The Easter Women

When my children were young, I had a little book I read to them every Easter about the women going to the tomb and seeing the empty grave.  It wasn’t until I understood who the Easter women really are that I stopped reading the book.   I realized that combining the holy with the profane didn’t bring revelation of God’s plan of salvation through Yeshua to the world, but kept alive the worship of foreign gods and goddesses that couldn’t be in the lives of my children.

“So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines’  (1 Samuel 7:3).

Nimrod, from Genesis 10, had wife whose name was Semiramis.  She was an adulteress and an idolator.  When her husband died, she gave birth to an illegitimate son claiming that he was supernaturally conceived in order to hide her own immoral behavior.  She even claimed that he was ‘the promised seed’ so there would be no judgment against her behavior.  When the child was born,  she named him Tammuz and declared that he was Nimrod reborn. This  allowed her to have an immoral mother-son relationship.  Not only was Tammuz worshipped, but so was his mother, Ishtar,  from whom we derive the English word, Easter, and the Hebrew concept of Ashtoreth.

Tammuz became a shepherd and one day while herding his flocks, he was killed by a wild boar.  Ishtar, his mother turned lover, mourned for him.  She descended into the underworld, or Hades,  to deliver him from death.   She weeped for 40 days which eventually made the god of water and wisdom send a heavenly messenger to Hades to rescue her and her son.   All women in Babylon began this 40-day time of mourning on the second day of the fourth month. According to the prophet Ezekiel, this lamenting time was detestable to the LORD.  

“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.  He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this” (Ezekiel 8:14)

After the 40 days, when Istar and Tammuz were set free from the underworld, there was a festival that was full of sexual immorality and dancing around Asherah poles on the ‘high places.’ The worship of Ashtoreth (Ishtar) and Asherah combined over time and became  known in ancient Israel as the Queen of Heaven.

“Judah’s sin is engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point, on the tablets of their heart and on the horns of their altars. Even their children remember their altars and Asherah poles beside the spreading trees and on the high hills” (Jeremiah 17:1-2).

Like Christmas, the catholic church embraced the pagan worship of Nimrod, the Queen of Heaven and Tammuz and tweaked it.    As preparation for Easter, there is a 40-day period called Lent.  The day before Lent begins, there is great feasting with immoral parties.  Remnants of these pagan traditions are embedded in Carnival of Brazil and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.   When the first day of Lent arrives or Ash Wednesday, those same immoral  crowds, including Protestants and Evangelicals who have embraced catholic doctrines, flock to churches to receive ashes on their forehead, symbolic of mourning and sorrow for the dead.  For the next 40 days there is ‘soulful preparation’ through denial and fasting culminating in the great celebration called Easter or the memorial of Tammuz, the son of the Queen of Heaven, Ishtar,  being released from Hades.  

“The children gather the wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and, just to provoke me, they pour out drink offerings to other gods!” (Jeremiah 7:18).

How nicely the catholic church gave this pagan traditional a Biblical twist! Still, the God of Israel warned his people about the worship of Tammuz and honoring the Queen of Heaven with cakes or hot cross buns.  Dancing around a ‘May Pole’ also honors the the pagan goddess Asherah with a sexual symbol made from a tree.  Even the idea of coloring eggs has been embraced by the church.  Traditionally, during the season of Lent, all eggs were removed from the home for forty days when they were  colored red for a ‘blood sacrifice’ for Ashtoreth and Asherah.  The Easter ham is nothing more than a massive sacrifice of pigs as a way to atone for Tammuz’ death from a wild boar.

“Then all the men who knew that their wives were offering incense to other gods, along with all the women standing by, a huge crowd … answered Jeremiah: “As for the word you have just spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you.  Instead, we will certainly continue to fulfill every word our mouths have spoken: we will offer incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our ancestors, our kings and our leaders, in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food; everything was fine, we didn’t experience anything unpleasant.  But since we stopped offering to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything, and we have been destroyed by sword and famine” (Jeremiah 44:15-18).

Jeremiah’s warning is not heeded by the men or women of Israel. They didn’t care that they worshipped other gods contrary to what God commanded. Instead they remained rebellious in their stony hearts and fervently declared they weren’t going to change their wicked ways.  They believed that their prosperity came from the Queen of Heaven and not from the God of Israel so they continued in their abominations until judgment came.

“For everything written in the past was written to teach us, so that with the encouragement of the Tanakh we might patiently hold on to our hope”

(Romans 15:4).

We are to learn from Israel’s mistakes and not imitate their abominations.  We are not to have hardness of heart when we hear God’s voice;  read His Word, learn from His Son.   As the nations join with Israel through faith in Yeshua, each of us must repent from these disgusting pagan practices and return to a pure worship of the God of Israel as outlined in His Word.   Cutsey little stories or poems  cannot justify unholy traditions that are abominable to the God of Israel.  We have been given the promise of eternal life through the  death and resurrection of the Messiah of Israel and not with the traditions surrounding a pagan god murdered by a wild pig that honors Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven.

©2015 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

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