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: 113Mano, Mithras, Bel-Minor, Iao, Adoni, &c., were each of them "God of Light," "Light of the World," the "Anointed," or the "Christ."[196:6]
It is said that Peter called his Master the Christ, whereupon "he straightway charged them (the disciples), and commanded them to tell no man that thing."[196:7]
The title of "Christ" or "The Anointed," was held by the kings of Israel. "Touch not my Christ and do my prophets no harm," says the Psalmist.[196:8]
The term "Christ" was applied to religious teachers, leaders of factions, necromancers or wonder-workers, &c. This is seen by the passage in Matthew, where the writer says:
"There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."[196:9]
The virgin-born Crishna and Buddha were incarnations of Vishnu, called Avatars. An Avatar is an Angel-Messiah, a God-man, a Christ; for the word Christ is from the Greek Christos, an Anointed One, a Messiah.
The name Jesus, which is pronounced in Hebrew Yezua, and is sometimes Grecized into Jason, was very common. After the Captivity it occurs quite frequently, and is interchanged with the name Joshua. Indeed Joshua, the successor of Moses, is called Jesus in the New Testament more than once,[196:10] though the meaning of the two names is not really quite the same. We know of a Jesus, son of Sirach, a writer of proverbs, whose collection is [Pg 197]preserved among the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. The notorious Barabbas[197:1] or son of Abbas, was himself called Jesus. Among Paul's opponents we find a magician called Elymas, the Son of Jesus. Among the early Christians a certain Jesus, also called Justus, appears. Flavius Josephus mentions more than ten distinct persons—priests, robbers, peasants, and others—who bore the name of Jesus, all of whom lived during the last century of the Jewish state.[197:2]
To return now to our theme—crucified gods before the time of Jesus of Nazareth.
The holy Father Minucius Felix, in his Octavius, written as late as A. D. 211, indignantly resents the supposition that the sign of the cross should be considered exclusively as a Christian symbol, and represents his advocate of the Christian argument as retorting on an infidel opponent. His words are:
""As for the adoration of crosses which you (Pagans) object against us (Christians), I must tell you, that we neither adore crosses nor desire them; you it is, ye Pagans . . . who are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses . . . for what else are your ensigns, flags, and standards, but crosses gilt and beautiful. Your victorious trophies not only represent a simple cross, but a cross with a man upon it."[197:3]
The existence, in the writings of Minucius Felix, of this passage, is probably owing to an oversight of the destroyers of all evidences against the Christian religion that could be had. The practice of the Romans, here alluded to, of carrying a cross with a man on it, or, in other words, a crucifix, has evidently been concealed from us by the careful destruction of such of their works as alluded to it. The priests had everything their own way for centuries, and to destroy what was evidence against their claims was a very simple matter.
It is very evident that this celebrated Christian Father alludes to some Gentile mystery, of which the prudence of his successors has deprived us. When we compare this with the fact that for centuries after the time assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus, he was not represented as a man on a cross, and that the Christians did not have such a thing as a crucifix, we are inclined to think that the effigies of a black or dark-skinned crucified man, which were to be seen in many places in Italy even during the last century, may have had something to do with it.[197:4]
While speaking of "a cross with a man on it" as being carried by the Pagan Romans as a standard, we might mention the fact, related by Arrian the historian,[198:1] that the troops of Porus, in their war with Alexander the Great, carried on their standards the figure of a man.[198:2] Here is evidently the crucifix standard again.
"This must have been (says Mr. Higgins) a Staurobates or Salivahana, and looks very like the figure of a man carried on their standards by the Romans. This was similar to the dove carried on the standards of the Assyrians. This must have been the crucifix of Nepaul."[198:3]
Tertullian, a Christian Father of the second and third centuries, writing to the Pagans, says:
"The origin of your gods is derived from figures moulded on a cross. All those rows of images on your standards are the appendages of crosses; those hangings on your standards and banners are the robes of crosses."[198:4]
We have it then, on the authority of a Christian Father, as late as A. D. 211, that the Christians "neither adored crosses nor desired them," but that the Pagans "adored crosses," and not that alone, but "a cross with a man upon it." This we shall presently find to be the case. Jesus, in those days, nor for centuries after, was not represented as a man on a cross. He was represented as a