These days, to my surprise, people want to talk to me about evil.
In an essay last year, and in my book The Bodies of Others, I raised a question about existential, metaphysical darkness.
I concluded that I had looked at the events of the past three years using all of my classical education, my critical thinking skills, my knowledge of Western and global history and politics; and that, using these tools, I could not explain the years 2020-present.
Indeed I could not explain them in ordinary material, political or historical terms at all.
This is not how human history ordinarily operates.
I could not explain the way the Western world simply switched, from being based at least overtly on values of human rights and decency, to values of death, exclusion and hatred, overnight, en masse — without resorting to reference to some metaphysical evil that goes above and beyond fallible, blundering human agency.
When ordinary would-be-tyrants try to take over societies, there is always some flaw, some human impulse undoing the headlong rush toward a negative goal. There are always factions, or rogue lieutenants, in ordinary human history; there is always a miscalculation, or a blunder, or a security breach; or differences of opinion at the top.
Mussolini’s power was impaired in his entry to the Second World War by being forced to share the role of military commander with King Victor Immanuel. Hitler miscalculated his ability to master the Russian weather — right down to overlooking how badly his soldiers’ stylish but flimsy uniforms would stand up to extreme cold. Before he could mount a counter-revolution against Stalinism, Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City in his bath.
But none of that fracturing or mismanagement of normal history took place in the global rush to “lockdowns,” the rollout of COVID hysteria, of “mandates,” masking, of global child abuse, of legacy media lying internationally at scale and all lying in one direction, of thousands of “trusted messengers” parroting a single script, and of forced or coerced mRNA injections into at least half of the humans on Planet Earth.
I reluctantly came to the conclusion that human agency alone could not coordinate a highly complicated set of lies about a virus, and propagate the lies in perfect uniformity around an entire globe, in hundreds of languages and dialects. Human beings, using their own resources alone, could not have turned hospitals overnight from having been places in which hundreds of staff members were united in and collectively devoted to the care of the infirm, the prolongation and salvation of human life, the cherishing of newborns, the helping of mothers to care for little ones, the support of the disabled, to killing factories in which the elderly were prescribed “run-death-is-near (Remdesivir)” at scale.
Also look at the speed of change. Institutions turned overnight into negative mirror images of themselves, with demonic policies replacing what had been at least on the surface, angelic ones. Human-history change is not that lightning fast.
The perception of the rollout, the unanimity of a mass delusion, cannot in my view be explained fully by psychology; not even as a “mass formation.”
There have been other mass hysterias before in history, from “blood libel” – the widespread belief in medieval Europe that Jews were sacrificing Christian children to make matzo, to the flareup of hysteria around witches in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, to the “irrational exuberance” of Tulipmania, also in the 17th century, in the Netherlands, detailed by Scottish journalist Charles MacKay in his classic account of group madness, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841).
But all of these examples of mass frenzy had dissidents, critics, and sceptics at the time; none of these lasted for years as a dominant uninterrupted delusional paradigm.
What we have lived through since 2020 is so sophisticated, so massive, so evil, and executed in such inhumane unison, that it cannot be accounted for without venturing into metaphysics. Something else, something metaphysical, must have done that. And I speak as a devoted rationalist.
I concluded that I was starting to believe in God in more literal terms than I had before, because this evil was so impressive; so it must be directed at something at least as powerful that was all good.
At the time I wrote my initial essay, I knew that “Satan” was, at least for me, an insufficient explanation for the evil I saw. One reason that I felt that “Satan” was an insufficient name for what we were facing is that I am Jewish, and we don’t have the same tradition of “Satan” that Christian Western culture inherits and takes for granted.
In Jewish tradition, this entity’s role is not that of the rather majestic adversary of God who appears fully-fledged in the Christian tradition — an elaborated character who was developed subsequent to, as some scholars point out, the influence of Zoroastrianism on Judaism, and then on Christianity, in the years leading up to and after Jesus’ life and death.
In the Old Testament, in contrast, “the Satan” or “ha-Satan” — “the accuser” makes a number of appearances; but “ha-satan” is an opponent, rather than being the majestic villain of the New Testament, and of course of Dante and Milton’s characterizations, that so influenced Western ideas of “the devil.”
The way in which the Hebrew “ha-satan” differs from the Christian Satan is important: “Likewise, in Old Testament Hebrew, the noun satan (which occurs 27x) and the verb satan (which occurs 6x) are often used in a general way. If I “satan” someone, I oppose them, accuse them, or slander them.
David uses it this way in the Psalms, “Those who render me evil for good accuse [שׂטן (satan)] me because I follow after good” (Ps. 38:21). If I act as a “satan” to someone, therefore, I am their adversary or accuser, as the messenger of the Lord stood in the way of Balaam “as his adversary [שׂטן (satan)]” (Numbers 22:22) or as Solomon told Hiram that he had no “adversary [שׂטן (satan)]” who opposed him (1 Kings 5:4).
Thus, in Hebrew, the noun and verb שׂטן (satan) can have the non-technical meaning of “stand opposed to someone as an adversary.” In the case of Balaam, even the Lord’s messenger was a “satan” to him; that is, a God-sent opponent. That is the first point to keep in mind: unlike in English, where “Satan” always refers to a malevolent being, in Hebrew satan can have a generic, non-technical meaning.
Because our (Jewish) tradition of Satan is more impressionistic than the character who appeared later under Christian narratives, I felt that “Satan” was not sufficient to explain fully the inexplicable, immediate mirror-imaging of what had been our society, from ordered at least on the presumption of morality, to being ordered around death and cruelty. But I did not at that time have a better concept with which to work.
Then I heard of a Pastor named Jonathan Cahn, who had written a book titled The Return of the Gods.
The title resonated with me.
Though I don’t agree with everything in his book, Pastor Cahn’s central argument — that we have turned away from the Judeo-Christian God and thus we opened a door into our civilization for the negative spirits of “the Gods” to re-possess us — feels right.
Jonathan Cahn is a Messianic Jewish minister. He is the son of a Holocaust refugee. Formerly a secular-atheist, Cahn had a near-death experience as a young man that led him to accept Jesus — or, as he refers to this presence by the original Hebrew name, Yeshua — as his Lord and Savior. Pastor Cahn has a ministry based in Wayne, New Jersey, which brings together Jews and Gentiles.
In The Return of the Gods, his improbable, and yet somehow hauntingly plausible thesis, is that ancient dark and metaphysically organized forces, “the Gods” of antiquity, have “returned’” to our presumably advanced, secular post-Christian civilization.
Pastor Cahn’s theme is that, because we have turned away from our covenant with YHWH — especially we in America, and we in the West, and especially since the 1960s — therefore, the ancient “Gods,” or rather, ancient pagan energies, that had been vanquished by monotheism and exiled to the margins of civilization and human activity — have seen an “open door,” and thus a ready home to reoccupy, in us.
He argues that they have indeed done so.
Pastor Cahn makes use of a parable in the New Testament to make this case. I cite the King James Version:
Matthew 12:43-45: When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Pastor Cahn makes the case that the ancient “gods” were initially, in essence, put on the defensive, as the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) recounts, first by Yahweh, and by the introduction of monotheism and the revelation of the Ten Commandments; and then that they were vanquished altogether and sent into outer darkness, by the arrival to humanity of the being whom he sees as the Messiah, Yeshua.
One might right away resist such a phrasing; what do you mean, “the Gods?” But Cahn is both careful and accurate in his translations and his tracing of four millennia of religious history through a set of phrases.
Cahn rightly points out that the Hebrew Bible refers to what in Hebrew is rendered “shedim” or negative spirits (in modern Hebrew, this word means “ghosts”). Cahn correctly points out that these spirits, powers or principalities were worshiped in the pagan world in many guises — from the fertility god Baal to the goddess of sexuality Ashera or Ashtaroth; to the destructive idol, Moloch. He rightly points out that the ancient world was everywhere consecrated to these dark or lower entities, and that worshippers went to the point of sacrificing their own children to propitiate these forces.
He correctly reflects the central narrative of the Tribes of Israel as alternately embracing Yahweh and his Ten Commandments and ethical covenant, and finding it all too taxing, and thus falling away to whore after these pagan gods. He notes that the gods of the Old Testament world descended in updated guise into Greco-Roman life, taking on new names: Zeus, Diana, and so on.
He correctly notes that the Septuagint, the early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, rendered “shedim” as Daimones. This word is rendered also as “spirit personifications;” we receive this word in English today, as “demons.”
Having accurately traced the lineage of pagan worship and pagan forces, Cahn makes the case that they were never overcome by the embrace in the West of Christianity; but rather that they were pushed to the margins of Western civilization; weakened by our covenant with YHWH, or with Jesus, depending on whom we are.
He argues that these negative but potentially powerful forces have been dormant for two millennia, by the Western Judeo-Christian covenant. And that they have now taken this opportunity, of our turning away from God, and they have returned.
We, thus, are the house that has been cleaned — by the covenant with the Judeo-Christian commitment. But we subsequently abandoned the house, he maintains, and left it vulnerable; open, for negative energies to reenter.
Though it is unfashionable now to talk about our Judeo-Christian founding and heritage in the West, it should not be. This legacy is simply a historical fact. I do not think one needs to be dismissive of or insulting to Buddhism or Islam (which is also part of the Judeo-Christian lineage, but that’s another essay) or Jainism or Shintoism, to acknowledge the fact that the West’s civilization for the past two millennia has been a Judeo-Christian one, and that our Founders in this nation, though rightly establishing religious freedom, believed that they were consecrating a nation in alignment with the will of God as they understood him.
Cahn cites Puritan Minister Jonathan Winthrop in warning that America’s state of being blessed by God will last only as long as we hold up our end of the Covenant.
It is worth returning to Pastor Winthrop’s famous speech and to his invocation of the covenant that undergirded the foundation of America: “Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.
“Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.”
“Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. We have professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing.”
PASTOR JONATHAN WINTHROP
Why do I share all of this? Because while it would be easy to dismiss Pastor Cahn’s theory as wacky and fanatical, I have reluctantly come to believe that his central premise may be right.
In the Old Testament, it is not “ha-Satan” who is the most fearsome, treacherous, dangerous of figures. It is rather, “the Gods” who are the seductive abominations — that is to say, the ancient, pre-YHWH, pre-Mosaic, pre-Christian gods: our old adversaries in the Hebrew Bible — YHWH’s adversaries: Baal, Moloch (or Malek), and Astarte or Ashera.
Those are “the Gods” that traduced, lured, hounded, bedeviled, and seduced my people — again and again. Those are “the Gods” about whom this extraordinary innovation in the human story — the monotheistic God of all – continually, specifically warns us; warns the Children of Israel.
Those are “the Gods” to whose sacrifice the Children of Israel constantly stray, disappointing and enraging our Creator. Those are “the Gods,” with their child sacrifice and their graven images, against whom our father Abraham rebelled and taught his descendants to rebel. Those are “the Gods” whose acceptance of child sacrifice – a real thing, a barbaric, culture-wide practice that continued for centuries in the tribes and civilizations surrounding the Children of Israel — was supplanted by animal sacrifice; this was an evolution in human civilization that is represented by the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Isaac, when the child on the altar is replaced miraculously by a ram provided, at the last moment, by the Lord God.
The sheer amoral power of Baal, the destructive force of Moloch, the unrestrained seductiveness and sexual licentiousness of Astarte or Ashera — those are the primal forces that do indeed seem to me to have “returned.”
Or at least the energies that they represent — moral power over; death-worship; antagonism to the sexual orderliness of the intact family and faithful relationships — seem to have ‘returned,’ without restraint, since 2020.
There may well indeed be negative forces reappearing, or emerging into daylight from out of their less visible domains, who we, after two millennia of Judeo-Christianity, have literally forgotten, at least in Western civilization, how to identify. It may well be that these negative forces are highly complex, extraordinarily powerful, and stunningly well-organized.
It may indeed be the case that they have swept themselves back into our “house” in the West, and emerged visibly in the past two years.
I do believe that they were able to do so because we dropped our own end of upholding a basic covenant with God.
After having gone back to the Old Testament, it is clear to me that YHWH warned us that this could happen — that we could easily lose his protection and break the Covenant.
He warned us, indeed, over and over, in the Hebrew Bible, of this risk.
I was taught in Hebrew School that we as Jews are forever God’s “chosen people.” But God does not say that consistently in the Old Testament, at all. There are many times a “Covenant” is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. But when YHWH explains what He wants from this Children, in “Exodus,” He is clear that certain conduct is expected from us, in order for us to receive his blessing: “God established the Mosaic covenant just after a significant development anticipated in Gen 15 had taken place: the emancipation of Abraham’s descendants from oppression in a foreign land (cf. Gen 15:13–14; Exod 19:4–6; 20:2).
The focus at Sinai is less on what Abraham’s descendants must do in order to inherit the land and more on how they must conduct themselves within the land as the unique nation that God intended them to be (Exod 19:5–6). In order to be God’s “treasured possession,” “kingdom of priests,” and “holy nation” (Exod 19:5–6), Israel must keep God’s covenant by submitting to its requirements (i.e., the stipulations set forth in Exod 20–23). By adhering to these and the subsequent covenant obligations given at Sinai, Israel would be manifestly different from other nations and thus reflect God’s wisdom and greatness to surrounding peoples (cf. Deut 4:6–8).”
So He does not say that we are automatically set under His protection forever; rather He says, again and again, that if we, the Children of Israel, act justly, love mercy, visit the sick and protect the widow and orphan, then we will be “his people” and we will have His covenant – his blessing and protection.
He also warns, directly Himself and also through His many prophets — that we can lose His protection, by dropping our end of the Covenant; a Covenant that goes, as all contracts or agreements do, two ways.
And God is very clear, at least in the Old Testament; He says in certain places: you left the paths of righteousness, so now I withdraw my protection from you.
I always thought that many Jews, and indeed the education I had in Hebrew School, alarmingly misread what YHWH so clearly stated. I was taught that being “chosen” as God’s people was a static, lucky status. All you had to do was to be born Jewish —- better yet, to be born Jewish, marry a Jewish spouse, raise Jewish children, light Shabbat candles, go to synagogue on the High Holy Days, and visit the State of Israel. I was also taught that God bestowed the Land of Israel to the Jewish people unconditionally.
We were not taught in Hebrew School what the Hebrew Bible really says — that we could indeed lose God’s favour and be “un-Chosen” again.
What God tells us, again and again, throughout the Old Testament, is that He asks for a living, actual, organic relationship with us, the Children of Israel, in which we show our commitment to Him and our devotion to Him as “his people” — through how we treat Him every day; meaning, and through how we treat those around us, as He asked us to, in His name.
That is what he calls “His covenant.” That is what he means by “my people.”
Genesis 9:8, God promises Noah, after the Flood: “And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
“And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
“I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.”
Though He promised an ‘everlasting Covenant,’ that does not mean we get to do whatever we desire to do here on Earth. He never said He wouldn’t ever, under any circumstances, give up on humanity as we are, in our current context on this planet. He promised, rather, he would not ever again do away with wicked humanity by water.
He always, rightly, made clear to us that in a living partnership with Him, we are supposed to show our love and our recognition of the privilege of being wedded to His path — through our zealous, difficult, freely chosen, unending actions.
Feed the hungry. Every day. Visit those in prison. Care for the orphan. Protect the widow. Do justly. So — the truth of God’s requests of us, Jews, in the Hebrew Bible, is absolutely not “once Chosen, always Chosen.” The Covenant is not defined as carte blanche for us to abuse our relationship with our Creator.
Again and again, in the Hebrew Bible, we showed God that we were not up to that daily walk with Him that he requested of us. It’s hard; it’s taxing. The ancient gods around us in the days of the Prophets were so very seductive. They were so much easier — sacrifice a bullock; pour some oil; pay a priest. Visit a temple prostitute.
The ancient Gods did not demand daily acts of justice, mercy, charity, sexual self-restraint, as YHWH, so morally demanding by the standards of the ancient world, had done. If God’s courtship of the Children of Israel in the Old Testament were a romance novel or a film — which it really is, if read properly — the well-meaning best friend would counsel the Lord of Israel: Give them up. Walk away.
They are just not that into you.
God never said, once I choose you as “my people” — then you can do whatever you want. He does not want a co-dependent or an abusive relationship. He wants a real marriage.
Today, we are in grave danger if we, as Jews, think that by honoring our ethnic heritage or even our religious traditions, even if we keep kosher and light the Shabbat candles, that we are doing what YWHW really asked of us.
And the same could be said, and I say this with equal respect, of many Christian churches, books and media messages. I am in dialogue with devout Christians of many denominations, with whom I have shared these anxieties, who also feel that we are in a time of similar moral danger for their own coreligionists, and for similar reasons.
Too few in either community, we agree, seem to understand how dangerous to a nation, to a civilization, abandoning God can be.
There have been times that YHWH’s warnings to us, as the Tribes of Israel, were borne out. A generation that was disobedient to God’s instructions, that insisted on worshiping the Golden Calf, was allowed by God to die in exile from the Promised Land; a new, innocent generation had to be born before the Israelites could enter that land. Later, after due warnings from the Lord, and innumerable warnings from His prophets, ranging from Jeremiah to Isaiah, we did get deported; the First Temple was destroyed; and we were sent into exile in Babylon. We did weep by the rivers of Babylon, in our exile.
After due warnings, including from a Rabbi Jesus, we all, Jews and Christians, did see the Second Temple demolished as foretold. We were warned about the destruction of Jerusalem:
Lament over Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-35):
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
We Jews were scattered around the world; our house was left to us desolate; we were sent again into exile.
I feel that many Jews and many Christians are at risk right now of unduly positive thinking — of thinking that everything is ok; that we will all be automatically redeemed — when it manifestly isn’t ok.
Because Jewish history is longer than Christian history (not a value judgment, just a statement of fact), we have more experience of God having indeed withdrawn His protection and left us to the fate about which he warned us.
But even Christian history does not have a promise that God can never withdraw. Though these darker or more wrathful warnings seem less often taught from many pulpits these days than they used to be taught in our Puritan past, Jesus Himself warned His followers about the dire consequences of amoral behaviour —- the serious dangers of being “whited sepulchres” — of neglecting or hurting the poor — or of bringing children to harm.
Matthew 13: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”
My point being that our forefathers for both faith traditions, Jewish and Christian, understood that a Covenant — involving God’s blessing and protection — took action from both the Lord and from His people, to be in effect.
It was not an eternal hall pass.
We in this generation have forgotten this.
But I think it is possible that for four thousand plus years — and then for two thousand — God’s covenant has in fact largely protected the West, and that we have had His blessing for so long that we have taken it for granted; and that in the last few years, we have released our hold of God’s covenant – and that God has simply, as He warned us in the Old Testament that he could — withdrawn; and left us to our own devices — so we can see for ourselves how we will do when we depend on humans alone.
In the absence of God’s covenant and protection in the West, great evil is flourishing.
Pastor Cahn’s premise resonated with me, because the energies that I have felt flooding into our world in the last two years, feel primally recognizable to me as a Jew, – ancestrally recognizable.
These dark forces now freed into the world around us, feel like the way the world must have felt before Moses ascended Mt Sinai; before a baby was born in a manger.
They feel again like the pre-monotheistic past; like the world the Hebrews confronted, when the Word of God was first revealed to them.
It feels again like the ancient world that continually tempted the Hebrews away from the hard, rigorous, daily, demanding practice of morality and of adherence to the Ten Commandments. It feels again like the ancient world felt, being as it was under Baal’s, Moloch’s and Asherah’s dark, inexorable, complex and antihuman rule.
That is to say: it was — and now it is — a world in which humans did not, do not matter. It was – and now is – a world in which children can be slaughtered by their parents, or by the Authorities. It was – it now is — a world in which slavery had and now has no moral valence. Lust and greed were — and now are again — everything. God was not then fully present — and now I argue, as Pastor Cahn argues, God has withdrawn.
The commitment to Judeo-Christian norms and values, which have been the hallmark of the West for two millennia — even when we fell far short of them — has fallen apart altogether.
The great genius of America was not that it was consecrated to a specific religion — the genius of our nation included freedom of religion — but our distinction was that we were founded as a City on a Hill; spiritually; we were consecrated, via our ultimate organizational manifestation of human freedom, with its basis in free will — to God.
If we withdraw our role in that covenant, perhaps Pastor Cahn is right and pagan entities, long held at bay in the West – are empowered, and rush back in.
And so decency, human rights, human values, all of which we thought were innate secular Western values – turn out to be values that cannot be protected enduringly without the blessing of what has been in the West, a Judeo-Christian God. They are all being cleared out of our society, and almost no one — certainly very few people who are not people of faith — are standing in the breach as this takes place.
Now look at our political leaders, our national structures in the West. They went overnight from ethically oriented, at least overtly, to purely nihilistic, organizations. Before 2020, Judeo-Christian norms had not entirely left the West, even though explicit religious language was no longer invoked in its public spaces.
What I mean is that until 2020, Biblical belief systems structured our institutions even though we no longer explicitly invoked God.
The Bible is all around us in the West — or it has been — even though we think we are living in a postmodern reality. We have been blind to its influence, for the most part.
The idea that you should seek peace with your neighbours with whom you disagree, rather than trying to harm them or their children; the notion that a court should deliver impartial justice rather than hand over goods to the more powerful litigant; the idea that the poor and orphaned in a community should be cared for, rather than enslaved or left to starve; these were not the norms of the pagan world.
These are, rather, Biblical beliefs, even though the explicit Judeo-Christian religiosity has been removed from public discourse.
Our institutions in the West, thus, have been like vessels made with the “lost wax” process; they have kept the shape of Biblical concepts and beliefs even though Biblical language in public is now against the law, or has fallen away from being a cultural norm.
But we don’t leave babies to starve — at least we didn’t kill living babies before 2020 — for a reason; our courts at least ostensibly don’t allow cheating or theft in our society, for a reason; we don’t abandon the elderly to the modern equivalent of wild animals — for a reason; and the reasons derive straight from the Ten Commandments; and from both the Old and New Testaments. These of course shaped our institutions for millennia even though we think these institutions now are secular.
Though secular, in the West, until 2020, our institutions have retained a Biblical, not a pagan, shape.
Congresses, Parliaments, nonprofits, were organized along what were basically Judeo-Christian ethical frameworks, even though the explicit religious language is no longer part of public discourse. Respect for human rights, the equal value of all, the cherishing of life, the seeking of a peaceful society — while our institutions were far from perfect, these were our institutional values, in the West, at least overtly, until 2020.
All of that changed seemingly overnight.
Pastor Cahn notes that Jesus identified Satan alongside the “Daimones.” Pastor Cahn refers to these ancient gods, powers, as well as the more modern “Satan,” together, as the “anti-God” forces.
As such, I do feel that this is with what we are grappling and terrifyingly so. Since 2020 the world, I feel, has been bathed, infused, bombarded even, with intensely powerful energies that are totally unfamiliar to us in this generation, but that may derive from a pre-Christian, pre-solidly-Jewish time, a time when early Judaism was struggling with the seductive and oppressive entities that always sought to seduce the Children of Israel away from the monotheistic truth, the One God.
The ancient “shedim” are the only “principalities and powers” I can imagine that are capable of manifesting a national, and now a global, network of policy advocates, social workers, graphic designers, Members of Parliament, who are all on board with an escalating euthanasia death cult. The ancient “daimones” are the only entities I can imagine powerful enough in just two years and a bit, to destroy families, to ruin sexuality and fertility, to make a mockery of human rights, to celebrate the end of critical thinking, to march us all in lockstep to worship of technocrats and technocracy; medical cultism and an orgiastic cult of self- and other-annihilation.
And — I must notice — if these “shedim” or “daimones” are powerless — why are their symbols reappearing everywhere? I used to see fundamentalist Christians who warned of Satan lurking in rock and roll, as fanatics. But what I myself am seeing around me, I cannot unsee.
A Temple of Baal archway was in fact expensively reconstructed from its original in Syria, and moved to a appear at a major thoroughfare in London, and was now unveiled in Washington, DC, and in New York.
A bizarre opening ceremony in a new train site in Switzerland, at which European leaders were present, included a horned entity (“an Ibex”), the upholding of a symbolic lamb, the appearance of a terrifying angel, and the writhing of nearly naked men and women in S-and-M-themed and bondage postures..
Katy Perry’s performance in 2015, in which she performs astride a massive mechanical lion, directly echoed the symbology of Ishtar/Asherah, down to her iconic stance.
Sam Smith’s “Unholy,” bathed in lurid red light, with its Satanic imagery, takes the Grammys, and Billboard respectfully gets a quote from the Church of Satan while mocking the “pearl-clutching” of conservatives.
A terrifying animated bull figure with glowing red eyes, is apparently worshiped by scantily-dressed male and female dancers, at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham, England in 2022. This is just bizarre.
The bull was once a symbol of Ba’al.
“SatanCon” is coming to Boston, 2023, and is getting fairly respectful coverage in the Boston Globe. A highlight of the upcoming conference? “Abortion as a (Religious) Right.” The Globe raises no questions about this gathering.
A statue has been erected to honor the late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Inexplicably, it has horns and tentacles.
I could go on and on. Once you see the occult, Satanic, pre-Christian, dark or “daimonistic” themes re-establishing themselves in Western society, you cannot unsee them.
The elite don’t waste time and money creating images, rituals, or themes that have no purpose. I can’t forget that Secret Societies at Yale (and I was a member of a senior society that had a secret element), draw on pre-Christian, indeed pagan, Mithra-cult, ritualistic themes as part of their initiation ceremonies.
Is this all just artistic expression, or edgy window-dressing? Or are we just bored?
All of Western Europe was once consecrated to Jesus, Mary and Saints – or to the Church; almost every chapel, town, village, crossroad; Santander, Mont St Michel, Greyfriars. Much of America too: Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Catalina. Did that consecration do more than establish place-names?
Did it help keep us safe?
Are we now seeing the costly and intentional process of global elites reconsecrating our America, our West — to negative entities that are — in spite of all the dominant narrative since the 20th century began, arguing the contrary — in fact — real?
As poet Charles Baudelaire pointed out, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The only thing that feels intuitive to me is that these pagan forces may indeed once again have gained a foothold again on our planet.
What feels intuitive to me is that God is at the limit of His patience with us.
And He has said, Okay, you want to do it yourself? Do it yourself. And He let us go.
And that this — the absence of the protection of our God – the ascendancy of a realm on Earth of us doing it all ourselves; regarding ourselves; worshiping ourselves, whoring after only human works; releasing ourselves from all lawful constraints, embracing all lusts and all obedience to non-divine authorities; rejecting mercy; celebrating all narcissisms; treating children like animals whom we own, treating the family like a battlefield; treating the Churches and Synagogues as marketing platforms — this is, indeed what the realms of pagan darkness; or of Principalities and Powers – look like.
This may, indeed, be what Hell itself looks like.
Naomi Wolf is a bestselling author, columnist, and professor; she is a graduate of Yale University and received a doctorate from Oxford. She is cofounder and CEO of DailyClout.io, a successful civic tech company.
Images by Stable Diffusion.