Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
Page: 280The ancient Mexican crucified Saviour, Quetzalcoatle, another personification of the Sun, was sometimes represented as crucified in space, in the heavens, in a circle of nineteen figures, the number of the metonic cycle. A serpent (the emblem of evil, darkness, and winter) is depriving him of the organs of generation.
The Ophites, who venerated the serpent as an emblem of Christ Jesus, are said to have maintained that the serpent of Genesis—who brought wisdom into the world—was Christ Jesus. The brazen serpent was called the Word by the Chaldee paraphrast. The Word, or Logos, was Divine Wisdom, which was crucified; thus we have the cross, or Linga, or Phallus, with the serpent upon it. Besides considering the serpent as the emblem of Christ Jesus, or of the Logos, the Ophites are said to have revered it as the cause of all the arts of civilized life. In Chapter XII. we saw that several illustrious females were believed to have been selected and impregnated by the Holy Ghost. In some cases, a serpent was supposed to be the form which it assumed. This was the incarnation of the Logos.
[Pg 491] The serpent was held in great veneration by the ancients, who, as we have seen, considered it as the symbol of the beneficent Deity, and an emblem of eternity. As such it has been variously expressed on ancient sculptures and medals in various parts of the globe.
Although generally, it did not always, symbolize the god Sun, or the power of which the Sun is an emblem; but, invested with various meanings, it entered widely into the primitive mythologies. As Mr. Squire observes:
"It typified wisdom, power, duration, the good and evil principles, life, reproduction—in short, in Egypt, Syria, Greece, India, China, Scandinavia, America, everywhere on the globe, it has been a prominent emblem."[491:1]
The serpent was the symbol of Vishnu, the preserving god, the Saviour, the Sun.[491:2] It was an emblem of the Sun-god Buddha, the Angel-Messiah.[491:3] The Egyptian Sun-god Osiris, the Saviour, is associated with the snake.[491:4] The Persian Mithra, the Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour, was symbolized by the serpent.[491:5] The Phenicians represented their beneficent Sun-god Agathodemon, by a serpent.[491:6] The serpent was, among the Greeks and Romans, the emblem of a beneficent genius. Antipator of Sidon, calls the god Ammon, the "Renowned Serpent."[491:7] The Grecian Hercules—the Sun-god—was symbolized as a serpent; and so was Æsculapius and Apollo. The Hebrews, who, as we have seen in Chapter XI., worshiped the god Sol, represented him in the form of a serpent. This is the seraph—spoken of above—as set up by Moses (Num. xxi. 3) and worshiped by the children of Israel. Se ra ph is the singular of seraphim, meaning Semilicé—splendor, fire,