The process and hierarchy of sin involved in the heresy of Pe’or
Zimri epitomized and embodied the Israelites’ acceptance of the heresy of Pe’or, both through his social standing and audaciousness (Josephus, 93-94). As such he personally expressed both the entirety of the process of sin involved in the Israelites’ acceptance of the heresy of Pe’or, as well as the lies and vices used to get said people to perpetrate and perpetuate sin against God. Explicated herewith is the entire process of sin involved in the acceptance and following of the heresy of Pe’or by the Israelites.
Unmasking Satan’s modus operandi in taking over the souls of the Israelites
The hierarchy of lies, vices, and sin involved in the heresy of Pe’or. Temptation and fall of the Israelites by Satan through the instrumentality of the Moabites and Midianites, just when they were on the verge of entering the Promised Land, were structured primarily around three lies, four capital vices that are similarly sins, and two major kinds of sins. The three lies consisted of (1) the lie that being in accord with God’s Will is slavery, (2) the lie that the autonomy of man from God’s Will is desirable, and (3) the lie that said autonomy – once achieved – would result in total freedom for mankind. Meanwhile, the four capital vices (also capital sins) used to pragmatically implement such lies on a daily basis were (a) lust, (b) envy, (c) gluttony, and (d) pride. The essential effects of the four vices and sins were the sins of iniquity and idolatry, which are the two major kinds of sins. The three lies and four vices described are identical in nature to the lies and vices originally employed fully by Satan in the first instance to both tempt Eve, as well as cause her and Adam to fall (Gn. 3:5); which had resulted in their exile and that of mankind from God’s Presence into the finitude of time and space.
First level of sin. Specifically, the Moabite and Midianite women used both their natural beauty, seductive attitudes, and attire to tempt the Israelite men to sin against the sixth commandment of God, by arousing lust and the intense desire to satisfy such lust in the Israelite men. Many of the latter fell for such temptation and initially satisfied their desire through fornication, because the said women potentiated their temptation with the lies of slavery and autonomy. Such lies were specifically designed to weaken the men’s perception (hence the voices of their consciences) and self-control in that (1) if the men could not possibly ‘taste the women’s goodness’ said men were, in essence, no better than slaves; and that (2) if they did taste such goodness, the men would then become completely autonomous. Thus, many of the Israelites committed their first act of disobedience toward God’s Will by fulfilling their desire for pleasure externally to the context of its divine root (Chassidic Masters, 2010). This caused the Israelite men to become impure by violating their former state of holiness, both in and through violating the sixth commandment.
It should be noted that arousal and satisfaction of lust and its correlated desires are the very first temptations, vice, and sin that Satan generally uses to start dismantling the souls of mankind; both because these greatly cloud man’s perception and self-control by causing the lustful appetite to become insubordinate to reason (Aquinas, 1920). Such process occurs through the fixing of “man’s mind on corporeal things” (ibid., IIa IIae, Q. 15, A. 3) rather than a state of holiness, with such insubordination greatly facilitating Satan’s entrance into man’s soul. It should similarly be noted that “the beginning of all evil consists in turning away from God” (Aquinas, 1920, Ia IIae, Q. 84, A. 2). This is clearly manifested in and through the Israelites’ preference for – hence elevation of – their and the pagan women’s will above that of God, in their attempts to experience pleasure regardless of whether the manner in which they accomplished this was internal or external to God’s Will.
Second level of sin. Meanwhile, the act of fornication in itself – that is, the satisfaction of the lustful desire per se – together with the satisfaction of the increased arousal originating from the moral prohibition of satisfying the desire in such manner, further whetted the lustful desires of the Israelite men; which were, in turn, potentiated by the additional temptations of the Moabite and Midianite women in the form of ongoing lies and deceptions. All of this led the Israelites’ minds, self-control, and consciences to become further distorted, weakened, and suppressed. The Israelites also started envying the pagan men in relation to what they perceived them to purportedly possess: that is, free and easy access to the beautiful, seductive women; as well as ongoing, seemingly pleasurable orgies of oral and anal satisfaction among themselves without any prohibition, guilt, or shame whatsoever. Thus, the Israelite men voluntarily ceded to their ever-growing desires and increased their contact and acts of fornication with the pagan women. But in such process, the Israelites similarly and steadily increased their level of impurity and distancing of themselves from the Will of God, by ever-increasingly violating the sixth commandment.
Third level of sin. As the Israelite men’s acts of fornication with the Moabite and Midianite women steadily grew, so did their lust and envy, especially causing the former vice and sin to turn into lustful gluttony. When the pagan women saw the Israelites’ dependence on them, they placed the latter in a bind in order to achieve their ultimate aim: that of getting the Israelites to sever their ties with God so that they could be completely destroyed. Thus, the Moabite and Midianite women presented the Israelite men with an ultimatum: either the latter started worshipping the former’s gods through the pagans’ practices or else the women would leave them and return to their lands. Such ultimatum was presented to the Israelites under the lie of the rationalization of the women purporting to protect themselves.
By this time the Israelites were unable to resist anything the pagan women asked of them, because of their uncontrollable need to satisfy their lustful gluttony. Their minds had become full of severely distorted perceptions and the voices of their consciences had been almost completely suppressed. Thus the Israelites proceeded to completely set aside the Will of God in order to continue satisfying their lustful gluttony and desires for pleasure, pledging fidelity to all of the women’s requests. In so doing, however, they added yet another level of sin by calling upon God Himself to be witness to their pledge. Hence, not only did the Israelites ever-increasingly violate the sixth commandment. They additionally violated the first commandment by unhesitatingly, ongoingly, and multiply (a) worshipping the Ba’al of Pe’or, (b) participating in the forbidden rituals of worship that resulted in their complete attachment to the Ba’al the more such rituals were performed (Chassidic Masters, 2010), (c) actively desecrating themselves, and (d) actually consecrating themselves to Death.
Specifically, the Israelites (1) pledged to worship the Ba’al of Pe’or: that is, they manifested intent to commit the sin of idolatry. They (2) made such pledge when it was (a) prohibited under their covenant in the first instance and (b) called upon God to witness such a pledge. They then proceeded to (3) actively committed idolatry by worshipping the sun-god and moon goddess of Pe’or; (4) participated in practices of sexual and scatological depravities designed for such worship, which increased in turn the Israelites’ attachment to the Ba’al; and (5) ate food that had been part of sacrificial offerings to the dead. In particular, the latter three caused the Israelites to actively desecrate themselves by (a) violating their covenant of consecration to God as His people and (b) increasingly consecrating themselves to Death itself in the process. Thus, through their never-ceasing desire to experience pleasure, independently from and externally to God’s Will (Chassidic Masters, 2010), the originally holy Israelites went from being the consecrated people of God to becoming the consecrated people of Satan, through their apostasy and the epitome of vileness of the idolatry of Pe’or (Morrison, 2007).
Fourth level of sin. Meanwhile, as the Israelites continued sinning against God through their ever-increasing violations of both the sixth and first commandments, epitome levels of sin were additionally performed and added, both in and through the embodiment and actions of Zimri. Specifically, Zimri not only satisfied his lustful gluttony for the pagan women and his envy of the pagan men by ongoingly (a) fornicating with Cozbi, (b) worshipping the Ba’al of Pe’or, (c) participating in the sexual and scatological depravities that were part of such worship, as well as (d) eating sacrificial food to the dead (Josephus, 93-94) like the other Israelites. Zimri himself perpetrated and perpetuated yet another level of sin by deliberately committing – and openly inciting others to commit – the original sin of Satan.
Specifically, through the hedonistic temporal and perverted pleasure Zimri derived from all of the aforegoing together with his status as prince of Israel, Zimri came to experience himself in all respects as both (a) needless of God and (b) superior to God in satisfying himself. Thus he developing great pride that caused him to both defy, and openly rebel, against God; while inciting others to do the same. Not only did Zimri (1) deliberately, defiantly, and openly refuse to change his ways when Moses called upon him to reconcile himself to his covenant with God. He used his status to (2) willfully perpetrate the three lies of proud perversion to support his stance. Such lies were that (a) self-will was “sweetness of life” (Josephus, 93-94, Book IV, Chapter VI); (b) complete separation from God was both (i) desirable and (ii) infinitely preferable to being and living within God’s Will; and (c) living subject to God’s Will was no better than slavery. Then Zimri proceeded to (3) openly incite other Israelites to follow his actions by emulating his sin of self-excellence. And in an ultimate act of disobedience, defiance, rebellion, pride, spite, and willfulness, he attempted to enforce his self-appointed ‘god-likeness’ on both his brethren and God Himself by (4) deliberately and voluntarily attempting to fornicate at the very entrance to the Tent of Meeting (the immediate exterior of God’s Temple). Committing an even greater level of desecration than the other Israelites had previously committed. Hence, both by and through his actions whereby he elected himself superior to God in order to be completely ‘free,’ Zimri fully and deliberately committed the original sin of Satan which was that of Non serviam: “I will not worship God.”