3- Occult in Canaan

And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth

(Judges 2:13)

Although God thwarted Nimrod’s devious scheming, many believe he and his mother became legendary sacred deities in the Canaanite pantheon: he as Bel, Baal, Molech, Tammuz, etc; her as Astarte, Ashtaroth, and the Queen of Heaven. Needless to say their influence as gods continued much longer than a mere Babylonian kingship would have. As people migrated into the regions of Canaan and beyond, they planted menacing seed Satan has reaped fruit from for thousands of years.          Howard Vos [1] helps us understand why Israel’s devotion to this false god was so egregious to the Lord.

 

The land of Canaan was devoted to the worship of Baal. The Semitic word Baal means “lord” or “master” and the Canaanites believed that Baal was in absolute control over nature and over people. They believed that the only god who was superior to Baal was his father El, but Baal was the principal deity of the land. It was he who was in charge of the rain and the weather, and man’s survival was dependent upon Baal’s provision. Baal was worshiped as the giver of life. Baal (ba’al) was an ancient Canaanite and Mesopotamian deity associated with agriculture. He was believed to be the “giver of life” and mankind was dependant upon him for providing what was necessary to sustain the farms, flocks and herds. He was also called the “son of Dagon” (who was in control of the grain), and “Hadad” the storm god who would provide plentiful rains after hearing his voice (thunder).  “One may question that those ancient enemies of Israel were as evil as the Bible claims that they were, but even a superficial glance at Canaanite religion alone ably demonstrates their iniquity. Base sex worship was prevalent, and religious prostitution even commanded; human sacrifice was common; and it was a frequent practice–in an effort to placate their gods–to kill young children and bury them in the foundations of a house or public building at the time of construction: Joshua 6:26 “In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn…”

 

Intermingling

Before Israel took possession of the promised land, God warned them about co-mingling and co-marrying with the Canaanites: When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who maketh his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or who useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter of mediums, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD; and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee (Dt. 18:9-12). From the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. William MacDonald  illuminates this passage for us:

 

The Israelites were forbidden to have any contact with anyone who claimed to communicate with the unseen world (EDITOR’S NOTE: God hasn’t changed His mind). Eight means of communication with the spirit world are given. They are called abominations by God. They include: one who practices witchcraft (a witch or a warlock), . . . a soothsayer (a seer; a false prophet), . . . one who interprets omens (a palm-reader; a fortune-teller; an astrologer), . . . a sorcerer (a witchdoctor), . . . one who conjures spells (a wizard), . . . a medium (spirit medium), . . . a spiritist (a séance leader), . . . one who calls up the dead (a necromancer). Some of these “professions” overlap. Tragically, this nearly 3,400 year-old prohibition is just as much needed in “enlightened” modern times as it was long ago.

 

                                  GOD’S WORD SAYS: 

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they

have rebelled against me (Isaiah 1:2)

 

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward (Isaiah 1:4). The dark history of Israel is observably commensurate with her departure from the Word of God. This is always the case dear friend! Her priests were compromised, her prophets were empty, and by these, the people were  weakened and deceived. Saul was a horrid disappointment; David was a flawed man after God’s own heart; but Solomon was the one that really sowed the seeds of apostasy by defying God’s decree against intermarrying foreign wives (Gen. 24:3; Deut. 7:2-4). This is the defiant act that inevitably turned away his heart from the Lord (1 Kings 11:3) bringing idolatry into the sanctuary. Following his reign the kingdom split and both political life and spiritual life suffered horridly under two renegade kings: His son Rehoboam (Southern two tribes) and servant Jeroboam (northern 10 tribes). While both were despicable Jeroboam arose from Egypt to gain the throne where he became known as a diabolical king that was responsible for replacing God’s altars and instituting the occult worship of Baal as the national religion:

“He took the bold step of rending the religious unity of the nation, which was as yet unimpaired, asunder. He caused two golden figures of Mnevis, the sacred calf, to be made and set up at the two extremities of his kingdom, one at Dan and the other at Bethel. (Smith’s Bible Dictionary)

 

This Divided Kingdom Stage, as Dr. Harold Willmington refers to it, was a sad time in the nation’s history as reflected by their leadership and the people following them. Judah (the 2 southern tribes) had 18 kings (plus a usurper queen Athaliah) that yielded only a small group of 6 righteous kings. Israel- on the other hand- (the ten tribes to the North) had 19 evil kings that led the people into every manner of occult evil in the seed pattern of the infamous occult worshiper, Jeroboam.

 

Idolatry

Overall, no nation on earth has ever been as blessed or as burdensome to God as has Israel. If you’re new to OT studies, you might not be aware of just how vile these people and their practices became. Regardless of the pleading from her prophets, Israel followed evil kings influenced by the Jeroboam spirit and the unholy alliances of Ahab and Jezebel who singlehandedly elevated blasphemy to an art form through disobedience to the Law and by destroying God’s altars, installing priests and all their abominable occult implements for worshipping Baal, Molech, and other Canaanite deities, murdering every prophet that dared tell them it was wrong,  (BEWARE PREACHER, that same spirit is alive in churches today).

And they 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. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only (2 Kings 17:16-18).

From the beginning of this booklet my intention has been to instill in your heart the importance of God’s Word as the uncontested evidence for doctrine and duty as opposed to emotion! Departure from the Word of God is entrance into all manner of evil. To all but the most reprehensible among us, this injunction should be obvious; Jewish history notwithstanding. It’s clear that when Israel obeyed God’s Word He blessed them. When they gravitated toward the indigenous occult activities involving Baal and Molech the blessing defaulted to a curse, eventually leading them into captivity. It always works that way! Amos writes: But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun, your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts (Amos 5:26-27).

 

The Spirit of Molech Today

Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me (Jeremiah 2:21)? Why do we in the USA- founded upon Judeo-Christian principles- think we can defile our land with the same vile sins Israel was judged for (Lev. 18; 20; Rom. 1:18-32). We can’t and we aren’t!

One of the sins defiling America (Lev. 18:25) is the lingering spirit of Molech where worshipers would take their precious children and make them pass through the fire (Lev. 18:21). According to Jewish tradition, the image of Molech, the “fire god,” was constructed of brass, hollow within, and was situated outside of Jerusalem. His face was that of a calf, and his hands stretched forth and open like a man who is receiving an offering from his neighbor. And they kindled its belly with fire, and the priests took the babe and put it into the hands of Molech, where muffled beneath the thundering chorus of frenzied drumming the baby screamed until it died.

Today this same ghoulish “rite” of child sacrifice is performed in America hundreds of thousands of times per year when the outstretched hands of a doctor who swore to protect life reach into a sacrificing mother’s womb and kills a child through abortion. [2]

Beware those of you who not only practice this but vote into office those supporting keeping it legal that God’s Word is clear and unchanging regarding this spirit: And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD (Leviticus 18:21).

 

GOD’S WORD SAYS:

But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks (Isaiah 57:3-5)?

[1] Howard E. Vos, “An Introduction To Bible Archaeology” Revised ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1953) pp. 17-19.

[2] Some of this adapted from Smith’s Bible Dictionary.

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