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It is written:
1 Kings 15:13-Also he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. And Asa cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron.
2 Kings 23:4-And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the second order, and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the articles that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel.
2 Chronicles 15:16-Also he removed Maachah, the mother of Asa the king, from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah; and Asa cut down her obscene image, then crushed and burned it by the Brook Kidron.
Throughout the Old Testament, we are told about a goddess named Asherah (Ashtoreth). She was often connected with the Canaanite god Baal, and was always shown to be an enemy of the God of the Bible. Indeed, she was known by many other names.
We get some powerful insights into the depravity of this goddess when we look at the identification of the “Asherah poles” in these passages:
“The high places were features of Canaanite religion, and the conquering Israelites were commanded to destroy them when they entered Canaan (Num. 33: 52; Deut. 33: 29). Israel came in contact with the high places of the Moabites before they entered the land (Num. 21: 28; 22: 41). Being defiled by Canaanite fertility cults and other paganistic pollutions, the high places were often connected with licentiousness (Hos. 4: 11-14) and immorality (Jer. 3: 2). One of the best known high places is the “Conway High Place” at Petra. (See W. F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine, pp. 161-65.) The Ugaritic tablets of the late fifteenth century B.C. from Ras Shamra show that animals were sacrificed in the high places of Baal in North Syria. Always contiguous to the rock altar was a sacred pillar, maṣṣēbâ, a sacred pole having phallic associations capped with a symbol of the ’ăshērâ, evidently denoting female fertility. Male prostitutes, dēshîm, and sacred courtesans, dēshôt (1 Kings 14: 23-24; 2 Kings 23: 7), maintained chambers for cultic prostitution in honor of the heathen deity.” (Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, 569 (Kindle Edition); Chicago, IL; Moody Bible Publishers)
“There are numerous “green gods” that prefer woodland habitation. Fertility gods and goddesses who control the elements and make crops thrive or wiither; goatlike satyrs and sprites abound in folklore, amidst tales of fairies and even elves. The Bible speaks of Asherah poles, which YHWH condemned, and these were probably made from ash trees, felled and then carved with phallic and fertility symbols, around which the priests and acolytes performed their rituals. The maypole is a remnant of this rite. Woodland gods and pastoral spirits promise the birth of healthy children and bountiful harvests. In return, they expect obedience and offerings, sometimes in blood.” (Sharon K. Gilbert, Derek P. Gilbert, Veneration: Unveiling the Ancient Realms of Demonic Kings and Satan’s Battle Plan for Armageddon, 101-102 (Kindle Edition); Crane, OH; Defender Publishing)
In his amazing book, The Return Of The Gods, Jonathan Cahn documents:
“She was among the most ubiquitous and protean of deities. She was able to modify her appearance or trappings to adapt to new peoples, cultures, and lands. In the Bible she is called “Ashtoreth.” She is also spoken of in the plural form of her name, “Ashtaroth.” As with Baal, she was everywhere. She manifested in differing forms in different cities, regions, and lands, and her idols could be found throughout the Middle Eastern world. In Canaanite mythology she was connected to Baal and appears often as his wife or consort. Her influence was so great and so pervasive that one can see facets of her nature, her roles, her functions and attributes in a myriad of goddesses from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and beyond. In the Canaanite and West Semitic world she was called Astarte. The Sumerians called her Inanna. In Assyria, Babylon, and much of the Mesopotamian world she was known as Ishtar. To the Greeks she became Aphrodite. At the same time, her young lover Dumuzi, or Tammuz, became the god Adonis. And to the Romans she became the goddess Venus. Thus the planet behind the Star of Ishtar would be named after the goddess’s Roman name.” (Johnathan Cahn, The Return of the Gods, 66 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary, Florida; FrontLine)
This goddess-Ishtar-was very well-known in the ancient world. Indeed, as Cahn points out and documents in his book, there is a very real possibility that this evil spirit and her supernatural followers have returned to the modern world. Notice some examples that Cahn provides of the work of this wicked goddess.
Attacks On God-Approved Marriage
“Though Ishtar was involved in the ritualized marriage ceremonies of Mesopotamian religion, and though some of her myths involved a form of marriage, there was almost nothing about her that was conducive to marriage. Just the opposite, her nature and acts, her worship and cult, would undermine it. She was never faithful. She was promiscuous. She pursued and seduced lover after lover. She pursued sexual relations apart from marriage and to the detriment of marriage. So the effect of Ishtar’s return to the modern world was the progressive undermining and weakening of marriage. As sexuality was glorified as an end in and of itself, marriage was eroded. As Ishtar had pursued relationship after relationship, so America began doing the same. As the taboo against ending one’s marriage began to end, so did marriages. Under the spirit of Ishtar, divorce became an epidemic and America was filled with broken homes. Passions of the Goddess Ishtar was led only by her will and desires. She had no regard for the consequences of her actions. The idea of denying her desires for the sake of a covenant was to her an anathema. She sought the immediate fulfillment of every impulse. She was the goddess of instant gratification. So with the return of Ishtar, American and modern culture became consumed with instant gratification. Americans increasingly chose their desires over relationships, over preserving their marriages, or entering into them in the first place. A culture of hyper-individualism, self, and self-gratification proved to be toxic to marriage and relationships. As it was Ishtar’s nature to choose sexual pleasure and romance over commitment, more and more Americans did likewise. They slept with each other, lived with each other, but would not commit to each other. Marriage as a lifelong covenant was increasingly viewed as an unnecessary constraint. What was once fornication now became premarital relations and, in time, the norm. The number of Americans living together without marriage and the number of children born out of wedlock or without fathers would skyrocket.” (Johnathan Cahn, The Return of the Gods, 72-73 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary, Florida; FrontLine)
As Cahn points out, American society has begun to grow amazingly similar to ancient Canaan in regard to the prostituting of sex.
The Drug Revolution
This led to another powerful change that was reminiscent of ancient Ishtar: the introduction and normalizing of mind-altering substances.
“As the goddess who dwelled in taverns, Ishtar was strongly connected to the substances of intoxication served and partaken of there. In one of her myths she schemes to take away the powers and blueprints of civilization contained in the tablets of the god Enki. She partakes with him of alcoholic beverages until he becomes intoxicated, at which point she takes off with the tablets. So to Ishtar belonged the powers of both seduction and intoxication. Thus it is of note that at the same time that the sexual revolution was taking hold of America, a parallel movement began, an explosion in the usage of intoxicating substances. After holding steady from the end of the Second World War, the rate of American alcohol consumption suddenly began rising. The escalation would continue for two decades and then would be followed by another escalation that would continue into the twenty-first century. The Mind Alterer But it was another form of intoxication that so dramatically exploded in American and Western culture that it would, in part, define the 1960s: that of drugs. The phenomenon became so widespread that it gave birth to its own culture—the drug culture. Among the most celebrated of the newly embraced intoxicating substances were the psychedelic, or “mind-altering,” drugs that radically altered perception, thinking, and behavior. The state of intoxication and altered consciousness was now glorified as an ideal to be sought after. It was all in keeping with the goddess’s nature. It was her power and will to alter consciousness, perception, and reality. With or without intoxicating substances she was altering the American consciousness. Sex, Drugs, Rock, and Ishtar For the ancient Mesopotamian, the taverns were inhabited by the spirit of Ishtar. It was there that those affected by her allurements were surrounded by three elements: sexuality, intoxicating substances, and music. When the spirit of Ishtar manifested in American culture in the 1960s, two of the three elements also manifested, sexuality and intoxicating substances. The third component would converge as well—music. Each of the three would epitomize the decade that began the transformation of American culture. In 1969 a LIFE magazine article identified the three elements as the counterculture’s new sacraments—“ sex, drugs and rock,” 1 or sexuality, intoxicating substances, and music—the three elements that characterized Ishtar’s dwelling place.” (Johnathan Cahn, The Return of the Gods, 80-81 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary, Florida; FrontLine)
The connections between drug abuse and the spirit world are well documented. John writes of this in Revelation 9:21, where the Greek word pharmakeia (translated as “sorceries”) is used, from which we get our English words “pharmacy” and “pharmaceuticals.” The Hebrews understood that this word included the abuse of drugs which opened one up more to the spiritual realm. Little wonder then that so many drug addicts that I have been blessed to work with in Hazard have struggled with serious demonic issues as well. Demonic attacks are often tied in together directly with the abuse of drugs.
On a few occasions, I have even worked with individuals who had been witness to spells being done on shots of meth in order to bind demons to the drugs so that the persons who would buy these substances would then be cursed with demonic spirits who would afflict and torment them. The work of Ishtar (and other demonic gods and goddesses of the ancient world-see Psalm 96:5) was directly tied to the blending of drug abuse and the spirit world.
As Cahn documents, these three transgressions in the realm of Ishtar’s influence: sex, drugs, and music-led to to her becoming known as the goddess of mediums. All of these are pretty frightening indicators of the rise of Ishtar in America, yet the next one is especially worthy of note.
Ishtar was the goddess of transgenderism.
“It was all there, implicit from the beginning, and made clear, over and over again, in the ancient inscriptions: May Ishtar, Mistress of battle and conflict, turn his masculinity into femininity. 1 She was continually praised for her power to “turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man.” 2 Implicit in the changing of sexuality is the changing of desire. A man transformed by the goddess into a woman would presumably now desire men. A woman changed into a man would presumably desire women. This brings us into the realm of altered desire. The goddess herself boasted of being able to change back and forth between female and male. Though unspoken, it would be implicit that her desire as a woman would be for a man and as a man, for a woman. Beyond that she was the one especially invoked when one was seeking to alter another’s romantic or sexual desire. She was the sorceress. It was her power to change desire. Then there were her priests, her performers, the cultic ministers of her temples, the men who dressed in female garments and took on female appearance. They would serve as examples of her power to alter sexuality. But their transformation went beyond clothing or outward appearance. Some took on women’s names. Some would sing the cultic songs in the female dialect. Some even took on roles akin to consorts or wives. Exile of the Assinnu Thus it was more than appearance or mannerisms. It was sexual. Ancient Akkadian texts give instructions to men on having sexual relations with the assinnu, Ishtar’s feminized men. It was thus a feature of the goddess’s worship for her male priests to perform sexual acts with other men. A large part of Ishtar’s priesthood would today be classified as homosexuals or gay, and her cult as one of androgyny, transvestitism, and cross-genderism. When Western civilization turned away from paganism and the gods and goddesses went into exile, the condoning of homosexuality and other related behaviors came to an end. When the goddess went into exile and her temples closed, the assinnu priests and her other cross-gendered cultic personnel left the temples and followed the goddess into exile. They disappeared. In the new era and civilization, gender-crossing practices such as homosexuality and transvestitism would be seen as immoral, sinful, inversions of the natural order. Such things would now be proscribed by codes of morality, societal convention, law, and Scripture. The licentiousness and transgressions for which the goddess’s sanctuaries were known would now fade into history, become distant memories, and then be forgotten. The Emergence of the Shadow Men But if the goddess was to return, what would we expect to happen? We would expect that the values and practices of her cult and worship would return as well. In other words, if the goddess whose religion involved the acceptance, the open practice, the sanctification, and the enshrinement of homosexuality was to return, then her return would again bring about the acceptance, the open practice, and the sanctification of homosexuality, and its re-enshrinement in Western civilization. And that is exactly what would happen. The goddess would cause homosexuality to come out of the shadows, out of the realm of the forbidden, and introduce it to a civilization to which it was alien and taboo. And when that would take place, it would not be so much a diverting of the sexual revolution but its logical conclusion. The Two Priesthoods The dynamic could be seen in the goddess’s ancient cult of worship. Her female priests and workers, the harimtu, the kezertu, the samhatu, and the istaru, engaged in sexual activity outside of marriage, but they did so with men. So sexuality was at first removed from the one context, that of the marital covenant, but remained within the other, male-female sexuality. But with Ishtar’s male priesthood, from the assinnu to the gala, the divorcing of sexuality from its natural or traditional context, its decontextualization, was taken to another level. The goddess’s male priests removed sexuality from gender, from its biological context of male and female. Thus they represented a deeper level of decontextualization. One priesthood led into the other—or one stage of decontextualization and deconstruction would lead into the next.” (Johnathan Cahn, The Return of the Gods, 119-121 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary, Florida; FrontLine)
Homosexuality and transgenderism have been normalized in American society, and yet the Word of God consistently condemns such.
Deuteronomy 22:5-A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God.
Romans 1:24-27-Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
All sins that people commit may be forgiven through the Gospel:
1 Corinthians 6:9-11-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. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Indeed, our only true hope is to return to the Gospel as provided in the Holy Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Acts 2:37-47).
In so many ways, we can see that America is undergoing the influence of the goddess Ishtar. But through Jesus, we will be victorious.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.