In her book Jesus as the Sun throughout History, D.M. Murdock / Acharya S presents evidence that many aspects of Jesus Christ, and of Christian tradition in general, represent motifs from solar mythology. In part 1 of this ebook excerpt, the Judeo-Christian Bible is examined and evidence is presented showing the connection between the religions of Israel, Jesus Christ and the Sun.
Jesus as the Sun throughout History
by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S
Excerpted from the ebook
“The result of the Church’s encounter with the sun-cults of antiquity was nothing less than the dethronement of Helios.”
Dr. Hugo Rahner, Greek Myths and Christian Mystery (93)
In my books and articles, I present the evidence that many aspects of the gospel story about Jesus Christ, and of Christian tradition in general, represent motifs from older astrotheology and solar mythology, specifically reflecting legends and myths regarding the sun gods of antiquity. There remains much confusion concerning this subject, including erroneous claims that this equation of Jesus with the sun only started to be expressed during the 19th century. This contention that connecting Jesus to the sun constitutes a “modern” phenomenon is easily demonstrated to be false, through the study of ancient texts, including the Bible and works of the early Church fathers, as well as Christian traditions, rituals, architecture and artifacts. From a wide variety of sources, it is clear that associating, identifying and equating Christ with the sun began in ancient times and has continued abundantly over the many centuries since then.
The exploration of Christ as a solar figure includes a study of ancient sun worship not only in the Pagan world but also in Israel, as exhibited by the solar nature of Jesus’s purported Father, the Israelite god Yahweh. Demonstrating the copious substantiation for Israelite sun worship, especially as concerns the main Jewish god, in Yahweh and the Sun: Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel, Rev. Dr. J. Glen Taylor, a theologian and professor of Old Testament and Biblical Proclamation at Wycliffe College, remarks:
“This book is a slightly revised version of my doctoral dissertation entitled ‘Solar Worship in the Biblical World’ which was submitted to the Graduate School of Yale University in the Spring of 1989. As may be judged from the title of that work, I had at one time planned to cover more territory than sun worship in ancient Israel, but found the material pertaining to ancient Israel so vast that I never got beyond it.” (Taylor, 7)
The description of Yahweh and the Sun states, “This challenging provocative book argues that there was in ancient Israel a considerable degree of overlap between the worship of the sun and of Yahweh – even that Yahweh was worshipped as the sun in some contexts.” (Emphasis added.) As Rev. Dr. Taylor further says:
“Probably the most provocative issue related to the nature of sun worship in ancient Israel…is the specific claim that Yahweh was identified with the sun.” (Taylor, 20)
In his tome, Taylor discusses Yahweh as a sun god – terming this adulation “solar Yahwism” – as reflected in the sun worship by Israelites described in the biblical texts of Deuteronomy, the Prophets, Job and the Psalms. He also addresses linguistic evidence as well as various archaeological finds that reveal Israelite sun worship, including artifacts such sun disks and temple/shrine alignments.
In the present analysis of Judeo-Christian astrotheological underpinnings, let us start therefore with the Old Testament, in which God is depicted as the creator of and power behind the sun, thus making the solar orb an expression of the Lord’s divinity – a notion that was not lost on the Israelitish peoples.
In the book of Job, traditionally considered one of the oldest texts in the Bible, we find God reiterated as the power behind the sun, as at 9:7, which refers to him “who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars…” Job contains other astronomical, astrological or astrotheological knowledge, as in the discussion of the “Mazzaroth” or Zodiac at 38:22:
“Can you lead forth the Maz’zaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children?”
Strong’s Concordance (H4216) defines mazzaroth or mazzarah as “the 12 signs of the Zodiac and their 36 associated constellations.” The “Bear with its children” refers to the constellation of Arcturus or Ursa Major and the three stars in its tail. (McClintock, 381)
With such a sacred origin and with the pervasiveness of the astrotheological religion of their neighbors, Israelite sun worshipping understandably became prevalent, so much so that the biblical writers proscribe it on several occasions, such as at Deuteronomy 4:19:
“And beware lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”
Yet, these celestial bodies possess divine origins, as it is God who has “allotted to all peoples” the “host of heaven,” including “the sun and the moon and the stars.”
At Deuteronomy 17:2-3, we read further about Israelites “whoring after” sun worship and astrotheology:
“If there is found among you, within any of your towns which the LORD your God gives you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden…”
The Israelites, however, cannot stop their sun worshipping, which is engaged in even by the kings and priests, and which must be suppressed, as at 2 Kings 23:5:
“And he deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places at the cities of Judah and round about Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Ba’al, to the sun, and the moon, and the constellations, and all the host of the heavens.”
The continual Israelite/Hebrew/Jewish sun worship is logical, when we read at Psalms 84:11:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield.”
The Israelite reverence of the sun was so intense that by Jeremiah’s era (c. 625-565 BCE), the Jewish kings, princes, prophets and general inhabitants of Jerusalem continued to be portrayed as loving, serving and worshipping the host of heaven, including the sun and moon:
“At that time, says the LORD, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its princes, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.” (Jer 8:1-2)
Despite this apparent desecration of Jewish bones evidently because of astrotheological practices, Ezekiel (c. 586 BCE) related that the Israelites/Hebrews/Jews continued to worship the sun, as at 8:16:
“And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD; and behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the sun toward the east.”
In this scripture, it is not just the common people but the very priests themselves who are engaging in sun worship.
As concerns the prevalence of solar Yahwism in ancient Israel, Dr. J. Glen Taylor concludes:
“Several lines of evidence, both archaeological and biblical, bear witness to a close relationship between Yahweh and the sun. The nature of that association is such that often a ‘solar’ character was presumed for Yahweh. Indeed, at many points the sun actually represented Yahweh as a kind of ‘icon.’ Thus, in at least the vast majority of cases, biblical passages which refer to sun worship in Israel do not refer to a foreign phenomenon borrowed by idolatrous Israelites, but to a Yahwistic phenomenon which Deuteronomistic theology came to look upon as idolatrous…. an association between Yahweh and the sun was not limited to one or two obscure contexts, but was remarkably well integrated into the religion of ancient Israel.” (Taylor, 257)
Hence, the sun was worshipped by the Israelites, who associated it with their tribal god Yahweh. Like Father, like son, and the connection between Jesus and the sun is first evidenced in the OT book of Malachi (4:2), which immediately precedes the New Testament and in which the author refers to the “Sun of Righteousness” who will “arise with healing in his wings.” This scripture, which is in the last chapter before the Gospel of Matthew, sounds much like the winged solar disc of Babylon and Egypt.
“The Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.”
This scripture in Malachi is perceived as a reference to the coming messiah, Jesus Christ. In this regard, this clearly solar appellation “Sun of Righteousness” is repeated many times by early Church fathers as being applicable to Christ.
Continue to Part 2
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