Dancing with the Devil—Have the Ancient Gods Returned?

Dancing with the Devil

Have the Ancient Gods Returned?

By Tim Moore

Diabolical: False Prophets, Cults and Demonic Deceptions

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In ancient times, false religion took the form of pagan practices and idol worship. Abram, the revered patriarch from Ur, believed God and left his family of idol worshippers to journey westward to a land of promise. When he arrived there, the Amorite people were also steeped in idol worship.

Simply put, idol worship involves any religious practice that elevates a false god. Since the only true and living God is Yahweh—revealed as three Persons in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—all other gods are, by definition, false. Men frequently craft idols of wood or stone or precious metals (Isaiah 44:10-20), but at times the gods are recognized as spirit beings who inhabit another realm altogether.

The Canaanite gods included the bloodthirsty Molech, Ashtoreth, and Baal. In Egypt, the sun was revered as a god and given the name Ra. Eventually, the pharaohs were elevated to godlike status—although that label did not prevent them from succumbing to death like every other mortal being. When the Romans ruled over the Mediterranean basin, they simply adopted the Greeks’ array of gods and gave them distinctively Roman names. Beginning with Julius Caesar in 42 BC, the Roman Senate began “deifying” their rulers—as if the pronouncement of man could elevate another mere mortal.

There is no record that the false gods ever spoke audibly in the manner that God did. (Indeed, except for Satan, Scripture implies that demons are only capable of audible communication through the medium of a possessed human being.) But they still convey their insatiable desire for sacrifice—often consisting of human sacrifice, including children. In fact, the most detestable of the offenses recorded in scripture is the practice of making children “walk through the fire,” a euphemism for being burned alive (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). The pagan peoples of the land of Canaan (and all of the ancient world) believed such religious devotion would confer blessings of prosperity and fertility.

Tellingly, the false gods were quite willing to let pagan people worship a variety of similar deities. In fact, while they were envisioned as occasionally in competition or often provoked to jealousy and anger, the false gods were believed to frequently consort together—even bearing offspring.

What is clear from the entirety of God’s Word is that the false gods were representative of spiritual forces and demonic beings. They craved worship the same way Satan wants to be elevated above God in heaven (Isaiah 14:13-14). They also rejoice when an image-bearer of the living God is led astray and joins them in open rebellion against the Almighty. Demonic spirits take sadistic joy in seeing people suffer and die and join them in everlasting damnation.

Almighty God was unequivocable about the dangers of false gods and split loyalties. The first of His Ten Commandments was: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Even then, His point was not that He should merely be first in a lineup of deities; He is the only true and living God. All other false gods lead inevitably to destruction.

The Road to Perdition

While Christians should not fear Satan and his demons, neither should we dismiss them as irrelevant. The demonic being assigned to Persia was able to detain God’s emissary from reaching the prophet Daniel for 3 weeks. Only when Michael, one of the highest-ranking angels, came to help was the messenger finally able to fulfill his mission (Daniel 10:11-13). As an aside, the same demonic spirit seems to still hold great sway over modern-day Persia—Iran.

Ayatollah Khomeini

We may wonder about the persistent poverty (material and spiritual) of places like Haiti and Afghanistan. But past leaders consciously welcomed demonic forces to have authority in their territory—resulting in continuing desperation and despair for their beleaguered people. The consequence of rejecting light and embracing darkness is obvious.

In America, a great moral and spiritual shift has occurred. What was once anathema is now embraced. This shift is evident even in music. In 1974, the funk band Ohio Players released Running From the Devil. Just 4 years later, hard rock band Van Halen would receive far more acclaim and popularity with their version, Running With the Devil. Just one year later, the Australian band AC/DC, would joyfully sing, “I’m on the Highway to Hell.” But one line in Van Halen’s lyrics captures the inevitable nihilism and despair of every person who anticipates dwelling with demons: “I got no love, no love you’d call real.” Desperately sad, but eternally true.

Anathema = something vehemently denounced and abhored

Changing a Nation’s Gods

The LORD revealed the tragedy of Judah’s rejection:

Has a nation changed gods when they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate,” declares the LORD. “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:11-13)

In modern times, few people may swear loyalty to false gods like Molech, Ashtoreth, and Baal, but demonic forces are still at work. Some—including Jonathan Cahn—have asserted that the same demons who were active in the ancient world are being welcomed with open arms to lord over our own culture today. Their methods have become more sophisticated, but their end goal is still the same: human suffering, death, and damnation.

The names they go by have changed as well. The spiritual forces of darkness are quite content to let people think they are devoted to personal autonomy, choice, and unfettered liberty. The demon gods realize that unbounded by the laws God has established for human flourishing, people will embrace the same lies that condemned ancient societies in the eyes of God. And they will be given over to destruction.

Even now, many of our leaders celebrate wickedness, perversion, and the murder of innocent life—just like the high priests of Molech and Baal did thousands of years ago. In the 2024 election cycle here in the United States, the Democratic Party has loudly proclaimed its intention to fixate on abortion as the touch stone of its political identity. And it is aggressively promoting the LGBTQI+ agenda. Why? Because it believes a majority of Americans will harken to a message that promotes unfettered personal autonomy and choice—even at the expense of millions of innocent unborn children and moral sanity.

Age of Sin

Some will take offense at the characterization that they are doing the bidding of demons—intentionally or unwittingly. But Jesus said of those who rejected Him and embraced deception, “you are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father” (John 8:44). Satan, the lord of the demonic world, loves when people reject the order of creation, deny the Creator, and murder the innocent—because “he was a murderer from the beginning.”

To paraphrase Peter Townshend of The Who, “meet the new gods, same as the old gods.” Sadly, millions are getting fooled again. And they are rushing headlong into paganism, the occult, and rampant wickedness.

Satan and the ancient gods (demonic beings, all) are raging today, because they know their time is short. Satan also knows Bible prophecy, although he has deluded himself into hoping that he can somehow defeat Almighty God.

Choose Wisely

God will not be mocked. His righteous indignation burned against the sin of the Amorites as they followed false gods and reveled in wickedness. Still, He delayed His righteous judgment for four hundred years (Genesis 15:14). Then, and now, He is patient, not wishing for any to perish. But His patience will not last forever.

Someday soon, “every knee will bow… and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). Satan and his demonic hordes and every person whose name is not found written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10-15).

Do not wait!

Reject the false gods and their false religion. Call on the Name of Jesus Christ today and be saved.

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