Somewhat of an offshoot of we live in a polytheistic culture.

I’m beginning to gain a greater understanding of the ancient Israel and their interaction with the surrounding cultures.

  • El is a generic term for the word god that was generally used to refer to any god such as the ones mentioned below. Most of the names of the Hebrew God are based on it, such as Elohim, El Shaddai, El Elyon, and so on.
  • Ba’al and the derivatives are actually a term that means “lord” much like Adon/Adonai mean. It’s was also one of the Hebrew words for husband, which the Scripture righteously lauds Sarah for calling Abraham lord from Genesis and 1 Peter 3.
  • Moloch is actually a derivatve from ‘melek‘ which in Hebrew means “king.” A melek means the king. Somewhat of a primer on the background of the Amalekites from the OT.
  • “Virgin” Anat is a violent war goddess and lover of Ba’al (at least one of the versions of him). The original cross dresser perhaps now that we see women in the armed forces
  • Asherah the ‘Queen of heaven’ and ‘goddess of the sea.’ Also, called Qudesh which is a term for ‘holiness.’ Interestingly, artifacts have been found from ancient Israel which depict “Yahweh and his Asherah” and variations like that. Perhaps all of these are semi-references to Gen 1:2b “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
  • Chemosh of the Moabites probably means destroyer, subduer, or fish god, but where it was derived from is the Babylonian Shamosh who is the god of law, justice and salvation.
  • Dagon the fish god (Samson knocked over his temple in Philistine) is probably derived from grain and thus associated with fertility and agriculture.

Essentially, what we have a bunch of usurpers. The gods are basically take on qualities of the real God who created everything. Perhaps it is not exactly a surprise because God warned Israel with the first commandment: “you shall have no other gods before me.”

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

It could also be said that Christianity has its fair share of imposters such as Islam. I don’t think it to be a coincidence that Satan or Lucifer is known as the great deceiver. Satan is a counterfeiter of God.

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will [k]know them by their fruits. [l]Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will [m]know them by their fruits.

Jesus warns us of false prophets among other things as well.

In tracing out some of this, there are some other interesting tidbits on Israel’s archaeological past. The Egyptians probably called the Israelites the Shasu which means “those who move on foot.” The word we would use for it now is nomads. There are Egyptian references to “the land Shasu of YHW.” Since they had distinctly different dress from the Egyptians it can be inferred that they originated from somewhere else. This would make sense given the Scripture tells us Abraham was a nomadic cattle herder, and his descendants eventually made their way to Egypt.

Supposedly, tracking YHWH back further you get the origin from a root word such as HWY which means “he blows.” Although scholars attribute this to a “weather divinity,” I believe it probably more likely refers to God breathing life into man: Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living [f]being.

The primary attribute of God in the OT is YHWH (among other epithets) is the [Life] Breather, which attests to the creation. The primary attribute of God in the NT is our Father. How cool is that.

Elohim in Genesis is plural of God, which refers to the “triune” nature Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The “-im” ending is masculine, and although it’s a plural it uses a singular verb. They all co-exist as one and act as one. John 1 refers to the fact that Jesus was there in the beginning.

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7 Responses to Usurpers

  1. donalgraeme says:

    Good idea to list the various false gods mentioned in scripture.

  2. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    While I only have it from one source and, it is the BBC at that, I thought Ashtoreth was wife to El and mother to Ba’al, the weather god. The three were Cannaanite deities.

  3. @fuzzie:

    Depending on the era, very possible. Ashtoreth is mentioned over the course of 700 years of Israel’s history and, for a non-text-based religion, things will shift radically over the course of a few generations. So, at one point in time, that could be true. At another, not. We see this with Egypt studies, though those stretch over a much further time frame. Though we can see radical shifts in Greek myths over even a 100-200 years and those were written down.

  4. Don Quixote says:

    Ba’al and the derivatives are actually a term that means “lord” much like Adon/Adonai mean.

    And it’s also one of the Hebrew words for husband. It is correctly translated as Lord, husband, owner, and master. It’s a reflection on the relationship between husband and wife. The husband being LORD over his wife. This ‘fun-fact’ is met with opposition if you try to explain it to most christians. But it doesn’t end with the OT, Sara is the example for the NT wives because she called Abraham “Lord”. She humbly submitted to Abraham’s dominance.

  5. @ fuzziewuzziebear

    There’s 4-5+ versions of Asherah, Ba’al, and El depending on the particular Canaanite culture. (And different spellings too)

  6. @ Don Quixote

    Yeah, I should really add that into the original post as I did read that.

  7. Pingback: Christianity, chivalry, feminism, game, complementarianism, and egalitarianism | Christianity and masculinity

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