Judges 2 - The Israelites Disobeyed the Angel of the LORD!
Judges 2 – The Israelites Disobeyed the Angel of the LORD!
The angel of the Lord brought the Israelites up out of Egypt but the Israelites disobeyed him. They stopped serving the LORD after the death of Joshua.
The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Judges 2:1-2
It was "Malak Yehovah," the “Angel of the Lord” who had appeared to Joshua in Gilgal at the beginning of the campaign to occupy the land of Canaan and issued His orders as the “Captain of the LORD’s host.”
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”Genesis 17:8
God promised Abraham that his descendents would be delivered out of the land of bondage and take possession of the land of Canaan. God not only confirmed his promise to Isaac and Jacob, but stated He would give their offspring the Promised Land as an everlasting possession.
Now the great Angel of the covenant, the Word, the Son of God, reappears and speaks with Divine authority and calls the Israelites to account for their disobedience.
"'But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.” Numbers 33:55
Before they entered into Canaan, the LORD had warned the Israelites several times about the importance of clearing out the Promised Land of the idolatrous Canaanite peoples but they failed to obey him.
And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”
When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord. Judges 2:3-5
Bokim is the Hebrew word for weepers. The people wept there, crying out against their own foolishness of disobedience and ingratitude to the LORD who had delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt. They sacrificed there to the LORD to atone for the sins they had committed. This was an indication that they were near Shiloh, where the tabernacle was located.
After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Judges 2:6-7
The author of the book of Judges is recounting a history of the tribes of Israel, from the division of the land by Joshua to the time in which the angel of the LORD speaks. Joshua divided the land among them by casting lots in order to determine God’s will for the territory allotted to each tribe. Joshua urged the people to be obedient to the LORD and the Israelites solemnly promised to obey God’s commands. They continued to be faithful during Joshua’s lifetime and during the lives of his contemporaries who had survived him.
When all that generation who had seen the wondrous works of God in their behalf had died, the succeeding generation worshipped the Baals and Ashtaroth, the gods of the Canaanites. They provoked the LORD to anger and they were therefore delivered into the hands of their enemies.
Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. Judges 2:8-9
Joshua was called the servant of the LORD as was his mentor Moses.
And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. Deuteronomy 34:5
Only two other outstanding men were known as servants of Yehovah in the Bible.
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
I love you, Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1
Moses the deliverer, Joshua who led Israel into the Promised Land and David, Israel’s greatest king, were servants of the LORD and types of the Messiah.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. Isaiah 42:1
See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Isaiah 52:13
After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. Judges 2:10-11
Ba’al was a title and honorific meaning “lord” or “master.” Baal, the sun-god, was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. Baal religion revolved around the cycles of nature necessary for survival and prosperity in the ancient world, primarily growing crops or raising livestock, as well as the growth of human populations.
Baal was also a fertility god who was believed to enable the earth to produce crops and people to produce children. Different regions worshiped Baal in different ways, and Baal proved to be a highly adaptable god. Various locales emphasized one or another of his attributes and developed special “denominations” of Baalism. The Israelites did evil by serving the Baals.
In the Baal religion, base sex worship was prevalent, and religious prostitution even commanded; human sacrifice was common; and it was a frequent practice--in an effort to placate their gods--to kill young children and bury them in the foundations of a house or public building at the time of construction.
The first Holy Roman Emperor Constantine rejected the seventh day Sabbath for the venerable day of the sun. The Roman calendar which names its days and many of its months after pagan gods is a solar calendar.
Mithra, the Light of the World, is an ancient sun god identified with Sol Invictus, who was born on December 25th. Mithraism was popular in the Roman Empire with many Emperors following, not just the populace. It had seven sacraments, the same as the Catholic Church, baptism, and communion with bread and water. The Eucharist hosts were signed with a cross, an ancient phallic symbol which originated in Egypt, and the Egyptian cross (the ankh which represents Tammuz), still shows the original form which included the female symbol. The Roman Catholic Church incorporated pagan traditions into their rituals in order to attract the masses and codify their power, wealth and influence as a Holy Roman Empire.
The Monstrance is used to display a round wafer of bread, called the host, which is used in what is called the Mass, Lord's Supper, Communion or Eucharistic meal. The Catholic believes this wafer of bread turns into the actual body of Christ when consecrated during the Mass. During the baroque period, the Monstrance took on a rayed form of a sun-monstrance with a circular window surrounded by a silver or gold frame with rays. The priest sometimes holds up the sunburst monstrance with the host encased for the congregation to adore and venerate. Virtually any time the monstrance, a pagan sun symbol, is viewed by the congregation, they kneel in submission. The Catholic Church describes itself in its documents as engaged in the act of worshipping the Eucharist, which is also called adoration or veneration.
"This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.” Revelation 17:9
The woman on the beast of Revelation chapter 17 is known as “Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots.” The topography or terrain that marks the geographical location of the center of the false religion is noted for its seven hills. The Whore of Babylon is a religious system that is characterized as prostituting itself. Spiritual fornication is idol worship. The Empire of the Caesars had its capital in Rome which was built on seven hills and was well-known for its many statues of its Roman gods and goddesses including the Caesars. Julius Caesar as Rome’s Pontifex Maximus held supreme religious authority in Rome. He was not only the ruler of the state but the high priest of the pagan Roman religion.
The term “Pontifex Maximus” is applied to the high priest of the Roman Catholic Church today. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition: 'For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise.” Not only does the Pope continue under the titles of the Caesars of Rome but claims to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. The Pope claims to be authorized to act as the substitute or agent of Christ on earth. Jesus himself promised us that He would send the Holy Spirit to act on his behalf and not a fallible man. As Christ Jesus had been the Master, Counselor and Guide to believers, He promised to send the Holy Spirit as His substitute so that He might abide with them forever (John 14:16).
The Roman Catholic Church noted for its widespread display and veneration of the statues of saints is in direct opposition to the commandments of God stated in Exodus 20: 4-5a: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven 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. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
Although Romanists claim that they are not worshipping the statues of saints or Mary, the very fact that they bow down to them violates God’s commandment. The location and practices of the Roman Catholic Church seem to make it the ideal candidate as the Whore of Babylon.
They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. Judges 2:12-13
Asherah, or Ashtoreth, was the name of the chief female deity worshiped in ancient Syria, Phoenicia, and Canaan. She is presented as a consort of Baal, the sun-god and the two were worshiped with lewd rites.
So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:8-9
In their own strength and foolish stubbornness of heart, Nimrod’s followers were defying the LORD God by building a high waterproof tower. Instead of learning a lesson from the Flood by fearing the LORD and turning from evil, they trusted in the arm of flesh. The purpose of the tower was the worship of the heavenly hosts which is known as “The Babylonian Mystery Religion.”
When Nimrod died, the Babylonian mystery religion in which he figured prominently continued on. His wife Queen Semiramis saw to that. Once he was dead, she deified him as the Sun-god. Later, when this adulterous and idolatrous woman gave birth to an illegitimate son, she claimed that this son was Nimrod reborn. Semiramis named her son Damu (from the Sumerian “dam,” or blood), which in the later Babylonian language became Dammuzi and in Hebrew Tammuz.
As men were scattered over the face of the earth speaking different languages, they continued in their worship of the sun, moon and other heavenly bodies. Therefore, the same mythical gods and goddesses they worshipped were called by different names based upon the language that was spoken. In various cultures Nimrod later became known as Baal, the Great Life Giver, the god of fire, Bel, Molech, etc. Baal (sun worship) was the chief male deity of the Canaanites, Zeus the chief deity of the Greeks and Jupiter the chief deity of the Romans.
Semiramis became known as the “Queen of Heaven,” and was the prototype from which all other pagan goddesses came. Semiramis is the name of the moon goddess for the Assyrians. Ashtorah is a moon goddess for the Canaanites. Isis is the Egyptian name. Ishtar is the Babylonian name. Artemis was worshipped by the Greeks and known as Diana by the Romans.
Asherah was represented by a limbless tree trunk planted in the ground which was also known as an Ashera pole. The trunk was usually carved into a symbolic representation of the goddess. Because of the association with carved trees, the places of Asherah worship were commonly called “groves,” and the Hebrew word “asherah” (plural, “asherim”) could refer either to the goddess or to a grove of trees.
Asherah was also worshiped as the goddess of love and war and was sometimes linked with Anath, another Canaanite goddess. Worship of Asherah was noted for its sensuality and involved ritual prostitution. The priests and priestesses of Asherah also practiced divination and fortune-telling.
Mecca at the time Muhammed was born was inhabited by the tribe of Quraysh (Koreish) to which Muhammed’s clan of Hasim belonged. The city was a mercantile center with shrines to many gods, chief of whom was llah. The Ka'bah sanctuary in the city square supposedly guaranteed the safety of those who came to trade. The pre-Islamic deities of Arabia which were most venerated were astral deities, especially the triad of the moon god, the sun goddess, and the god associated with the planet Venus. The moon god was the chief and was protector of the cities. These deities were given various names however the moon god was evidently originally the Babylonian moon god Sin. To end division among his people in Mecca, Muhammad elevated the moon god A llah to the chief and only god.
In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. Judges 2:14-15
The Israelites were not only engaged in physical prostitution with shrine priests and priestesses; they were also committing spiritual adultery be worshipping other gods. Israel was in covenant relationship with Yehovah who had delivered out of the bondage of Egypt. Therefore, He chastised the Israelites by allowing raiders to plunder them, their enemies to defeat them and the neighboring nations to rule over them.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:19
Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted The Angel of the LORD themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s command. Judges 2:16-17
Following the conquest of Canaan by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel and Judah, the Israelite tribes formed a loose confederation. No central government existed in this confederation; in times of crisis, the people were led by ad hoc chieftains, known as judges.
Shoftim is the Hebrew word that is translated as judges. Many times the judges served in the role as an official with the authority to administer justice but not always. Most shoftim acted primarily as military leaders in times of war. The leaders were thought of as being sent by God to deliver the people from a threat. After the threat had passed, shoftim were generally expected to give up their position as military leaders. They were most likely tribal or local leaders, but their authority was recognized by local groups or tribes beyond their own. In accordance with the needs of the time, their functions were primarily military and judicial but they did not act like or have the authority of a king.
Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. Judges 2:18-19
As a person or nation continues in cycles of sin, the individual or nation will develop a callused heart and a seared conscience.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1Timothy 4:1-2
We can draw parallels between the ever increasing corruption and evil practices of the tribes of Israel during the time of the Israel’s judges and our own nation. The lies and deception propagated by those who promote political correctness have been affirmed by godless judges on the Supreme Court so that immorality and pagan practices have become the law of the land.
Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. Judges 2:20-23
Ultimately, since the people violated their Covenant with God, He did not drive out the remnant of the peoples who were left in Canaan at the time of Joshua’s death. God left them there as a test to winnow out those who were really committed to following Him
Is it possible that the LORD is also very angry with the United States of America for turning away from our Creator? Are we out of favor with God because of the continuing effort by those in power to ban the 10 Commandments, Christian prayer and the Bible from our public institutions, by engaging in gross sexual immorality, the destruction of millions of babies in the womb, for loving money and materialism, and waning in our support of Israel?