My New Testament Bible Study/Commentary continues, but only in selected sections. I think this one is important to all Christians.
2:1-3—Who are the Wise Men?
1—Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2—Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Judeans? For we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.
3—When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Figure 2 Ancient Persian Empire
by US Military Academy, published 04–26–2012
The Wise Men came from the East, which identifies them as the Magi of the ancient Eastern Zoroastrian religion centered in Persia. Zoroastrianism began as monotheistic, believing in one God, Ahura-Mazda, who was believed to be the father of the sun-god, Mithra. Hmm, isn’t that two gods?
Ahura Mazda (Modern Persian: (/əˌhʊrəˌmæzdə/;) (also known as Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, Harzoo and Hurmuz, Lord or simply as spirit) is the Avestan name for the creator and sole God of Zoroastrianism, the old Mede and Persian religion which spread across Asia predating Christianity. (Wikipedia – Ahura Mazda)
People generally think that if something happened before Jesus’ birth and ministry, it predates Christianity. However, the Bible is very clear that YaHavah created the heavens and earth for Jesus. Jesus was in YaHavah’s plan of salvation and destruction of sin. Even sin predated creation, because it was Lucifer, aka, Satan, who first rebelled against YaHavah, then enticed Adam to sin, and his sin became the knowledge of good and evil that is passed on through every father.
(Romans 3:23) 23—for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of YHVH;
Most religions from Adam’s first son, Cain, and beyond the Great Flood, were polytheist; believing in one main god with many supporting gods to care for every need. They were false gods displayed as idols made of stone, metal, or wood. If they were real living gods, they would likely outnumber the angels of heaven.
Monotheism is the worship of one god for everything, yet, adding another god for any reason under any special title, changes the belief system to polytheism, or “monotheism” in denial.
In contrast, throughout the Judeo/Christian Old Testament, one El (God) Almighty is shown to be the creator of all, who cares for every need, even the ones you don’t know about. He is, in transliterated Hebrew, YHVH Elohim, the same Elohim who created the first human, Adam. Adam’s third son, Seth was the beginning of the righteous line who obeyed and worshipped YaHavah, (Genesis 4:25-26) before and beyond the Great Flood, to the Son of YaHavah in the first century AD. Christianity is the continuance of the righteous line by the gift of regeneration and remission of sin through YaHavah’s Son, Jesus. More later.
Franz Cumont, an archaeologist with a focus on religious research, traveled throughout the Middle East and Europe in the late 19th century in search of whatever remained of the Mithraic religion through the study of ancient bas-reliefs, statuary, altars, and writings. His years of travel and research culminated in his book, “The Mysteries of Mithra,” (French publication,1903). In the early 1990’s, I found a 1956 English edition by Dover Publications in the Public Library in San Diego, CA., while I was researching the effects of other gods on the first century Christians in Asia-Minor. Cumont’s purpose was to show how and why this Mazdean sect failed to become the dominant religion of the Roman empire. It may not have been his intention, but his research also shows how the Mazdean Mithraic religion made a lasting imprint on many Christians and Jews of the second and third century. That imprint still exists like a dinosaur print in ancient rock. More later.
We are concerned here with one epoch only of this decisive revolution, it being our purpose to show with all the distinctness in our power how and why a certain Mazdean sect failed under the Caesars to become the dominant religion of the empire. (Preface page 1, Mysteries of Mithra, by Franz Cumont, copyright 1903)
Actually, in the third century, Constantine the Great (272 AD – 326 AD), Emperor of Rome, was believed to have been a true Christian but managed to transition Mithraism into Christianity through the Roman Catholic Church.
In 321, he legislated that the venerable day of the sun should be a day of rest for all citizens. . . Furthermore, Constantine’s coinage continued to carry the symbols of the sun. After the pagan gods had disappeared from his coinage, Christian symbols appeared as Constantine’s attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, as well on the coin itself. . . in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified), most known for its dealing with Arianism and for instituting the Nicene Creed. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great)
The Nicene Creed was initially convened to settle the dispute between Arius and the Church concerning the deity of Jesus. The Church determined that Jesus was an incarnate God, that the Father is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. Modern creeds define these as three Gods in one, or the Trinity under one Godhead, just like Mithraism. Schools of Theology teach that the Trinity is the foundation of the Church. The Trinity doctrine is “Monotheism” in denial.
Mithra is just one of many attempts of Satan to alter our understanding of YaHavah, Jesus, and Jesus’ purpose. Before any of man’s mythic gods, there was YaHavah. Satan has always been aware of YaHavah’s plan of salvation through His son, Jesus. From the Garden of Eden to the end, he has and will continue to pervert the truth of Jesus’ first and second coming with his counterfeit gods to imitate the relationship between YaHavah and Jesus.
Figures 3 and 4 are images of Mithra idols, mythic son of Ahura-Mazda, from pages 105 and 106 of “The Mysteries of Mithra” by Cumont, Franz Valery Marie, (1868-1947). Published 1903. (From archive.org on the Mysteries of Mithra)
Before Mithra, there was Tammuz, a god dating back to Nimrod shortly after the Great Flood. Later, the Persians (specifically, Zoroaster) in Daniel’s time believed that Ahura-Mazda was the god of the sky and the father of Mithra. When the Greeks ruled the world, they merged the Persian Zoroastrian’s Ahura-Mazda with their own Zeus and his gods. The Greeks believed that Zeus created Mithra and established him to maintain and watch over the earth. Then, with Roman rule, all were merged again into the Roman god Jupiter and his entourage of gods, including Mithra the sun-god. Romans were big on beauty, so the ugly lion-headed Mithra was transformed into a handsome god. (See figure 5)
The mysteries of Mithra gained prominence in the first century throughout Asia-Minor and Rome. Bas-reliefs now located in Germany, Rome, and Britain show either Mithra or Ahura-Mazda with great kings, such as Artaxerxes I (465 BC – 424 BC.), Antiochus I (324 BC – 262 BC), and some Caesars. Monarchs are said to have prayed to Mithra before going to battle to insure their success. I am relatively certain Constantine the Great did. It is interesting that these Monarchs are also three of the four conquering beasts (Babylon, Persia, and Greece) of Daniel’s prophecies.
There are still Mithraic Tauroctonies and sacrificial altars in the lower chambers of the Vatican, recently opened for excavation by archeologists. The same images are in many Mithraic religious centers worldwide. Mithra was widespread.
Constantine did many good works and gave liberally to the Church. However, he also maintained his positions in paganism demonstrated by his coinage with the image of the sun, as well as the arch of Constantine in Rome decorated with pagan gods. It is said he ruled over the Nicene Council but did not vote, yet, as Roman Emperor, he no doubt had much influence. The Church’s acceptance of Jesus’ birthdate of December 25th is proof of that. Constantine brought the pagan god, Mithra, into Christianity by subtly merging the similarities of Mithraism and Christianity, even though the Church is against paganism. These are observations I’ve been publishing for nearly thirty years.
Today there are many internet resources. If research is done, beware of persons and organizations who deny biblical truths about Jesus. Mithraic doctrine bears many biblical similarities to Christian doctrine; however, it does not void what the Bible teaches about creation, YaHavah, and Jesus.
Although five hundred years apart, both, the Roman Constantine and the Greek Antiochus IV, Epiphanes worshipped the sun-god Mithra. Mithra’s birthday is said to be in the winter solstice. Antiochus IV was born on December 25 in the winter solstice; therefore, he closely associated himself with Mithra to the extent of thinking himself to be the incarnation of Mithra. He was against the Jewish faith, so defiled the Jewish altar with the sacrifice of a pig, then ordered the people to worship him and Mithra on his birthday, December 25 (in winter solstice). Daniel Chapter Eleven describes the entrance of one like or in the line of Antiochus IV during the last seven years of Daniel’s seventy sevens prophecy. More on that in the Revelation Study/Commentary.
Mithraism morphed from one polytheist set of gods to another in the same way gods have morphed in man’s imagination from the beginning for power, control, and help. Satan is behind it to destroy faith in the one true creator, YaHavah. He couldn’t keep Jesus from fulfilling YaHavah’s prophecies, so he concentrates on the destruction of faith and hope in YaHavah and Jesus by cunning distractions and pagan adaptations.
YaHavah is one living God (Elohim) who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, he is infinite. His son, Jesus, was born human, yet his purpose is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Ahura-Mazda (Jupiter, Zeus) and Mithra are Satan’s imitations; yet, we cannot call them lifeless because Satan is their life in the same way he is the life of the Trinity Doctrine, so deeply rooted, it is considered the foundation of Christianity, even though the Bible teaches that Jesus is the foundation of Christianity.
I hope this information about the amalgamation of Mithra and Christianity shines a light on hidden errors existing within Christianity for nearly 2,000 years. Remember, just because a belief is old and established by Church Fathers, doesn’t mean it is right, with the exception of unaltered Bible truth. The Bible in the original version is the only infallible truth. People make mistakes.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Contact me.