On a surprisingly crisp Monday morning I welcomed delicious coffee and our spectacular New Mexico sky. Opening my ipad Bible I resumed reading where I left off. Again I was struck by the parallels between ancient Israel and the church of God today. Thousands of years have passed, cultures have changed, but the condition of men’s hearts remain the same.
Finding myself in Ezekiel chapter 28 the prophetic word of judgment delivered to the King of Tyre intrigued me. It was as if the Spirit of the Lord stopped speaking to the man and began speaking to the spirit behind the man. The dark power that provoked, propelled and fueled the arrogance and evil of this King of Tyre. But whether to him, Nebuchadnezzar, Egypt’s Pharaoh, or more modern day emissaries (Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong) this same word applies. “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, “I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods…yet you are but a man and no god.” Then to the Prince of darkness himself, ” You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God… so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God.”
Pondering the push-button heinous act Satan committed that got him cast out of God’s paradise I took a closer look at the original Hebrew language. Profane…. the word God used to describe him. Lucifer, the son of the morning (or morning star as he is called) became the first of God’s vile, profane creatures. Once a magnificent being he now bore the curse of God. To my complete surprise the Hebrew word for profane is Halal. Halal…. a word I was sure I recognized but couldn’t quite place. Looking further I discovered in the original Hebrew translation the word means, not only profane, but to make sick. I realized Halal is the term placed on Islamic meat and other food products. Quite a label to place on something you are about to ingest.
In Arabic the word means lawful or permissible, but that begs the question; permissible to who? Halal certification requires a sacrificing of the animals life to Allah via an explicit posture, form of slaughter and prayer.
“In the Name of Allah; Allah is the greatest.” Greatest? Compared to who? I could not help recall the “permissible” act in the garden of Eden when Satan deceived the woman into disobeying God’s command.
Permissible he said, but the consequence of eternal death he never mentioned.
Many say Allah is simply another name for God but is that true? Could Allah be the same God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob? The Holy and revered Creator of Christians and Jews? If so, why would the Lord God describe an act intended as a means of sanctification with the very word He defines as to defile? I discovered Halal is also the phonetic pronunciation of the word (name) Heylel. Heylel is the Hebrew word for the name Lucifer, whose root means a sense of brightness, the morning star or son of the morning. In essence when one says the word halal they are in effect pronouncing the name of Lucifer, the nemesis of God’s people. I marveled that the emblem of their food stamp was marked with a name that literally meant: Lucifer, Profane, To Make Sick. This was just the start of what would become for me a most fascinating and troubling exploration.
We read in the prophet Isaiah’s description of Lucifer (chapter 14) he is depicted as the star that fell from heaven. This star was captured in the graphic representation of the crescent moon and star, which became the symbol for Baal worship through out antiquity. Honoring the light that rules the darkness, Baal was considered the moon god. The graphic icon seems the perfect symbolism. Another surprise was my discovery of the original meaning of the word crescent, which in Hebrew means surrounded by walls or a prison. Quite telling considering the crescent moon represented the very host of hell’s prison.
Archeologists have discovered this icon of Baal on ancient sculpture, murals, glyphs, coins and jewelry and Isaiah chapter three reveals the judgment of God on the Israelites who wore the crescent moon symbol as jewelry.
The emblem was used for many nations historically. The Canaanites, Phoenicians, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Assyrians all included it in their worship of Baal. Expressions of worship to this god included open displays of sexual deprivation, eating meat sacrificed to the idols of Baal, the sacrificial death of infants, the use of alcohol and sorcery, (or as the Hebrew calls it; pharmakeia; the use of mind altering drugs) cutting, piercing and marring of the worshipers bodies in self-mutilation. Even the earliest form of pornography was celebrated as temple prostitutes openly engaged in sordid sexual acts under the direction of Jezebel. The infamous kings wife was committed to having Baal worship become the national religion for Israel. Baal even welcomed defecation in his worship at the Mt. of Peor, a place where sadly 24,000 Jews died for their idolatry.
Jewish Midrash tells the story of a man that used Baal’s altar as a latrine. In the story the spirit spoke welcoming the urination and defecation as a flattering form of worship and so it was, Baal Peor became the most vile of Baal’s altars and a place of terrible judgment for the Jews. The Talmud relates another story: “There was once a gentile woman who was very ill and who vowed, “If I recover from my illness, I will go and worship every idol in the world.” She recovered and proceeded to worship every idol in the world. When she came to Peor she asked it’s priests, “How is this one worshiped?” Said they to her, “One eats greens and drinks beer, and then one defecates before the idol.” Said she, “I”d rather return to my illness then to worship an idol in such a manner.” (Talmud, Sanhedrin 64a)
Islam uses this same Baal icon, the Crescent moon and Star to represent their god Allah. It displays at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, on all of their halal food products and its flag flies high at mosques all around the world. It is the very mark of Islam. Called the Lord of all gods, Baal was referred to as the Locust King which the Bible also references as the King of demons. He was the god of war and rebellion, the god of violence. He was believed to be the god of fertility for both seeds sown in the earth and in the womb and life and death was attributed to him.
I marvel how this crescent moon and star represents over 1.6 billion people in Islam today, and how the earmark characteristics of Baal worship are still so vibrantly displayed in cultures around the world. Certainly the volume of child sacrifice, (abortion) pharmakeia, ( prescription drug epidemic) sexual promiscuity and violence is rampant in our modern age. Tragically we have more in common with the Baal worship of thousands of years ago than we would like to admit.
I came across a quote in the Huffington Post written by a resident legal scholar with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation named Liaquat Ali Khan. He clarifies what he believes is the Baal-Allah connection for us. ” To renounce any lingering qualms about the relevance of Baal, Sure al-Waqia of the Qur’an makes it clear that Allah is the sole authority that provides fertility to the seeds sown in the earth and He is the one who sends rain from the clouds and He is the creator of life and death (thus rebutting existence of the deity known as Mot.) This Sura shifts the powers once associated with Baal to Allah. (56:60-70).”
It seems a rather transparent re-packaging to me.
I thought I would take things a bit further and explore whether the actual name of Allah appeared anywhere in the Bible. I was again stunned to find the Hebrew word Alah and its meaning defined as cursed, or an oath to curse. Cursed, just as the serpent was in the garden of Eden. Could all of this be nothing more than coincidence? I think not.
War, rebellion, violence. Cursed, profane, to make sick. There are many names the Bible uses to describe the evil one. Destroyer, deceiver, adversary, angel of light, Beelzebul ( lord of dung), angel of the abyss ( death angel) and more. Jesus described him as a thief, a liar and a murderer from the beginning. Jesus also attributed sickness and disease to Satan. (halal) It is not so surprising to have our Lord call the enemy of our soul these revealing names, but I did find it interesting that even Muslims call their god Allah the Destroyer ( Al-Mumit) and Deceiver (Al-Makr, meaning the greatest deceiver). In John chapter 10 Jesus said, “The thief comes only to take the sheep and to put them to death: he comes for their destruction: I have come so that they may have life and have it in greater measure.”
One has to consider who this god of Islam really is. Is it the same God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob? The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? I think not.
Scripture says we will know a tree by its fruit. Genesis shows us everything begets after its own kind. After reading large portions of the Quran, the Hadith and the other sacred (?) writings of Islam I was literally appalled at the commandments of violence and the hatred their prophet spewed forth. Having been raised believing the Quran was their version of our “Bible” I was speechless at what it actually says and how little I understood about it.
What a contrast to Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.
Maybe it is best summed up by a quote from one of Muhammed’s most ardent ambassadors. “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah”- Ayatollah Khomeini