It has often been noted that the devil is a duplicator and not a creator . It stands to reason that any form of false and idolatrous religion that the devil can foist upon the human race will have superficial similarities with the worship of the one true God. And the ancient serpent is very religious . He has invented multitudes of religions that play on the fears and lusts of humanity.God on the other hand speaks to men in relational terms rather than religious ;Father, Husband, friend . Even enemy is in a sense a relational term.
In the time of the ancient Israelites , of all the various demon/gods the people of God were ensnared by, the ancient pagan deity(small "d") of baal was perhaps the hardest to dislodge.
Baal when translated into English means lord , master or owner and it would seem that the Jews of old often mixed and confused the worship of Yahweh and baal. The reader will remember the great prophet Elijah standing up to the prophets of baal and dramatically defeating them . Prior to this he had challenged the people"How long will you falter between two opinions. ?If Yahweh is God ,follow Him;but if Baal,follow him.
One reason I believe this worship of Baal became so entrenched was the confusion of terminology.Some were saying Lord and meaning Baal and others could say Lord and mean Yahweh.
This is particularly relevant in the day in which we live. There are those who are identified with the church of Jesus, they use similar terminology saying Lord,Lord and yet they know not and are not known by the God of the Bible Mt 7:21.
In our confused age we have 'christian" leaders signing documents that identify the Holy One of Israel with other gods . We have trendy pontificators authoritatively waxing loud and long of a god of their own making using holy terminology to present an unholy worship of the contemporary Baal.
One of the attractions or seductive lures of the worship of Baal was and is the inability to clearly define who or what the object of worship is like .Baal worship evolved ,linked up with other deities, morphed into different images and refused to be pinned down to a specific definition.( pre-modern- post-modernism .)
The God of the Bible on the other hand is very specific about who He is and what He considers acceptable worship.
Today there are religious celebrities who tell us that God has now changed His mind about certain practices that He once considered sinful. Of course they must be speaking of another god for the God of the bible is not double- minded ;nor is He forgetful.
Scripture puts it like this "the grass withers , the flower fades away but the word of the Lord endures forever"
This is another attraction of Baal. He does not condemn the sins of the flesh that we so enjoy , he celebrates them. Every form of hedonism is not just to be indulged in but actually becomes an integral part of the worship experience.Ritual prostitution sodomy drunkenness and debauchery all sanctified and embraced as "worship". I wonder how far off we are in sections of the contemporary church before we see these manifestations of Baal ism.
A paradoxical aspect of baalic worship is the requirements for sacrifice. Baal was supposed to be the god of fertility and provision. If the worshipper could sacrifice sufficiently , he would be guaranteed success and prosperity .Sound familiar?
Jesus on the other hand demonstrates our God as a Heavenly Father who will willingly and freely give to His children whatever they need and far more besides .Our God dosn't harrass His people to sacrifice for Him to notice their plight. On the contrary He sacrificed for us!
Some forms of Baal worship required the sacrifice of children; a demonic couterfeit of the Living God who gave His Son for us!
Baalism was a terrible evil which Yahweh condemned and which condemned it's practioners to bondage, loss and eternal regret .Modern or postmodern Baalism has the same consequences.
The call of Elijah echoes through the centuries to our day "How long christian will you falter between two opinions If the God of the Bible is God ;the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob , the God of the Apostles and prophets ;then worship Him , but if the god of the heretics is god ,the god of postmodern confusion , the god of seed faith prosperity the god made in the image of man, the god of an earthly shack rather a than heavenly throne, then worship him. But be warned the consequences of ancient Baal worship will come to those in the contemporary church who abandon the self revelation of the Most High God.