And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. (Judges 2:13)
- Who is Ashtoreth?
- Ashteroth key points:
- Worship as a form of money or currency
- The deceptive subtlety
- What is a graven image?
- The Asthtoreth Image
- In Ancient times
- As a logo
- But that’s not Ashteroth! It’s a siren!
- The Ashtoreth Corporate Name
- Evangelistic social change agenda
- Global cultural revolution, corporate style
- Ashteroth lives!
- Objection!: A corporate logo is not a religious icon!
- Objection!: I still think it’s a siren!
- Objection 3: Having a logo on your cup does not mean you are giving honor to Ashtoreth
- Conclusion - A comment from Matthew Poole
Who is Ashtoreth?
Ashtoreth has been worshiped through most of recorded history. Other names for Ashtaroth include Astaroth, Astarot and Asteroth. Here is how the historian William Smith describes her:
Ashtoreth: (a star) the principal female divinity of the Phoenicians, called Ishtar by the Assyrians and Astarte by the Greeks and Romans. She was by some ancient writers identified with the moon… It is certain that the worship of Astarte became identified with that of Venus, and that this worship was connected with the most impure rites is apparent from the close connection of this goddess with ASHERAH. 1
There is overlap between Ashtoreth the female goddess and Astaroth who is worshiped as a demon. From Wikipedia:
In demonology, is the Great Duke of Hell, in the first hierarchy with Beelzebub and Lucifer; he is part of the evil trinity. He is a male figure named after the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar.2
Both Ashtoreth and Astaroth are associated with sexual practices condemned by the one true God. One commentator sympathetic to Ashtoreth describes:
In Ashtoreth’s worship services, male worshipers (committed sodomy) with priests and priestesses of the goddess. The priests and male prostitutes, who were consecrated to her cult were called qadesh, qedishim or sodomites.
(In addition, physical relations) …between male and male worshipers and male and female worshipers was viewed as an offering to the goddess. (parenthetical words slightly edited) 3
It’s curious that Ashteroth and Astaroth are both connected with the blurring of gender and direct attack on God’s moral standards related to sexuality. It’s helpful to keep this in mind when considering the promotion and prevalence of Ashteroth worship today.
History matters. Symbols retain their meanings. The more you educate yourself about what’s come before, the more you’ll recognize the connections.
Ashteroth key points:
- Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks and Romans all worshiped her as God.
- Ashtoreth is a fertility goddess.
- She is a “star”.
- Temple prostitution was used to bring honor to her.
There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. (Psalms 81:9)
Worship as a form of money or currency
Worship is a type of currency, just like money. In the ancient world, bending the knee or acknowledging the state god was a form of tax. One of the reasons faithful Jews were so hated and persecuted was their refusal to worship false goddesses like Ashtoreth. Unfortunately we know from the true Biblical accounts that many in the nation of Israel were quite happy to go along with the pagans around them in the worship of Ashteroth.
The deceptive subtlety
Solomon, the wisest man in the world of his time, a believer in the true God, was seduced through his senses into the worship of Ashteroth.
Here’s how Solomon started:
And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. (1 Kings 4:29-31)
And here’s how he finished up:
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, (1 Kings 11.4-6a)
What happened to the wisest man in the world could very easily happen to you, me or anyone.
What is a graven image?
At the simplest level a graven image is a good-luck charm. Having one gives people a feeling of safety, comfort and hope.
In more advanced usage a graven image helps one experience what they think is the divine mystery. People are experiencing something. But that something is not the true God.
A graven image is an idol.
People develop an emotional dependency on their idols. This relationship is religious in nature. Like other addicts, they will sacrifice their health, their wealth, and even their relationships for the sake of their experiences:
And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s… And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done…wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. (Genesis 31 extracts)
Today we poo-poo any talk of idol worship as ridiculous. What in the world could it have to do with us? How arrogant we are. There is almost no essential difference between the ancients and us.
Have you ever wondered why God placed his command about images right at the start of his commandments?
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me (Exodus 20:2-5)
God’s nature is jealous. As we transition fully into the visual age, you’d do well to take heed to his command. Make no mistake. Giving honor to Ashteroth is evil.
The Asthtoreth Image
In Ancient times
Ashtoreth in ancient times
As a logo
Here is one graphic representation: Original goddess logo
But that’s not Ashteroth! It’s a siren!
What exactly are sirens? Wikipedia defines them:
…dangerous yet beautiful creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island… they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous.4
Sirens are related to Ashtoreth worship. That will be explained further on in the post.
The Ashtoreth Corporate Name
Building on the information above, the name of the global corporate entity which has adopted the logo may also be associated with the pagan goddess:
STAR = Ashtereth BUCKS = standard of value or medium of exchange, usually thought of as money but also worship
So STAR + BUCKS equals Ashtoreth worship.
Don’t stop now. Keep reading so you know the whole thing.
Evangelistic social change agenda
You might expect that the proponents of either Ashtereth or Astaroth would be interested in promoting social change. This is what happened in Old Testament times, and it is exactly what is happening in the Twenty-First Century across the world.
Global cultural revolution, corporate style
This multinational corporate force is in the business of global cultural revolution.
Cecilia Carter joined the Starbucks team as their Vice President of Global Diversity, Community and Government Affairs, for Starbucks Coffee Company…
CC: I really believe that we have the responsibility to shepherd the image of Starbucks as a catalyst for change.… We are in the community business as much as the coffee business. (emphasis added)5
To translate, the logo is being promoted at the executive level as a force for cultural change. This is cultural evangelism. Such things are always religious in nature, no matter what they’re called.
Think how successful this one company has been over the past few decades in promoting international cultural change. Isn’t this what you would expect to go along with the promotion of open pagan worship?
Scroll up again to examine the logo. Ashtoreth is alive and well on planet earth.
Objection!: A corporate logo is not a religious icon!
How can you be so sure?
Objection!: I still think it’s a siren!
It makes no difference whether you or I believe the corporate logo depicts Ashtoreth, Astaroth, a siren, or some other pagan god-creature. All the warnings still apply.
Richard Merrick writing at the Interference Theory has this to say on the subject:
Identified variously as a double-tailed siren or “Melusine” mermaid, the Starbucks logo is actually a Venusian fertility goddess. The “star” in Starbucks is the pentagonal orbit of Venus while the siren herself is a European version of Ostara, Astarte and Ishtar (among many others).
She is portrayed as a sea goddess because the Morning Star appears to rise out of the eastern sea at dawn prior to resurrecting the Sun. Thus, a cup of coffee can be equated with the Morning Star as it also resurrects us in the morning when we drink it.6
So according to Richard Merrick, drinking a cup of Ashteroth coffee is akin to a kind of resurrection. Of course the only true resurrection is of and through Jesus Christ, commemorated in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper/ holy communion.
Understood in Merrick’s context, drinking this coffee becomes a pagan sacrament.
Old Satan loves to take to himself (and his minions like Ashteroth) the glory reserved for God alone (Isaiah 14.12). Tellingly, the sham ritual celebrates human divinity, which is Satan’s original lie to Eve in Genesis 3.5, …your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.
This is the core of idolatry (Revelation 9.20).
Objection 3: Having a logo on your cup does not mean you are giving honor to Ashtoreth
The lady doth protest too much, methinks -Queen Gertrude.
Conclusion - A comment from Matthew Poole
Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. (1 Corinthians 10:14-15)
The apostle would have them avoid all sin, but idolatry more especially, keeping at the utmost distance imaginable from that, being of all sins in its kind the greatest transgression; upon which account it is often in Scripture compared to whoredom. Though we ought to be afraid of and to decline all sin; yet as God hath revealed his wrath against any particular sin more than other, so every good Christian is obliged more to detest and abhor that sin.
For though idolatry be properly where the failure is in the ultimate or mediate object of our worship, and the creature is made either the ultimate term of our worship, or the medium in and by which we worship the Creator; yet there are many other ways by which we may be partakers of the sins of others, and this sin of idolatry in particular: and idolatry being a sin of the greatest magnitude, from which they were bound to keep the furthest distance, they were bound to take heed of being partakers of other men’s sins of this kind.7
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20)
Ashtoreth disguised in plain sight?