"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

The Dying God

Pre-Christian Resurrected Gods and Miracle Workers

http://altreligion.net/?page_id=1598

Changed water into wine...An inscription in the Vatican states, “He who will not eat of my body, nor drink of my blood, so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.” This is not terribly surprising, unless you consider that this is inscribed on the remains of the temple the Vatican was built on- one dedicated to the GodMithras. Mithras was a solar deity whose worshipers called himredeemer; his religion died out not long after the popularization of Christianity.

Such eerie parallels between the pronouncements of Jesus and Mithras are not the only similarities between the two religions. Mithras was known to his followers as “The light of the world,” or “The Good Shepherd,” and exhorted his followers to share ritual communion meals of bread and wine. His priests were called “Father.”

Mithras was also born in a cave, with shepherds in attendance. (In some versions, he is assisted in his birth from a stone by shepherds.) It is interesting to note that in the fourth century, the birthday of Sol Invictus was celebrated December 25th. Mithras was referred to as Deus Sol Invictus by his followers, but it is not certain whether Mithras was officially identified with the State cult. In any case, natalis Invicti was celebrated not in honor of mithras, but of the over-arching solar deity.

 

Fourth century Bishop John Chrysostom writes : “On this day also the Birthday of Christ was lately fixed at Rome in order that while the heathen were busy with their profane ceremonies, the Christians might perform their sacred rites undisturbed. They call this the Birthday of the Invincible One; but who is so invincible as the Lord? They call it the Birthday of the Solar Disk, but Christ is the Sun of Righteousness.”

A communion Meal with MithrasConsider this- several other Gods share the December birthday, and like Mithras, they are also solar-identified deities, who are born in the winter solstices, often of virgin mothers, die, and are reborn. One of these, a pre-Christian deity called Attis, was called “The lamb of God,” and his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection were celebrated annually, with ritual communions of bread and wine. His virgin mother, Cybele, was worshiped as “The Queen of heaven.” It gets more interesting the further back we look- Attis and Cybele’s predecessors are the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar, and her consort Tammuz.

A Good ShepherdThis is not the only coincidence related to this ancient couple- the earliest religious use of the cross as a religious symbol is related to Tammuz. In fact, crosses are related to a variety ofsolar deities, and represent the solar calendar. Of course, the cross was not popular with early Christians, except in the form of an X, the Greek initial of “Christos.” (Even this was borrowed symbolism- the initials belonging to the Greek Chronos.)

Hundreds of years before Jesus, there was a passion story told about a God man, born of a virgin mother in a stable. He travels about with his followers, preaching and performing miracles, including turning water into wine. Eventually, he incurs the wrath of the religious authorities, who are appalled that he refers to himself as the son of god. He allows himself to be arrested and tried for blasphemy- a willing self-sacrifice. He is found guilty and executed, only to rise from the grave three days later, where the women weeping at his tomb do not recognize him until he assumes his divine form. This god, also one of the first depicted crucified, is the vine-God Dionysus.

Born Dec. 25Common to all of these mystery religions (so-called because one was required to be initiated or baptized into the faith to learn its doctrines), including early Christianity- are themes of rebirth, redemption, and the transmission of life-changing information- spiritual salvation. So many religions in those times shared similar themes that often the deities became melded together. Early depictions of Jesus show him holding the Lyre of Orpheus, or driving Apollo’s chariot. A talisman bearing the crucified likeness of Dionysus is inscribed Orpheus-Bacchus. The follower of Jesus, named Lazarus (‘resurrected,’ a derivative of the name of Osiris, the resurrected God of Egypt).

 

Three days later, the tomb is empty!It is difficult to tell just by looking at old artwork which haloed infant gods are cuddled in the arms of which mothers. The Emperor Constantine, who legitimized Christianity in Rome, was a worshiper of Sol Invictus- an amalgamation of solar deities Mithras, Helios, and Apollo- and he recognized Jesus’ place in that company. Even today, ancient solar symbols abound in Christian iconography. Not that Constantine was the only one to muddle these gods together- in fact, Christianity’s oldest known mosaic depicts Jesus as a triumphant Helios, complete with chariot.

 

haloed deityOf course, later Christians were terribly perturbed by these similarities to Pagan religions- these coincidences so disturbed one early Christian church father, Justin Martyr, that he accused the devil of sending an imitator of Christ in advance.Had he paid a little more attention to the past, he might have noted that the association of Jesus with Dionysus is not so strange-philosophers had been making connections betweenJehovah and Dionysus for centuries.

Holy infantDid early Christians, like their modern descendants, believe that theirs was the one and only true manifestation of religion? Consider the words of Clement, of Alexandria, “There is one river of Truth, which receives tributaries from every side.” If only the later followers of the religion listened more closely, these mysteries may not have been lost.

 

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