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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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