he is a god”—I Kings 18: 27.
name of the heathen god Baal, including its various compounds, is used in the
Bible scores of times. It need
not surprise you to learn that a chapter on this subject may be incorporated
in a book on the Second Coming of Jesus.
Idol worshippers do not believe an idol itself to be a god.
Most of them believe that there are many gods, and their conception
of these gods is that they are living beings, but far away and unapproachable
by man. They think the idol to be
only a mediator. Hence, when one
idol or altar has been demolished, another may be erected in its place, while
the god himself remains unchanged. In
the mind of idol worshippers, there is one god of the sun, another of the
moon, another of the wind, another of love, another of judgment, and so on to
an endless variety. They believe
further that each of these gods once lived on earth and walked with men, that
later they were received up into the heavens, and that they now rule over
human destinies. Julius Caesar
accepted divine titles and honors while he lived, and was worshipped
after he was dead. Augustus
Caesar was accepted as a god, both before and after his death.
Marcus, Aurelius, Domitian, Nero, and a host of others were styled
“gods” while they lived, and were worshipped after they were dead.
In like manner, in the mind of the heathen, all the gods once lived on
earth, but have been received into the heavens, and now occupy the offices of
idea concerning the gods originated in God’s promise of a Redeemer (Gen. 3:
15). All nations have received inspiration
in some way from this promise, and so the heathen, as well as God’s people,
believe that the gods once walked with men.
The promise of the Second Coming of Jesus is also
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
in with heathen Mythology; so the heathen believe that there is coming a day
when the gods will again walk on earth with men.
Thus the heathen’s conception of their gods is in some points similar
to the Christian’s conception of Christ; and it is just here that many
heathen gods become antichrists.
From the many passages of Scripture in which Baal is mentioned, it is
evident that such was the conception of that heathen god.
Elijah, in speaking of Baal, said, “He is a god.”
That is, you take him (not it) to be a god.
Baal is a person who once lived on earth, and the heathen believed that
he was a god, while he lived, and that he was worthy of divine honors after
his death. Thousands of temples
and altars were erected to his worship during the time of Israel’s kingdom,
as was true in the case of the Caesars and others in later years.
Many people believed that Baal was born on earth as the promised
Redeemer, and they worshipped him as the Redeemer; and thus he is the
antichrist of the Old Testament.
Baal was thought to be the “sun god,” or “god of fire.”
Hence, we read that Ahaz and others made their sons to “pass through
the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen” (2 Ki. 16: 3; 2 Chr.
28: 3). This abominable practice
consisted of the offering of children in sacrifice to Baal.
When Elijah would prove to the people whether the Lord or Baal be the
God, he said, “The God that answereth by fire, let him be God.”—1 Kings
18: 24. Elijah desired to show
the people that Baal was not the God that they supposed him to be.
However, Elijah not one time denied Baal’s existence.
It is clear that he recognized the fact that Baal is a god, but not the
true god. So much is said in the
Bible concerning him, that we are prone to inquire after him; and so the
question arises: Who is Baal?
“Baal” is a contraction of the Hebrew word “Balal,” meaning
“to confound.” It is from
this same word that “Babel” is derived.
So, in fact, “Baal” and “Babel” come from the same word in the
Hebrew. At once, it becomes evi-
dent that Baal, inasmuch as he was once a man, was a Babylonian. Just as we are called Americans, from the name of the continent on which we live; just as others are called British, others, French, etc.; so this man was called “Baal,” because he was in some way connected with Babel. If, then, we accept Baal as being a man who was once connected with Babel, who, from among the Babylonians, is he most likely to be? Surely, the only logical conclusion is that he is no other than the founder of Babel. It is a mistake to suppose that the growth of idolatry was gradual. Its rise was sudden. It was brought into existence to counteract the religion of the true God. Its originator was no other than Nimrod. This man established a system of idol worship, and instituted divine honors in his own behalf. His purpose from the first was to counteract Noah’s religion. He set himself up in contrast with Noah’s God. His people believed him to be a god, and they gladly rallied to his standard and worshipped him in preference to all others. Nimrod died, but the seed he sowed has lived till this very day; and there are so many points of similarity between him and Baal that it is reasonable to suppose that the heathen god Baal is no other than the Babylonian Nimrod.
In Chapter XXIII we brought to light many points of similarity
between Nimrod and the final Antichrist, and we are now about to learn that
Baal, the antichrist of the Old Testament, can be identified to be Nimrod and
the final Antichrist of the last days.
Nimrod said, “Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach
to heaven.” Here was the
beginning of the “high places” of which we read so much in the Old
Testament, in connection with idol worship.
(See 1 Ki. 11:7; 2 Ki. 23: 15.) We
also read about the “groves” in connection with idol worship, and
especially in connection with the worship of Baal (1 Ki. 15: 13; 16: 33; 18:
19; 2 Kings 17: 16; Jud. 3: 7; 2 Chr 14: 3).
The word “grove” in the revised version is “Asherah.”
“The word signifies a tree, or a tall piece of timber carved
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
the shape of a tree, with various images in the carving to represent the
different things concerning the idol Baal and his wife, Ashtoreth, or Astarte.
“In later years when Manasseh was the king of Judah he went into
Baal‑worship, and built an asherah, or one of these Baal trees, in the
very temple in Jerusalem.
asherah or tree idol of Baal is exactly what we see in the totem pole of the
Indians in Alaska and some other localities.
I have seen several of these totem poles, and we have one here in Los
Angeles in the Indian village as a curiosity.
is built of wood about forty feet high and nearly the size of a flour barrel,
with images carved from top to bottom representing the heads of lizards,
serpents, foxes, vultures, turtles or fish, and all sorts of grotesque forms
of wild beasts.
totem poles are worshipped by the Alaskan Indians, and I am sure that these
poles have been built in all past generations by these tribes who long ago
doubtless came from Phoenicia or Sidon, or some Eastern country, and brought
their form of idolatry along with them.”—Dr. Watson, in Way of Faith.
can now see that the “groves” connected with idol worship in the Old
Testament were great images erected in honor of Baal’s wife.
This takes us back to the original plan in the days of Nimrod.
This man instituted idolatry first, and ordained himself the object of
all worship. He closely allied
his wife with himself in his idolatrous schemes.
In a previous chapter we have shown that the “name” to be placed on
the top of Nimrod’s tower was an image of his own wife, Semiramis.
Thus in the very beginning of the plan of idolatrous worship there
was an anti‑god who set himself up against the true Christ; while the
wife of this anti‑god was placed at the head of the ecclesiastical
organization to counteract the church of God, the idols themselves being made
in the image of this woman, with a dove on her head, with wings spread upward
the horns of the new moon. This
image, in the language of the time, would be called “Sema‑Rama.”
The original plan of idolatrous worship was launched upon the world.
Centuries came and went. Idolatry
continued. In the days of the
Assyrian kingdom, we find the “Sema‑Rama,” the Dove‑goddess,
to be the ensign of the Assyrian princes.
This symbol naturally and almost necessarily took the place of a god,
and in time became the holy mother, the great heavenly protectress, the giver
of prosperity and greatness to all who rallied under it.
Ashtaroth, or Astarte, is identified as Ishtar, or Nana, among the
Assyrian gods in inscriptions. Her
image has the crescent moon on her head.
She partly represents the planet Venus, partly the moon, the “queen
of heaven” (Jer. 7: 18; 44: 17‑19).
Her worship was very licentious and abominable.
Ashtaroth (Jud. 10: 6) was the name of the goddess herself, while
Asherah was “the grove,” the image or symbol of the goddess.
Hebrew, “Asher,” or “yashar,” means “to be straight, a
straight stem of a tree, living, or fixed upright.”
The active and passive powers of nature, generative and receptive,
suggested the idea of the male and female deities, Baal and Astarte.
The earliest worship of apostasy was that of the sun and moon.
Naturally this worship was grafted to the idols, Baal being the sun
god, and Astarte being the moon goddess (2 Kings 23: 5).
“Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar
of the Lord thy God, which thou shalt make thee.
Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the Lord thy God hateth.”—Deut.
16: 21, 22. The word “image”
is “statue, or pillar,” in the margin.
The pillar was a symbol of Baal, as the tree was a symbol of Astarte; a
stone marking his strength as the male, and a tree her fruitfulness.
Baalim is the plural form of Baal, and it is used to express the
various aspects of Baal, as different localities viewed him.
Baal, being the father and at the head of all false worship, of course,
there were many aspects in which he was worshipped.
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
The name of the Babylonian god “Bel” is only another contraction of
the word “Babel.” Bel is
mentioned many times in connection with the history of Babylon and it is folly
to think that he is any other than Baal.
The monuments of ancient Babel testify that the founder of Babel was
worshipped as “Bilu Nipru,” or Bel Nimrod, i.e., “the god of the
chase.” In course of time the
cognomen “Nimrod” was dropped, and he became known as only “Bel.”
This makes it clear that Nimrod, Baal, and Bel are all one and the
Now, if we were right in our identification of Nimrod and the final
antichrist, we can see that the one who first instituted false worship has
been at the head of all idolatry through the ages of the world, and that he
will appear again at the end of this age to lead in the world’s final
rebellion against righteousness.
Anything connected with Baal is an abomination in God’s sight.
Those who would follow Jehovah must separate themselves entirely from
everything pertaining to the nature of Baal.
God’s people are commanded to abstain from the practical use of
this name. “Make no mention of
the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”—Ex. 23:
13. It was in obedience to this
command that the orthodox feeling against this name among the Israelites
became so strong that they altered names in which it occurred.
Baal was the god of the Midianites.
Gideon took ten men and threw down the altar of Baal by night.
When the Midianites arose the next morning they found the altar of
Baal thrown down. “And
they said one to another, Who hath done this thing?
And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash
hath done this thing. Then the
men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because
he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove
that was by it. And Joash said
unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he
that will plead for him let him be put to death while it is yet
if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down
his altar. Therefore on that day
he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath
thrown down his, altar.”—Jud. 6: 29‑32.
This was indeed an appropriate name for Gideon, in one sense, for Baal,
being a god, should have been able to have plead for himself; but it was
a violation of Ex. 23: 13, therefore the orthodox Israelites changed his name
to Jerubbesheth (2 Sam. 11: 21). Meribbaal
was the son of Jonathan (1 Chron. 8: 34), but his name was changed to
Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 4: 4), because it contained the name of “Baal.”
Reuben changed the name of Baal‑meon (Num. 32: 38), for the same
Baal means lord, in the sense of owner, possessor.
“At that day, saith the Lord, thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call
me no more Baali.”—Hos. 2: 16. Although
each of these words mean about the same, Baali is applied to Baal, the Antichrist
of the Old Testament, and hence Jehovah refuses to be called by that name.
So in many Scriptures we find that the very name of this heathen god is
an abomination in God’s sight.
name is applied in the Bible to many localities.
When applied to places it sometimes refers to Baal’s worship there;
sometimes it means that the place possesses some attribute denoted by the
other part of the compound.
The city Baal‑Gad (Josh. 11: 17) derived its name from
“Baal”; and from “Gad,” the Babylonian god of fortune, Bel, standing
for the planet Jupiter. The Arabs
called it “the greater good fortune;” and “Meni,” the planet Venus,
stood for “the lesser good fortune.”
“But ye are they that forsake the word, that forget my holy mountain,
that prepare a table for that god, and that furnish the drink offering unto
that Meni.”—Isa. 65: 11. (Margin.) In
this verse the idea of the male and the female antichrist is mentioned.
Gad is only another name for Baal, the male god; while Meni
stands for Venus, the female goddess.
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
Baal‑Hamon means “the lord of a multitude.”
At this place Solomon had a vineyard with a multitude of vines.
Baal‑Hazor means “Baal’s village.”
This is the place where Absalom had a sheep farm, and to this place he
invited all the sons of David to feast at his sheepshearing, Amnon (2 Sam. 13:
Baal Perazin means “lord of breaches.”
It is so called because Jehovah there broke forth on David’s enemies,
the Philistines, as a breach of waters (2 Sam. 5: 20).
Formerly this was a high place of Baal’s idol, but henceforth it was
to be known as the place where Jehovah burst forth upon David’s idolatrous
There are a host of other places bearing this same name.
All of them received the name from Baal, of course.
All of these things go to show what a great god the people thought Baal
Belial means “worthlessness, recklessness, lawlessness.” It is not strictly a proper name, but seems to be used by way of personification. It is found in the Bible many times. It is derived from “Bel.” Belial, standing in contrast to Christ, denotes all Anti‑christian pollutions personified.
It is a fact that about all the principal deities of heathen mythology
can be traced back to Nimrod as their origin.
We have space to mention only a few of them.
First, we mention Dagon. This
was the national god of the Philistines (Jud. 16: 93).
He is represented as half man and half fish.
He is the divine principle supposed to produce the seeds of all things
from moisture. Philo says that
Dagon means “fruitfulness, the seed‑producing.”
Eusevius tells us that Dagon was the god of husbandry, seeds and
harvests. All of these things
connect closely with heathen mythology concerning Baal, the sun god, or the
giver of light and heat‑producing seed.
Dagon is identified with Oannes, the half fish god of the Babylonians.
Some of the ancient pictures of both of them still remain, in which
each is presented as a great fish outside,
within the fish, and joined to it as its more vital interior, is a giant,
standing upright in great dignity, with one hand lifted up as if calling for
attention. Both are said to have
arisen out of the sea, hence their fish nature.
Here we are reminded of Antichrist, who is to rise out of the sea (Rev.
13: 1) in the last days, and who, like Dagon, is to have a double nature, for
he will be a spirit incarnated. Oannes
is fabled to have taught the Babylonians the secrets of wisdom, especially the
elements of culture, civilization, and law, organizing them into a prosperous
commonwealth. An ancient bit of
history speaks of him thus: “He grew not old in wisdom, and the wise people
with his wisdom he filled.” This
identifies both Oannes and Dagon very closely with Nimrod.
Nimrod was the noted founder of idolatry, and it seems that, although
he is now dead, he has always been in the lead of idolatrous practices, and it
need not surprise you if he rises again as the final Antichrist.
When once we accept as truth these thoughts that I am presenting, how
beautifully all the Bible says about these gods harmonizes.
We read: “When the Philistines took the Ark of God, they brought it
into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was
fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord.
And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was
fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord; and the head
of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the
threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.
Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into
Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he
destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts
thereof. And when the men of
Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.”— 1 Sam. 5:
2‑7. We see here the effect
that the presence of the Ark of God had upon the image of Dagon, and we can
not help but notice the analogy between this contrast and the contrast of
Christ and the Antichrist.
Next we wish to mention Diana of the Ephesians.
She is identical with Astarte, of whom we spoke above.
She represented the generative and nutritive powers of nature.
The lower part of her image was a rude block covered with mystic
inscriptions and animals. It was
believed that this image fell from heaven as a aerolite perhaps.
Thus we see the similarity between this image and the image of Astarte,
wife of Baal, and that of Semiramis, wife of Nimrod.
There was a temple of Diana at Ephesus.
It was founded 580 B. C., and burned in 356 B. C. by Erastratus, a
young man. He burned it that his
name might be memorialized. This
temple was reckoned as one of the seven wonders of the world.
It was rebuilt in the reign of Alexander the Great.
No bloody sacrifices were allowed in this temple.
Games were celebrated at Ephesus in honor of Diana, and her worship was
the tie that united politically Ephesus and other places.
This closely identifies her religion with that of Antichrist.
There was a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver
shrines for Diana, and by this occupation he was gaining great wealth.
Paul came through his section preaching the gospel of Christ; so, of
course, there was a great stir about that way.
Demetrius called together the workmen of like occupation, and said:
“Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
Moreover, ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost
throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people,
saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: so that not only this
our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the
great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be
destroyed, whom all Asia and the world
And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried
out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”—Acts 19: 25‑28.
Then the whole city was set into confusion, and they took Paul and his
companions and rushed them to the theatre.
Here they had a great commotion, and cried for about two hours:
“Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”
The town clerk quieted them, and said: “Ye men of Ephesus, what man
is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper
of the great goddess Diana, and the image which fell down from Jupiter?
Seeing then that these things can not be spoken against, ye ought to be
quiet and to do nothing rashly.” When
idolatry was introduced a woman was placed at the head of the church, and so
we find traces of the female deity through the ages.
Another god that was always prominent in heathen mythology was
Bacchus, the god of wine. He
figures among the Greek and Roman gods as the great overflowing, healing and
directing power. This name is
derived from Bar‑chus, meaning the son of Cush.
Turning to Gen. 10: 8, we learn that Nimrod was the son of Cush.
Still another god prominent in Roman mythology was Phaethon.
He was the sun god. Tradition
connects him with the plains of Shinar. Thus
he is identified with both Baal and Nimrod.
Thus we might go on almost to an endless variety with these heathen gods, and show that the history of the most of them can be traced back to Nimrod. However, I think that I have carried the argument far enough to establish the end sought, viz., that Nimrod, the founder of idolatry, has led in idolatrous worship through the ages, and that he will be the final Antichrist at the end