A few weeks ago I read a headline reporting something like,
“Baal comes to New York City.”
Sometimes I have to take things I see on social media with a grain of salt. At that time, I assumed someone retweeted an Onion story or cited an article out of the National Enquirer. Sadly, I was wrong. This morning several reputable news sources are reporting that replica arches to the entrance of the Temple of Baal will be erected in New York City and London. What’s the purpose? To show the world what the arches looked like prior to ISIS’ rampage through Syria. I’m certain many find this harmless, simply a teaching moment for those who have never seen the ancient ruins. But before we brush off the event, we need to dig a little deeper. Who was/is this Baal character anyway?
Baal was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. Sadly, the worship of Baal wasn’t limited to pagan Gentiles. From time to time, the Children of Israel slipped into idol worship, prostrating themselves before the god of Baal. The word Baal means “lord.” Baal was worshiped as a fertility god who was supposedly able to coax the earth to produce crops and people to produce children.
Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic prostitution in the temples. On some occasions, Baal demanded human sacrifice, usually the firstborn of the one making the sacrifice. Jeremiah 19:4-5 refers to this practice,
“For they have forsaken Me (God) and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Juda ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.”
Before the Hebrews crossed the Jordan to enter the Promised Land, God warned the Israelite people to steer clear of Canaan’s gods. Israel turned to idolatry anyway. In the book of I Kings, we see the Lord God confronting the paganism through His prophet Elijah. First, God showed that He, not Baal controlled nature by sending a drought lasting over three years (I Kings 17). Then, Elijah called for a showdown between the God of Israel and Baal. All day long, 450 prophets of Baal begged their god to send down fire from heaven. Baal remained silent. Upon Elijah’s heartfelt prayer, the God of Israel responded with fire immediately. (I Kings 18)
Interestingly enough, Jesus calls Satan “Beelzebub,” linking the devil to Baal-Zebub, a god of the Philistines. But let me make it clear, the Baalim referenced in the Old Testament were nothing more than demons masquerading as gods. In other words, any time the Children of Israel bowed to an idol of Baal, they participated in devil worship.
So, that’s what’s coming to New York City, a replica archway that welcomed people into the presence of a false deity…a gateway to worship the Father of Lies. Ultimately, this is a prolife issue.
The act of abortion, mirrors in part, idol worship discussed in the Old Testament. Cultures outside of Israel sacrificed to false gods, Baal and Molech. On occasion this required child sacrifice. Pagan cultures worshiped this god of Baal, sacrificing their children to him. But since Baal didn’t truly exist, the god of this world received glory in these sacrificial rituals. Here we are, a few thousand years later, cultured people conceal Baal, disguising him under the banner of an organization like Planned Parenthood. Certainly all of the darkest recesses of hell shriek with delight every time a helpless innocent baby is ripped limb by limb from the womb.
Three years ago, I woke to the Twitter trend, “Hail Satan.” I couldn’t imagine what transpired in the overnight hours. Pro-life advocates had congregated at the Texas Capitol Building and sang Amazing Grace. Rabidly pro-abortion advocates taunted the makeshift choir, drowning out the hymn by chanting “Hail Satan.” Erecting an arch to the god of Baal takes this hideous action a bit further. In Texas, those people were merely chanting “hail Satan,” but now an altar will be raised in his name in the most powerful and identifiable city in the world.
One day the chant “hail Satan” will cease. In fact, one day Jesus will shout the order,
“To hell, Satan.”
And forevermore he’ll dwell in the Lake of Fire. What a glorious day. But until then, we pray,
“Come quickly Lord Jesus.”