Who was Baal?...
Baal was the name of an ancient Phoenician god that was worshipped primarily in the area that we know as modern day Syria and northern Canaan. Tragically Baal worship infiltrated Israel and became widespread during the reign of king Ahab (1 Kings 16, 2 Chron. 28). The worship of Baal was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic prostitution in the temples. At times, appeasing Baal required human sacrifice, usually the firstborn of the one making the sacrifice (Jeremiah 19:5). The priests of Baal appealed to their god in rites of wild abandon, which included loud, ecstatic cries and self-inflicted injury (1 Kings 18:28). Long before Israel entered the Promised Land God had warned them about worshipping Canaan’s gods, but Israel did so anyway. The results were always the same… eventually the nation of Israel experienced the judgment of God for their idolatry. Recently in Palmyra, Syria, ISIS insurgents destroyed all but the archway entrance into the ancient remains of the temple of Baal.
So why give you that bit of biblical history?... Because, I thought you might find it interesting that The New York Times in an article dated March 19, 2016 reported that, and I quote, “NEXT [April] month, the Temple of Baal will come to Times Square. Reproductions of the 50-foot arch that formed the temple’s entrance are to be installed in New York and in London, a tribute to the 2,000-year-old structure…” The writer of the article went on to say, “It will be uncanny and thrilling to see this arch from an ancient desert civilization set against the bright lights of New York.”
A bit ironic isn’t it that the two locations Time Square in New York and Trafalgar Square in London symbolize the cultural intersection of America and Europe. Further, it is a reflection of more than the preservation of an ancient archaeological artifact. It also reflects the continued decline of the foundational mores of Western Civilization. If the goal were just to make us all more aware of the remains of ancient history, there are plenty of other, less disturbing, archaeological remains that could be usefully reconstructed for that purpose. But the temple of Baal? Remember what Baal worship was all about. Adults would come to the alter of Baal where infants would be burned alive as a sacrificial offering and in the midst of the screams of their own children burning, men and women would then engage in all sorts of perverse orgies and sexual sins.
The fact is, it is a mirror of our modern culture in many ways. And now we are going to pay tribute under the guise of archaeological preservation to this ancient false god. For the record sake, I am for preserving ancient sites; I’ve been to hundreds and I in no way affirm the destruction of these sites by ISIS. But to reproduce them in our culture and nation and then herald them, as one of the backers behind the effort said, “as a constructive response to what has happened there…” is just frightening. If God judged Israel for its affirmation of Baal, what makes America believe it will get a pass?
Only two things will change America… Repentance and Revival! I hope you are praying for both.
As you do, remember that God is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your Pastor!!!
For God’s Glory Alone,