1 Kings 16:33 – Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
In the days of Elijah, King Ahab was the embodiment of the demon Baal, and his wife Jezebel was the embodiment of the demon Ashtoreth. This couple literally worshipped these demons, funding and promoting their worship in Israel (1 Kings 18:19).
Ashtoreth or Asherah (also known as Venus) is the Canaanite goddess of fertility and sex, often worshipped with her male counterpart Baal, with sex being part of their cultic worship. They were considered king and queen of the “gods” or demons. It was believed they had an intense sexual relationship and liked to be worshipped by people having sex without any limitations.
Baal was considered by the godless Canaanites to be the god of storms, rain, and the highest-ranking demon in the unseen realm. The fact that Elijah prayed to His God to stop the rain, and it did not rain for three years, was seen as clear defeat of Baal (1 Kings 17:1; James 5:17). He was worshipped for fertility to crops, animals, and people. This demon was worshipped through sex, and temples devoted to him included uninhibited sex. The worship of Baal included child sacrifice in what were the demonic prototypes for Planned Parenthood clinics (2 Kings 3:27).
Mentioned repeatedly throughout the Old Testament, Baal (usually worshipped with Ashtoreth) was a constant threat to holiness among God’s people. Just like our day that has landmarks, icons, and signs to let people know where churches and businesses are, this sex cult had large poles put in the ground atop high places as phallic symbols to let everyone know where to go to find the most sinister sex.
2 Kings 9:22 summarizes all of this speaking of, “…the whorings and the sorceries of…Jezebel”. She was one of many ancient demons considered the “holy ones” or sacred prostitutes, and idols representing her were often nude and pornographic. God commanded his people to stop sinning at these places, and instead tear them down and burn everything related to it (Deuteronomy 7:5, 12:3; 2 Kings 18:4, 23:6; Judges 6:25-30; Micah 5:14).
A Bible dictionary also says, “Together, the demonic counterfeit worship of Ashtoreth and Baal included all of the various lesser-known demons and occultic activities opposing worship of the only true Creator God. It often appears that Baal worship in the Old Testament is a catch-all description of either non-Yahwistic, Canaanite worship or non-sanctioned religious practice. The case is similar with Asherah, a female deity…” (1)
What do you see in today’s culture that reminds you of these ancient gods and goddesses? Pray for those who are deceived by these false gods to know and love Jesus. If there’s anyone you know personally, pray for ways to share the love of the true God with them.
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- William L. Kelly, “Elijah Cycle,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).