Here! I am driving out ahead of you the Emori, Kena‘ani, Hitti, P’rizi, Hivi and Y’vusi. Be careful not to make a covenant with the people living in the land where you are going, so that they won’t become a snare within your own borders. Rather, you are to demolish their altars, smash their standing-stones and cut down their sacred poles; because you are not to bow down to any other god; since Adonai— whose very name is Jealous — is a jealous God.-Exodus 34:11-14
In verse 10, we’re told that God renewed the covenant Israel had broken due to their Golden Calf rebellion.
However, this time, He makes it clear there are two non-negotiable conditions the Israelites absolutely must obey if the covenant is to remain valid.
First, Israel must NOT, under any circumstances, mix with the Canaanites and involve themselves with their false gods.
Second, as outlined in verses 17 to 26, there are several God-ordained appointed times or festivals the Israelites are to keep FOREVER.
If the Israelites keep these two conditions, the Lord promises that He will go ahead of them and drive out their enemies from the land.
These enemies are identified as being the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perrizites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
The Lord goes even further and gives the Israelites specific instructions on what to do to ensure they absolutely will NOT enter into any ungodly covenants with the Canaanites.
He tells them they must destroy Canaan’s sacrificial altars.
This consists of smashing their “standing stones“ and cutting down their “tree poles“.
The “standing stones“ were stones piled up, one on top of another, that served as memorials to a god.
The “tree-poles”, which resembled totem poles, were basically standing idols.
Now the original Hebrew word from which “tree poles” or “sacred poles” came from, and this is mind-blowing, is “ASHERAH“
“ASHERIM“ is the plural form being used here.
ASHERAH comes from name ASHTORETH which is the name of a fertility goddess.
Now ASHTORETH can also be called ASTARTE.
And in other cultures, the word ISHTAR is used.
Just understand that in spite of all the slight variations, ASHERAH, ASHTORETH, ASTARTE, and ISHTAR all mean the same thing.
They are ALL referring to fertility goddess cult worship.
Whenever Israel fell into idolatry, pretty much, it was either one of two gods they worshipped.
They fell for either the moon-god or the fertility goddess.
These were the two most universally honored pagan deities at the time.
Here’s the thing that a lot of people don’t understand.
The Israelites never stopped worshipping YHVH.
The problem was they added another god or two or three to the mix.
It was the mixing of their worship of HASHEM with other pagan deities that got them into trouble.
There’s a strong lesson to be learned here.
How often do we mix the pure and undefiled things of the Lord with the impure and unclean things of this world?
Personally, a couple of areas I feel I might need to examine more closely are some of the self-development books I read that at times border on mind-control occult practices and some of the music I listen to.
I’m not passing any judgement here.
I’m just saying during your quiet time, when meditating on these verses, it would greatly help your spiritual growth if you engaged in a bit of self-examination and asked the Lord to point out those specific areas of your life that are hindering your walk with Him.
The Lord wants to create a Holy People unto Himself.
Holy in thought, food, sexual practices, and in how we treat our neighbors and raise our families.
Finally, I want to close by asking you a final question.
We just learned that the words ASHERAH, ASHTORETH, ASTARTE, and ISHTAR all refer to fertility goddess cult worship.
Do you know what this word is in our modern English?
The answer is EASTER.
That’s right man.
The word “EASTER” is just Anglo-Saxon for ISHTAR.
Easter is the Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess.
Why do you think modern Easter celebrations use rabbits and have Easter eggs?
It’s because the rabbit is a symbol for the fertility goddess and eggs are used because they are shaped like ovums (a female reproductive cell), which are symbols of fertility itself.
I find it interesting that the gentile church shames ancient Israel for falling into idol worship, yet have adopted the very name of the pagan fertility goddess the Lord calls an abomination for one of their holiest Christian holidays of the year.
A second ago, I talked about the importance of engaging in a bit of self-examination to identify and weed out certain practices in our lives that might not be pleasing to the Lord.
However, there are some things where self examination is NOT necessary because the Lord has made it crystal clear that a certain practice is an abomination.
I believe ISHTAR or EASTER worship is one of those practices.
Again, I leave you with the clear words of Scripture.
“you are to demolish their altars, smash their standing-stones and cut down their ASHERIM (sacred poles).