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Μάρκος Αυρήλιος

Σάββατο, 20 Οκτωβρίου 2012

BAAL: Pagan God of Fertility

Reading: Romans chapter 1

Introduction

The Elijah Message, we learned in the previous Sermon Note, was a call to forsake the worship of the god BAAL (plural Baalim) and to return to the commandments of YAHWEH, the Creator of the mighty universe. The Old Testament abounds with warnings against Baal worship. According to the Apostle Paul those warnings "are there for our admonition on whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor.10:11). But who is Baal? and what is Baal worship? Were you to walk into any church and ask the audience 'What is Baal worship?' you would probably not find many believers who knew. To be sure most Bible students know that the god Baal is mentioned over and over again in the Bible: but what Baal worship is, few have any idea. Just to refresh your memories about the prophet Elijah I will read one short passage from scripture about him.
1 Kings 18: 17: And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
18: And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.

Today I have decided to speak about this particular enemy - Baal and Baalim. Who or What is Baal? and What is Baal worship? Why is the Most High so incensed when His people worship Baal? Are we, perhaps, wrong in supposing that Baal was some ancient god that has nothing to do with modern man? Or could it be that Baal worship is something of which our society is guilty? Let us find out. The word Baalim is the Hebrew plural for BAAL, the pagan god of nature and fertility. I quote from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible article 'BAAL' (emphasis mine)
"... Baal worship apparently had its origin in the belief that every tract of ground owed its productivity to a supernatural being, or baal, that dwelt there. The farmers probably thought that from the Baalim, or fertility gods, of various regions came the increase of crops, fruit and cattle ... The worship of Baal was accompanied with lascivious rites (1 Kings 14:24), the sacrifice of children in the fire by parents (Jer.19:5), and kissing the image (1 Kings 19:18; Hos 13:2). Baal was often associated with the goddess Astoreth (Judg.2:13), and in the vicinity of his altar there was often an Asherah. (Judg.6:30; 1 Kings 16:32-33,R.V.)"
Of the goddess ASTORETH the same dictionary says:
"... She was the goddess of sexual love, maternity and fertility. Prostitution as a religious rite in the service of this goddess under various names is widely attested. The identification of 'Ashtart with Aphrodite is evidence of her sexual character."
"Ashtaroth (plural of Astoreth). In connection with the plural of Baal, a general designation for the female divinities of the Canaanites ..."
"Asherah refers to a wooden pole or mast which stood at Canaanite places of worship (Exo.34:13); originally it was, perhaps, the trunk of a tree with branches chopped off, and was regarded as the wooden symbol of the goddess Asherah, who like Ashtoreth, was a type of fertility ... It was erected beside the altar of Baal. (Judg 6:25, 28)"
We can see from these quotes that Baal and Ashtaroth worship incorporated illegal sexual acts and that the Asherah was nothing but a phallic symbol. That word lascivious means lewd, lustful, licentious, lecherous, bawdy. In other words Baal worship was accompanied with sinful sexual acts; behaviour expressly forbidden in Jehovah's law. That is the first fact I wish to make this morning. Let us now find out what those forbidden sexual acts were.

1. Divine Laws Concerning Sexual Behaviour

We live in a sex crazed world. Sex is the most talked about, sung about and written about subject in the world. The news and advertising media, not to mention the entertainment world, are all obsessed with sex. Sex is big business! Few will doubt this assessment. But what does the Most High think about modern man's pre-occupation with sex? What does His law say concerning sexual matters? Has He given mankind any instructions as to how we should organise our sex lives? For the benefit of all who preach the Elijah Message let me quote the Bible on the rights and wrongs of sexual behaviour. Currently the laws of many countries conflict with what I now have to say and write. But the following is Jehovah's law: and preachers these days will certainly need courage to proclaim it.
Adultery: Sexual act with a person other than your spouse
Exodus 20: 14: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Leviticus 20: 10: And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Proverbs 6: 32: But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
Jeremiah 23: 14: I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

Fornication/Whoredom: sexual acts between unmarried persons for pleasure or profit.
Leviticus 19: 29: Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.
1 Corinthians 6: 18: Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

Illegal sexual acts between close relatives
Deuteronomy 27: 22: Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother.
Deuteronomy 27: 23: Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law.
Leviticus 20: 12: And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.

Homosexuality
Leviticus 20: 13: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Deuteronomy 23: 17: There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
Genesis 13: 13: But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Genesis 18: 20: And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
21: I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans writes about popular sins, particularly that of homosexuality, which he says comes as a direct result of rejecting the evidence of creation and refusing to believe in the Creator.
Romans 1: 18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19: Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23: And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24: Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26: For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29: Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30: Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31: Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Bestiality
Exodus 22: 19: Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.
Leviticus 18: 23: Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
Leviticus 20: 16: And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Deuteronomy 27: 21: Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen.

2. In the Days of Noah

In Noah's day people were pre-occupied with food, drink and sex. Restraint was removed and appetite became a god. Noah preached a warning message for 120 years: but to little avail. The population thought the old man was crazy: that he had no idea of what he was talking about. It is exactly the same today. People are obsessed with food, drink and sex. Another disturbing factor is that it will soon be against the law to condemn the sexual behaviour of others. Does this mean that we who preach the Elijah Message should be silent? I think not. Our commission is to warn mankind of coming judgement: and this matter of sexual sin is in the forefront of our message. The Master warns:
Matthew 24: 37: But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38: For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Luke 17: 26: And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27: They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with eating, drinking and getting married; the human race would cease to exist without these things. What the Master is saying here is that in the last days, just prior to his return, mankind would give itself over:' become obsessed with gluttony, drunkenness and sinful sexual behaviour. When I use the word 'sinful' I mean behaviour which violates Divine Law.

3. In the Days of Lot

A similar situation developed in the days when the patriarch Lot lived in Sodom; a town which gave its name to the homosexual act between males. The Saviour warns:
Luke 17: 28: Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29: But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30: Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.


Bear in mind that:
Leviticus 20: 13: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination ...

4. Baal-Peor

Notwithstanding these divine commandments the men of Israel plunged headlong into sexual debauchery with the daughters of Moab.
Numbers 25: 1: And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
2: And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
3: And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
4: And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.
5: And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor.
6: And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
7: And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
8: And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
9: And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.

5. Immorality in Israel

Judges 10: 6: And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.
1 Kings 14: 21: And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
22: And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
23: For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, (Asherah) on every high hill, and under every green tree.
24: And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

2 Kings 17: 16: And they (Israel) left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
2 Kings 21: 3: For he (Manasseh) built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

Priests / Pastors / Prophets

Jeremiah 2: 8: The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

6. Judgement of Baal Worshippers

Baal worshippers are scheduled for a terrible end; as prefigured in the following two accounts about Jehu and Josiah. Remember that these are 'prophetic dramas' which have a wider application than most believers remotely imagine. They also apply to our generation. There will be no escape if repentance is not sought soon!
2 Kings 10: 18: And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much.
19: Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal.
20: And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it.
21: And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another.
22: And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments.
23: And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but the worshippers of Baal only.
24: And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him.
25: And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal.
26: And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them.
27: And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day.
28: Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.

2 Kings 23: 1: And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
2: And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.
3: And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

4: And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.
5: And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
6: And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.
7: And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
8: And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beer-sheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.
9: Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
10: And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
11: And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
12: And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.
13: And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
14: And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.
15: Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.

7. Overcomers

I am happy to announce that many true believers will refuse to be taken in by the current popular trend in sinful sex. In scriptural terms these believers are called 'overcomers.' End-time overcomers are prefigured by the 7000 who remained faithful to Yahweh in the days of Ahab and Jezebel, when the majority in Israel had plunged into Baal worship and sinful sex.
1 Kings 19: 18: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
Revelation 2: 7: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 2: 17: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Revelation 2: 26: And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.
Revelation 3: 5: He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Revelation 3: 12: Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Revelation 21: 7: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

  • Diet
    The Bible makes it plain what meats a believer is allowed to eat. (Lev.11) Not only are we expressly commanded to abstain from unclean meats. But gluttony and drunkenness are also forbidden.
  • Dress
    It is said that the clothes one wears are simply the outward expression of what is in the mind. How should believers dress? The answer is - with modesty. To be sure you may be fashion conscious: but a believer's dress must be modest and never sexually provocative.
  • Entertainment
    A true believer's reading and viewing must be closely guarded against the brain-washing influence of Baal worship (illegal sex).
  • Sexual Behaviour
    There is absolutely no place in Yahweh's church for practicing adulterers, fornicators, rapists, abusers of children or homosexuals. Those who are committing these sins must repent and forsake them: only then will they be welcome in Yahweh's church. Failure to repent and forsake sin attracts the wrath of the Almighty God! For more information see sermon entitled Sex and the Bible.
    Hebrews 13: 4: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Summary

  • Baal worship is not a bygone phenomenon. It is widespread in these last days. Baal worship is giving free-reign to the carnal nature. It expresses itself in gluttony, drunkenness and sinful sexual acts.
  • The Elijah Message calls people back to obedience of the commandments of Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel. On the physical level it denounces sexual sin. On the spiritual level it denounces the observance of pagan festivals. Read Stewarton Bible School's online booklet, The Sacred Calendar of the God of Israel.
  • Though the vast majority of mankind will continue to worship Baal, there will be many 'overcomers,' believers who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Endeavour to be amongst that remnant few. 
 http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/sbs777/snotes/note1112.html

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