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation.


Once in the pencil factory—,000,000 in machinery and building, all capital accumulated by thrifty and saving parents of mine—each slat is given eight grooves by a complex machine, after which another machine lays leads in every other slat, applies glue, and places another slat atop—a lead sandwich, so to speak. Seven brothers and I are mechanically carved from this "wood-clinched" sandwich.


My "lead" itself—it contains no lead at all—is complex. The graphite is mined in Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in my birth—and the harbor pilots.


The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated tallow—animal fats chemically reacted with sulfuric acid. After passing through numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions—as from a sausage grinder-cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and hydrogenated natural fats.


My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all the ingredients of lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the lacquer is made a beautiful yellow involve the skills of more persons than one can enumerate!


Observe the labeling. That's a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black?


My bit of metal—the ferrule—is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the center of my ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.


Then there's my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as "the plug," the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient called "factice" is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by reacting rape-seed oil from the Dutch East Indies with sulfur chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes. Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice comes from Italy; and the pigment which gives "the plug" its color is cadmium sulfide.


Does anyone wish to challenge my earlier assertion that no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me?

Actually, millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of whom even knows more than a very few of the others. Now, you may say that I go too far in relating the picker of a coffee berry in far off Brazil and food growers elsewhere to my creation; that this is an extreme position. I shall stand by my claim. There isn't a single person in all these millions, including the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny, infinitesimal bit of know-how. From the standpoint of know-how the only difference between the miner of graphite in Ceylon and the logger in Oregon is in the type of know-how. Neither the miner nor the logger can be dispensed with, any more than can the chemist at the factory or the worker in the oil field—paraffin being a by-product of petroleum.


Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit of metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be among these items.


There is a fact still more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred.


It has been said that "only God can make a tree." Why do we agree with this? Isn't it because we realize that we ourselves could not make one? Indeed, can we even describe a tree? We cannot, except in superficial terms. We can say, for instance, that a certain molecular configuration manifests itself as a tree. But what mind is there among men that could even record, let alone direct, the constant changes in molecules that transpire in the life span of a tree? Such a feat is utterly unthinkable!


ISA 44:19

And no one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, "I have burned half of it in the fire, and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!"


ISA 41:7

So the craftsman encourages the smelter,

And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, "It is good";

And he fastens it with nails, That it should not totter.


I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.


The above is what I meant when writing, "If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing." For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand—that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding—then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith. [end quote]


The essence of our fallen world reveals the grace and mercy and law of God in freedom as it is available to mankind, as well as them that oppose God and His word and do so in a very tempting and deceitful way, and eventually, in a tyrannical way.


Satan makes an alliance with those whom God curses. All idols are going to be shown to be ridiculous.


NUM 33:4

while the Egyptians were burying all their first-born whom the Lord  had struck down among them. The Lord  had also executed judgments on their gods.


Egypt is a type of the world system and satan is the prince of the world and he was the prince of Egypt, influencing them through false gods.


A hundred times in the course of the Bible narrative we have the record of the appeal to the first standard of power displayed when the Lord broke the bow of Egypt and set the mighty of that land to naught.


Egypt is nothing without the Nile River. It is the source of water for man, beast, and agriculture. It is 4,258 miles long and flows from south to north.


The history of humanity’s descent into devil worship is clear and detailed.


ROM 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,


ROM 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.


ROM 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.


Some like to imagine that there are places in the world where there was no knowledge of God, in dense jungles and so forth. From Adam and Eve to Cain and Able and to all their progeny the knowledge of God has been before them. Cain knew just as much about Him as Able. Noah's 3 sons knew him and so did their children. Shem still lived when Abram was a boy. And as they moved out from the middle east throughout the entire world the knowledge of God was passed on and some received that knowledge with faith and others did not and eventually degraded into idol worship. The reason is the same and it is given in the next verse. Though they knew Him they did not honor Him as God and neither did they give thanks for Him.


ROM 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.


ROM 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,


ISA 55:8-9

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.


We recognize this principle in common physics, but are unwilling to recognize it in spiritual matters. If the whole distance to be measured is ten thousand miles, anyone can see that it is absurd to argue over a quarter of an inch and three-sixteenths of an inch. But the difference between a low-grade moron and Einstein is less than a fraction of an inch if you measure the difference from either of them all the way to God. Infinite omniscience is in our God, and any man who puts his feeble thoughts up against the all-wisdom of God is a simple fool.


The fools are everywhere and many of them are in Christian pulpits teaching liberal philosophy with Christian vocabulary to tickle the ears of those who hear and gladly accepting their money for doing so.


ROM 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,


ROM 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.


Is it any wonder that when Darwin published The Origin of the Species that mankind took this book as their new and better Bible?


Darwin said: "Man, with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect, which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system — with all these exalted powers — man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."


Here is perhaps as great an illustration of the truth of ROM 1:21 as any that could be found. The African savage might walk over a mountain side upon which he found littered the wreckage of a giant airplane. He would then lift his eyes to the skies and see the great stratoliner rising from the airport and think to himself: "How wonderful. That noble machine with its ability to fly, and to bear men quickly from one place to another, yet still bears on its bodily frame the indelible stamp of its lowly origin. It has come from bits of wreckage like these I see. I have compared the nuts and bolts and rivets of the great plane with these bits I have picked from the mountain side. I have found a piston in the great engine that is undoubtedly of the same origin as the one I hold in my hand. I am forced to conclude that the stratoliner is the development of these lowly pieces." What fools, not to see that man is wreckage. What fools not to comprehend that Plato and Aristotle are but the rubbish of Adam, and that Athens is but the degeneration of the Garden of Eden. [Barnhouse's Exposition on Romans]


ROM 1:21-23 is a perfect description of the religion of Egypt. All of their many gods came through a trinity of what Egyptians worshiped; the land, the water, and the sky.


At certain seasons of the year the river overflows its banks and deposits a rich topsoil which allows the land to bring forth abundance. And there is almost never any rain in Egypt, and the clear blue sky above, with its cloudless sun, drew the final area of worship: river, land, and sky.


Satan, so hungry for worship, had brought his principalities and powers into the land in great force and was collecting all of the adoration that both the cultured and educated leaders and the simple farm folk were capable of offering. It was against these gods that the Lord was to execute judgment.


EXO 12:12

'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments —  I am the Lord.


But they're not real. They are images. They are false gods in the minds of the people.


What God is attempting to destroy is the image of power ascribed to these false gods that mankind believe in their own minds.


god of the Nile - Hapi, one of the chief gods of Egypt. God turned the Nile to blood.

According to myth, the river flowed from Hapi´s home (near the First Cataract) through the heavens and the land of the dead before emerging from a cave somewhere in the mountains. The inundation was referred to as the "Arrival of Hapi" and during the flood the Egyptians would place statues of the god in the towns and cities so that they could implore his assistance at that time. They would throw offerings into the river at places sacred to the god in order to ensure the inundation was not too low (leaving insufficient water for the crops) or too high (risking the destruction of their mud-brick homes).


The water of the Nile and every vessel and pot was turned the blood. The fish died and they gave off a putrid stink.


godess of fertility - Heket who had the head of a frog. God made frogs come out of the Nile and infest the whole land.

Heqet (Heket) was a goddess of childbirth and fertility in Ancient Egypt. She was depicted as a frog, or a woman with the head of a frog. The meaning of her name is not certain, but possibly derived from the word "heqa" meaning "ruler" or "scepter". Frogs symbolized fruitfulness and new life, and it is thought that the her priestesses were trained midwives.


According to one tradition, she was the wife of Khnum, the creator god. He created each person on his potter's wheel, and she breathed life into them before they were placed in their mother's womb. Heqet holds an ankh (symbolizing life).


Pregnant women wore amulets depicting Heqet for protection, and during the Middle Kingdom ritual ivory knives and clappers inscribed with her name were used to ward off evil during childbirth. She could also bring on labor and offer protection during labor.


They would not kill the frogs but then God had them all die and again, just like the dead fish, their decaying bodies must have turned the fields, people’s homes, the banks of the Nile into a stinking horror.


The alluvial deposits from the annual inundations made the soil around the Nile some of the richest in the world. Nowhere can there be more bountiful crops.


NUM 11:5-6

"We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt [slaves], the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna."


god of the earth - Geb. God had gnats infect the soil, man and beast.

Scarab beetle (dung beetle) - Egyptians imagined that one rolled the sun across the sky. God made swarms of insects.


The dung beetle rolls a perfect sphere of animal dung across the ground to their holes in the ground. They naturally equated this with the movement of the sun across the sky.

The bull god - Apis. One bull was treated like a king for 25 years to ensure the health of all other livestock. God brought pestilence upon all livestock.

This is the god that Israel and Aaron fashioned with Moses delayed at Sinai. Apparently he was the most revered of the Egyptian gods in Israel and the bull was also used as a symbol of fertility in Canaanite religion.


1KI 12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom will return to the house of David.


1KI 12:27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah."


1KI 12:28 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt."


1KI 12:29 And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.