What most people will never hear in church is that during the first few centuries after the time of Christ, Mithraism became one of the chief rivals of Christianity and its influences are still with us today.
The first Biblical references to the Persian sun god Mithra are found in the Book of Ezra. The setting of the book opens with the city of Jerusalem having been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Its treasures and the former inhabitants of Judaea are in Babylonian captivity. Darius, king of the Median Empire, had conquered the Babylonians; and Cyrus is now on the throne of the powerful Medo-Persian empire.
In chapter one we read of a proclamation by Cyrus that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt. Thus saith Cyrus King of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
While on the surface it would seem that Cyrus respected the God of the Bible, YHWH Elohim, that is really not the case. We find that when Cyrus would conquer an area it was his policy to restore the worship of the local gods.
His favor toward the temple in Jerusalem is not indicative of his knowledge of YHWH: in fact, Scripture plainly states that Cyrus did not know the God of the Bible. Inscriptions on the famous Cyrus Cylinder document his worship of Marduk, also known in Babylon as Bel, or Baal. Even so, God used Cyrus to accomplish His purpose, just as He earlier had used Nebuchadnezzar.
As we continue with the Biblical account, we are told, "Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer; Notice the name Mithredath. The meaning of that name as found in the Book of Ezra is "The Gift of Mithra."
The influence of Mithraism did not end in Old Testament times. Today many aspects of Contemporary Christianity have nothing to do with Jesus and are actually "The Gift of Mithra." Let’s return that gift back to its rightful owner.
As you may know, I have produced a Book and 5 DVD Study Series entitled Time is the Ally of Deceit. The Study Series exposes the blending of pagan sun worship with the faith of those who walked and talked with Christ - a blend that took place step by step - over time - thus the title Time is the Ally of Deceit. If you’re interested in more information regarding the Mithraism, the Study Series is available in the World Net Daily Superstore. The third chapter and third DVD provide a wealth of information regarding the Persian sun god. You can also learn more by visiting my website www.toolong.com
Earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints: I’m Richard Rives with Just the Facts.