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Painted Illustration of Dagon in Ancient Times
Dagon was the god of the Philistines. This image shows that the idol was represented in the combination of both man and fish. The name "Dagon" is derived from "dag" which means "fish."
Although there was a deep affection from Dagon's worshippers to their deity, the symbol of a fish in human form was really meant to represent fertility and the vivifying powers of nature and reproduction.
The Babylonians had a myth that a being emerged from the Erythraean Sea who was part man and part fish and thus adopted the deity into their culture in their earliest days in history. Their have also been discoveries of the fish-god in the sculptures found in Nineveh, Assyria.
"When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the temple of Dagon and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. So they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the LORD. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only the torso of Dagon was left of it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon's house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day."
- 1 Sam 5:2-5
"Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice. And they said: "Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy!" When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said: "Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, The destroyer of our land, And the one who multiplied our dead."
- Judges 16:23-24
Judges 16:23 - Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
1 Chronicles 10:10 - And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.
1 Samuel 5:7 - And when the men of Ashdod saw that [it was] so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
1 Samuel 5:2 - When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
1 Samuel 5:3 - And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon [was] fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
1 Samuel 5:5 - Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
1 Samuel 5:4 - And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon [was] fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands [were] cut off upon the threshold; only [the stump of] Dagon was left to him.
A WORD ABOUT IDOLS
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me."
It’s been said, “God made man in his own image, and then man kindly returned the favor.”
A good working definition of an idol is anything that is loved or feared more than God. It is a substitute or replacement for true worship.
Idols are entreated for the protection, power, & blessing of individuals and nations. From ancient times, and continuing today, civilizations have been creating & then worshipping false gods through the images, icons, and statues. Temples, priesthoods, and elaborate systems of worship shower them with honor. God severely condemns this practice in scripture, since He is Creator of all things and due all of mankind’s gratefulness for our existence and the world He has given us to live. God alone can give mankind the love, protection and blessing that we desperately need.
Consider below the God’s Word through Isaiah the Prophet:
"The LORD ,Not Idols "This is what the LORD says- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come- yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing? He and his kind will be put to shame; craftsmen are nothing but men. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and infamy. The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint. The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory, that it may dwell in a shrine. He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. It is man's fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says," Ah! I am warm; I see the fire." From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, "Save me; you are my god." They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, "Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?" He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" "Remember these things, O Jacob for you are my servant, O Israel. I have made you, you are my servant; O Israel, I will not forget you. I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:6-22
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else." Acts 17:24,25
The superstitions of idol worship were not created without help. Scripture teaches that idol worship is empowered by demons. The fallen spirit world offers magic, threatens retaliation, and gives the manifestations necessary to establish false religious worship. Once established, shame and honor codes, ethnic pride, and fear of family, neighbors and government are enough to sustain the system.
They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols or demons to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.' Lev. 17:7
Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 1Cor. 10:19,20
In the Western world, we have our list of things that we love or fear more than God, and we can make idols without using a graven image.
Here is a short list of things we love or fear more than the One True God.
1. Ourselves: Narcissism, our way, & our desires must come first.
2. The opposite sex, the pursuit of romance. The opposite sex was to be man’s second most important relationship, but it has become the first.
3. Money, and the pursuit of material blessings can keep one from a relationship God for entire lifetime. No matter how much you have, it is never enough.
4. Power & control can be an attempt to receive personal glory.
5. Material possessions, homes, cars, boats, jewelry.
6. Chemicals that synthesize the fullness and joy that God offers us.
7. Causes that we can devote and entire lifetime to, in place of a devotion to the living God and His cause.
The list is endless. Any created thing can become an idol. Man’s root problem is the disconnection from his Holy and Powerful Creator. The bible tells us that the willful sin of the human race has separated us from the Lord and we are blinded to Him. As a beautiful rose picked from it’s stem, soon we wither and fade. We need to be rooted and grounded in God’s love. We are isolated, empty, angry, fearful and needy. Without a relationship to God our innate desire to worship leads us to god’s of our own making. All of our attempts to worship anything other than God turn out to be very disappointing and leave us empty, violated and addicted.
Thankfully, the Lord has not left us in this desperate state, destined to spend our lives in pursuit of false gods that will never satisfy. Jesus the Messiah, has paid the ultimate price for our sin and shame. Through God’s sacrifice on our behalf, somehow, God has satisfied the demands of His own Holy Nature for perfect justice.
We can come home. We can worship the One True God. We can begin a new life.
Say “Yes” to God’s provision for you and come home to His love.
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: 2"Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:1-3