Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Pagan Origins of Easter

Introduction

The Church has been celebrating Easter for almost 1700 years, but few in the church are aware of it's origins, and what / who it originally celebrated. We must ask ourselves if G-d is pleased with this celebration. Does it glorify Him and His Son, or does it honor a false god? Please prayerfully consider the following information before making your decision. Remember G-d did not spare Israel when they worshipped false gods. Are we somehow "better" than G-d's chosen people?

The name Easter was never used in the original text of Scripture for the resurrection of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach (Jesus The Christ). While many today try to disassociate this celebration from it's pagan roots by referring to it as "Resurrection Sunday", does this celebration have any place amongst Believers or any relevance to Messiah's resurrection?

Origin of Easter - Nimrod, Semiramis (Easter), and Tammuz (the "reborn" Nimrod)

"Easter", many scholars agree, has its root in ancient pagan religion. "Easter" derived from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. The name is actually much older - going back to Babel and it's infamous tower.

The grandson of Noach (Noah), Nimrod, formed the first post-flood kingdom. Jewish tradition indicates that Nimrod was a tyrant "who made all of the people rebellious against God." Nimrod ruled several major cities including Babel, Asshur, Nineveh and Calah (cities known through-out the ancient world for unimaginable perversion).

When Nimrod died, the Babylonian mystery religion continued. His wife Semiramis deified him as the Sun-god. He is known through out pagan religions as Baal, Baalim, Bel, and Molech. Semiramis later gave birth to an illegitimate son named Tammuz (later known in the Roman world as Mithras) , was claimed to be Nimrod "reborn."

Furthermore she claimed that her son was supernaturally conceived and that he was the promised seed, the 'savior' - promised by God. Nimrod was deified as the god of the sun and father of creation. Semiramis became the goddess of the moon and fertility.

In the Mystery cults, the 'savior' Tammuz \ Mithras , was worshipped in spring with pagan rites. According to legend, after Tammuz was killed by a wild boar, he went into the underworld. But through the weeping of his mother (for 40 days - lent) he was resurrected. Each year a spring festival was held to dramatically represent this supposed 'resurrection'.

Thus a false religion developed with sun and moon worship, priests, astrology, demonic worship, worship of stars associated with their gods, idolatry, mysterious rites, human sacrifice, and more.

The spread of Pagan religion

With the destruction on Babel, many people moved away from the area carrying their evil Sun-god based religion with them. They continued to worship the stars and practice all the other pagan rituals of their religion.
Babel was the origin of an idolatrous system that swept the world. The Bible often speaks of the Satanic religions which came from there. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus "witnessed the Mystery religion and its rites in numerous countries and mentions how Babylon was the primeval source from which ALL systems of idolatry flowed.

Many vile and idolatrous practices originated at Babel with Semiramis and Nimrod. Many names were used for this pagan god & goddess as people scattered from Babel. Names for the "Mother Goddess" included: "ISHTAR" (where we get "EASTER"), Eostre, Cebel, Astarte, Ostera, Eastre, Wife of Baal, Ashtaroth, and Queen of Heaven. She was frequently worshipped as the goddess of fertility - a "Mother Nature", goddess of spring, sexuality and birth. She was also worshipped as a mediator between god and man. Sexual orgies and temple prostitutes were often used in her worship and in attempting to gain her favor.

The response of G-d to Queen of Heaven & Tammuz worship as recorded in Scripture.

Can we find evidence of Ishtar (Easter) & Tammuz worship in Holy Scripture? Below are several quotes from the Tanakh (referred to as the "Old Testament" by most Christians), all are from the Complete Jewish Bible (a Messianic translation of the Scriptures maintaining their original Hebrew thought & names). These quotes show how G-d has turned from His people due to their engaging in pagan rituals.

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 7:16-20

16 ¶ “So you, (Yirmeyahu), don’t pray for this people! Don’t cry, pray or intercede on their behalf with me; because I won’t listen to you.
17 Don’t you see what they are doing in the cities of Y’hudah and in the streets of Yerushalayim?
18 The children gather the wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and, just to provoke me, they pour out drink offerings to other gods!
19 Are they really provoking me, ”asks ADONAI, “or are they provoking themselves, to their own ruin?”
20 Therefore, here is what ADONAI ELOHIM says: “My anger and fury will be poured out on this place, on men, animals, trees in the fields and produce growing from the ground; and it will burn without being quenched.”

Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 44:16-23

16 “As for the word you have just spoken to us in the name of ADONAI, we will not listen to you.
17 Instead, we will certainly continue to fulfill every word our mouths have spoken: we will offer incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our ancestors, our kings and our leaders, in the cities of Y’hudah and the streets of Yerushalayim. For then we had plenty of food; everything was fine, we didn’t experience anything unpleasant.
18 But since we stopped offering to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything, and we have been destroyed by sword and famine.”
19 (Then the wives added), “Are we the ones who offer incense to the queen of heaven? Do we pour out drink offerings to her? And did we make cakes marked with her image for her and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands’ consent?”
20 ¶ Then Yirmeyahu said to all the people –– to the men, the women, and all the people who had answered him back:
21 “The incense you offered in the cities of Y’hudah and in the streets of Yerushalayim –– you, your ancestors, your kings, your leaders and the people of the land –– ADONAI kept remembering and taking note of this (insult),
22 until ADONAI could no longer bear it, so evil and so detestable were your deeds. This is why your land has become a wasteland, an object for astonishment and cursing, uninhabited, as it is today.
23 It is because you offered incense, sinned against ADONAI, didn’t listen to what ADONAI said, and didn’t live by his Torah, regulations and instructions that this disaster has befallen you, as it is today.”

Ezekiel 8:3-18

3 The form of a hand was put out, which took me by a lock of my hair; and a spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me, in these visions from God, to Yerushalayim, to the entrance of the inner (courtyard) gate that faces north. There stood the idol that (arouses God’s) jealousy and provokes (his) zealous indignation.
4 There before me was the glory of the God of Isra’el, as in the vision I had seen in the valley.
5 Then he said to me, “Human being, raise your eyes toward the north.” I raised my eyes toward the north and saw, north of the Altar Gate, this image that (arouses God’s) jealousy in the entryway.
6 He asked me, “Human being, do you see what they are doing, the horribly disgusting practices that the house of Isra’el is committing here, so that I must distance myself from my own sanctuary? But you will see even worse abominations.”
7 ¶ He brought me to the entrance of the courtyard; and when I looked, I saw a hole in the wall.
8 He said to me, “Human being, dig into the wall.” After digging in the wall, I saw a door.
9 “Go in, ”he said, “and see the wicked practices they are engaged in here.”
10 So I went in and looked, and there, carved on the walls all around, were every kind of reptile and repulsive animal, along with all the idols of the house of Isra’el.
11 Standing in front of them were seventy of the leading men of the house of Isra’el –– in the center stood Ya’azanyahu the son of Shafan. Each man had his incense–burner in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up.
12 Then he said to me, “Human being, did you see what the leaders of the house of Isra’el are doing in the dark, each one in the room of his own carved image, because they say, ‘ADONAI can’t see us; ADONAI has left the land.’?”
13 ¶ He also said to me, “You will see even worse abominations that they are doing.”
14 He brought me to the entrance of the north gate to ADONAI‘ s house; and there before me were women weeping for Tammuz.
15 “Human being, ”he asked me, “have you seen this? You will see practices even more disgusting than these.”
16 He brought me into the inner courtyard of ADONAI‘ s house; and there, at the entrance to the temple of ADONAI, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty–five men with their backs toward the temple of ADONAI and their faces toward the east; and they were worshipping the sun toward the east.
17 He asked me, “Human being, have you seen this? Does the house of Y’hudah consider it a casual matter that they commit the disgusting practices they are committing here, thus filling the land with violence, provoking me still more? Look! They are even putting the branch to their nose!
18 Therefore I will act in fury, my eye will not spare, I will have no pity. Even if they cry loudly right in my ears, I will not listen to them.”


The Ishtar (Easter) Egg & the Ishtar (Easter) Bunny

Where did the Ishtar Egg originate: 'The egg was a sacred symbol among the Babylonians. They believed an egg of wondrous size fell from heaven into the Euphrates River'. From this marvelous egg the goddess Astarte (as also know as Semiramis or Ishtar, where we get the name Easter from), was supposed to have hatched. Thus the egg came to symbolize the goddess Easter.

The idea of the mystic egg spread from Babylon to many parts of the world. In Rome, the mystic egg preceded processions in honor of the Roman Mother goddess. The egg was part of the sacred ceremonies of the Mysteries of Bacchus. The Druids used the egg as their sacred emblem. In Northern Europe, China and Japan the eggs were colored for their sacred festivals.

The egg was a symbol of fertility; Semiramis (Easter) was the goddess of Fertility. The Easter egg is a symbol of the pagan Mother goddess, and it even bears one of her names.

The rabbit is also a well known as a sexual symbol of fertility. Annual spring time fertility rituals are associated worship of the Mother Goddess and Tammuz, the reincarnation of Nimrod.

Why did the Church adopt Easter?

The original community of believers was predominately Jewish (as was the Messiah and the Apostles). These believers had a full understanding of Torah, the prophets and followed the G-d ordained Feasts and Shabbat. As the community of believers grew, the number of Gentiles increased much faster than Jews. These Gentile believers had little or no knowledge of the Torah, and the prophets. As time passed Greek (Hellenized) thought and mythology began to be incorporated into the church beliefs. The Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE (AD) left Jews as enemies of Rome, and the church moved swiftly to distance itself from the Roman persecution of the Jewish remnant.

As the church separated itself from the Hebrew root it was grafted into, pagan practices began to quickly infiltrate it. With the victory of Constantine in the early 4th century (300's), the paganization of the church accelerated rapidly and was given the official state seal, protected and enforced by law. Overnight Pagan temples became churches, and former pagan priests became "Christian" Priests. Statues of Jupiter, became Peter, others represented other saints.

The Council of Nicea & Imperial edicts sealed pagan practices, with Shabbat now being outlawed (replaced by the day to honor the sun god, called Sunday, not to honor Messiah) and the resurrection celebration (originally 3 days after Passover) moved to the pagan celebration of Easter.

Constantine ended the persecution of the church brought by Diocletian, and thus to many was seen as a type of 'savior'. But far from being a benefactor of the church, he became it's worst enemy, by marrying pagan & true worship, Holy & unholy. He, in fact, was a Sun worshipper, professing Christianity for political reasons. He professed allegiance to Messiah was in reality a faith based on Mithras (Tammuz). His edict making Sunday the official day of worship was in honor of Deis Solis, Day of the invincible Sun-god, not the Son of G-d.

So what?

"Easter" is one of the names of the pagan goddess, who Ha-Satan used to deceive the world and whose religion has caused suffering and misery. Semiramis was clearly a false goddess, and her son Tammuz was an anti-Messiah, a false messiah (Christ) that has deceived millions.

It is not difficult to discern the deception that Ha-Satan (the adversary) has successfully brought into the Church. The seductive symbols of pagan religion has been incorporated into people's lives, even to this day - continuing to obscure the truth of G-d. From the passages in Jeremiah & Ezekiel, we can see the G-d does not approve of the mixing of True worship of G-d (YHVH) and false, pagan, gods.

"What has light to do with darkness, or Holiness with the unholy".

Should Believers celebrate Messiah's resurrection, the most important of all holy days, by trying to redefine a Satanic celebration?. It seems obvious that it would have been a better if Church had not attempted to "Christianize" this pagan celebration.

The true day of Messiah's resurrection has been known from the beginning, and is accurately stated in scripture. Nissan 17, the feast of First Fruits, celebrated 3 days after Passover, is that day. For Messiah was truly the First Fruits of G-d!

www.CBHM.org

Purim Customs

Shalom Mishpachach,

We will be celebrating Purim on Friday, March 25th, at 8 PM. Decorum is out, inanity is in. During the service, we tell the story of Esther. At the Oneg afterwards, we will be serving the Hamantashan that Mr. Bill showed us how to make at Jim & Amy's.

(We're having the teens make signs that they will be holding up telling us when to Boo, Cheer, and Ahhh! Please make sure you encourage them; they are a great group with a lot of energy and can get pretty wild!)

The following is Jewish traditions for Purim. We will not be serving wine.


Purim Customs
READING THE MEGILLAH

The service for Purim is most unusual. Dressing in silly costumes is encouraged. At no time of the Jewish year is the synagogue as "wild" as during the Megillah reading.

Interrupting the reading with noise-making devices at the mention of Haman's name is encouraged. When Haman's name is read in the Megillah, the congregation erupts in a deafening chorus of groggers, boos, hisses, and stamping of the feet in order to blot out his evil name.

The grogger (Yiddish for rattle), is more widely used than the custom of feet stamping. (The Hebrew word for this noisemaker is ra'ashan, from the word ra'ash, meaning noise.) The custom of the Purim grogger, was obviously introduced to amuse the children, and so keep up their interest in the reading, as children (over 6) are also required to hear the Megillah.

So that Haman's ten sons should not feel left out, the congregation again interrupts the Megillah reading with resounding noise, when the ten names are read.

When then name “Mordecai” (the Benjamite) is read, the audience cheers enthusiastically. And when they read the name “Esther”, the crowd responds with a reverent, whispered “Ahhhhhhh”.

The scroll is unrolled completely and the Megillah is so folded as to give it the form of a letter or dispatch. The reading of the Megillah is considered by our sages of such importance that even women are obligated to hear it, especially as they played an important part in the miraculous delivery. Women must also perform the other Purim mitzvot, - sending food to friends, giving gifts to the poor, and eating the Purim meal. As mentioned above, children (over 6) are also required to hear the Megillah. A whole tractate of the Talmud, called Megillah, (what else?) is devoted to the laws of Purim.


ENJOYING A PURIM SEUDA (Meal)

There is an old joke about summing up a Jewish Holiday: "They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat!"

Like all Jewish Holidays, (except Yom Kippur of course), it is a mitzvah to have a great big meal on Purim, including meat and wine. The Purim feast must be held during the day, usually after Mincha (Afternoon prayers).

If the meal extends into the evening, as it usually does, Al Hanisim, a special prayer recounting the miracle of the day, is still added to the Birchat Hamazon, the "Grace after meals."

This Purim meal is different, in that not only do we feast and feast, we over feast.

Because the miracle of Purim came thru wine, - Vashti's downfall and Haman's downfall came as a result of a wine feast, the Rabbis of the Talmud, usually a quite sober group, said:
"On Purim, one should drink - Ahd D'lo Yoda Bain Arur Haman L'Boruch Mordechai" - "Until he can no longer tell the difference between 'Cursed be Haman' and 'Blessed be Mordechai.' " (Tractate Megilah 7b).

What they were trying to suggest is a high level of inane behavior on Purim. As long as it is not abusive or destructive, Purim is a time when almost anything is permitted.

A person who can't or won't drink may fulfill the "Ahd D'lo Yoda " requirement by sleeping, because one who sleeps also doesn't know the difference between a curse and a blessing.


Baruch BaShem Yeshua,
Talmidim
www.CBHM.org

Purim Feast

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Torah dedication & 2nd anniversary!

Shalom,

The new Torah has been dedicated! What a wonderful service. 7 men of the Congregation carried the Torah around the Congregation for everyone to see and touch.

The Messianic Dance Team then led us in Praise and Worship of Adonai - for pictures see
Torah Dedication & 2nd Anniversary Celebration

What a blessing it was!

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this day a reality.

Baruch BeShem Adonai

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Ark is almost ready

Shalom

This week has been busy with preparation for the 2nd anniversary of Congregation Beth Ha'Mashiach (CBHM) Friday, and the dedication of the new Torah.

Aswritten previously, our new Torah was smuggled out of Germany by a Jewish family fleeing the Nazis. They escaped with little of their earthly belongings, but managed to take the overland route through Turkey to Israel.

When He (Torah) arrived, our sister Congregations new Ark was not ready, so they were still using the Ark theu had graciously donated to Yeshua Ha'Mashiach Ministries (The umbrella Ministry under which CBHM functions). Thus a question, how to properly store & display the Torah?

Solution - with a little hard work, about 50 bucks in supplies and some ingenuity, we were able to transform a curio case into an attactive Ark.

Still need to build the base, mount the interior lights and the eternal light; but all is coming together.

We are all very excited about dedicating the Torah, and with the new Ark, we have a safe, attractive place to display Him until our permeant Ark is available.

Blessings in Yeshua's Name.