The trace in Scripture that leads to the worship of the ‘image’ of the beast:
HCSB (Revelation 13:14-15) 14 … telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who had the sword wound yet lived. 15 ….so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
If only I do not suffer from it!
Many people in the world are apathetic about the problems around them and are far too busy with their work, sport, obligations and pleasures.
They are therefore poorly informed in what time we live, a time foretold in Scripture.
Reading and studying the Scripture is vital for Christians in this time period.
Jesus encouraged his disciples to continue to believe in His word, the truth. God’s word (as well as Jesus word) is written down in the under inspiration written Bible:
NKJV (John 8: 31, 32) 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Jesus thinks it is wise to actually do His words:
NKJV (Matthew 7: 24-27) 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
In this series of articles we want to give a clear insight concerning the idolatry by God’s people and what ultimately involves the worship of the ‘image’ (Rev. 13: 14-15).
A number of subjects are partly described in previous articles, but with new insights about the false prophet in the end times. It contains amazing news!
But it remains good to carefully examine whether the described things are really so.
Everyone is invited to place a ‘comment’ with the intention to give your opinion or to make the articles more complete.
The theme of this writing is; idolatry in the first Christian communities
God’s adversary, the ruler of the world
After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus went to the desert to fast for 40 days:
NKJV (Luke 4: 1-2,5-6) 1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil…. . 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
Here we get an important insight into the dominance position of Satan, all the kingdoms of the world have been surrendered by the almighty God YHWH according to Satan.
NKJV (Luke 4: 7-8) 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ “
That is what Satan wants, the adversary of God (YHWH) wants to be worshiped himself.
According to Jesus, that was pure idolatry, because ‘You shall worship the Lord your God.’
God has apparently stopped practicing His kingship over the people after the sins of Adam and Eve, the first humans, by a point of controversy that then raised; “Does God as Creator have the right to desire unconditional obedience from all his creatures?”
Fortunately, it is written in Revelation that God will intervene in the last days and He will practice the kingship again:
NKJV (Revelation 11:15) 15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Unfortunately, not only this angel son, Satan, was disobedient, many angels were rebellious and chose Satan’s side.
This is supported in Scripture, among other Scriptures in the part of Luke 8:31, where demons requested Jesus urgently, that they did not have to go into the abyss:
NKJV (Luke 8: 30-31) 30 Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.
In the book of Revelation Jesus gives messages to the 7 Christian communities:
During the inspection of the 7 communities, 5 communities had serious problems, including idolatry.
- Rev. 2: 1 the church of Ephesus… 4 …that you have left your first love.
- Rev. 2: 8 the church in Smyrna… 9 I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich)
- Rev. 2:12 the church in Pergamos … 13 I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is…. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
- Rev. 2:18 the church in Thyatira … 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess,…
- Rev. 2: 1 the church in Sardis, … I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.
- Rev. 2: 7 the church in Philadelphia, … 8 See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it;…
- Rev. 2:14 the church of the Laodiceans…. 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 … I will vomit you out of My mouth.
The warning for idolatry in the community of Pergamos:
So (in the same way) as a group that hold to the teaching of Balaam (Rev. 2:15) by eating idol sacrifices and perpetrating fornication (Rev. 2:14), so were the Nicolaitans.
NKJV (Revelation 2: 12-13) 12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
This throne of Satan was apparently the Pergamos altar dating from about 180 BC.
This place is now called Bergama in present-day Eastern Turkey. The Pergamos altar was excavated by a German archaeologist and is now in the ‘Pergamon-Museum’ in Berlin.
NKJV (Revelation 2:14) 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
Later on, we shall discuss extended into this admonition of Jesus.
The warning for idolatry in the community of Thyatira:
NKJV (Revelation 2: 20-21) 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
[In the same part – in Rev. 2: 9 and 3: 9 – the synagogue of Satan is mentioned. That is the designation for those within the communities, who blaspheme Christians with lies.]
What did Jesus mean by all this, what idolatry was there in all these Christian churches?
Now it is true that the Bible speaks out powerfully against the practices of spiritualism, mediums, occultism, psychics, diviners and sacrificing children:
NKJV (Deuteronomy 18: 10-11) 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.
NKJV (Jeremiah 32:35) 35 And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.’
Let us begin to perceive the idolatry of the Jewish people described in Revelation, which was reflected in the Christian communities of Pergamos and Thyatira.
The calling of Abraham and the idolatry in his days
Abraham lived in the Chaldean UR, where he was also born.
The worship of the moon god was the main religion in all Mesopotamia.
The Assyrians and Babylonians knew the word Sin as the name of the moon god.
In the city of Ur and surroundings, various steles are found of the moon god Sin, who was worshiped in this area.
Below are some Babylonian steles:
Also in the Abrahamic family line this idol(s) was served:
NKJV (Joshua 24: 2) 2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods.
The worship of the moon god is therefore already very old and – according to historians – has always continued.
After the death of Sara, Abraham – in old age – took a new wife, Keturah:
NKJV (Genesis 25: 1-2) 1 Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 2 And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
Midian’s descendants, the Midianites, settled in what is now the most north-western corner of Saudi Arabia, against the current border of Jordan:
The Jewish people were explicitly commanded in the Scriptures not to worship celestial bodies:
HCSB (Deuteronomy 4: 19-20) 19 When you look to the heavens and see the sun, moon, and stars-all the array of heaven-do not be led astray to bow down and worship them. The Lord your God has provided them for all people everywhere under heaven. 20 But the Lord selected you and brought you out of Egypt’s iron furnace to be a people for His inheritance, as you are today. (see also Deuteronomy 17: 2-5)
God gives the Israelites the ten commandments or ground rules
Moses was called to receive the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments:
NKJV (Exodus 20: 2) <first commandment> 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,…
NKJV (Exodus 20: 3-5) <second commandment> 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,…
Before Moses came back from Mount Sinai with the two stone tablets, his brother Aaron had already made a golden calf on request of the Jewish people:
NKJV (Exodus 32: 19-20) 19 So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20 Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it.
The Israelites came into contact with Baal worship about 1400 BC., when they arrived in the promised land of Canaan, after their exodus from Egypt and 40 years’ stay in the desert.
Baal means ‘Lord’ or ‘Master’, and Astarte is the female counterpart.
Baal-Peor was a Moabite idol worshiped on Mount Peor.
For your information:
Edomites are the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (Gen. 36: 1)
Moabites are the descendants of Lot and his eldest daughter (Gen. 19:37)
Ammonites are the descendants of Lot and his youngest daughter (Gen. 19:38)
The history of Balaam and Balak, king of Moab
NKJV (Numbers 22: 1-3) 1 Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho. 2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel.
NKJV (Numbers 22: 4, 7) 4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time….. 7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak.
King Balak sent messengers to Balaam in Perthor (Mesopotamia) to make him come, with the request to curse the Jewish people:
NKJV (Numbers 22:12) 12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
But King Balak kept on sending messengers, to ask if Balaam would come:
NKJV (Numbers 22: 20-22) 20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you–that you shall do.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him….
Balaam did not see the angel standing with a drawn sword, but his (speaking) ass did see him:
NKJV (Numbers 22: 28, 31) 28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”…. 31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.
Balaam saw no chance to curse Israel, till three times he did not:
NKJV (Numbers 24: 10) 10 Then Balak’s anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times!
According to Joshua chapter 24, YHWH did not allow Israel – His people – to be cursed:
NKJV (Joshua 24: 9-10) 9 ‘Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose to make war against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you. 10 ‘But I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he continued to bless you. So I delivered you out of his hand.
However, with the ‘advice’ of Balaam, the Moabites and Midianites devised a way to destroy Israel. If they could not defeat the people of Israel in the usual way, then defeat them with female seduction by the Midianite and Moabite young women.
These women then had to incite them to worship the Moabite Baal-Peor:
NKJV (Numbers 25: 1-3) 1 Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. 2 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.
Strange women’s temptation is a powerful weapon, Balaam also knew that:
NKJV (Proverbs 5: 3) 3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil;…
All Jewish men who went after the Baal-Peor were killed out of their midst. (Deut. 4: 3)
Yet another Israelite arrived with a Midianite woman, as if nothing was wrong:
NKJV (Numbers 25: 6-9) 6 And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 7 Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand; 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel. 9 And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.
HSBC (Numbers 25: 16-18) 16 The Lord told Moses: 17 “Attack the Midianites and strike them dead. 18 For they attacked you with the treachery that they used against you in the Peor incident. They did the same in the case involving their sister Cozbi, daughter of the Midianite leader who was killed the day the plague came at Peor.”
NKJV (Numbers 31: 8) 8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed–Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword….
Now to come back to Jesus’ message to the Christian congregation in Pergamos (Rev. 2:14), this was a warning not to act like Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block. Apparently, there were Christians in the Pergamos community, who gave their approval to marriages of Christians with Gentiles with their idols, the same stumbling block as that of Balaam:
NKJV (1 Corinthians 7:39) 39 A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
NKJV (2 Corinthians 6:14) 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
Gideon’s fight against Midian
With the death of 24,000 Israelis who had worshiped the Baal-Peor, the punishment had not yet ended, because also the Midianites had to be punished in the end (Numbers 25:17).
Gideon proved to be ‘the mighty man of valor’ from northern Israel, who had to defeat Midian:
NKJV (Judges 6: 1, 4, 12, 14, 25-26, 32-33) 1 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years,… 4 Then they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey…. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him (Gideon), and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”… 14 Then the LORD turned to him (Gideon) and said, “Go in this power of yours, and you will deliver Israel out of the hand of Midian. Did I not send you? … 25 Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.”… 32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, “Let Baal plead against him, because he has torn down his altar.” 33 Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel.
Gideon defeated Midian (and Amalek with the people of the east) completely with only three hundred fighters :
NKJV (Judges 7: 16,19) 16 Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers…. 19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands.
NKJV (Judges 8:10) 10 … about fifteen thousand, all who were left of all the army of the people of the East; for one hundred and twenty thousand men who drew the sword had fallen.
After the victory over Midian (120,000 deaths) Gideon collected the golden crescent moon idols:
NKJV (Judges 8: 21, 26) 21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself, and kill us; for as a man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.… 26 Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks.
The people of Midian, with their Baal idolatry, were defeated and their crescent moon idols were melted.
Jesus message to the church in Thyatira:
NKJV (Revelation 2: 20-21) 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
Israel was torn in two by Solomon’s idolatry; into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel.
When Solomon, the son of King David, in a dream of God (YHWH) was allowed to make a wish and choose whatever he wanted, the young man Solomon chose for wisdom. (1 Kings 3: 5, 9, 11-12)
He was allowed to build the first temple on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount.
But at a higher age Solomon fell into idolatry and God told him that the kingdom would fall apart:
NKJV (1 Kings 11: 4-13) 4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. 8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 9 So the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the Lord had commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
After the death of King Solomon, the Jewish nation was divided and two kingdoms emerged, the southern two-tribe kingdom of Judah and the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel.
Northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel
1st king Jeroboam (beginning of golden calf worship)
Ahab – Jezebel (from the royal house of Tire and Sidon)
The temple was in the southern kingdom of Judah (called Judea by the Greeks and Romans) in Jerusalem, and the Levitical priests also served there.
Samaria, the city, was the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. It was also the name for the area or country around the capital, which, like Galilee, belonged to the kingdom of Israel.
After the Assyrian siege of the city of Samaria, many were deported from the land of Samaria, and later on, new residents from other countries were sent to the cities of Samaria.
These new residents brought with them their own religion and their own gods:
NKJV (2 Kings 17:24) 24 Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.
Temple prostitution and child offerings were other striking aspects of the Baal worship:
NKJV (1 Kings 14:23, 24) 23 For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. 24 And there were also perverted persons in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.
NKJV (2 Kings 17:17) 17 And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.
The originally Jewish Samaritans had relations with the new residents and took then also part in their idolatry.
NKJV (1 Kings 16: 29-31) 29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel; and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him.
Jezebel was a daughter of Ethbaal, the king of Tire and Sidon.
The Sidonians worshiped Astarte. Astarte was the goddess of fertility.
Jezebel became the wife of King Ahab of the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel:
NKJV (1 Kings 11:33) 33 because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians,……
(Jeroboam, the 1st king of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, instituted in Israel the image-worship of two golden calves, so that the inhabitants of Israel did not have to go to the temple in Jerusalem. According to 2 Kings 17:16, they ‘worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal’)
Jezebel was an unscrupulous admirer and prophetess of Baal and Astarte, who imposed the worship of these in Israel. She went completely against the God of Israel and had the prophets of YHWH murdered. Her behavior was denounced by the prophet Elijah:
NKJV (1 Kings 18: 4) 4 For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.
NKJV (1 Kings 18: 17-18) 17 Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals.
Both the Baal priests and Elijah built an altar with a bull as a burnt offering, but Elijah let pour out water three times on his altar. They were not allowed to ignite the fire themselves:
NKJV (1 Kings 18: 38-40) 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.
YHWH announced Jehu as the new king of Israel:
NKJV (1 Kings 19: 15-18) 15 Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. 18 Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
Ahab wanted the vineyard of Naboth, but Naboth did not want to give it to him.
Jezebel, his wife, made up a ruse so that Naboth would be stoned to death.
After Naboth’s death, the prophet Elijah was sent to Ahab:
NKJV (1 Kings 21: 19, 23, 25-26) 19 You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Have you murdered and also taken possession?” ‘ And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.” ‘ “… . 23 And concerning Jezebel the Lord also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’… 25 But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. 26 And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.
Ahab then repented and thus the fate for his family was postponed to his son:
NKJV (2 Kings 8: 25-27) 25 In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Ahaziah the son of Jehoram, king of Judah, began to reign. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri, king of Israel. 27 And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab, for he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab. (actually of Ahab’s father, of the house of Omri)
As written in 1 Kings 16:29, Ahab (king of Israel) was the son of Omri. The wife of Ahaziah (king of Judah) was Athalia, a daughter of Omri and thus a sister of Ahab.
Ahab (king of Israel) was thus a brother-in-law of Ahaziah (king of Judah).
Jehu becomes anointed as king of Israel:
NKJV (2 Kings 9: 1,6-7,10) 1 And Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets, and said to him, “Get yourself ready, take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth Gilead 6 Then he arose and went into the house. And he poured the oil on his head, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. 7 You shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel…. 10 The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.’…
Joram is killed by Jehu in retaliation for the idolatry of the house of his father Ahab:
NKJV (2 Kings 9: 21-22, 24) 21 Then Joram said, “Make ready.” And his chariot was made ready. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot; and they went out to meet Jehu, and met him on the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22 Now it happened, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” So he answered, “What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?”… 24 Now Jehu drew his bow with full strength and shot Jehoram between his arms; and the arrow came out at his heart, and he sank down in his chariot.
Joram, the king of Israel, was thrown on the field of Naboth. When Ahaziah, the king of Judah saw what happened, he fled, but he was chased by Jehu. He fled to Megiddo and died there:
NKJV (2 Kings 9: 30-33) 30 Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window. 31 Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?” 32 And he looked up at the window, and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 Then he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot.
Jezebel came to her end as Elijah had prophesied; ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel’. Then, all 70 sons of Ahab were killed. And Jehu slew all the rest of the house of Ahab, all his princes, his confidants, and his priests. (2Kings 10: 7, 11) And Jehu made up a ruse for the prophets, servants and priests of Baal:
NKJV (2 Kings 10: 18-19) 18 Then Jehu gathered all the people together, and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now therefore, call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests. Let no one be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu acted deceptively, with the intent of destroying the worshipers of Baal.
Then Jehu said to the guard and to the officers: ‘Go in and kill them’ (2 Kings 10:25)
The Jezebel of Thyatira (from Revelation) was a woman who behaved like a prophetess and thereby incited many Christians to fornication and tempted them to participate in idolatrous sacrifices:
NKJV (Revelation 2:20) 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
The name Jezebel is of course only a figurative name, intended to denote the same misleading and idolatrous behavior as of the original Jezebel:
NKJV (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Till so far this part about idolatry in the first Christian communities. In the next article, we will explore the exile of Judah and the visions of Daniel.