A Sign of the "Times"
I have never been much interested in eschatological topics because interpretations have always been so diverse and confusing. This study will not attempt to predict any specific play out of future events but will look at some signaling developments of the times we are presently living in.
In 2016 there was a headline in the New York "Times" announcing that replicas of the ancient temple of Baal's arches were to be erected in "Times" square in New York City.
Due to protests and negative attention, the event was postponed until September of 2016. They also changed the "Arch of Baal" display to the "Arch of Triumph," which is connected more with Rome's defeat of the area of Palmyra. They also changed the location to City Hall Park in New York City.
This article will study the significance of the original intent and its connections with biblical prophetic events and explain what was so controversial about the original idea.
The original determined location for the Arch of Baal is in a region overlapped by a neighborhood known as "Hell's Kitchen," which is not far from the World Trade Center.
The "World Trade Center" has an ancient archetype rooted in Genesis chapter 11.
Now the whole earth had one language and one speech . . . And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves.
— Genesis 11:1
Trade was also at the center of an ancient act of treason against God.
“By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones...“You defiled your sanctuaries
By the multitude of your iniquities,
By the iniquity of your trading;
Therefore I brought fire from your midst;
It devoured you,
And I turned you to ashes upon the earth
In the sight of all who saw you.
— Ezekiel 28:16,18
What is so bad about trading? The book of Romans describes this unholy exchange.
although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
— Romans 1:21-25
Present Day "Times Square"
According to Wikipedia, Times Square is known as the "Crossroads of the World," "Center of the Universe," the "Heart of the World." It is also recognized as a major center of the world's entertainment industry. "World" is the key phrase in these titles.
. . . all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
— I John 2:16
Times Square History
Times Square's history leads to a present-day culmination of the modern idols we as a culture worship. Before April 08, 1904, this place was known as "Longacre Square," which was considered a "Red Light" district, also titled the "Tenderloin." This name was a reference to bribes paid for police protection for brothels. The Rev. Thomas De Witt Talmage called New York City the "modern Gomorrah" for allowing the Tenderloin to exist.
It was also known as "Satan's Circus," noted for its gambling houses, brothels, dance halls, and concert saloons, according to an"Untapped Cities" article. This description fits well with the "Hell's Kitchen" neighborhood theme mentioned earlier.
Three weeks after it's renaming, from "Longacre Square" to "Times Square," the first electric billboard was displayed. It has since evolved to be home to one of the largest billboard displays globally, peddling its sales to all of our worldly appetites in a bright neon light fashion.
Anything Goes—Frank Sinatra
It's About Worship
Frank Sinatra, singer and actor, known as the idol of the "Bobby Soxers," appeared for a historic performance in 1944, at the Paramount Theater in Times Square, New York. He was heralded in a news article from that time, about this performance, as "their" (the adoring fans) prophet. This article also referred to the Paramount as a Mecca to which the young idolaters had made their pilgrimage. They were also unashamedly called cultists.
The religious language and parallels in this 1944 article are blatant. It exposes what we worship and its relationship to entertainment. What we think is so secular is, in fact, deeply religious.
The song"Anything Goes" sang by Frank Sinatra in the above video is very telling. It was written by Cole Porter, who, according to Wikipedia, became acquainted with New York City's vibrant nightlife during his college years and was living a behind the scenes alternative lifestyle. The song is a testimony in and of itself of the worldly prophetic message and personal pleasure priority agenda.
The Entertainment Industry Is Nothing New
The temple of Baal was not merely a historic structure. It, too, was centered on base pleasures fueled and supported by entertainment. The ancient temple of Baal included an entertainment theater at its center.
they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, made for themselves a molded image (one that lets us do as we please) and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.
— II Kings 17:16-17
There are two kingdoms, the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God. Whose every house we choose to dwell, we shall reap the benefits or curses thereof.
I fear that we have fooled ourselves into thinking we can have a little bit of both.
They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods . . .
— II Kings 17:33
It might be tempting to think that the ancients were foolish for worshiping inanimate objects, much like we think it's harmless to view what we do because it isn't real. But the Lord has this to say about what we give our lives, time, and attention to and who it is we worship, especially when it is everything and anyone other than Him.
They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
They sacrificed to demons, not to God.
— Deuteronomy 32:16-17
What is Paramount
Paramount is an intriguing name for a theater. It means superior to all others and of most importance. The entertainment industry, for which Times Square is famous, is superior and of utmost importance to the average Westerner's hearts and minds.
Years ago, a gal I worked with traveled to Europe, and on her return trip home, she was listening to a tour guide offering advice to a group of Europeans who were touring the U.S. She was amused when she heard the guide trying to explain to the tourists how obsessed Americans are with their televisions, movies, and entertainment. The guide encouraged them to try not to take offense when Americans didn't turn off their sets while visitors were present or even to eat.
I also heard a story of a missionary who visited an eastern country where they still worship small statues. They meticulously displayed their idols on their living rooms' mantel with all the furniture carefully arranged to face their gods. Although this seemed somewhat odd and foreign to him, the missionary explained that he couldn't help but think of Western America and our television sets that display and even animate our many and diversified idols we moderns worship. Sex, violence, and witchcraft are served up 24 hours a day for our continuous viewing pleasure.
Temple of Baal
Baal worship has its origin and roots in ancient Babylonian idol worship that stemmed from Nimrod and the tower of Babel, as recorded in Genesis chapter 11.
“Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.And they had brick (man-made substance) for stone and they had tar (man-made mix) for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top reaches to the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves.
— Genesis 11:3
According to "The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook, this particular incident, and building of a tower, to live indiscriminately separate from God's ways and judgments, was representative of "prideful and pretentious humanism." Babylon becomes "the prototype of all the prideful nations, cities, and empires that raise themselves against God."
The word Babel to the Babylonians meant "gate of the gods" in Hebrew. It means confusion. Can we see the writing on the wall, the illuminated billboards, or displays of ancient gates to other gods? Can we see all the chaos and confusion we have ushered in by forsaking the one and only true God and trading our time living and resources to the idols of this age?
I am curious to see how things play out in these "times" It is fascinating that two towers fell, and one raised in its place in typical human pride and defiance.
. . . Who say in pride and arrogance of heart The bricks have fallen, but we will build with hewn stone.
— Isaiah 9
The following is the Lord's thought on personally contrived "hewn stone" idolatry committed in His name.
. . . if you make an altar of stones for me, you will not build them as hewn stone, because if you use your chisel on it, you have defiled it.
— Exodus 20:25
Did we miss the message?
So What Is So Bad About Baal?
Ancient idolatries of any kind were steeped in sexual licentiousness.
“How can you say, ‘I am not polluted,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
See your way in the valley;
Know what you have done:
You are a swift dromedary breaking loose in her ways,
A wild donkey used to the wilderness,
That sniffs at the wind in her desire;
In her time of mating . . .
— Jeremiah 28:23-24
This licentiousness resulted in most likely, confusing situations and detrimental problems for children, similar to what we are witnessing today. It is always the innocent that get hurt. Like these ancient people, we sacrifice our children in so many ways on the altars of our personal and willful pleasures and desires.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will bring such a catastrophe on this place, that whoever hears of it, his ears will tingle.
“Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents (they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind).
— Jeremiah 19:2-5
Entertainment isn't the only idol in our culture that puts our families at risk. There is also the pursuit of happiness at the expense of our loved ones, and much like the tower of Babel, the idolatrous reputation in the eyes of man is trying to make a name for ourselves in terms of success and notoriety. There is the love of money and acquisition. There are so many many things that compete with the One and Only True God. It is no wonder He is jealous.
Current Events and Temple Baal Ruins
Since 2014, Isis has made a specific point to target and destroy the ancient ruins of religious structures that once hosted the worship of the ancient world's gods. They state that their goal is to rid the world of idolatry.
In general, the world has viewed these destructions as an issue of historical heritage at the hands of evil men. The memorials for these shrines are contested for by Unesco even though these were temples of licentiousness and shrines of decadence that were well known for child/human sacrifice, mutilation, orgies, bestiality, and incest. I am not sure why that type of history deserves the recognition of any kind.
Their destruction could very well be a symbolic gesture on God's part. Perhaps He has allowed the issue in a challenge to the modern gods of our times, Our gods may not involve a physical statue, but they certainly do consist of things that we form and fashion in our hearts. These have, inevitably, led us down a path of similar results.
The present ruins of Baal are featured, after the time of Christ, being occupied by the Romans. They mixed their mythology and western Greco Roman influence with these ancient Near Eastern worship practices.
One other site visited by Isis and its destroyers was the ancient city of Nineveh, the city that Jonah was sent to, to plead with the people to repent so they would not be destroyed.
I can't help but wonder if there is a message that calls to both ancient and modern variations of idol worship to repent for the "Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
I believe that this event presents to us a challenge and not one of protest. If our hearts are only viewing the structure as something to protest, we have missed the message entirely.
In I Kings chapter 18, God commanded Elijah His prophet to visit the evil King Ahab and his, even eviler, wife Queen Jezebel, with a challenge to their false gods. Elijah instructs them to send their false prophets for a little contest. Each side prepares a sacrifice.
you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord (YHWH); and the God who answers by fire, He is God.
— I Kings 18:24
The story concludes with no response from the "other gods," but the LORD replies mightily!
. . . the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”
— I Kings 18:38-39
The following was Elijah's challenge to those present.
Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”
— I Kings 18:20
Our challenge equally is not to protest an ancient symbol of idolatry. Our true challenge is recorded in the Psalms by David.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
And see if there is in me the worship of false gods,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
— Psalm 139:23-24 (Lexham English version got it right)
I sincerely believe that the message and challenge of the Baal arch display in Times Square, the devil's circus, that is overlapped by Hell's Kitchen, very near a tower that very much resembles, in representation, a tower of old, that symbolized idol worship and forsaking God is this.
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.
— Joshua 24:14-15
Can we see how far we have fallen?
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
— Revelation 2:5
A Current Update!
According to an article dated April 10th, 2016, by Michael Snyder on the "End of the American Dream" website, the plans for the erection of replicas of the Baal arches in Times Square canceled. The plans changed to erect one arch in Trafalgar Square in London, and it wasn't the temple Baal arch but instead will be the "Arch of Triumph" that the Romans had built to memorialize their victory over that territory.
The Arch of Triumph marked a road in Palmyra that overarched the path connecting the temple of Baal with the west gate. This switch can be significant in the sense of a West meets East imagery, and the results of that mixing. For more on "mixing," see "The Hebrew Word Satan."
Some are citing this as a victory in terms of Christianity. But unless that comes with repentance, I am not sure it is a victory.
I am not clear yet why the plans changed, but more info will be provided as I find it. I also will be doing a bit of investigating into the history of the Roman arch replacement. I am not sure that this changes the statement the original intentions make and will, therefore, leave the article up.
It is interesting that the date for this staging coincides with Passover, and couldn't help but think of the "triumphal entry" of Christ. These are just thoughts not fully developed. Feel free to input any insights.
The secular "New York Times" announced the original plans in their article on March 19th, 2016, in an article titled "Life Among the Ruins."
The Arch of Palmyra quietly made its way to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., at the end of September in 2018. In the video below, Jonathan Cahn discusses the connection between this display and a significant event that occurred the day after.
Credits and Sources
New Your Daily News.com (Daily News on October 13, 1944.)
Update as of 2019
© 2016 Tamarajo