Genesis Account of Creation

THE BOOK OF GENESIS
ITS ACCOUNT OF CREATION

THE book of Genesis opens with the grandest theme that ever occupied the thoughts of created intelligences; the Work of God, in bringing into being the material universe, and peopling it with organic, conscious life. The style and manner of treatment are in harmony with the grandeur of the theme. In few and powerful strokes, the progressive stages of the work are pictured to the mind, on a scale of magnificence unparalleled in writings human or divine.

It is much to be regretted that these characteristic traits of the account of the Creation, shadowing forth its impenetrable mysteries in broad and general outlines, should have been overlooked in its interpretation. This sublime Epic of Creation, with its boldly figurative imagery, and poetic grandeur of conception and expression, has been subjected to a style of interpretation, suited only to a plain and literal record of the ordinary occurrences of life. Hence, not only its true spirit, but its profound teachings, have been misconceived and misinterpreted; and its exhibition of the mysteries of creative power, which science traces in its own observation of Nature, have been confounded with popular misapprehensions, irreconcilable with the well-known facts of science.

A reconciliation of the Biblical account with the facts of Geological science has been attempted on a false theory; namely, that the several stages in the earth’s formation took place in an assumed interval of time between the first and second verses; an interval of vast and indefinite length, unnoticed by the sacred writer. During this interval, the successive processes in the formation of the earth was completed, and the successive orders of vegetable and animal life, the remains of which are found imbedded in its strata, were brought into existence and perished; that the account of the present state of things on the earth’s surface begins with the description in the second verse, representing the chaotic condition of its surface after the last of its great internal convulsions; and what follows, in verses 3-31, occurred in six natural days of twenty-four hours.

    The objections to this theory are:

1. There is no foundation for it in the sacred writer’s statement. He gives no intimation of such an interval. It is thrust in, where there is no indication that it was present to his mind, and no reason for it in the connection.

2. It assumes that the sacred writer has not given us an account of the Creator’s work, but only of a part of it; that for unknown ages the earth was peopled with vegetable and animal life, of which no record is made.

3. It is without support in the facts ascertained by science. Scientific investigation shows that no such convulsion, as is assumed in this theory, occurred at the period preceding the creation of man.

Hence the latest advocates of this theory are driven to the assumption, that what is revealed in verses 3-31 has reference only to a small area of western Asia; being nothing more than the reconstruction of that little segment of the earth’s surface, broken up and thrown into confusion by an internal convulsion, and the creation there of the new orders of vegetable and animal life that now occupy the globe.

On this supposition, the earth had already enjoyed the full light of the sun for ages, before the work of the first day (verse 3) began. Even then all around this little tract, the earth was in a blaze of light; but over this tract dense mists shut out the rays of the sun. God said: “Let there be light!” The mists grew thinner, letting in sufficient light for the time, though not enough to disclose the forms of the heavenly orbs, which were not seen there till the fourth day, though visible everywhere else. Then follow, in rapid succession of single days, the formation of continents and seas, the clothing of the earth with vegetation, and the peopling of it with the various classes of irrational animals, and finally with Man.

The infinite God has not revealed his work of creation on such a scale as this; and its proportions are better suited to the conception of the timid interpreter, stumbling at minute difficulties and seeking to evade them, than to the grand and fearless exposition of his work from God’s own hand.

4. It is an unworthy conception of the Creator and of his work. Why was the work of reation extended through six natural days, when a single divine volition would have brought the whole universe into being, with all its apparatus for the support of life, and its myriads of living beings? Its extension through six successive periods, of whatever duration, can be explained only by the operation of those secondary causes, which the structure of the earth itself proves to have been active in its formation, requiring ages for their accomplishment.

It is now established, beyond question, that the earth we inhabit was brought into existence many ages before man was created. During these ages it was in process of formation, and was gradually prepared, under the divine direction, for its future occupation by man. In those vast periods, succeeding each other in long procession, it was fitted up for his abode by accumulations of mineral wealth within its bosom. These processes required ages for their completion, as represented in the sacred narrative, and recorded by the divine hand in the successive strata enveloping the earth, and marking the progressive stages of its formation.*

*”Every great feature in the structure of the planet corresponds with the order of the events narrated in the sacred history.” – Prof. Silliman, Outline of Geological Lectures, appended to Bakewell’s Geology, p.67, note. “This history furnished a record important alike to philosophy and religion; and we find in the planet itself the proof that the record is true” (p.30).

The writer has no claim to speak as a geologist, and does not profess to do so. He takes the teachings of geology as given us by eminent masters of the science, entitled to speak on its behalf. But, speaking as an interpreter of God’s Word, and taking their representation of their own science, he sees no discordance between the two records, which the same divine Author has given us in his Word and in his works. The former, when rightly interpreted, is in perfect accord with the latter, when truly exhibited. And geologists themselves assert that the Word of God, so interpreted, is in harmony with the teachings of their science. This alone is sufficient to satisfy the candid and conscientious inquirer. But they assert, also, that the divine Word explains the divine work, while the divine work confirms the divine Word. Moreover, no human philosophy could have discovered, or conjectured, what is here revealed.* The divine record was made when science had not yet penetrated the mysteries of Nature; when the earth’s record of its own history was still buried deep in its enveloping strata, and had been read by no human eye. As, therefore, no one witnessed the scenes described, or had read the “testimony of the rocks,” the written account, if true, as science admits it to be, must have been of superhuman origin.

*”No human mind was witness of the events; and no such mind in the early age of the world, unless gifted with superhuman intelligence, could have contrived such a scheme; – would have placed the creation of the sun, the source of light to the earth, so long after the creation of light, even on the fourth day, and, what is equally singular, between the creation of plants and that of animals, when so important to both; and none could have reached to the depths of philosophy exhibited in the whole plan.” – Dana, Manual of Geology, art. Cosmogony, p.743.

The successive stages in the account of the Creation are as follows: –

1. The act of bringing matter into being. Its condition as “waste and empty,” and subjection to the divine influence imparting to it its active properties. Production of light, as the first effect of this imparted action.+

+Styled cosmical in distinction from solar light.

2. Separation of the fluid mass into waters above and waters below.

3. Separation of land and water on the earth. Vegetation, beginning with its lowest orders.

4. Sun, moon and stars.

5. Animal life, beginning with inhabitants of the waters, the lowest in the scale, and winged species on the land.

6. Terrestrial animals, in ascending grades. Man, and his dominion over all.++

++”In this succession,” says Prof. Dana (Manual of Geology, as above, p.745), “we observe not merely an order of events, like that deduced from science; there is a system in the arrangement, and a far-reaching prophecy, to which philosophy could not have attained, however instructed.”

These periods of creative activity, and the cessation that followed, were presented to the mind of the sacred writer under the familiar symbolism of the six days of labor and the seventh of rest. This was a natural and intelligible application of it; the word day, the simplest and most familiar measure of time, being used in all languages for any period of duration, of greater or less extent; and it is specially appropriate in such a style of representation as we find in this chapter.

The six days of labor, and the seventh of rest, having been adopted as the symbolism under which these sublime mysteries are revealed, whatever properly belongs to it, and [R1609 : page 12] is essential to its full expression, is pertinent to the writer’s object. Each period being represented by a “day,” its beginning and end are described in terms proper to represent a day: “there was evening and there was morning.” This was necessary, in order to preserve the symbolic representation.

It should be observed that the sacred writer, throughout this account, represents things under forms of expression most easily apprehended by the common mind. The narrative was given to instruct, and not to perplex and confound, the common reader, as it would have done if expressed in scientific forms, adapted to a higher stage of culture than the Bible requires, or could properly presuppose, in its readers.

Such a view of the sacred narrative exalts our conception of the divine Architect, and of his work. He who inhabits eternity has no need to be in a hurry. With him, a thousand years are as one day. It was not till ages of preparation had passed away, that his purposes found their entire fulfilment, and his work its completed unity, in the creation of man.

According to the distinguished teachers of science – Professors Silliman, Guyot and Dana – the account of the creation recognizes two great eras, an inorganic and an organic, consisting of three days each; each era opening with the appearance of light, that of the first being cosmical, that of the second solar for the special uses of the earth.*

*”I. Inorganic era:
1st Day. – LIGHT cosmical.
2nd Day. – The earth divided from the fluid around, or individualized.
3rd Day. – 1. Outlining of the land and water.
2. Creation of vegetation.

II. Organic era:
4th Day. – LIGHT from the sun.
5th Day. – Creation of the lower order of animals.
6th Day. – 1. Creation of Mammals. 2. Creation of Man.”
Dana, Manual of Geology, p.745.

It need not be supposed that the sacred writer read in these wonderful revelations all the mysteries which they contain, or that they were seen by those to whom the revelations were first addressed. It was not necessary that he or they should be made wise in physical learning beyond the wants of their time; and the symbolism itself conveyed all the instruction they needed.

– T. J. CONANT.

The above is republished from The Watch Tower, January 15, 1894.

Genesis 1:1-2:4 – Seven days when no days? (r-blogger: creation)

The question was presented: How could the earth be made in seven literal days, since without the earth, there would have been no days? The argument seems to be that if there is no earth, then there could have been no days in which the earth was created.

Actually, the scriptures no where state that the planet earth was created in seven days, but rather that the heavens and the earth were created in six days, and on the seventh, Yahweh rested from creation. — Genesis 1:1-2:2; Exodus 20:11; Exodus 31:17.

How could the heavens and earth be created in “six days,” if there were no “days” until the earth was created? To understand this, we need to realize that in the Bible, as in well as in our common speech today, “earth” does not always mean the planet, and “day” does not always mean 24 hours.

In the first chapter of Genesis, for instance, “earth” is used in at least two different ways, as the earth — the planet — that was without form and void, and also as regarding the dry land. — Genesis 1:9,10.

Likewise, heavens is used to refer to that is spoken of in Genesis 1:7-10 is referring to the atmosphere, the air and that which is above the earth that is formed as result of the separating of the waters below and the waters below.

Furthermore, the word “day” is used in at least three different ways, related to at least three different periods of time, in the first two chapters of Genesis. We first have each of six days referred to as being and evening and a morning. (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31) Then we have the “day” that is referred to as “light.” (Genesis 1:5) We also have the additionally single “day” in which the heavens and the earth were created, which single “day” includes the six days mentioned before. — Genesis 2:4.

And we have the “days” mentioned in Genesis 1:14, as well as the “day” that is mentioned in the same verse and also in Genesis 1:15. The “days” in Genesis 1:14 are evidently referring to the 24-hour “days”, while the “day” is referring to the period of time that the 24-hour “day’ has “light.” This is averaged to be 12 hours. (John 11:29) Thus in Genesis 1:14,15 we have two different periods of time, both of which are called “day.”

Thus we conclude, based on the scriptures, that the “earth” spoken of as being created in Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; and Exodus 31:17, was created in six literal “days” — six periods of time, as the scriptures state. We do not conclude, however, that those “six days” were days of 24 hours, nor do we accept the idea that the “earth” spoken of as being created in Genesis 1:1 refers to the planet itself.

The Bible gives us no indication of as to when the planet was created, but in Genesis 1:2, it simply reads when those six days began, that the planet earth “was” void and without form.

The “earth” that was created in those six days, pertains to the land mass and the arrangement of things upon the land mass, and in the seas as related to the land mass, as stated in Genesis 1:9-13, as well as the rest of Genesis 1.

Likewise, the “heavens” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 pertains, not to the creating of the galaxies, stars, planetary systems, etc., but rather of the sky and things in the sky, the flying creatures, as well as pertaining the what was being allowed to be seen in the sky, as though from the surface of the earth, that is, the making to appear of the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. This refers to the luminaries as they appeared in the sky — the heavens, not to the creation of the physical sun, moon, and stars.

It is these heavens and earth that are being spoken of as being made in one day, as well as six days. — Genesis 2:4; Exodus 20:11; and Exodus 31:17.

However, neither the one “day” of Genesis 2:4, nor each of the six days do we believe to constitute days of 24 hours each, nor do we believe that the Bible ever gives any indication of how long before the beginning spoken of in Genesis 1:1 that the physical universe was created, or when the planet earth itself was made.

Each of six days could have thousands, millions or even billions of years as we now count time. Likewise, the planet earth could been brought into existence thousands, millions, billions, or even trillions of years (according to the way we now count time) before the “beginning” that is spoken of in Genesis 1:1.

Thus, seen, the six days of creation, although they are literal “days”, in that they are literal periods of time, are not the same as the 24-hour days (Genesis 1:14), nor the averaged “twelve hours” of daylight (John 11:29), that are related to the planet earth’s revolving on its axis.

Related Studies:

Beginnings in the Bible
In the Beginning
Six Days of Creation

Original published on or before January 16, 2009; Updated: March 15, 2014.

Genesis 1 – Are the Creative Days Literal Days? (r-blogger creation)

The days of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 are literal, but literal “days” in the Bible are not always 24 hours long. Genesis 1 uses the word “day” to express at least three time lengths (we believe four). Each “day” is literal, but the time lengths are different.

Genesis 1:5 uses the word “day” to express two different time lengths.

Genesis 1:5 God called the light Day (avg 12 hours — John 11:9), and the darkness he called Night. There was evening and there was morning, one day (undisclosed length).

Both of these references to “day” are literal, but they are not both the same time length.

The average 12 hour literal “day” is again spoken of Genesis 1:14,16,18. However, the plural “days” is also used in Genesis 1:14, which refers to literal days of 24 hours each.

Then in Genesis 2:4 the whole six days of creation are referred to as one day. All of the expressions of “day” and “days” are speaking of literal days, but they are not all the same length in time.

Considering that the length of the creative days is not indicated, I believe that each day represents a long period of time (perhaps thousands, or even millions, or even billions of years), each with a beginning, designated an evening, and each being brought to fullness, represented by the morning. With such an understanding, the “evening” and “morning” might be considered symbolic, but the days themselves are literal days.(Nevertheless, one might also consider the “evenings/mornings” themselves literal in the setting given; just different from what we normally think of as evening and morning.) There are six literal days of creation listed, none of which are stated to be 24 hours long, nor are we told that each of the days are equal to each other in length.

Believing as we do, that the six literal days of creation are extremely long periods of time, there are at least four different time periods, and maybe more, if each of the creative days does not represent equal time lengths.

Related:
The Six Days of Creation

Jacob’s Prevailing Prayer

“I won’t let you go, unless you bless me.”
Genesis 32:26, World English Version.

(1) FLEEING from his father’s home, Jacob traveled a distance of nearly five hundred miles to Chaldea, the original home of his grandfather Abraham, where his uncle Laban still lived. His esteem for the promise of God had made him a pilgrim and a stranger, a wanderer from home, just as Abraham’s faithfulness to the call had taken him from home in the opposite direction. In the promise Yahweh makes to Jacob, he reiterates the promise as give to Abraham, that by his seed all families of the earth will be blessed. (Genesis 28:14) As we learn in the NT, the seed of promise consists of Jesus and the spirit-begotten sons of God. (Galatians 3:16,25,29) In order to prove Jacob’s worthiness of the blessings — in order to test his faith in God’s promises, he was permitted to pass through various trying experiences and disappointments. One of these was a love affair with Rachel, his cousin, for whom he served his uncle in all fourteen years, seven before he got her as a wife, and seven years afterward; his uncle taking a dishonest advantage of him in the arrangement. (Genesis 29:10-28) Nevertheless, we see Jacob’s patience and persistency, and note with pleasure that he never for a moment seems to have doubted the promises of God that he should be blessed as the inheritor of the Abrahamic promise.

(2) “Not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving” Yahweh; (Romans 12:11) would seem to apply well to Jacob’s career. So energetic was he in Laban’s service, so successful in all that he undertook, so persevering, that his uncle soon considered his service indispensable, and was glad to make favorable terms with him to have him remain and take chief charge of his property. Shrewdly Jacob bargained for an interest in the increase of the flocks and herds, etc., as his salary, and practically became a partner. There was nothing dishonest in his making a bargain with Laban that all the brown sheep and streaked and speckled goats should be his; nor was there anything wrong in his scientifically increasing the proportionate numbers of these colored and speckled animals. (Genesis 30:26-43) Laban became aware, before long, that he had a very capable and shrewd son-in-law, and, moreover, that Yahweh’s blessing was with him. (Genesis 24:50; 30:27) Laban heard the words of his sons, and became displeased with Jacob. Through a message from angel, Jacob was told to return to the land of his birth. (Genesis 31) He surmised, however, not without good cause, that his uncle would use force to restrain him from leaving, or to take from him some of the cattle, etc., which were properly his under the contract, and hence he chose an opportunity for leaving when Laban was absent.

(3) Laban was evidently a powerful sheik, having many servants, and indeed Jacob had become so by this time, as the narrative shows that he was able, shortly after, to give away as a present to his brother Esau, 220 goats, 220 sheep, 30 camels, 50 head of cattle and 20 donkeys. (Genesis 32:13-15) But when Laban pursued, with the full intention of bringing back Jacob, his family and servants and flocks and herds, God interfered, warning Laban in a dream, saying, “Take heed to thyself from speaking with Jacob from good unto evil.” (Genesis 31:29, Young’s Literal Translation, see also KJV margin). In consequence of this dream, and Jacob’s subsequent fair statement of his side of the case, showing clearly that he had not wronged Laban, but that Laban had repeatedly dealt badly with him, he was let go on his way in peace.

(4) The scriptures reveal the peaceable disposition of Abraham, and also of Isaac, and now we note that Jacob not only left home and abandoned his share in the father’s house, and family property belonging to the birthright he had purchased, rather than quarrel with his brother, but that similarly in dealing with his uncle he refused to quarrel; he submitted himself; he trusted Yahweh to bring out the results rather than to his own strength for a conflict, either mental or physical. Yahweh apparently would have the spiritual Israelites learn this lesson: “Seek peace and pursue it;” (Psalm 34:14; 1 Peter 3:11) “Wait for Yahweh, and he will save you.” (Proverbs 20:22) It is not of God’s arrangement that the spiritual Israelites should contend with weapons of the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:4); but rather that they should submit themselves to the powers that be (Romans 13:1), learning the lessons which accompany such submission (Romans 5:3); and have developed in them the faith, the trust, the hope in God, necessary to a maintenance of their relationship to him, and growth in his grace. — 1 Peter 3:18.

(5) The journey of Jacob back to the land of his nativity and to the presence of a presumably hostile brother, now wealthy and powerful, and from whose face he had fled for his life some forty years previous (Genesis 27:41-28:5), was another evidence of his faith in God and of his respect for, and valuation of, the promises of God, whose fulfilment could be expected only in a far distant future. Like Abraham, he looked for a city whose builder and maker is God — the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God on earth. He knew that Abraham had died in faith not having realized the promises, and he was willing to likewise patiently wait. — Hebrews 11:10.

Genesis 32:1,2: Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When he saw them, Jacob said, “This is God’s host.” He called the name of that place Mahanaim”

(6) Jacob refers to the angels (messengers) who met him as “God’s host,” or, host of ELOHIM. How the angels met Jacob and appeared to him is not stated in the scriptures. Regardless, the point is that their appearance did give Jacob encouragement in his journey back to Canaan, and Jacob acknowledges these angels as the host of God.

(7) The word Mahanaim means “two camps”, or “double camp”. It is possible that by using this term Jacob referred to two camps: one visible, that is, Jacob and his hosts, and another invisible, that is, God’s angels who were being made visible to Jacob in some manner. Regardless, the thought appears to be that Jacob recognized that the mighty host of angels were with him, which gave him courage.

(8) Genesis 32:3,4: Jacob sent messengers in front of him to Esau, his brother, to the land of Seir, the field of Edom. He commanded them, saying, “This is what you shall tell my lord, Esau: ‘This is what your servant, Jacob, says. I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now.'”

(9) By this statement, Jacob shows that this return from Padan-aram to the land of Canaan, the land of promise, can by no means be considered the fulfilment of the promise of possession of the land, the whole land of Canaan, for himself and his posterity for an everlasting possession, as some teach. To such a claim the Apostle Paul gives most emphatic denial, and shows that this promise never was fulfilled to them; nor has it even yet been fulfilled to their posterity, though it most assuredly will be, both to them, and to their posterity, at the time appointed. Paul says “By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went. By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents [temporary, movable dwellings], with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for the city [an established kingdom] which has the foundations [permanence], whose builder and maker is God… These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth [upon the land (Greek, Ge, Strong’s #1093) they were dwelling in]. — Hebrews 11:9,10,13; see also Genesis 23:4; 47:9; Psalm 119:19.

(10) After forty years’ absence from home, Jacob was ready at Yahweh’s command (Genesis 28:15,20,21; 32:9) to return. Experience had taught him confidence in God and lack of confidence in his uncle Laban. Jacob was now ninety-seven years old, and rich in flocks and herds; and with his wives and twelve sons he started on the then long journey of four hundred and fifty miles, humanly fearful of the consequences, yet, notwithstanding his fears, boldly walking out on the promises of God.

(11) Genesis 32:9-11: Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, Yahweh, who said to me, ‘Return to your country, and to your relatives, and I will do you good.’ I am not worthy of the least of all the lovingkindnesses, and of all the truth, which you have shown to your servant; for with just my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I have become two companies. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he come and strike me, and the mothers with the children.

(12) This is acclaimed as the first recorded prayer in the Bible (at least, it is the first recorded as what we might refer to as a “formal” prayer), and it is beautifully humble, simple and trustful, and was acceptable to God. Verse 9 is a reverent and trustful address to Yahweh, the God of his fathers Abraham and Isaac, recalling the divine command and promise of protection. (Genesis 31:3,11-13) Verse 10 disclaims any personal worthiness of this divine favor, not only of present protection and care, but also of “the truth,” the precious promises granted unto him. Then he thankfully acknowledges the blessings already received. While with his staff only he had passed over the Jordan, now he had become two bands. This much is fulfilment of the promise of a numerous posterity — ” as the sand which is on the seashore.” — Genesis 22:17.

(13) In verses 11,12 Jacob tells Yahweh of his fears of his brother, and asks for the promised protection. Thus with childlike simplicity he comes to God as to a loving father.

(14) Genesis 32:24-28: Jacob was left alone, and wrestled with a “man” there until the breaking of the day. When he saw that he didn’t prevail against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled. The man said, “Let me go, for the day breaks.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go, unless you bless me.” He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name will no longer be called ‘Jacob,’ but, ‘Israel,’ for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

(15) In answer to Jacob’s fervent, trustful prayer God sent an angel, evidently to comfort and direct him. [The angel is referred to as a “man”, not because he was actually a man, but because he made his appearance as such. We know that this “man” was actually angel because of what we read in Hosea 12:4.] But Jacob was anxious for more than comfort and direction in mere temporal things, and all night therefore he pleaded with the angel for some special evidence of divine favor beyond temporal things. The angel, too, had a blessing in store for him, but delayed its bestowal until the break of day, that Jacob might have a chance of proving the strength of his desire and appreciation of the divine favor. Thus God would have all his children “strive to enter in” to the blessings promised, and to “fight the good fight of faith,” and so lay hold on eternal life. (Luke 13:24; 1 Timothy 6:12) We may not listlessly drift into the divine favor. We must greatly appreciate and earnestly seek for it. (Proverbs 8:17; Luke 15:8; Hebrews 11:6) As another test of Jacob’s faith and earnestness, instead of the desired blessing came a severe affliction — probably what is now known as sciatica, a very painful affliction of the sciatic nerve. But even this affliction did not in the least dissuade Jacob from his desire and determination to have, if possible, some special evidence of divine favor. Still he plead with the angel of Yahweh.

(16) The man said, “Let me go, for the day breaks.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go, unless you bless me.” Then came the blessing, a blessing worthy of the night’s striving, and one which doubtless made his affliction seem comparatively light. (Genesis 32:26) Like Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7), the affliction became but a reminder of the promise and favor of God, and served doubtless to keep him from being unduly elated.

He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name will no longer be called ‘Jacob,’ but, ‘Israel,’ for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.” — Genesis 32:27,28.

(17) The angel tells Jacob that his name is being changed to Israel, which means “a prince with God”. In these words was couched the future glory and exaltation of Jacob as a prince in the earthly, visible phase of the Kingdom of God. “You [will] see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:28; Matthew 8:11. See also Psalm 45:16) Jacob then asks for the name of this angel of Yahweh, that he might hold him in lasting and grateful remembrance.

(18) Some trinitarians point to verse 27 and say that Jacob actually fought with God Almighty who supposedly was the second person of the trinity (Jesus) who appeared to Jacob here. It is then assumed that Jacob actually wrestled here with God Almighty, since the trinity holds that Jesus is God Almighty. Young’s Literal Translation of Genesis 22:28 reads: “And he saith, `Thy name is no more called Jacob, but Israel; for thou hast been a prince with God and with men, and dost prevail.'” We are not to think that Jacob had power of himself to prevail against God Almighty, as it might seem from some translations. The proper thought is that Jacob obtained power from God to prevail against the angel. While Matthew Henry seems to think that Jacob actually wrestled with God Almighty, he does state: “It was not in his own strength that he wrestled, nor by his own strength that he prevailed, but in and by strength derived from Heaven. That of Job illustrates this (Job 23:6), Will he plead against me with his great power? No (had the angel done so, Jacob had been crushed), but he will put strength in me; and by that strength Jacob had power over the angel, Hosea 12:4.”*
==========
*Henry, Matthew. “Commentary on Genesis 32”. “Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible”.
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/MatthewHenryComplete/mhc-com.cgi?book=ge&chapter=032.
1706.

(19) “Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ He said, ‘Why is it that you ask what my name is?’ He blessed him there.” (Genesis 32:29) The angel of Yahweh wished Jacob to understand that the blessing was from Yahweh God, whose messenger he was, and therefore he did not tell his name. The case is parallel to that of Manoah and the angel that visited him: “And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass I may do thee honor? And the angel of [Yahweh] said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?” (Judges 13:17,18, King James Version) Thus the true messengers of God always seek to give the highest honor to God, and decline it for themselves. — See Revelation 19:10; John 14:28; Acts 3:12.

Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, he said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” – Genesis 32:30.

(20) How did Jacob “see” God face to face? We are not think that Yahweh actually has a face as a man, and Jacob literally looked upon the face of God Almighty, for Yahweh says: “Man may not see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20) “No one [amongst mankind] has seen God at any time.” (John 1:18) Therefore we reason that Jacob did not actually see the form of God face to face. What he did see was God as represented in the angel of God. “And Jacob said unto Joseph, God almighty appeared unto me at Luz.” (Genesis 48:3, KJV) Hosea 12:4 tells the means by which he “appeared”: “He [Jacob] had power over the angel, and prevailed; He wept, and made supplication to him.” Thus the one with whom Jacob actually dealt with was an angel of Yahweh, not Yahweh himself.

(21) The word translated God in verse 30 is the Hebrew “elohim”, which has as a basic meaning, “power, strength, might”, and used here it would mean a superior might, power. This word is applied to angels in Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7. Thus it is also possble that by using the word “elohim”, Jacob was referring to the angel, one of superior might, whom he thought surely had more power than him, thus we wonders that he is still alive. And as we have pointed out, Hosea 12:4 agrees that it was angel.

(22) Many of our trinitarian neighbors like to “see” in this verse trinity, claiming that the “angel of Yahweh” is actually Yahweh, that is, Jesus, whom they suppose is actually Yahweh himself. Actually, anything about a trinity has to be read into the verse, for there is certainly nothing there about three persons in one God.
See our study: “The Angel of Yahweh“.

(23) Thus Jacob was blessed again as at Bethel. The darkest seasons of his life were the special occasions for the manifestation of divine favor. And so the children of God ever find it when in their fears and perplexities they come to God for rest and consolation.

“E’en sorrow, touched by heaven, grows bright
With more than rapture’s ray,
As darkness shows us worlds of light
We never saw by day.”

Will God Save the Earth (Christians Questions Radio)

Part One

Part Two

Answers questions: Is the earth doomed to destruction, by man’s own doing or by God’s will, or does God have other plans for it? Does God tell us what will happen to the Earth? What does God have in store for humanity?

We do not necessarily agree with all conclusions given in the radio show, but believe the information provided to be beneficial.

(We are presenting the scriptures from the World English, unless otherwise stated, that the Holy Name may be glorified. In the NT, we are restoring the Holy Name at appropriate places that, as best as we can determine, we should expect to find the Holy Name.)

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of [Yahweh] will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

Genesis 6:1 It happened, when men began to multiply on the surface of the ground, and daughters were born to them,
Genesis 6:2 that God’s sons saw that men’s daughters were beautiful, and they took for themselves wives of all that they chose.
Genesis 6:3 Yahweh said, “My spirit will not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; yet will his days be one hundred twenty years.”
Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when God’s sons came to men’s daughters. They bore children to them: the same were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Genesis 6:5 Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Genesis 6:6 Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.
Genesis 6:7 Yahweh said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor in Yahweh’s eyes. 9 This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God.
Genesis 6:10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Genesis 6:11 The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
Genesis 6:12 God saw the earth, and saw that it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Genesis 6:13 God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Genesis 8:20 Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Genesis 8:21 Yahweh smelled the sweet savor. Yahweh said in his heart, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, because the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again strike everything living, as I have done.
Genesis 8:22 While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Genesis 9:8 God spoke to Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
Genesis 9:9 “As for me, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your offspring after you,
Genesis 9:10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every animal of the earth with you. Of all that go out of the ark, even every animal of the earth.
Genesis 9:11 I will establish my covenant with you; neither will all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of the flood; neither will there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Genesis 9:12 God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
Genesis 9:13 I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be for a sign of a covenant between me and the earth.
Genesis 9:14 It will happen, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud,
Genesis 9:15 and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters will no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Genesis 9:16 The rainbow will be in the cloud. I will look at it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
Genesis 9:17 God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Psalm 102:24 I said, “My God, don’t take me away in the midst of my days.” “Your years are throughout all generations.
Psalm 102:25 Of old, you laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the work of your hands.
Psalm 103:26 They will perish, but you will endure. Yes, all of them will wear out like a garment. You will change them like a cloak, and they will be changed. 27 But you are the same. Your years will have no end. 28 The children of your servants will continue. Their seed will be established before you.” — Quotes changed as they appear in the WEB to harmonize with Hebrews 1:10-12; see the following:
Does Yahweh Speak to Yahweh?
Did Paul Misquote?

Psalm 104:5 5 He laid the foundations of the earth, That it should not be moved forever.

Isaiah 24:1 Behold, Yahweh makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns it upside down, and scatters abroad the inhabitants of it.
Isaiah 24:2 It shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the creditor, so with the debtor; as with the taker of interest, so with the giver of interest to him.
Isaiah 24:21 It shall happen in that day, that Yahweh will punish the host of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth.

Zephaniah 3:8 “Therefore wait for me,” says Yahweh, “until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth will be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Zephaniah 3:20 At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back your captivity before your eyes, says Yahweh.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus says Yahweh who created the heavens, the God who formed the earth and made it, who established it and didn’t create it a waste, who formed it to be inhabited: I am Yahweh; and there is no one else.
Isaiah 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a place of the land of darkness; I didn’t say to the seed of Jacob, Seek you me in vain: I, Yahweh, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.

Matthew 5:18 For most assuredly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished.
See the study:
The Fulfilling of the Law

Other scriptures (full quotes may be provided later, Yahweh willing. Placing your cursor on the verses given however should display the verse from the American Standard Version, which presents the Holy Name in the OT as “Jehovah”.)

Isaiah 13:11
Isaiah 13:13
Haggai 2:6
Haggai 2:7
Ephesians 2:2
Revelation 21:1
Revelation 21:2
Revelation 21:3
Isaiah 51:4
Isaiah 51:5
Isaiah 51:6
1 Thessalonians 5:1
1 Thessalonians 5:2
1 Thessalonians 5:3
1 Thessalonians 5:4
1 Thessalonians 5:5
Matthew 24:32
Matthew 24:33
Matthew 24:34
Matthew 24:35
Matthew 24:36
Matthew 24:37
Matthew 24:38
Matthew 24:39
Luke 21:29
Luke 21:30
Luke 21:31
Luke 21:32
Hosea 9:10
Luke 13:6
Luke 13:7
Luke 13:8
Luke 13:9
Matthew 23:37
Matthew 23:38
Genesis 3:17
Revelation 22:3
Psalm 46:1
Psalm 46:2
Psalm 45:3
Isaiah 57:20
Micah 4:1
Micah 4:2
Psalm 46:4
Psalm 46:5
Psalm 46:6
Psalm 46:7
Matthew 24:21
Matthew 24:22
2 Peter 3:6
2 Peter 3:7
2 Peter 3:8
2 Peter 3:9
2 Peter 3:10
2 Peter 3:11
2 Peter 3:12
2 Peter 3:13
2 Peter 3:14
Psalm 46:8
Psalm 46:9
Psalm 46:10
Psalm 46:11

Mythology and the Bible

Preface
January 8, 1998

This treatise is an edited version of Morton Edgar’s Mythology and the Bible, originally published in the 1920s.

There are only a few changes in the text: references to Yahweh as “Jehovah” or “the Lord” have been changed to read “Yahweh”; references to Babylon the Great have been changed slightly; and the English has been updated (especially in scriptural quotations)  to a more modern reading.

Scriptural quotations are rendered in modern English by Ronald Day of Restoration Light based on the King James Version.

We have added numbers to each paragraph to facilitate reference and group study.

We encourage all to reproduce this publication to give to others and for use in group Bible study and/or distribution to the public. You may let us know if you are having a group study using this publication, so that we may let others in your area know of it.

————————–

(1)  It may be asked: What possible connection can there be between mythology and the Bible? Is not a myth an untruth; whereas the Bible is the “Word of Truth”?

(2)  It is important to notice, however, that many of the ancient mythical tales have a substratum of historical fact; and much in them that appears fabulous and nonsensical on the surface, proves on careful investigation to have a hidden meaning.

(3)  That the ancient nations of Babylon, Egypt, Greece, etc., were highly civilized is demonstrated by the remains of their wonderful architecture, the style of which cannot be improved upon even by the advanced nations of our day. Such cultured people must have had some reason, satisfactory to themselves, to induce them to worship their mythical gods. The Bible throws light upon this question; and a little knowledge of mythology aids us to understand a number of very obscure texts of the Scriptures.

Scriptural Recognition of Heathen Gods

(4)  In giving the law to the Israelites, Yahweh commanded them to on no account worship the gods of the other nations; but we read of many instances where they deliberately disregarded this injunction, and were in consequence punished until they returned to Him, the only true God. Jeremiah records a case in point in chapter 44, verses 15-19,25– “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of Yahweh, we will not listen to you, but we will certainly do whatever goes forth from our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to 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 we had plenty of victuals, and we were well, and we saw nothing bad. But since we left off burning incense to the queen of heaven, and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have been lacking all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven,” etc. See also Jeremiah 7:17,19: “Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children are gathering wood, and the fathers are kindling the fire, and women are kneading their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and they are pouring drink offerings to the other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.”

(5)  Who was this “Queen of heaven” in whom the erring Jews had such implicit confidence?

(6)  In Judges 2:11-13 is recorded another falling away of the Israelites: “And they turned away from Yahweh God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves to them, and provoked Yahweh to anger. And they turned away from Yahweh, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”

(7)  Who was Baal? Who was Ashtaroth?

(8)  As all are aware, the Bible contains many references to Baal; yet it does not disclose the identity of this god, nor explain why the faithless Jews and other peoples so consistently rendered him obeisance. It is here that we are aided by Mythology, the study of which reveals the fact that the god Baal, and the goddess the Queen of heaven, were universally worshiped under various names and titles. While this is recognized by students of Mythology, it is not so generally realized that these same deities are even now worshiped in our very midst by the adherents of that great idolatrous system which the Scriptures named “Babylon the Great”!

The Two Babylons

(9)  History proves that Papacy’s adoration of images, dead saints and relics, its holy candles, holy water, etc., and all its vain ritual, are borrowed from heathen sources. Papacy’s excuse, as voiced by Cardinal Newman, is that although it is admitted that such things are “the very instruments and appendages of demon-worship,” they were, however, “sanctified by adoption into the church.” (Newman’s Development, pp. 359,360) But it is now clearly apparent that the Romish Church has not been justified in adopting heathen customs and practices. For this reason, Papacy is one of the leading religious organizations that are associated with the covenant-woman denominated “Babylon the Great”; the Babylon of old was full of these abominations, and therefore well typified the fallen church of the Gospel Age.

(10)  Babylon was the first nation are kingdom after the deluge, and by it idolatrous worship was inaugurated.

(11)  Comparing Jeremiah 51:6-8 with Revelation 17:4,5; 14:8, we notice that almost the same expressions are used. In Jeremiah, ancient Babylon is said to have been a golden cup in Yahweh’s hands, by which all nations were made drunk — drunken with the wine of false religion. In Revelation “Babylon the Great” is called the “Mother of Harlots”, the ‘parent’ woman-city, which makes all nations drink of her golden cup full of abominations, the wine of false doctrine. As typical Babylon fell, so will antitypical “Babylon the Great” fall never to rise again.

(12)  That Babylon was the first nation after the flood is shown by Genesis 10:8-12. This reference also furnishes a clue to the origin of the worship of false gods; and by comparing with certain statements in mythological histories we get a further clue to the identity of these deities. We read: “And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty hunter before Yahweh. Therefore it is said: `Even as Nimrod, the mighty hunter before Yahweh.’ And the beginning of his kingdom was Babylon, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth into Assyria and built Nineveh,” etc. (See margin of KJV.)

Nimrod the Mighty Hunter, and His Influence in the World

(13)  Why should the Bible make special mention of Nimrod? Because he was the first to become mighty; and even to this day the countries of Babylonia and Assyria are filled with the name of Nimrod. When Moses wrote Genesis, although Nimrod had long since passed away, his name had become a proverb, so that is was a popular saying: “Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before Yahweh.” His might lay in the fact of his being a hunter; for we must reflect on the conditions which would obtain in the earth in his day. Only four human pairs were preserved from the waters of the deluge; but many kinds of animals came forth from the ark; and as these animals multiplies one can see how the terror of the more ferocious among them would lay hold upon all men. He, therefore, who brought destruction to the tiger, the leopard, the lion, the python, was regarded as the great benefactor, the man above all others to be honored by his fellows and commemorated by posterity.

(14)  The universal popularity of an individual must be a force for good or for bad to the community. Although the Scriptures do not directly allude to the nature of the influence exerted by Nimrod, we may safely infer from the character of his parentage, and from other circumstances, that it was bad. That his grandfather, Ham, had a depraved disposition is proved in Genesis 9:18-25; while in the same connection Shem was given a special blessing because of his purity (verse 26). Thus we gather that very shortly after the deluge the human race was divided into two camps, one for Yahweh and righteousness among whom Shem took the leading part, the other for unrighteousness with Ham as the principal apostate. Of the latter branch of the race Nimrod was descended.

(15)  It is improbable, therefore, that the declaration that Nimrod was a “mighty hunter before Yahweh” signifies that he in any way sought thus to honor Yahweh. In such a connection the phrase “before Yahweh” rather implies a belittling of Yahweh’s power to protect His own. Perceiving the menaced condition of the race, Nimrod, trusting to his own prowess, came forward as the bold savior of the world, and becoming a mighty one in the earth attracted men’s attention away from Yahweh. The natural result of the admiration of a man of Nimrod’s character must necessarily have been to destroy reverence for Yahweh, and thus lead to the adoration and worship of the creature instead of the Creator. That the world did fall into infidelity shortly after the flood is proved from the first part of the eleventh chapter of Genesis. The great Jewish historian Josephus says in confirmation: “The multitudes were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God.” — Antiquities 1:4:2.

(16)  We cannot suppose, however, that the saintly few would permit this evil without exerting some effort to stay the downward course, for Yahweh’s people in all ages from the time of righteous Abel have protested against sin. If the tradition of the Jews be true that Shem was Melchizedec (and the claim seems reasonable and quite in accord with Scripture analogy), then, as “Priest of the Most High God” he must have been a very strong influence in Yahweh’s cause, and a constant check to the evilly disposed.

(17)  Thus far we may reasonably infer the brief references to Nimrod given in the Scriptures. To gain further information about this mighty hunter we require to study the pages of Mythology.

Ninus and Semiramis

(18)  In Genesis 10:11, already quoted, we read that Nimrod built the city of Nineveh. This little item of Bible history enables us to identify Nimrod with the king Ninus of classical writings. The name Nineveh literally means “the habitation of Ninus.” The historian Apollodorus expressly states that “Ninus is Nimrod.” (Apollodori, Fragm. 68 in Müller, Vol. i, p. 440) In the ancient records of Justin and Diodorus Siculus, Ninus is credited with similar kingly powers as are attributed to Nimrod by the Scriptures (Justin, Hist. Rom. Script, Vol. ii., p. 615; Diodorus, Bibliotheca, lib. ii, p. 63) Ninus was the sons, as well as the husband, of Semiramis. According to Eusebius these two reigned as king and queen in the time of Abraham; but the great chronologist Clinton, and the celebrated Excavator and Linguist Layard, both assign an earlier date to the reign of Ninus and Semiramis.

(19)  In one of the famous sculptures of ancient Babylon, Ninus and Semiramis are represented as actively engaged in the pursuits of the chase, the “quiver-bearing Semiramis” being a fit companion for the “mighty hunter before Yahweh.” — Diodorus, lib. ii, p. 69.

(20)  Semiramis was a beautiful but very depraved woman, and it is to her that much of the extravagant and licentious character of the heathen religions has been ascribed. In his work Inferno, in the 5th Canto, Inferno pictures Semiramis as one of the damned in hell (not purgatory); and he also mentions Ninus in the same connection. Although Dante’s “visions” were figment of his imagination, yet his consigning Semiramis to eternal punishing shows the bad esteem in which she was held.

The “Mysteries” of the Heathen Religions

(21)  The Chaldean “Mysteries” can be traced back to the days of Semiramis. It appears that her husband’s apostasy was quite open, and consisted mainly in leading men into sensuality, teaching them that they might enjoy the “pleasures of sin” without fear of retribution from a holy God. In his hunting expeditions he was accompanied by troops of women; and by music, games and revelries, and everything that pleases the natural heart, he insinuated himself into the favor of the world. It was after the death of Ninus or Nimrod that the secret “Mysteries” were set up by Semiramis and her followers.

(22)  Nimrod’s death is not noticed in the Scriptures, but there was an ancient tradition that his end was violent. Strange though it may seem, numerous lines of evidence (which we will investigate as we proceed) prove that it was this very death of Nimrod that constituted the foundational theme of the Mysteries. (See Hislop’s The Two Babylons) Salverté informs us that all who sought initiation into these systems were compelled to drink peculiar intoxicating beverages. This is undoubtedly the origin of Jeremiah’s allusion to the golden cup which made all the nations drunk; for every nation received its idolatrous religion from Babylon.

(23)  In all essentials the “Mysteries” of the different nations were the same, each being fashioned after the pattern of the “Mother” nation, Babylon. Regarding this Layard says: “Of the great antiquity of this primitive worship there is abundant evidence, and that it originated among the inhabitants of the Assyrian plains, we have the united testimony of sacred and profane history. It obtained the epithet of perfect, and was believed to be the most ancient religious system, having preceded that of the Egyptians. The identity of many of the Assyrian doctrines with those of Egypt is alluded to by Porphyry and Clemens.” Birch, also, says: “The Zodiacal signs . . . show unequivocally that the Greeks derived their notions and arrangements of the Zodiac [and consequently their Mythology, which was intertwined with it] from the Chaldeans. The identity of Nimrod with the constellation Orion is not to be rejected.” — Layard, Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. ii, pp. 439,440.

(24)  We see, therefore, that ancient Babylon was a fitting type of that wonderful “Mystery of Iniquity” of the Gospel Age, one of the main components of “Babylon the Great.” Just as that great system had its small beginnings in the days of the Apostles, being alluded to by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:7: “The mystery of iniquity does already work,” and afterwards attained so great dimensions that it has deceived the whole world, so the typical Mystery in literal Babylon also began in a small way, then grew and extended, and latterly became so universal that all nations were made “mad,” i.e., void of judgment. Only those who worship the true God had the spirit of a sound mind. — 2 Timothy 1:7.

“Mother and Son” Worship

(25)  While in “Babylon the Great,” the principal subjects of the devotion are the Madonna and her child (said to be the virgin Mary and Jesus), so in typical Babylon the popular worship was extended to a goddess mother and her son, who had their origin in Semiramis and her son Ninus (the Hebrew word for “son” is nin). Remembering the religious influence which proceeded from Babylon, we have here the explanation of the universal adoration of the “Mother and Son.” In Greece they were worshiped as Ceres the great mother, with the babe at her breast; or as Irene the goddess of Peace, with the boy Plutus in her arms. In pagan Rome as Fortuna and Jupiter-puer, or Jupiter the boy. In Asia as Cybele and Deius. In India as Isi and Iswara; and even in Thibet, China, and Japan, missionaries were astonished to find the exact counterpart of the Madonna and her child as devoutly reverenced as in Papal Rome itself!

The Egyptian God Osiris was Nimrod

(26)  In Egypt the Mother was worshiped as Isis, and the Son as Osiris, though more often as Horus. Regarding Osiris, Bunsen shows that he was represented as at once the Son and Husband of his mother, and actually bore as one of his titles of honor the name “Husband of the Mother.” (Bunsen, Vol. i., pp. 438, 439) This serves to identify Osiris with Ninus who married his own mother. There are many strong proofs that Osiris was Nimrod or Ninus. In some of his forms Osiris was represented clothed in a leopard’s skin; and as it is a principle in every religion that the high priest wears the insignia of the god whom he serves, the Egyptian high priest wore a leopard’s skin when officiating on all important occasions. This article of apparel was intended to commemorate some outstanding event in connection with the god Osiris; for all the strange clothing and head gear of the heathen gods and priests were signs or symbols intended to convey some meaning to those who were educated to understand them — that is, to the “initiated.” We who are initiated into the mysteries of the God’s glorious plan of the Ages (Mark 4:11), have an understanding of the symbolisms of the garments of the Jewish high priests.

(27)  The name Nimrod means literally “The subduer of the leopard,” being derived from nimr “a leopard,” and rad “to subdue.” In these ancient days such significance was attached to names, as students of the Bible are aware. Nimrod’s name, therefore, implied that his fame as a hunter rested mainly on the fact that he had discovered the art of training the leopard to aid him in hunting the other wild beasts. A particular kind of leopard, named the cheetah, is used for hunting in India even at his day. When we find that Osiris and his priests are represented arrayed in leopard’s skins, we may be sure that the deep meaning was attached to this costume; we believe that it was intended to convey to the initiates the understanding that their god Osiris was in reality Nimrod, the renowned “Leopard-tamer.” It is well known that Nimrod or Ninus, on becoming mighty, extended his dominion, conquering Egypt, in addition to other countries.

(28)  Plutarch says there was a tradition among the Egyptians that “Osiris was black.” (De Isid, et Os., Vol. ii, p. 359) As the Egyptians were dark people themselves, the blackness of Osiris must have been more than ordinary to have called for special comment. In his book of Plates, Belzoni shows a colored drawing of the recognized figure of Osiris, which he copied from the life-size paintings on the walls in one of the tombs of the kings at Thebes. (Plate V) The face and hands of this figure are jet black. Wilkinson, also, in his 6th volume, shows a figure of Osiris which has the features of the negro; and it is significant that this negro figure of Osiris is clothed in a leopard’s skin. Professor C. Piazzi Smyth draws attention to the unmistakable negro features of the great Sphinx near the Pyramids of Gizeh, which idol is pronounced to be a representation of Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis. Horus, however, is only another form of Osiris. This, then, is further identification of Osiris with Nimrod, for Nimrod was black, being the son of Cush, whose name signifies “black.” Ham, also, was black; he is the father of all the black races.

(29)  The Ethiopians were very black, and this people were descendants of Cush. Eusebius says: “Chs was he from whom came the Ethiopians.” (Chronicon, Vol. ii, p. 109) Josephus says the same. In the original of Jeremiah 13:23, the word “Ethiopian” reads “Cushite,” — “Can the Cushite change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” — See also Genesis 2:13, margin.

Nimrod’s Death the Foundational Theme
of Heathen Religions

(30)  There are many more proofs of the identification of the Egyptian god Osiris with the Babylonian Nimrod, but those we have mentioned will suffice for our present purpose, namely, to gain information as to the manner of Nimrod’s death; for the account of the death of Osiris is well known. Osiris met with a violent death, and that violent death of Osiris was the central theme of the whole idolatry of Egypt. If Osiris was Nimrod, as we have seen reason to believe, that violent death of Osiris which the Egyptians so pathetically deplored in their annual festivals, was just the death of Nimrod.

(31)  The account of the death of Osiris as given in the Egyptian Book of the Dead (a copy of which is frequently found entombed with mummies), is as follows: While Osiris was absent on a certain occasion, his enemy, who was named Sem, entered into a conspiracy with 72 of the leading men of Egypt to put Osiris to death. The plot succeeded. Osiris was slain, and his body was torn into 14 pieces which were scattered throughout the country. Isis greatly lamented her husband’s death, and searched about for the pieces of his body. Whenever she discovered a piece, she buried it and erected a shrine over it.

The Patriarch Shem, and his Godly Influence in the World

(32)  Wilkinson shows (Vol. v, p. 17) that Sem was one of the names of the primitive Egyptian Hercules, who was said to have, by the power of God, fought and overcome the giants who had rebelled against heaven. In plain language, this mythical tale simply means that the Hercules Sem or Shem (see Luke 3:36), the great opponent of idolatry, was enabled by the power or spirit of God to so convince the tribunal of 72 supreme Judges of Egypt of the enormity of the offence of Osiris or Nimrod, as to persuade them to condemn and put that “mighty one” or giant to death and to send parts of his dismembered body to various cities as a solemn declaration in their name, that “whosoever follows the example of Nimrod (Osiris) shall meet with a like penalty.” In following this course Shem was acting according to a recognized judicial custom, instances of which are found in the Scriptures. — See Judges 19:29; and 1 Samuel 11:7.

(33)  Afterwards, the upholders of the idolatrous religious system of Egypt stigmatized the leader of the “conspiracy” ad Typho, or the “Evil One.” One of the most noted names by which Typho was called, was Seth. (Epiphanius, Adv. Hoeres, lib. iii) The names Seth and Shem are synonymous, both alike signifying “The appointed one.”

(34)  This persuasive power of Shem, by which he caused the great Nimrod to be condemned to death, was symbolized by the tusks of a wild boar. We read in Mythology that the god Adonis perished by the tusks of a wild boar. Now Adonis is identical with the god Tammuz, and Tammuz with Osiris. (Kitto’s Illustrated Commentary, Vol. iv., p. 141; Wilkinson’s Egyptians, Vol. v, p. 3) In Egypt, the pig was the symbol of evil; and as the horn is the ancient symbol of power, being so recognized in Scriptures, the tusks in the mouth of the male pig signifies that it was by the “power of his mouth” that the evil one, Seth, caused Adonis (Osiris) to be put to death. In memory of this deed, the peoples of many countries have caused countless boars to lose their heads in sacrifice to the outraged god. This explains why the boar’s or pig’s head is even to this day a recognized dish at the Christmas dinner in Britain, though the reason for the custom has long been forgotten. In India, a demon with a “boar’s face” is said to have gained such power through his devotions, that he oppressed the “devotees” of worshipers of the gods, who had to hide themselves. (Moor’s Pantheon, p. 19) Even in Japan there seems to be a similar myth.

(35)  Thus the righteous Shem, blessed by Yahweh, has been stigmatized and misrepresented in all the heathen religions of the world; while the idolatrous Nimrod who led men away from the true God, and who was justly condemned to death because of his evil deeds, has been exalted to the status of a god himself. This turning of things upside down, however, will not stand, for Yahweh will soon vindicate himself on behalf of his righteous servants.

(36)  We are reminded here of what the Egyptian historian Manetho wrote regarding the builders of the Great Pyramid: “There came up from the East, in a strange manner, men of an ignoble race, who had the confidence to invade our country, and easily subdued it by their power without a battle. All this invading nation was styled Hyksos — that is, Shepherd Kings.” He adds that this people afterwards departed for Judea and built there a city named Jerusalem. The head of these Shepherd Kings has been recognized as the patriarch Shem, and Shem as Melchizedec, king of Salem. (Hebrew 7:1,2) It is certainly quite in keeping with the exalted methods of this “king of peace” that he subdued the Egyptians without a battle, persuading them only by the spirit or power of God to close their idolatrous temples and do his bidding. (See Great Pyramid Passages, Vol. i, pars. 4-6) It shows how wonderful was the godly influence which this venerable king and “priest of the most high God” exercised in the early stages of the “present evil world.” He was indeed a fit type of Christ in the Millennial Age, whom God swore would be a “Priest forever after the order of Melchizedec.” (Psalm 110:4) In face of such great power for righteousness, one can see how the iniquity instigated by Satan, the “god of this world,” would require to be very warily conducted. Hence the term “mystery” or “secret,” of iniquity.

The False “Seed of the Woman”

(37)  When the mighty Nimrod was violently put to death in the midst of his career, great indeed must have been the lamentation among his followers. Semiramis would, naturally, experience the greatest grief and loss. She had shared with him his kingdom and glory, but now all this honor had suddenly come to an end. Semiramis, however, was a woman of unbounded ambition, and she by no means intended to quietly step aside without a bid for fame on her own account. That she succeeded in making a name for herself is fully attested by the pages of ancient history. A most daring suggestion was advanced which she seized upon and resolutely carried out — namely, that she would claim that her dead son was none other than the promised “seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) who had been destined to bruise the serpent’s head, and who, in doing so, was to have his own heel bruised! Formerly her son had been honored as the mighty hunter and benefactor of the world; but though he was no dead she would declare that he had risen and had been deified, and thus have him worshiped as a god!

(38)  We say that this bold scheme was suggested to Semiramis, for who could have instigated such an imposition except the ‘father of lies’? (John 8:44) That “old serpent,” Satan (Revelation 12:9), caused the fall of mankind through his lying suggestion to Eve (Genesis 3:1-6), and he now attempted to frustrate Yahweh’s glorious plan of redemption by introducing a false Messiah, a lying counterfeit of the true. In consequence of this the whole world has been led astray, and few indeed have had the privilege of knowing Yahweh and Jesus the Messiah whom He sent. (Revelation 12:9; John 17:3,6,14,16) Only those who have been initiated into the mystery of God by means of the enlightening action of the holy spirit, have been able to discern the true Messiah. (Matthew 16:15-17; See our publication: Understanding Kingdom Mysteries) We are rejoiced to know that the time is not now far distant when the poor deceived world will have its eyes opened and recognize its true Redeemer, and when the people will shout: “Look! THIS is our God; we have waited for him, and HE will save us.” (Isaiah 25:9) Satan has taken advantage of the religious element in man, and by his blinding lies has directed the word’s worship to himself, becoming in very deed the “god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9) He had said in his heart:”I will be like the Most High,” and he sought to follow out this desire in every possible way. But he will be “cut down to the ground” in Yahweh’s due time (Isaiah 14:12-17); and Jesus Christ, who did not seek to be equal to God, but made himself of no reputation and was obedient to death, will be highly exalted and given a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow in adoration and worship. (Philippians 2:6-11, Revised Standard Version) “Exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high,” is the principle on which God works. — See Ezekiel 21:26.

(39)  The patriarchs, and the ancient world in general, were acquainted with the story of the temptation in Eden, and they knew that the seed of the woman was ultimately to destroy the tempter. Because of this, and because of the innate wickedness of the hearts of men (Jeremiah 17:9), Satan was able to foist his counterfeit “Seed of the woman” upon the world. We know that this is so, for there is hardly a people on earth whose mythological religion does not contain reference to the “Seed” bruising the head of the serpent. Referring to this phrase of the religions of the heathen countries, Wilkinson (Vol. his p. 395) says: “The evil genius of the adversaries of the Egyptian god Horus [Osiris in another form] is frequently figured under the form of a snake, whose head he is seen piercing with a spear. The same fable occurs in the religion of India, where the malignant serpent Calyia is slain by Vishnu, in the avatar [incarnation] of Crishna. The Scandinavian deity Thor was said to have bruised the head of the great serpent with his mace. The origin of this may be readily traced to the Bible.” The Greeks, also, represented their god Apollo as slaying the serpent Pytho; and Humboldt shows that the Mexicans had the same belief concerning their god Teotl: “The serpent crushed by the great spirit Teotl, when he takes the form of one of the subaltern deities, is the genius of evil — a real Kakodaemon.” (Mexican Researches, Vol. i, p. 228) When examination is made of these various myths, it is found that in almost every case the serpent-destroying god dies as a result of injuries received in the combat, thus showing that the pagans knew it was by dying that the promised Seed was to destroy the adversary.

(40)  In the above quotation from Wilkinson, it will be noticed that he attributes to the Bible the knowledge which the pagans had of destroying the serpent as the incarnation of evil; but he no doubt means that this knowledge may be traced to the account of the temptation in Eden, which afterwards appeared in the Bible. The Bible as we have it, of course, did not begin to be written until after Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. (The accounts in Genesis appear to have been written by various ones involved, which accounts Moses later edited together into his book) Long before the Exodus the false religions of Babylonia, Egypt, and the other countries were fully set up, originating, as we have said, with Semiramis and her followers. In the midst of all this idolatry, however, Yahweh always had his faithful few — Noah, Shem, Abraham, and others being specially mentioned. It was because the worship of the false Messiah was in full operation in Egypt and in the other countries, that Yahweh repeatedly warned his people, the Jewish nation, against following them. Bowing down or serving these idols was in reality worship of the dead, which worship actually went to the demons, the prince of whom is Satan. (Deuteronomy 32:17; 1 Corinthians 10:20) These images enslaved the minds of those who served them, giving them a seeming actuality to beings who did not exist; for the “gods” whom they represented were in their graves, and are still waiting for the resurrection in the Millennial reign of Christ. (Psalm 146:3,4; John 5:28,29; Revelation 20:12,13) Thus the ones actually receiving the worship were Satan and his demons.

The “Image of Jealousy”

(41)  We have already mentioned the fact that the popular subjects of worship in every nation have been the “Mother and Son,” images of whom were everywhere set up. Even the Jewish nation was for a time guilty of worshiping the Babylonian goddess with the false Seed in her arms, for one of her images is evidently referred to by Ezekiel (8:3) when he says: “He put forth the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my head; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and Heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the gate of the inner [court] that looks toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy.” This image of the “Mother and Son,” erected as the result of the jealousy of Satan against the coming true Seed of the woman, provoked God to jealousy because it misdirected the devotion of His people, to whom He had said: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:3-5) In Egypt the “Mother and Son” were worshiped as Isis and Osiris, whose very names signify “the woman” and “the Seed”; for Isis is the Greek form of H’isha — the woman; and Osiris is read on the Egyptian monuments He-siri — the seed.

The “Deification” of Nimrod

(42)  The mythical story in Egypt of the deification of Nimrod by Semiramis is to the effect that Isis, who was a great enchantress and had much knowledge of “magical ceremonies,” instructed Horus and a number of his “followers” to perform a series of operations in connection with the burial of his father, which had the effect of raising Osiris from the dead, and of establishing him as king of Amenti, i.e., the “Hidden Place,” or the other world (Fourth Sallier Papyrus in the British Museum. — Although Horus was the son of Osiris, he was merely another form of Osiris himself, being a new incarnation of that god).

(43)  Thus, by following Satan’s lie, that the dead are not dead (Genesis 3:4), Semiramis and her deluded followers caused others to believe that Nimrod was not now dead, but that he had been resurrected, and had become a god and should be reverenced as such. But it is evident that if this advanced form of idolatry was to be become established, it was indispensable that it should be inaugurated in secret, and he operated with extreme caution; for the terror of execution, lately inflicted on one so mighty as Nimrod, was too real to be ignored. This, then, was the beginning of that iniquitous system of “Mystery” which has been so far-reaching in its desolating effects, and which the Lord used as a type of that still greater “desolating abomination,” the mystic “Babylon the Great” spoken of in the book of Revelation.

(44)  The very nature of the “Mysteries” gave great facilities for imposing on the senses of those who were being “initiated.” It is well known that magical arts were invented by the Chaldeans. Epiphanius, after considering the evidences open in his day, pronounced it as his opinion that it was “Nimrod that established the sciences of magic and astronomy.” (Adv. Hoeres, lib. 1, tom. i, Vol. i, p. 7 c) All the fertile resources of magic, therefore, were employed by Semiramis and her intimate followers, to give color to the lying deceptions of those Mysteries of which she was the originator. But notwithstanding all the care and precautions of the conductors of these ceremonies, enough has leaked out to enable us to gain a clear insight into their character.

(45)  Candidates for initiation were made to pass through the ordeal of the confessional, and were required to swear by binding oaths to maintain the secrecy of the system they were desirous of entering. After thus surrendering themselves implicitly to the priests, they were anointed with “magical ointments” which introduced into their bodily systems such drugs as tended to excite their imaginations and add to the power of the indispensable intoxicating drinks, that they might be prepared for the visions and revelations that were about to be made known to them. Wilkinson, describing the experiences of those undergoing the process of initiation, says: “Strange and amazing objects presented themselves. Sometimes the place they were in seemed to shake around them; sometimes it appeared bright and resplendent with light and radiant fire, and then again covered with black darkness, sometimes thunder and lightning, sometimes fearful noises and bellows, sometimes terrible apparitions astonished the trembling spectators.” (Egyptians, Vol. v, p. 326) Then, at last, the great hidden god was revealed to them in such a manner as to allay their fears and call forth their admiration and blind affections. It was easy for those who controlled the Mysteries, having discovered scientific secrets which they jealously preserved in their own exclusive keeping, to give the ignorant initiates what might seem ocular demonstrations that Nimrod who had been slain, and for whom such lamentations had been made, was again alive, and now encompassed with heavenly glory. Thus the whole system of the secret “Mysteries” of Babylon introduced by the help of magic (sham miracles), was intended to glorify a dead man; and when once the worship of one dead man was established, the worship of many more was sure to follow.

(46)  In this way Nimrod became the “father of the gods,” being said to be the first of the “deified mortals.” As such he was worshiped under the title of Kronos and Saturn. Saturn was the god of the Mysteries, the name itself signifying “the Hidden one.” He was revealed to the initiated, but hidden to all others.

The Identity of the Greek God Bacchus

(47)  Another of the names under which the deified Nimrod received honor was Bacchus. In Greece, Bacchus was symbolically represented by a spotted fawn, which animal was intended in the figurative language of the Mysteries to covertly identify Bacchus with Nimrod. The name of the fawn in Greece was “Nebros,” which signifies “the spotted one,” while the name of Nimrod, as known to the Greeks, was “Nebrod,” and is so translated in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures — i.e., the Septuagint. It will be remembered that Nimrod gained much of his success as a hunter by training the leopard to assist him in the chase. The skin of the fawn was intended to suggest the spotted leopard. The custom of wearing the skin of fawn appears to have been imported from Assyria direct, for some sculptures excavated in Nineveh show a god bearing a spotted fawn in his arm, in such a way as to indicate that the animal is to be regarded as a symbol. (Vaux’s Nineveh and Persepolis, chap. viii, p. 233) Leopards were employed to draw the car of Bacchus; and he himself was represented clothed with a leopard’s skin as were also his priests, although sometimes the skin of the fawn was substituted.

(48)  The Greek Bacchus and his priesthood, therefore, were in this respect similar to the Egyptian Osiris and priesthood. Herodotus, the father of history, always speaks of Osiris as being Bacchus (lib.ii, cap. 42), and so does Diodorus, who says: “Orpheus introduced from Egypt the greatest part of the mystical ceremonies, the orgies that celebrate the wanderings of Ceres, and the whole fable of the shades below. The rites of Osiris and Bacchus are the same; those of Isis and Ceres exactly resemble each other, except in name.” (Bibliotheca, lib. i, b. 9) This is an additional proof that Bacchus and Nimrod are the same, for we have already seen that Osiris was Nimrod.

(49)  The ivy, so conspicuous in all Bacchanalian celebrations, was an express symbol of Nimrod. The Greek word for ivy is “Kissos”; and Kissos was one of the titles of Bacchus. (Pausanias, Attica, cap. 31, p. 78) Now, the name of the descendants of Cush was pronounced in Greece “Kissioi.” (Strabo, lib. xv, p. 691) The ivy branch carried by the votaries of Bacchus, therefore, signified to the initiated that Bacchus was the “branch of Cush” — i.e., Nimrod, the son of Cush. This also accounts for one of the titles of the Greek god Apollo — “Kisseus Apollos.” It serves to identify Apollo with Nimrod (among other proofs), meaning literally “The Cushite Apollo.”

(50)  From Anacreaon (p. 296) we learn that another of the titles of Bacchus was “Aithiopais,” which means “The son of Aethiops.” We have already pointed out that the Ethiopians were descendants of Cush, and therefore Aethiops must have been Cush himself. — See Habakkuk 3:7, KJV margin.

(51)  The literal meaning of the name Bacchus is “the lamented one,” being derived from Bakhah “to weep” or “lament.” Hesychius (p. 179) says that among the Phoenicians “Bacchos means weeping.” The Hebrew word used in the Bible for weeping and lamenting is Baca, or Bakah. (See Psalm 84:6, where the word Baca appears untranslated in the King James– “valley of Baca,” should be read “valley of weeping.”– see Young’s Literal Translation) On certain mystical Bacchanalian festivals a spotted fawn was torn in pieces, and great lamentations were made. Photius tells us the significance of this ceremony: “The tearing in pieces of the nebroi [or spotted fawns] was an imitation of the suffering in the case of Dionysus” or Bacchus. (Photius, Lexcicon, pars. i, p. 291) Thus the great lamentations which followed the violent death of Nimrod (Nebrod), when his body was torn into 14 pieces by the judges of Egypt, was annually commemorated by the various nations. The backsliding women of Israel wept for the death of the false messiah under that name of Tammuz, in memory of the wailing of Semiramis for the death of Nimrod: Ezekiel 8:13,14, reads:” He said also to me, You shall again see yet other great abominations which they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of Yahweh’s house which was toward the north; and see, there sat the women weeping for Tammuz.” It is significant that these women sat at the north gate, the same place as the seat of the “image of jealousy” mentioned in verse 3. Tammuz is identified with Osiris, and is therefore the same as Bacchus. — Wilkinson’s Egyptians, Vol. v, b. 3,; c. xiii, p. 10

(52)  When Jesus, the true Messiah and Savior of the world, was being lead to death, we read that the women “bewailed and lamented him.” But Jesus rebuked them and said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.” — Luke 23:27,28.

(53)  The reason why Bacchus is commonly understood to be the god of wine, drunkenness and revelry, is because of the effect which the mysterious beverages and ointments had upon his devotees. The uninitiated merely saw the after effects, but did not understand the true import of the Bacchanalian orgies, which were claimed to be for “the purification of souls.” (Servius, in Georg., lib. i, Vol. ii, p. 197) The “elevating” effect which the process of anointing, etc., had upon the initiates of the false religions, is manifestly a miserable counterfeit of the godly joy experienced by those who, on being anointed with the holy spirit, gain an understanding of the glorious truth as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16) The apostle says: “Don’t be drunken with wine, in which is an abandoned life, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to Yahweh.” To the worldly, the exhilarating and joyful effect which the holy spirit has upon those who newly come into the light of God’s truth seems to be the result of drunkenness, or due to insanity. Many of us have had the experience of being thus misjudged. So also were the members of the early church at Pentecost misrepresented, some of the bystanders mockingly saying: “These men are full of new wine.” (Acts 2:1-18) But we care nothing for this, because we know that “the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. Neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” — 1 Corinthians 2:14.

(54)  Not only was the anointing of the holy spirit counterfeited by the false religions, but nearly every virtue and exalted office was ascribed to the false savior of the world that belongs to Jesus Christ. Without doubt this is the reason why Satan, the “god of this world,” (2 Corinthians 4:4) by counterfeiting the truth as nearly as possible, has had so great hold upon the hearts of mankind. (Revelation 12:9) The apostle says: “The whole world lies in the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) We know that the great Papal system, well named Satan’s Masterpiece, has been a wonderful counterfeit of the glorious Millennial reign of Messiah; and now we see why it is considered a leading organ of “Babylon the Great,” as this Greater Babylon is the antitype of the iniquitous system which originated in Babylon of old. Just as Satan tried to frustrate Yahweh’s plan of redemption, by forestalling the Millennial reign of Christ with his false Papal Millennium, during which Popes have successively reigned as king of kings, and lord of lords; so he also sought to becloud the purpose of God by forestalling the advent of Jesus Christ, by bringing in his false Messiah. It was claimed that the death of Osiris (that is, of Nimrod) was sacrificial, submitted to for the benefit of the world.

Osiris the False Savior

(55)  The monuments of Egypt show that the worship of Osiris dates from the earliest times, and that he was regarded as the “god-man who suffered, died, rose again, and reigned eternally in heaven.” He was the “King of eternity, lord of the everlastingness, the prince of gods and men, the god of gods, king of kings, lord or lords, prince of princes, the governor of the world, whose existence is everlasting.” (Papyrus of Ani, Plate I, in the British Museum) Osiris was the god who made men and women to rise from the dead, and bestowed upon them everlasting life. He was the resurrection itself. — Guide to the Egyptian Collection in the British Museum, p. 139.

(56)  We have already seen that, after the death and mutilation of the body of Osiris, the man-god of Egypt, by Seth (Shem), Horus the son of Osiris, assisted by a number of beings who were called the “followers of Horus,” performed a series of magical rites whereby the rejoining of the limbs of the god was effected, and he revived. The Egyptians argued: “Certain ceremonies were performed by Horus on the body of Osiris, and he was mummified, and as a result he rose to everlasting life; we therefore will have the same ceremonies performed over our dead bodies, that we also may live again.” This seemed to have been the reasoning which originated the practice of mummification. The Egyptians firmly believed that if the body was not preserved after death future life was impossible. They therefore endeavored above all things to insure that their mummies would have perfect protection, spending large sums of money on intricate tombs, etc., so that it may truthfully be said that this people expended more upon the dead than upon the living. It demonstrates how “void of judgment” they were, and how deceived by Satan; for how could the preservation of their poor bodies secure for them a future life! We are reminded of the apostle Paul’s ridicule of some who were evidently arguing like the Egyptians: “You fool, you are not sowing that body that is to be!”

(57)  It is important to notice that in their elaborate religious system, the idea of repentance never entered the minds of the Egyptians. With them the commission of sin was regarded merely as a breach of the ritual law of the community, and could be atoned for by certain payments, after which the law breaker considered himself free from all obligation, real or moral. In the Coptic, which is the nearest to the ancient language of Egypt, there is no word for “repentance”; the translators were obliged to transfer the Greek word itself into the Coptic version of the New Testament. As all heathen religions are essentially the same, this manifests a vital difference between them and the true religion; for repentance from sins is the first step in the work of salvation, as declared by the apostle Peter when he addressed the assembled Israelites in the temple: “Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19) The Papal Church follows the lead of its ancient type in the annulling of the need of repentance from sins, and atonement by the blood, by instituting “indulgences” and the “sacrifices of the mass.”

Origin of the Yule Log and the Christmas Tree

(58)  One of the titles of the false messiah was Baal-berith, which means “Lord of the Covenant,” and as such he is referred to in Judges 8:33: “And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again . . . and made Baal-berith their god.” It is now recognized that the 25th day of December, although called “Christmas-day,” is not the true day of the birth of our Lord Jesus. The beginning of October is more nearly correct for his birth as a man. But the 25th day of December was originally observed by heathen countries far and wide, in honor of the supposed birth of their false messiah (Wilkinson’s Egyptians, Vol. iv, p. 405); and it was in order to conciliate them, and to swell the number of nominal adherents of Christianity (so called), that the same festive day was adopted by the apostate church, giving it only the name of Christ. The Christmas tree so common at this day, was equally common in pagan Rome and pagan Egypt. This is the reason why Papal Rome adopted it, for there is no command in the scriptures requiring the followers of Christ to observe the day of his birth by Christmas tree celebrations. Briefly — the putting of the “Yule Log” into the fire on Christmas eve, and the appearance next morning of the Christmas tree laden with gifts, represented the consuming of the great god, who, like the log, had been cut in pieces, and his after birth in newness of life as the “Branch of God,” or the Tree that brings gifts to men. The Egyptians used the palm for their Christmas tree, but the people of pagan Roman used the fir, because the fir tree covertly symbolized the risen god as the Baal-berith of old Babylon; for Baal-berith — “Lord of the Covenant,” differs only one letter from Baal-bereth– “Lord of the Fir tree.”

The God Saturn, and Bull Worship

(59)  The mystical symbol of Osiris was the young Apis bull or calf, Apis being another name for Saturn, the hidden one. The Apis bull was also known as Hap, which in the Egyptian language means “to conceal.” In the Chaldean language Hap means “to cover.” (Guide to the Egyptian Collection in the British Museum, p. 131) We now see why the Jewish nation made and worshiped the image of a calf soon after leaving Egypt under Moses, claiming that this was the god who had delivered them out of bondage, meaning, of course, that Osiris whom the calf represented was the god. (However, Aaron promptly stated that there was to be a feast to Yahweh — thus giving the implication that they were to use the idol of Osiris to represent Yahweh, which provoked Yahweh’s anger. — Exodus 32:1-10) A figure of the Apis bull in a covering resembling the spotted skin of the leopard, is illustrated by Col. Hamilton Smith. (Biblical Cyclopaedia, Vol. i, p. 368) Attention has already been drawn to the significance of the leopard’s skin, which identifies Osiris with Nimrod, the “subduer of the leopard.” Isis was represented by the cow, called the cow of Athor, which is well known to be a spotted cow. — Wilkinson, Vol. iv, p. 387, and Vol. vi, Plate 36.

(60)  The bull was the express symbol of Nimrod, being the hieroglyphic which showed him as the “mighty one” and “lord of the chase.” In Assyria the word for “bull” signifies also a “ruler” or “prince”; and it was for this reason that the mighty kings of Babylonia and Assyria, who succeeded and imitated Nimrod the first king, were represented by great human-headed bulls. These bulls, also, have wide expanding wings, to show that not only was the king himself a mighty one, but that he had “mighty ones” under his command. Nimrod and his followers are the mighty ones or “giants” who are spoken of in mythology as having “rebelled against heaven.” The Hebrew word for “mighty one” in Genesis 10:8 is “Gheber” (this same word is translated “giant” in Job 16:14). A synonym for Gheber is “Abir”; but “Aber,” pronounced nearly the same as Abir, is the word for “wing.” Thus, “Baal-abrin” means “Lord of the mighty ones,” while “Baal-aberin” means “lord of the wings,” or “winged one.” (The word abir occurs in Judges 5:22 — “the praisings of the mighty ones;” while abir is found in Isaiah 40:31 — “They shall mount up with wings as eagles.”) There is an allusion to the “wings” of an Assyrian king in Isaiah 8:6-8.

(61)  As the horn is the ancient symbol of power, these Assyrian bulls, though human-headed, nevertheless show horns curing around their headgear. The reason why the horn is used as a symbol of kingly authority and power appears, from certain sculptures discovered by Layard when excavating Babylon, to be directly owning to Nimrod’s prowess as a great hunter. In a woodcut in his Nineveh and Babylon, page 605, Layard shows the Assyrian Hercules (that is, “Nimrod the Giant” as he is called in the Septuagint Version of Genesis) without weapons attacking the bull. Having conquered the bull, he sets its horn on the head as a trophy of victory, an evidence of his great power in being able to overcome so strong an animal. Thus crowned he is now represented as encountering a lion, the king of the beasts. This accounts for the ancient custom among Eastern nations of kings and chiefs wearing horns on their heads as evidence of their power and authority. — Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Art. “Horn”

The Satyrs and the God Pan

(62)  In the Armenian version of the Chronicle of Eusebius, Ninus stands first in the list of Assyrian kings. This agrees with the scriptural notice of Nimrod, who is said to have been the first to become mighty, and to have had the first kingdom. According to Pherecydes, Kronos or Saturn was “the first before all others that ever wore a crown.” (Tertullian, De Corona Militis, cap. 7, Vol. ii, p. 85) Here is therefore an additional proof that Kronos or Saturn was Nimrod. It explains why the Greek Bacchus was represented as wearing horns, and why he was frequently addressed by the epithet of “Bull-horned.” (Orphic Hymns: Hymn li, To Trietericus, Greek, p. 117) Apollo, whom we have seen is likewise identified with Nimrod, is addressed in the Orphic Hymns, as the “Two-horned god.” (Hymn to Apollo) The companions of Bacchus were called Satyrs, and are said to have “danced along with him.” (Aelian Hist., p. 22) The Satyrs were horned gods; and knowing the identity of Bacchus, it is easy to see that his companions the Satyrs were really the “mighty ones” over whom Nimrod was lord. It is generally agreed that the god Pan was the head of the Satyrs. Now, Satyr is just another form of the word Satur or Saturn — “the Hidden one.” Pan was therefore the first of the Satyrs or hidden ones. When Nimrod or Osiris was put to a violent death as the result of the judicial condemnation of the 72 leading men, it produced great terror among his followers who immediately hid themselves, hence the derivation of the word pan-ic – extreme or sudden fright. Referring to the effect which the slaying of Osiris by Typho (Seth or Shem) had upon his followers, Plutarch says: “The first who knew the accident that befallen their king, were the Pans or Sayrs who lived about Chemmis; and they, immediately acquainting the people of the news, gave the first occasion to the name of Panic Terrors.” — de Isid. s. 13

Devil Worship

(63)  It is from the name Kronos that the English word “crown” is derived; and the familiar spiked crown which adorns the heads of European monarchs still conveys the idea of the horns of the ancient Eastern kings. Plutarch says that “the Romans looked upon Kronos as a subterranean and infernal god.” (Vol. ii., p. 266) In Ausonius, also, we read that Saturn is not among the celestial, but the infernal gods.” (Ecolog. i, p. 156) Pluto, also, is called the “god of hell”; and this name has the same significance as Saturn, meaning “the Hidden one”; for Pluto is derived from Lut “to hide,” which with the Egyptian definite article prefixed becomes “P’Lut.” Both Wilkinson (Vol. iv, p. 63), and Bunsen (Vol. i, pp. 431, 432) show that Osiris in Egypt was the “king of hades,” or Pluto. Hades, as has been shown (See: Hope of Life After Death), is the “hidden state.” Actually, however, Pluto or Saturn was none other than the incarnation of the Devil, who hid himself under the disguise of the serpent when he caused the fall of man in the garden of Eden, and who has hidden himself from the world ever since under his refuge of lies. (Genesis 3:1-5; Revelation 12:9; John 8:44; Isaiah 28:17) It is curious that the popular representation of the devil, with the horns, hoofs and tail, is exactly the appearance of the black Nimrod when he is depicted in the sculpture encountering the lion; for in that hieroglyph he wears not only the two horns of the bull over which he had previously gained victory, but its hind legs and tail as well! “Auld Hornie” is the popular name by which the Devil was known in Scotland in the older days. The Satyrs, also, were half animals, having the hind legs and tail of the goat in addition to the horns. The connection of the goat-like Satyrs with the Devil is borne out by the Hebrew word sa’yr. This Hebrew word is translated in the King James Version as he-goat [sa’yr] for the sin-offering”; as devils in Leviticus 17:7 – “And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils” [sa’yr]; and as satyrs in Isaiah 13:21: “Babylon . . . shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah . . . and satyrs [sa’yr] shall dance there.”

(64)  The system of the “mysteries” demanded that all its ritual, etc., should be kept carefully secret. Everything in connection with them was symbolical and had a hidden meaning, and the initiates were not allowed on pain of death to divulge their real nature. Herodotus, who was initiated in the mysteries of Egypt, makes this apparent when he refers to the goat-like appearance of the god Pan. He says: “It is not that they [the initiates] believe he [Pan] really had that form; they think him like the other gods; but the reason [of his goat-like appearance] being connected with religion, I am not at liberty to explain it.” (Birch’s Wilkinson, Vol. iii, p. 186) The “hidden things of darkness,” however, are now being made manifest in this enlightening day (the beginning of the Millennium), and we know that the mystic reason for the goat part of the Satyrs is connected with their panic and their sudden flight to hide themselves on hearing of the violent death of their chief; for “Berkha,” the word for “fugitive,” signifies also “he goat.” One of the epithets of the god Pan, the head of the Satyrs, was Capricornus, which means “goat-horned.”

Origin of Sun and Fire Worship

(65)  The Chaldean name for Nimrod, the son of Semiramis, was Zero-ashta, from zero “the seed,” and ashta “the woman.” But the word ashta also means “the fire,” so that Zero-ashta, “the seed of the woman,” became Zeroastes or Zoroaster, the well known name of the head of the fire worshipers. In general history the Zoroaster of Bactria is most frequently referred to; but the voice of antiquity is clear and distinct to the effect that the first and great Zoroaster was an Assyrian or Chaldean, and that he was the founder of the idolatrous system of Babylon, and therefore Nimrod. (Suidas, Tom. i, p. 1133) After his death the deified Nimrod was fabled to have been “born from the fire” — Zero-ashta, the “seed of the fire” — and as such he was revered as the great sun-god Baal. Theophilus of Antioch informs us that Kronos, which as we have seen was one of the titles of the deified Nimrod, was in the East worshiped under the names of Bel and Bal. — Clericus, De Philosophia Orientali, lib. i, sect. ii, cap. 37

(66)  Nimrod was the first Babylonian king, and therefore the title Molech is applied to him, for “Molech” means “king.” We thus perceive why the Scriptures indicate Molech (or Moloch) to be the terrible god of fire, the earthly representative of Baal the sun god. In Jeremiah 32:35, we read: “And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech; which I did not command them, neither did it come into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.” It was claimed that the act of passing through the fire was for the purpose of purifying, and this probably reconciled the parents who sacrificed their children to Molech. They were under the delusion that the fire that consumed little ones also perfected them, and made them meet for the future life. The god Tammuz, who is identified with Nimrod, and for whom the children of Israel lamented annually. (Ezekiel 8:14), is really connected with fire worship and with the thought of purification therefrom, for the name Tammuz is derived from tam, “to perfect,” and muz, “to burn” — to make perfect by burning. This, no doubt, is the origin of the imaginary place called Purgatory, the fire of which is supposed by Papacy to be necessary to perfect men’s souls, and to purge away the sins they carry with them into the unseen world! The error, of course, naturally arose through credulous belief in Satan’s lie at the beginning, namely, that there is no real death, but that the soul is independent and immortal, and continues to live in the spirit world after the death of the body. (See Hope of Life After Death) Those who believe the truth of God are shielded from so great an error, and know that the dead will remain in their graves until the glorious resurrection day. How deceived the poor world has been!

(67)  In Jeremiah 19:5,6, we read: “They have built also the high place of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offering to Baal, which I have not commanded, nor spoke; neither has it come into my mind. Therefore, behold, the days are coming, says Yahweh, that this place will no longer be called ‘Tophet,’ nor ‘The valley of the son of Hinnom,’ but the ‘The valley of slaughter.'” The name “Tophet” given to the valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna as it is called in the New Testament, is derived from toph, which in Isaiah 30:32 is translated in the King James Version as “tabrets,”, that is, drums. By the noise of drums the priests of Baal sought to drown the cries of the children who were being offered in sacrifice to the terrible Molech. Because of this abomination Yahweh cursed the valley of Hinnom, and in recognition of that curse Jesus spoke of the valley as figuratively representing the symbolical “lake of fire and brimstone,” the second death, into which Satan and all who follow him will be cast at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ.

(68)  This retribution upon Satan, the author of the cruel worship of Molech, seems to be foretold in Isaiah 30:27-33 under cover of the Assyrian king Nimrod, whom we have seen was the direct representative of the Devil. The passage reads: “Behold, the name of Yahweh comes from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy; his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire . . . For through the voice of Yahweh the Assyrian will be beaten down, who struck with a rod . . . for Tophet [the valley of Hinnom or Gehenna] is ordained of old; yes, for the king it is prepared; he has made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of Yahweh, like a stream of brimstone, does ignite it.”

(69)  Just as the valley of Gehenna, which runs along the south side of Jerusalem, is used in the Scriptures as a symbol of the second death from which there will not be a resurrection, so the valley of Jehoshaphat or Kedron, which runs along the east side of the city, is used as symbol of the first or Adamic death, from which a resurrection is assured because of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Jews, and also the Mohammedans, greatly desire to be buried in this valley, for they believe that the resurrection and final judgment will take place there. (See Joel 3:1,2,12-14) The valley of Jehoshaphat is probably the “valley of dry bones” referred to by Ezekiel. — Chapter 37.

(70)  The story of the trial of the prophets of Baal by Elijah (1 Kings 18:17-40) indicates how firmly established the worship of Baal was at that time in Israel. Elijah came boldly forward and cried: “How long will you limp upon two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow him; but if Baal [the Lord], then follow him.” The test proposed by Elijah as to who was the true God, Yahweh, or Baal [the Lord], was to be an answer by fire; and the people agreed that this would be a proper test because Baal was the sun or fire god, and what could be more reasonable than to expect an answer by fire from him? The test vindicated the name of Yahweh, and the 450 priests of Baal were slain. Elijah’s fearless action in thus ridding the land of Baal worshipers was one of incalculable blessing to the people. The worship of Baal was an even more horrible religion than is implied by presented children as burnt offerings to him; for just as it was required by the Mosaic law that the priests should eat of part of the animals offered by the sacrifice by the people (see Numbers 18:9,10), so the priests of Baal ate part of the human sacrifices offered to their fire god Molech — The Lord (Baal) King! This shows the true derivation of the word given in the English language to the devours of human flesh, for the Chaldean word for “the priests” is cahna, so that Chana-Bal, that is, “priest of Baal [the Lord],” became cannibal. It is common knowledge that the priests of the sun worshipers of ancient Mexico were cannibals.

(71)  How rejoiced the poor groaning creation will be when Christ, the true “Sun of Righteousness,” will arise with healing in his wings! Malachi’s allusion to the “wings” of the sun is evidently derived from the well known symbol of the sun god in Egypt and Assyria. Above the doors of the ancient temples and tombs in these countries, there is usually to be seen a representation of the sun god, in the form of a round disc with wide spread wings.

(72)  Along with the sun as the great fire god, the serpent was connected. Owen says: “In the Mythology of the primitive world, the serpent is universally the symbol of the sun.” (Own, apud Davie’s Druids, in note, p. 437) In Egypt the commonest sign for the sun, or sun god, is a disc with a serpent around it. (Bunsen, Hieroglyphics, Vol. i, p. 497) The original reason for the connection of the serpent with the sun appears to have been that, as the physical world receives its light from the sun, so the serpent was held to have been the great enlightener of good and evil. This, of course, like all idolatry, is an absolute perversion of the truth; but it serves to identify the sun god with Satan. In Revelation 12:3, Satan is called a “great read dragon,” or “fiery serpent.” (see Diaglott, and compare with verse 9) Pausanius informs us that “the dragon with the Greeks was only a large snake.” — lib. ii, Corinthiaca, cap. 28, p. 175.

Semiramis Worshiped Under Various Names

(73)  Just as Nimrod was regarded as the sun, and was given the title Baal, or “lord of heaven” (for the word Baal means lord), so Semiramis, when she was likewise “deified,” received worship as the Moon, the “Queen of heaven.” Now, according to Athenagoras and Lucian, Semiramis was worshiped as Astarte, the Syrian goddess. (Legatio, Vol. ii, p. 179, De Dea Syria, Vol. iii, p. 382) This Syrian goddess was also known as Ishtar from which the word Easter is derived. (See 1912 Watch Tower, 144) Smith’s Bible Dictionary, under the article “Ashtoreth,” says: “From the connection of this goddess with Baal or Bel we should naturally conclude that she would be found in the Assyrian Pantheon, and in fact the name Ishtar appears to be clearly identified in the list of the great gods of Assyria. There is no reason to doubt that this Assyrian goddess is the Ashtoreth [or Ashtaroth] of the Old Testament and the Astarte of the Greeks and Romans . . . It is certain that the worship of Astarte became identified with that of Venus (or Aphrodite).”

(74)  Layard states that in the Syrian temple of Hierapolis, Astarte was represented standing on a lion, crowned with towers.” (Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. ii, p. 456) The name Astarte itself means “the woman that made towers,” being composed of two words: “Asht-tart.” Asht is the word for woman; and it is generally agreed that the last syllable “tart” comes from the Hebrew verb “Tr,” which means to go around,” and “to be round.” From this is derived the Greek word “turit,” and its English equivalent “turret,” a round tower. Asht-turit, therefore, which is the same as “Ashtoreth” of the Hebrew, is literally “the woman that made the tower” or encompassing wall. Ovid mentions that Semiramis was currently believed to have “surrounded Babylon with a wall of brick.” (Ovid, Opera, Vol. iii; Fasti, iv, 219-221) But there is not need to give all the credit of building the battlements of Babylon to Semiramis; the reason why she gained the honor of fortifying the city was because she in the long run became foremost in esteem of the ancient idolaters, and thus had attributed to her every virtue and characteristic that properly belonged, or was imagined to have belonged , to her son Ninus. She was also worshiped as Rhea or Cybele, the “Mother of the gods” (Paschal, Chronicle, Vol. i, p. 65), and as such is always represented as wearing a mural or turreted crown on her head. In this respect the Ephesian Diana exactly resembled Rhea, for Diana was likewise a tower-bearing goddess. Now, the Ephesian Diana is expressly identified with Semiramis; for Semiramis is the same as the goddess Artemis, and it is well known that Artemis was Diana. (Layard, Nineveh and its Remains, Vol. ii, p. 480, note) The Roman Diana was a huntress bearing a quiver of arrows. In this character she was the complement of Nimrod “the mighty hunter.”

(75)  The universal adoration of the “deified” Semiramis under various names and titles by the Eastern nations, is prominently drawn to our attention in Acts 19:23-41. “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” the multitude shouted, “whom all Asia and the world worships.” It is a remarkable fact that this great goddess is even now worshiped in our very midst in the person of the Papal “Queen of heaven,” the so-called “Virgin Mary,” whose image is set up everywhere! A favorite image of the Romish Virgin Marry shows her standing on a large sphere, which is colored blue, and spangled with stars. On her head rests a heavy gold crown. The globe is intended to symbolize the blue vault of heaven, while the crowned woman herself, apparently, represents the moon as the Queen of heaven, that is, Astarte or Ashtoreth. By her side she holds the child who is also crowned, and who stands on a smaller star spangled blue globe. In this connection he evidently represents the sun, the king or lord of heaven, that is, Baal (remember that the word Baal means Lord). Another familiar figure of the Papal “Mother of god” shows her standing on clouds (sometimes a sphere), one foot treading on the serpent’s head, and with the crescent of the moon at her feet. The crescent of the moon is the well known sign of Astarte or Ashtoreth, the horns of the moon’s crescent covertly suggesting her power as Queen of heaven. Papacy maintains that it was not the seed of the woman, but the woman herself, who was to bruise the head of the serpent. Regardless of the laws of grammar the apostate church renders God’s condemnation of the serpent: “She shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel.” In this the goddess of “Babylon the Great” is only fashioned after her type in ancient Babylon, for though it was originally claimed that Nimrod had crushed the head of the serpent, this mother was latterly given the glory of having done this great deed. (Diodorus, Bibliotheca, lib. ii, p. 70; Smith’s Classical Dictionary, p. 320) Although in the first instance Semiramis derived her exalted position from the Divine character attributed to the child in her arms, she ultimately practically eclipsed her son. So also in the Papal church it is the Madonna who receives all the adoration, and to whom petitions are generally addressed. What a satire, to think that the poor world has been so blinded by Satan, that it has been deceived into worshiping a woman who is nonexistent! Well did Yahweh forbid his people to make and bow down to images, “which cannot see, nor hear, nor know.” (Daniel 5:23; Psalm 115:4-8) It would be difficult to understand how so great a delusion could have become universal, were it not that we are aware that Satan is the “god of this world,” and that along with him are legions of demons, who have sought to impersonate the dead in various ways, bolstering up Satan’s lie that there is no death. (Genesis 3:4) In Psalm 106:37 we are told that the Jews, in serving Baal or Molech, had really “sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons,” and in Psalm 96:5 we read: “For all the gods of the nations are demons.” (Septuagint version) The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 10:20, says: “But I say, that the things which the nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons.”

Origin of Star Worship

(76)  The worship of the stars by the idolatrous nations was as prevalent as the worship of the sun and moon. Mythology identifies Nimrod and Semiramis with certain constellations. From Persian records we are expressly assured that Nimrod, after his death, was “deified” by the name of Orion, the mighty hunter, and “placed among the stars.” (Paschal Chronicle, tom. i, p. 64) The constellation Virgo is admitted by the most learned astronomers to have been dedicated to Ceres, who as we have seen was identical to the Egyptian Isis, and was therefore the same as Semiramis the Babylonian goddess. (Dr. John Hill, in his Urania; and Mr. A. Jamieson, in his Celestial Atlas. See Landseer’s Sabean Researches, p. 201.) All the signs of the Zodiac, and the other constellations and stars were associated with various gods and incidents in connection with them, by Chaldean astrologers. Yahweh especially commanded the Israelites to on no account worship images, the sun or moon, or the stars, because of the degrading influence it would have upon them, even as it had upon the heathen nations. In Deuteronomy 4:15-19, we read (World English Version): “{4:15} Take you therefore good heed to yourselves; for you saw no manner of form on the day that Yahweh spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire. {4:16} Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make yourself an engraved image in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, {4:17} the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, {4:18} the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth; {4:19} and lest you lift up your eyes to Heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of Heaven, you be drawn away and worship them, and serve them.” Yet the Jewish people frequently disregarded Yahweh’s command. In 2 Kings, chapters 22 and 23, we read how king Josiah, after having heard the words of the newly discovered book of the law of Moses, cleared the land of idolatry: “He put down the idolatrous priests . . . them also that burned incense to Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the twelve signs or constellations [i.e., the Zodiac, the invention of the Chaldeans], and to all the host of heaven.” (2 Kings 23:5, margin) This identification of their gods and goddesses with the stars by the Babylonians is a counterfeit of the true “deified mortals,” Jesus Christ and his joint-heirs; for we read in 1 Corinthians 15:41,42: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.”

Origin of the Fish God Dagon

(77)  Yahweh’s warning to this people not to make an image of anything in the likeness of a fish, would imply that such was possible. Professor Layard in his excavations at Nineveh discovered sculptured figures of a fish god, which he identified with Dagon, the fish god of the Philistines, who borrowed it from the Babylonians (Nineveh and Babylon, pp. 343, 350) In 1 Samuel 5:1-5, we read that the Philistines placed the captured ark of God in the house of their god Dagon. The next morning they found Dagon fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of Yahweh. They set Dagon up in his place again; but: “when they arose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of Yahweh, and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the fishy part of Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priest of Dagon, nor any who came to Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashod to this day.” (See King James Version margin) In passing we draw attention to Zephaniah 1:9: “In the same day also I will punish all those that leap over the threshold.” The Philistines leaped over the threshold on which their god Dagon had lost his head and hands; and it appears from Zephaniah that some among the Jews who had forsaken Yahweh were worshiping Dagon, and were leaping over the threshold in deference to him! Berosus, describing this fish god, says that “its body was that of a fish, but under the head of the fish was that of a man, and to its tail were joined a woman’s feet. (Cory’s frag., p. 30) From Layard’s sculptures we notice that the figure also had hands. Now, what could have suggested a peculiar combination of man and fish? And what could have induced the Babylonians to set up so strange and object in a temple to worship as a god? When we remember that the image is a hieroglyphic, that every feature of it is intended to convey to the beholder some message, or suggest some attribute concerning the god whom the image represents, we can perceive that this fish god described a man who had been in some respects like a fish. It appears that not only were Nimrod and Semiramis raised to the status of god and goddess in the Mysteries, but that as Father (Kronos) and Mother (Rhea) of the gods, they were the forerunners of numerous other “deified mortals.”

(78)  The fish god Dagon could not have represented anyone more perfectly than Ham (or possibly Noah), for did not this man live through the waters of the flood which destroyed all “in whose nostrils were the breath of life”? In this respect, then, he was like a fish, because we do not read that fish were destroyed in the deluge. (Genesis 7:21,22) Without doubt this is the origin of that mythical creature called the mermaid and the merman.

(79)  The great apostate church of the Gospel Age, true to its Babylonish origin, has actually adopted this fish god in its ritual; for the pope on certain occasions manifests by his head gear that he is the direct representative of Dagon. As it was an indispensable rule in all idolatrous religions that the high priest should wear the insignia of the god he worshiped, so the sculptures discovered by Layard show that the priests of Dagon were arrayed in clothing resembling fish. This is probably the “strange apparel” referred to in Zephaniah 1:8. Berosus tells us that in the image of Dagon the head of the man appeared under the head of the fish, while Layard points out that in the case of the priests “the head of the fish formed a mitre above that of the man, while its scaly, fan-like tail fell as a cloak behind, leaving the human limbs and feet exposed.” (Babylon and Nineveh, p. 343) We have evidence that at a later period the pagan priests dispensed with the body of the fish, and used the head alone like a cap. (Bryant, Vol. v, p. 384) The gaping jaws of the fish’s head, surmounting the head of the man, is the exact appearance of the two horned mitre of the pope, or of a Papal bishop at this day! Mr. A. Trimen, a distinguished London architect and author, found that on a certain occasion every year the Chinese Emperor, as Pontifex Maximus of his nation, wears a mitre which is the very counterpart of the Papal mitre. (Hager, on Chinese Hieroglyphics, B. xxxv, in the British Museum)

(80) Thus we see the far reaching influences of the idolatrous system set up in ancient Babylon. That “Mystery of Iniquity” has indeed deceived all the world so that, as the Scriptures truly say, the nations have been made drunken or mad. But it is possible for the followers of God and Christ to escape this deception, as “he who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned of no man.” The “Mystery of Godliness” cannot be comprehended by any except those who are initiated through the anointing of the holy spirit. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of [the natural] man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them to us by his spirit, for the spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” Let us be thankful if we dwell in the “secret place of the Most High.” It is given to very few to be allowed to know God and Jesus Christ whom he sent. We recall the words of Jesus, related in Matthew 11:25,26: “I thank you, Of Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight.” Can we be certain that we are those who are initiated in the mysteries of God? Yes, for the apostle John says: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brothers.” (1 John 3:14) “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and every one who loves is begotten of God, and knows God.” — 1 John 4:7.

See also:

How Should a Christian View Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Beginnings in the Bible -r

The Hebrew word “Re’shiyth” [or, reshith], is translated beginning in connection with the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), and of the angels before the creation of the heavens and the earth (Proverbs 8:22). The Greek word “arche” [or, arch, arkhe, as some prefer], is translated “beginning” in connection with the creation of the earth and the heavens (Hebrews 1:10), of the world of mankind (John 1:1,2,10), and of the church as God’s new creation (2 Thessalonians 2:13) Neither of these words ever mean eternity, or a beginning in eternity (outside of time, that is, a beginning in the realm where time does not exist), nor that there was no “time” before the “beginning” spoken of, as some try to read that thought into Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 8:22; John 1:1,2; Colossians 1:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

That “resheth” means any beginning, but never means eternity — without time, or eternal duration before the beginning spoken of — is evident from the following verses: Deuteronomy 11:12; 21:17; Job 8:7; 42:12; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 17:14; Ecclesiastes 7:8; Isaiah 46:10; Jeremiah 26:1; 28:1; Micah 1:13. That “arche” means any beginning, but never means eternity — without time, or eternal duration before the beginning spoken of — is evident from the following passages: Matthew 19:4,8; 24:8,21; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:2; John 2:11; 6:64; 8:25,44; 16:4; Acts 11:15; Philippians 4:15; Hebrews 1:10; 3:14; 7:3; 2 Peter 3:4; 1 John 1:1; 2:7,13,14,24; 3:8,11; 2 John 5,6; Revelation 1:8; 3:14.

Therefore, we understand that in Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 8:22; John 1:1,2; Colossians 1:15,18 , and 2 Thessalonians 2:13, several different beginnings of God’s creative work may be referred to, at different points in time. There may be some dispute in the exact order of these beginnings, but we believe that they were as follows:

Of course, for God there was no beginning. “Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, From everlasting and to everlasting! Amen and amen.” (Psalm 41:13) He is “from everlasting to everlasting”. (Psalm 90:2) There was a time when he was all alone. Being alone he began his creative work, we believe, first, by bring the material universe into existence. Thus the “beginning” for the actual physical heavens and the physical earth — the material universe, was before the six days of creation referred to in Exodus 20:11; 31:17. — Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 8:3; Isaiah 44:24.

The first beginning of any living creation is that of the spirit creature referred to as the Logos, also referred to as the wisdom of God. — “Yahweh had constituted me [Wisdom] the beginning of his way, before his works [that being referred to in context, the earth, mountains, etc.], at the commencement of that time; At the outset of the ages, had I been established, in advance of the antiquities of the earth [not necessarily the planet earth itself, but the ‘earth’ referred to in Genesis 1:1,10; Exodus 20:11; 31:17. The physical universe probably already had been in existence, although most likely without the order in it as we know today. — Isaiah 44:24]; When there was no resounding deep, I had been brought forth, when there were no fountains, abounding with water;” (Proverbs 8:22-24, Rotherham) What of the expression “beginning of his way”? Did Yahweh have a beginning? Was there ever a beginning of Yahweh’s way? We have already said that Yahweh never had a beginning, so how could there be a beginning of Yahweh’s “way”? Evidently “way” here is in reference to Yahweh’s creation, especially that of his creation pertaining to the earth, as can be seen from the context. Thus notice these translations: “The LORD made me as the beginning of His way, the first of His works of old.” (Jewish Publication Society – 1917) “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old.” (New International Version).

Was God’s attribute of ‘wisdom’ “brought forth” at some time? No, his attribute of wisdom has always been. It did not need to be brought forth. Thus Proverbs 8:22 refers to a person, Jesus, and not to God’s attribute of wisdom, since God’s attribute of wisdom has always existed. Earlier in Proverbs 8 Wisdom is being personified as an attribute; however beginning with verse 8 we see a change in its application from an attribute to a person who actually had a beginning, who was “brought forth” before there were oceans and seas, before there were mountains and hills, before the earth [land area, not the planet — Genesis 1:10] and fields were made. Thus we read of “Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” — 1 Corinthians 1:30.
========
See Frank Shallieu’s book, Portions of the Book of Proverbs, discussion on Proverbs Chapter 8. This book is available on the Bible Students’ DVD Library
http://www.heraldmag.org/cdromad.htm

Thus we read that Jesus is the “The firstborn of every creature.” (Colossians 1:15 — the context of this verse shows that this is referring to the living creation in heaven and on earth.) “The beginning of the creation of God.” — Revelation 3:14, See Objection 1, below.

Another beginning alluded to in scripture is the beginning of other spirit creatures, such as the angels. The physical universe in some fashion probably already existed before the creation of the spirit beings. (Isaiah 44:24) We know from Job that the spirit beings were created and had their beginning before man, and before the “earth” as referred to in Genesis 1:1,10. — Job 38:7; compare: Hebrews 1:7; Ezekiel 28:11-19.

Then we have the beginning that refers to the ordering of the physical heavens and the earth; this is called the beginning of the heavens (sky) and the earth as the world in which man lives, the famed six days of creation. — John 1:1,2,10; Genesis 1:1; 2:1-4; Exodus 20:11; 31:17; Matthew 19:4,5; 2 Peter 3:4.

There are also other beginnings that are relative to a creative process. One of these (Colossians 1:18) in point of time is God’s Son as the beginning of the those being born from the dead. — Acts 13:33-37; Hebrews 1:3-5; Revelation 1:5.

Likewise another beginning (2 Thessalonians 2:13) in point of time is the period from Pentecost 33 onward when the disciples were anointed with the holy spirit, as God began the generation of the new creation of the church, Christ’s body. — 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10,15; 4:24; Colossians 3:10; James 1:18.

Accordingly, the words “reshith” and “arche”, used in respect to creation, refer to starting points of new and various creative periods, and, of course, do not mean eternity, but to bring to our attention the first starts of distinctive creative periods of various creatures of God.
See also Paul S. L. Johnson’s book, Creation, pages 35,36.

Objection 1

It is claimed by some that “beginning” in Revelation 3:14 is a title meaning source or one who begins, i.e. Creator. It is also claimed that Jesus is called the arche in the sense of “ruler,” in Col. 1:18. Some claim that the Greek word *arche* should be translated as “origin” rather “beginning” in Revelation 3:14. Thus some translations present this verse accordingly: “prime source of all God’s creation.” (New Enlgish Bible translation) “The source through whom God’s creation came.” (Knox) “The beginner of God’s creation.” (Williams, Goodspeed) “The Origin and Beginning and Author of God’s creation.” (Amplified New Testament) In all these translations, however, it should be pointed out that the one being spoken of still represented as a different person from God, and thus not God himself.

It is further claimed that *arche*, as used in Revelation 3:14, means “ruler” of God’s creation. We are given the following scriptures where the plural of arche (archai) is used in sense of rulers (as having principality, or first place over others): Luke 12:11; 20:20; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:12; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 15, Titus 3:1. Jude 1:6. We do not deny that the Greek word *arche* can be used figuratively of ones in authority [based on the sense of first position, or the higher positions in the realm being spoken of], but is that what is meant in Revelation 3:14? In Revelation 3:14, what we have is one who is spoken of as “the beginning” of God’s creation. It is not a possessive nominative followed by what is possessed, as it should be if it meant “ruler” of God’s creation. Similar Greek construction of *arche* can be found in Mark 10:6; 13:19 and 2 Peter 3:4, where beginning refers, not to a person, but a point in time when the creation of the world of mankind started. There is no doubt in these verses that *arche* does not mean “ruler”. Usually the word *arche* is translated as “beginning” except in those cases where the context shows that figurative meaning of the word is meant. There is no reason to think that in Revelation 3:14 there should be any different translation, except that one, in keeping with preconceived beliefs, would like for this scripture to say other than what it says, that Jesus is the first creation of God.

Below we present the translations in the King James Version of the Greek arch (arkee, arche) in italics.
This list has been obtained from:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/arche.html
Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Arche”. “The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon”

The reader may see how the word is used throughout the New Testament. Please note how John 1:1 and Revelation 3:14 use the word “beginning” in common usage. Also note especially Matthew 24:21, Mark 10:6, and 2 Peter 3:4, wherein the beginning of creation is referring to the beginning of the world of mankind. By studying the various uses of the Greek word arch, the reader may be properly informed.

  • Mt 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
  • Mt 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
  • Mt 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
  • Mt 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be
  • Mr 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
  • Mr 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
  • Mr 13:8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
  • Mr 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
  • Lu 1:2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
  • Lu 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
  • Lu 14:9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. [[We could not find any occurrence of arche in this verse.]]
  • Lu 20:20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
  • Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
  • Joh 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
  • Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
  • Joh 8:25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
  • Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
  • Joh 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
  • Joh 16:4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
  • Ac 10:11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
  • Ac 11:5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
  • Ac 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
  • Ac 26:4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
  • Ro 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
  • 1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
  • Eph 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
  • Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
  • Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
  • Php 4:15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
  • 2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth
  • Tit 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
  • Heb 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
  • Heb 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
  • Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
  • Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
  • Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
  • Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
  • 2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
  • 1Jo 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
  • 1Jo 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
  • 1Jo 2:13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
  • 1Jo 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
  • 1Jo 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
  • 1Jo 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
  • 1Jo 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
  • 2Jo 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
  • 2Jo 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
  • Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
  • Re 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
  • Re 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
  • Re 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
  • Re 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Note that *arche* is not used as partitive genitive construction in Luke 12:11; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10,15; Titus 3:1; Jude 1:6. In each of these verses, the word *arche* is used in the context where words are used describing authority or power (such is not the case in Revelation 3:14), and it is clear from the context that “beginning” of something is not what is meant. Luke 20:20 is genitive, but it is apparent that is not speaking of a beginning of something. Nevertheless, the normal word used for “ruler” is the Greek word *archwn* (Strong’s #758). If “ruler” was meant in Revelation 3:14, it would seem likely that this word would have been used rather than *arche*, as it is used in Revelation 1:5.

Despite the fact that the Greek word *arche* is sometimes translated “magistrate”, “power”, or “ruler”, note that in the writings of John, the King James Version consistently translates the Greek word *arche* as “beginning.”

As far as coming up with the idea that “arche” in Revelation 3:14 means “originator” or “source”, one has to look outside the New Testament Greek for such usage, for in the New Testament one cannot find such usage anywhere. Indeed, translators who wish to make arche mean “origin” (as meaning “originator”) or “source”, etc., only choose to do so in Revelation 3:14 (and some have suggested the same for John 1:1), whereas they usually translate “arche” as “beginning” in all the same places where the King James Version does so. Indeed, the same can be said about those translators who wish to translate these verses with anything but “beginning”. Therefore, it can be seen that they are translating these two verses to suit their doctrine.

Finally we will provide a few quotes from various scholars concerning Revelation 3:14:

The word properly refers to the commencement of a thing, not its authorship, and denotes properly primacy in time, and primacy in rank, but not primacy in the sense of causing anything to exist. . . . The word is not, therefore, found in the sense of authorship, as denoting that one is the beginning of anything in the sense that he caused it to have an existence. … If it were demonstrated from other sources that Christ was, in fact, a created being, and the first that God had made, it cannot be denied that this language would appropriately express that fact. — Albert Barnes’ /Notes on the New Testament, p. 1569.)

A check of all the occurrences in NT of arkhe followed by a genitive expression…show that it always denotes a beginning or first part of something. — Greg Stafford, Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, An Answer to Scolars and Critics, First edition, page 109.

In the NT archē occurs 53 times, and 26 of these must have the meaning “beginning,” because they are preceeded by a preposition (as “from the beginning”). In 8 instances (123) the word occurs in a genitive construction, where the meaning is also, clearly, “beginning.” In 6 instances (124) the meaning “beginning” is also appropriate. In 2 instance (125) it has the meaning “corner.” In 11 instances … archē has the meaning “government” or “ruler.” The final uses of this word are in Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 3:14, which are both theologically significant.

From the above it is clear that archē, in more that 75% of its occurrences, means “beginning.” Apart from “corner,” which also is a “beginning,” the word is used in some sense connected with “government.” The word archē, with the meaning “source,” is nowhere attested in the NT, and 7 of the instances with the meaning “government” are in the plural. Also, the four singular occurrences with this meaning are qualified, either by “every” (1 Cor 15:24: Eph 1:21; Col 2:10) or by a genitive construction (Luke 20:20).
======
Footnote 123: Matthew 24:8; Mark 1:1; 13:8,19; Hebrews 5:12; 6:1; 7:3; 2 Peter 3:4.
Footnote 124: John 8:25; Jude 1:6; Hebrews 2:3; 3:14; Revelatin 21:6; 22:13. In several of these texts there is a contrast between the “beginning” and the “end.”
Footnote 125: Acts 19:11; 11:15
—–Rolf Furuli, The Role of Theology and Bias in Bible Translation, 1999.

For more information on refutation of the trinity/oneness doctrines, see our site: Jesus and His God
http://jesus-rlbible.com/

Links to Various Sites

We offer these links for further study along the lines that we present above. While the authors present some good information that does agree with our statements, we do not necessarily agree with all of their conclusions.

Some comments by JW Greg Stafford at BGreek:
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2001-May/016793.html
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2001-May/016795.html
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2001-May/016796.html
http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/2001-May/016797.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5495.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5509.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5511.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5512.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-archives/html4/2001-05/5513.html

Updated slightly, October 24, 2006.

John 1:1 – In the Beginning; Genesis 1:1 (RL Jesus and His God Link)

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning was the LOGOS, and the LOGOS was with TON THEON, and the LOGOS was theos.” — John 1:1; transliterations obtained from Westcott & Hort Interlinear

Unless otherwise noted, all quotations from the Holy Bible are from the World English bible translation.

We will, in this study, examine what is the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, as well as what is included in the “panta” [all things] spoken of in John 1:3. One claims: “By saying that the Word was in the beginning, John implies that the Logos already existed before the beginning talked about in Gen 1:1, namely, the beginning of created reality. This means that the Logos must be uncreated and eternal.” This is usually the concept that most apply to the word “beginning” in John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1, and then, from this it is assumed the the Logos had no beginning.

One might say that the word “beginning” refers to the beginning of creation, which is true, but then we need to ask: What creation? One might say the creation of the “heavens and the earth”, as spoken of in Genesis 1:1. But then, we need to ask, What is included in the heavens and earth that is spoken of there? Does it include the heavens where the angels are who always see the face of God? (Matthew 18:10) Doesn’t Job 38:4-7 speak the angels as “sons of God”, and thus show that they were already in existence before the beginning of the heavens and the earth of Genesis 1:1? Was the heaven wherein God’s throne exists ever created? — Isaiah 66:1; Matthew 5:34.

What was the general thought of the New Testament writers when they spoke of the “beginning” of creation, or of the world? We need to examine some scriptures to see, and thereby compare spiritual with spiritual. — 1 Corinthians 2:13.

The first scripture we will examine is Matthew 19:4:

He answered, “Haven’t you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, …”

We can learn from this that Jesus associated “the beginning” with the time of the creation of Adam and Eve. This agrees with Exodus 20:11: “In six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” This shows that the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 is the six days that are described in Genesis 1:3 through Genesis 2:1. Adam and Eve’s creation was on the last of the six days of creation in which God created the heavens and the earth. Thus, the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 is regarding the six days of creation.

However, do these six days include the creation of the planet earth, the sun, the moon, the stars and the angels? No. Let us see why this is so.

Before getting into the creation of the heavens and the earth — the six days — we read: “the earth was formless and empty.” (Genesis 1:2) It should be apparent here that “earth” is referring to the planet. The planet earth already “was” before the first day of creation, thus before the beginning spoken of in Genesis 1:1, as verified by Exodus 20:11. Thus, “earth” in verse 1, which refers to the six days of creation, must mean something different than the planet earth.

So what was the “earth” that is spoken of that was ccreated in the “beginning”? Genesis 1:9,10 tells us:

God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. God saw that it was good.

Notice that was not the planet that was created on the third day, but dry land. This is the “earth” that was created in the beginning spoken of in verse one. “Earth” in the Bible, however, also designates the society of people who are living on the dry land. We read that “The earth also was corrupt before God.” (Genesis 6:11) Does this mean that the planet itself was corrupt? No, it is speaking of mankind and his society upon the earth: “the earth was filled with violence.” And:

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. — Genesis 6:13.

Here God says he will destroy all flesh with the earth. Did he mean that the planet earth would be no more? No, but he did destroy the order of things that man had made upon the earth. Thus, we should be able to see that the word “earth” can refer to the human society on the planet earth, and not to the planet itself.

Likewise, Abraham called Jehovah the “Judge of all the earth.” (Genesis 18:25) Did he mean that the planet itself was to be judged by Yahweh? No, he is speaking of mankind upon the planet. More scriptures could be cited, but these give a basis for showing that the “earth” referred to in Genesis 1:1 is not the planet, but rather the things upon the land.

What about the heavens — what is included in the statement that in the beginning God created the heavens? Very evidently “heavens” does not include the heavens that is God’s throne, and where the angels see the face of God. (Isaiah 66:1; Matthew 5:34; 18:10) The scriptures seem to indicate that the invisible heavens where God throne is has always been. (Psalm 93:2; 103:19; Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:45) So what heavens is being referred to?

The word “heaven”, like the word “earth”, is used in different ways in the Bible.

The Hebrew word Shamayim, usually rendered “heavens” in Genesis 1:1, is precisely the same word that used in Genesis 1:8. Often it is rendered by many translations in the singular in Genesis 1:8; however, it is plural in both instances in the Hebrew — it is exactly the same word used in both instances. This indicates that “heavens” spoken of as being created in Genesis 1:1, is that expanse, or firmament, that is spoken of in Genesis 1:8. However, as the beginning involves the full of the six days, the heavens includes all that is in these heavens — the hosts of heaven — as seen from the earth, the flying creatures, and even the sun, moon and stars that were made to appear in the fourth day (Genesis 1:14,15; 2:1; Note: We do not understand Genesis 1:14,15 to mean that the sun, moon and stars, as physical bodies, were created on the fourth day, but that they were made to appear in the heavens as seen from the surface of the earth). We should note further that the word “heavens” can also refer to the spiritual ruling powers that had been set in place by God through Jesus, which heavens — spiritual ruling powers, having come under the control of wicked spirits – is to pass away. — Psalm 102:25; Ezekiel 28:12-15; Matthew 4:8,9; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; Hebrews 1:8,10; 1 John 5:19.
==========
See: http://jesus.rlbible.com/?p=367

And what about the “beginning” in John 1:1? It is speaking of the beginning of the world of mankind and not the creation of the spirit world or even of the stars and planet systems. (We should take note that there is a single “day” of creation spoken of in Genesis 2:4, which “day” includes the “six days” in which he created the heavens [skies] and the earth [land masses]. — Exodus 20:13; see also Matthew 19:4,5, which refers to the beginning when Adam and Eve were created.) The angels were already in existence in the spirit world at the creation being spoken of. — Job 4:11-17; Mark 10:6.

So we conclude that at the “beginning” spoken of in John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1, the angels were already in existence, as well as the LOGOS. Again, by comparing spiritual with spiritual, we find verification for this in the way the word “beginning” is used in the NT, as related to creation.

In Matthew 24:21, Jesus speaks of the “beginning of the world.”

For then will be great oppression, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be.

Is he here speaking of the world of the angels? No, he is speaking of the world of mankind.

Mark 10:6 makes this even clearer:

But from the beginning of the creation, ‘God made them male and female.’

So the beginning of creation here is not the beginning of the creation of the spirit world; the angels — the spirit sons of God — were already in existence at the creation that Jesus spoke of. — Job 38:4-7; see Job 1:6; 2:1.

Let us also notice some usages of the word “creation” (Hebrew, ktisis; Strong’s #2937) that show that it usually (although not always) was used in the NT times to refer to human creation, and not angels, sun, moon, stars, etc.

Mark 16:15 – He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”

The whole creation here does not include the angels, nor the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. The “creation” being spoken of is the human creation. The word translated “whole” in the Greek is “pasee”, a variation of the word “pas”. (Strong’s #3956 — This word is discussed in the latter part of this study.) The usage here further illustrates that “pas” in all its variations does not refer to absolutely everything in the universe. Here it is limited to the human creation, as it is also in John 1:3. It is speaking of the world of mankind into which Jesus came. — John 1:10.

Romans 1:20 – For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.

It should be obvious here that the “world” being spoken of is the visible world — the world of mankind here on earth, and not the invisible world of the angels, etc.

Romans 8:19 – For the creation waits with eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
Romans 8:20 – For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope…

Similarly, it should be apparent that the spirit world is not subjected to the vanity spoken of here, but it is the world of mankind.

Now getting back to the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, by a comparison of spriritual revealment with spiritual revealment we can see that this beginning is not speaking of everything in the entire universe, but it can be seen to be limited especially to the world of mankind, into which Jesus came. It is of the world of mankind that John speaks of John 1:3 as “panta” — all. TON THEON made the all of the world of mankind, through Jesus, and without him none of this world was made.

However, many read in John 1:3 that not one thing was made without the Logos and thus conclude that the “beginning” in John 1:1 refers to the absolute beginning of everything that was created.

John 1:3 – All things [Greek, panta, Strong’s #3956] were made through [Greek, di, Strong’s #1223] him. Without him was not anything [oude hen, Strong’s #3761, 1520] made that has been made.

The word translated “all things” in the Greek is “panta”. Literally, it means “all.” The word “things” is supplied by translators. The word panta is a variation of the word “pas”. This word always looks to context and common evidence for what should be included and what should not be included. It rarely, if ever, means absolutely everything that exists.

If one were to do a search through the NT occurences of variations of the Greek word “pas”, and try to replace it with “absolutely everything in the universe”, one could see it just does not fit. One can do this by using a Greek transliterated text that can be searched. However, it is easier if one searches for Strong’s #3956. The Westcott & Hort text is available online by which one can do such a search.
==========
http://qbible.com/greek-new-testament/.

Let us look at a few scriptures to demonstrate this principle of evident inclusion and exclusion.

“There went out to him all the country of Judea, and all those [Strong’s 3956] of Jerusalem. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:5) Pantes [a variation of “pas”] is here rendered “all those”. Does this mean that absolutely every person who lived in the country of Judea and in Jerusalem came to John and was baptized by him? Absolutely not.

Mark 1:5
kai exeporeueto pros auton pasa hee ioudaia
AND WAS GOING THE WAY OUT TOWARD HIM ALL THE JUDEAN
2532 1607 4314 0846_7 3956 3588 2449
chwra kai hoi ierosolumeitai pantes kai
COUNTRY AND THE JERUSALEMITES ALL, AND
5561 2532 3588 2415 3956 2532
ebaptizonto hup autou en tw iordanee potamw
WERE BEING BAPTIZED BY HIM IN THE JORDAN RIVER
0907 5259 0846_3 1722 3588 2446 4215
exomologoumenoi tas hamartias autwn
OPENLY CONFESSING THE SINS OF THEM.
1843 3588 0266 0846_92
Westcott & Hort Interlinear, as obtained from the Bible Students Library DVD

To make greater sense in English, this would be better rendered: “And there went to him those of all the land of Judea, and Jerusalemites. All these were baptized by him in the Jordan River, openly confessing their sins.” The Good News Translation, although it is paraphrased, captures the sense by expressing it: “Many people from the province of Judea and the city of Jerusalem went out to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.”

“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables.” (Mark 4:11, King James Version) Here in the KJV, the phrase “ta panta” [literally, ‘the all’] is shown as “all these things”. This is a good example of how qualifiers added by translators may help the reader understand the usage of the word “all”. Not only did the KJV translators add the word “things”, but they also added the word “these”.

“With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all [Strong’s 3956] things which are done here.” (Colossians 4:9) Here it is evident from the context that “all” is limited the things “which are done here.” The word “things” in English is added by the KJV translators.

And then we have the example of the usage of “ta panta” in Hebrews 2:8, where Paul quotes Psalm 8 regarding mankind: “‘You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’ For in that he subjected all things to him [man], he left nothing that is not subject to him [man]. But now we don’t see all things subjected to him, yet.” What are the “all things” — ta panta: the all — that was subjected to mankind? Psalm 8:7 answers: “All sheep and oxen, Yes, and the animals of the field, The birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, And whatever passes through the paths of the seas.” (See Genesis 1:26,28) It is evident that ta panta here does not mean absolutely everything in the universe, but that it includes all the things being spoken of that was subjected to man.

In Colossians 1:20 we read that through Jesus, God is reconciling “all things” [ta panta] to himself, “whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Does this mean that absolutely everything in the universe is out of harmony with God, and thus through Jesus absolutely everything in the universe needs to be reconciled to God? Does this mean that the obedient angels need to be reconciled with God? Does this mean that Satan himself will be reconciled with God? The things that come to peace with God directly through the blood of Jesus is man, first of all the seed of Abraham, and then those take of the waters of life in the millennium. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) However, Jesus and his joint-heirs especially, will not only rule over mankind, but also over the angels — over all dominions, so that eventually all must either repent and come into harmony with God, or else be destroyed. The end result is that all creation then remaining both in heaven and earth that had been out of harmony with God will be reconciled to God, but the point is that the term “all things” does not totally refer to absolutely everything in the universe, since not all things in the universe are out of harmony with God so that they would need to be reconciled.
==========
See also:
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1941_11.htm#_Toc31126780

Therefore, The word panta (as well as all the variations of the Greek pas — Strong’s Greek #3956) is used in connection with what is spoken of, thus all the things of which we are speaking. It does not necessarily mean absolutely everything that exists, else God himself would have to be included.
==========
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/NewTestamentGreek/grk.cgi?number=3956.

So we conclude that the word panta (usually translated in John 1:3 as “all things”) and the words “oude hen” (usually translated as “not one thing”) need to be viewed relative to what is being spoken of, that is, the world of mankind into which the Logos came and was not recognized by. (John 1:10; 17:5) The words “things” and “thing” are supplied by the translators. Without adding the supplied word “things” and “thing”, the verse would read: “All through him came to be, and without him not one came to be.”

Now, regarding the phrase “not one thing”. A similar usage may be found in Hebrews 2:8 (already discussed above), in connection with his quotation from Psalm 8:5,6. Paul is referring to the subjection of “all things” to mankind. And then he says “For in that he [God] subjected all things to him [man], he left nothing that is not subject to him.” In saying that God left nothing that is not subject to man, did Paul mean that there is nothing in the whole universe that was not made subject to man? Absolutely, not! Paul is speaking concerning realm of the earth. And this is what can be seen from Psalm 8:6-8:

Psalm 8:6 You make him ruler over the works of your hands. You have put all things under his feet: Psalm 8:7 All sheep and oxen, Yes, and the animals of the field, Psalm 8:8 The birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, And whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

Likewise, by context, and from the rest of the scriptures, we can determine that “not one thing” in John 1:3 refers the creation of the world of mankind, not to everything in the universe.

Having all this evidence from what is revealed through the holy spirit in the scriptures, it is our conclusion that the “beginning” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 is not pertaining to the angels, nor even to the physical earth, stars and planets; that these were already in existence at the “beginning” spoken of both in John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1, and that this beginning refers to the beginning of the world of mankind, as spoken of in John 1:10; 17:5.

The Six Days of Creation

The Genesis account tells nothing about the creation of the planet Earth itself. It says, “In the beginning the Earth was — without form and void” — shapeless, empty. There were neither mountains nor valleys, trees nor shrubs, rivers nor oceans, but the Earth was. How long before that it had been created, is not stated. The account of the Days of Creation given in Genesis does not relate to the construction of our globe, but to the ordering of it for human habitation. Thus, the scriptures refer to these six days, the beginning, creation, in reference to the creation of the world of mankind (not the sun, moon, stars, etc.), into which world the Logos came. — Matthew 19:4,8; 24:21; Mark 10:6; 13:19; 16:15; John 1:1,2,10; 17:5; Romans 1:20; 8:19-22; Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 9:11; 2 Peter 3:4.

There are various theories regarding the earth’s formation and its preparation, beginning, as the earth upon which man was to live. Most Bible Students believe that planet had “fields”, “belts” or “rings” of gaseous and mineral material, enveloping the earth, kept in place by magnetic forces. Today many know of what is usually called the “ozone” field. The “Van Allen” belts may provide a similar example. At any rate, it is believed that gradually the motion of the fields became different from that of the Earth in proportion to the distance from the center of gravity. These fields gradually approaching the Earth would be kept off by centrifugal force, particularly strong at the equator.

Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Genesis 1:3 – God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Please note that planet “earth” already “was” before the beginning of the first day, and that it was covered with water. The waters referred to probably consisted of various forms of liquids, and made not had yet been developed into the waters as we know the oceans today. Before the first day began, however, the planet earth was already in existence, and the its watery surface was in total darkness.  We believe, in accordance with Isaiah 44:24, that the material universe was already in existence before the “beginning” that is spoken of in Genesis 1:1. We read in Job 38:4-7 that there were “sons of God” already present when the foundation of the earth was laid, evidently referring to the “beginning” and the “earth” spoken of in Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:10, not of the creation of the planet itself that already “was” as spoken of in Genesis 1:2, since Isaiah 44:24 indicates that God was alone at the creation of the material universe. If Yahweh was alone at the laying of the foundations of the material universe, then the foundations spoken of in Job 38:4-7 must refer to the foundations of the heaven and earth of Genesis 1:8 and Genesis 1:10.

In the first day, the “brooding” of Holy Energy developed a light, probably resembling the Aurora Borealis — but not sunlight. Many Bible Students believe that a canopy around the earth caused the darkness, and as the canopy disintegrated some light from the sun was allowed to shine on the surface, but that the sun itself could not yet been seen. The “light” could have come from the regions of the surface of the waters, as this time element would have a lot of underwater volcanic activity, which may have provided the source for such light. Regardless, we are informed that on Day One some form of light was provided, and that it was distinguished from the darkness.  The word “day” as used related to “light”, however, is not of the same length as when day is use of first “day” of creation.

The Sun itself, like the planet earth itself, must have already been existence as part of the earlier creation spoken of in Isaiah 44:24. However,  it did not appear in the sky until the Fourth Day, nor are 24-hour “days” actually mentioned until then. Thus, there must have been something that hindered the sunlight from reaching the surface of the earth that left the surface of the earth in darkness as described in Genesis 1:2.

Some have pointed to Luke’s genealogy, which goes back to Adam as the son of God, and have claimed that this proves that the Bible supports the idea that the planet earth has been here for only a few thousand years. Luke only provides a genealogy back to the first man created by God, but not back to the creation of the universe itself, which had already taken place before the six days of creation of the world of mankind. Likewise, the angelic “son of God” were already in existence at the time of the creation of the first man (Job 38:4-9), so there was a creation of these invisible beings before that creation which is spoken of in the first two chapters of Genesis.

Some insist the the six days of creation spoken of in Genesis 1 & 2 are 24-hour days, and that thus the Bible says that God created the heavens and earth in six 24-hour days. The Bible says nothing about creating the heavens and earth in six 24-hour days. This thought has to be assumed and added to what is written. There are at least three different usages of the word “day” in the first two chapters of the Bible, each with different time lengths. Each of the six epochs of creation are called a “day”, each made up of what is rendered as “evening” and “morning” without any signification as to duration (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31); the light is called “day” without any signification as to duration (Genesis 1:5); the light is called “day” in reference to the daylight hours of a 24-hour day, which “day” averages about 12 hours. (Genesis 1:14,16; See John 11:9); the first mention of “days” that we can actually identify in the sense of 24-hour days is in Genesis 1:14: “let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for *days* and years”; all six days/epochs of creation are called a “day” (singular). — Genesis 2:4.

Thus the six periods of time for creation are called “days”, followed by a seventh day of rest, providing a pattern for the work week and a day of rest, the seven days of a week that mankind is now familiar with. — Exodus 20:9-11.

As to how long the physical universe of stars and planets existed before God began those six days of creation, the Bible does not state.

The generations listed in Luke only go back to the creation of Adam, not to the when the physical universe itself was created, which could have been billions of years, according to our time as we now have it.

God created the universe, and the invisible “sons of God”, before he created the “heavens” and “earth” that are spoken of in Genesis 1:1.

Some claim that the Hebrew word translated as “heavens” in Genesis 1 does not mean the “sky”, since it is plural. Others have claimed that since the King James Version and others have “heaven” (singular) in Genesis 1:8 and that it has “heavens” in Genesis 1:1, then these two verses are not referring to the same thing.

The Hebrew word, *Shamayim*, is always plural all the way through the Bible, although many times translators render it as singular in many instances. The singular form never appears in the Bible. This plural form is used in Genesis 1:26,28,30; 2:19,20; 7:3; 9:2 in describing the region where the birds fly. Of course, the sky *can* include everything seen above from the earth, but the sun, moon and stars did not appear until in the “sky” until the fourth day, so the creative process continues over the six days.

We are not to think that the sun, moon, and stars were “created” as an physical bodies on Day Four, but it was it at that time that the fields above the earth became thin enough so that they could be seen in the sky above, as though from man’s standpoint upon the earth. The fourth day is actually the first mention of a “days” as we know 24-hour days. (Genesis 1:14-19) Additionally, the approximately 12-hour “day” – the average time of sunlight — is also first mentioned at that time. — John 11:9.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/shamayim.html

The expressions “evening and morning” and “day” cannot be understood to signify twenty-four-hour days, for neither Sun nor Moon was visible until the Fourth Day. The planet earth, already in existence before the account given in Genesis 1, was swathed in total darkness. (Genesis 1:2) The word “day” applies to any period, or Epoch, as for instance, the “Day of temptation in the wilderness” — forty years. (Psalms 95:8.) Note again, that we read of the “Day of Christ,” evidently referring to the thousand-year Day in which Messiah is to be King over all the Earth. (Isaiah 2:11.)

In the common affairs of life we use the word “day” similarly, when referring to Caesar’s day, Napoleon’s day, etc.

Thus, most Bible Students accept that each “day” of creation is not 24-hours, but periods of time much longer.

As one after another the encircling fields of gas and minerals approached the Earth they would spread out like a great canopy, but would not be permitted to fall upon the Earth because of the circumambient air, referred to in Scripture as a “firmament”, or “expanse”.

God made the firmament, or expanse, to appear above the earth’s surface, in the second “Day”, and separated the waters which were under the firmament, expanse,  from the waters (probably cloud-like vapor) which were above the firmament. — Genesis 1:7.

According to our theory, the strongly mineralized fields above the Earth, held off by the “firmament” and centrifugal force, greatest at the equator, gradually concentrated at the two poles, where later they broke and then reached the Earth, forming layer after
layer of mineralized earth deposited by the water which rushed from both poles toward the equator. — Genesis 7:11,18.

These fields, or belts, of gas and minerals followed each other as great deluges upon the Earth — perhaps thousands (millions?) of years apart. The deluge of Noah’s day is believed to have been the last, of vapor only, heavier minerals being attracted first to the surface. Hence minerals are generally under several layers of shale and soil.

Nevertheless, the second “day” describes the formation of the “heavens” spoken of as “beginning” in Genesis 1:1. The heavens at that time, however, did not include the sun, the moon, or the stars, nor did it contain any flying birds. Nor was it yet the heavens – the above – for mankind, since man had yet been created. It was the start of the creation of the heavens of the world of mankind.

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land of the Earth appear; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He seas. And the evening and the morning were the Third Day.”

Here we have the formation “the earth” that is spoken of as “beginning” in verse 1. It does not speak of the planet earth, but of the dry land as “earth”.

It is possible that several of the fields encircling the earth precipitated themselves upon the earth during this third epoch. Thus, many believe that these, according to the Divine intention, so increased the pressure on the crust of the Earth as to cause it to buckle or wrinkle. These depressions became ocean beds, and the upheavals became mountain ranges. Thus was the work of the Third Day accomplished. The waters were gathered into seas and oceans, the dry land was up heaved and began gradually to drain off in preparation for vegetation. This draining must have required a long time. — Genesis 1:9,10.

Appropriately we next read: “And the Earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit.”

That is to say, vegetation began on the Third, or Carboniferous Day, though it did not reach its perfection until after the light of the Sun penetrated. There are grasses and other vegetation which prosper best in darksome shades. Additionally, there was light being provided from the unstated source that was spoken of in Day One. Regardless, it was on Day Three that vegetation began to grow.

The claim has been made that in Genesis 1:16, the verse says that God created the Sun, Moon, and stars, and fastened (Hebrew: nawthan) them to the firmament. The Hebrew word “Nathan”, Strong’s #5414, means: “to give, put, set, allow, grant, show, cause, appoint”. We cannot find any support for the idea of “fasten”. The KJV most often renders this word as:

give 1078, put 191, deliver 174, made 107, set 99, up 26, lay 22, grant 21, suffer 18, yield 15, bring 15, cause 13, utter 12, laid 11, send 11, recompense 11, appoint 10, shew 7, miscellaneous 167.

God, by whatever means, did show, allow, bring, are cause these luminaries to be in the sky in as part of the fourth epoch of creation. What prevented these heavenly bodies from being seen from the earth’s surface before Day 4 is not directly given in the Bible.

“And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night.”

The Sun, the Moon and the Stars were created long before, but had never, up to this time, cast their light upon the Earth because of the impenetrable veil which canopied it.The appearance of the Sun and the Moon on the Fourth Day implies that another field, or belt, broke at that time and precipitated its great mass of water and mineral upon the Earth. Great gullies were washed between the mountains.

The atmosphere, heavily charged with carbon, was very favorable to the development of plant life. It is supposed that the Earth still had considerable heat in its crust, that oceans were warm and highly carboniferous, and that the air was surcharged with carbon to the extent that no breathing animal could have existed. But those very conditions were extremely favorable to gigantic growths of vegetation. This vegetation presumably passed into a condition resembling that of the peat-beds of our day. These beds of incipient coal afterwards came under great pressure, as one after another the belts of Earth came down in deluges, burying vegetation under slimy deposits. Our coalfields are the result.

Nor should we assume that the Sun and the Moon shone on the earth in Day 4 as in the clarity that we now see them. But they were discernible even through heavy banks of fog and carbon-laden atmosphere. The influences of the Sun and the Moon were necessary to prepare for higher forms of plant and animal life.

It has been claimed that Genesis 1:1 begins with Day 1, with the heavens and earth being created on Day 1. There is nothing in the description of Day One about the planet earth or the stars being created. One has to read such a thought into what is said there. Genesis 1:1 is a summation of the entire six days. The “heavens”, as seen from the earth, were, in some way visible on the first day due to the light, but the actual creation of the heavens began in day 2, and continued. The actual creation of the earth, dry land, came on day three. That this is the intention of the statement, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth”, can be seen from Exodus 20:11: “In [during] six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.”  Also Exodus 31:17: “In six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested.” Thus the “beginning” in Genesis 1:1 describes the entire six days, not just the first day. Likewise, in Genesis 2:4, all six of these days are described as “the day [singular] that Yahweh God made earth and the heavens.”

Related Restoration Light Links:

Darkness, Light and the Logos

Jesus’ Pre-Human Glory

Genesis 1:1-2:4 – Seven days when no days?

Are the Creative Days Literal Days?

Beginnings in the Bible

In the Beginning (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1)

Hebrews 1:10-12- Does Yahweh Speak to Yahweh?

Without Jesus Christ Absolutely Nothing Was Made? (John 1:3)

Related Books

A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy (Book)

The Genesis Debate : Three Views on the Days of Creation

Three Views on Creation and Evolution

The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God

A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy

Beyond the Cosmos: The Extra-Dimensionality of God : What Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics Reveal About the Glory and Love of God
By Hugh Ross

Genesis 6:19,20 – Two of Every Fish in the Ark?

Genesis 6:19
“And of every <Hebrew, Kol, Strong’s #03605> living thing of all <Kol, #03605> flesh <Hebrew, Basar, Strong’s #1320>, you shall bring two of every <Kol, #03605> kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

Genesis 6:20
“Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every <Kol, #03605> creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every <Kol, #03605> kind will come to you to keep them alive. — New American Standard Version.

The following questions have been raised concerning Genesis 6:19,20:

Are fishes a “kind”? If so, Noah was instructed to take two of each kind onto the ark. Did all the fishes in the oceans, lakes, seas and rivers die? Fish aren’t included in “all animals?”

The effort appears to be to discredit the Biblical account of the flood, and make in fit the “deluge myth” theory, by claiming these scriptures as an alleged Biblical discrepancy.

Our reply:

Taken together with verse 20 the “flesh” [Hebrew, basar] of verse 19 does not include fish. (As far as I know, the Hebrew word *basar* — flesh — is never used of fish, although the Greek word “sarx” is used of fish once in the NT. — 1 Corinthians 15:39.

The Hebrew word *KOL* — rendered as “all” or “every” in the two verses above — has to be taken in context of what is being spoken of, which, in this case, does not include fish as fish are not mentioned.

While it does not say “all animals” the Hebrew does say “all flesh” but the context qualifies what is included: “Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind.”

The Hebrew word *KOL* often is qualified by context. This is easily seen in its use at Psalm 8:6, where David is speaking to God of man: “Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things <Hebrew, Kol> under his feet.” Taken out of context, this would appear that all angels, stars, and everything that exists was put under mankind. But the following verses qualify what is meant by “all things”: “All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.”

One can prove the use of *KOL* by looking up its various usages of the word throughout the Hebrew text.

See:
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=03605&version=nas

The sea creatures, of course, living in the water would not have died off in the flood, so they were not included in the “all flesh” that was destroyed by the flood.

Nor was it necessary for Noah to gather two all the “species” that are in the world today. Noah’s instructions were to bring two of each “kind” of the unclean and seven of each “kind” the clean.  The word “kind” does not mean “species” in the manner of modern scientific terminology. It is most probable that most of the “species” known today came as a result of the atmospheric change after the flood, as genetic changes brought forth many “species” within the various “kinds” that Noah had saved in the ark.