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As we approach the end of time on this earth, and the power of the Antichrist increases, the pressure to conform to the events of the world is getting stronger and stronger. Very few pastors and Christian churches today will take a stand on the issue of pagan holidays and what Christians should do.

The Truth About Easter

From Babylon, Mystery Religion
Reverend Ralph Woodrow, 1965

Chapter Nineteen
Fish, Friday, and the Spring Festival

We have seen right from the scriptures that Friday was very definitely NOT the day of the week on which Christ was crucified.  Yet each Friday many Catholics abstain from meat (substituting fish in its place) supposedly in remembrance of the Friday crucifixion.  Roman Catholics in the United States are no longer required by their church to abstain from meat on Fridays (as formerly) - except during Lent - nevertheless many still follow the custom of fish on Friday.

Having seen how numerous doctrines and rites were adopted into the Roman Catholic church from paganism, we need not be surprised to find that numerous attempts were also made to "Christianize" certain popular pagan days and their accompanying customs.  Has this been the case with Friday and fish?  Certainly the scriptures never associate Friday with fish.  On the other hand, there is evidence of the basic idea among the philosophies of the pagans!

The word "Friday" comes from the name of "Freya", who was regarded as the goddess of peace, joy and FERTILITY by the ancient pagans.  And as the symbol of her fertility, the FISH was regarded as being sacred to her!  How the fish has from the very early times been a symbol of fertility.  It was a well known symbol of fertility among the ancient Babylonians, as well as the Assyrians, Phoenicians, the Chinese, and others.  The very word "fish" comes from the original word "dag" implying increase or fecundity.  The reason the fish was used as a symbol of fertility is seen by the simple fact that it has a very high reproduction rate.  For example, a single cod fish annually spawns upwards of 9,000,000 eggs; the flounder, 1,000,000; the sturgeon, 7,000,000; the perch, 400,000; the mackerel, 500,000; the herring, 10,000; etc.  And so, from ancient times, the fish has been a symbol of sexual fertility, and thus was associated with the goddess of fertility - Freya - Friday!  Now we are beginning to see the real significance of Friday and fish.

The Romans called the goddess of sexual fertility by the name of Venus.  And thus it is from the name of the goddess Venus that our modern words "venereal" and "venereal disease" have come.  Friday was regarded as her sacred day, because it was believed that the planet Venus ruled the first hour of Friday and thus it was called dies Veneris.  And to make the significance complete, the fish was also regarded as being sacred to her.  The accompanying illustration, as seen in "Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism", shows the goddess Venus with her symbol, the fish.  The similarities betwee the two, would indicate that Venus and Freya were originally one and the same goddess and that original being the mother-goddess of Babylon.

The same association of the mother goddess with the fish-fertility symbol is evidenced among the symbols of the goddess in other forms also.  The fish was regarded as sacred to Ashtoreth, the name under which the Israelites worshipped the pagan goddess.  And in ancient Egypt, Isis is represented with a fish on her head, as seen in the accompanying illustration.

In view of these things concerning Friday being named after the goddess of sexual fertility, Friday being that day from olden times was regarded as her sacred day, and since FISH was her sacred symbol; it seems more than a mere coincidence that to this day, Catholics are taught that Friday is a special day, a day of abstinence from meat, a day to eat fish!

Now we have already noticed that Friday was not the day of the crucifixion of Christ and neither was Easter Sunday morning the time of His resurrection, as is commonly assumed.  Surely then, this is not the true foundation for the observance of Easter.  From where then does Easter observance come?  Did the apostles ever observe Easter?  Did the early Christians dye easter eggs or go to the bakery and buy hot cross buns?  Did Peter or Paul ever conduct an Easter sunrise service?  Where did all of these customs come from?

To begin with, let us consider the very word "Easter" itself.  The word "Easter" appears once in the King James Version of the Bible:"...intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people..."(Acts 12:4).  The original word that is here translated "easter" is "pascha" which is (as ALL scholars know and recognize) the Greek word for PASSOVER and has no connection with the English word "Easter" whatsoever. (See for yourself by checking ANY Bible dictionary) The King James Version is the only version of the Bible that has inserted the word Easter instead of Passover in this text.  It is well known that the word "Easter" is not a Christian expression, not in its original meaning.  The word itself, as the dictionaries and encyclopedias explain, comes from the name of a pagan goddess, the goddess of spring.  Easter is but a more modern form of Ishtar, Eostre, Ostera, or Astarte.  Ishtar, another name for Semiramis of Babylon, was pronounced as we pronounce "Easter" today!  And so the name of the Spring Festival, "Easter", is definitely paganistic, the name being taken from the name of the goddess.

And not only is the name "Easter" of pagan origin, but we shall see that the traditional customs and observances of this season originated in paganism also.  A good example of this can be seen in the well known usage of the Easter egg.  From the "egg-rolling" on the White House lawn to the yard of the most humble home, eggs are colored, hid, hunted, and eaten -- each year at the "Easter" season.  But where did this custom of using eggs at this season begin?  Are we to suppose that Christians of the New Testament dyed eggs?  Do eggs have anything to do with Christ or His resurrection?  The answer is obvious.  Such usage is completely foreign to the Bible.On the other hand, the egg was a sacred symbol among the Babylonians!  They believed an old fable about an egg of wondrous size which was supposed to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates River.  From this marvelous egg --according to the ancient story -- the goddess Astarte (Easter), was hatched.  And so the egg came to symbolize the goddess Easter.  From Babylon (the MOTHER of false religion) humanity was scattered to the various parts of the earth and with them they took the idea of the Mystic Egg.  Thus we find the egg as a sacred symbol among many nations.

The ancient Druids bore an egg as the sacred emblem of their idolatrous order.  The procession of Ceres in Rome was preceded by an egg.  In the Mysteries of Bacchus, an egg was consecrated as part of their ceremony.  China, yet today, uses dyed or colored eggs in their sacred festival.  In Japan, an ancient custom has been to make their sacred egg a hard brazen color.  In Northern Europe in pagan times, eggs were colored and used as symbols of the goddess Easter.  The illustration shows two ways in which the pagans represented their sacred eggs.  On the left is is the sacred egg of Helioplis; on the right, the Typhon's Egg.  Among the Egyptians, the egg was associated with the sun -- the "golden egg."  Their dyed eggs were used as sacred offerings at the Easter season.

Says the Encyclopedia Britannica: "The egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of coloring and eating eggs during their spring festival."  None can dispute the fact that the egg as a sacred symbol has been a part of pagan festivities from ancient times.

How then, we ask, did this custom come to be associated with Christianity?  Its adoption into the Romish "church" is but further evidence of the great compromise that was made with paganism -- a compromise to gain popularity with both sides!  And as when other rites were adopted by the "church", apostate leaders attempted to find some similarity between the pagan rite and some Christian event; so in this case, it was suggested that as the chick comes out of the egg, so Christ came out of the tomb!  Thus, fallen church leaders (void of the Holy Spirit) told the people that the egg was the symbol of the resurrection of Christ!  Pope Paul V even appointed a prayer in connection with the egg! "Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, this thy creature of EGGS, that it may become wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ," etc.  And so another "mixture" passed into Babylon Modern and has in turn become a part of present day customs.

Now even as the fish was associated with the goddess as a sign of sexual fertility, so also, the egg was but another symbol of fertility.  When we think about it, it is tragic that such a vile symbolism came to be associated with Christianity, when in reality such things have no connection with TRUE Christianity at all!  And even as fish and eggs were fertility symbols of the Mystery religion, so also is the Easter Rabbit (the Hare) a symbol of fertility.  "Like the easter egg, the easter hare," says the Encyclopedia Britannica , "came to Christianity from antiquity.  The hare is associated with the moon in the legends of the ancient Egypt and other peoples...Through the fact that the Egyptian word for hare, UM, means also 'open' and 'period', the hare came to be associated with the idea of periodicity, both lunar and human, and with the beginning of new life in both the young man and young woman, and so a symbol of fertility and of the renewal of life.  As such, the hare became linked with Easter...eggs."  Thus both the Easter Rabbit and Easter eggs were symbols of sexual significance, symbols of fertility!

Another custom that is closely connected with the Easter season is the baking and eating of "hot cross buns."  Again, this appears at first glance to be a Christian custom because of the shape or marking on the buns of the cross.  But, as we have seen earlier, the cross symbol is not a Christian symbol.  On the other hand, as early as the days of Cecrops, founder of Athens (1500 B.C.), such buns were used in the worship of the queen of heaven.  "The history of the cross bun goes back to... the LIBA offered to Astarte" -- the Queen of Heaven.  In the days of Jeremiah, God rebuked His people for the practice in which "the children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make CAKES to the queen of heaven... Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place" (Jeremiah 7:18-20; 44:17-19, 25).  Now in these two chapters of Jeremiah, the word translated "cake" is "kavvan" meaning "bun." (In all other places in the Bible, except in these two chapters, the word cakes is translated from different words.)  And so here was some type of special cake (or bun) as part of the Mother Goddess worship.  These buns were very possibly made in the shape of a cross or marked with a cross, for this symbol was regarded as sacred to her.

Another Easter custom that is celebrated in many parts of the land is Easter Sunrise Service.  The common assumption is that such services honor Christ because He rose on Easter Sunday morning just as the sun was coming up!  But though this is widely believed, we have already seen that the resurrection of Christ did not occur at sunrise.  It was yet DARK when Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on the first day of the week and the tomb was already empty! (John 20:1) Since our Lord's resurrection did not take place at dawn, then surely this is no basis for sunrise services.

On the other hand, there was a type of sunrise service that was a part of old pagan customs connected with sun-worship!  Now we do not mean to imply that Christian people today literally worship the sun in their Easter sunrise services.  Nor do we say that the Catholic who bows before the monstrance sun-image and worships the round, sun-shaped host, is literally worshipping the sun.  But what we are saying is that such practices are an obvious mixture of paganism with Christianity.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, God's people went into Babylonian captivity because they mixed sun-worship rites into their worship.  God showed this to the prophet Ezekiel.  "And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house," said the prophet, "and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the EAST; and they worshipped the sun toward the EAST." (Ezekiel 8:16) Here then were people that had known God, yet they allowed this mixture of sun-worship to enter in and defile them.

But was this worship conducted at SUNRISE?  Yes.  It was definitely a sunrise service, for the scriptures declare that they worshipped the sun toward the EAST.  And of course the sun is in the east at early morning -- at sunrise!

It was also to the east that the prophets of Baal looked in the days of Elijah!  As we have already seen, the sun was regarded as the representative of Baal (the deified Nimrod).  Therefore, when Elijah challenged the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel with the words: "The God that answers by FIRE, let him be God", he was meeting Baal worship on its own grounds -- fire being regarded as the representation of the sun-god.  And at what time of the day was it that these false prophets of Baal started calling on him?  It was as Baal (the SUN) made his first appearance over the eastern horizon; for it was at "morning", that is, DAWN (I Kings 18:26)  Of course no answer came from the sun-god Baal, so they continued until noon and the rest of the day.

Rites connected with the dawning sun (in one form or another) were known in many ancient nations.  Those who made the Sphinx in Egypt, built it to watch for the rising sun in the east.  From Mount Fuji-yama, Japan, prayers are made to the rising sun: "The pilgrims pray to their rising sun while climbing the mountain sides...sometimes one may see several hundreds of Shinto pilgrims in their white robes turning out from their shelters, and joing their chants tot he rising sun."  And the pagan Mithrists of Rome (whom we have already mentioned) met together at dawn in honor of the sun god.

Now turning again to the Eighth Chapter of Ezekiel in which the prophet saw 25 men looking to the east at sunrise, we notice that they didn't seem to think it mattered much if such an observance was mixed in with their worship.  They evidently thought it was a "light thing."  But concerning this, God spoke to Ezekiel: "Hast thou seen this, O Son of man?  Is it a light thing...that they commit the abominations which they commit here?...and, lo, they put the branch to their nose" (Verse 17)  This rite of putting the branch to the nose was also associated with the dawn of the sun in the east.  This was an idolatrous ritual of holding up a branch of tamarisk (called barsom) to the nose at daybreak while they sang hymns to the rising sun.

It is evident that such sunrise services were RELIGIOUS gatherings.  But is there any indication that these services were conducted at the "Easter" season, in the spring of that year?  Yes, there is!  Actually, as we already briefly mentioned, the very name "Easter" comes from the name of the pagan goddess of SPRING and this was the time of her festival.  She was regarded as the goddess of the rising light in the east, as the very word "East-er" shows.  "The English EASTER...is at all events connected with the east and sunrise..."  Thus the dawn of the sun in the "east", the name "easter", and the Spring season season are all connected.

But to further see the connection between the sunrise services,  the goddess Easter, and the Spring season, let us consider the following: In the old fables of the Mystery cults, their "savior", Tammuz, was worshipped with various rites at the Spring season.  According to the legends, after he was slain, he went into the underworld.  But through the weeping of his "MOTHER", Ishtar (Easter), he mystically was revived.  And the sign of his supposed coming to life again, was represented in the springing forth of the vegetation in Spring!

Each year a spring festival dramatically represented this supposed "resurrection" from the underworld: "The resurrection of Tammuz through Ishtar's grief was dramatically represented ANNUALLY in order to insure the success of the crops and the fertility of the people...Each year men and women had to grieve with Ishtar over the death of Tammuz and celebrate the god's return, in order to win anew her favor and her benefits!"  When the new vegetation began to come forth, those ancient people saw in this a symbol that their "savior" had come from the underworld, and this coming forth was supposed to be the thing that ended winter and caused Spring to begin.

Now turning once again to Ezekiel Eight, we find that along with the worship of the sun toward the east, the practice of weeping with Ishtar for Tammuz was also observed.  As we read in verse 14: "Behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz"!  And then in the verses that follow, Ezekiel saw the sun-worship rites.  So here, even the people that had known God, had mixed the Babylonian religion into their worship -- weeping with Ishtar the "Mother" for the dead Tammuz.  This was a part of the Spring Festival (the spring forth of new life, new vegetation, etc., supposedly representing the coming forth of Tammuz from the underworld.)  And closely connected with these SPRING festivities were the rites in which men looked to the east, to the rising sun at dawn!

Now since the true Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, in reality did rise (not merely in nature, plants, etc.); and since His resurrection was in the spring of the year (though slightly earlier than the pagan festival of olden times) it was not too hard for the church of the fourth century (now greatly departed from the true faith anyway) to merge the pagan spring festival into Christianity, attaching  the various phases of it to Christ.  In this way, it would appear to be a Christian Festival, yet at the same time, it would retain many of its ancient customs.  In this way, both sides were coaxed into the professing "church."  In speaking of this merger, the Encyclopedia Britannica says: "Christianity...incorporated in its celebration of the great Christian feast day many of the heathen rites and customs of the Spring festival" -- the ancient pagan festival!

The evidence then is clear: today's observance of Easter is not purely Christian.  Its customs are plainly a MIXTURE, a mixture of paganism and Christianity.  Some feel, however, that we can take these various customs and use them to honor Christ.  After all, it is reasoned, do not most Christians think of Christ at this season?  Though the pagans worshipped the sun toward the east, could we not have sunrise services to honor the resurrection of Christ, even though this is not the time of the day He rose?  And even though the egg was used by pagans, can't we continue its use and pretend it symbolizes the large rock that was in front of the tomb?  In other words, some feel we can take all of these pagan beliefs and ideas, and instead of applying them to the false gods as the heathen did, we will use them to glorify Christ.  At first glance, this might SEEM like good reasoning.  But this idea of adding pagan customs into the worship of the true God is utterly and absolutely condemned in the Bible!  Here is what God says: "TAKE HEED... that thou inquire not after their gods (pagan gods), saying: How did these nations serve their gods?  Even so will I do likewise.  Thou shalt NOT do so unto the LORD thy God...What thing soever I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not ADD thereto..." (Deuteronomy 12:30-32).  Plainly then, our God does not want to add anything to His worship.  He does not want us to use customs and rites that the heathen used, even though we might claim to use them to honor HIM.

Having adopted the pagan Spring festival of Ishtar or Easter into the fallen church, it was but a natural step to adopt the old "fast" that preceded the Spring festival also.  Today, this period of forty days before Easter is known as lent.  In olden times, these forty days were observed with weeping, fasting, and self-chastisement for Tammuz (to gain anew his favor) so he would come forth from the underworld, end winter, and cause spring to begin.  According to the old legends, Tammuz was forty years old when he was killed by a wild boar.  And so forty days (a day for each year he lived on earth) were set aside to "weep for Tammuz."  The observance of this period of time in honor of Tammuz was not only known at Babylon, but it was also known among Phoenicians, the Egyptians, and, for a time, even among God's Old Testament people when they fell into apostasy (Ezekiel 8).

The forty days' of abstinence of lent was known among the Devil worshippers of Koordistan who inherited the spring observance from their early masters, the Babylonians.  Such an observance was also known among the pagan Mexicans who observed "a solemn fast of forty days in honor of the sun."  "Among the pagans," says Hislop, "this lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz."

Today, lent (the period of forty days before Easter) is likewise considered a very important part of the Roman Catholic religion.  But such a belief is not founded on the Bible, but is as we have seen a doctrine whose roots are in Babylonish paganism.  As this paganism and Christianity were mixed together, little by little, pagan "lent" was merged into the professing "church", only now supposedly to honor Christ instead of the pagan sun gods to which it had formerly been used.  It was during the sixth century that the Pope officially instituted the observance of Lent, calling it a "sacred fast", and ordered the people abstain from meat and a few other foods for the length of its duration.

In our time, some Catholics may not eat chocolate bars, others may abstain from butter, another may smoke one cigarette a day instead of twenty, another may give up drinking during this time.  But what lasting results are accomplished through such an observance?  None.  In fact, this is the very type of apostasy that Paul warned could enter in.  He mentioned that when the departure from the true faith came, men would teach "doctrines of devils" (pagan doctrines) and especially mentioned one of these doctrines of "commanding to abstain from meats (foods)" (I Timothy 4:1-4).

Of course, to the world that does not understand the "mystery" of all of this, they think lent and days of "abstinence" are most surely of Christian origin and are of great virtue.  But in reality, just the opposite is the teaching of the Bible and reason.

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