Origin and Meaning of Some Pagan Practices

 That Have Been Adopted into Christianity

By Frank Brown
The very title of this piece may strike anger and resentment into the hearts of many of you who are unknowingly following some or all of these practices. You may think that they are Biblically mandated. If so, please accept the challenge to carefully check out the following information.
You may verify most if not all of these assertions in encyclopedias, dictionaries, Bible commentaries, etc. If you do not have reference material at home go to your local public library, or better still, the library of a private or church-sponsored college or university.
If you find that these things are valid, and you are serious about your commitment to the Scriptures, then you must face the prospect of making serious changes in your religious practices. Otherwise, you will be guilty of "he who knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17).
My decision to write this article was due to a request for the meaning of the "cross" as a Christian symbol. As one thing ties into another, I decided not to try to encompass the whole spectrum of just where all our pagan roots came from, but to concentrate on only four of them: the Cross, Steeples, Easter traditions, and "Christmas trees."
Much of the following information is to be found in a book written in the 19th century by Alexander Hislop, titled, "The Two Babylons," and a more recent work by Lew White, titled, "Fossilized Customs." (see "Resources" for ordering information). Other material is from various sources including the Scriptures.
But first, we need to look into the Bible to see what Yahweh has to say about following other gods, and worshipping Him using the methods pagans use to worship their idols. When Yahweh first called Israel, to make of them a nation dedicated to serving Him and being a witness to the nations around them, they were told what to do and what not to do in worshipping Him.
(Deut. 18:9-13 NRSV) "When you come into the land that Yahweh your El is giving you, you must not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations. {10} No one shall be found among you who makes a son or daughter pass through fire, or who practices divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, {11} or one who casts spells, or who consults ghosts or spirits, or who seeks oracles from the dead. {12} For whoever does these things is abhorrent to Yahweh; it is because of such abhorrent practices that Yahweh your El is driving them out before you. {13} You must remain completely loyal to Yahweh your El."
This plainly does not leave room for worshipping Yahweh like the heathen nations worshipped their gods. And there is more.
(Exo 23:24 KJV) "Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images."
(Deu 12:29-32 NRSV) "When Yahweh your El has cut off before you the nations whom you are about to enter to dispossess them, when you have dispossessed them and live in their land, {30} take care that you are not snared into imitating them, after they have been destroyed before you: do not inquire concerning their gods, saying, "How did these nations worship their gods? I also want to do the same." {31} You must not do the same for Yahweh your El, because every abhorrent thing that Yahweh hates they have done for their gods. They would even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. {32} You must diligently observe everything that I command you; do not add to it or take anything from it."
But the Israelites, Yahweh's chosen people, whom He called "Holy," could not or would not obey. Time and time again, instead of following Yahweh, the Bible reports that they "went a whoring after other gods."
(Ezek 11:12 KJV) "And ye shall know that I am Yahweh: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you."
They were adding to the worship He had commanded, and were adopting into their own worship the things they observed their heathen neighbors doing, even to the point of sacrificing their children in fire to Moloch and Baal, Astarte and Tammuz, and many other false deities.
The New Testament carries the same admonition for us today, as found in the Book of Revelation:
(Rev 22:18-19 KJV) "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, Yahweh shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: {19} And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Yahweh shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
You will note that the admonition is against adding to, and taking away. Both are abominable to Yahweh. He requires that we KNOW the truth, and that we OBEY the truth. His requirements are simple.
(Psa 51:17 KJV) "The sacrifices of Yahweh are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O Yahweh, thou wilt not despise."
(Isa 66:2 NRSV) "All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says Yahweh. But this is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word."
The entire Old Testament is a monument to the failure of the Called Out people, those whom Yahweh had chosen. He had actually made a marriage covenant with them. The so-called "Old Covenant" is found in the book of Exodus, beginning in chapter 19:1, and ending in chapter 24:8. Yahweh introduced Himself to the people, gave them the 10 Commandments, plus sundry other laws and statutes.
He first laid out the requirements, "IF ye will obey…" You see, it was a conditional covenant. If they did their part, He would do His.
(Exo 19:5-8 KJV) "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: {6} And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. {7} And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which Yahweh commanded him. {8} And all the people answered together, and said, All that Yahweh hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto Yahweh."
Again, at the end of the giving of the Covenant, the people repeated their acceptance (Exo. 24:3). But just a short time later, while Moses was back up on the mountain to receive more instructions, the people induced Aaron to make them an idol, a golden calf, or bull. Notice what they did and said.
(Exo 32:3-6 NRSV) "So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. {4} He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" {5} When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a festival to Yahweh." {6} They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel."
This is simply incredible to contemplate. How could Aaron, Moses' own brother, who had been privy to all that had gone on between Moses and Yahweh, who had seen all the great miracles in Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, - just one miracle after another - how could he fall back into idolatry and reject Yahweh so quickly?
Oh but he didn't. At least not in his own eyes. He was going to worship Yahweh, hold a feast in his honor, but do it HIS way, using the symbolism he had no doubt learned in Egypt. But Yahweh was furious.
(Exo 32:7-8 KJV) "And Yahweh said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: {8} They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."
Yahweh would have destroyed all of them on the spot, if Moses had not interceded on their behalf (Exo. 32::9-14). And this was just the beginning. They continued their rebellion all down through their history as a nation, until Yahweh finally sent them into captivity. They adopted all the pagan practices that had begun shortly after the flood, by a great-grandson of Noah. His name was Nimrod (Gen. 10). He began to be "a mighty hunter before (against) Yahweh." (Vss 8-9).
By the time of the Israelites, this religious system, which involved worship of the sun, the stars, the moon, Nimrod and his mother-wife, Semiramis, their son, Tammuz, and other man-ordained false gods, including trees, had spread to the ends of the earth. Spawned in Babylon, it is called, in Scripture, Mystery, Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth." (Rev. 17:5). Of course, Satan was (and is) the mastermind behind this system of deception.
But how did it come into Christianity? And Judaism, before that? We will answer these questions, but first, let's discuss some of the methods and objects of worship that had their beginnings 'way back then. It seems implausible at first blush that these same wretched practices would still be around today, 5,000 years later. While some have gone through slight variations over the centuries, the same core beliefs and practices are still with us, and are recognizable, once we know their origin and what to look for.

                                              The Cross
Since the question was, "What does the Cross represent?" we will begin by answering that question. It has been assumed for centuries that the cross as a Christian symbol had its origin because of the crucifixion of the Messiah on a supposed cross. However, upon checking the meaning of the Greek word translated "cross" in our English Bibles, we find that it is "stauros," meaning, "stake." It may or may not have had a cross-piece. Most historians think it was simply an upright pole, and that the arms of those being impaled were stretched back over their heads and their hands then nailed to the top of the pole.
According to Hislop's "The Two Babylons, the cross is the express symbol of Tammuz, the sun-god and god of fire (footnote, page 155.) On page 197, he states, "That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian symbol at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians-the true original form of the letter T-the initial of the name of Tammuz." That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol." The Vestal Virgins of pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now." On page 199 he states,"…traces of it may be seen in the fancy ornaments of the Rebo, showing that it was already in use as early as the fifteenth century before the Christian era."
He continues, "There is hardly a pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. The cross was worshipped by the Pagan Celts long before the incarnation and death of Christ." "It is a fact," says Maurice, "not less remarkable than well attested, that the Druids in their groves were accustomed to select the most stately and beautiful tree as an emblem of the Deity they adored, and having cut the side branches, they affixed two of the largest of them to the highest part of the trunk, in such a manner that those branches extended on each side like the arms of a man, and, together with the body, presented the appearance of a HUGE CROSS, and on the bark, in several places, was also inscribed the letter Thau."
"It was worshipped in Mexico for ages before the Roman Catholic missionaries set foot there, large stone crosses being erected, probably to the "god of rain." The cross thus widely worshipped, or regarded as a sacred emblem, was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah."
"The cross is also a favorite emblem among the Buddhists (page 199). It is exactly the cross of the Manicheans, with leaves and flowers springing from it. This cross, putting forth leaves and flowers (and fruit also, as I am told), is called the divine tree, the tree of the gods, the tree of life and knowledge, and productive of whatever is good and desirable, and is placed in the terrestrial paradise."
Here is a little more from page 201: Now, this pagan symbol seems first to have crept into the Christian Church in Egypt, and generally into Africa. A statement of Tertullian, about the middle of the third century, shows how much, by that time, the Church of Carthage was infected with the old leaven. Egypt especially, which was never thoroughly evangelized, appears to have taken the lead in bringing in this Pagan symbol.
"…in Egypt the earliest form of that which has since been called the cross, was no other than the "Crux Ansata," or "Sign of life," borne by Osiris and all the Egyptian gods; that the ansa or "handle" was afterwards dispensed with, and that it became the simple Tau, or ordinary cross, as it appears at this day, and that the design of its first employment on the sepulchers, therefore, could have no reference to the crucifixion of the Nazarene, but was simply the result of the attachment to old and long-cherished Pagan symbols, which is always strong in those who, with the adoption of the Christian name and profession, are still, to a large extent, Pagan in heart and feeling. This, and this only, is the origin of the worship of the "cross."
So we see that the cross was around as an object of reverence, worship, or religious symbol, long before the Christian era, and was adopted into Christianity by the pagan converts, who only changed their name, and not their methods. All the other pagan rites and symbols had a similar introduction into the Church, the Church permitting supposedly converted pagan peoples to keep their old ways, with, for the most part, Christianized names.
In 1 Peter 2:24 we find this: "(1 Pet 2:24 KJV) "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." So we see that it was His BODY, not the object that He hung on, that is the central point.

It seems that all churches either have or want a steeple. I remember a church that was destroyed in a storm near here. When it was rebuilt, there was a newspaper story with pictures. One picture had no steeple, and the pastor was reported as saying that it didn't look like a church without a steeple, so one was added, and he said, "now, it looks like a church."
If well-meaning people only knew what the steeple atop their church represents, they would probably (I would hope) demand its immediate removal. But then, some do know and still elect to ignore the implications. We must recognize that paganism for the most part is a licentious, sex-based religion, and that participants committed orgies and revels during their worship services. This is demonstrated vividly in the account of the Israelites' worship of the golden calf, already recounted above from Exodus 32. Notice the last part: "…Tomorrow shall be a festival to Yahweh." {6} They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel."(KJV says, "…rose up to play.") The apostle Paul called these people "idolators," as indeed they were. (1 Cor 10:7 KJV) "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."
This was no ordinary "play," but rather sexual orgy god worship that they had no doubt learned from their 215 years in Egyptian slavery. Else why were they naked? (Exo 32:25 KJV) "And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)" Paul also reported that some of them committed fornication, and that 23,000 died that day as a result. The NRSV says they were running wild.
Bells are associated with steeples or spires. The world's oldest bell was unearthed in Babylon. Bells are among the oldest items used in pagan worship, and were one of several noise-makers used. They were employed to give worship to the sun, and were usually placed in or near the top of an obelisk or high-place. Orientals used gongs as well as the familiar bell shapes. They were brought into Christian worship along with steeples from paganism.
The King James translators translated a Hebrew word, "Asherah," as "grove" or "groves" 40 times, and according to Peloubet's Bible Dictionary, it means (upright), the name of a Phoenician goddess, or rather of the idol itself (Authorized version "grove"). Asherah is closely connected with Ashtoreth and her worship, Judges 3:7, comp. 2:3; Judges 6:25; 1 Kings 18:19; Ashtoreth being, perhaps, the name of the goddess, whilst Asherah is the name of her image or symbol, which was of wood. See Judges 6:25-30; 2 Kings 23:14."
Now notice Ezekiel 8:17:
(Ezek 8:17 KJV) "Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose."
This quote, Yahweh Himself speaking to the prophet Ezekiel, is actually misquoted. The word the King James translators chose, "the branch," really means, the obelisk, the "phallic spire," "the penis" (*). What Yahweh is really saying is, "…they have put the penis (spire, steeple) to MY nose, with their sexually oriented orgies and worship of these false gods, and then have the temerity to claim they are doing all this in My Name." Visualize all these steeples across the globe, sticking up toward heaven as an affront to the Almighty. Do you now see why He is so furious with false worship? And with those who partake of it, even unknowingly?
(1 Ki 14:22-24 KJV) "And Judah did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. {23} For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. {24} And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which Yahweh cast out before the children of Israel."
(2 Ki 17:16-17 NRSV) "They rejected all the commandments of Yahweh their Elohim and made for themselves cast images of two calves; they made a sacred pole, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. {17} They made their sons and their daughters pass through fire; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of Yahweh, provoking him to anger."
And we have come along many generations later, and are using the same abominable symbols He hates! Then we expect blessings. It cannot be, until we clean up our worship.

                                         Easter Traditions
This festival somehow managed to keep its pagan name, even after being brought into Christianity. It is a fact that Easter, who was also called Ishtar, Astarte, Isis, Ashtoreth, Ashteroth, Semiramis, Diana, Athena, Venus, Asherah, Aphrodite, and many other names, is known as the goddess of spring. It was she who bore Tammuz. It is said that her day was originally called "Lady Day," and fell on March 25. This was the date she was impregnated by Nimrod. Nine months later, on December 25, she bore Tammuz. He was the one who became the false messiah, while his mother was known as the Queen of Heaven, a title later given to Mary.
(Jer 7:17-19 KJV) "Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? {18} The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. {19} Do they provoke me to anger? saith Yahweh: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?"
Here we have women baking cakes to the queen of heaven. Could these have been the forerunners of "hot cross buns?" Please read all of Jeremiah 7 to see what Yahweh says about those who partake of these practices. And now, read the people's response to Jeremiah's message from Yahweh:
(Jer 44:15-23 KJV) "Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, {16} As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of Yahweh, we will not hearken unto thee. {17} But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. {18} But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. {19} And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men? {20} Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying, {21} The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not Yahweh remember them, and came it not into his mind? {22} So that Yahweh could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. {23} Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against Yahweh, and have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day."
Now, let's cover two more Easter traditions, this time found in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 8. Please read this entire chapter to get the setting and circumstances.
(Ezek 8:14 KJV) "Then he brought me to the door of the gate of Yahweh's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz."
Tammuz was supposed to have died, and the pagans ritually mourned for him every year in the spring. The Jews and other Israelites had adopted this custom, too. This corresponds to our present-day "Lent" season, which is a mourning period.
(Ezek 8:15-16 KJV) "Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. {16} And he brought me into the inner court of Yahweh's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east."
Yes indeed. An "Easter Sunrise Service," right in the pages of your Bible! But is it pleasing to the Creator? I think not. He calls it an "abomination." Here is His response:
(Ezek 8:18 KJV) "Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them."
Another thing: Did you ever wonder what bunny rabbits, Easter eggs, etc., have to do with the resurrection of our Savior? Well, of course, the answer is, "Nothing at all!" They are simply symbols of fertility that go along with the traditions of the goddess of Spring, the season when new life springs forth.

                                          Christmas Trees
Lots of things could be said about Christmas - all bad, too. December 25 was not the date of Yahshua the Messiah's birth. It can be proven from the Scriptures, based on the Temple service of John the Baptist's father, Zechariah, that Yahshua was born in early autumn, around the first of October on our Gregorian calendar.
All the customs that accompany the Christmas - New Year's season have been proven false, and have nothing to do with true Religion, and everything to do with Paganism and false worship. But is it in the Bible? Not by name, but some of the customs that we have inherited were in effect two thousand years before Yahshua was born, and just like the other customs we have been discussing, came to us from paganism. Let's notice only one of them that you may have overlooked.
(Jer 10:1-7 KJV) "Hear ye the word which Yahweh speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: {2} Thus saith Yahweh, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. {3} For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. {4} They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. {5} They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. {6} Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Yahweh; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. {7} Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee."
This is just another example of tree-worship similar to the "groves," or "asherah" that we have already discussed in this article. Shouldn't our hearts burn within us when we sing, "O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!"? Is this not tree worship? Does this please the Creator? Of course not!
You have to decide what to do with this information. First, please do your own research. Check it out. Am I lying? These are facts that are available to anyone. Then you have to decide what to do with what you learn. "Shall I pretend I never heard this?" Shall I ignore it?" Or "Shall I give up these abominable practices, repent, and begin to serve the Creator His way for a change?"
I hope you decide to do the latter.
(*) The following is from Appendix 42 in E. W. Bullinger's Companion Bible. It thoroughly explains what the 'Asherah represents in pagan worship:
The word 'Asherah is from the root 'Ashar, to be straight, erect, or upright. From this comes the meaning, in a moral sense, to be upright, hence, to prosper or be happy. The 'Asherah was so called because it was something set upright or erect in the ground, and worshipped. The word occurs forty times, and only a careful study of each passage will give a correct view.
Compared with this, all that men may think or say about the 'Asherah is of little value. The word is always rendered grove or groves in the A.V.; and always left as a proper name in the R.V.
From a conspectus of the passages, we learn that it was either a living tree with the top cut off, and the stump or trunk fashioned into a certain shape (Deut. 16.21); or it was artificially fashioned and set erect in the ground (Isa. 17.8, 1 Kings 14.15; 16.33). It was made of wood (Judg. 6.26) or stone. What the shape was is indicated in 1 Kings 15.13, and 2 Chron. 15.16, where the A.V. "an idol in a grove", should be (as in the R.V.) "an abominable image for an Asherah". It could be "cut down" (Exo. 34.13, the first occurrence of the word); "plucked up" (Mic. 5.14); "burnt" (Deut. 12.3); or "broken in pieces" (2 Chron. 34.4).
It is often coupled with mazzevoth, or stone "pillars" (R.V.) (and rendered images in A.V.), connected with Baal worship.
That it could not have been a "grove" is clear from 2 Kings 17.10, where it is forbidden to set one up "under any green tree."
While it is distinguished from Ashtoreth the goddess, it is yet associated with that goddess, Ashtoreth being representative of the productive (or passive) principle of life; and Baal being representative of the generative (or active) principle.
The image which represents the Phoenician Ashtoreth of Paphos, as the sole object of worship in her temple, was an upright block of stone, anointed with oil, and covered with an embroidered cloth.
Such stones are to be met with all over the Semitic world; especially in Babylonia, in Syria, Palestine and Arabia. Even the Mohammedan sacred stone (kaaba) at Mecca remains an object of reverence.
The place Beth-El was so called because of its anointed stone. There was another Beth-El in Northern Israel.
Two columns of stone stood before every Phoenician temple. Those at Tyre are described by Herodotus (ii.44); and the "pillars of the sun" are mentioned in 2 Chron. 34.4. Isa. 17.8, etc.
Like every form of "religion," it had to do with the "flesh;" and hence, by the law of evolution (which is seen operating only in human affairs) it soon became corrupted. Evolution is seen in the progress of man's works, because he begins from ignorance, and goes on learning by his mistakes and failures. From the moment he ends his works devolution at once sets in and deterioration begins. This is specially true in the "religious" sphere. All religions have become corrupt.
So with the 'Asherah. Originally a tree, symbolical of the "tree of life," it was an object of reverence and veneration. Then came the perversion of the earlier idea which simply honoured the origin of life; and it was corrupted and debased into the organ of procreation, which was symbolized by the form and shape given to the "Asherah. It was the Phallus image of Isa. 57.8, and the "image of the male", Ezek. 16.17.
These symbols, in turn, became the incentive to all forms of impurity which were part of its libidinous worship, with the swarms of "devotees" involved in its obscene orgies.
The serpent was accepted as the symbol of the nexus, and was thus associated with the "pillar" and the "tree". Hence, it too became an object of worship.
The principal factor in this form of Canaanite idolatry is that it was not a primitive conception of a religious rite, but the corruption of an earlier idea which began with honouring the origin of life.
All the ancient systems of idolatry, connected with Astrology and Mythology, etc., were, in the same way, not original inventions of what was new; but the corruption of what was old, and the perversion of primitive truth.
There can be no doubt about its being, in its essence, Phallic worship pure and simple, whatever may have been its origin. This abomination was common to all the ancient nations; and relics of it are found to-day in various forms, in India and elsewhere. The menhirs of the Celtic religion are the true descendants of the 'Asherim.
At first it was centred in the Canaanitish nations; and from them it spread to the others. It was the great abomination of Canaan, and that is one reason why the Canaanites, as the descendants of the Nephilim, had to be destroyed by the sword of Israel. The other reason was the origin of those nations themselves (see Ap. 23 and 25), with which it was closely connected. The first mention of the 'Asherah stamps it as being the special object of Yahweh's hatred. It is given to explain His name as "jealous"; for that is the name He takes in denouncing it. Compare His threats in 1 Kings 14.15; 15.13; 16.32, 33; 2 Chron. 36.14, etc.
It led to Israel's banishment from the land; and subsequently to that of Judah's.
It is still preserved in veiled language in secret fraternities, Freemasonry, Theosophy, and in the Roman Church; language so conceals it that probably those who use it today have little idea of what they are perpetuating; while the ancient symbols I O proclaim "Sex as the true God of Hosts," as the Kabbala declares.
A recrudescence of this is more than hinted at; and it will be better understood when "the abomination" of Antichrist shall stand once again in the Temple at Jerusalem (Matt. 24.15).
The following passages will show further the nature of this form of idolatry: --Jer. 5.7; 7.30, 31; 19.4,5; 32..34-35. Hos. 4.12-14. Amos 2.7-9.
The word 'Asherah is noted in the margin of each passage where it occurs in The Companion Bible, but the following complete list is given to put the student in possession of the whole of the data; and thus to enable him to form his own conclusions.
Exodus 34.13.
Deuteronomy 7.5, 12.3, 16.21.
Judges 3.7.
1 Kings 14.15, 23; 15.13; 16.33; 18.19 (sing).
2 Kings 13.6; 17.10, 16; 18.4; 21.3, 7; 23.4, 6, 7, 14, 15.
2 Chronicles 14.3; 15.16; 17.6; 19.3; 24.18; 31.1; 33.3,19; 34.3, 4, 7.
Isaiah 17.8; 27.9.
Jeremiah 17.2.
Micah 5.14.

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