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WHERE DID EASTER COME FROM?

 

Mithra was always shown with a solar halo around his head; so portraits and statues of Christ, Mary, and the saints also had halos around their heads.

Because worshipers of Ishtar presented her with two fertility symbols -eggs and bunny rabbits- these came part of the Christian Easter service.

Because sunrise on Sunday morning, at the beginning of sprint, was next to December 25th, the holiest day in the Mithraic calendar, the practice of Easter sunrise continued on into Christianity

Because Mithra was worshiped on the first day of the week, which the Persians and Romans called the sun day.  Sunday sacredness -which is nowhere to be found in the Bible-, came into the Christian church.

Because Mithra, the sun, “died and rose to life” each year on December 25 (when the sun became lowest in the sky).  The birth of Christ began to be celebrated on that date (although it is clear from facts in the Bibles that He was born in the fall of that year).

Because the Ishtar (Astarte, Astoreth, etc.) celebration was held each spring on a Sunday, close to the vernal equinox, the ascension of Christ was changed from 40 days after the time of Passover (as told us in the Bible) to the annual Easter celebration.

All this began centuries before in paganism, with the Ishtar and Tammuz legend.

“Little by little, at first in stealth and silence and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, ‘the mystery of iniquity’ carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work.  Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism.

“But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and his apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions.

“The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused with a form of righteousness, walked into the church.  Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror…and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ”.   (Great Controversy, 49-50)

“THE RELIGION WHICH IS CURRENT IN OUR DAYS IS NOT OF THE PURE AND HOLY CHARACTER THAT MARKED THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IN THE DAYS OF CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES. IT IS ONLY BECAUSE OF THE SPIRIT OF COMPROMISE WITH SIN, BECAUSE THE GREAT TRUTHS OF THE WORD OF GOD ARE SO INDIFFERENTLY REGARDED, BECAUSE THERE IS SO LITTLE VITAL GODLINESS IN THE CHURCH, THAT CHRISTIANITY IS APPARENTLY SO POPULAR WITH THE WORLD.”  (Great Controversy, 48)

 

 

 

 

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WHERE DID EASTER COME FROM?

ADDITIONAL HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT EASTER

CYBELE IN PHRYGIA:  The myths surrounding Cybele were so much like those of Greece, that the Greeks called their goddess, Rhea Cybele, and considered the two divinities one. In Greece, her temple was at Athens.  As usual, she resurrected her lover, Attis, each spring at the vernal equinox.

DEMETER IN GREECE:  Throughout the Near East, this mother goddess was variously known as Astarte, Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Cybele, Demeter, Ceres, Aphrodite, Venus, and Freya.

She had a special lover (sometimes called her son; and, in one case, her daughter). Thus, for example we have Isis and Horus, the sun god (Osiris was the son), in Egypt (in later Egypt, Osiris was called Serapis); Ishtar and Tammuz, in Babylon and Sumeria; Cybele and Attis, in Phrygia; Aphrodite and Adonis, in Syria; Atys and Bendis, in Asia; and Anaita and Haoma (later called Mithra), in Persia.

She also had a special son (who was sometimes the same as his father). In Greece, she is called Demeter; and she obtained the yearly resurrection, each spring, of her daughter (not a son in this instance), Persephone.

“Essentially it (the myth of Demeter and Persephone) was the same myth as that of Isis and Osiris, in Egypt; Tammuz and Ishtar, in Babylonia; Astarte and Adonis, in Syria; Cibele and Attis in Phrygia.  The cult of motherhood survived through classical times to take new life in the worship o Mary, the mother of God” -Will Durant, History of Civilization, vol.2, 178.

ARTEMIS IN IONIA:  Ephesus was the major city of Ionia; and its temple of Artemis (called Diana in Acts 19) was famous, for it was the largest Greek temple ever built.

CERES, IN POSEIDONIA:  The temple of Ceres stood on the site of an earlier temple of Poseidon.  Here Ceres was venerated.

VENUS OF THE ROMANS:  Venus (also called Aphrodite) was equivalent to the earth fertility and love goddess of the other Near Eastern nations.  According to some stories, her son was Aeneas, the ancestor of the Romans; according to others, Cupid.  In Rome, every month was dedicated to a god, and April belonged to Venus.  She was worshiped as the Mother goddess of their race, since they were supposed to be descended from her through Aeneas. Later, they dedicated their days to gods and borrowed, from a Persians, the sacred sun god, Mithra, on that day.

ANAITA AND MITHRA OF PERSIA:  As we pass down through time, we come to Persia and the goddess Anaita –the love, or earth, goddess.  Their chief god was the sun god.  Ahura-Mazda, who later became known as Mithra.  Under the name Mithra, he became the most important god in Rome before Christianity won out.

The leading gods of ancient Persia were Mithra, the sun god; Anaita, the nature goddess; and her  lover Haoma who became transformed into the dying-rising Mithra, the savior god who, in the hands of Satan, became the chief counterfeit of Christianity in the Roman Empire after the time of Christ.  Mithra worship was carefully contrived counterfeit of Christianity, which Satan suggested to the minds of men over the centuries.

In the fourth century A.D., when Christianity won over Mithraism, Mithraic and Ishtar elements of worship were incorporated into Christian worship also.

Continue part 8.

 

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WHERE DID EASTER COME FROM?

ADDITIONAL HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT EASTER

ASHTORETH IN ISRAEL:   The Israelites referred to Astarte o Ashtoreth.  In the Bible, the prophets of God denounced the worship of Ashtoreth, but many of the people worshiped her and her consort, Baal, the sun god.  This worship was done amid groves of trees, on the summits of mountains.  Here they worshiped sacred stones, practiced divination, and engaged in orgies as part of their worship of Ashtoreth and Baal.  Because the myth of Astarte included the idea of a resurrected sun god, the sacred grove worship was carried on at daybreak as the sun was coming up.

The northern kingdom of Israel (Samaria) was destroyed because of such idolatry.  Later, King Josiah of Judah marched through it and tore down the altars to Baal, “and them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets. He defiled Topheth…that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech; and he smashes the altars that Solomon had built for Chemosh, Milcom, and Astarte.” (See 2Kings 23:2, 4, 10, 13)

ISHTAR IN SUMERIA AND BABYLONIA:  Ishtar was the love goddess of Babylonians.  Her worship came down from earliest times in Sumeria, where her lover was Tammuz. She was the goddess of mothers and prostitutes, and of love and war.

“Though her worshipers repeatedly addressed her as ‘The Virgin’, ‘The Holy Virgin’, and ‘The Virgin Mother’, this merely meant that her amours were free from all taint of wedlock.” –Will Durant, History of Civilization, Vol. 1, 235.

Ishtar was said to be the daughter of Sin, the moon god.  Her lover was Tammuz, the sun god.  She was called the “Queen of Heaven” by her worshipers and their priests.  According to the ancient myth, when Tammuz was slain by a wild animal, Ishtar raises him to life.  Because of this, a yearly spring festival was held in honor of Ishtar, the mother goddess.

“This is the myth of Ishtar and Tammuz. In the Sumerian form of the tale, Tammuz is Ishtar’s younger brother, in the Babylonian form, he is sometimes her lover, sometimes her son; both forms seem to have entered into the myths of Venus and Adonis, Demeter and Persephone, and a hundred scattered legends of death and resurrection…To the Babylonians it was sacred history, faithfully believed and annually commemorated by mourning and wailing for the dead Tammuz, followed by riotous rejoicing over his resurrection” –Ibid. 238-239.

ISHTAR IN SUMERIA: Even earlier in history, the Sumerians worshiped Innini, or Ishtar.  Here is Durant’s description of this mother goddess, who interceded for men with the gods.

The city Uruk worshiped especially the virgin earth goddess Innini, known to the Semites of Akkad as Ishtar-the loose and versatile Aphrodite-Demeter of the Near East.  Kish and Lagash worshiped a Mater Dolorsa, the sorrowful mother-goddess, Ninkarsag, who, grieved with the unhappiness of men, interceded for them with the sterner deities”  -Ibid. 127.

 

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WHERE DID EASTER COME FROM?

ADDITIONAL HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT EASTER

Easter began long before the time of Christ.  Easter was the Ishtar celebration.  Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtoreth were all the same.  Under various names, a single pagan goddess was worshiped in different countries.  As we trace the historical background of this goddess, we can see where Easter got its name, how our modern practice of sunrise worship originated, and why it is always commemorated at a certain time each spring.  The story of Easter also helps explain how Sunday sacredness began and the origin of virgin worship.

In the following quotations, you will learn that, centuries before the birth of Christ.  Satan encouraged men in religious beliefs and practices which imitated the coming Saviour’s resurrection, and prepared the world for the religious apostasy which would occur after the time of Christ.  Here you will find a pagan god described, who was resurrected each spring on “Easter”, a day which was dedicated to Ishtar, the mother goddess; she was also called the Queen of Heaven who interceded with the gods on behalf of mankind.

This mother goddess was variously known as Astarte, Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Cybele, Demeter, Ceres, Aphrodite, Venus, and Freya.

“Astarte was the most important goddess of the pagan Semites.  She was the goddess of love, fertility, and maternity for the Phonicians, Canaanites, Aramaeans, South Arabs, and even the Egyptians.  Her name was Ishtar in Babylonia and Assyria, where she was also the goddess of war.  Some Old Testament stories call her Ashtoreth, and describe the construction of her altar by King Solomon and its destruction by King Josiah.  Astarte was identified with the planet Venus. The Greeks called her Aphrodite, and the Romans knew her as Venus.”  -World Book, Vol.1 782-

ASTARTE IN PHOENICA:  Astarte was the goddess of the ancient Phoenicians.  She loved Adoni (Adonis), who was slain by a boar (a wild pig), but rose from the dead and then ascended to heaven in the sight of his worshipers.

ASTARTE IN SYRIA:  In Syria, Astarte was the Great Mother goddess and queen of prostitutes. Her worship culminated at the vernal equinox. This is about March 21 of each year, when the day and night are of equal length; we today call it the first day of spring.  The well-known historian, Will Durant, explains how her lover was celebrated with sexual orgies, by the pagans, on March 21:

“Religious prostitution flourished, for in Syria, as throughout western Asia, the fertility, of the soil was symbolized in a Great Mother, or goddess, whose sexual commerce with her lover gave the hint to all the reproductive processes and energies of nature; and the sacrifice of virginity at the temples was not only an offering to Astarte, but a participation with her in that annual self-abandonment which it was hoped, would offer an irresistible suggestion to the earth, and insure the increase of plants, animals, and men.

The festival of Syrian Astarte, like that of Cybele in Phrygia, was celebrated with a fervor bordering  upon madness. The noise of flutes and drums mingled with the wailing of the women for Astarte’s dead lord.  Adoni; eunuch priests danced wildly, and slashed themselves with knives…Then in the dark of the night, the priests brought a mystic illumination to the scene, opened the tomb of the young god, and announced triumphantly that Adoni, the lord, had risen form the dead.  Touching the lips of the worshipers with balm, the priests whispered to them the promise that they, too, would some day rise from the grave” –Will Durant, History of Civilization, Vol.1, 296-297. 

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WHERE DID EASTER COME FROM?

“Again, Christ was crucified and resurrected in the spring, near the time of the moon festival. Why not have the same time as the heathen and even do as they did, but call it in honor of Christ’s resurrection.  The cakes to the queen of heaven became the hot cross buns.  The forty days of ‘weeping for Tammuz’ became Lent; and at the close of Lent came Easter Sunday, a counterfeit masterpiece.”

“The voice was silent for a time.  The old man’s face darkened as he seemed to see, in the embers of the fire, a sinister event against which he would cry out. Suddenly there rang out in the stillness the trumpet like tones that had called to the men on the battlefield, when as a drummer boy, he had snatched up the colors where a dying bearer had fallen, and rallied a regiment that had nearly broken.

“Oh the cowards! The cowards! They allowed the flag of God, His holy Sabbath, to trail in the dust.  They trampled it under their feet, they exalted the sun’s day; they broke the command of God, and all in the name of the One who had given His life so save His people from that very thing!

“Oh, how Jesus in heaven must have wept when His so-called followers, to gain influence, set up the mark of rebellion against heaven—Sunday.  And how He must weep today people profess to honor. His resurrection by trampling on His day and honoring the flag of the defeated foe.  God forgive our nation if she ever passes a law to do that.  If she passes a national Sunday law”

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom he ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1Corinthians 10:11-12).

“It was by associating with idolaters and joining in their festivities that the Hebrews were led to transgress God’s law and bring His judgments upon the nation.  So now it is by leading the followers of Christ to associate with the ungodly and unite in their amusements that Satan is most successful in alluring them into sin.   Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean (2 Corinthians 6:17).

“God requires of His people now as great a distinction from the world, in customs, habits, and principles, as He required of Israel anciently. If they faithfully follow the teachings of His Word, this distinction will exist; it cannot be otherwise.  The warnings given to the Hebrews against assimilating with the heathen were not more direct or explicit than are those forbidding Christians to conform to the spirit and customs of the ungodly”.  (Patriarchs and Prophets, 457-458)

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WHERE DID EASTER COME FROM?

“The great distinguishing mark of the heathen was Sunday and the mark of God’s people was the Sabbath (Eze.20:12-20).  Side by side through the centuries God’s people worshiping Him, obeying His commandments, keeping His Sabbath; and the heathen were worshiping the sun, keeping Sunday, offering their children in the fire as a sacrifice to the sun, or crucifying their human victims to turn away his supposed anger.

“One writer in a noted periodical says that ‘Sunday was the wild, solar holiday of all pagan times.’  It was on this day that the worst features of sun worship were practiced.  Too often Israel did these things too, but God constantly sent them messages to obey Him.

“Finally Christ, the Son of God, was born.  The exact day of His birth no one knows, but it was probably in October. He was just thirty-three and a half years old when He was crucified, in April, at the time of the Passover.  How Jesus loved His people!  He loved them so much that He was willing to suffer abuse and mocking, scourging and death.  Remember that Tammuz was exalted by Satan to be the great rival o Jesus, and the symbol of the cross was the sign of sun worship.  Through all the years it had seemed that the sun god was greater than the true God, for Israel alone followed God, but often even Israel followed the sun god.

“Oh yes, Jesus loved His people! He came into a world that had forgotten Him, its Creator, suffered every insult at its hands, and finally died upon the symbol of sun worship, even, says Paul, “the death of the cross”  (Phil.2:8).

“What rejoicing then by the demons! The Son of God delivered by His own people and crucified by the sun-worshiping Romans on the symbol of sun worship! Oh the condescending Jesus! How He must have loved His people!”

“The old man’s face softened, and the children saw tears in his eyes.  After a time he went on.  His eyes were shining now.

“But God honored that sacrifice! On the third day after His crucifixion, the first day for sun worship, while the spirits of demons were in the wildest orgy of celebration over their victory; for, through many men Satan’s angels all rejoiced in the victory of false worship on that very day set aside and honored by the name of the sun- God raised His Son from the grave a conqueror! As after Creation He had rested, so after redemption He rested in the tomb on His Sabbath; and now, on the day of the sun, He was raised, eternal victor over the sun worship and all false systems of worship.  That was why God raised Him on Sunday.  Once more the Sabbath is God’s sign between Him a His people.   His disciples kept it while they lived.

“But Satan was not yet through with the world. First, he persecuted God’s people, and then he tempted them again.  The heathen were still keeping Sunday; and, as the Christians were scattered throughout the world, Satan whispered in the ears of God’s people that they should try to gain favor by being more like the heathen.  Was not Christ born toward the end of the year? The exact date was uncertain.  Why not call it the same date as the birth of Tammuz? So December 25 became Christmas.

Continue part 4-

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WHERE DID EASTER COME FROM?

In order that the people should love her as queen as long as she lived, Semiramis told them that hers was the spirit of the moon; and, when she died, she would dwell in the moon; as Nimrod already dwelt in the sun.

“Satan was laying the foundation for every system of falsehood and error the world has ever known.  The sun god, under different names, was worshiped in Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as conquering nations were conquered by the religion of their captives.

“Every year when the cold season began, the people believed their sun god was leaving them.  They came to learn that his lowest dip on the horizon, about December 21, was followed by his gradual return, until in midsummer he was directly overhead at noonday. It was 25th of December that they noticed, each year, the coming back, a little, of their god.  This day they called the birthday of the sun. It was this belief in the annual journey of their god that Elijah alluded to in his conflict with the priests of Baal, the Syro-Phoenician sun god (1Kings 18:19-40).

“After the death of Nimrod.  Semiramis never married again—indeed how could the queen of heaven marry an ordinary man? But some years later she gave birth to a son.  His name was Tammuz, and he was born on the 25th day of December! There was wild rejoicing in the nation over which Semiramis was queen.  She told the people that the spirit of the sun, her husband Nimrod, was the father of Tammuz, and thus through her sin Satan persuaded the people of the counterfeit birth of Jesus; for Jesus was really born of a virgin.

“Tammuz was hailed as the Son of the Sun and the first letter of his name became in time the symbol of sun worship.  Human sacrifices to the sun god were offered on this initial letter, made of wood, known as the cross.  His birthday, December 25, was honored more and more, and the first day of the week was called the Sun’s day, or Sunday.  The people forgot God’s Sabbath, and honored the day of the sun.  To honor Semiramis they set aside a time in honor of the moon. This was the first full moon after the vernal equinox, or the twenty-first of March.  The first Sunday after this full moon was indeed a gala day.

“While yet a young man, Tammuz, a hunter like his supposed father, was killed by a wild boar.  What weeping there was in the kingdom! And the forty days before the time of the celebration for the moon were set apart as days of weeping for Tammuz.

“God’s people were constantly being tempted to follow this religion instead of that of the Bible.  Often Satan succeeded in his purpose. In the eighth chapter of Ezekiel we read of the women’s weeping for Tammuz and the people’s turning their backs on the temple of God and worshiping the sun toward the east.  They also worshiped the moon goddess, making cakes to the queen of heaven (Jer.7:18-19).  These were round cakes on which had been cut a cross.

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