Deuteronomy 16:22, You shall not erect for yourselves a pillar, which YHVH your Elohim hates. The word pillar literally means “stand (upright), be set (over), establish.” One of the derivatives of this word is pillar or standing image. Such pillars were erected for pagan religious purposes (see TWOT). C.J. Koster in his book The Final Restoration (reprinted as Come Out of Her My People) cites historical evidence for relating these pillars to the Egyptian and Babylonian obelisk, which was connected to sun worship (see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obelisk )and the phallic symbol (also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallic_architecture). He states that these pillars were commonly erected at the entrances to pagan temples (also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obelisk) as fertility symbols in honor of the sun deity (Koster. p. 79).
Even as an Egyptian obelisk of this sort sits in the very center of the Catholic Church’s St. Peter’s Square in Rome, so, according to Koster, it is traditional for obelisk-shaped steeples to be found on Christian churches to this day in the form of a steeple (Ibid., p. 81). Richard Rives in his book, Too Long In the Sun, makes the same connection between the Egyptian obelisk, Canaanite standing pillars and the Christian church steeple (p. 136).
What is the point here? YHVH commanded Israel to destroy these pagan symbols and to have nothing to do with them. They were abominations that would defile YHVH’s set-apart people. Have his people heeded his command? Many of these remnants of ancient pagan cultic practices remain in both the Protestant and Catholic churches to this day (Easter/Ishtar, Christmas/Saturnalia, the Christmas tree/Tamuz tree, the Christmas wreath/a pagan fertility symbol, Lent, Easter eggs and rabbits, and the list goes on and on).
Does YHVH’s command to his people of the end times to come out of spiritual Babylon (see Rev 18:4) now take on a new meaning to you?
In that piece you quoted Duet.16.22 as: You shall not erect for yourselves a pillar [Heb. matstsebah], which YHVH your Elohim hates.
The original Hebrew is: Lo-Heta l’cha Ashrah bal-atz etzel maz’bah HaShem El-hynu asher taashe-lach vl’o takim l’ach mtzobah asher shane HaShem E-lohynu. This should be translated: “You shall not set up any wooden pillars to Asharah beside the altar you build to of HaShem your G-d and you shall not erect sacred stones, for these HaShem, your G-d hates.”
These were symbols of Pagan gods of Israel, Asharah a fertility god and Baal a Phoenician Deity. Thus, these are highly specific structures tied to very specific forms of false worship. Both required human sacrifice which is why HaShem hates these false religions like these so much. You then compared the Egyptian obelisk to steeples stating such “is in the very center of the Catholic Church’s St. Peter’s Square in Rome and that Hashem condemns this”, Yet He also tells E’phraim to set up pillars, Himself-
“Set up watermarks for yourself and pillars; consider well the highway the road by which you went.” Jer. 3121
Clearly, HaShem was not instructing E’phraim to build stone pillars to the Egyptian sun god or Asharah, but to leave them as sign that Judah could follow to know where Ephraim had been. Just as churches places those steeples to become more visible at a distance and to point toward heaven. Ask many Christians and they will probably answer the same. A symbol is only pagan if it is used as a pagan symbol for worship befitting what that symbol represents.
Put another way, the word baal is found in the second prayer (Gevurot) of the Amidah: Baal g’vurot, voomy doomeh lacha; which means: “Master of might, who is like Thee?” Clearly this isn’t worshiping Baal, the Phoenician god, but calling to the Master of universe or of power G’varot. So although they use the same word, it is context that defines the meaning. The same can be true with steeples.
Shalom, C & C
With regard to some of your other posts, which I didn’t post, please be aware of the fact that this blog does not promote the teachings of the “rabbis”, their oral Torah, nor their mystical writings. This is a Bible study blog, not a promoter of rabbinic Judaism, or any other manmade religious system. The writings of the sages are not the Bible. You’re free to espouse the value of secular humanistic teachings of the Jewish sages, but not on my blog. This is not to say that there isn’t some value in some of these humanistic resources. I have a whole book case full of the writings of the Jewish sages in my library including the Talmud and the Zohar, but I don’t have time to sift through the reasonings of men to pull out an occasional pearl. I don’t have muck boots large enough for this task. The older I get, and after studying the Bible daily for more than 50 years, I am more convinced than ever, with only a few rare exceptions, of the sufficiency of sola scripture.
You’re welcome to post on my blog, while following the guidelines and tenor of this blog and by keeping your posts short and on point.
Shalom Cfoegen, the point is Yahweh made it clear not to add too, nor take away from his word. Also it would seem clear that he had issue with the baal stuff mixing into his people’s worship of Him
Jer 12:14 Thus said יהוה, “As for all My evil neighbours who touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Yisra’ĕl to inherit; see, I am plucking them out of their land, and I shall pluck out the house of Yehuḏah from their midst.
Jer 12:15 “And it shall be, after My plucking them out, I shall return, and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his inheritance and everyone to his land.
Jer 12:16 “And it shall be, if they learn well the ways of My people, to swear by My Name, ‘As יהוה lives,’ as they taught My people to swear by Baʽal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people.
Jer 12:17 “But if they do not obey, I shall pluck up, pluck up and destroy that nation,” declares יהוה.
Jer 23:13 “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Shomeron: they prophesied by Baʽal and led My people Yisra’ĕl astray.
Jer 23:14 “And among the prophets of Yerushalayim I have seen a horrible matter: committing adultery and walking in falsehood. And they strengthen the hands of evil ones, so that no one turns back from his evil. All of them are like Seḏom to Me, and her inhabitants like Amorah.
Jer 23:15 “Therefore thus said יהוה of hosts concerning the prophets, ‘See, I am making them eat wormwood, and shall make them drink poisoned water. For defilement has gone out into all the land from the prophets of Yerushalayim.’ ”
Jer 23:16 Thus said יהוה of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, they lead you astray. They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of יהוה.
Jer 23:17 “They keep on saying to those who despise Me, ‘יהוה has said you shall have peace.’ And to all who walk according to the stubbornness of their own heart they say, ‘No evil comes upon you.’ ”
Jer 23:18 For who has stood in the counsel of יהוה, and has seen and heard His word? Who has listened to His word and obeyed it?
Jer 23:19 See, a storm of יהוה shall go forth in a rage, a whirling storm! It whirls on the head of the wrong.
Jer 23:20 The displeasure of יהוה shall not turn back until He has done and established the purposes of His heart. In the latter days you shall understand it perfectly.1 Footnote: 1See 30:24.
Jer 23:21 “I did not send these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.\
Jer 23:22 “But if they had stood in My counsel, then they would have let My people hear My Words, and they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.
Jer 23:23 “Am I an Elohim close by,” declares יהוה, “and not an Elohim afar off?
Jer 23:24 “If anyone is hidden in secret places, would I not see him?” declares יהוה. “Do I not fill the heavens and earth?” declares יהוה.
Jer 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsehood in My Name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’
Jer 23:26 “Till when shall it be in the heart of the prophets? – the prophets of falsehood and prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
Jer 23:27 who try to make My people forget My Name by their dreams which everyone relates to his neighbour, as their fathers forgot My Name for Baʽal.
1Sa 7:3 And Shemu’ĕl spoke to all the house of Yisra’ĕl, saying, “If you return to יהוה with all your hearts, then put away the foreign mighty ones and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts for יהוה, and serve Him only, so that He delivers you from the hand of the Philistines.”
1Sa 7:4 And the children of Yisra’ĕl put away the Baʽals and Ashtaroth, and served יהוה only.
Hos 2:16 “And it shall be, in that day,” declares יהוה, “that you call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer call Me ‘My Baʽal.’
Hos 2:17 “And I shall remove the names of the Baʽals from her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
May Yahweh bless.
“So although they use the same word, it is context that defines the meaning. The same can be true with steeples.” Reasoning doesn’t matter. Who did it first, and what was their purpose? Pagan’s did it first as a part of worship or to honor some specific god/goddess, and YHVH Himself didn’t tell you to do it, then, “When YHVH your God has cut off ahead of you the nations you are entering in order to dispossess, and when you have dispossessed them and are living in their land; be careful, after they have been destroyed ahead of you, not to be trapped into following them; so that you inquire after their gods and ask, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I want to do the same.’ You must not do this to YHVH your God! For they have done to their gods all the abominations that YHVH hates!…” -D’varim 12:29-31.
In other words GOD is saying don’t worship me the same way as the pagans worship their gods