Easter... Ishtar... Astarte... Ashtoreth... and even Freya (where we get the name for Friday)... "Holy Mackeral!" -- as in Fish on Friday (a lousy joke)... are all related...
Did you know that a single cod fish annually spawns upwards of 9,000,000 eggs; the flounder, 1,000,000; the sturgeon, 700,000; the perch, 400,000; the MACKERAL, 500,000 ?? Fish is one of the favorite symbols associated with ancient fertility rites.
Many historical events with their associated traditions and customs first originated in Babylon and are performed today. This is the reason we even find modern clerics and members of liturgical churches starting with the Pope in Rome... wearing vestments not remotely characteristic of any style of clothing worn by the first century disciples -- the students and learners of Christ. Some of these liturgical vestments... beginning with the practice of priests wearing that unusual looking hat or mitre shaped like a fish head... can be traced back to the old Babylonish Feast of Tammuz... which lasted 40 days in Spring (in recent centuries, some folks call it the Season of Lent).
From Alexander Hislop's "The Two Babylons" we read:
"Dagon, the fish-god, represented that deity as a manifestation of the same patriarch who had lived so long in the waters of the deluge.... The excavations of Nineveh have put this beyond all possibility of doubt. The Papal mitre is entirely different from the mitre of Aaron and the Jewish high priests. That mitre was a turban. The two-horned mitre, which the Pope wears, when he sits on the high altar at Rome and receives the adoration of the Cardinals [resembles] the very mitre worn by Dagon, the fish-god of the Philistines and Babylonians. There were two ways in which Dagon was anciently represented. The one was when he was depicted as half-man half-fish; the upper part being entirely human, the under part ending in the tail of a fish. The other was, when... the head of the fish formed a mitre above that of the man, while its scaly, fan-like tail fell as a cloak behind, leaving the human limbs and feet exposed.
"... The gaping jaws of the fish surmounting the head of the man at Nineveh are the unmistakable counterpart of the horns of the Pope's mitre at Rome. Thus was it in the East, at least five hundred years before the Christian era. The same seems to have been the case also in Egypt...
"In the West... the Pagans had detached the fish-head mitre from the body of the fish, and used that mitre alone to adorn the head of the great Mediatorial god; for on several Maltese Pagan coins that god, with the well-known attributes of Osiris, is represented with nothing of the fish save the mitre on his head...
"Even in China, the same practice of wearing the fish-head mitre had evidently once prevailed; for the very counterpart of the Papal mitre, as worn by the Chinese Emperor, has subsisted to modern times....the Emperor of China... as high priest of the nation, once a-year prays for the blesses the whole nation, having his priestly robes on and his mitre on his head, the same, the very same, as that worn by the Roman Pontiff for near 1200 years...
"...even in Japan, still farther distant from Babel than China itself, one of the divinities is represented with the same symbol of might as prevailed in Assyria--even the bull's horns, and is called "The ox-headed Prince of Heaven." If the symbol of Nimrod, as Kronos, "The Horned one," is thus found in Japan, it cannot be surprising that the symbol of Dagon should be found in China." -- Hislop (p 214-216)
Whether or not Hislop's report is completely accurate... we do know that these Easter attachments have little... actually nothing to do with the historic events connected to simple Christianity.
Suffice to say, Hugh Heffner's PlayBoy Bunnies have more to do with Easter traditions... and Easter Bunnies... and Easter Eggs, than what we've been told.
Let's see if Bill keeps the "Egg Rolling Tradition" on the White House Lawn alive. Now, ain't that cute -- the President helping all those children enjoy the "Spring Festival Rites", too?! Anyone willing to take bets he keeps this happy tradition going??
But that's a few stories rolled into one! Keep posted...
Now, if you're really interested in the Events of the Passion Week including the three High Holy Feast Days falling within that same week, well.. here goes...
But first... the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians... Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to: food or drink or in respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day... -- things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
So, the questions arise... what are the set times... the Feast days? And if they are shadows of something coming, can we find the Shadow-Caster and see how these days are substantially fulfilled in Christ??
The Seven Festivals of the LORD (feast days... set times... appointed
days... as in keeping an appointment. And who is going to keep
these set times? The people? Well, maybe... they will, too... but that's
not what it says.) The Seven Festivals are:
(fulfilled exactly on the appointed day)
(fulfilled exactly on the appointed day)
|Feast of Passover||this day included: the Upper room event, the Garden of Gathsemane, and Crucifixion|
|Feast of Unleavened Bread||immediately following the Passover when the Sin offering was buried...|
|Feast of First-fruits||the day of Resurrection... (Matt27:53)|
|Feast of Pentecost||outpouring of the Spirit; birth of the Church|
|(The following Festivals take place at...||a different time of the Year)|
|Feast of Trumpets (two silver shofars sounded -- silver being the symbol of redemption) when the trumpets blew the Harvest was gathered up...||the First Feast of Trumpets announcing the Birth; the Second will be the day when the Trumpet shall sound...|
|Feast of Atonement||the Day of the LORD called: the Tribulation, the Great|
|Feast of Tabernacles||held throughout the Millennium... (Zech14)|
And now... the Great Passion Week:
SUNDAY? before The Feast of Passover: The "Triumphal Entrance" riding an ass into Jerusalem (about the only time an ass is described in Scripture as doing something right). In the Old Testament (Exodus 34:20), of a stubborn, intractable ass it is said that the firstlings of an ass shall be redeemed by a lamb; otherwise they would break its neck... and immediately it says -- all the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. Ishmael of old is called a wild ass-man. Now, whether we like it or not, I've noticed that some things in our otherwise progressive society haven't progressed much. Have they?
TUESDAY Evening: The Feast of Passover began. (Remember: the Jewish day doesn't begin in the morning as it does in Western society. It begins at sundown!) The first "Table of the Lord" (often called " Communion") took place late that Evening. Early the following Morning was the garden of Gethsemane incident.
Later WEDNESDAY Morning: Still The Feast of Passover when the trial before Pontius Pilate was held where he washed his hands of the whole affair. Wednesday from 12 Noon until 3:00PM was the Crucifixion of Christ. Taken from Golgatha by permission of Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea (the Roman Minister of Tin Mines) placed the corpse in his tomb late that Afternoon.
WEDNESDAY Evening: The Feast of Unleavened Bread (burying the Sin Offering) began. Christ was buried and the tomb sealed as night fell.
Not on Good Freya Day -- celebrated as a fertility rite in Spring.
So let's count: Wednesday Evening to Thursday Evening = one night and one day; Thursday Evening to Friday Evening = one night and one day; Friday Evening to Saturday Evening = one night and one day... for a total of... ??? yes, THREE days and nights.
SATURDAY Evening (at Sunset -- remember the Jewish day begins at Sun DOWN): The Feast of First Fruits (a "sample" of the Harvest to come) began. Exactly the time span of 3 days and 3 nights, the great Resurrection took place in the cool of Evening beginning on that Feast day.
The feast of Tammuz... the Eggs, the Bunnies, the fertility customs associated with the rites of Spring from Nimrod's ancient Babylon is what has been celebrated at Sunrise services for more that 3,000 years. (By the way, Samiramus, Ishtar, Astorte, Easter et al... depending on different cultural traditions are various names for Nimrod's wife.)
So once again, with all those Bunnies, and Easter Bonnets and endless Parades, choose your Holiday AND HAVE FUN! Just don't wear yourself out, and please don't muddy up the water!
For additional information on Mithraism - The Legacy of the Roman Empire's final State Religion check: Medieval Sourcebook
As has been previously referenced... for many, many years, Dr. Gene Scott, a Doctor of Philosophy graduate from Stanford University, holds the record in television and radio messages on a variety of topics. Dr. Scott has lots to say regarding Christmas and Easter... and numerous other subjects. You can listen to Dr. Scott's teaching 24 hours each day... anywhere in the world using Windows Media Player or Real Player. Just click on: Dr. Gene Scott™ on the University Network.
Or, check out this link to the old A. Hislop book, a great resource on the Internet about many wierd traditions still being kept around the world today.
Not that long ago due to his wonderfully acted role in the popular movie "Saving Private Ryan", Tom Hanks has received unusual recognition. In a recent TV interview, he admitted... he "was no hero". Now according to the commonly held understanding of the term, I have to completely agree with him. Certainly in a hundred years nobody will be found lauding his praises. Nobody will have established institutions to discuss his works and words. And nobody.. will compose epic songs extolling his uniqueness. Oh, he's probably a pretty good guy, I'm sure... but I'm also sure nobody will be much concerned with the actor a hundred years from now. For that matter... nobody will be concerned about you... or me... even fifty years from now. Our history's will be long over and forgotten... being irrelevant to the current of human affairs.
And I say that... to remind you folks (young and old...) who feel the pressure to abandon your faith... feeling inadequate to respond to popular society demands or even those higher critics of learning (those I affectionately label: academia nuts...) to you folks of traditional, historic faith... don't give up on learning. Don't forget the collective opinions of the majority may rule, but it doesn't mean they are right.
And just know this: For every discipline (even at the University graduate level...) there is room for debate on EVERY pet theory including the pet theories of scientists and politicians and physicians and lawyers and teachers, too. No profession is exempt from the arena of public debate.
Well, maybe with exception given to a few higher intellectual lightweight types who love to leave us foolish simpletons of faith with the impression that... they alone... are secure in their impenetrable, unassailable theories. They are not... but they do pretend very well. (More recently, I've discovered that the only aspect of them giving an illusion of height is possibly due to their offices being a floor or two above the masses of us common folk who walk the ordinary, dusty streets of life... and talk ordinary talk...) But whatever their professional postulates and pontificated presuppositions, they, too, are NOT dismissed from discussion or debate. As a matter of fact, you should hear some of the debates that are daily waged in the sacred halls of many of those academia nuts. And... you should see just how some arrogant, enraged educators - on every topic imaginable - carry on.
But historic faith in the Resurrection can begin with confidence in the veracity of the witnesses. You see quite honestly: IF Christ be not risen from the dead... then our faith is vain... and we, above all men, are most miserable. IF Christ be not risen... then there is a whole history including a present population.... FULL of fools and people unnecessarily playing church. IF... Christ be not risen.
Though historical evidence is no longer available... a hard-headed look at the psychological evidence IS. The legacy was left in far-flung regions of the then known world... by ordinary people... (at least 120 eye-witnesses...) who chose rather to die... than to deny what they saw... what they experienced -- and not simply to die... but to die... ALONE.
The fact that this incredible message of miraculous life has been passed on to our generation... the fact that real men and real women... at cost of real terror, torture, and death brought us... not pet theories and poetic readings... but an almost unbelievable story... ought to make anybody sit up and take notice. Find the evidence that any one of the witnesses ever changed the Story. Search the records... they died alone. (Oh, in a crowd... people easily stick together. But mobs are rarely changed for the better... for telling a lie.)
Additionally, I do not recall in all recorded history when at least 120 people... having been persecuted in different towns and hamlets and countries... I do not recall when such people (at least 120 of them...) have chosen death... alone... for telling a lie... especially when any one of them could have capitulated... and walked away free to live out the rest of life in total obscurity. When has this ever happened?
After two millennia... we can't even get 20 people (much less 120...) to agree on much -- certainly NOT to die for anything. Well maybe... hmm?? Nope! Can't think of a thing! This is the generation of self preservation. Back then... at least 120 men and women chose death. Back then... at least 120 men and women opposed the demands of irrate local authorities... and individually spilt their own blood. Having been left abandoned and alone, individually, they gave up their own lives... submitting to death... that we might learn of this incredible event. And because of their costly sacrifice... the world was changed.
Whether the higher critics remain silent, who cares? If they bellow from the belfries... who cares? The only thing they'd ever seem to die for... is an opportunity to publish!
But to the rest of us... to young students and old learners of history... and to ordinary folks of faith... just remember: Real men and real women... suffered and died... alone... that we might hear this News. Something... back then... happened!
And One Final Note:
In my educational post-secondary and graduate experience while wading through a morass of experts (self-proclaimed or otherwise...), struggling to keep afloat in spite of the undercurrent tug of pseudo-intellectuals, and guided occasionally by the trusted tutelage of a handful of learned men and women, I confess I have had very, Very few good or wise teachers. Certainly none with a psycho- or socio- pathology beyond the range of cultural acceptibility and normalcy. Most definitely none (not even one of the experts...) who said what this One Whose life has disturbed every generation since His birth said. And that's the amazing thing about this Guy.
The issue for me remains. I am kept mystified and a little challenged with those venerated higher critics' reason for His death. Oh, I've read what many have to say. I've read endless swoon, and resuscitation, and even group hypnosis theories. More recently, I've read the likes of Dr. Diarmuid O'Murchu's "Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics" concluding more power to all these for finding faith in whatever it is they find faith in. Because I discovered... we all are faithing creatures. It's in our make-up. We can't escape having faith in something and expressing it daily... even if it be only the simple confidence we have in our presumptive selves. Going beyond simple faith, I just don't feel compelled to develop an appetite for all that higher critical stuffin' that they try to shovel down us.
Oh, they say He was such a good and wise Teacher; they all say that 'cause they don't have the anatomical parts to say differently. And yet this supposed good and wise Guy... according to the experts, was so bland and boring if you read what it is that they say He said. Bland and boring guys are ignored by history, not crucified! He must have said something to piss off someone in order to get Himself killed, right?! But the higher critics leave you clueless with their fancy dancin' around whatever it was they say that Happy-go-lucky, Peace lovin' kinda Guy they've invented... said or didn't say.
And as for the miraculous, everybody (including myself) knows that miracles... don't... happen! Abso-tootin'-lutely, I agree. How does the typical line of rhetoric go among today's educatio-elite and even some modern theologians?
...WE all know Miracles don't happen... and anyone who says they do isn't a very good or respectable reporter... and definitely is NOT telling the truth... and certainly shouldn't be listened to... because WE all know that Miracles don't happen... and anyone who says a miracle took place just isn't credible... and is promoting some incredulity and lie... and shouldn't be relied on... and should probably be publically derided or given the silent treatment... because WE ALL know that Miracles don't happen... and anyone who says they do happen is an extremely poor reporter... and most definitely NOT telling the truth... and most-est definitely should NOT be listened to... But listen to US... because we're the expirts.. and WE all know Miracles don't happen... and anyone who says they do isn't a very good or respectable reporter... and definitely is NOT telling the truth... and certainly shouldn't be listened to... because WE all know.....
Tautological reasoning: a needless repetition of an idea... considered true simply by virtue of its rhetoric but not necessarily by virtue of reality or fact. Unfortunately, their tautology will make anyone (including themselves... ) dizzy (or frustrated...) when followed too long. As for the miraculous... this one happened. Get a little objective; check the historic record. Go to the source; crank your brain... figure it out!
Fortunately for us, we're living in a time when we can better grasp some of the principles of physics. We know we're more space than matter, and molecular displacement and splitting apart atoms is possible -- messy, nevertheless possible. And if some things aren't necessarily as simple as they first appear, why, knowing physics, is it too difficult to imagine someone going through rock and sailing off into space? Star Trek does it all the time! No unusual amount of WOO-WOO and mystery necessary.
The fact that it all happened to the One Who made the most mind-boggling claims and then predicted this three day event is remarkable. Interesting to note, it was NOT... His followers Who believed His claims at first. They all ran away. It was His detractors, the religious leaders of His day who knew the implications of His preposterous claims.
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), the great Scottish historian and essayist... appointed Rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1866 wrote: "The greatest of all faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none." And herein, lies a problem for me. For me, no good or wise teacher at the University ever made such wild eyed claims that the Christ did. Why... He went around saying things like: "Judge not, lest ye be condemned..." and then turned around and called some folks of His day to task using some pretty choice names (i.e. whited sepulchres, pit of vipers... and other such terms of endearment). He said... when YOU pray don't forget the "forgive us our trespasses" part. Yet, not once do we find Him suggesting His own need to make such petition to God. "The greatest of all faults... is to be conscious of none."
Now seriously folks, since when do we make saints out of this sort of lunacy? Our knee-jerk reaction to this kind of person is one of disdain... of suspect and at the very least... to treat as an object of ridicule. When YOU pray, don't forget to say: Forgive my trespasses. When He prayed... He said things like: "I... have completed the work You sent Me to do...." That's like saying: God... I... did every thing... EVERY thing... didn't miss one thing... You told me to do. And because of that, "...now glorify Me... with the glory... I had... with Thee... before the world was..." after all "...I and the Father are One". Yikes!!
But regarding personal fault, He is conscious of none. As a matter of fact, He challenges the gathered crowd and asks, "Which is easier to say: Your sins be forgiven or rise and be healed?" And then, if the story's accurate... raised up a crippled man... AND forgave the poor fool's short fallings, too!
This, folks... is NOT the language of the good and wise. It is the language of wacked-out nuts or of the perniciously evil. Someone making these kind of statements can be good.. but their brains are fried and we ought to see they are commited. OR they are wise... but ought to be locked up for commiting a fraud on the people. OR... or consider, as C.S. Lewis phrased it: the startling alternate.
Now, I'll tell you, if you or your favorite professor made such claims:
"ALL power in heaven and earth is given to... Me"; "Before Abraham was, I was"; "I... came to fulfill the Law"; "I... am the Resurrection and the Life"; there's something wrong with the whole world and... I've come... to make it right... so "Follow... Me" (not -- follow a list of rules) and several additional, similar claims...
... if you died, and then three days later rose from the dead... well, I just might put down my beer and take a second look at you. That kind of thing would get my attention. I'd say it's a notch or two above and beyond any top ten CNN events of this past week... and it's certainly more captivating than looking forward to chaperone Grad-Night at Disneyland, to attend the L.A. Philharmonic, or even to go to a 7-11 mini-mart for an icy cold six-pack!
All this to say that though I don't know much about things like spirituality, or Time versus Eternity, or the furniture and fixtures or even the seating arrangement of heaven. Still, it seems to me that spending time to learn about the One Who did what no other has done... Who in His goodness and wisdom has startled most of recorded history... just might have its benefits. Studying Him is probably a good enough starting place to find answers to some of those nagging questions. Right? I figure after all, He's been there... done that! His opinion holds a little more weight than grandpa or even all the grand-Papa's and grand-Pooba's combined.
You see... the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ is really no issue to discuss. He didn't sorta or kinda come out of the tomb. Either He did... OR He didn't. If He didn't, then get on with life. If He did... then declared it! If He did, then there's no need to lean on flimsy pet theories poorly constructed... or trust some crusty old rules, some unusual rituals, or even the warmest of man-made traditions. If He did, I'll trust Him.
Christmas and The Holidays We All Hold Dear
THANKSGIVING the Holiday
Isaiah wrote: "In the last days there would be a monument to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, a stone monument at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of All Things... in the land of Egypt. For they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a Saviour, and a Great One, and He shall Deliver them...[in that Day]."
To Seven WONDERS in My World including the Great Pyramid of Giza... and other interesting subjects... including The Nazca Line Drawings and Ancient maps.