Bible Studies - Miscellaneous

Pagan Christianity Today
Part 1

All Bible texts are from the King James Version.

The information for this study has been collected from:
'The Two Babylons' first published in book form 1858, by Rev. Alexander Hislop a Free Church of Scotland minister,
Crompton's Interactive Encyclopedia CD © 1994, 1995 by Crompton's NewMedia Inc.,
Collier's Encyclopedia © 1967 by Crowell-Collier Publishing Company;
and Infopedia CD, Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia © 1995 by Funk and Wagnalls.

I have written this study so that Christian can look at their own lives and see if they need to change something. It was not written so that some people can to push it under the noses of others condemning them for following pagan rites, rituals and beliefs. Scripture tells us, "... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12.

This study is broken up into four parts (four separate files):-

  1. How the ancient mythological gods are depicted, and how many of them we still use today.

  2. A brief description of most of the ancient gods, giving their counterparts in other mythologies.

  3. A list of names of ancient gods which represent Nimrod, his wife, Semiramis, her illegitimate son, and several people mentioned in the Bible.

  4. Pagan festivals and forms of worship still prevalent today in Christianity.

This complete document zipped can be downloaded here.

Some may ask the question 'Why is it necessary to know all of this?'

The answer is, because if we are to root out all paganism in our lives so that we can worship the Lord our God, and Him only shall we serve (Matthew 4:10), and love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength (Mark 12:30), we must know what is pagan, and then we are to get rid of it as much as possible from our lives.

Some may argue that these symbols, festivals and forms of worship are no longer pagan, for they have been Christianised as stated in the following quotes:

"The folklores of the Polish, Czech, Slovak, Balkan, and Hungarian peoples have some elements in common. These peoples' strong sense of the supernatural and deep religious faith have resulted in a folk literature that often combines Christian beliefs with some of pagan origin. Wisely, the church in those countries respected the love of the people for their ancient folkways, and gradually some of the old folktales and folk festivals became associated with the beliefs and rituals of the church. It is therefore quite natural that Cinderella should lose her slipper on the steps of a church and that saints should appear as characters in folktales." Crompton's Interactive Encyclopedia CD article on Story Telling - Other Eastern European Countries.

"Even in predominantly Christian areas, it was not uncommon for pagan traditions of previous times to work their way into folk art depictions. The decorated Easter egg of Eastern Europe, for instance, is a step in the evolution of the egg as a symbol for renewal of life. This renewal was visible to all in the new growths of springtime, and Easter has always been a festival that occurred in spring. Lying at the root of human experience, such ancient themes have never been abandoned, and they continue to appear together with Christian themes of later origin. Buddhist societies have had a similar experience. Originally Buddhism was a religion without a god, but in its later proliferation it accumulated a large host of deities and saints that have been depicted by folk artists. In this way the older Hindu tradition from which Buddhism emerged worked its way back into the newer religion." Crompton's Interactive Encyclopedia CD article on Folk Art.

"November 1 may have been chosen (for All Saints' Day) because it was the day of one of the four great festivals of the pagan nations of the north, and it was church policy to supplant pagan with Christian observances." Infopedia article on All Saints' Day.

"Among European peasants, All Souls' Day is a time for reviving many pre-Christian folk customs." Australian Infopedia article on All Souls' Day.

"Sun worship persisted in Europe even after the introduction of Christianity, as is evidence by its disguised survival in such traditional Christian practices as the Easter bonfire and the Yule log on Christmas." Infopedia article on Sun Worship.

"Mithraism (sun worship) was similar to Christianity in many respects, for example, in the ideals of humility and brotherly love, baptism, the rite of communion, the use of holy water, the adoration of the shepherds at Mithra's birth, the adoption of Sundays and of December 25 (Mithra's birthday) as holy days, and the belief in the immortality of the soul, the last judgment, and the resurrection. Mithraism differed from Christianity in the exclusion of women from its ceremonies and in its willingness to compromise with polytheism. The similarities, however, made possible the easy conversion of its followers to Christian doctrine." Infopedia article on Mithraism.

If we accept this line of thought with 'Christian' beliefs, then we should never try to convert someone who is in paganism, for their beliefs may be absorbed into 'Christianity' at some later date making our work unnecessary. Also it removes the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil and causes confusion, which according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance is the meaning for Babylon (H1101). According to the book 'The Two Babylons' by Alexander Hislop, the roots of every pagan religion known today, as well as that of the Roman Catholic Church, are from ancient Babylon and its sun worship system revolving around Nimrod, Semiramis and her son.

But, the Word of God tells us:-

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" Exodus 20:4, 5.

"And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:
For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets." 2 Kings 17:9 - 13.

"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." Proverbs 4:26, 27.

"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." Exodus 23:24.

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:8,9.

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." Romans 1:21 - 25.

"This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing." Jeremiah 13:10.

Time and time again we read of the children of Israel turning to idols and idolatrous worship and the prophets calling upon them to turn from their evil ways, and worship God. In Ezekiel 8:8 - 18 we read of people worshipping the sun and idols, and weeping for Tammuz. Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17 - 25 tells us about people burning incense, making cakes and offering drink offerings to the queen of heaven. Ashtoreth and Ashtaroth are mentioned several times as goddess of worship - 1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:13; Judges 2:13; 10:6; 1 Samuel 7:3,4; 12:10; 31:10; 1 Chronicles 7:71. The making of altars to Baal, burning of incense to him, setting up groves to him, and following the worship of his followers is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. In all of these cases it was considered an abomination before the Lord, and Israel was taken captive numerous times because they refused to abandon this type of worship and follow the one and true God.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8), He does not change (Malachi 3:6), so what was pagan worship and what was used as pagan symbols for gods, not the real God, in ancient times is still considered pagan by God today. If we are to be His followers we should follow His example and also consider these things pagan and abandon their use no matter what other people claim about them.

Part 1.
How the ancient mythological gods are depicted,
and how many of them we still use today.

In this part of the study we will have a look at how some of the ancient mythological gods are depicted and some of their symbols. Some are depicted as monsters, yet others as lovely beings, but how many of these ancient gods do we see depicted in our everyday lives, without us giving them a second thought. Even some of those depicted as monsters have made their way into quite a few so-called cartoons for children, while many others are depicted in many and assorted movies for all ages. Still others are now considered "Christian", but have only had their names changed.

As you read through them keep in mind that a symbol can be a short cut to communication and can imply information. Take, for instance, a sign along the highway with a shell on it. When we see this sign we instantly know that there is a petrol station up ahead. But what does a shell have to do with petrol? Nothing! It is, in fact, a symbol of the sun god. Therefore it has implied irrelevant information and has been used as a communication short cut. There are two ways of interpreting symbols. The first way is intuitively - by experience, feeling and emotions. The second way is rational - original intended meaning. Those who use symbols want people to use the first method, because the fathers of symbolism believe that symbols can do the same thing as hypnosis. They can bypass the power of the conscious, to the subconscious transmitting any information they want to you, the same as NLP and psychology.

I have made some comments which are indented, comparing some of the depictions of ancient gods to what we use today.

ANUBIS, Egyptian mythology, god of the dead, in art he is represented as jackal-headed or in the form of a dog. He is also depicted with the scales of justice.

APIS, sacred bull of the ancient Egyptians, is represented as a man with the head of a bull.

APOLLO, Greek mythology, god of light and song, is depicted as driving a chariot of the sun across the skies.

ARISTAEUS, Greek Mythology, son of the god Apollo and the nymph Cyrene, was often represented as a youthful shepherd carrying a lamb.

Many of us have seen or own pictures of a young shepherd carrying a lamb, thinking it is Jesus. Yes, Jesus is the good shepherd, but he carried the lamb or sheep on his shoulders not in his arms as the god Aristaeus does.

ARTEMIS, Greek mythology, goddess of the moon, is often pictured with a stag or a hunting dog.

ATHENS, Greek mythology, goddess of war, often called Pallas Athena or simply Pallas. The Romans identified her as Minerva. She was usually shown wearing a helmet and carrying a spear and shield. Like her father, Zeus, she wore the magic aegis a goatskin breastplate, fringed with snakes, that produces thunderbolts when shaken.

BACCHUS, Greek and Roman mythology, god of wine, identified with Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, and Liber, the Roman god of wine. The distinguishing mark of his priests was either the shaving of the crown or the whole of the head.

Today, there are many religious and non-religious people who shave their heads, most of whom are probably not aware of the pagan significance of it.

CUPID, Roman mythology, son of Venus, goddess of love. His Greek counterpart was Eros, god of love. He is commonly represented in art as a naked infant, often blind-folded, and carrying both a bow and a quiver of arrows.

This little fellow is everywhere, especially during February. He is quite prevalent in Christian paintings and cards where he can be either solo or multiple figures.

CYBELE, Babylonian mythology, is usually depicted as a woman with a mural or small tower crown or with a fortification on her head.

DAGON, Philistines fish-god. He was either depicted as top half man and bottom half fish, or with the head of the fish forming a mitre above the head of the man, while its scaly, fan-like tail fell as a cloak behind, leaving the human limbs and feet exposed.

The head of the fish forming a mitre above the head of a man, representing the fish god Dagon, is the same mitre which the Pope and other religious leaders frequently wear.

DAPHNE, Greek mythology, nymph, daughter of the river god Peneus. The god Apollo fell in love with Daphne, and when she refused his advances, he pursued her through the woods. She prayed to her father for help, and as Apollo advanced upon her, she was changed into a laurel tree. Grief-stricken at her transformation, Apollo made the laurel his sacred tree.

DIANA, goddess of the Ephesians, is depicted with a tower crown on her head. Her constant symbol is the bee. The chief priest himself was called Essen, or the king-bee.

EROS, Greek mythology, the god of love and counterpart of the Roman Cupid. He was depicted as a winged youth, slight but beautiful, often with eyes covered to symbolise the blindness of love. Sometimes he carried a flower, but more commonly the silver bow and arrows.

This little fellow is everywhere, especially during February. He is quite prevalent in Christian paintings and cards where he can be either solo or multiple figures.

FAUNS, Greek mythology, attendants of Faunus, creatures half men and half goats, the counterparts of the Greek Satyrs.

How often do see the devil depicted similar to the Fauns or Satyrs or Pan, half men and half goats? Yet the Bible tells us that he was one of the most magnificent creatures that God made (Ezekiel 28:13). Though he would have aged, his appearance would not have changed.

GENIUS, Roman mythology, a protecting or guardian spirit. In art, the genius of a person was depicted as a winged youth; the genius of a place as a serpent.

GORGON, Greek mythology, one of the three monstrous daughters of the sea god Phorcys and his wife, Ceto. The Gorgons were terrifying, dragon like creatures, covered with golden scales and having snakes for hair.

HATHOR, Egyptian mythology, the queen of heaven as well as the goddess of the sky, love, laughter, beauty, fertility and the patron of women and marriage. Daughter of the sun god Ra and wife and the sky god Horus, she was depicted as a woman with the head of a cow, or as a star-studded cow. Her name also appears as Athor or Athyr. She was identified with the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

HECATE, Greek mythology, goddess of darkness, often represented with either three bodies or three heads and with serpents entwined about her neck.

HEPHAESTUS, Greek god of fire, whose express symbol was the burning torch. His Roman counterpart was Vulcan, in Chaldea Zoroaster, and in Palestine Moloch. The Greek goddess Hestia and Roman goddess Vesta were also associated with fire.

When thinking of the burning torch, which we use widely today, the main one that stands out for me is the Olympic torch, which is never allowed to go out, and is carried by athletes around the country which will hold the next games.

HERCULES, Greek mythology, the Roman name of the Greek hero Heracles, who is usually represented as strong and muscular, clad in a lion skin and carrying a club.

HERMES, Greek mythology, messenger of the gods, is often depicted with winged sandals, and a winged hat and bore a golden Caduceus, or magic wand, entwined with snakes and surmounted by wings.

HORUS, Egyptian mythology, god of the sky and of light and goodness, was a god in the form a falcon; an infant with a finger held to his lips (known as Harpocrates by the Greeks and Romans); or as an infant in the arms of his mother, Isis.

HUITZILOPOCHTLI, in Aztec religion, the god of war and of the sun, usually depicted either as a hummingbird or a warrior wearing hummingbird feathers for armour.

INDRA, in Vedic myth, god of the atmosphere, storms, rain, and battle. In Hindu art Indra is portrayed as golden or red. Numerous divine attendants generally accompany him, joined sometimes by his dog Sarma. When not travelling on foot, he rides wither on his celestial elephant Airavata or on a white horse. Frequently, he is represented as having four arms: one hand holds a thunderbolt (his special weapon); a second wields a spear; a third holds a quiver of arrows; and the forth carries a net of illusions and a hook to entrapping and tripping of foes.

IO, Greek mythology, daughter of the river god Inachus, whom Zeus changed into a white Heifer.

IRIS, Greek mythology, goddess of the rainbow, although she was a sister of the winged monsters the Harpies, Iris was represented as a beautiful maiden, with wings and robes of bright colours and a halo of light on her head, tailing across the sky with a rainbow in her wake.

We might not always have her with the rainbow in her wake, but we do often see beautiful maidens, with wings and robes of bright colours and a halo of light on her head depicted.

ISHTAR, chief goddess of the Babylonians and the Assyrians and the counter part of Astarte, a Phoenician goddess. Also known as Athtar in Arabia, Astar in Abyssina (now Ethiopia), and Ashtart in Cannan and Israel. As a goddess Ishtar was the Great Mother, the goddess of fertility and the queen of heaven. She was considered a goddess of hunting and war by the Assyrians, and was depicted with sword, bow and quiver of arrows. Among the Babylonians, Ishtar was distinctly the mother goddess and was portrayed either naked and with prominent breasts, or as a mother with a child at her breast.

What about an infant in the arms of his mother? This symbol is used widely all around the world as images of worship supposedly of Jesus & Mary, yet they represent pagan gods and goddesses, whose origin can be traced back to Semiramis and Nimrod, way back around the time of the Tower of Babel.

ISIS, Egyptian mythology, goddess of fertility and motherhood, was frequently pictured with her infant son, Horus. She was also represented in human form wearing cow's horns, since the cow was considered sacred to her.

What about an infant in the arms of his mother? This symbol is used widely all around the world as images of worship supposedly of Jesus & Mary, yet they represent pagan gods and goddesses, whose origin can be traced back to Semiramis and Nimrod, way back around the time of the Tower of Babel.

JUNO, Roman mythology, queen of the gods or the queen of heaven. She was also worshipped as the incarnation of the holy spirit as a dove, and was depicted as a dove, sometimes with an olive branch in her mouth.

Today a white dove, sometimes with an olive branch in its mouth, is used to represent peace or the Holy Spirit. Some claim that this symbol is from the story of Noah when sent the dove from the ark and it came back with the olive twig; or the Dove descending on Christ at His baptism. However, nobody knows the colour of the dove released by Noah. Ellen White in the book Selected Messages No 1, p. 227 par. 1 states, "When He was baptized of John in Jordan, as He came up out of the water, the Spirit of God, like a dove of burnished gold, descended upon Him, ..."

KHNEMU, Egyptian mythology, was depicted as human with the head of a ram.

MINOTAUR, Greek mythology, a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man.

MOLOCH, Cannanite god of barbarity and blood, whose image bore, as a symbol of majesty, a whip. At some festivals his worshippers were to unmercifully scourge themselves.

NIKE, Greek mythology, goddess of victory. In Greek art she is sometimes represented as a winged female and carrying a wreath or palm of victory.

NYMPHS, in Greek and Roman mythology, lesser divinities or spirits of nature, dwelling in groves and fountains, forests, meadows, streams and the sea, represented as young and beautiful maidens, fond of music and dancing.

OSIRIS, Egyptian mythology, god of the sun, agriculture and health and of the dead, took the form of the sacred bull, Apis. He was also represented wrapped in mummy cloths and wearing a crown.

PAN, Greek mythology, was depicted with goat's horns, hoofs and tail, but his head was like that of man.

How often do see the devil depicted similar to the Fauns or Satyrs or Pan, half men and half goats? Yet the Bible tells us that he was one of the most magnificent creatures that God made (Ezekiel 28:13). Though he would have aged, his appearance would not have changed.

PEGASUS, Greek mythology, a winged horse, son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and the Gorgon Medusa.

Winged horses are common in TV programs especially for children, and which has resulted in the production of toys like this.

POSEIDON, Greek mythology, god of the sea, he is represented as a bearded and majestic figure, holding a trident (a three-pronged instrument or weapon) and often accompanied by a dolphin. The Romans identified Poseidon with their god of the sea, Neptune.

Quite a few fish and chip shops have this fellow as their symbol or patron, but how many of us know that it is because he was the ancient god of the sea or acknowledge him as such.

PRIAPUS, Greek mythology, god of fertility, protector of gardens and herds. He was usually represented as a grotesque individual with a huge phallus (an image of the erect male reproductive organ, symbolising in certain religious systems the generative power in nature). The Romans set up crude images of Priapus in their gardens as scarecrows.

A scarecrow seems harmless enough even if they don't scare the crows away, until we find out that it originated in Rome as a crude depiction of Priapus.

PTAH, Egyptian mythology, one of the greatest gods, and usually represented as a mummy bearing the symbols of life, power, and stability.

Many movies and children's programs on T.V. depict mummies, which is how the god Ptah of Egypt was depicted.

RA or RE, Egyptian mythology, the sun god and was depicted as human with the head of a hawk. His chief symbols being the sun disk or circle; the obelisk which represents an erect male reproductive organ; the sacred scarab beetle also called the dung beetle because it lived in and formed balls of dung, the ball of dung represented the earth and the beetle represented the sun; and the uraeus cobra.

The sun disk or halo, with or without rays coming from it, which means 'the seed'; the obelisk so commonly placed on top of churches and called steeples, erected in public places, or hidden in the architecture on the front of the churches (see Part 4, Phallicism); scarab beetles and the uraeus cobra are all depicted as supposedly Christian symbols.

SATURN, Roman mythology, ancient god of agriculture, later identified with the Greek god Cronus. In art Saturn is usually shown bearded, carrying a sickle or an ear of corn.

SATYRS, Greek mythology, attendants of Dionysus were depicted with bodies of animals and had small horns and tails like a goat's.

SERAPIS, also SARAPIS, Greek and Egyptian mythology, a deity, variously associated with Osiris, Hermes and Hades. Serapis was believed by Egyptians to be a human manifestation of Apis, a sacred dead bull that symbolised Osiris.

SHAKTI, Hindu mother goddess, like Shiva, she can be either beneficial or fierce, depending on her form. As Parvati she is depicted as a beautiful woman in middle age. As Kali she is a giantess with black skin, a blood-red tongue and large tusks. Kali carries an assortment of weapons and wears a garland of human skulls around her neck. The mother goddess thus stands for all aspects of nature from birth to death.

SHIVA, Hindu god, is depicted in a number of forms such as a wandering beggar, half man and half female, or a dancer.

State LARES, ancient Rome, patrons and protectors of the city who were depicted as men wearing military cloaks, carrying lances, and seated with a dog (the symbol of watchfulness) nearby.

TAMMUZ, Phoenician and Assyrian god, whose chief emblem was the first letter of his name 't' or the cross. This was sometimes placed with a circle either on top of it or encircling it, to identify him with the sun. The cross was marked on the official garments of his priests, worn by believers suspended from a necklace, and featured widely on depictions of him.

How many today believe the cross to be a sacred or holy Christian symbol, but do not realise that by accepting and using it they are acknowledging, not the true Saviour, but the false saviour of this world, Nimrod. When crucified upon the cross, our Lord and Saviour was being offered, by the Romans, as a human sacrifice to Nimrod.

THEMIS, Greek mythology, one of the Titans and goddess of divine justice and law, was represented in art as holding aloft a pair of scales on which she weighs the claims of opposing parties.

On most court houses today we see the representation of this ancient god, holding aloft a pair of scales.

THOTH, Egyptian mythology, was depicted as a human with the head of an ibis.

UNICORN, fabled beast, pure white in colour, having the head and legs of a horse and a long, twisted horn set in the middle of its forehead. Symbolic of holiness and chastity.

The unicorn is widely used in our modern society.

VESTA, Roman mythology, the goddess of the hearth, worshipped by Roman families as a household deity. In form the goddess was associated with the flames of her fire. Her Greek counterpart was Hestia.

Fireworks and bonfires seem really nice, until you realise that they are associated with the worship of Vesta or Hestia as works of fire in her honour.

ZEUS, Greek mythology, god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. Zeus corresponds to the Roman god Jupiter. Zeus' image was represented in sculptural works as a kingly, bearded figure.

We may not be able to eliminate all of these things from our lives, but when we know the truth, instead of admiring or carelessly using them, we will abhor them, just as the only true God abhors them. For this He will bless us.

© S. D. Goeldner.

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© S. D. Goeldner, 1999. Last updated November, 2019.

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