Broken Cisterns, Part 1

By William Finck   © 2006

We in Israel Identity who understand the importance of racial purity read passages such as those found in Jeremiah 2 and Ezekiel 16 and understand that the prophets are describing not only religious apostasy, but also fornication, which is race-mixing: sexual intercourse with other kinds (Jude 7, fornication is the pursuit of strange, or different, flesh). Yet “mainstream” sects, all of which are generally universalist now, and even many who claim to be Israel Identity but are universalists – such as Stephen Jones and Dave Barley – would have us believe that these chapters aren’t about sex at all, but rather about “spiritual” fornication or “spiritual” adultery and have only “religious” significance. What some of these don’t understand or fail to investigate, while others surely know but won’t admit, who seem to purposely conceal the truth – is that many of the ancient pagan religious cults are all about sex – and especially the cults of Baal and Ashtaroth! Once we see that sex was a primary component of these cults, we can comprehend fully just what Jeremiah and Ezekiel are saying when they say things such as:

“For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith Yahweh Elohim. How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways; A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her. Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.” (Jer. 2:20-25) And also:

“But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so ... Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms. Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.” (Ezek. 16:15-16, 25-26). 

Herodotus writes of Bel, or Baal, whom the Greeks equated with their Zeus, and the “sacred precinct” of that idol in Babylon: “On the topmost tower there is a spacious temple, and inside the temple stands a couch of unusual size, richly adorned, with a golden table by its side. There is no statue of any kind set up in the place, nor is the chamber occupied of nights by any one but a single native woman, who, as the Chaldaeans, the priests of this god, affirm, is chosen for himself by the deity out of all the women of the land.” (1:181, G. Rawlinson’s translation). The historian goes on to relate an identical practice in Thebes in Egypt in the temple of “Theban Zeus”, or Ammon (1:182).

Now it should be common sense to most men, Christian and otherwise, that Bel (Baal) himself certainly did not appear each night to some woman in this temple. Even Herodotus said of this “... but I for my part do not credit it – that the god comes down in person ...” (1:182), much to his credit. But evidently some man must have entered into these chambers. And quite possibly someone pretending to be Bel. Tertullian, the 2nd century defender of the Christian faith writes: “Then if I add – and the conscience of every man of you will recognize it as readily – if I add that in the temples adulteries are arranged, that between the altars the pander’s trade is plied, that, quite commonly, in the very vestries of temple-keeper and priest, under those same holy fillets, crowns and purple garments, while the incense burns, lust is gratified ...” (Apology 15:7, Loeb Library edition).

Baal is mentioned several times in Judges and in Samuel along with another pagan deity, the goddess Ashtaroth (see Judges 2:13; 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:3, 4; 12:10 and also 1 Kings 11:5, 33 and 2 Kings 23:13). Herodotus called the temple of Ashtaroth (often called Astartê in secular literature, compare 1 Sam. 31:10 with Josephus’ Antiquities, 6:14:8 [6:374]) in Ashkelon the temple of “celestial Aphroditê”, as Astartê was called Aphroditê by the Greeks, and Ishtar by the Babylonians, although Herodotus uses an Assyrian name discussing the idol:

“The Babylonians have one most shameful custom. Every woman born in the country must once in her life go and sit down in the precinct of Aphroditê, and there consort with a stranger. Many of the wealthier sort, who are too proud to mix with the others, drive in covered carriages to the precinct, followed by a goodly train of attendants, and there take their station. But the larger number seat themselves within the holy enclosure with wreaths of string about their heads, – and here there is always a great crowd, some coming and others going; lines of cord mark out paths in all directions among the women, and the strangers pass along them to make their choice. A woman who has once taken her seat is not allowed to return home till one of the strangers throws a silver coin into her lap, and takes her with him beyond the holy ground. When he throws the coin he says these words – ‘The goddess Mylitta prosper thee.’ (Aphroditê is called Mylitta by the Assyrians.) The silver coin may be of any size; it cannot be refused, for that is forbidden by the law, since once thrown it is sacred. The woman goes with the first man who throws her money, and rejects no one. When she has gone with him, and so satisfied the goddess, she returns home, and from that time forth no gift however great will prevail with her. Such of the women as are tall and beautiful are soon released, but others who are ugly have to stay a long time before they can fulfill the law. Some have waited three or four years in the precinct. A custom very much like this is found also in certain parts of the island Cyprus.” (1:199).

Strabo corroborates the historian thusly: “And in accordance with a certain oracle all the Babylonian woman have a custom of having intercourse with a foreigner, the woman going to a temple of Aphroditê with a great retinue and crowd; and each woman is wreathed with a cord round her head. The man who approaches a woman takes her far away from the sacred precinct, places a fair amount of money upon her lap, and then has intercourse with her; and the money is considered sacred to Aphroditê.” (16.1.20, Loeb Library edition).

Now before one scoffs at these testimonies, one must also consider v. 43 of the epistle of Jeremiah (which is often Baruch chapter 6 in some editions) in the Apocrypha, and here vv. 40-44 will be quoted so that the context is clear, from Brenton’s Septuagint:

“How should a man then think and say that they are gods, when even the Chaldaeans themselves dishonor them? Who if they shall see one dumb that cannot speak, they bring him, and intreat Bel that he may speak, as though he were able to understand, Yet they cannot understand this themselves, and leave them: for they have no knowledge. The women also with cords about them, sitting in the ways, burn bran for perfume: but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow, that she was not thought as worthy as herself, nor her cord broken. Whatsoever is done among them is false: how may it then be thought or said that they are gods?”

In The King James Study Bible, © 1988 by Thomas Nelson Inc. and by Liberty University, here is what a footnote at Judges 2:11-15 says concerning Ashtaroth: “Ashtaroth (or Ashtoreth, 1 Kings 11:5), known also from the literature of Ugarit and of Phoenicia, was a goddess of erotic love and war. She was known elsewhere in the ancient Near East as Ishtar or Astarte (cf. 1 Kin. 11:5, 33; 2 Kin. 23:13). The veneration of this goddess entered the Mediterranean world under the name Astarte, and the practices associated with her cult became associated with the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. She was called Atargatis at Ashkelon. The Canaanite worship rites were carried out not only in temples (2 Kin. 10:21-27) but on ‘every high hill, and under every green tree’ (2 Kin. 17:10, 11). These rites were accompanied by such things as frenzied dances (1 Kin. 18:26-28), cult prostitution (both male and female), and, at times, even by human sacrifice ...”

But the “cult prostitution” at the Greek temples of Aphroditê had a slightly different character than that described by the Greeks at Babylon. For Strabo says in discussing the temple at Corinth: “And the temple of Aphrodite was so rich that it owned more than a thousand templeslaves, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedicated to the goddess. And therefore it was also on account of these women that the city was crowded with people and grew rich; for instance, the ship-captains freely squandered their money, and hence the proverb ‘Not for every man is the voyage to Corinth’.” (8.6.20). Strabo later discusses worship of the moon goddess Mên, or Selenê, at a temple at Comana in Armenia: “Now Comana is a populous city, and is a notable emporium for the people of Armenia; and at the times of the ‘exoduses’ of the goddess people assemble there from everywhere, from both the cities and the country, men together with women, to attend the festival. And there are certain others, also, who in accordance with a vow are always residing there, performing sacrifices in honour of the goddess. And the inhabitants live in luxury, and all their property is planted with vines; and there is a multitude of women who make gain from their persons, most of whom are dedicated to the goddess, for in a way the city is a lesser Corinth, for there too, on account of the multitude of courtesans, who were sacred to Aphroditê, outsiders resorted in great numbers and kept holiday ...” (12.3.36). It has been shown elsewhere that both the Corinthians and many of the Armenians were among the descendants of the children of Israel, and no wonder such practices are found in these places, coming from Palestine. Strabo also gives a similar account of such temple prostitution among the Persians, and here of maidens who later marry, and says that the Medes and Armenians also share this custom (11.14.16). Surely the cakes made to the “queen of heaven” were crescent-shaped in honor of this “goddess” (i.e. Jer. 7:18) Mên or Selenê.

Strabo also indirectly reveals the sexual nature of the Bacchic orgies in the Greek worship of Dionysius, by discussing a similar festival among the Scythians: “... there the festival of the Sacaea, a kind of Bacchic festival, is the custom, at which men, dressed in the Scythian garb, pass day and night drinking and playing wantonly with one another, and also with the women who drink with them.” (11.8.5). Diodorus Siculus records the claim of a man that “the Dionysiac rites and the mysteries were simply a means to seduce the wives of other men ...” (3.65.2, Loeb Library edition). The rites of Dionysius also involved phallic worship (Herodotus 2.48, Diodorus Siculus 4.6.1-3) and as all would attest, were identical to Osiris in Egypt, the name Dionysius being the Greek name for Osiris. Of this the early Christian writer Minucius Felix says: “The man who fakes up stories of our adoring the privates of the priest is only trying to foist his own abominations upon us. Indecencies of that kind may be countenanced, where modesty in any kind of sexual relation or exposure is unknown. But faugh! ...their obscenities are more revolting than modern refinement can stomach, or servitude endure.” (Octavius 28.10-11, Loeb Library edition).

Phallic worship was an element of worship of Pan and the Satyrs. (Diodorus Siculus 1.88.3). The Roman name for the Greek Bacchic festival of Dionysius was Saturnalia, which was a seven day festival of drinking and orgies beginning Dec. 17th. A condition called satyriasis is listed in the American Heritage College Dictionary. It is defined: “Excessive, often uncontrollable sexual desire in a man.”

So much more can be said of the Greek abominations, yet one must realize that the abominations of the Israelites – learned from the heathens whom they were to slaughter, but then failed to – were certainly no different than those found in Babylon, Egypt and Greece. The Israelites came from Egypt, their forefathers sojourned in Babylonia, and many of the Greeks were Israelites! And all of these abominations the Greeks themselves trace back to Egypt or to the east (Phoenicia, Syria, Babylonia etc.) Now it may also be evident why, when the children of Israel joined themselves to Baalpeor, the god of Moab, they also “began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab” (Num. 25:1-3), and as a result, twenty-four thousand of them were slain (25:9)!

Now if the inhabitants of Jerusalem were “worshipping” in Canaanite temples, it is evident from the nature of that worship described here that they were necessarily having sexual intercourse with Canaanite men and women. For such sex was at the core of these Canaanite religions! And if they were having sexual intercourse with Canaanites, then they were having Canaanite children – for there was no “pill” in those days! So when Ezekiel wrote “And say, Thus saith Yahweh Elohim unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite ... Thou art thy mother’s daughter, that loathed her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which loathed their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite.” (16:3, 45) this cannot be dismissed lightly, or as something merely “spiritual” or “religious”! And when Jeremiah wrote “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (2:13) the implications of this must be considered seriously! It was not with vain words that the wise writer of the Proverbs warned his children:

“Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? For the ways of man are before the eyes of Yahweh, and he pondereth all his goings. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.” (Proverbs 5:15-23)

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