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It is an error to call Yahweh the only god of the Hebrews. Actually, they worshipped the same gods as their neighbors; Yahweh was only one of their many gods. The Old Testament tells the story from the perspective of the prophet's efforts to get their people to abandon their "false gods" for the worship of the "one true and living God of all the earth." Yahweh didn't evolve into an exclusive Jewish god until after the Exile. The list below shows that the ancient Hebrews were just as heathen as their neighbors. 2 And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Your fathers lived of old beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. (Josh. 24:2) As a result, we will find no attempt to discredit the existence of pagan gods. What we see instead, is that the priests, who wrote Old Testament, forbade the worship of other gods while mandating allegiance to their one territorial God, the God of Israel, who at times is described as the God of other gods. Full recognition of the existence of other gods is burned into the first of the Ten Commandments. In this context, Christ would qualify as an 'other' god. 3"You shall have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3) By examining the list below, we get a sense that it was commonplace for collective groups to subscribe to a god whom they thought was special to them. As Jeremiah tells us, every city had their gods. 28But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble; for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah. (Jer. 2:28) What is unique about the Jewish religion is its prohibition against making images of God. While the ancient Jews had no images of Yahweh, they weren't as diligent about making images with magical powers, as the passage below attests. 8And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." 9So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Num. 21:8-9) Certainly, the Christians violated the Third Commandment against images by displaying Jesus dying on the cross. A thorough examination on the subject can be found in a scholarly tome called the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible by Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst. Many of the names of these ethereal creatures are hidden behind the English translations. It is often necessary to tease them out by cross referencing them with a Strong's Dictionary of Bible Words, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. This list is meant to paint a picture of the haunted world as seen by the Bible's writers. It also reveals a history of savage ruthlessness with which the Jewish priests dealt with their own people and towards their neighbors whom they avowed as enemies. It would be comparable to ruthlessness the Bolsheviks displayed in their attempt to convert their nation to Communism. ADONIS The Greeks adopted the name for the Mesopotamian dying vegetation god Dumuzi; Jews called him 'Tammuz'. He was killed by a wild boar during a hunting expedition and was condemned to the underworld for six months of each year, during which time the earth's vegetation parches and dies. Each spring he comes back to life to return to his lover, Aphrodite. According to tradition, large numbers of women celebrated at his time of resurrection and mourned at his time of death. We see evidence of Adonis worship by Hebrew women in Ezekiel 18:4. There is a parallel with the Jesus' death in the winter and his resurrection on Easter (see Gospel Zodiac). The name Adonis is related to adon, a Semitic word meaning "lord" in the form of Adonai. 14Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which looked to the north; and, behold, women sat there mourning for Adonis. (Ezek 8:14, Catholic Vulgate and its English translation, the Douay-Rheims Version) In newer revisions, Adonis is translated to Tammuz. 14Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women mourning for Tammuz. (Ezek 8:14) ADRAMMELECH AND ANAMMELECH Sepharvaim is the name of a city of an unknown location in Syria or Mesopotamia. Not much is known about Adrammelech and Anammelech; but they were certainly recognized as gods. 31and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. (2 Kings 17:31) AMON Amon was a well known sun god and an Egyptian supreme God; also spelled Amun. Amon was perceived as a primeval deity present in the chaos at the creation of the cosmos. God says he will punish Amon and other Egyptian gods. 25The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, said: "Behold, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him. (Jer. 46:25) APIS Apis, the sacred bull of Memphis, Egypt was a living personification of the creator god Ptah. Jeremiah imagines his god beating their god. 15Why has Apis fled? Why did not your bull stand? Because the LORD thrust him down. (Jer. 46:15) ASHERAH Asherah was a Semitic mother goddess of seventy gods including Baal and companion to the supreme god El. Also spelled "Asheroth" and not to be confused with Ashtoreth. Asherah was worshipped at least from the time of Judges to the end of the kingdom's history. The people of Israel worshipped Asheroth. 7And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, forgetting the LORD their God, and serving the Baals and the Asheroth. (Judg. 3:7) King Manasseh, king of Judah, built an image of Asherah. 7And the graven image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the LORD said to David and to Solomon his son, "In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name for ever; (2 Kings 21:7) ASHTORETH Ashtoreth has been worshipped two ways, as a goddess of love and fertility and as an astral deity, possibly the Venus star. Spelled Astaroth in plural form and not to be confused with Asherah. God couldn't stop the people under Solomon's rule from worshipping Ashterah. 33Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians,. (1 Kings. 11:33) King Solomon built a temple in her honor. 13And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians and for Chemosh the abomination of the Ammorites. (2 Kings 22:13) BAAL Baal was a god of the Canaanites and Phoenicians. In his earlier form, he was a god of wind and weather, and father of seven storm gods. In later years, he became a vegetation god of fertility. To the Canaanites, he was the son of El; to the Phoenicians, he was the son of Dagon. His resurrection in the spring guarantees the return of vegetation. In the autumn, when he dies and disappears into the underworld, vegetation dies. A second use of the name baal was as the name of innumerable local gods controlling fertility of the soil and of domestic animals. Literally, baal means lord or owner. The ancient Jews were highly involved in many variations of Baal worship. The different variations of baal worship are recognized by their hyphenated baal names. Baal is said to have sired a bull calf before he descended into the underworld. This probably accounts for why the Israelites built the golden calves when Moses was getting the Ten Commandments. 16And they forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves molten images of two calves; and they made an Asherah, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. (2 Kings 17:16) Baal worship continues into the book of Judges. 6And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the LORD, and did not serve him. (Judges 10:6) 33As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and played the harlot after the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. (Judges 8:33) It continued almost to the exile in the book of 2 Kings. 28Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. (2 Kings 10:28) After a victory, David named Baal-perazim after Baal. 20And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, "The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a bursting flood." Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim. (2 Sam. 5:20) The names Baal and Judah are combined. 2And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. (2 Sam. 6:2) BAAL ZEBUB Baal zebub interprets literally as lord of the flies. Assumed to be a God who could cure or cause disease. The Old Testament sees him as the God of Ekron while the New Testament translates him to "Beelzebul," the prince of demons. 2Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, "Go, inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness." (2 Kings 1:2) 24But when the Pharisees heard it they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." (Matt. 12:24) BEL With the Babylonians, Bel translates to Lord. The equivalent Canaanite form was Baal, and is identical to Adon in Hebrew. Bel was a title conferred by the Babylonians to their God Marduk, paralleling the Israelite use of Lord when referring to Yahweh. Bel is described as a rival god. 44And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed. The nations shall no longer flow to him; the wall of Babylon has fallen. (Jer. 51:44) 2"Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, conceal it not, and say: 'Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed. Her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed.' (Jer. 50:2) 1Bel bows down, Nebo stoops, their idols are on beasts and cattle; these things you carry are loaded as burdens on weary beasts. (Isa. 46:1) CHEMOSH Chemosh is recognized as a Moabite god. 24Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And all that the LORD our God has dispossessed before us, we will possess. (Judges 11:24) 33Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. (1 Kings 11:33) Solomon built a temple for Chemosh. 7Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites on the mountain east of Jerusalem. (1 Kings 11:7) DAGON Dagon was a grain and fertility god worshipped by the Philistines and the Canaanites. Clearly, he was seen as a rival god to the God of Israel. 23Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice; for they said, "Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand." (Judges 16:23) 7And when the men of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, "The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us; for his hand is heavy upon us and upon Dagon our god." (1 Sam. 5:7) EL El was known as the high God of the Canaanites who resided on a sacred mountain. In Hebrew, El can also mean God in the general sense. Our concern here is for when God specifically refers to the Canaanite god El. 'God' is substituted 224 times for El. The Old Testament does not disparage El, which suggest he was identified with Yahweh. Even the word 'Israel' has El in it. The Jewish patriarch, Abraham, worshipped El. 22But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn to the LORD [Yahweh] God [El] Most High, maker of heaven and earth, (Gen. 14:22) Jacob erected an altar to El and called it "El the god of Israel." 18And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram; and he camped before the city. 19And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. 20There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel. (Gen 33:20) El told Jacob to go to Egypt, where he will make him a great nation. 3Then he said, "I am God [El], the God [Elohim] of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. (Gen. 46:3) It was during the time of Joshua when Yahweh was identified with El. 30Then Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal to the LORD [Yahweh], the God [El] of Israel, (Josh. 8:30) Isaiah describes the stars of El. 13You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God [El] I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; (Isaiah 14:13) FORTUNE AND DESTINY Many gods were credited with the ability to determine destiny. To Roman cultists, Fortune was known in Latin as Fortuna the God of good luck and success. In Hebrew, the equivalent name is Gad. Destiny translates to Meni in Hebrew, another god of good fortune. 11But you who forsake the LORD, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune [Gad] and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny [Meni]; (Isa. 65:11) The KJV disguises the mention of alien gods. 11But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop [Gad], and that furnish the drink offering unto that number [Meni]. (Isa. 65:11 KJV) GAD Gad is the name of a deity of good luck, equivalent to the Latin Fortuna. Gad has been traced to Canaanite origins and is also one of the names of an Israelite tribe. 8And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. (Josh. 20:8) GOD(S) It was standard practice for nations and kingdoms to have their own gods. To rival kingdoms, Yahweh was just another local God. In these passages, the Jews recognized other gods as true gods and as rival gods. 15Now therefore do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!'" (2 Chron. 2:15) 14You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are round about you; 15for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. (Deut. 6:14-15) 34Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? (2 Kings 18:34) 11The LORD will be terrible against them; yea, he will famish all the gods of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations. (Zeph. 2:11) Gods of the Amorites 15And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Josh. 24:15) Gods of Damascus and Syria 23For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him, and said, "Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me." But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. (2 Chron. 28:23) Gods of Egypt 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (Ex. 12:12) Gods of Edom 20But Amaziah would not listen; for it was of God, in order that he might give them into the hand of their enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom. (2 Chron. 25:20) God of Ekron 2Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, "Go, inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness."(2 Kings 1:2) MARDUK Spelled Meradach in the Bible, Marduk was a God of Babylon, creator and supreme ruler of the Mesopotamian universe. 2"Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, conceal it not, and say: 'Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed. Her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed.' (Jer. 50:2) MILCOM Milcom was an Ammonite deity. God shows his frustration with the people of Israel. 33Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.(1 Kings 11:33) MOLECH Solomon built a temple for the Ammonite god, Molech. 7Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh and the abomination of Moab and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites on the mountain east of Jerusalem. (1 Kings 11:7) NEBO Nebo was a Babylonian god of speech, writing and water, and a son of the god Marduk. 1Bel bows down, Nebo stoops, their idols are on beasts and cattle; these things you carry are loaded as burdens on weary beasts. (Isa. 46:1) NISROCH Nisroch was a god worshipped by the Assyrian king Sennacherib. 36Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went home, and dwelt at Nineveh. 37And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, slew him with the sword, and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead. (2 Kgs. 19:37) QUEEN OF HEAVEN 'Queen of heaven', probably identifies with Ishtar, She was known in Mesopotamia as a goddess of love and war and the planet Venus. 18The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. (Jer. 7:18) 17But we will do everything that we have vowed, burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out libations to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no evil. (Jer. 44:17) SPIRIT OF EGYPT Spirits were everywhere in haunted Bibleland. Egypt had them too. 3And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. (Isa. 19:3) TAMMUZ Tammuz is a Hebrew rendition of a Mesopotamian deity known as Dumuzi. One credible interpretation has it that Tammuz was the prototype of the Dying God, whose annual death and resurrection from the dead, personified the yearly decay and revival of life. One of the months of the Jewish calendar is named after Tammuz. It is fundamentally identical with Osiris in Egypt and Adonis among the Phoenicians. This identification is implied in the Catholic Vulgate Bible. 14Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women mourning for Tammuz. (Ezek 8:14) 14Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which looked to the north; and, behold, women sat there mourning for Adonis. (Ezek 8:14, Catholic Vulgate and its English translation, the Douay-Rheims Version ) TIAMAT Tehom in Hebrew, is etymologically related to Tiamat, the personified primeval ocean that was defeated by Marduk. Tiamet can be found in the Babylonian creation epic, Enuma Elis. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. (Gen. 1:2) UNNAMED GODS From beginning to end, the belief in the existence of other gods permeated the Bible. Joshua tells his people how their ancestors worshipped other gods. 2And Joshua said to all the people, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Your fathers lived of old beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. (Joshua 24:2) Paul believed there were many gods and lords in existence. 5For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth-as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"- 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Cor. 8:5-6) Reference Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible by Karel Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking and Peter W. Der Horst
TETRAGRAMMATON. YAHWEH. ELOHEEM.
A female parent, a mother. Also figurative, especially applied to a person's native country. Origin Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Norton. From classical Latin Genetrīx, Genitrīx female parent, mother (also applied to one's native country), originator, creator, foundress, feminine form corresponding to genitor: see -trix. Pronunciation Genitrix/ˈdʒɛnɪtrɪks/
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