Did the First American Idol Contain a Warning of the Enemy to Come?

(Unsplash/Peter Bucks)
Editor's Note: This is part one of a two-part article. Stay tuned to Charisma News for part two, coming soon.

In 1880 an emissary of sorts came from Egypt to the new world. It arrived on a steamship in the Hudson River to crowds waving their hats and handkerchiefs as they peered at the ship, hoping to glimpse its celebrated passenger.

The ship's passenger was an emissary from a pharaoh who reigned 3,500 years before. However, this emissary was not a person but rather a 69-foot tall obelisk, which had just completed a cross-Atlantic journey from Alexandria.

The inscriptions on the obelisk bragged of this pharaoh's military conquests and his god-ordained destiny as the son of the sun god, Ra. But it also glorified the Egyptian gods Thot, Tum, Ra and Osiris. This practice was typical for these Egyptian monuments, which were thought to be inhabited by the spirit of the god to whom the obelisk was dedicated.

This particular obelisk, known as Cleopatra's Needle, was placed on a high place in Central Park, on the site of a new art museum in 1881. But was this obelisk art, or did it bring something more sinister to the United States?

A Foreign Idol in the Homeland

The Bible is clear that God despises idols. He is a jealous God and will not share our worship with false gods. The question is whether this was an idol for the Americans or simply art?

The answer lies in how they treated the monument. Let's start by examining the primary attributes of an idol.


There are four general types of idols described in the Bible. These include carved images, pillars, engraved stones and altars. According to Strong's, the Hebrew word for pillar, matstsebah, specifically refers to Egypt's obelisks in seven Scriptures in Deuteronomy, 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

Placement in a High Place

Idols are almost always associated with high places in the Bible. The Bible mentions high place(s) over 100 times in reference to idols. Cleopatra's Needle was placed on Graywacke Knoll in Central Park, one of Manhattan's highest places.


Idols are worshipped. The pharaoh who commissioned this obelisk was Thutmose III (1458-1425 BC). In addition to erecting obelisks, he instituted ritual ceremonies at their feet to present offerings to the god(s) they glorified.

While many of the people who attended the obelisk's dedication were not intentionally worshipping it, they did just that.

For the laying of its foundation's cornerstone, 9,000 Freemasons gathered for a grand parade and ceremony. According to eyewitnesses, every vantage point was taken, and the streets, balconies and windows were crowded. Every division of the Freemasons was headed by a plumed band that formed symbols as they walked.

Crowds surged to see its dedication, blocking stairways and sidewalks in all directions. And to celebrate its arrival, ladies wore mechanical lead pencils around their necks in the shape of the obelisk. New York merchants passed out trading cards in honor of the artifact. One such card hailed the erecting of an Egyptian obelisk in the new world as the "greatest achievement of the 19th century!"


Most significantly, a time capsule was placed under its steps, an offering of sorts. The steps at the obelisk's base are like a footstool to the gods of the monument.

Inside the capsule was an assortment of items including a Bible, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, an 1870 U.S. census, a proof set of coins from 1880, a dictionary, the complete works of Shakespeare, books, medals from U.S. military branches, a model propeller of a Civil War ship, industrial metals, an encyclopedia of engineering and documents from various agencies.

This may seem like a harmless collection of memorabilia; however, the nature of these items reveals that this assortment was anything but harmless.

Under this footstool, they placed representations of our God, our country's freedom, population, financial system, language, literature, media, military, industry, technology and government. This was, in essence, placing representations of the whole nation under the footstool of Egyptian gods!

The Repercussions of Worshipping Idols

God instructed Israel from the start that if they remained in His laws, they would receive His blessings. However, if they turned from Him and worshipped idols, there would be dire consequences. These consequences included famine, plagues and enemy attacks (unless they repented).

As punishment for idol worship, God divided Israel's land and sent enemies against their cities to breach their walls, destroy their cities and exile the people. This was in accordance with His Law (Lev. 19 and 20). Could God have been any more emphatic of the seriousness of idol worship?

And, as Israel was consecrated to God, the United States was also consecrated to God. After his inaugural address, George Washington and the members of the House and Senate did so at St. Paul's chapel in New York City in 1789.

So if God warned Israel of its idol worship, is it possible that God also left the U.S. a message encoded in the placement of this idol?

Read part two of this article to find out.

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Kevin Connelly is the author of "West Clouds Rising," a blog which posts signs of the end of this age and explanations of biblical prophecy.

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