How Jesus Used Mythology to Win the World
THE SECRETS OF JESUS CHRIST
Transcript of a Documentary by Robert Sarmast
It’s one of the most controversial subjects in the world. Did Jesus actually exist, or was he a mythical figure?
For nearly two thousand years, scholars and historians have pointed to the astonishing fact that Jesus’ life-story is almost identical to much older fables about the life, death and resurrection of the pagan fertility-god of the Mystery Religions – the Mystery Hero. The similarities are so striking as to have caused many people to not only doubt Jesus’ historicity, but to accuse the apostles and the early Christian leaders of making his whole story up.
Contrary to popular belief, the controversy didn’t erupt in the last century or two but actually had its origin at the very beginning of the Christian era, when the very apostles of Jesus Christ were accused of plagiarism. In the Biblical book of Peter we hear the apostle himself rejecting his accusers:
“For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
Peter (2 Peter 1:16)
Today, the critics are louder than ever, publishing books and documentaries which claim that Jesus never existed at all. Documentaries like Zeitgeist and many popular books have increased their attacks and boldly charge that Jesus was merely a fictional character. They fail, however, to explain how a fictional character could become the most influential figure in human history. This is, after all, the man who turned Rome, the greatest empire on earth, on its head and radically changed the course of history.
The Christians have historically reacted to this strange phenomenon by showing references to Jesus in historical books from the period, as proof that Jesus did indeed exist, but have never offered an answer for the inexplicable parallels with the mythological exploits of ancient gods like Osiris, Mithra, Attis and Dionysus. Some have gone as far as to blame the devil for the stupefying phenomenon, allegedly even burning down the Library of Alexandria to do away with the competing records about the Mystery Hero.
The truth is that this confusion stems from a simple case of misunderstanding. What if a whole new perspective on the subject could show that Jesus actually used the power of myth to establish his revolutionary religion? What if it could be shown that he intentionally made his life similar to the Mystery Hero, deliberately giving his story a personality and image which he knew would be irresistible to the masses? What if I told you that I can not only prove it, but also show you that if Jesus had not shaped his life this way, distant civilizations would have never even paid attention to, much less believed in, his astonishing message? What if you came to the realization that if he had not used this technique in winning the world, his story would’ve never spread throughout the world, and you would have never heard of him?
By the end of this documentary, you will understand that Jesus’ heretofore unrecognized strategy was a product of sheer genius, designed to swing the whole world to his new and radically different religion in one check-mate move.
But the comprehension of how Jesus used the mythology to win over humanity requires some level of knowledge about the ancient world and how people of those distant times viewed life. The mystery can’t be deconstructed and understood unless there is at least some measure of familiarity with the colorful beliefs, myths and traditions of ancient civilizations. I can tell you that it’s almost impossible for modern people to understand the zany perspectives held as truth by people living two thousand years ago. Therefore, we’re going to take a journey together to a time long before the age of science and reason, before we learned everything we know today, when ignorance, superstition and magic ruled the minds and hearts of our primitive ancestors and made the world the vicious place that it once was.
We’ll visit a time when our ancestors were totally affected by the whims of nature, when everything that happened in life was attributed to the so-called gods.
This is the world that Jesus was born into.
What you’re about to hear is the never-told story behind the greatest story ever told, and we’re going to make it as visually compelling and easy to understand as possible. You’ll be given a peek into the mind of an incomparable genius on a mission to alter the course of history through a mind-boggling, chess-like tactic, which went on to win over the very people that would have otherwise opposed it. It’s time for the world to know Jesus’ secrets, his far-seeing strategies which have previously never been understood, something that we can only in this generation by looking back at how history progressed after his life. No one in his own generation could have possibly understood what he was up to.
The first part of this documentary is going to give you an understanding of what life was like in Jesus’ time as we review the colorful beliefs and Messianic expectations of the pre-Christian world. Specifically we’ll be reviewing the myths of Osiris in Egypt, the Greek myths of Dionysus, the Mesopotamian myths of Baal, Tammuz and Marduk, the myths about Attis in Rome, and of course, the Persian myths of Mithra. The aim here is to take you back to an ancient period and give you a sense of what it was like to live in those distant times before the age of science and reason, to provide you with an understanding of the long-gone but once powerful mystery religions around the time Jesus was born, allowing you to get a glimpse of that ignorant and violent world which is almost unimaginable to us today.
This knowledge will prepare you to begin to understand why Jesus deliberately shaped his life to match the legends about the Mystery Hero, which is discussed in part 2.
The central thesis of Mystery Hero is that Jesus life-story was, from the very beginning, a divine setup. In other words, Jesus intentionally shaped his life to make it seem, at least on surface, a perfect match with the combined legends of Osiris, Mithra, Dionysus, Tammuz, and numerous other fertility gods which were worshipped in his day. But this predetermined plan was far-seeing, with a final objective that won’t be fully understood until later on we review the head-on clash and eventual compromise between the Mithraics and the early followers of Jesus, resulting in a synthesis which now survives as Christianity.
The last part of the documentary, part 3, reviews the aftermath of the phenomenon created by Jesus’ strategy, and how his secret technique managed to supplant the powerful and institutionalized pagan religions from the ancient world while miraculously replacing them with his own religion, at times taking over their very temples.
His use of mythology was in essence a long-term plan designed to make it easier for people of that day to transition to his religion. Human beings are tradition bound. Knowing how difficult it is for humanity to break from the past too quickly, Jesus technique made it possible for people to switch sides painlessly, without having to completely break with age-old beliefs, rituals and ceremonies.
It was this masterful insight into human psychology which compelled Jesus to shape his entire life around the legends of the Mystery Hero, and the remarkable conversion of the world’s most powerful empire to his religion finally reveals the brilliance of his visionary master-plan.
Mesopotamia — Cradle of Civilization
In order to understand why Jesus shaped his life to match the savior god of the pagan religions, you have to first understand the primitive world that Jesus was born into. This was an enchanted age long before the age of science, when everything we know about our world today was still a big mystery and a source of superstition and awe. In fact, if you could step into the mind of an average person living in those times and view the world through their eyes, you’d think you were living in some kind of a fairy tale. And that’s because they knew so little about science that everything we see as natural seemed to them, mysterious and magical.
Naturally, since the lives and welfare of people in those days depended on healthy and plentiful crops, their gods were fertility and vegetation gods, responsible for making sure that the seeds turned into plants and trees that would produce the foods and fruits that fed people. The cycles and seasons of nature, as well as their produce, were believed to be gifts from the gods that could be taken away at any moment if they were displeased or offended, and of course, this produced elaborate rituals and sacrifices meant to please these fertility gods and save the people from their wrath. Breaking taboos or committing sins were thought to be responsible for the everyday plagues, wars, starvations and natural disasters that made their lives so unstable, unpredictable, and downright dangerous.
When we think of paganism we think of nature worship, but the mystery religions of Jesus’ time were also filled with heroic accounts of the birth, death and resurrection of their respective savior gods. Two thousand years ago, the Egyptians had already been worshipping Isis and Osiris for thousands of years, practicing elaborate rituals and ceremonies meant to commemorate and please the god and goddess to insure the fertility and wellbeing of their ancient land. In Persia, the rituals and ceremonies revolved the legendary deeds of the sacred couple Mithra and Anahita. In Rome, Attis and Cybele flourished among many other ancient gods and goddesses of the ancient world. Tammuz and Inanna had shaped the beliefs of the Mesopotamians, while Dionysus ruled the hearts of the Greeks.
As we study pre-Christian mythology, we see that the most influential myths revolve around a heroic god and a wondrous goddess who miraculously appear on Earth and teach mankind the arts of civilization. People around the world worshipped this couple and uniformly credited them with the invention of writing, farming, architecture, medicine, art, social laws and religion. But most importantly , they were revered as gods who insured the fertility of the land and its people.
The myths surrounding this couple were so widespread that even at a time when the world was divided by thousands of territorial and linguistic boundaries, they seem to have captured the imagination of the peoples of virtually every continent. In reality, in Jesus’ day the majority of the world was fascinated by one belief system and one legend about a god and goddess, with only minor differences in the details. The names of the sacred couple may have been different, and some of the rituals and other details differed, but the essence was uniform and the pattern is clearly visible.
People all over the world sang about the god and goddess during the holiest days of the year, dedicated temples to them, built colossal statues in their likeness, and governed society according to the divine laws they revealed. Kings and queens made every effort to trace their bloodlines back to these heavenly messengers; the lands were covered with their images and wars were fought in their names. In many cultures, worshipping the couple was a daily requirement without which the bountiful gifts of nature would supposedly cease.
It’s hard for us to imagine it today, but you have to keep in mind that in Jesus’ day there was only way to get a message from one place to another – by foot. We’re used to being able to send messages instantly around the globe, even broadcasting our image and voice wherever and whenever we want. But two thousand years ago, before tv’s, radios, telephones, internet or even regular print, this would have been the stuff of fantasy. Things rarely changed, and when they did it happened very, very slowly.
Back in those primitive times, if you wanted to spread your message or philosophy to foreign nations and races, you would have been faced with indomitable challenges and obstacles at every step. It would have taken years, decades or even centuries before messengers would have relayed the message by word of mouth from one place to another, and Jesus would have only been too aware of the challenges facing him in spreading his new and radically different religion.
In order to make sure his new religion not only survived but thrived around the ancient world, reaching as many people as possible, he would have had to develop a revolutionary technique. The worship of the pagan mother goddess and her divine son, along with the holiday, ceremonies and often grotesque rituals had been around since time immemorial, deeply imbedded into the social and cultural psyche of the races in virtually every continent. People were not going to just drop it because a few messengers spread tales about a foreign man in a distant land who had already died long ago. It would take nothing short of a miracle to get them to listen, much less switch religions, and this is exactly the challenge faced by Jesus Christ. He therefore set about, in the most amazing manner, to execute a plan that was sure to help his message survive the ravages of those primitive times and win over the world.
What he did was to tap into the rich religious symbolism that was already in place throughout the ancient world, and change them from within instead of trying to eradicate them. It was such an ingenious and mind-boggling plan that it’s taken us two thousand years to figure it out, and the comprehension of this plan will at last solve this perennial puzzle that has caused so much confusion and caused some to doubt Jesus’ historicity.
As he surveyed the cultures and civilizations of the ancient world, he would have easily noticed the mythological pattern that was already in place. Virtually every group of people in those days, near and far, were already infatuated with the fertility god and the Mother Goddess and passionately worshipped them, believing that their very survival depended on it. To win them over to his radical religion – and make no mistake about it— what he taught flew in the face of everything that was accepted in those days – he would have to fit the mold of what they already accepted and expected from the awaited Messiah.
But what did people in those days expect from the Messiah? Here’s a brief review of who and what various races expected around the time of Jesus’ birth. In Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, people were absolutely convinced that the gifts of civilization were given to humanity in distant times by a group of gods who descended from heaven for this purpose.
The most important of these stories was the popular legend about the fertility god’s descent to the underworld and his subsequent resurrection. It was about the legendary story of Inanna’s and her son/consort Dumuzi, the shepherd god who was known as Tammuz in Babylon and later identified with Adonis in Greece. Dumuzi also held the titles of “Shepherd of the People,” “Keeper of the Sheepfold,” and the “Lord of Life.” Dumuzi or Tammuz was also known as the lamb that was sacrificed for the sake of the people, just like Jesus. Sound familiar? It should, because these were titles willingly adopted by jesus Christ. His death and resurrection symbolized the cyclical renewal of nature. Remember that the phenomenon of changing seasons was a source of awe for the ancients and since they didn’t know anything about the real reasons, they believed that the seasonal changes were directly caused by the gods. When the fertility sun-god ascended in power during spring equinox, they celebrated his victory over the evil god of the underworld who brought death with winter.
But what’s most interesting to us is the manner of Dumuzi’s death. Listen to the way the Mesopotamians remembered and recounted it to the masses for thousands upon thousands of years. This is from the legendary tale called “Descent of Inanna,” unearthed and translated from clay tablets written almost four thousand years ago:
They… seized Dumuzi.
They made him stand up; they made him sit down.
They beat the husband of Inanna.
They gashed him with axes.
Dumuzi let out a wail.
The first galla struck Dumuzi in the cheek with a piercing nail,
The second galla struck his other cheek with a shepherd’s crook. . .
The seventh galla cried:
“Rise, Dumuzi! Rise from your false sleep!
Take off your crown from your head!
Take off your royal garments from your body!
Take off your sandals from your feet!
Let your royal scepter fall to the ground!
Naked you go with us!”
They seized Dumuzi. They surrounded him.
They bound his hand. They bound his feet.
They took him away.
The churn lies silent. No milk is poured.
The cup lies shattered. Dumuzi is no more.
The sheepfold is given to the winds.
In the city, the people wept for Dumuzi. . .
Inanna mourned for Dumuzi:
The wild bull lives no more.
There is an incredible similarity to Jesus’ arrest, torture and crucifixion here. Dumuzi is arrested and beaten, his kingly crown and royal robes are removed before his hands and feet are bound and he’s pierced. So the “lamb” is sacrificed and his sheepfold is “given to the winds,” exactly like Jesus, who told his followers that he would be killed and his sheepfold would be scattered. Then Dumuzi, the fertility god who shone like the sun, descended to the underworld causing darkness to fall on earth and then rose again on the third day, when sunlight and fertility returned to the land.
If this story doesn’t immediately remind you of the exact circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus Christ, you haven’t been paying attention. Jesus would have been only too aware of these mythical tales from Mesopotamia because they were still very popular in his day, and sacrifices for Tammuz were still in practice even in Jerusalem itself.
Listen to the same story recounted in “the Epic of Erra,” describing the death of Marduk, another of Mesopotamia’s famed fertility gods. These words were read to the masses during the most holy days of the year for thousands upon thousands of years, as Marduk predicts his own death and what will happen to the world after he’s gone:
“I shall rise up from my dwelling,
And the control of heaven and earth will be undone…
Bright day will turn into darkness.
A storm will rise up and cover the stars of heaven.
An evil wind will blow,
and the vision of people and living things will be obscured.
Again, it’s the same as Jesus’ story. These stories, which were really the scriptures of those days, were read aloud every year during the New Year’s celebrations in Mesopotamia. In those times the New Year celebration was always during the spring or vernal equinox, and the passion play surrounding the death of the fertility god were dramatically performed in the most amazing way. It was common for ancient races to mimic the circumstances surrounding the death of their gods as a magical means to attract the attention and pleasure of divine personalities. In fact we still like to reenact or mimic the death and resurrection of God as can be seen in the “twelve steps of the cross.”
The New Year’s festival was celebrated over a period of 10 to 12 days in Babylon. On the fifth day, a sheep was beheaded; the body of the sheep was thrown into the river, and the head was taken into the wilderness. This ritual act, in which an exorcist participated, symbolized the ridding of the community of the powers of chaos.
They actually believed that through magical words and supposedly symbolic rituals, the sins of the people could be transferred to an animal that would be sacrificed for the gods. Yes it’s true, people of that day and age believed that they could draw the spirit of the god into the sacrificial animal through ritual, thereby energizing its blood with the divine qualities of the god. After the sacrifice, the priests drank the so-called sacred blood to absorb the immortal qualities of the god.
It was similar to the scapegoat ritual of the ancient Hebrews, in which the sins of the community were ceremonially transferred to a goat, which was later led to a wilderness area to wander about far from the community.
The third day after the sacrifice, the Babylonian king, as the representative of a sinful people as well as the agent of the god, had to submit to ritual acts of humiliation: his symbols of power were removed, and the priest (urigallu) hit him in the face and asked him to pray for the forgiveness of his sins and the sins of his people. After a profession of innocence, the priest absolved the king, restored his regal insignia, and performed ceremonies with the king to ensure the continuous support of the powers of order in nature. During the three days between the sacrifice of the sheep and the reinvestiture of the king, the populace of the city engaged in chaotic activities, perhaps of a carnival-like nature, to symbolize the presence of chaos in nature and society during this period of the apparent absence of the king and the god. When the king reappeared to his people, with his royal symbols of office and in the presence of the statue of Marduk, a procession of statues of the various gods together with their adoring devotees then took place, leading to a sanctuary (bitakitu) outside the city.
The symbol for Tammuz was simply T—the initial of the name of Tammuz . . . To identify Tammuz with the sun it was joined sometimes to the circle of the sun . . . sometimes it was inserted in the circle. We hear about some of the traditions about Tammuz in the biblical book of Ezekiel, when an angel shows the prophet the abominable practices of the pagans: (Ezekiel 8:14)” Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz.”
Israelites in exile considered the Horus-calf so necessary that they permitted Aaron to melt down their gold jewelry to make one. Aaron presented the finished calf as the god who brought the people safely out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:4). The sexual worship of Horus was maintained also. The Israelites made offerings to him, sat down to a feast, then “rose up to play” (Exodus 32:6). The word here translated “play” really meant “copulate.”
The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they make provoke me to anger.
And who was Elijah warring against?
“So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he had built in Samaria. Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus Ahab also did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him….Elijah mocked them, and the priest cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.”
Egypt – Gift of the Nile
As in Mesopotamia and Persia, Egypt’s king was believed to be the living representative of the gods. The New Year’s Festival (Sed Festival) celebrated the rites of Osiris and the periodic renewal of kingship; the drama of the death and resurrection of Osiris was enacted every year in the mystery plays at Abydos. The annual inundation of the Nile was believed to be the tears of Isis, the Queen of Heaven. At the time of harvest, when the first ears of the corn were cut, the people wept and wailed for Osiris, as though the body of the god were being dismembered. The reapers would call on Isis to come and lament with them: “Come to thy house, beautiful one!”
“Hail, Osiris-N! Thou hast gone away alive, thou has not gone away dead.
Hail Osiris-N! Thou goest down, thou cleansest thyself with Re in the Lotus Pool . . .
Thou puttest on clothes in the purification tent and livest (again) behind its curtain.”
Like Baal, Tammuz, Dumuzi and Marduk, Osiris was a fertility god who was thought to be responsible for the health and vitality of the crops. Consequently, the survival and fate of all Egypt was believed to be in the hands of Isis and Osiris, and therefore sacrifices to them were an all-important feature of society, performed with the utmost care on a continual basis. And this should be kept in mind when contemplating the difficulties faced by monotheists like Ikhnaton, as they attempted to subvert these age-old beliefs in civilizations that based their economies and welfare chiefly on agriculture.
Osiris festivals symbolically reenacting the god’s fate were celebrated annually in various towns throughout Egypt. At Memphis the holy bull, Apis, was linked with Osiris.
A living bull was used as the sacred abode of Osiris’s spirit and literally worshipped as Osiris-Apis, the Moon-bull. Each year it was slain in atonement for the sins of the realm.
He was resurrected with all power and majesty in the “Hall of Truth,” where he weighed the souls of the dead in the balance, determining their eternal fate. Thus he became the door to salvation, showing the way for the faithful
As Osiris resurrects, the spirit of life and growth awakens once more, and the New Year begins. This story was ritualistically portrayed in the rites of the New Year’s festivals just like those in Babylon.
“In the sanctuaries of Osiris his murder and dismemberment were annually commemorated with weepings, and wailings, and great lamentations. His worshippers shaved their heads, and beat their breasts, and gashed their shoulders, and inflicted wounds on their bodies in imitation of the cuts and gashes which Typhon made in the body of Osiris. Whenever possible they cut into the scars which were left by the gashes of the preceding years, so that the remembrance of the abominable murder of Osiris might be renewed in their minds. When they have done this for three days, they pretend that the mutilated remains of the god have been found and rejoined, and then they turn from mourning to rejoicing.”
Greece – The Olympians
In Greece, Dionysus was the typical savior figure who died and was reborn in the fruit of the earth. He was called the “ivy crowned” and the “god of the sea,” and had the power to raise the dead.
All the classic characteristics of the fertility god are embodied in Dionysus, who like Tammuz and Osiris was depicted as a bull, an animal which is known for its fertility. He was the life force in the plant world, but also the “sap, juice, or lifeblood element in nature.” Without his will, the plants, especially the vine and the fig tree, would not grow or bear fruit, and without his divine favors the land and its people would remain infertile.
Like the other fertility gods of jesus’ day, Dionysus was Killed by the evil gods (the Titans), his sacrifice gave mankind his immortal essence, his blood in the form of wine.
Primitive man believed that intoxication rendered one divine, and the drunken state was believed to bring one’s consciousness closer to divinity.
The Dionysus worshippers, believing that the god was responsible for turning the grape juice into wine, concluded that he had created wine as a means of communicating with man. Through wild dancing and singing, drunken orgies and bloody rituals they attempted to reach a state of consciousness that would render them divine.
At the festival of Dionysus, three pots would be placed by priests in a sealed room and the following day be found to miraculously be filled with wine.
Legend has it that nothing was sacred or forbidden during the annual celebrations for Dionysus, and reportedly no act was considered to be too obscene.
Reenacting the major stages of Dionysus’ life-and-death struggle with the forces of evil, his followers called upon his spirit to possess a sacrificial bull, which they then tore apart limb from limb with their hands and teeth. They actually believed that the blood and flesh of the beast had magically transformed into the blood and flesh of the god, and they proceeded to consume it. The ritual was accompanied by loud music and the crashing of cymbals, drunkenness and orgies, all intended to propel the revelers into a state of ecstasy and union with eternity.
Persia – Land of the Nobles
Mithra was born on December 25, was at times known as the virgin-born son of the Mother Goddess. He’s usually depicted rising as a boy from a rock on the banks of a river, complete with shepherds who had witnessed the miracle of his entrance into the world.
Mithraism portrayed its hero as rising from the rock armed with a sword, wearing a Persian cap, and carrying a torch. a warrior-god sent from Heaven to destroy the evil Ahriman. This cult greatly appealed to soldiers and kings not only because of Mithra’s militant stand against evil, but because he rewarded initiates—especially those who had died fighting for his cause—with entrance into heaven.
It was the sun-god who gave Mithra a radiant crown after the completion of his great mission on earth. Mithras was conceived as the surviving champion of the sun-god in his struggle with the god of darkness, after which Mithras was made immortal, being exalted to the station of intercessor for the human race among the gods on high.” (UB): Mithra performed the usual assortment of miracles, “raising the dead, healing the sick, making the blind see and lame walk, casting out devils.”
One Mithraic hymn begins: “Thou hast redeemed us too by shedding the eternal blood.”
In a Last Supper, which the initiated commemorated by mystical love feasts, he celebrated with Helios and the other companions of his labors Like all other classic hero figures in the ancient world, Mithra dies and is resurrected, his death being marked by an eclipse of the sun. He prepares the way for humanity, and dies as a hero.
(UB): “The adherents of this cult worshiped in caves and other secret places, chanting hymns, mumbling magic, eating the flesh of the sacrificial animals, and drinking the blood. It was believed that the partaking of the sacrament ensured eternal life, the immediate passing, after death, to the bosom of Mithras, there to tarry in bliss until the judgment day. On the judgment day the Mithraic keys of heaven would unlock the gates of Paradise for the reception of the faithful; whereupon all the unbaptized of the living and the dead would be annihilated upon the return of Mithras to earth.”
Rome – The Eternal City
According to the myth, the goddess-mother loved the youthful, virgin-born shepherd Attis with a pure love. But Attis died, either slain by another or by his own hand. In the latter instance, he was unfaithful to the Great Mother and in a frenzy of regret he emasculated himself and died. The goddess-mother mourned her dead lover and finally affected his restoration. Thus, in the end, the mortal Attis became deified and immortal.
The festivals and rituals associated with the cult of Cybele and Attis were mainly concerned with fertility and baptismal initiation, occurring around the spring equinox Similar to the rites of Tammuz, Adonis, and Osiris, the faithful in Rome fasted and mourned on the day of the hero’s death, and then celebrated his resurrection on March 25. This day was known as the “Day of Blood” or “Black Friday.”
Darkness descended upon the world with the death of Attis on Black Friday, while the dawn of his resurrection was symbolized by the rising of the sun on Sun-day, the third day after his death.
“When night had fallen, the sorrow of the worshippers was turned to joy. For suddenly a light shone in the darkness; the tomb was opened: the god has risen from the dead; and as the priest touched the lips of the weeping mourners with balm, he softly whispered in their ears the glad tiding of salvation. The resurrection of the god was hailed by his disciples as a promise that they too would issue triumphant from the grave.”
Now, let’s review the situation on planet earth around the time of Jesus’ birth:
Birth of the Savior
Prior to the time of Jesus’ birth, around two thousand years ago, the Romans had extended their empire by forceful conquest and ceaseless wars across the Mediterranean, drowning the ancient world in bloodshed and death. These military operations had caused untold suffering not just for the poor but for all classes. Crops over large areas had been destroyed, and families had been torn apart as city after city had been burned and pillaged. Conquered lands had been plunged into debt and bankruptcy, while thousands of previously free men, women, and children had been sold off as slaves.
The Empire itself was besieged by trouble as the wealthy became wealthier while the masses became evermore impoverished. The wealth of the East, confiscated in horrific wars and bloodshed, was disgorged on the Empire, creating a demand for luxuries for the few even while half of the Roman populations were enslaved, living in a kind of squalor, hopelessness and abject poverty that would be almost unimaginable for us today.
Gravestones from that period show the general sense of desperation and hopelessness that was in the air, inscribed with statements like: “What remains of my bones, rests sweetly here. I no longer have fear of sudden starvation; I am exempt from attacks of gout; my body is no longer pledged for rent; and I enjoy perpetual and free hospitality.” Apathy had increased to the point that a very common inscription stated: “I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care.” This was the favorite saying among the Gladiators and slaves.
Underlying the restlessness and discontentment was the development of a real thirst for spiritual gratification. The slaves that had been imported from the older civilizations had already introduced Rome to the ancient mystery religions with their promise of salvation, and people from every class plunged themselves into the diversions, excitements and fantasies of pagan traditions along with all their obscene and bloody rituals.
The general consensus among people was that the evils of their time were too much to be tackled by human beings, believing that only a heaven-sent hero could save the world from total chaos. They watched the movement of the stars in the heavens, waiting for signs that signaled his arrival at last.
Here’s a general picture of how they were expecting the fertility god to be born into the world, what they believed he would do during life, and how they expected him to die:
The pagans believed that the savior would sacrifice his heavenly life in order to live among and teach men. He would have a miraculous conception (by a divine father and a virgin mother) and be born in a rock cave, during Winter Solstice on December 25th. His arrival was supposed to be signaled by unusual astronomical phenomena, and he was supposed to be visited by wise shepherds bearing gifts at the time of his birth. From the very beginning of his life, powerful forces sought to stop his mission by killing the child, but miraculously he survived. He was of a dual nature, both god and man, and was extremely wise, with a mission to help suffering humanity. He had the power to cure diseases, to heal the blind, cast our devils and even bring the dead back to life. His followers, both men and women, had to prove themselves through rigorous testing, at times even dying for his sake. As a fertility god, the pagan savior hero was expected to multiply food and wine, while teaching humanity about heaven and its laws, and revealing the secrets of salvation. This Messiah figure was supposed to be at war with demons of the underworld throughout his life as they sought to stop his divine mission, but he was ultimately triumphant, destroying the devils on a sacred mountain. Before ending his mission and voluntarily going to his bloody death, he held a communal meal or last supper with his associates, complete with a bread and wine or blood ritual to commemorate him. After his arrest, the pagan fertility god was beaten, tortured and pierced, dying in order to redeem humanity through his sacred blood. His execution always happened during the spring equinox, on Black Friday, around the third week of March, causing the skies to darken. His gruesome death was mourned by women, including the Mother Goddess who found him gored and bleeding to death. After the death of the sun god, he was wrapped in cloth and placed in a rock tomb which was later found to be empty because he had triumphantly resurrected on the third day, which was always on Sun-day, causing light and fertility to return to the world. After the resurrection, he ascended to heaven and was deified by the highest god, crowned with total authority as the intercessor between man and God. And of course, he was expected to return to earth on a periodical basis until the day of final judgment.
Does the story sound familiar? Of course, it sounds virtually identical to the life story of Jesus; but it isn’t. It’s the story of the life of the pagan mystery hero which was around for thousands of years before Jesus was born. Is it any wonder that people have accused early Christians of plagiarism, and of copying the older pagan legends? Is it any wonder that the similarity with Jesus story has caused some people to doubt that Jesus ever existed?
Did Jesus actually shape his life to match the legends of the pagan Mystery hero? The name of this documentary is “Secrets of Jesus Christ,” but in reality it wasn’t a secret at all; it’s just that no one in his own generation could have possibly understood what Jesus was up to even if he had explained it to them. He did, however, leave certain telltale clues which he knew would help future generations to understand the workings of his secret plan.
By the end of this documentary, you’ll understand that Jesus life-story was, from the very beginning, a brilliant and divine set-up. It was a plan that was in the making before he ever arrived on earth, and there is plenty of evidence to prove the point, starting from the events which surrounded his birth.
Although we don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth, scholars do know that he was born sometime between 4 to 8 B.C. They know this because Herod the king died at 4 B.C., and since he was the man responsible for the attempt to kill baby Jesus shortly before his own death, then the birth of Jesus must have been a few years before 4 B.C.
Archaeologists have unearthed Babylonian clay tablets that show that the star-gazers of Mesopotamia, Mithra’s priests otherwise known as the Magi, knew in the year 8 B.C. that a series of rare planetary conjunctions were going to occur the following year. The tablet shows that these ancient astrologers knew that Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system and known as the king planet among the ancients, would come into close contact with Saturn, the second largest planet, and not just once but three separate times in 7 B.C., remaining together as a bright light in the sky in the constellation of Pisces.
This once in a millennium event, which modern astronomers call the greatest conjunction did indeed occur in 7 B.C. Today only a handful of people would take interest in such an event, but two thousand years ago, when all astronomical phenomenon was believed to be connected to terrestrial events, the triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn during the dawn of the age of Pisces would have been a sign of tremendous importance. To people living in Jesus’ era it would have signaled “the end of the old world order and the beginning of a new era, initiated through the birth of a divine king on earth.” Since Pisces was known as the House of Hebrews, the conjunction within the constellation of Pisces would have additionally meant that the king would be born among the Jews, which explains why the Magi set out to find the divine baby in the holy land.
Now assuming that Jesus was who and what he said he was, as the son of God he obviously chose this particular time for the incarnation. So Like Adonis, Osiris, Mithra and all the other mystery heroes, Jesus’ bestowal was marked by unusual astral phenomenon.
But even before he was born, a few other pieces of the puzzle were set in place. As the story goes, Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce the happy tidings of the son of destiny she would soon bear, and told her to name him Joshua, meaning “savior.”
But that’s not all. The chosen mother of the divine son just happened to be named Mary, the traditional name of the mother goddess all around the ancient world. In fact the Fathers of the Christian church strongly opposed the worship of Mary because they were only too aware that it was the name of the Semitic God-Mother and Queen of Heaven; Aphrodite-mari, or Isis as Stella Maris, or mari-Anath, and many other versions of the Great Goddess.
Joseph and Mary had traveled to Bethlehem to enroll for the Roman census as ordered by Caesar Augustus in 8 B.C., which later took place in Judea in 7 B.C. Moreover, since Mary had been informed that she was to be the mother of the Messiah, it would have only been natural for her to desire her son to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. Since the inns were overcrowded, they were forced to take shelter in a rock cave that was previously used as a manger. And so, just as the pagan fertility gods like Adonis, Tammuz, Dionysus, Osiris and Attis were born miraculously in a rock cave under brilliant lights in the heavens, and visited by wise men bearing gifts, so was the babe of Bethlehem born under familiar circumstances. Just as Adonis was born of the virgin Myrrha under the Morning Star in the city of Bethlehem, so was Jesus born of Mary, under brilliant light emanating from the heavens in Bethlehem. Just as Mithra had been born in a rock cave on a mountain and visited by shepherds, so was Jesus born under humble circumstances in a rock cave in Bethlehem, which sits atop a mountain, and was visited by the three Magi.
The Magi-kings, worshippers of the Persian god Mithra, followed an ancient tradition where they climbed to a cave on a mountaintop every year in the hopes of finding the messiah inside. Every year they prayed for three days inside the cave, waiting for the promised star to appear. So it would have been only natural for them to search for the promised savior in a rock cave on the mountainous town of Bethlehem, guided there by stars, dreams and angels. The symbolic gifts they left for Mary included gold for Jesus’ kingship, frankincense for his godhood, and myrrh for his burial. Remember that in the mind of the ancients, the birth and death scenario of the savior god were cyclical events, already set in stone and supposedly destined to happen without fail. They were as certain about it as people are certain about end times events in our generation, and no one was going to convince them otherwise.
The news of the magi’s search for the awaited messiah, who they would have believed was the incarnation of their savior god Mithra, reached king Herod’s court, and he summoned the three wise men to inquire about the whereabouts of the baby. Later, when Herod realized they had foiled his plans to kill baby Jesus, he called for the execution of every boy under the age of 2, but Mary and Joseph had been forewarned and escaped to Egypt, fulfilling yet another part of the pagan god’s life story who was supposed to escape attempts on his life when he was an infant. Jesus, like Dionysus and Krishna, provoked high rulers to anger and persecution from the very time of his birth, and as an infant had to be hidden. He was not put in a basket and sent down the river, but he did have to be taken to Egypt, the land of the Nile, to be saved.
If you pay close to attention to the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth, you’ll notice that they are identical to the story of the pagan savior hero. But there’s something even more interesting hidden between the lines in Jesus birth story. When you put the story under a microscope and examine the details, it becomes clear that the events of his birth all have something very strange in common: they were all staged.
It sounds incredible, but the facts can’t be denied:
If Jesus is the son of god, then he chooses the time of his incarnation. In this case, he chose a time when a once-in-a-millennium celestial event was transpiring, the triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn when the wise men of old would have been expecting his birth. He then chose a mother who was named Mary, the ancient name for the queen of heaven and the mother goddess. Gabriel then told Mary to name her baby boy Joshua, meaning savior, the title of the pagan fertility god. The revelation to Mary compelled her to travel to the city of David, Bethlehem, there to give birth in humble circumstances in a rock cave, like the pagan savior god. Then through dreams and the instruction of angels, the three magi’s are encouraged to go searching for the Bethlehem babe, not only fulfilling the birth story of the pagan savior but also causing Herod to try and kill baby Jesus, which sent his parents to Egypt.
That’s right, it was all by design, planned out before Jesus was even born. The orchestrated events associated with his birth—the planetary conjunctions, his mother’s name, his own name indicating his saviorhood, the visit of the Magi, the humble rock cave, the escape from the persecuting authorities—they all conspired to make it easier for later generations to accept Jesus, and with him, his extraordinary message. By the end of this documentary you’ll understand the many reasons they chose to do things this way, and why such an unusual plan was needed for Jesus to find a way around the ignorant and superstitious mentality of his generation, and practically manipulate them to drop their foolish beliefs and savage lifestyles.
If you’re not yet convinced, there’s still even more convincing evidence left to prove that Jesus intentionally chose to shape his life to match the pagan savior god.
A lot of people who have mistakenly accepted that Jesus was only a myth claim that the early Christians copied the legends of the pagan savior god. But of course, Jesus was radically different from the fertility god. While Jesus certainly met many of the qualities of the mystery hero, he still differed tremendously in essence. Jesus did not die and resurrect every year to fulfill a fertility rite like Tammuz, he was not a material Messiah as he Jews were expecting, he required no drunkenness like Dionysus, no bull sacrifices like Osiris, and he certainly had no desire to conquer by force like Mithra. While he shaped the superficial aspects of his life-story to match the mystery hero, and used the symbolism that was already in place, he inserted his own radically different religion into the mold and sent the whole thing out into the world as one package deal. Let’s see exactly how he went about this:
After his baptism by John the Baptist, which was of course an ancient ritual common to the pagan mystery religions, he intentionally chose twelve apostles, knowing full well that fertility gods like Mithra were surrounded by twelve associates, or twelve signs of the zodiac.
Jesus adopted the title of the “Good Shepherd,” the ancient title of the mystery hero like Tammuz, who was often depicted holding a sickle like Attis or a winnow like Dionysus. He used familiar symbols and parables but repeatedly distinguished himself from base beliefs about the fertility god. For instance, Dionysus was known as the vine; but Jesus, who was far more than a fertility god, declared, “I am the true vine. . .” These sayings don’t mean much to people today, but in Jesus’ day the people would have known exactly what he was talking about.
Thousands of years before Jesus was born, worshipers of Osiris said that a dying man is like a grain of “wheat which falls into the earth in order to draw from its bosom a new life.” They ritualistically planted seeds during the spring equinox, which then “died” before it “resurrected” few days later with new life. Jesus said: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus not only conveyed the same ideas, but often used the same word, while elevating those ideas toward higher truths.
Some of Jesus’ most popular sayings point directly to various myths from around the world. His famous declaration, “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” is identical to what the Egyptians chanted for ages about their great god Osiris, the resurrected judge of the dead and the “light of the world.”
Jesus said that he was one with the Father God, just as Mithra the sun god was considered to be the Sun himself because he was one of its rays. He called Lucifer the “Father of Lies,” which was what the Persians called Ahriman, the god of the underworld and enemy of Mithra. His statement about seeing Satan “falling as lightning” was likewise the exact phrase used in Persian mythology to describe the fall of Ahriman at the hands of the heroic sun-god. Keep in mind that he knew beforehand that his followers would go to every nation near and far to spread his message, and it was vital that the listeners would be able to identify with the hero they were describing.
Like Dionysus, “the god appeared with such wildness and demanded such unheard-of things, and mocked all human order. Like Dionysus, women followed the “Joyful One” everywhere. Like Dionysus, Jesus was the god of the most blessed ecstasy and the most enraptured love. He was also the persecuted god, the suffering and dying god, whose followers had to share his tragic fate. The Son of Man repeatedly told his disciples that many of them would share his fate, and many did.
When he calmed the storm while on the boat with his disciples he fulfilled one of the greatest prophecies, and became a storm-god like the Mesopotamian god Enlil.
Like Mithra, the “Mediator,” Jesus claimed to stand as the link between man and God, the Bridge to Eternity, saying that no man can get to the Father without the Son. His statement, “I bring not peace but a sword” connected him with Dionysus, who “delights in the sword” as well as with Mithra, whose famous sword was symbolized by the cross. He even told Peter that his church would be built on a rock, just as the mystery hero was almost always worshipped in rock caves and grottos.
His grueling demands on his apostles and disciples were very similar to the fiery trials a mystery initiate had to undergo to achieve immortality. Jesus even rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling biblical prophecy but also copying one of the classic depictions of Dionysus.
In every way he made sure to make his life seem quite like the expected savior, yet what he said and did was so markedly new and revolutionary. Dionysus had encouraged communion through drunkenness and orgiastic rites which would set the initiated “free”, but Jesus urged sober reflection on the reality of his heavenly Father, saying that the truth will set you free. Mithra had conquered by sword, but the Nazarene required man to love even his enemies. Jesus deliberately linked himself with the sun-god through parables, but unlike Mithra, Jesus’ Father sent his rays of love to one and all, not just to the initiated. Osiris promised salvation to his initiates, but Jesus required only simple faith. The Jews wanted a material ruler and racial glory, but the Son of Man said his kingdom was not of this world, that he was sent for rich and poor, Jew and gentile. Is it any wonder that he inspired so much devotion and hatred all at the same time?
And then, there were the miracles.
Jesus was intimately familiar with the cult of Dionysus since his temples, along with temples for nearly all the other fertility gods would have been found in the holy land and beyond. The mother of god cult flourished throughout the Mediterranean area. Of course, he was also quite familiar with the Jewish expectation of a messiah who would “multiply bread and wine.” So what does he do? For his first miracle, he turns water into wine during a wedding ceremony. It was a very familiar tradition having to do with the annual festival of Dionysus, where empty pots would be placed by priests in a sealed room and the following day be found to be miraculously filled with wine. The wine miracle forever linked Jesus’ story with that of the mystery hero, the fertility god whose mere presence brought abundance for all. To make sure the deed was sealed, also multiplies bread and fish for thousands of people.
Like Mithra, he “performed the usual assortment of miracles; raising the dead, healing the sick, making the blind see and lame walk, casting out devils.” Ra is also the god who ‘makes the mummy come forth.’ Jesus makes the mummy come forth in the shape of Lazarus; and in the Roman catacombs the risen Lazarus is not only represented as a mummy but is an Egyptian mummy.
He left another clue when he healed a blind man by spittle. Jesus healed the blind man by spitting on clay, putting the spittle on the man’s eyes, and asking the man to wash his eyes in the pool. This was identical to the way the Egyptian god of wisdom, Thoth, had healed the blind Horus. Since there was really no need for the spittle to heal the blind man, it’s obvious that he did purposely for a desired effect.
If the story of Jesus’ birth and miraculous life was not enough to convince the world that he was indeed the savior, the story of his death and resurrection certainly completed the necessary picture. Jesus knew what kind of death he would have to endure. Like Dumuzi, Jesus was arrested, mocked, beaten, and pierced, experiencing an agonizing death.
Listen to the way it’s remembered in the gospel of Matthew: From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, ”Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me.
Obviously, Jesus knew that his life-story, the most important part of which was the death and resurrection, must match the fertility god without fail, and he took it very seriously. You’ll understand why it was so important a little later on, when we review what happened when his followers preached in Rome.
Like Tammuz, Dumuzi, Baal, Osiris, Adonis, Attis and the Mithraic bull, Jesus repeatedly escaped the vengeful attack of his enemies until he was finally caught and murdered. Like all of them, he was the suffering god who brought salvation to mankind by preparing the way for all his believers, standing as the “door to eternity.” In the final days leading to his trial and crucifixion, however, Jesus gave what is perhaps the best clue about his carefully crafted technique in getting rid of the pagan religions and replacing them with his own.
It’s Thursday night, the night before the Jewish Passover, and Jesus asks his apostles to prepare for a ceremonial dinner because he was about to be taken and killed. But it’s not just the night before the Passover, it’s also the night before Easter or Black Friday on the Spring equinox. As Jesus prepares for his death, the entire ancient world is preparing for the new years’ celebration, taking off from work for the holidays, getting together with their families, buying gifts, and having the ceremonial dinner to commemorate the fertility god’s imminent death the next day on Black Friday, and the resurrection on Sunday, when the real celebrations would begin.
Not only did he have a Final Supper with his twelve associates just as Mithra had done, but he went one step further and enacted the most famous of all the mystery rites: the commemorative bread-and-wine ritual. Remember that the mystery religions believed that their sins could be transferred to a sacrificial animal, while the spirit of the fertility god could be drawn in to immortalize the blood. After the ritualistic sacrifice the initiates would drink the so-called sacred blood and eat the now sacred flesh to absorb the qualities of the god and insure their own resurrection in the afterlife where the same god would receive them. A ancient inscription to Mithras read: “He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.”
Predictably, Jesus intentionally makes sure his Last Supper is on the same night as the pagan religions commemorative meal, and uses the same terminology, as is recorded in the bible itself, saying: Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Hard to believe? Listen on, because there’s much more.
He’s now repeatedly told his apostles that he’s about to die a horrible death, but they still don’t understand. The next day, on Black Friday, people around the world would be sacrificing animals in remembrance of the fertility god’s gruesome death. The Jews would likewise be offering animals to the temple for ritualistic sacrifice, holding the Passover a few hours later at sunset on Friday night.
Immediately after giving the commemorative ritual to his apostles, Jesus gets to work in making sure his own death happened on Black Friday. How? Have you ever wondered why Jesus told his betrayer, Judas Iscariot, “what you’re about to do, do it quickly.” Why did he tell Judas to do it quicky? He said it for other reason than to make sure that Judas would betray him that very night. When he revealed Judas as the betrayer, Judas hurried out knowing he had no choice now but to do the deed that very night, before the rest of the apostles got their hands on him. Likewise, when the Jewish high priests got a hold of Jesus in the garden, they knew there would be no better time to kill him than the very next morning, when everyone was diverted by the holidays and preparing for the Passover. In other words, by revealing Judas as the betrayer, Jesus insured his own capture that night, and crucifixion the next morning. It was all by design.
In the garden of Gethsemane, just prior to his arrest, knowing full well what lay ahead, he had said: “…ask to take this cup from me, for this very reason have I come into the world.” We now have a better understanding of the true meaning behind his words.
He knew that the punishment for his crimes would be crucifixion, on the spring equinox, which meant his resurrection on the third day would be on Sun-day, when the whole world would be celebrating the fertility god’s resurrection. Dying on the cross would forever connect him with Tammuz’s sign, the cross, Mithra’s sword, and the nailing of Attis on the tree. That’s right, Jesus forced it to happen, on the day and date he wanted, the manner which he wanted, and he went willingly to his bloody death without any fear whatsoever.
If you have any doubts about him doing it intentionally, you’re faced with the task of explaining why of all the days in a year, he would choose the night before Black Friday to hold the Last Supper, and send Judas off to betray him that very night, insuring his arrest and crucifixion on Black Friday itself. He had already spent many years evading the authorities who wanted to arrest and kill him, slipping away when necessary, and yet suddenly on the spring equinox he not only makes himself available to the authorities but does everything possible to have them arrest and murder him on the same day when the entire world was mourning the death of the fertility god.
During the new year’s celebration customs of Mesopotamia, which happened at the spring equinox, the king was disrobed and dethroned by the high priest, as a remembrance of the fall of the fertility god and his subsequent descent to the underworld. During the three days of his absence, an imposter was put in power in his place, dressed in royal robes and wearing a crown as the mock king, while the general population went wild in the streets as a sign that chaos ensues when the true king or god is in the underworld. We have ancient records that around the time of Christ, similar traditions still existed and were practiced in many places where the Roman soldiers were stationed. The Roman soldiers who mocked and tortured Jesus were certainly aware of this custom, which explains the enthusiasm with which they entered into the spirit of the event. Jesus was a man who claimed to be a king, but of course was a false king in their eyes, trying to threaten the true king or Caesar. It would have only seemed natural for them to mock and torture him, put on a royal purple robe on his body and a crown of thorns on his head before the crucifixion, particularly when it was all happening during the new year’s celebrations. And jesus knew exactly what it was all about as well, and never said a word. He kept going with the program without fail.
While he bled on the cross, nailed to a tree like Attis and pierced like Dumuzi, Jesus intentionally sent for mother Mary, fulfilling yet another scene in the mystery myth. The Mother Goddess, of course, had always been present during the hero’s final hours. Jesus’ father had died long ago, so the dying and bleeding god was found by Mary just as Adonis had been found by Aphrodite, Attis by Cybele, Osiris by Isis, and Baal by Anath.
He was pierced on the side while he bled on the cross, like the Mithraic bull, supposedly redeeming the world with his sacred blood, and taking away the sins of the world as the sacrificial lamb. The time of his death had also been marked by an unusual sandstorm that increasingly blocked out the light, just as an “evil wind” had turned a bright day into darkness after the death of olden sun-gods like Marduk.
Women mourned his death just as they had for Tammuz, weeping at the cross during this agonizing experience. Jesus was wrapped in bandages like Osiris. Like Attis, he was reverently carried into a virgin sepulchre hewn out of solid rock, and was resurrected on the third day, all following the classic mystery pattern.
Just as a man had betrayed Attis and then took his own life in regret, so did a traitor—Judas—instigate Jesus’ demise and subsequently hang himself in regret.
Even the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ resurrection were virtually identical with certain Greek myths regarding the resurrection of Dionysus. An image on an ancient Greek vase shows gods and angels removing the barrier to the burial tomb to assist in the resurrection of the dead god, while a man runs away in fear (Fig. 109). This was, of course, precisely what happened with Jesus’ resurrection.
Since there was no need for the removal of a physical barrier in the spiritual resurrection of Jesus, it’s obvious that the whole event was purposely staged. His tomb was opened and found to be empty, as in the story of Attis.
Like Dionysus, who had been “found among the Maenads” after his sudden disappearance, a group of women went to Jesus’ tomb and he appeared among them.
As the finishing touch, the sun shone brightly on the day of resurrection, for the spirit of love had returned to the land.
The dead rose from their slumber and ascended with Jesus, just as they had in the story of Tammuz and Ishtar’s resurrection from the underworld. Like Mithra, Jesus ascended to the right hand of God, was crowned with complete authority and stood as the door to salvation. He had overcome the world, and now his followers could rejoice in the fact that they would likewise become immortal. Like Osiris, he rose again to become the spiritual guardian of mankind, and he, as had Osiris, promised to return once more.
Undeniably, the story of the life of Jesus is uncannily similar to the life of the mystery hero- the list is long and far too striking to be coincidental. A lot of people may wonder why Jesus would intentionally shape his life to match the pagan savior god. Why would he go through this difficult, life-long strategy that was sure to bring about an excruciating and bloody death?
The answer, hidden until our generation, can be found in the events that transpired throughout the four centuries following his death. Remember that the ancient world had been worshiping the so-called gods of nature since prehistoric times. Their ancestors had been sacrificing animals and even humans to these same gods with absolute conviction that the health and vitality of their communities, not to mention the fertility of the human race, depended on it, and it had been this way for as long as anyone could remember. They were convinced that their beliefs were correct, that their way was the right way, and were bound by long-standing traditions that were handed from one generation to the next with religious fervor.
The proponents of the Jesus myth theory are faced with the odd task of explaining why anyone would create an unpopular and radical religion that defied all the traditions of the ancient world and went against practically everything it believed was true. Jesus’ teachings created conflict, were met with hatred and hostility, and his followers faced brutal persecution, not open arms. Would people who make a story about a divine hero out of thin air as a way of fooling the masses go to their own bloody deaths for it, as the apostles of Jesus did? No, the answer lies elsewhere.
One can only imagine the confusion that must have resulted when the missionaries of Jesus began to preach throughout the world. The resemblances between the Christianity and the mysteries, Mithraism in particular, were so striking that St. Augustine said that the priests of Mithra could hardly distinguish Jesus from Mithra.
You have to understand that by 300 A.D., Mithraism had already been the state religion for hundreds of years in Rome, that’s as long as the history of the united states. During that time Mithra was the patron god of many Roman emperors and their vast armies, long established in the culture of what was then the most powerful empire the world had ever known. They persecuted the Christians but to their astonishment, the strange religion of Jesus continued to flourish. The more they battled with it, the larger it grew.
Three hundred years after Christ, the Mithraic and Christian churches were incredibly similar, except for one main difference: one encouraged peace and forgiveness while the other encouraged brute force and war. The initiates of both religions worshipped in underground caverns with altars in the background that showed a sacrificed savior that had redeemed the sinful world through his blood. The initiates of both cults called each other brothers, were baptized and received confirmations, practiced abstinence and self-control, believed in a heaven and a hell and a final day of judgment. And of course, they both had the same holidays on the very same dates around the end of March, with practically identical rituals. The followers of Mithra, Attis, Dionysus and Osiris all held a commemorative meal on Maundy Thursday just like the Christians, mourned the sacrificed savior’s death on Black Friday on the Spring Equinox, and rejoiced his resurrection the following third day, on Sunday.
The early Christians were just awe-struck by the phenomenon, and finding no way of explaining it away, believed that it must be a trick by the devil himself. One of the early Christian leaders, Tertullian, put it this way:
The devil, whose business is to pervert the truth, mimics the exact circumstances of the Divine Sacraments. He baptizes his believers and promises forgiveness of sins from the Sacred Fount, and thereby initiates them into the religion of Mithras. Thus he celebrates the oblation of the bread, and brings in the symbol of resurrection. Let us therefore acknowledge the craftiness of the devil, who copies certain things of those that be Divine.
The early second century Christian apologist, Justin Martyr, claimed that it was the followers of Mithra who were copying Christians, not the other way around. Eighteen hundred years ago, he put it this way: “… Jesus … took bread and, after giving thanks, said: ‘Do this in remembrance of me … In like manner, he took the cup, gave thanks, and said: ‘This is my blood; … The evil demons, in imitation of this, ordered the same thing to be performed in the Mithraic mysteries.
You have to see the humor in the situation. During the Roman New Year’s Festival, the followers of the Mother of God cult carried the effigy of Attis nailed to a tree through the streets; the followers of Jesus likewise carried his effigy nailed to a cross. As the mystery initiates mourned the hero’s death on Black Friday and celebrated his resurrection on Sunday, so did the early Christians mourn Jesus’ death on Friday and celebrate his resurrection on Sunday. Back then, however, it wasn’t funny at all, to either side. The history and future of the human race hinged on whether the Roman empire would go on with their savage ways, superstitious beliefs and bloody sacrifices for the gods, or switch to Jesus’ new and radical religion.
As the battle for dominance came to a head between the mystery religionists and the Christians, people were left with a choice. Listen carefully to how Justin Martyr himself was trying to win over the pagans and have them convert to Christianity.
He said “When we say that the Word, who is the first born of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven; we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.”
In other words, there’s nothing to be afraid of here, it’s very similar to what you already accept, except for a few details, and you won’t be disappointing your fathers and ancestors by dumping their religion and switching over to Christianity. This was exactly what Jesus had planned on all along, and went to his bloody death for. In retrospect, had Jesus not molded the story of his life to fit the expectations of the people who lived in that era, the world would have seen either the extinction of his message or a catastrophic war with the Mithraics that would have created even more hardship for humanity.
When faced with the task of choosing between the ancient mystery religions and the message of Christ, people saw in Christianity a new religion that on surface appeared to have the same basic structure as the cults of his ancestors, held the same holidays on the same dates, shared similar rituals, and seemed like a breath of fresh air in that rotten old world and its barbaric ways. They were ready for change, and ultimately switched from a god of war, to a god of love.
A few minor and superficial compromises later, like saying that Jesus was born on December 25th even though they knew it wasn’t the case, and rest is, as they say, history. In planning out this sequence of events, Jesus was truly a fisher of men; his strategy can only be explained as a product of a divine mind and superhuman courage.
About three hundred years after Jesus’ time, the roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and in what must have been a shock to the ancient world, and put a ban on animal sacrifices for the pagan gods. The same empire that had once mocked Christians and fed them to lions and beasts for entertainment was now ruled by them. The transformation was truly breathtaking.
The iconic images and symbols of Jesus’ life were so similar to what had already been in place for thousands of years that many of the pagan temples were simply switched over to Christian churches. Mithra’s cave-temple on the Vatican Hill was seized by Christians in 376 A.D. St. Peter’s Square in Rome now stands directly on the site of the Mother of God temple, the very place where early Christians were once crucified, including St. Peter himself. The gods of Atlantis which once stood there were easily replaced by the Christian saints. Aphrodite’s holy temple on Cyprus was converted into a sanctuary of the Virgin Mary, becoming the “oldest continuously-occupied temple in the world.” Even the supposed birthplace of baby Jesus in Bethlehem was once the sacred birthplace of Adonis/Tammuz. And it went on this way throughout the ancient world, until the place of the pagan gods could be found no more among the peoples, or their temples. Gone were the bloody rituals and hollow ceremonies, the castrations for the goddess and the sacrifices her son.
But it’s only now that we can look back at history and understand what Jesus did, and how he became the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Heaven and Earth. It’s only now that we can see the full scope of his matchless dedication to, and unconditional love for, the children of this world, and what it took to reform a savage, ignorant and bloodthirsty world. It’s only now that we can get a fuller appreciation of why those who knew him best simply called him Master.