Wednesday, 17 April 2019

"Mithraism, the religion followed by those who worshipped the sun god Mithra, originated in Persia about 400 BC, and was to spread its pagan ideas as far west as the British Isles. In the early centuries of the Christian era,

Mithraism was the most wide-spread religion in the Western World, and its remains are to be found in monuments scattered around the countries of Europe, Mithra was regarded as created by, yet co-equal with, the Supreme Deity. Mithraists were Trinitarian, kept Sunday as their day of worship, and their chief festivals were what we know of as Christmas and Easter. Long before the advent of Jesus, Mithra was said to have been born of a virgin mother in a cave, at the time of Christmas, and died on a cross at Easter. Baptism was practised, and the sign of the cross was made on the foreheads of all newly-baptised converts. Mithra was considered to be the saviour of the world, conferring on his followers an eternal life in Heaven, and, similar to the story of Jesus, he died to save all others, provided that they were his followers.

For three centuries both religions ran parallel, Mithraism first becoming known to the Romans in 70 BC, Christianity following a century later, and it wasn’t until AD 377 that Christianity became sufficiently strong to suppress its former rival, although Mithraism was to remain a formidable opponent for some time after that, only slowly being forsaken by the people. It was only the absorption of many Mithraist ideas into Christianity which finally saw its downfall.

The big turning point was brought about by the Congress of Nicaea in AD 325. Constantine, a great supporter of the Christian religion, although not converting to it until the time of his decease, gathered together 2,000 leading figures in the world of theology, the idea being to bring about the advent of Christianity as the official state religion of Rome. It was out of this assembly that Jesus was formally declared to be the Son of God, and Saviour of Mankind, another slain saviour god, bringing up the tally of slain god-men to seventeen, of which Mithra, together with such men as Bel and Osiris, was included.

Just as Nicaea can be regarded as the birthplace of Christianity, so too it can be regarded as the graveyard of what we imagine Jesus taught. From that time onwards, Christianity was to absorb the superstitions of Mithraism, and many other older religions, and what was believed to have happened to earlier saviour gods, was made to centre around the Nazarene. The coming of Christianity under state control was to preserve it as a religion, and was the death knell of all other sects and cults within the Roman Empire.

Had Constantine decided to retain Mithraism as the official state religion, instead of putting Christianity in its place, it would have been the latter that would have been obliterated. To Constantine however, Christianity had one great advantage, it preached that repentant sinners would be forgiven their sins, provided that they were converted Christians at the time of their passing, and Constantine had much to be forgiven for, He personally did not convert to the new religion until he was on his death bed, the reason being that only sins committed following conversion were accountable, so all sins committed by a convert, prior to conversion, didn’t matter, and he could hardly have sinned too much whilst he was lying on his death bed. Mithraism could not offer the same comfort to a man like Constantine, who was regarded as being one of the worst mass-murderers of his time." - read the whole article HERE.

Constantine and Easter - By David Potter
Christians today owe a tremendous debt to the Roman emperor Constantine. He changed the place of the Church in the Roman World, moving it through his own conversion from the persecuted fringe of the empire’s religious landscape to the center of the empire’s system of belief. He also tackled huge problems with the way Christians understood their community. The three most important things the church owed to Constantine were a roadmap for reuniting communities split by persecution, a universal definition of the Church’s teaching, and a fixed date for the celebration of Easter. His solutions to the second and third issues remain in place to this day.

Constantine dealt with all three of the Church’s major issues at the conference he summoned at the ancient city of Nicaea (modern Iznik in Turkey) in June of 325 AD. The issue of persecution stemmed from a period of bitter conflict with the imperial government that had ended just over ten years before the council convened, while the debate over the Church’s teaching had exploded a few years before Nicaea (the issue was Jesus’ humanity). The Easter question had been festering for centuries, and the problems were inextricably tied up with the fact that no one recorded the actual day of the Crucifixion.

All that people could know on the basis of Christian Scripture was that the crucifixion was linked to the celebration of Passover, which meant that it should come at some point in the spring. But when? Since the date of Passover, then as now, is celebrated in accordance with the Jewish calendar, the correlation with the Julian calendar used by Christians and most other inhabitants of the Roman Empire was always inexact. Some Christians believed that the best way to solve the problem was to celebrate Easter on the first day of Passover according to the Jewish calendar, another group held that Easter should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the opening of Passover, while yet another group felt that the timing of the Christian festival should not be determined by the timing of Passover and should instead be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox.

Emperor Constantine I, presenting a model of the city to Virgin Pary. Detail of the southwestern entrance mosaic in Hagia Sophia (Istanbul, Turkey). Photo by Myrabella. Creative Commons License.
The Easter story was extremely important to Constantine. Conscious as he was that he had been raised as a pagan, and that he had done things in his earlier life of which he was not proud (he never tells us what those things were), he felt that he had experienced a sort of moral resurrection when he became a Christian. He credited his extraordinary military career to God’s willingness to forgive his past sins and he wanted to make sure that he ruled in a way that would repay the benefits he believed his God had given him. In a sense there was nothing more obvious to Constantine than that Easter shouldn’t be connected with the festival of another faith. It should stand on its own in connection with the natural world. Hence he ordained that Easter should be celebrated on the Sunday after the first New Moon of Spring.

The solution to the Easter issue had the added advantage of allowing him to make an important concession to the group whose definition of the Faith he was rejecting outright at Nicaea, the so-called Arian faction, named for the Egyptian priest who had aggressively preached a doctrine asserting the human aspect of Christ. Constantine liked his God, like his empire, to be completely united, which is what we see today in the Nicene Creed in the phrase “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.” That desire for unity also enabled him to arrive at an acceptable solution to the divisions that had arisen out of the period of persecution as he essentially argued that the two sides should bury the hatchet and recognize each other as Christians first. That approach has not had nearly so much influence as his approach to Easter or to the Trinity.

Constantine was a complex and at times difficult man, a passionate one with a ferocious temper. But he was also a man who was able to recognize his own weaknesses. It may have been that self-knowledge which enabled him to come to the new faith he hoped would make him a better ruler, and gave him the ability to find and forge compromises to build a better and more unified society.

David Potter is Francis W. Kelsey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan. His books include Constantine the Emperor, The Victor’s Crown, Emperors of Rome, and Ancient Rome: A New History.

Source: OUPblog

Easter Redemption
"The simple fact that most people don’t know the origins of the word “Easter” shows that a shift has happened over the past 2000 years. The day has been redeemed. Though Easter is a commercialized holiday, most people still associate it with Jesus and His resurrection from the grave.
Of all the days in the year that people “go to church,” Easter is in the top two (the other being Christmas Eve). People associate “Easter” with Jesus; not with Ishtar.
The very fact that people think of Jesus rather than Ishtar when they say “Happy Easter!” is proof that this sex goddess holiday has been redeemed.
Because of this, Easter reminds me of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Though his readers used to be adulterers, fornicators, slanderers, thieves, drunkards, idolaters, and swindlers, they were not this way any longer. They were washed. They were cleansed. They were purified, sanctified, justified. They were no longer who they used to be. In a word, they were redeemed.
Similarly, we can talk about the way Ishtar Day used to be. We could talk about the rites, the rituals, and the pagan practices. But it is not that way any longer. Easter has been redeemed … just like you and me.
On Easter, rather than getting drunk and visiting a temple prostitute, most people celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Yet we still call it Easter. This is redemption!
Sure, we might eat ham, look for Easter eggs, and give Easter candy. But when we do these things, nobody thinks about Ishtar. Most are just enjoying a fun day with the family (a wonderful Christian practice), and many others of us are remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (the most important event in human history).
Jesus is in the business of redemption. He not only redeems people, but He also redeems history, culture, places, events, customs, and holidays, “until all things are placed under His feet” (Eph 1:22-23; 1 Cor 15:27). Jesus has redeemed Easter.
So, this Easter, when you wish someone “Happy Easter!” remember that just as Jesus has redeemed a pagan sex goddess holiday, He has redeemed you as well." - Jeremy Myers
Now we have learned and understood the truth about Easter, Mithraism, Constantine, Romanism, and the Deceptions of Satan and his empire. We should as well learn that all of the mixing of paganism and demonic curses of the unbelievers has no effect to the beloved of Christ. God has chosen us before these things had come to pass and He has assured us VICTORY because He will finished the good work in us.

The Real Jesus of the Scriptures has defeated His enemies long time ago in the cross. He has come out victorius and has redeemed His people all the way! It is FINISHED!

Shalom aleichem, "LONG LIVE & PROSPER" Mabuhay!

Joseph and Jesus - originally Joseph the worker_ Michael Adams.


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