Is this in the bible?


#1

Are there any examples in the Bible where possibly the Jews took something pagan and converted into their religion. For instance is there any place where it talks about them taking a pagan temple and “purify” it for their own worship. I’ve been looking for something like this but so far have come up empty.

I’m trying to come up with these examples as further defense for “pagan holidays” being used by Catholics and other things. thanks


#2

There is talk of Solomon building other temples, but to other gods and goddesses, which of
course was BA-A-AD! I don’t think that is what you are looking for though. One God, so on-
ly ONE Temple. :slight_smile:


#3

The Jews did have Aaron make a golden calf for them to worship and follow back to Egypt when they got tired of waiting for Moses, but that was condemned as idolatry. As far as I know, there is no account in Scripture of the people of God importing any pagan practice into their worship that is not condemned as idolatry (in either the Old or New Testament).


#4

In the ancient world the results of the Fall were completely pervasive. All over the human world man had lost all sight of God and instead had decided to worship the created world rather than the Creator.

That is why all the focus under the Mosaic covenant was to separate them from the worship of created things and then focus them properly to the Creator. That’s why God called upon the Israelites to sacrifice a certain set of animals; the animals God commanded to be sacrificed were all considered by the Egyptians to be “gods”(that’s why Moses insisted to Pharaoh that they must go into the desert to worship because the Egyptians would find necessarily find their worship “offensive”).

That, in effect, is the Jews, under the command of God, taking something “pagan”, and then offering it to God.

With the advent of Christ(the Incarnation), and His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, His coming as the second Adam recapitulated (renewed) the order of the natural world. IOW, Jesus restored the proper order in regards to how we look at creation.

Traditionally, pagan worship is to treat some created thing as “god”. What Christianity has done now is no different than what the Jews did with the animal sacrifices: consecrated them to God and thus demonstrating that they are not “gods” but His creation. But remnants of paganism remained. Until the Church conquered paganism by conquering their “gods” and instead offering them to the true God.

What protestants now accuse the Church of doing, that of “adopting” paganism, instead is the Church merely “baptizing” paganism and thus offering God’s creation that paganism called “gods” back to God, as man was always meant to do.

Thus Christmas trees, Christmas day, all the other holidays, etc., is no different than the Jews sacrificing those animals.

Hope that helps.


#5

Almost all the objects and rituals of the Israelite religion were found in other religions that were much older. In this regard, they didn’t come up with much that was original. Pagan religions that were older than Old Testament religion (including those of Egypt and Mesopotamia) included things like:

Priests
Temples
Altars
Sacrifices
Holy days
Purity laws
Ablutions and ritual baths
Incense

All these and many more, the Israelites (under the direction of God) adopted and adapted to their own uses.


#6

You do realise that every single day of the year is a feast day of some sort or other in the liturgical calendar of the Church? How can it be claimed that the Church has taken a pagan celebration and converted it into something for the Church when the Church has done this for EVERY DAY. Did pagans have special celebrations for every day of the year?


#7

In Ugaritic texts Baal is described as the “rider on the cloud”. The OT depicts the God of Israel in similar terms, as riding on a cloud (Judg. 5:4, Isa 19:1, Psa 18:11-12, 68:4, 104:3)…
(see article Clouds and Theophany in The Baker illustrated Bible Dictionary edited by Tremper III Longman.)

articles
pages.uoregon.edu/dfalk/courses/bible/myth.htm
digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1129&context=masters

In short, the language of the OT borrowed language for pagan gods like Baal to apply to the God of the Bible.


#8

thanks for the responses


#9

If you are limiting yourself to the Biblical narrative you are going to find that the Jews were punished when they preserved and attempted to assimilate pagan worship according to the record of Scripture. By the time of the Maccabees, the thought of assimilation was tantamount to a return to slavery and the practice of the culture free from Gentile corruption equated to freedom.

While there are in fact many things the Jews did, especially in the cult surrounding the Tabernacle and later the Temple that may have resembled something similar to the pagan religions, none of these things were modeled on or built upon pagan worship, not according to the Bible, per se.

Thus if you are looking for Biblical examples, you aren’t going to find any that result in a happy ending–not for the Jews anyway.

The history of the Church’s “Christian-izing” temples and celebrations has to do with Hellenistic and Roman culture, not a Biblical practice. To the world that the Church was preaching to, conquering by a King meant assimilating both culture and religion. A King conquers your land, your temples now worship the way the King does–in the Roman world they called this guy the Emperor.

When Rome became Christian, the secular world submitted to Christ the only way it knew how. It surrendered its holy places, temples, and celebrations to the new King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

To the Romans and the rest of the civilized world, this meant proper submission. The Gentiles always seemed to do things opposite of the Jews: the Jews destroyed pagan temples, the Gentiles re-dedicated them to the “new” God (instead of destroying the temple, the Greeks tried to dedicate it to Jupiter leading to the Maccabean revolt).

Since the Old Testament is a product of Jewish culture, you won’t find anything resembling the Gentile way of doing things in it. But when God began accepting all peoples into his Church, the culture of the Gentiles became acceptable since it was part of the Gentile identity. That is also why St. Paul taught against forcing Jewish culture upon Gentile converts because Christ saves the entire person, their cultural identity as well.


#10

are there any **musical instruments **wtih pagan origins used in the Bible?

Wedding rings were and are a pagan custom, and there is no biblical command for them, but we use them in church-sanctioned ceremonies.

Wedding ceremonies themselves were also a pagan custom, and are not commanded in Scripture.

Funerals include pagan customs, too, based on erroneous ideas about the afterlife. Scripture says nothing about putting flowers on graves, etc. Egyptian mythology said that the dead should be embalmed, and Joseph participated in this custom (Gen. 50:2-3) despite its pagan origin.

Money has pagan designs on it. Some U.S. coins used to have the goddess “Liberty” on them. Dollar bills have an eye over a pyramid.

Pagans assigned days of the week to different gods, and we still use these names.

1 Corinthians 8:4
So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols:f We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world”g and that “There is no God but one.”

1 Corinthians 10:25
Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience

Romans 14:1–8
The Weak and the Strong

14 Accept the one whose faith is weak,l without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.m 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contemptn the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judgeo the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?p To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another;q another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God;r and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone,s and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.t

Paul became all things to all men.


#11

The “spoils of the Egyptians” is the classic example of God commanding His people to take stuff from pagans and turn it to their own use.

The spoils of the Egyptians show up in Exodus 11:1-2: “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Yet one plague more will I bring upon Pharaoh and Egypt, and after that he shall let you go and thrust you out. Therefore thou shalt tell all the people that every man ask of his friend, and every woman of her neighbour, vessels of silver, and of gold.’” And then in Ex. 12:35-36: “And the children of Israel did as Moses had commanded: and they asked of the Egyptians vessels of silver and gold, and very much raiment. And the Lord gave favour to the people in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them: and they stripped the Egyptians.”

Now, the Golden Calf was made out of the golden “earrings” of the wives and daughters of the faithless Israelites, but the fittings of the Ark and the Tabernacle were made out of gifts of gold and other precious things that the Israelites possessed. Exodus 35:20-29 says: “And all the multitude of the children of Israel going out from the presence of Moses, offered firstfruits to the Lord with a most ready and devout mind, to make the work of the tabernacle of the testimony. Whatsoever was necessary to the service, and to the holy vestments, both men and women gave bracelets and earrings, rings and tablets: every vessel of gold was set aside to be offered to the Lord. If any man had violet, and purple, and scarlet twice dyed, fine linen and goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, and violet coloured skins, metal of silver and brass, they offered it to the Lord, and setim wood for divers uses. The skillful women also gave such things as they had spun, violet, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, giving all of their own accord. But the princes offered onyx stone, and precious stones… and spices and oil for the lights, and for the preparing of ointment, and to make the incense of most sweet savour. All both men and women with devout mind offered gifts, that the works might be done which the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses. All the children of Israel dedicated voluntary offerings to the Lord.”

And if they were slaves, where’d they get all that gold and all those other rich things? Mostly, they got them from the Egyptians.

The Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were built by two inspired craftsmen working to God’s specs as relayed by Moses. But they were built out of the spoils of the Egyptians.


#12

Mintaka that sounds like an interresting point. Please, draw some parralls that you are thinking of. thanks daniel


#13

That is copycat theory which is highly questionable. Two things vaguely similar does not mean one came from the other nor is there any reason to assume the Jews copied from pagan practice since there is no ancient historical precedent which states they did.

In modern times many have put forth Jesus was copied from fictional pagan myths to come up with fictional Jesus. Copycat theory and Jesus myth theory. In other words they did not believe in historical Jesus but did believe Jesus was a myth figure along the lines of Hercules. Modern scholarship, including non believers such as Ehrman rejects Jesus myth and copycat theory.

huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/did-jesus-exist-bart-ehrman_n_1400465.html

If one goes back to Genesis 4 the offering of Abel’s was accepted and Cain’s was not. Surely this practice was learned from Adam. Fast forward to post flood Noah and the first thing Noah does is build an alter to the Lord. [Genesis 8:20] Genesis 10 depicts the ten nations. The precedent is set with Noah which identifies a common source for all the descendants of Noah.


#14

In times of apostasy. If one goes by the teachings depicted in Mosaic Law the overall theme was the Jews were to be strict separatists from Pagan practices.


#15

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