Baal was the god of the Canaanites, the enemies of the ancient biblical Israelites. God’s people were constantly being enticed by the heathen practices associated with Baal worship. Down the through the ages, the worship of Baal has resurrected itself and taken on the trappings of each new culture. The concepts behind Baal worship are thriving and growing in our post-Christian culture. To what degree having you fallen for the enticements of Baalism? Before you write this off saying it doesn’t apply to you, please watch this video!
In this brief study, we will examine the characteristics of a society that is spiritually backslidden. Jeremiah the biblical prophet more than 2500 years ago talked about such society (Jer 2:19) that had forsaken YHVH Elohim, the God of the Bible (Jer 1:16; 2:3, 19), and turned, from one degree or another, to Baal worship (Jer 1:16; 2:8, 23, 28; 5:19; 7:8, 17; 9:14; 11:13, 17; 12:16; 23:13). What does this have to with those living in the twenty-first century and what can we learn from this?
Though the prophet Jeremiah is specifically addressing societal conditions of ancient Israel who had turned away from fully following YHVH Elohim, the main issues still apply to any society, ancient or modern, that forsakes biblical spiritual values for secular and materialistic ones. Down through the ages humans are still driven by the same fleshly passions. Although the theater, costumes and actors may have changed, it is still the same play. Human nature has never changed! When a society fails to learn the lessons of history, it will repeat the same mistakes of the past again and again.
While the name Baal — one of the gods of the ancient biblical Canaanites — may mean nothing to modern people, the Hebrew word baal simply means “lord” or “master.” In modern terms, whatever mores, principles or ideals a society has given itself over to and therefore dominates that society become de facto the lord, master (or Baal) or god of that society.
Human history tends to repeat itself over and over again. What has happened before will happen again, because human nature remains the same. We can learn many valuable lessons from mistakes of those who have preceded us. If we don’t, we will make the same mistakes and suffer the same consequences (judgments) as our forefathers.
YHVH Elohim is every-loving and gracious and he constantly warned his people in biblical times to repent of their sins and turn back to him. He is doing the same thing in our day if we will admit our stubborn pride, humble ourselves, and turn back to obeying his ways that bring healing, peace and eternal life.
In the past, the ancients worshiped concrete images that represented the depraved and dark side of man where physical idols represented the ideas behind Baal worship. Continue reading
Jeremiah 17:14, Heal me, O YHVH. This is a plea to YHVH, the Great Physician. Only he can heal the hardness (17:1) and crooked deceitfulness or weakness (17:9) of Israel’s heart. Various prophets link the concept of healing to that of the two houses of Israel being reunited, being restored to their promised land and spiritual inheritance, returning to Torah and the establishment of a Messianic kingdom on earth. Here are some thoughts on these things:
The Breech Will Be Repaired
Those who are returning to the Sabbath in its full spiritual sense and are returning to the “old (ancient, everlasting) paths” (Jer 6:16) are called “repairers of the breach” (Isa 58:12; Amos 9:11).
What is a breach? By dictionary definition a breach is “an infraction or violation of a law; a broken, ruptured or torn condition; a split, crack or divide between two sides; a break in friendly relations.” This is what occurred when the northern kingdom was torn away from King Rehoboam causing a split in the nation of Israel (1 Kgs 11:13, 29–40; 12:1–20).
The last question the disciples asked Yeshua before his ascension was whether he was about to restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). What was Yeshua’s response to them? He told them to preach the gospel everywhere (verse 8). This message of restoration and repairing the breach was the focus of what Paul called the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18) and the middle wall of partition between Jews and non-Jews coming down and the making of one new man out of two through the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua (Eph. 2:11–19).
The “Sick” Will Be Healed
The hireling and self-seeking shepherds of Israel who should have cared for, healed and fed YHVH’s sheep have instead left them in a weakened, sickly and malnourished state (Ezek 34:4, 16). Yeshua came to heal his sick sheep (Ezek 34:8–31).
Spiritual Blindness Will Be Healed
In Hebraic thought, blindness is a metaphor for spiritual blindness, lack of spiritual enlightenment, and especially Torahlessness; that is, it is a reference to those who are blinded to the light of YHVH’s truth (Isa 29:18; 42:7, 16, 18–19; 43:8; Jer 31:8, see also Rom 11:25; Isa 56:10).
Jeremiah 16:19, The Gentiles…ends of the earth. Who are these “Gentiles” that have been scattered to the ends of the earth? The word gentiles is the Hebrew word goyim (Strong’s G1471, Greek: ethnos, Strong’s G1484) This word is translated in the Tanakh (Old Testament) as nation 374 times, as heathen 143 times, as Gentiles 30 times, and people 11 times.
Whenever the word gentile is used in the KJV it is the word gowy or goy. According to Strong’s Concordance, the meaning of goy is “a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (fig.) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts.” According to Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, the word gowy means “a people, a confluence of men,” and “contextually in holy Scripture it is used to refer to the other nations besides Israel, the foes of Israel, and strangers to the true religion of Israel.”
There are times when goy refers specifically to Israel (e.g., the descendants of Joseph in general: Gen 48:19; of the southern kingdom of Judah when it forsook Elohim and its covenant with him and became like the surrounding heathen nations: Isa 1:4; of the southern kingdom: Isa 9:1; of Israel in general: Isa 26:2; 49:7; Ps 33:12; Gen 12:2; 35:11). There are numerous other instances in Scripture where the words goy or goyim are applied to the descendants of Abraham. Scripture’s use of the term is unbiased and lacks any of the pejorative implications that have been applied to the term subsequently (e.g., Gen 17:4, 5, 6, 16; 18:18; 25:23; 46:3; Exod 19:6; 33:13; Deut 4:6, 7, 8, 34; Ezek 37:22).
As already noted, the word goy simply means “people group.” The Greek word ethnos as found in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament) is equivalent in meaning to the Hebrew word goyim. So clearly, in Jeremiah 16:19 gentiles is a reference to lost and scattered Israel who has mixed herself with the heathen (Hos 7:8; 8:8), and who is now returning to YHVH.
Jeremiah the prophet received a direct call from YHVH Elohim to warn the nation of Judah, YHVH’s people, of impending judgment if they would not repent and return to his Torah. YHVH commissioned the prophet to warn and to rebuke those at all levels of society: kings, princes, priests and people (1:18). Is it likely that YHVH will raise up a prophet or prophets in the last days prior to the return of Yeshua the Messiah who will be doing the same thing as Jeremiah?
Jeremiah did not feel adequate to the job (1:6), yet YHVH assured him that he was, for YHVH personally had called and empowered him to do what seemed to be an impossible task: for one man, as YHVH’s representative, to set his face against an entire nation and to survive the resulting wrath of the wicked against that righteous man of YHVH (1:7–10; 18–19).
In the end times, will there yet arise true prophets in which the Word of YHVH is shut up like fire in their bones (Jer 20:9) who will utter forth the fiery oracles of YHVH, which like a hammer will smash to pieces the rock-hard hearts of YHVH’s obstinate, rebellious and sinful people (Jer 23:29)?
Yeshua prophesied that in the last days false prophets would arise, and if possible, would deceive the very elect (Matt 24:11, 24). If Satan the adversary has his false prophets on the scene just prior to Yeshua’s return attempting to deceive YHVH’s people, will not YHVH have his true prophets likewise on the scene to warn, rebuke, provoke, incite, encourage, and give spiritual direction to his people?
Some Christian teachers through their unbiblical teachings on the subject of prophets and prophecy are inoculating YHVH’s people against believing that Jeremiah-type prophets will Continue reading
Jeremiah 31:31, New covenant. When does this new covenant take effect?
Yeshua initiated the new covenant at the Last Supper (Matt 26:28), and will finalize it as per this prophecy at his second coming. It will be finalized after YHVH has gathered (or redeemed, v. 11) all the families of Israel (v. 1; i.e., the houses of Ephraim or Israel—loosely speaking, the Christians and Judah—loosely speaking, the Jewish people, vv. 9, 20, 27, 31) from the north country, the coasts of the earth and the isles (vv. 8, 10) where they have been scattered, and brings them back to Zion (the land of Israel) with joy, singing and dancing (vv. 12–13, 24). Obviously, this hasn’t happened yet in its entirety. This will occur after Ephraim (Christians) repents (v. 20, of Torahlessness) and YHVH’s daughter turns away from her backsliding (vv. 21–22), and comes out of her captivity (v. 23, in spiritual Egypt or Babylon the Great, see Rev 18:4).
At that time, YHVH will make (or finalize) a new or renewed covenant with the two houses of Israel (vv. 31–33).
Also at this time, all Israel will know Elohim from the least to the greatest. Again, this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. The writer of Hebrews quotes this verse in Hebrews 8:8. (See notes at Heb 8:8.)
Jeremiah 2:4–28 and 3:4, Weeping for and a Warning Against an Apostate Nation
In this scripture passage, Jeremiah, the weeping prophet (lamenting for the apostate condition of the nation of Israel), speaking on behalf of YHVH, pleads with Israel to return to YHVH, the Elohim (God) of Israel, who had graciously blessed that nation. Under YHVH’s watchful care, Israel had prospered, yet eventually, like the first century believers in Laodicea (Rev 3:14–22), material prosperity had led to their forsaking YHVH for secularism.
Jeremiah addresses all levels of Israelite society: kings, princes, priests, prophets, pastors and the people. No one escaped his stinging rebuke. In our day, kings and princes would correspond to our political leaders, while prophets, priests and pastors to our spiritual leaders. The people would be everyone else.
In verse 13, Jeremiah states that Israel was guilty of two sins: they had forsaken YHVH, the Fountain of Living Waters, and had exchanged his divine and life-giving truth for the stagnant waters of man-made cisterns, which in Hebraic poetic symbolism is a metaphor for false, humanistic religious and philosophical systems of men. In verse 27, Jeremiah accuses Israel of turning its back on YHVH and exchanging worship of the Creator for worship of the creation and material objects (idols). This is reminiscent of what the Apostle Paul declares in his Epistle to the Romans (chapter one) of a society that rejects the divinely revealed truth of YHVH as found in the Scriptures, and then begins worshipping that which the Creator created including the earth, animals and their own bodies (resulting in hedonism and sexual perversion). In verse 21, Jeremiah declares that Israel had become like a degenerate plant and a strange or foreign grape vine, which can be related to the wild olive tree Paul speaks of in Romans 11. (See also Jer 11:16.)
With all this in mind, can we identify any spiritual parallels between ancient Israel and modern America? If Jeremiah were alive today what might he say to America?
A Wake Up Call — The Battle For the Soul of America
For several generations now, a righteous remnant of end-time warriors has been fighting an uphill battle against immorality, abortion, rebellion against the biblical laws of YHVH, Continue reading