165 – BAAL
Who is Baal? It is the supreme god of the Canaanites, corresponding to Bel, Babylonian god. Both Baal and Bel are translated as “lord”. The Canaanite Baal was called Baal-semain, that is, Lord of heaven. Baal was, in Joshua’s time, the god sun, responsible for the sprouting and growth of the planted ground, the increase of the flocks, and the fecundity of families. In Exodus 23:26, Jehovah, the god of the Hebrews, promises to multiply his people. “There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land”. He had the role of watching over the fecundity of the families. The worship of Baal was adopted by the Israelites, especially on account of the licentiousness of his rites. Balak, king of the Moabites and an enemy of Israel, tried to contract the sorcerer Balaam to curse Israel, and failing to convince him, promoted the Baal worship, which involved plenty of sex, and the Israelites fell for it (Num. 25:1-9). In the times of the king Ahab and of Jezebel, the immoral worship of Baal permeated almost the entire nation of Israel. “Then Elijah said to the people. “I alone am left a prophet of Jehovah, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men” (1 Reis 18:22). In all the nation of Israel, which in the times of Elijah should not have less that 20 million people, only 7,000 were faithful to Jehovah; that is, the entire nation worshipped Baal and served him, except for 7,000 people (1 Kings 19:18).
Jehoavh had many names, which were:
Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord Will Provide) – Gen. 22:8-14
Jehovah-Nissi (Jehovah My Banner) – Ex. 17:15
Jehovah-Shalom (Jehovah Is Peace)
Jehovah-Shamma (Jehovah Is There)
Jehovah-Tsidkeno (Jehovah Our Righteousness)
Baal also had many names, which were:
Baal-zephon (Lord of vigilance) – Ex. 14:2,9 and Num. 33:7
Baal-berith (Lord of covenant) – Judg. 8:33
Baal-gad (Lord of wealth) – Josh. 11:17
Baal-hamon (Lord of the crowds) – Song of Sol. 8:11
Baal-hanan (Lord of courtesy)
There was war between Jehovah and Baal: Jehovah, forbidding, and Baal, offering. Baal would satisfy the sensual appetites of the people, and Jehovah would persecute and kill the followers of Baal. 18 million people worshipped Baal and only 7,000 worshipped Jehovah. Only 7,000 did not take part in the orgies offered to Baal. In this war, Jehovah lost to Baal. All the people of Israel, which were millions and millions, belonged to Baal. Jehovah could only get 7,000 faithful followers. Now, Jehovah entitled himself as the almighty (Gen. 17:1). No one escapes from his hands (Deut. 32:39). Whatever Jehovah plans, no one can frustrate (Is. 43:13). No one can reverse the plans of Jehovah (Is. 43:13).
Jehovah stated the fact that Israel is his inheritance (Deut. 32:9; 1 Sam. 10:1; Ps. 68:9; Ps. 74:2; Jer. 10:16; Jer. 51:19; Joel 3:2; Mal. 7:14). The inheritance of Jehovah went on to Baal’s hands. The almighty could not retain his inheritance. He lost everything. The gold of Jehovah, which was his people, was turned into Baal’s clay. “The precious sons of Zion, weighed against fine gold, how they are regarded as earthen jars, the work of a potter’s hands!” (Lam. 4:2). The gold of Jehovah turned into refuse (Is. 1:22),rejected silver (Jer. 6:30). “The house of Israel has become dross to Me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are the dross of silver” (Ezek. 22:18), and the refuse of Jehovah is the wealth of the inheritance of Baal. The dead god overcame the living God. El Shaddai, the almighty, who claims to fill heaven and earth (Jer. 23:24), lost his eternal inheritance to an idol, that has mouth but does not speak; has eyes but does not see; has feet, but does not walk, has ears, but does not listen(Ps. 115).
All of this would not have any bearing against him, if Jehovah had not spoken with a voice of thunder that no one can change what he has determined (Is. 14:27). He proclaimed with a voice of many waters that nothing escapes his powerful and divine hands, and he declared with a resounding voice, “I act and who can reverse it?” Is. 43:13.
Well, Baal, an idol of wood and stone, created by the ignorance and blindness of the barbarian nations, changed everything and destroyed the plans of Jehovah. Victory was so impressive, that the god Jehovah did not have any way out but to kill and destroy his people: So Baal kept the souls and Jehovah the corpses. Maybe this is the reason for the words of Isaiah, “And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath all mankind will come to bow before Me,” says Jehovah. Then they shall go forth and look on the corpses of men who have transgressed against Me. for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence to all mankind” (Is. 66:23-24).
And Baal, in the eternal silence of the god who does not speak nor listens, and who does not walk, will maybe think by the minds of men, saying, “But the souls are mine. Jehovah may keep the rotten flesh.”
If we choose to believe that Jehovah is really the god almighty, and that everything that happens in this world obeys his plans, then Baal was an instrument of Jehovah to destroy Israel, for Baal was more popular than Jehovah: “‘And it will come about in that day,’ declares Jehovah, ‘That you will call Me My Husband and will no longer call Me my Baal’” (Hos. 2:16). In the kingdom of Judah there were altars on the terrace of the houses, in the streets of Jerusalem, and in all the places and cities, “For your gods are as many as your cities, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal” (Jer. 11:13). “And the Chaldeans who are fighting against this city shall enter and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses where people have offered incense to Baal on their roofs” (Jer. 32:29).
None of this would have happened if Jehovah had kept his promise to cast away the idolater nations(Ex. 34:24; 33:2; Deut. 7:1; Lev. 18:24; 20:23). “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled” (Lev. 18:22-24).
Jehovah promised that he would cast away those corrupt and idolater nations, and he did not fulfill his promise. “NOW THESE ARE THE NATIONS WHICH JEHOVAH LEFT, TO TEST ISRAEL BY THEM […] THESE NATIONS ARE: THE FIVE LORDS OF THE PHILISTINES AND ALL THE CANAANITES AND THE SIDONEANS AND THE HIVITES WHO LIVED IN MOUNT LEBANON, FROM MOUNT BAAL-HERMON AS FAR AS LEBO-HAMATH” (Judg. 3:1,3). Jehovah let Baal stay in Canaan. This makes one think, being him the almighty.
by Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira