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Israel's God & Foreign Gods
The monotheism of Judaism, reflected in Islam and to a lesser extent in Christianity, has created the impression of a total lack of correspondence with the polytheistic religions of surrounding nations in Israel's past. This is not true.
great patriarch Abraham, whom the Bible presents as the model of the Christian faith (Galatians 3:29), had no problem in adopting the local religious terminology of the Amorite king of Salem with reference to God as El Elyon,
the creator-God in Amorite/Canaanite belief.
In his
statement to the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham makes a public oath –
"I have lifted my hand to יהוה (Yahweh), אל עליון (El Elyon), Possessor of heaven and earth ..."
Traditionally translated as –
"I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth ..."
Genesis 14:22.
Abraham had returned with his Amorite allies, the brothers Aner and Eschol, from the rescue of Abraham's nephew Lot and others captured from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah on the plain of Siddim south of the Dead Sea. At that time Abraham lived next to the worship sanctuary of Mamre, priestly brother of these two friends.
Genesis 13:18; 14:24.
At that
time these Amorites of Canaan worshipped El (אל), El Elyon (אל עליון) – God, God Most High. There is no other!
For Melchizedek's Sake
When nomadic
Abraham had first entered Canaan, it was at a similar sanctuary that he received God's promise of the land.
"Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh [teacher/soothsayer]. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your offspring I will give this land'.
So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him."
Genesis 12:6-7.
as the Good News Bible puts it –
"Abram traveled through the land until he came to the sacred tree of Moreh, the holy place at Shechem. (At that time the Canaanites were still living in the land.) The LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'This is the country that I am going to give to your descendants'.
Then Abram built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him."
was here, at this same sacred place many years later, that Jacob rededicated his family to God –
"So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob hid/buried them under the terebinth/oak tree that was near Shechem."
Genesis 35:4.
ancient open air sanctuaries are reflected in the layout of their stone version on the Salisbury Plain in England known as Stonehenge.
this focus on the Most High, maker of heaven and earth (sky and land), became blurred onto others in religious practice, who were presented as His servants, sons, or consort, who could perhaps be used to manipulate the Most High for personal gain of the worshiper.
The New
Testament puts it this way –
"For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived,
ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him,
but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things."
Romans 1:18-23.
It deserves
to be noted here that the list of sins and corruptions which follow this statement are given to us as being the consequence of God's withdrawal from the disrespect of humanity, and not the cause as is sometimes taught/misunderstood:
"Therefore God gave them up..."; "For this reason God gave them up to..."
produce every corruption – from lesbianism to ruthlessness.

Romans 1:24,26.
So, El's son Baal became Israel's god whose priests Elijah confronted, for Baal controlled the weather and could therefore give them prosperity an an agricultural economy, so his priests taught – at a price: the life of each family's first-born child.
it is from the mount called Baal Rosh ('head of Baal' from which the first glimpse of the coming rain-clouds of the west could be seen) known to us as Mount Carmel, that Elijah challenged their priests to light the sacrifice by Baal's lightening-bolt from above.
And we know the story...
Elijah's subsequent execution of their priests was not for religious reasons. It was for the blood of so many of Israel's children! Elijah did not give us figures, but archaeologists uncovering the worship of this Baal in ancient Carthage estimated it at an average of about two-and-a-half infants per day in that one city alone.
the Apostle Paul presented the Christian gospel to the leaders of Athens, he had no hesitation in quoting from a known poem written in honour of Zeus, the chief Greek God, and directly applying it to God Most High.
Acts 17:28.
How strange and sad then that today in some circles, the use of the Arabic term for God (as translated in the Arabic version of our Christian Bible), has become an anti-Muslim attack slogan – 'Christ or Allah?'... by some very arrogantly foolish and ignorant persons!
'Christ or God' ??????

Allah is a false God? Demons What Is Heaven For? Infant Sacrifice
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