Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
April 19, 2000
Last Updated :
April 16, 2011
The Israelites' Connection To The False Gods Of Babylonia, Slavery In Egypt And The Seemingly Silent God Of Abraham, The Time In Egypt Reveals God's Hidden Wisdom And Foresight, The Israelites And Gradual Process Of Cultural Assimilation, Isis/Ishtar And Israelites' Golden Calf, Egypt Was Still In Their Hearts, Repeating The Sins Of The Past, Accusing God, False Prophets And Evil Men And Seducers, Test The Spirits, The Internet Is A Web Of Darkness, Deception, Wickedness, Spiritual Pollution, Carnality And Confusion, Online Babylon, Social Networking, Online Pornography, Devil's Propaganda Is Everywhere, Satan: The False God Of This World, American Public School System Has Been Infiltrated By Liberal Agenda, America's Wayward Generation, Admonition Regarding Worldly Enticements, We Haven't Learned From Mistakes Of The Past, Answers For God's Critics, It Is Foolish To Criticize God, Historical Recap Of The Easter Goddess, Greek God Dionysus, Tammuz Baal Osiris And Dionysus Usurp Jesus's Position As The Firstfruits Of The Resurrection Of The Dead And The Only Author Of Eternal Life, An Unholy Holiday, Christians Who Compromise, Easter Eggs And Hunting Nails, Wearing A Crucifix
While at first glance the previous information may seem off-topic from our main discussion concerning the origin of the word "Easter" and the "Easter Sunday" observance, I have included it here not only because it contains very important lessons for us today, but also because I believe that it will help you to understand why the ancient Israelites repeatedly fell back into worshipping the false gods and goddesses of the nations around them. In a sense, whether they realized it or not, their backslidden condition was a regression to their own religious roots of the past which began in Babylonia; and perhaps subconsciously, they derived some level of comfort from it. Rachel most certainly knew what she was doing; and even hundreds of years later, the Israelites were still very much aware of their distant connection to the false gods of Babylonia; because as we saw earlier, Joshua reminded them of it.
This explanation does not by any means excuse their blatant sins, but it may simply help to explain why they did some of the things that they did, which got them into so much trouble with the Lord.
We must remember that in ancient times, most beliefs and traditions were passed along orally; and I suspect that in spite of the endeavors made by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to eradicate such beliefs from their midst, talk of the past, and of the ancient gods, may have occasionally still floated in the air. When the Israelites found themselves under the bondage of the Egyptian whip, as I said earlier, it must have been a very stressful situation. Many undoubtedly felt that the God of their forefathers must have abandoned them. After all, they must have thought, where was He in the midst of all of their suffering and hardships? Why didn't He hear their prayers and groanings? Why didn't He deliver them from such cruel Egyptian bondage? Why was the God of Abraham so silent?
The truth of the matter, as I explain in such articles as "Beholding The Evil And The Good", is that God never really abandoned the Israelites. Like any wise parent, He merely turned a deaf ear to their cries until they learned some of the important lessons that He was trying to teach them. Not only that, but despite the oppression that they suffered under the Egyptian whip, the Israelites slowly grew into a great nation of at least one million strong; a fact which would later be to their advantage once they began their conquest of the land of Canaan. So in actuality, the time spent in Egypt reveals God's hidden Wisdom and Foresight.
To some of the Israelites, perhaps it seemed as if the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had failed them; and thus they chose to turn to what they may have assumed to be the more powerful gods and goddesses of Egypt. In certain regards, the transition to the worship of the new Egyptian pantheon of gods may have been easy. After all, the characteristics which were attributed to Tammuz and Ishtar of Babylonia, were very much the same as those attributed to Osiris and Isis. They simply had different names. In thinking about this, I must now wonder if the purpose of the plagues upon Egypt wasn't just to punish Pharaoh and the Egyptians so that they would finally release the Israelites, but also to convince and remind the backslidden Israelites that Jehovah was still the God of gods, and the mightiest of them all; and truly "El Shaddai"; that is, the Almighty God.
If there is one thing that we can learn from the study of ancient history, it is that as one world empire increases in strength, size and influence, while another decreases in the same, there is an ongoing gradual process of assimilation as the politics, economics, religious beliefs and traditions and customs of the victor are absorbed by the subjugated people. After four hundred years of serving the Egyptians, this most certainly had to be the case with the Israelites. In similar fashion, there is clear Biblical and archaeological evidence that supports the view that this same process of assimilation occurred to varying degrees during the Assyrian invasions, the Babylonian invasions and exile, the Grecian period, the Roman occupation, etc.
In short, each time that the Israelites were subjugated by one of these powers, they absorbed certain aspects of those cultures; and this clearly included the religious beliefs of their pagan conquerors. Thus, it should come as no surprise to us that there were a lot of Hellenistic Jews during the time of Christ and the Apostles who read, spoke and wrote Greek, while at the same time, the Jews of Judah loathed the Jews of Samaria and viewed them as being unclean, and Saul of Tarsus -- a.k.a. the Apostle Paul -- was a Roman citizen.
Sadly, in spite of God's mighty deliverance of His children from Pharaoh's oppressive grasp, as I point out in other articles, the Israelites continued to complain; and some of them longed to return to their former lives in Egypt, rather than face the harshness of the wilderness, and an uncertain future. Many of them surely lacked the faith and vision of their father Abraham. In fact, as we know from the Biblical account, the minute that they were given an opportunity, and the minute that it appeared as if the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had abandoned them, that is, when Moses was delayed on the summit of Mount Horeb -- or Sinai -- during the forty days that the Lord gave him the Commandments written on the two tablets of stone, the faithless, double-minded children of Israel renewed their loyalty to the Egyptian gods.
In particular, based upon the description that we are given of Isis, I would dare say that the creation of the golden calf in the Book of Exodus, may have been a tribute to none other than Isis the Egyptian cow goddess herself, or Ishtar if you prefer. If we take into consideration the fact that the Israelites were wandering shepherds by occupation, their attraction to Isis seems to make perfect sense. When I saw the picture of Isis in my Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, it immediately reminded me of one of the videos we have which portrays the life of Moses, and the flight to the Promised Land. In this movie, the golden calf is in fact shown with the solar disk of Isis between its horns.
So it seems that while the Israelites may have physically left Egypt, Egypt -- or a love for Egypt -- was still very much in some of their hearts. As a result, due to their constant murmuring, their desire to return to Egypt, and their lack of faith, God allowed that older generation to slowly die off during the forty years that they wandered in the wilderness, before He allowed the younger generation to actually enter and conquer the Promised Land.
Ironically, while we have discussed Biblical events of the distant past in order to help us to understand the awful truth behind the contemporary "Easter" celebration, I can't help but believe that in our modern day, particularly in the United States of America, which continues to boast of being the most Christian nation in the world, just as Israel made the claim -- and continues to claim -- to be a nation chosen by God, we are currently witnessing a repetition of some of the very same sins of the ancient Israelites in every regard; from rampant sexual promiscuity, to the worship of heathen gods, to the murderous abortion of millions of unborn babies -- or modern child sacrifice -- and much more.
While I have mentioned this same point in other articles, allow me to add a new angle to it. Just as the Israelites chose to abandon the one true God of Heaven time and time again whenever they found themselves under duress, such as through war, captivity, famine, drought, etc., today, many Americans, particularly young Americans, are abandoning the God of their fathers -- meaning us, their parents -- by the droves. If you doubt that this is happening, then you must not be paying attention. While the American Christian Right likes to promote the belief that a Christian revival has taken hold in America, personally, I seriously doubt that it is nearly as strong as they propose, if it is really happening at all to any significant degree.
Just as the ancient Israelites asked "Where is God in all of our suffering?", many people today are also asking similar questions such as "If God is real, then why is there so much suffering in the world today? Why do we witness so much evil occurring? Why are there so many wars? Why is there so much famine and poverty? Why is there AIDS? Why is there so much political corruption and inequity between the rich and the poor? If your Christian God is the true God, why doesn't He just do something about it by stopping all of these things and proving Himself once and for all? Where is He?"; and on and on they rant with their accusatory remarks.
Sadly, just as the ancient Israelites were asking the wrong questions during the times of their sufferings, the people who are making these accusations against God are asking the wrong questions today as well. And just as the children of Israel chose to embrace the false gods and goddesses of the heathen nations around them, and abandoned the true God of Heaven when He didn't answer them as quickly, and in the way in which they desired, many people today, both young and old, are doing the very same thing. Like the Israelites of old, they are basically saying "If your God won't answer us, and prove Himself to us, then we will just find ourselves some new gods to worship"; and that is precisely what many of them have done; but in their folly, they have failed to realize that these other voices are deceptive spirits, of which the Apostles John and Paul wrote the following:
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1, KJV
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13, KJV
Clearly, these "evil men and seducers" have "waxed worse and worse" in our current time, and false prophets indeed abound. If you are a God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian who has spent any amount of time surfing the Internet, like myself, I don't doubt that you have been very alarmed by the number of sites which are dedicated to the forces of darkness, such as RPG's -- or role-playing games -- which involve heavy use of fantasy and sorcery; sites which glorify the false gods and goddesses of the past; websites which revolve around the Wiccan nature religion and other flavors of witchcraft and modern magick, sites which blatantly promote devil worship and explain satanic practices such as how to cast spells and call upon and supposedly control demons, etc.
Then, of course, there are a multitude of websites which are dedicated to the subtle lies of the New Age thought movement, the alien and UFO phenomenon, channeling and other forms of spiritism, tarot card reading and palm reading, etc. Between widespread online commercialism and the spiritual junk which is propagated by the aforementioned sites, the Internet has truly become a type of modern spiritual Babylon which is full of confusion and deception at every turn; which is why one must be extremely careful when navigating the World Wide Web, because it truly is a satanic snare which attempts to trap you in its web of lies.
For many disillusioned young people in particular who have become disappointed with the plastic world which has been created by their parents, these are the things to do, and the places to go; and the vast array of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, etc., makes it possible for them to easily share their misguided ideas and beliefs with their friends. Then, of course, there is texting which has developed a whole set of problems of its own. I am not saying that these services are evil in themselves, as even I now make use of them in order to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ online; however, such sites also serve as conduits for easily sharing all of this other nonsense as well, and there is literally no end to it.
Furthermore, the heightened sexuality and liberal spirit that is associated with many of these sites is also very appealing to young people. In their desire to be freed from what they view as the restrictive beliefs of their God-fearing parents and grandparents, many of these young people have gone to the opposite extreme. Is it any wonder then that pornography has become so rampant on the Internet and elsewhere? This is not to say that many adults don't visit these sites as well, as many of them obviously do, but the way that our young people are being exploited at an ever-increasing rate is alarming.
Of course, these activities are obviously not restricted to the Internet alone. We also find them on the television set; we hear them continuously on the radio -- satanic music full of rebellious lyrics and carnality is everywhere -- we see the Devil's propaganda in books and magazines, as well as in video games which are full of wickedness and violence; and Satan's lies are likewise being popularized and promoted in a plethora of big-budget movies. Truly, that devious Demon of Darkness is the false god of this world, exactly as the Apostle Paul wrote in the following verse:
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
Ephesians 2:2, KJV
As I have been warning for years now, perhaps most alarming of all is the fact that the liberal agenda has also invaded the public school system. I am not simply referring to the modern lie of evolution which has taken hold of the minds of so many of our young people; I am also referring to the gay and lesbian agenda which has now infiltrated public school libraries, and is subtly being taught and promoted by an increasing number of liberal teachers who apparently find nothing wrong with defying God's Laws regarding appropriate human sexual conduct.
In a word, our children -- including very young elementary school-aged children -- are continuously being enveloped in a dangerous environment of deception, worldliness, carnality and satanic wickedness at many levels; and quite often, we parents are powerless to do anything about it, or at least very little. By comparison, pagan myths such as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are minor issues, and merely the tip of the greater ice berg of deception; but even they should and must be addressed, as I am doing in this current series.
Meanwhile, believing in God, and trusting in His Word -- the Bible -- is increasingly being viewed by many young people as something old-fashioned and out-of-sync with the times. Mom and Dad just don't get it, they say. We are now living in the 21st Century, and it is time to abandon that "book of myths" and to begin living in the modern world, some of them claim. Well, as far as the world and its ways are concerned, and regarding our changing times, the Apostles John and James, and the Prophet Malachi wrote the following so long ago:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15-16, KJV
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
James 4:4, KJV
"For I am the LORD, I change not
; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
Malachi 3:6, KJV
So the point I wish to emphasize here, is that the sins of the past are being repeated today, and possibly to a much greater extent than ever before. Modern child sacrifice -- that is, abortion -- certainly outpaces the gross sins of the ancient Israelites. Contrary to the Apostle Paul's sober admonition, many people have not learned from the mistakes of the past; and if we have not learned from the past, not only are we bound to repeat those same mistakes, but we will eventually also reap the same reward in the form of God's Wrath and Righteous Judgments. Consider what Paul wrote in his first Epistle to the brethren at Corinth:
"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
1 Corinthians 10:11, KJV
While I could easily address all of the "why" questions which I posed above -- and they do merit responses -- being as I have already amply addressed them in other articles, such as in "What's Wrong With Modern America?", "The Public School System And School Prayer", "Beholding The Evil And The Good", "The Fruits Of Disobedience" and "Are Personal Tragedies Due To Sin?", I will refrain from doing so in this current series. For now, suffice it to say that the question shouldn't be "God, why don't you stop all of these things; what's wrong with You?", but rather it should be "Heavenly Father, why are you allowing these things to happen to us; how have we displeased You?". If there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain, it is that God is not the source of the problem; unbelieving, unrepentant, rebellious people are . . . and that is the simple answer for those of you who can receive it. For us mere humans to question and criticize the Almighty God is foolhardy, as we see by the following verses:
"Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?"
Job 40:1-8, KJV
"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
Romans 9:20, KJV
At this point, we have now traced the trail of the Easter goddess from the earliest of known civilizations. We have seen that the Easter observance is historically based, not upon the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as organized religion would have us to believe, but rather upon a celebration that honors the ancient pagan goddess of love, sex and fertility. We have seen that down through history, she has been known by many different names; including Ashtoreth, Astarte, Eos, Isis, Ishtar and Ostara. "Easter" is simply the most modern form of her name; and the similarity in spelling, as well as in pronunciation with the other names, is hard to dismiss as merely being a coincidence. Consider once again some of the words and names which we have discussed throughout this series:
The above list does not even include the names of the other ancient goddesses who were probably personifications of the very same deity; that is, Aphrodite, Artemis, Asherah, Venus and Diana; and even these are not all of them.
Almost every single major culture of Europe and the Middle East has paid homage in one form or another to this "star goddess", who was the goddess of the Moon, and the lover and wife of the Sun god Tammuz/Baal, as well as the lover and wife of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld, and the protector of the dead. This includes the Phoenicians, the Canaanites, the Hebrews, the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans; and the Germans, the Anglo-Saxons of Britain, and their modern ancestors have all continued the practice through the Easter observance. How dare they take one of the most sacred of Christian holy days, and defile it by giving it the name of a pagan goddess which was honored with ritual prostitution and other lewd sexual acts!
At this point, allow me to interject another important fact which will further fill in the historical picture for us. We have now seen how these chief gods and goddesses tend to be worshipped in pairs. In other words, Ishtar was associated with Tammuz; Isis was associated with Osiris; and Ashtoreth was associated with Baal. But what about the Greek goddess Eos? Is there a male god in the Greek pantheon of deities who was the companion of Eos? As it turns out, there is; and his name is "Dionysus". From the following description which is extracted from "The NEED Project" website, we can see that Dionysus had some of the very same attributes as Tammuz, Baal and Osiris. This includes the fact that he was raised from the dead each Spring, and was viewed as being responsible for the growth of crops. Consider the following:
----- Begin Quote -----
Dionysus was one of the most important Greek gods. He was good and gentle to those who honored him, but he brought madness and destruction upon those who did not. According to tradition, Dionysus died each winter and was reborn in the spring. To his followers, this cyclical revival, accompanied by the seasonal renewal of the fruits of the earth, embodied the promise of the resurrection of the dead.
----- End Quote -----
The blasphemy here is quite apparent for any Bible-believing Christian who understands the full mission of Jesus Christ. In other words, in essence, Tammuz, Baal, Osiris and Dionysus usurped the Power and Authority which belongs to Jesus Christ alone, by assuming His role, and claiming -- at least so say their followers -- to have been raised from the land of the dead and brought back to life, thus offering that same hope of resurrection to their followers. The Bible informs us that Jesus is the true Son of God, and that He alone has the power over death and hell; because He, and only He, paid the price for our Salvation by shedding His own Blood upon the Cross. The Bible also tells us that He alone is the Firstfruits of the Resurrection. Please consider the following verses:
"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."
John 17:1-2, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
John 10:28, KJV
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
Revelation 1:18, KJV
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:29, KJV
"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
1 Corinthians 15:19-23, KJV
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature . . . And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Colossians 1:12-15, 18, KJV
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
Revelation 1:5, KJV
Sadly, despite the fact that they are obviously aware of the pagan origin of the Easter observance, there are still many Christians who compromise our faith by choosing to celebrate this national holiday. While it may be a recognized holiday, in my view, it is most certainly not a holy day; because by assigning this day the name of a heathen sex and fertility goddess, there is certainly nothing holy about it!
Exactly how do some Christians resist the conviction of God's Spirit? What I heard on the radio some time ago offers us a clear example. A certain woman was suggesting that instead of hiding Easter eggs on Easter morning, parents could replace the eggs with nails. Yes, you read correctly. I said nails! This woman then went on to say that when the children found the nails, it would help them to remember Christ's suffering on the Cross. I couldn't believe it! I was aghast! The truth of the matter is that even many adults cringe when they come to fully understand how much Jesus physically suffered for our sakes. Now, try to explain that to a small child whose understanding of such matters is extremely limited. Doing so could easily traumatize them.
In my view, replacing Easter eggs with nails is as bad as wearing a gloomy crucifix. I haven't worn a crucifix since I abandoned Roman Catholicism forty years ago. Many Christians claim that wearing a crucifix is a testimony of their faith, but I hold to a different view. To me, it is like the Devil boasting and saying publicly "Look what I did to your Jesus!" The Roman cross was a gruesome torture device which resulted in its victims agonizing in excruciating pain for many hours -- if not longer -- before they finally died. Rather than display a dying Christ on a crucifix, we Christians ought to emphasize the Risen Christ, because that is the Accomplished Act and the Real Miracle of the Bible. That is what gives us hope, and that is ultimately what the Apostles emphasized as well. Please re-read the previous verses if you doubt this point.
Some of you may not agree with me, but that is just how I see it. To me, a crucifix is simply ungodly and antichrist. It is what was used to murder Christ. I don't need to wear a crucifix in order to be reminded of what Jesus did for me. I already know it in my heart and I remember it each and every day, because His Law is written upon the table of my heart. How about you?
So, as we have seen, instead of totally forsaking Easter and Ishtar as they know they should do, these weak Christians compromise our faith, and try to make the festival appear a little more Christian by replacing Ishtar's eggs with nails. All I can say is "May God help them!". If they don't possess the conviction to forsake an ungodly holiday which is based upon ancient heathen traditions, then how in the world can they expect their children to be strong in the faith? They need to provide a powerful, visible Christian example to their children, but celebrating Easter with the so-called Easter Bunny and Easter eggs, simply doesn't cut it.
Please go to part six for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .