I had a little book I read to my children 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 pagan didn’t reveal God’s plan of salvation through Yeshua to the world, but kept alive the worship of foreign gods and goddesses that I didn’t want 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 him, Nimrod reborn. This allowed her to have an immoral mother-son relationship. Not only was Tammuz worshiped, but so was his mother.
Semiramis is also called Ishtar, and from where is derived the English, word, Easter. She is also the goddess Ashtoreth/Asherah in the Scriptures; King Solomon fell away from worshiping the God of Israel and worshiped Ashtoreth.
A Little More Background
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 the women in Babylon began a 40-day time of mourning on the second day of the fourth month. According to the prophet Ezekiel, this lamenting time was detestable to God.
“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 Ishtar and Tammuz were set free from the underworld, there was a festival that was full of sexual immorality, including dancing around Asherah poles. The worship of Ashtoreth (Ishtar) and Asherah combined over time and she 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).
The church fathers in the second and third centuries embraced the pagan ‘trinity’ worship of Nimrod, Tammuz, and the Queen of Heaven, but tweaked it to make it palatable for Christians. As preparation for the Easter celebration, there is a 40-day fasting period called Lent. The day before Lent begins, there is great feasting on Shrove Tuesday with immoral parties. Remnants of these pagan traditions are embedded in Carnival of Brasil and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. When the first day of Lent arrives, Ash Wednesday, those same immoral crowds, including Protestants and Evangelicals who have embraced catholic doctrines, flock to churches to receive ashes on their forehead, a symbol of mourning for the dead. For the next 40 days there is soulful preparation through fasting culminating in the great celebration called Easter after the Queen of Heaven, the memorial of Tammuz being released from Hades. How deceptively the catholic church gave this pagan tradition a Biblical twist!
“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).
The God of Israel warned His people about Tammuz and honoring the Queen of Heaven with cakes known today as ‘hot cross buns.’ Dancing around a ‘May Pole’ honors the pagan goddess Asherah. Even coloring eggs has been embraced by the church. Traditionally, during the season of Lent, all eggs were removed from the home for 40 days, then they were colored red as a ‘blood sacrifice’ for Ashtoreth and Asherah on the day of Ishtar. The Easter ham is nothing more than a massive sacrifice of pigs to take vengeance for Tammuz’s death by 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 was not heeded by the men and women of Israel. They didn’t care that they worshiped 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 their abominations until judgment came.
“For everything written in the past was written to teach us, so that with the encouragement of the Tanakh [Old Testament] we might patiently hold on to our hope” (Romans 15:4).
We are to learn from Israel’s mistakes and not imitate them. We are not to harden our heart when we hear God’s voice, read His Word, and learn from His Son. As gentiles join with Israel through faith in Yeshua, all pagan practices must be removed in order to have a pure worship of the God of Israel. Cutesy little stories or poems do not justify unholy traditions that are abominable to Go. We have been given the promise of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Yeshua, not with the traditions surrounding a pagan god murdered by a wild pig that honors the Queen of Heaven.
©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article, please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.