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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:14 pm 
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Here we go again, more discussion of astrotheology and mythology at a Christian website:

Quote:
Stars of His Coming

"The Bible says that God Himself named the starts (sic - stars) and constellations and placed His message in them. This message is the story of Jesus – from the first promise of the Seed of Woman given to Adam and Eve to His fist coming as out suffering Savior to His second coming as our Ruler and His ultimate triumph over Satan. The Stars of His Coming was written to explain these celestial signs of Christ’s coming within the context of the revelation of God contained in the stars.

Adam ,Noah and Abraham knew the starry message. Isaiah, Daniel, John and other prophets incorporated its image into Scripture. It was believed by the Wise Men from the east who understood the meaning of the Star of Bethlehem and acted on their knowledge to find Jesus.

There were signs in the sun, moon, and stars when Jesus was born. By understanding these signs of His coming we can retrace the steps of the wise Men and see why they followed the Star of Bethlehem.

Using that same knowledge we can understand the signs in the sun, moon, and starts (sic - stars) that point to His Second Coming. Like the Wise Men, we can know the signs and wait for the Start of His Coming.

For most of our history, in most of our cultures, the stars formed the mythological underpinning of our search for spiritual understanding. Yet our search led us away from the Maker and Father of all, as we worshiped the created things and lost knowledge of the Creator. Today the stars themselves are identified with false pagan religions and astrology.

But it was not always so. The story of the stars is the story of the Creator Himself, told in His own words and pictures – and painted with fire across the expanse of the universe. It is the Bible read by Adam, Noah, and Abraham. And its images and promises permeate the written Word of God handed down to us as our Bible."

- Stars of His Coming

Here's another article from International Star Bible Society: The Heavenly Harvester

It just seems to me that they're aware of Zeitgeist part 1 and have decided to get out in front of it by incorporating their Christian revisionism to purposely change the facts to their own liking and of course, their own favor.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:43 pm 
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And another:

Quote:
The Star, The Constellation… The Sun and Moon: Science Agrees with Scripture (Finally)

"The 2000 Year Old Controversy Settled: The Exact Time Christ’s Birth

"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne."

– Revelation 12

And another:

The Bible In The Stars

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Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:57 pm 
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Revelation 12:1-2 "A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth."

In the video below Christians themselves are saying (at 6 minutes):

"If Revelation 12:1-2 is referring to this date and the signs in the heavens are the fulfillment of this verse, then September 23rd, 2017 would probably be the mid-point of the Tribulation."

Gotta love the image in the video below at 4:50 dated to Sept 23rd, 2017. I've confirmed it on Stellarium and it's correct but Stellarium uses a different image of Virgo but, that's ok. Anybody wanna get some pics of their own from Stellarium or Starry Night and share them here? (Make sure they're a decent size, please, not too big.)

watch starting at 4 minutes to at least 6.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:12 pm 
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This certainly has the sound of Christian revisionism in response to the post ZG era.

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The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:49 pm 
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Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
This certainly has the sound of Christian revisionism in response to the post ZG era.

Yeah, there's certainly some Christian Revisionism going on ... par for the course, I guess.

I think this really is a huge opportunity for us. One way to get the ball rolling is to simply take what the Christians themselves have already posted and claimed, as I've started to share in this very thread, and proceed to show them where it all originally came from. They really just need an adjustment in their biased Christian 'interpretations.' We can point out where we are in agreement in that these celestial events are fascinating and were fascinating to the ancients as well.

Facebook: Red Moon Rapture

Image

You know what, this all puts the anti-Zeitgeist part 1 and anti-Acharya Christian fundy extremist cult, like Chris White and Keith 'Truth' (Trash) in a bind. People should take these Christian links and toss them at those guys and watch them squirm, "Astrotheology Debunked," my ass.

Here's another Christian website below. They traced the blood red moon events back to 162 AD, so now, we need help tracing it back further into the pre-Christian Pagan world and what they thought of it.

Quote:
"Seven back-to-back, blood-red moons have fallen on the first day of Passover and Sukkot, with the eighth time coming in 2014 and 2015

Mark found that we have had blood-red moons on the first day of Passover and the first day of Sukkot on back-to-back years seven times since 1 A.D. Three of these occurrences were connected to 1492 (the final year of the Spanish Inquisition), 1948 (statehood for Israel and the War of Independence), and 1967 (the Six-Day War) — some of the most significant days in Jewish history.

The others were in 162/163 A.D., 795/796 A.D., 842/843 A.D. and 860/861 A.D. We don’t have any historical connections for these years at this time, but we do know of significant Jewish persecution during the eighth and ninth centuries.

In all eight examples, the eclipses have fallen or will fall on the first day of Passover and Sukkot.

The eighth occurrence of back-to-back, blood-red moons will be in 2014–2015."

- http://www.watch.org/showart.php3?idx=104119

Get a load of this image:

http://www.sonoma.edu/users/v/vegalu/eschatology_files/blood.pdf

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Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:49 am 
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These guys really haven't thought this out very well. It really is just as easy as showing a history of pagan astrotheological religion filtering into Judaism with Passover as a seasonal astrotheological holiday that transferred over to Christianity. Tulip's torn this thing apart showing how lunar observation around Passover ties in to precession. There's actually every little detail of ways to respond to this sort of thing sitting around in these forums.

And indeed what a slap in the face this new astrotheological based rapture date prediction is to Chris White and Keith Trash. What could they do? Brand the other Christians apostate? Join them perhaps? Not too many options on the table. Kind of hard to claim that Judeo-Christianity is a superior astrotheological religion compared to the pagan religions when people like Keith Trash are busy trying to claim that Christianity is not and never was astrotheological at all. I see quite the internal conflict arising over the next few years and I wonder which group of apologists will take the majority?

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 5:07 pm 
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Coverage @ exC

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:18 pm 
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Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
Coverage @ exC

Excellent, Tat! Thanks for doing that. That's just what we need - to share these views with a variety of other Christians or X-Xians in this case. I feel it's to our own benefit to help promote these evangelical astrotheological beliefs to get the conversation started. Then, point out the facts of where they're right - meaning there really will be a tetrad of red moon celestial events in the next couple years but, none of it means what those Christians claim it does and we can fall back on the history of failed prophecies to make a type of Bayesian case in the sense of 'probabilities.' Your Harold Camping thread is a great recent example. I'm loving this red moon prophecy because I feel it will have a strong impact due to the fact that everyone will be able to see these red moons for themselves, which is what sets this apart. Again, it's a perfect time to spread the knowledge behind astrotheology and mythicism.

At this juncture, I'd like to discuss a specific denomination of Christianity known as Evangelical Christianity. It's the one I am most familiar with since I was a saved and baptized evangelical for nearly 20 years. They're often a fundamentalist denomination that is the most aggressive in pushing a Christian agenda in politics known as the Religious-Right and work tirelessly to get out the evangelical vote, especially at the mid-terms when the least number of people vote - this is how they win. They strongly believe in Jesus's return and the rapture, the 'end times' tribulation, apocalypse, Armageddon etc.

We need an up-to-date pie chart showing their true numbers. There are more of them than most realize because:

"The Economist estimated in May 2012 that "over one-third of Americans, more than 100M, can be considered evangelical," arguing that the percentage is often undercounted because many black Christians espouse Evangelical theology but prefer to refer to themselves as "born again Christians" rather than "evangelical.""

But, it's not just "black Christians," it's a few other denominations that also tend to have evangelical tendencies.

Evangelicalism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_right

Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals
http://www.wheaton.edu/isae

Defining Evangelicalism
http://www.wheaton.edu/ISAE/Defining-Evangelicalism

Quote:
"Over the years, the number fluctuated dramatically, reaching a low of 33% in 1987 and 1988 during the televangelist scandals, and a high of 48% in 2005. Overall, the numbers have averaged just under 39% of the population ... or about 90-100 million Americans."

How Many Evangelicals Are There?
http://www.wheaton.edu/ISAE/Defining-Ev ... -Are-There

Evangelicals believe that secularism is the work of Satan that must be defeated. Evangelicals believe they are at war with Satan and that secularism is a tool of Satan's. This was the case made in Brian Flemming's 'The God Who Wasn't There.'

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth because, as a secularist myself, secularists are not trying to take away anybody's right to believe in whatever they chose, we simply reject the notion that any religion should dominate any part of the United States government. Evangelicals don't like that because it's an epic obstacle blocking them from turning the US into a "Christian Nation."

Why is it so important for Evangelicals to turn the US into a Christian Nation?

Quote:
"In April, Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), spoke to the tea party of Hood County, which is southwest of Fort Worth, and made a bold declaration: The United States is a "Christian nation." The septuagenarian businessman turned evangelical pastor did not choose to use the more inclusive formulation "Judeo-Christian nation." Insisting that the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution "were signed on the knees of the framers" and were a "divine revelation from God..."The United States of America was formed to honor the word of God."" went on to claim: "President Barack Obama an "outright Marxist" who "seeks to destroy all concept of God" (I don't want this to turn into anything about Obama here, that comment goes towards anybody or group who challeneges the evangelical divine right to dominance, they simply have a special hatred for Obama.) "

"Ted Cruz, the tea party champion who almost single-handedly spurred the recent government shutdown, has often deployed his father as a political asset ... Ted Cruz campaigns with his father; he had him in tow on a recent trip to Iowa (where the evangelical vote is crucial in GOP presidential primaries). Rafael Cruz regularly speaks to tea party and Republican groups in Texas as a surrogate for his son"

"A sermon Rafael Cruz delivered in August 2012 at an Irving, Texas, mega-church has also come under scrutiny. At that event, he asserted that Christian true believers are "anointed" by God to "take dominion" of the world in "every area: society, education, government, and economics." He was preaching a particular form of evangelical Christianity known as Dominionism (a.k.a. Christian Reconstructionism) that holds that these "anointed" Christians are destined to take over the government and create in practice, if not in official terms, a theocracy. Rafael Cruz also endorsed the evangelical belief known as the "end-time transfer of wealth"—that is, as a prelude to the second coming of Christ, God will seize the wealth of the wicked and redistribute it to believers. But, Cruz told the flock, don't expect to benefit from this unless you tithe mightily. Introducing Cruz at this service, Christian Zionist pastor Larry Huch offered this bottom line:

In the coming year, he predicted, "God will begin to rule and reign. Not Wall Street, not Washington, God's people and his kingdom will begin to rule and reign. I know that's why God got Rafael's son elected, Ted Cruz, the next senator." (In July, several prominent Dominionist pastors at a ceremony in Iowa blessed and anointed Ted Cruz, rendering him, in their view, a "king" who would help usher in the kingdom of Christ.)"

"During his sermon at this church, Rafael Cruz preached that men, not women, are the spiritual leaders of their families: "As God commands us men to teach your wife, to teach your children—to be the spiritual leader of your family—you're acting as a priest. Now, unfortunately, unfortunately, in too many Christian homes, the role of the priest is assumed by the wife. Why? Because the man had abdicated his responsibility as priest to his family…So the wife has taken up that banner, but that's not her responsibility."

"Rafael Cruz, in full sync with his son's political stance ... noted that the "wicked" were now ruling the United States ... and asserted that the Democratic Party promotes "everything that is contrary to the word of God." "...He insisted that the advancement of Christianity (his fundamentalist version of it) depends on political battle, noting the need not just for a "spiritual savior" but a "political savior." (The idea of states' rights, he said, was based in the bible.)"

"Obama, Cruz proclaimed, believes "government is your god." When Cruz was a keynote speaker at a tax day rally hosted by Texas tea partiers in April, he told the crowd that conservative Christians need to take over "every school board in this nation.""

"The United States as a "Christian nation"; death panels; social justice a cancer; gay rights a conspiracy; the "wicked" in charge in Washington; women inferior to men as spiritual leaders; Obama a Muslim-favoring, God-hating, Marxist Kenyan; End Times; a UN worldwide dictatorship; states' rights; free markets over all—Rafael Cruz blends the far reaches of extreme conservatism and Christian fundamentalism. He embodies the full synthesis of the tea party and the religious right. In fact, he has noted that the rise of the religious right in Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign "was the precursor of the tea party." Rafael Cruz may well be key to understanding the ideas, desires, and long-term aims that drive Ted Cruz—a politician who is exerting an outsized influence on the GOP.

- Oct. 31, 2013


Image

Image

Never forget:

Quote:
"Christianity & Democracy are inevitably enemies"
- R.J. Rushdoony "Independent Republic" pg 122, 1964

"Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land - for Jesus Christ - to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect life & godliness. It is dominion we're after not just a voice. It is dominion we're after not just influence. It is dominion we're after not just equal time. It is dominion we're after. World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to do."
- George Grant, "changing of the guard" pg 50-51

"Our goal, as Christians, is to dominate society"
- Pat Robertson

"The church should be a disciplined charging army. Christians, like slaves and solders ask no questions. We are fighting a holy war."
- Jerry Falwell

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."
- D. James Kennedy

"No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."
- George H.W. Bush, when he was candidate for president

- viewtopic.php?p=28443#p28443

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2013 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:48 pm 
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Ok, I had to contact NASA and they gave me a link to all the lunar eclipses back to 1999 BCE:

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEpubs/5MKLE.html

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/lunar.html

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/5MCLE/5MKLEcatalog.txt

So now, we will take the specific dates from the 'blood red moons' and search for anything special for that date in history:

The Six-Day War — 1967

* First Day of Passover, April 24, 1967
* First Day of Sukkoth, Oct. 18, 1967
* First Day of Passover. April 13, 1968
* First Day of Sukkoth, Oct. 6, 1968

* There are probably better websites with more info but, this will do as an example:

April 24th: http://www.datesinhistory.com/apr24.php
Oct. 18: http://www.datesinhistory.com/oct18.php
April 13: http://www.datesinhistory.com/apr13.php
Oct. 6: http://www.datesinhistory.com/oct06.php

The War of Independence — 1948

* Passover, April 13, 1949
* Sukkoth, Oct. 7, 1949
* Passover, April 2, 1950
* Sukkoth, Sept. 26, 1950

The Spanish Inquisition — 1492

* Passover, April 2, 1493
* Sukkoth, Sept. 25, 1493
* Passover, March 22, 1494
* Sukkoth, Sept. 15, 1494

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2013 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:41 pm 
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On a side but related note:

George W. Bush to Raise Money for Group That Converts Jews to Bring About Second Coming of Christ

The Jesus Landing Pad

HOLY MOLY!


See also:

The Theology of Government Shutdown: Christian Dominionism

Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History

The Bush helps raise $ to convert Jews for Jesus's return thread

* Please contact Sarah Posner and request she investigate the connections between the, 'Government Shutdown,' 'Jesus' Return, Blood Red Moons and the Bootes Constellation' and 'Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History' links above and how they connect with her own work.

"Sarah Posner is an investigative journalist covering the intersection of religion and politics. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Salon, The Nation, The American Prospect, Al Jazeera America, and many other publications."

It's becoming blatantly obvious that evangelical Christians, like former President George W. Bush, are more than willing to do everything they can to bring about the 'end times' biblical prophecies on their own without the need for any supernatural events first, which has the potential to bring about a new modern day dark age. Don't forget that the 'end times' prophecy claims that eventually 2/3rds the worlds population (mostly non-believers) will die.

We need a very serious investigation into these matters to find out what all they're really up to and what their plans really are. Perhaps Bush and several top evangelical leaders should be given subpoenas and grilled with very serious questions since this is undoubtedly a national security issue.

My question is, are they planning more gov't shutdowns and/or 9-11 type events in order to get their way in government and politics to obtain the dominion they've so longed for? I have several other related threads in the original post here in this thread but, there are many more throughout the forum here at Freethought Nation.

Frank Schaeffer is another great person to contact on these issues.

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2013 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:26 pm 
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4 Blood Moons of Jesus Return? Mark Biltz Theory Debunked
http://www.escapeallthesethings.com/201 ... lipses.htm

"I'd call the pretrib rapture Lindsey advocates and 99% of the prophecy ideas that make their way into our inboxes pure speculation, but looking for the eclipses that Revelation predicts is a very reasonable approach."

End of the World? Our Real "Nemesis" According to Bible Prophecy
http://www.escapeallthesethings.com/end ... emesis.htm

Revelation 8:11 "And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."

Wormwood
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wormwood_%28star%29

Tim McHyde
http://www.facebook.com/timmchyde

Tim McHyde
http://www.youtube.com/user/TimMcHyde

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2013 Astrotheology Calendar
The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:28 pm 
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It's funny that this guy takes Revelation's reference to a 360 day year to mean that the earth will, at a future date, after a Planet X type star passes, take on a new yearly and monthly cycle. When, obviously, the reference to a 360 day year merely shows the antiquity of the myth as pointed out in the CC's section on Revelation. So here we have damming evidence that Revelation is mixed up of with solar myth from great antiquity being paraded around for all to see on account of this Christian bringing up the fact that Revelation makes the year 360 days instead of 365.

Wouldn't it be funny to bring down the Razor on this guy?

So which is the simplest explanation, an unknown, unseen, youtube hype invisible planet or binary star will pass the earth and Revelation is a view into that remote future where the annual year will be shortened to 360 days, or that Revelation is an astrotheological myth with parts of it dating back to remote antiquity when the annual year was marked as 360 days before the 365 day calendar?

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:38 pm 
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Here's an article about an important article that someone sent me just in time for the Moon calendar we're working on for 2014.

Sssshhhh! Don't look at the astrotheological origins of Jewish mythology and tradition in order to examine the roots of Christianity. Abandon and jettison thousands of years of tradition! Shield your eyes from the bright moon's light!! Remain ignorant at all costs!

Quote:
New moon takes the bull by the horns

Magnificent 8th century stone monument at Israel Museum preserves link between ancient Aramean god and Jewish calendar

By Ilan Ben Zion November 16, 2013

Scholars point to a lengthy tradition of theriomorphic — generally bovine — depictions of the moon god Sin-Nanna in Mesopotamian cultures. To the ancient Mesopotamians, the “horns of a bull or cow were seen to match the pointed curve of the waxing and waning crescents so exactly that the powers of the one were attributed to the other, each gaining the other’s potency as well as their own,” writes Jules Cashford in her book “The Moon: Myth and Image.”

It’s easy to walk past the gray-brown slab of basalt in the Israel Museum’s archaeology wing and pay it no heed. (I confess to have done so numerous times; the silver amulets bearing ancient renditions of the priestly blessing garner far more attention.) But etched into the monumental stele’s pocked surface is a mysterious figure central to understanding the significance of the lunar god in ancient Canaan and the origins of the Jewish veneration of the new moon.

The nearly four-foot-tall volcanic stone is marked with a striking bull-headed figure whose powerful gaze bores through the viewer. Its horns bend inward like the sliver of a day-old moon. Beneath its massive skull stands a vertical line transected by two downward facing curves which appear to be limbs. Girt at its midsection is a sword of a style typical of the period (examples of which are found in display cases just feet away). At its right hip sits a tiny rosette believed to represent the four phases of the moon.

What deity it represents, or in fact what the figure is at all, remains the subject of scholarly debate.

The bull stele once stood atop an altar situated at the entrance to the ancient city of Geshur, the capital of an eponymous kingdom. It was one of several Aramaean kingdoms that ruled southern Syria and bordered the Israelites. Like the Israelites to the south, the Geshurites spoke a Semitic tongue, likely a blend of Aramaic and Hebrew.

Bull and moon

Strolling through the Israel Museum’s Iron Age gallery, Eran Arie, the newly instated curator of Iron Age and Persian Period Archaeology, discourses on the bull’s prominence in the ancient Near East. Until the invention of the steam engine, the bull was the most powerful force man could harness and was integral to prosperity in agrarian society, he explained.

In much of the ancient Levant, the bull was associated with storm deities, like the Canaanite Baal, or his Syrian cognate Hadad. A 15th century stele from Ugarit, in northwestern Syria, for example, shows a thunderbolt-wielding Baal adorned with bull horns.

Arie points out a veritable herd of terra cotta and metal bovines inhabiting the hall’s vitrines. One enchanting artifact just across the gallery from the Bethsaida stele, a seven-inch-long bronze bull statue, attests to the religious significance of the animal to the Canaanites and Israelites. Found at Dothan in northern Samaria, it dates from the 13th century and represents the fecundity brought by the seasonal rains.

“It is a symbol both of power and fertility,” wrote Israeli archaeologist Amihai Mazar in an article describing the piece. “Sometimes the bull appears as a cult object itself, for example, as a young striding god to be worshipped as the symbol of the deity.”

Stylized horns also protrude from the corners of hewn stone altars commonplace throughout Canaan and Israel during this period. The horns “may symbolize strength, as of a bull, understood as political or religious authority,” posits Dr. Elizabeth Bloch-Smith of St. Joseph’s University, an archaeologist involved in the excavations at the coastal site of Dor. As with the Bethsaida stele, horned altars were desecrated by smashing the horn — as is the case with the majority found in excavations.

So the god depicted on the stele was an incarnation of Baal? It’s not as clearcut as that, Arie admits. The bull’s head on the Bethsaida stele is surmounted by horns forming a clearly defined crescent moon, suggesting it may represent a lunar deity.

Although the storm god reigned supreme among the Arameans, as the Syrian kingdom fell under Assyrian influence, the moon god — particularly the new moon — found increased significance in the Aramean and Israelite pantheons, Swiss Near East expert Othmar Keel said.

Keel enumerated over 100 depictions of the Near Eastern god represented by the crescent moon affixed atop a pole in his exhaustive work “Goddesses and Trees, New Moon and Yahweh.” Nearly exact copies of the Bethsaida stele have been found at sites in Syria and southern Turkey — a staff topped by a bull’s head whose horns form the crescent moon.

Scholars point to a lengthy tradition of theriomorphic — generally bovine — depictions of the moon god Sin-Nanna in Mesopotamian cultures. To the ancient Mesopotamians, the “horns of a bull or cow were seen to match the pointed curve of the waxing and waning crescents so exactly that the powers of the one were attributed to the other, each gaining the other’s potency as well as their own,” writes Jules Cashford in her book “The Moon: Myth and Image.”

Tallay Ornan of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations argues that Bethsaida stele intentionally conflates the bull and moon imagery in order to symbolize both deities.

“These deities share not only the image of the bull, but also roles associated with fertility and regeneration,” she writes, citing millennia of precedence in Mesopotamian and Levantine art.

As for the Israelites and Judeans, she wrote in an email, seals unearthed at Jerusalem’s City of David indicate that moon god worship intensified in Israel and Judea under Assyrian domination during the period of the Bethsaida stele and after its destruction. It is precisely during this time period — the late First Temple Era — under Aramean and Assyrian influence, that Israel and Judah began venerating the new moon, Keel said in an email, a fairly extra-biblical tradition that was bestowed with quasi-holiness in an otherwise season-driven calendar.

The Jewish lunar month — Rosh Hodesh – traditionally begins with the sighting of the first sliver of the waxing moon and religious time governed ritual observance of Judaism’s many holidays. The book of Numbers instructs the Israelites to celebrate the new moon with the sacrifice of “two young bullocks, and one ram, seven he-lambs of the first year without blemish.”

“Stimulated by the Assyro-Aramaean influence, the cult of the new moon received its theological dignity partly from the growing importance of the moon-related calendar,” Keel wrote in “Goddesses and Trees.”

The Talmud, codified centuries later, discusses in exhaustive detail the byzantine process of verifying eyewitness sighting of the new moon and the consequent declaration of the commencement of the new month. So much importance was attached to the new moon’s sighting that, as Tractate Rosh Hashanah details: “The rabbis taught [if the witnesses say], ‘We have seen the reflection [of the moon] in the water, or through a metal mirror, or in the clouds,’ their testimony is not to be accepted.”

The significance of the cryptic bull-headed moon god looming in Israel Museum’s galleries remains a subject of heated scholarly debate — not everyone is convinced of Keel’s thesis — but vestiges of its worship may persevere in modern Judaism. Whether true or not, the lunar calendar and celebration of the new moon in today’s liturgy harks back to the age preserved in the Bethsaida stele.

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