History of the Earliest Religions

 

Historians claim that the oldest religion is Hindu.  And the Christian religions copied from the Hindu faith.  But we are going to proof that is not true.   All earliest societies followed the Torah.  And they all started as Monethetic – believing in only one god.

The earliest known history of mankind stems from Sumer Mesopotamia.  Notice the research from Stephen Langdon’s “Semitic Mythology” in 1931.

“The history of Sumerian religion, which was the most powerful cultural influence in the ancient world, could be traced by means of photographic inscriptions almost to the earliest religious concepts of man. The evidence points unmistakably to an original monotheism.

 Monothetic god in China and India

 All of the early cultures believe in one supreme god.  Ra was the supreme god of Egypt.  Zeus and Jupiter were names for the supreme gods.  The belief in more than one god came from the worship of Isis and Osirius, two of the first kings of Egypt.  These two will be covered later in this paper.  The earliest cultures all worshipped Isis and Osirius.

In the Veda, the sacred Hindu scriptures, the supreme being was called Brahman. New World Ency states,“Chinese mythology starts with Pangu, the creator of the universe, who separated heaven and earth with one swipe of his sword.”

The Gayatri Mantra in the Yajur Veda, one of the four canonical texts of Hinduism created around 1000 BC, taught about a supreme being.

“Let us meditate on God, His glorious attributes,
who is the basis of everything in this universe as its Creator,
who is fit to be worshiped as Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient
and self existent concious being,
who removes all ignorance and impurities from the mind
and purifies and sharpens the intellect.”

Fom the writings of Confucius and Mozi, we discover that the ancient Chinese were originally monotheists who worshiped a Creator-God whom they called ‘Heaven’ or ‘ShangDi’.  The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics states that the Chinese culture before Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism worshiped “Shang Ti”.  “Shang Ti”, translates into English is “Supreme Lord” or “Lord Above.” They understood Him to be the creator and law-giver. The religious belief was that Ti had power to punish wrong doers and reward good deeds.  Religion in ancient China gave Priests the role of conducting sacrifices, funerals, reading prayers, etc.

When the Zhou Dynasty controlled China during the years 1066-770 B.C., the worship of Shang Ti was replaced by the worship of heaven.  Over the centuries, the Chinese departed from the worship of “Shang Ti” and adopted the ideas of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.

The Karen people of Burma have a song they sing about their creator called Y wa pronounced similar to the Yahweh — the name from God in the scriptures.

“Y’wa is eternal, his life is long.
One aeon – he dies not!
Two aeons – he dies not!
He is perfect in meritorious attributes.
Aeons follow aeons – he dies not!”

“Who created the world in the beginning?
Y’wa created the world in the beginning!

Earliest Societies kept Torah

All societies in their earliest known history kept Torah.  Even the most remote societies such as the Chinese kept Torah and still keep some remnants of Torah keeping. Chinese have a new year that starts in the spring similar to the Hebrews.  For their new year, they put red paper on the doorpost to keep the beast from killing their children.  This is the remnants of Passover. Also they have an autumn festival on the full moon of the 15th day of their 8th which is like are September-October timeframe.  When a young adult becomes 20 years of age, he is considered an adult that is another teaching from scriptures.  The Chinese have no idea where these traditions originated from; they have been keeping these traditions for thousands of years.

The Chinese also performed animal sacrifices throughout their entire history. Sz Ma Qian, The Book of Historical Documents quotes:

“There has never been any Emperor of China who has not performed the sacrifices to Heaven.

From the above quotes we can deduce that the God of ancient China was worshiped in a ceremony involving animal sacrifices, with the chief participant being the Emperor. This ceremony, also known as the ‘Border Sacrifice’, was performed annually on the top of Mt.Tai in Shandong province, on the eastern border of China. Therefore, it should not be surprising to find that Confucius was a believer in Heaven (ShangDi), as he lived in Shandong province not too far from Mt. Tai.

In the 15th century AD the ‘Border Sacrifice’ site was moved to the Altar of Heaven in Beijing and continued there until 1911 AD when the last Emperor of China was deposed. Thus in China we have a religious belief system and sacrificial ceremony of more than 4000 years continuous observance!  This sacrifice took place every year at the winter solstice (December 22).  This came with the worship of Isis and Osirius the first kings of Egypt.

THE STORY OF THE FLOOD

They also have many stories in the oriental culture taken from the book of Genesis. Wikipedia says, the Satapatha Brahmana is a Hindu sacred text.  This book tells the account of Noah’s flood.

“In various Hindu traditions, Manu . . . was  is also considered the first king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the great flood — after being warned of it by the Matsya avatar of Vishnu, who had also advised him to build a giant boat.

“Satyaurata, and he had three sons. The name of the oldest was Iyapeti (Japheth), and the other two were Sharma, and C’harma (Shem and Ham). The interesting thing about the Indian account is that C’harma was cursed by his father because he laughed at him when he got drunk.”

 From The Statutes of the Ming Dynasty comes the story of creation”

 Of old in the beginning, there was the great chaos without form and dark. The five elements had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and moon to shine. You, O Spiritual Sovereign, first divided the grosser parts from the purer. You made heaven. You made earth. You made man. All things with their reproducing power got their being.

 How did the Biblical teaches get to India and China?

According to the Bible, Cush was a grandson of Noah through Noah’s son Ham. (Genesis 10:6-8; I Chronicles 1:8-10) Cush’s descendants settled in Mesopotamia (Genesis 2:13), Arabia (Habakkuk 3:7), and Africa.  The Bible implies Cush ruled an empire.  See proofs below:

1. Invaded Judah twice (II Chronicles 14:9-13; IIKings 19:9) which would have required the defeat of Egypt;
2. Is called in the Bible “a nation mighty and conquering” (Isaiah 18:1-2);
3. Challenged the great Assyrian Empire (II Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9).

Both Herodotus and Josephus identified the people of India as the descendants of Cush.
Herodotus wrote:

“The Ethiopians from the sun-rise . . . were marshalled with the Indians, and did not at all differ from [them] in appearance but only in their language, and their hair. For the eastern Ethiopians are straight-haired; but those of (Africa) have hair more curly than that of any other people.” (Polymnia, Section 20).

Josephus recognized an eastern and a western Cush–one in Asia, the other in Africa (Antiquities, Book 1, VI, 2).  The Cushites we’re concerned with were dark-skinned people (Jeremiah 13:23) south of Egypt.

Historians call the earliest settlers in India the Dravidians or Sibae (Smith’s Classical Dictionary). Their Bible name was Seba (Gen. 10:7). “Ethiopia” in Ezekiel 38:5 should be translated “Cush.” It refers primarily to the Asiatic Cush, which is India today.

The Japhethites (descendants from Japheth, one of Noah’s three sons) split into two groups. One group settled in India and the other group in Europe. Together they form what is known as the “Indo-European” family of nations. The Greeks say that their ancestor was a man named Japetos, and you can see in that the resemblance to Japheth. They regarded him as not only the father of their race, but the father of all humanity.

Coming of the Aryans

Starting in 1500 BC, the Aryans came to India in several waves. The texts they created are the Vedas which were written around 1,500 B.C.  Hinduism’s earliest scriptures, the Vedas, were sacred hymns chanted by priests. This “sacred knowledge” was the foundation of the ancient Hindu religion.  the Vedas is comprised of four major texts—the Rig-, the Sama-, the Yajur-, and the Atharvaveda.

They came into conflict with the indigenous inhabitants called the Dravidians mentioned as dasa or dasyus in Rig Veda.  The main gods of the Aryans were Indra, Agni, and Varuna.  They also had many companion gods and goddesses. They were introduced to India by the Aryans and they joined with the deities of the Dravidian peoples.  These gods of the Aryans as well as with their companion gods and goddesses came to the land of India and joined with the deities of the Dravidian peoples.

This was the earliest form of the Hindu religion.  Hinduism is an ancient religion with no founder or known date of origin.  It is believed to have originated around the Indus Valley near the River Indus in modern day Pakistan.  About 80% of the Indian population regard themselves as Hindu. Hinduism is more of a philosophy than a religion. Hinduism is not an organized religion and has no single, systematic approach to teaching its value system. Nor do Hindus have a simple set of rules . There is believed to be 33 millions gods in the Hindu religion. Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, governed by Karma.

 Buddha

 Buddha lived from 563-483 BC.  He was of royal birth.  He was born in Lumpini Park in Nepal to a wealthy royal clan called Shakya. He was raised in luxury. A prophesy was made to his father when the boy was quite young.  It was prophesied that he would grow to be either a great conqueror of the world or as a priest, the Enlightened One.

The boy grew into a man, married and had a child. But there was something missing in his easy and sheltered life.  He snuck out of the palace on several occasions in an attempt to learn something of the ‘real world’. He was shocked by what he saw, as these things had been kept hidden from him within the palace. On his first occasion, he saw a dead man, then a sick man, then an old man.

One night after a royal party in the palace, Siddhartha kissed his sleeping wife and child goodbye and fled. At the forest’s edge, he gave up everything he had, cut his long, royal hair and shed his royal garb.  At age 29, he began a quest to solve the problem of suffering in life. He sat under a tree for 45 days in order to gain enlightment.  He felt he must pass on what he had learned to others. Where ever he went, he won the hearts of the people.  He died at the age of 80.

Beliefs:

Buddhaism is an offshoot of Hinduism.  The doctrine of Buddhism or its dharma, includes the Noble Truths.

1) Buddha accepted the Hindu view of reincarnation and the cycle of birth and death.
2)     In order to find happiness you must eliminate desire.
3)     Buddha teaches there is no absolute truth.
4)     Mediation is done daily.
5)     All suffering has a law of cause and effect.  What you do to others will be returned to you. Kharma.

Confucius

Confucius was born in 551 B.C., in the state of Lu. His parents belonged to the upper class. His father died when he was three and he was raised by his mother. From early childhood he showed a great aptitude for study. He married at 19 and, before he began teaching, Confucius is thought to have worked as a shepherd and clerk.

He made so much progress that at the age of twenty-two he opened a school. He was promoted to the office of minister of justice. Under his administration, the State gained a prosperity and moral order that it had never seen before.  He joined the government and became Justice Minister by the age of 53. After falling out with his political superiors, he resigned and began travelling around China.

His life almost exactly coincided with the Buddha, who died two years earlier at the age of eighty.  He was basically teaching the same thing in the China that Buddha was teaching in India at the same time.

Confucius said heaven and the afterlife were beyond human capacity to understand and one should therefore concentrate instead on doing the right thing in this life.  According to some interpretations of Confucianism, suffering and evil are inevitable in human life, and can promote learning and growth.

He Emphasized:

  • Mercy
  • Social order
  • Fulfillment of responsibilities

ZOROASTER

At the same time Budda and Confucius were beginning their ministry in the Orient, Zoroaster or Zarathushtra was beginning his teaching.  He lived from 628-551 BC.  Zoroastrianism is the ancient religion of Persia. He was one of the first monotheists in human history.  Zarathushtra or Zoroaster preached that there was one God, whom he called Ahura Mazda meaning “Wise Lord.”  Some modern historians estimate Zarathushtra’s birthdate somewhere around 1500 to 1000 B.C.E however the most put the date in the 7th Century.  The Greek historian Herodotus (5th century B.C.) doesn’t mention him in his treatise on the Medo-Persian religions, though Plato, who was born roughly around the time Herodotus died, does mention him in his Alcibiades.

The basic scripture of Zoroastrianism is a set of 5 poetic songs called the – Gathas most of which have been destroyed. They are composed in a very ancient language known as Avestan, which is closely related to Sanskrit, an ancient Hindu language.

Britannica Ency:

Avestan falls into two strata, the older being that of the Gāthā, which reflects a linguistic stage (dating from 600 bc) close to that of Vedic Sanskrit in India. The greater part of the Avesta is written in a more recent form of the language and shows gradual simplification and variation in grammatical forms. When the canon of the Avesta was being fixed (4th to 6th century ad), Avestan was a dead language known only to priests. It probably ceased to be used as an everyday spoken tongue about 400 bc, but the sacred word was passed down through oral tradition. Avestan was written in a script evolved from late Pahlavi writing, which, in turn, derived from Aramaic.”

Beliefs:

1)     Confession of sins to an ordinary priest
2)     Prayers also are recited five times a day.
3)     The New Year is in the spring.
4)     Each day of the month and each of the 12 months of the year is dedicated to a deity.
5)     Practices Indulgences – person can pray or give money for another person to get forgiveness.
6)     Afterlife of Heaven, Hell or Purgatory was taught.
7)     He taught the Prosperity message – meaning if you serve God you will prosper.

Please notice the similarities of the Zoroaster beliefs with the Roman Catholic Church.  Mithraism became the main religion of the Roman Emperor and it was an offshoot of Zoroasterism.  It is important to note that Mithra, was a Persian god who found a prominent role in Zoroastrianism.  Mithra’s Hindu counterpart is the god Mitra.

Isis and Osiris earliest Egyptians gods

The earliest kings of Egypt became their gods.  They were called Isis and Osiris.  The worship of these two deities spread throughout the world as the Mother and Child story. Osiris is believed to be Nimrod, the mighty hunter, in the Bible.  He was killed and his body was thrown in the Red Sea.  His wife, Isis, told the people he would return every year on December 24th.  This became the famous Winter Solstice festival that all societies celebrated after the flood.

The names of the first four Egyptian rulers of Dynasty I according to Manetho are listed below.  He is credited for the listing of the Egyptians Kings.

Menes
Athothis
Kenkenes
Uenephes

 

Athothis, Egypt’s second king, was Osiris. The tomb of Athothis is at Abydos was worshipped as a god.

 “the sepulchre of the god Osiris, and, as such, became the shrine to which millions of pilgrims made their way,”
(Arthur Weigall in “A History of the Pharaohs”, vol. I, page 111.)

The city of Abydos.was considered the holiest of cities by the Ancient Egyptians.  Pilgrimages to the city began in the 7th Dynasty.  Abydos was a cult center for the god Khentiamentiu, who was eventually assimilated into the god Osiris.  According to legend, his body was buried at the site. The Abydos tomb is built from mud brick, had 27 storerooms at ground level and five under-ground chambers.  It is the oldest monument so far discovered in Egypt. It has the name Hor-Aha (Osirus) interpreted as Horus. The Egyptian god Osiris was the Baal of the Phoenicians, the Marduk of the Babylonians, the Tammuz of the Semites, the Nimrod of the Bible.

According to Dr. Herman Hoeh, the Cairo fragment of the Annals of Dynasties I-V preserves a name of the mother of Athothis. This is a designation of Isis, the mother and wife of Osiris. The Assyrians called Isis or Ishtar or Semiramis.  In Scripture she is called Ashtoreth. This woman was originally the queen of Meni. Egypt’s first king.

According to Josephus it was Nimrod or Osiris who built the tower of Babel.  He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers! (Ant. I: iv: 2)

Note: Genesis 10:25 states that Peleg was given his name because in his time the earth was divided. While this may not necessarily refer to the Tower of Babel, it probably does given that Genesis 11:1-2 seems to infer that men were dwelling together when the Tower of Babel happened. Hence the Tower of Babel resulted in the earth being divided into its many languages, and from there people spread out across the earth and dwelt with people they could understand. Peleg lived between 2399-2160 so Tower of Babel had to be built before 2160.

 

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