Richard Rives deception about Mithraism in Protestant Christianity

I received the following emails on March of 2011 from Richard Rives company stating:

 

 

“Pagans Return Temple Treasures”

“Friday, March 18, 2011 7:07 AM”

 

 

“Dear Friends and Fellow Servants,”

 

“Today aspects of Mithraism, the worship of the Persian sun god Mithra, are found among the major precepts of mainstream Christianity. About 20 years ago, I had no idea that was the case – but its true. What most people will never hear in church is that during the first few centuries after the time of Christ, Mithraism became one of the chief rivals of Christianity and its influences are still with us today.”

 

“The first Biblical references to the Persian sun god Mithra are found in the Book of Ezra. The setting of the book opens with the city of Jerusalem having been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Its treasures and the former inhabitants of Judaea are in Babylonian captivity. Darius, king of the Median Empire, had conquered the Babylonians; and Cyrus is now on the throne of the powerful Medo-Persian empire.”

 

“In chapter one we read of a proclamation by Cyrus that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt. Thus saith Cyrus King of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. While on the surface it would seem that Cyrus respected the God of the Bible, YHWH Elohim, that is really not the case. We find that when Cyrus would conquer an area it was his policy to restore the worship of the local gods. His favor toward the temple in Jerusalem is not indicative of his knowledge of YHWH: in fact, Scripture plainly states that Cyrus did not know the God of the Bible. Inscriptions on the famous Cyrus Cylinder document his worship of Marduk, also known in Babylon as Bel, or Baal. Even so, God used Cyrus to accomplish His purpose, just as He earlier had used Nebuchadnezzar. “

 

“As we continue with the Biblical account, we are told, “Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer; Notice the name Mithredath. The meaning of that name as found in the Book of Ezra is “The Gift of Mithra.” “

 

“The influence of Mithraism did not end in Old Testament times. Today many aspects of Contemporary Christianity have nothing to do with Jesus and are actually “The Gift of Mithra.” Let’s return that gift back to its rightful owner. “

 

“As you may know, I have produced a Book and 5 DVD Study Series entitled Time is the Ally of Deceit. The Study Series exposes the blending of pagan sun worship with the faith of those who walked and talked with Christ – a blend that took place step by step – over time – thus the title Time is the Ally of Deceit. If you’re interested in more information regarding the Mithraism, the Study Series is available in the World Net Daily Superstore. The third chapter and third DVD provide a wealth of information regarding the Persian sun god.  

“Earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints: I’m Richard Rives with Just the Facts.  “

Another Email his people sent says:

Thursday, March 31, 2011 9:31 AM

“Dear Friends and Fellow Servants,”

 

“In 1990, I had the opportunity to visit a site in southeastern Turkey known as Nemrut Dag. Nemrut Dag is a seven thousand foot mountain and on top is the burial site of Antiochus I Theos, King of Commagene. Commagene is a kingdom bordering on the area Cilicia. Claiming the title Theos or God, Antiochus thought it only right that he should be buried upon a high place-the dwelling place of the gods. Antiochus is buried in a tumulus style of burial, under 150 feet of rocks on top of Nemrut Dag. There, both Greek and Persian gods were worshipped-demonstrating syncretism-a blending of all the pagan religions during the time of the Grecian Empire. “

 

“On the east side of the mountain there is a terrace overlooking the Euphrates river valley. Here the sun was worshipped as it rose. On the West there is another terrace where the sun was worshipped as it set. Statues of the gods line the terraces and, in a central location, we find a depiction of Antiochus shaking hands with the sun god Mithra.”

 

“There upon Nemrut, we find irrefutable evidence of the Persian sun god Mithra’s’ influence upon the Grecian Empire.”

 

“In 17 A.D., the Roman emperor Tiberias Caesar annexed the small country of Commagene, in which the mountain Nemrut Dag is located. It was the policy of the Roman Empire to send soldiers from one area of the empire to another in an effort to create a more homogeneous population. As the soldiers from Commagene were sent out to other parts of the empire they took their worship of the sun god Mithra with them. The worship of Mithra was a man’s religion and Mithraism soon became the faith of Roman soldiers. Mithraic shrines are most numerous at locations of military encampment. “

 

“Some historians are perplexed by the similarities between traditional Christianity and Mithraism. One historian states, “There are striking coincidences with Christianity. Mithra was born in a cave on the 25th of December and was venerated on Sundays.” The truth is, there is no reason to be perplexed. It is no coincidence that a December 25th birthday and a Sunday observance were incorporated into Christianity. They are elements of a cleverly devised Satanic scheme to combine pagan sun worship with the worship of the Biblical Creator, Yeshua of Nazareth, Jesus Christ. The very same scheme is followed throughout the Old Testament-the combination of the worship of the sun god under the name Baal, with the true worship of the Creator.”

 

“Now these unpleasant facts are easily documented. Scholars and theologians are well aware. Even so, most of them will do anything possible to avoid having to discuss it. Will we defend the things that we have been taught by those who withhold vital information? Or will we think for ourselves and apply the truths of scripture which plainly warn against such deception?”

 

“Let us heed the words of the book of Colossians: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  Colossians 2:8”

 

“Earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints: I’m Richard Rives with Just the Facts.”

 

Is Rives right with his accusations? No not really. As usual mythists like himself make a few mistakes that he obviously has not brought up to those who donot research his book topics.

First: The ORIGIONAL Mithra was a Zoroastrian diety in Persia (Iran).

“Mithra From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithra

And is described as:

“The Khorda Avesta (Book of Common Prayer) also refer to Mithra in the Litany to the Sun, “Homage to Mithra of wide cattle pastures,”(Khwarshed Niyayesh 5)[2], “Whose word is true, who is of the assembly,Who has a thousand ears, the well-shaped one,Who has ten thousand eyes, the exalted one,Who has wide knowledge, the helpful one,Who sleeps not, the ever wakeful.We sacrifice to Mithra, The lord of all countries,Whom Ahura Mazda created the most glorious, Of the supernatural yazads. So may there come to us for aid, Both Mithra and Ahura, the two exalted ones,”(Khwarshed Niyayesh 6-7)[3], “I shall sacrifice to his mace, well aimed against the skulls of the Daevas,”(Khwarshed Niyayesh 15)[4]. Some recent theories have claimed Mithra represents the sun itself, but the Khorda Avesta refers to the sun as a separate entity as well as the moon with which the sun has “the best of friendships,”(Khwarshed Niyayesh 15)[5]”

 

“Like most other divinities, Mithra is not mentioned by name in the Gathas, the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and generally attributed to Zoroaster himself. Mithra also does not appear by name in the Yasna Haptanghaiti, a seven-verse section of the Yasna liturgy that is linguistically as old as the Gathas. The lack of Mithra’s presence in these texts was once a cause of some consternation amongst Iranists. An often repeated speculation of the first half of the 20th century was that the lack of any mention (i.e. Zoroaster’s silence) of Mithra in these texts implied that Zoroaster had rejected Mithra. This ex silencio speculation is no longer followed. Building on that speculation was another series of speculations that postulated that the reason why Zoroaster did not mention Mithra was because the latter was the supreme god of a bloodthirsty group of daeva-worshipers that Zoroaster condemned. However, “no satisfactory evidence has yet been adduced to show that, before Zoroaster, the concept of a supreme god existed among the Iranians, or that among them Mithra – or any other divinity – ever enjoyed a separate cult of his or her own outside either their ancient or their Zoroastrian pantheons.”[6]”

And:

“While Mithra is not the divinity of the Sun in Zoroastrian scripture (or in Indian scripture either), this being the role of Hvare.khshaeta (literally “radiant Sun”, whence also Middle Persian Khorshed for the Sun), in Zoroastrian/Iranian tradition, Mithra became the divinity of the Sun. How, when or why this occurred is uncertain, but is commonly attributed to a conflation with Babylonian Shamash, who – in addition to being a Sun god – was a judicial figure like Mithra. In the Hellenistic era (i.e. in Seleucid and Parthian times), Mithra also seems to have been conflated with Apollo, who – like Mithra – was an all-seeing divinity of the truth.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithra

This of course means that the ancient Iranian mithra has little to do with Jesus Christ or Christianity. I can also disprove the claims of rives with the following examples.

“Mithra by Micha F Lindemans”

“An old-Iranian god of light, contracts and friendship. He also maintains the cosmic order. Sometimes mentioned as the son of Ahura Mazda, he assists him in his struggle against the forces of evil, represented by Angra Mainyu. Mithra was born from a rock (or a cave). He fought with the sun and managed to capture the divine bull and slayed it before he ascended to heaven. From the blood of the bull came forth all the plants and animals beneficial to humanity. “

 

“With the emerging of Zoroastrianism, he was reduced to the status of Yazata. In the Avesta he was portrayed as having ten thousand ears and eyes, and he rides in a chariot pulled by white horses. In the 4 century BCE his popularity rose and again he held a high position in the Persian pantheon. Eventually his cult spread beyond Iran and Asia Minor and gradually became a mystery cult. The ascetic religion of Mithraism (to which only men were allowed) became increasingly popular among the Roman soldiers around 100 CE and at that time Mithra was known in Rome as ‘Deus sol invictus’ (“the unconquered sun”). Even the Roman emperor Commodus was initiated into Mithra’s cult. When Constantine the Great was converted to Christianity in 312 CE, Mithraism started to decline and after a temporary revival under Julius the Apostate (331-363) the cult disappeared for good. “

 

“Mithra was worshipped in Mithraea, artificially constructed caves that represented his birth-cave. The ceiling looked like the starry sky and at the sides benches where placed for the ritual meals. In the center of the Mithraea was a niche which held a relief of the god, dressed in Phrygian clothing (short tunic and cloak, long trousers and a hat with a curled tip), who kills a bull. The Mithraea were spread all over the Roman empire and some 50 of these caves still exist in Rome today.”

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/m/mithra.html

What Rives is referring to is ‘this’ mirtha.

“Mithraic mysteries From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”

“[edit] Summary of the cult myth

Mithras born from the rock (petra genetrix), Marble, 180-192 AD. From the area of S. Stefano Rotondo, Rome.Mithras is born from a rock.[1] He is depicted in his temples slaying a bull in the tauroctony (see section below). Little is known about the beliefs associated with this.[2] The ancient histories of the cult by Euboulos and Pallas have perished.[3] The name of the god was certainly given as Mithras (with an ‘s’) in Latin monuments, although Mithra may have been used in Greek.[4]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraic_Mysteries

What mythists like rives is doing is trying to build a case for his Theonomy and to make it look like Protestant Christianity some how got its doctrines and theology from Roman paganism and Zoroastrianism. Of course in making such claims he also damages HIS OWN VERSION of Christianity because he fuels the fires of atheists like ‘acharya s’ in their claims that Christianity somehow came out of paganism.

How do we know that Rives has made mistakes? Well please feel free to look up this book.

“The case for the real Jesus ~Lee Strobel”

In this book he discusses the mithra claims in “Challenge #4 Christianitys beliefs about Jesus were copied from pagan religions”. Under the section “Mithraism and Christianity” Pages 167-176. Mr. Strobel interviews Edwin M Yamauchi PH-D..

More importantly… Does it REALLY MATTER to God that Sunday was used by pagans and that Dec 24 was a holy day for pagans? We Christians donot worship pagan gods or goddesses on those days so what is Rives beef?

Conclusion:

I in my amateur way have attempted to give a answer to the claims of paganism by Theonomist Rives by countering his claims using online sources and the book I have mentioned.

WHY do I think Rives is mistaken?

1 WHERE does it say in the Bible that Sunday is a satanic day or a day of sun worship?

2 WHERE Does it say in the Torah and the Christian Bible I am COMMANDED TO KEEP SABBATH?

3 WHERE is the Teaching and Commandments from Jesus and his Disciples that Christians are SOLELY to keep Saturday Sabbath and not Sunday?

4 WHERE is the teachings in the Christian Bible that Jesus my God and Savior came from a rock, Commanded his followers to be in a ‘male only’ Church, Sacrifice bulls?

5 IF Rives is right than where is the Prophetic message for other Protestant Christians such as myself that my chosen day of Worship has offended God?

6 WHERE is the Prophetic message that Christmas has been or currently is a offense towards God?

Points to consider for Theonomists:

1 Sunday and Saturday Sabbath are days of rest and worship choices for Christians. I can find no New Testament answer that Christians are to keep Saturday Sabbath alone. Nor can I find a answer that directly commands Christians NOT to keep Sunday.

2 Since Jesus has not sent a message dictating that keeping Sunday is wrong. Nor has their been any type of message Commanding we his followers to stop keeping Christmas. I can only conclude that rives and his ilk are simply going over board with their legalism and Theonomy.

3 Neither Jesus or the Disciples gave we Christians a specific day of rest and worship. I have bothered to post various articles to counter the ‘teachings’ of online Theonomists and others who are claiming that my day of rest an my way of Worshipping the same God of the Christian Bible are wrong.

In making these accusations against Protestant Christianity. He damages the very thing he tries to propagate Theonomy Christianity. People like Rives in trying to place Zoroastrian theology and Roman paganism on Protestant Christianity are using atheist arguments and trying to sell not TRUE Christianity but THEIR version of Churchianity.

Other mythists like Acharya s and her fellow atheists like to make similar claims against Christianity using various sources like roman mithraism / Zoroastrian and more. But when a curious Christianity or skeptic of their claims actually look up Mithra / Mithra-ISM / Zoroastrian beliefs the differences are staggering.

Links that counter Rives Anti Christian propaganda:

Debunking the Jesus Mithra Connection (Deist)

by Lewis Loflin

http://www.sullivan-county.com/bush/travilocity1.htm

Debunking the Jesus Mithra Myth

epologetics.org

http://othello.alma.edu/~07tmhopk/mithra.html

Destroying the Jesus was Mithra nonsense

Posted by fourpointer on May 16, 2008

http://defendingcontending.com/2008/05/16/destroying-the-jesus-was-mithra-nonsense/

Jesus and Mithra Comparisons – A Christian Response

http://kingdavid8.com/Copycat/JesusMithra.html

ON THE DATE OF AVESTA AND THE ZOROASTRIAN-BORROWING HYPOTHESIS Or, Letting Skeptics Have A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

By “Antero”

http://www.tektonics.org/guest/antzoro.htm

Mithra Versus Christ 

by Edward Jayne

http://www.edwardjayne.com/christology/mithra.html

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