Chief male deity of the Phoenicians and Canaanites, as Ashtoreth was their principal female deity (Judg. 2:13). The worship of Baal was directed to Jovis, Jupiter, or the Sun as the guardian and giver of good fortune, prosperity, and abundance.
Meta. Baal means lord, and it was the besetting sin of the ancient Hebrews to apply this title to things formed instead of the formless. This tendency is still prevalent, and not merely among the Hebrews.
All concepts of God as less than universal mind are Baal. Those who believe in a personal god are Baal worshipers, because they make an image of that which is "without body, parts, or passions." They should learn to go back of the realm of things, that they may come in touch with God, who is Spirit, mind, cause, omnipresence.
Baal worship was a form of nature worship. All people who study materiality and seek to find in it the source of existence are sacrificing to Baal. This is strictly intellectual. But there are those on the soul plane who think that they are spiritual because they feel the throb of nature and join in all her moods. They are closely allied to the whirling dervish, and dissipate their soul substance in the various forces of nature with which they are in love. Such persons must do away with this Baal worship and call upon the life-fire of the Spirit to consume every material phase of sacrifice.
Baalim and Asheroth represent nature in its various sensuous aspects. "All the host of heaven" (see Deut. 4:19 and 17:3) are the sun, moon, and stars and the twelve signs of the zodiac. When we fall into the evils of Manasseh (II Chron. 33:1-13) we think that the planets and stars rule over us and that it is necessary to pay them a certain degree of homage or worship because of their influence. Some people in this day have great faith in their "ruling planets," and think that they are bound to certain traits of character because they were born when those sidereal bodies were in the ascendancy. They are forgetful of the God power within them, and so are brought into condemnation.
The Manasseh mentality usually goes from one step of Baalim worship to another, until it exhausts them all. Luck, chance, sorcery, familiar spirits, and wizardry are some of the avenues through which the Manasseh mind attempts to regulate its life. Astrology, palmistry, the guidance of spirits, mesmerism, hypnotism, are some of the many modern forms of denial of God. Indulged in for a time they lead the negative mind into deeper and deeper bondage, until the transgressed law reacts upon the transgressor and he is put "in chains" and bound "with fetters" and carried to Babylon, or utter confusion. The way of escape is through prayer to God and return to His "city of peace" within the soul, Jerusalem.
Following Entry: Baalah