It was unveiled in London. It was displayed in New York, just steps away from Ground Zero. And now, the harbinger of the pagan god Baal has been used to welcome participants to a summit dedicated to "world government."
The World Government Summit recently held a meeting in Dubai, bringing together some of the most important leaders in government and business to discuss international problems.
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Past attendees of the summits have included former President Barack Obama and former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
But this year, it featured a reconstruction of the Arch of Palmyra, the Roman triumphal arch that once welcomed travelers to the ancient Temple of Baal in the Syrian outpost of the empire.
Baal worship featured rites of child sacrifice and sexual immorality. Some Christians have connected the pagan cult to the practices praised by "liberals" today.
Yet Rabbi Pinchas Winston identified another troubling connection in Breaking Israel News. He argues the erection of monuments to Baal, specifically one of Roman origin now being built in an Arab nation at a summit dedicated to world government, signifies an alliance against Israel.
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Rabbi Winston claims it is a sign of Arabs "continuing the mission of Edom to conquer the world."
Pastor Bill Cloud of Shoreshim Ministries, author of "Esau Rising," accepts this analysis.
"As far as a collaboration between certain Western powers and the Islamic world with the intent of isolating and destroying Israel, I wholeheartedly agree with the rabbi's take on this," he told WND. "This is another manifestation of an ages old alliance between these two antichrist spirits. In 'Esau Rising,' I made the argument that the spirit of Esau is alive and well, still plotting Israel's demise. Those deemed as Esau or Edom – the name given to his descendants – don't necessarily have to be physical descendants. Edom is defined as those who take up his cause and who behave as he would."
Cloud said there is a great deal of precedent when it comes to an alliance between "Rome" and the enemies of Israel.
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"In this context, I think it's important to point out that Herod the Great, who ruled under the auspices of Rome, was not Jewish but, according to Josephus, an Edomite," Cloud explained. "In other words, it was a collaboration between Western powers and the sworn enemy of Israel. Remember, it was Herod who sought to kill the infant Messiah.
"As far as Esau's affiliation with the Islamic world, the Bible tells us that, when Jacob left for Padan Aram to find a wife, Esau realized his parents did not approve of his marriages to the women of Canaan. Instead of putting them away, he traveled to Arabia and took as his third wife one of Ishmael's daughters. In effect, he formed an alliance with the Ishmaelites knowing they hated Isaac and Jacob. This alliance between Edom and Ishmael has adversely affected God's people throughout history. For instance, the Roman X legion – the one that sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. – was comprised primarily of Arabs and Syrians.
"So when you see Western nations aligning themselves with Muslim nations and talking about one-world government, then you know that this alliance is plotting something."
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Scriptural teacher Joel Richardson, the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including "The Islamic Antichrist," and his latest, "Mystery Babylon," argues this idea of a Western-led alliance against Israel is a pattern well established in Judaism.
"Rabbinic Judaism has a tradition that casts Edom as a code-word for Rome or Western Christendom," he told WND. "Throughout the prophets, Edom represents the greatest eschatological enemy of Israel. In Ezekiel, it is Edom that is the embodiment of 'the everlasting hatred,' or 'perpetual enmity' toward Israel (Ezekiel 35:5). This tradition is based on a legend that one of Edom's descendants had traveled to Europe and is the father of much of what has come to become Western Christianity."
Richardson, who chronicled the history of the church's tragic hostility to Jews in "When a Jew Rules the World," nonetheless, says this is tradition is misguided.
"Of course, it is understandable that many of the Jews see Christendom through such a lens, having been such persistent and hostile force to European Jewry," he said. "The problem, however, is that Edom has never represented Christianity in the Bible. It has always been a reference to the end time enemies of Israel which is most concentrated in the peoples who most surround Israel. Today, the world is awakening to the fact that Islam indeed has a plan to influence the world and demonize Israel. The culmination of the hatred of the nations toward God’s covenant people is increasingly becoming manifest.
"On one hand, we must see this as the prophetic fulfillment of what God said He would do if His people continued to reject Him. On the other hand, it is important that Christians do not make the same mistakes of the past and fail to stand with Israel during the coming time of Jacob's trouble, as illustrated in Jeremiah 30, Daniel 12, and Matthew 24."
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Some pastors said the implications of the Baal imagery even goes beyond opposition to Israel. The ancient Canaanite deity is a symbol for man's rebellion against God.
"This is quite an incredible story as Baal represents the god man creates in his own image when he rebels against the true God who created man in His image," said Mark Biltz. "Man refuses to be under God's authority so he builds a god in his own image, a god he can have authority over."
Pastor Carl Gallups, author of "When the Lion Roars: Understanding the Implications of Ancient Prophecies for Our Time," agreed the arch is a symbol of rebellion against God, and its presence at a meeting dedicated to "world government" is ominous.
"The spirit of Baal, described as sexual perversion, licentiousness, power and wealth, is undoubtedly sweeping the planet," he warned. "There is a definite spiritual pattern developing before our eyes. There is a connection here that much of the world may be missing. This now world-renowned and traveling symbol of Baal made its debut in London on April 19, 2016, which happened to coincide with Beltane, a major pagan festival for worshiping Baal. From there, the arch was taken to NYC and displayed within short walking distance from Ground Zero. NYC is home to the United Nations and is the second leading economic power-city of the world. The Baal arch exhibit was unveiled in NYC in September 2016. Almost 15 years to the day from the Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terror attacks on that city – the largest single terror attack in world history. London is also the leading economic capitol of the world.
"And now Baal's symbol appears in Dubai, the top business gateway between Europe and Africa. Dubai was also ranked by the Brookings Institute in August 2015, as the fastest growing metropolitan area in the world. But, don't forget, the Dubai appearance was purposely designed to coincide with the opening of the World Government Summit. Nothing spiritual or prophetic there – right?"
Gallups argued the revival of this ancient cult, if only in a subtle form, is yet another sign the world is moving toward the last days.
"Baal, one of the most ancient idol-gods in the world, dubbed by the pagan world as 'ruler of the earth,' appears to be making a world tour, right in the middle of the most profound biblically prophetic times since the first coming of Jesus Christ," he warned. "It's as if, in the spiritual realm, Satan is claiming Europe, the United States, Africa and the Middle East as 'his territory.' And in so doing, he would actually be claiming domination of practically the entire globe.
"Now, the arch's display in major economic and world power centers – coinciding with spiritually important events, is a little too much coincidence to be mere coincidence. It is also as if Satan's spiritual claim is being laid upon the financial and government capitols of the world, a move that symbolizes the eventual interconnection of the planet – the biblically stated goal of Satan's last days' plan. The secular mind will miss these spiritual implications entirely, but those who know anything about the historical and spiritual significance of Baal and its deep connection to biblical prophecy of the End Times can easily make the connection."
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Biltz, discoverer of the "Blood Moons" phenomenon and the author of "God's Day Timer," also believes the recurrence of Baal is part of a scriptural pattern dooming the people of Israel to endless conflict.
"We see the connection between Esau and Ishmael represented by the Arabs when Esau marries into Ishmael's family in Genesis 28:8-9," the pastor explained. "The result of this union is horrific for Israel as it produces Amalek, Esau's grandson as we see in Genesis 36:12. Amalek was the first nation to attack Israel as they left Egypt and God declared that Israel would have war with Amalek in every generation. As a matter of fact, here we are three weeks from Purim when this summit is taking place. Purim is the story of Esther when Haman the Amalekite wants to completely destroy the Jewish people!
"The union of Ishmael and Esau at this time represents a biblical pattern of an attempt to destroy Israel one more time. Amazingly, when Israel gave birth to Esau and Jacob the Lord told Rebekah two nations were in her womb and there would be battles between them. And today we see people wanting to divide Israel into two nations not realizing two nations will never work but the elder will serve the younger. The battle has always been over the birthright of the Land of Israel."
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Yet all of this is ultimately a reflection of the largest story in world history – the battle of the one true God of Israel versus the false gods created by man.
"There are many false gods mentioned by name in the Bible – Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Dagon, Molech, Tammuz," says Joseph Farah, founder of WND.com and author of the new book, "The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age." "But one name comes up more than other, by various spellings, in both the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, and that is Baal or Beelzebub. It's no accident that in 2017 the World Government Summit and UNESCO and other globalist organizations and gatherings are still celebrating, honoring and paying tribute to this demon, this counterfeit god, this idol. What's it about? It's always about rebellion against the One True God."
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Richardson also says all controversies of this kind derive from this central drama of human history, as God makes Himself known to mankind.
"Throughout history, it has been YHVH versus false gods," he said. "In ancient times, it was YHVH versus Baal. Later, during the Roman era, it was YHVH versus Zeus. Today, the primary spiritual battle for the souls of mankind is between YHVH and the Allah of Islam. Behind all of these false gods, of course, is Satan. This is exactly why Jesus Himself referred to the Temple at Pergamum, a temple dedicated to the worship of Zeus as, 'the throne of Satan' in Revelation 2.
"Today, Satan is using the false religion of Islam, more than any other system in his final push to establish global dominance and receive the worship of the nations. The Bible is clear, however, that the seed of the woman, Jesus the Messiah, will crush Satan under His feet and He alone will be the object of worship throughout the nations. As the Scriptures say, 'the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.' His name will be the name that is above every other name."