Mother of God , Queen Semiramis of Babylon , Black Madonna

List members , I am intrigued to see how the worship of mother and child is correlated with extremely ancient beliefs , across many cultures :-


by Bryce Self

Any effort to trace the origins of the myth, legend, and lore of goddess-worship will eventually lead one back to a single historical figure---Semiramis, wife of Nimrod and queen of Babylon, and this is especially true when considering the goddess/planet Venus.

Before we can begin to deal with Semiramis though, we must (as with any historical figure) gain at least a general understanding of her cultural and temporal setting. Since I have found in my researches that neither proven scientific truth nor gleanings of fact from the body of ancient legends in any way contradicts a proper understanding of biblical revelation, I will use the scriptural framework of history as a basis upon which to reconstruct the story of Semiramis the woman.

When Noah and his family left the ark after the flood, they settled first at the northern feet of Ararat facing what is today Georgia, USSR. From here, these eight souls began to spread out into the surrounding districts of northern Iran and Syria, as well as eastern Turkey. After a considerable period (perhaps 5 to 6 hundred years), the families of Noah's descendants began to scatter a bit more widely due to increasing population, and perhaps some degree of rivalry or even enmity between the families of Japheth, Shem, and Ham. In this way we find that within about half a millennium the entire "fertile crescent", as well as the Nile valley, the Anatolian and Iranian plateaus, Arabia, and Ethiopia have been sparsely settled---but with a decided majority of Noah's descendants living in the lower regions of Mesopotamia (which would come to be called Sumer and Akkad).

Modern archaeology has confirmed the fact that the first inhabitants of these areas were homogeneous in both race and culture, and the most reliable researches indicate that it was from here that population, animal husbandry, metallurgy, agriculture, and "citification" spread throughout the earth. The scientific and scriptural views are in exact agreement upon the origin and spread of races and civilization---the only point of difference is the time scale involved! Whereas the scriptures clearly indicate the existence of all these elements of civilization long before the flood; orthodox science, by it's denial of the bible is required to construct a mythical stone age several millennia long in order to account for the same phenomena.

It was in Mesopotamia that the first cities were built after the flood, and the first of these was quite naturally named after the very first city built by man before the flood---Enoch. Due to vagaries of linguistic permutation, this name has come down to us as Erech or Uruk in Sumeria. In all there were seven major cities built near the head of the Persian Gulf, leading to the name "Land of the Seven Cities" commonly found in the early mythologies of the world. These seven cities are enumerated in Genesis as those which were conquered by Nimrod, establishing the world's first empire. The earliest Babylonian legends tell of a conquering people who came up out of the Persian Gulf and established an empire from these cities. This seems to fit well with what we know of the movements of Nimrod in his early career. He was a native of Ethiopia and was widely traveled among the few populated areas of those days. When he set out to build himself an army of conquest, he recruited from his "cousins" the descendants of Sheba and Dedan who had come up through Arabia to settle on the Asian mainland at the Straight of Hormuz and on the Indus river in what is now Afghanistan (these people were the Dravidians who were driven southward into India by the later Aryan invasion). After raising his army, Nimrod ferried them up the gulf in the world's first naval armada, and conquered his empire. The best estimates place the time of the conquest as about 4000 to 3500 BC, and about 1000 years after the flood of Noah.

In the midst of the tumult of war Nimrod and Semiramis met--and in none too savory circumstances, for tradition states that she was an inn/brothel keeper in the city of Erech---leading one to speculate upon the nature of their initial acquaintance. Semiramis was a native of Erech, which as evidenced by it's name seems to have been built by a Hamitic family (Ham's wife was said to have been descended from Cain who built the first Erech in honor of his son). The name Semiramis is a later, Hellenized form of the Sumerian name "Sammur-amat", or "gift of the sea."

The initial element "sammur" when translated into Hebrew becomes "Shinar" (the biblical name for lower Mesopotamia), and is the word from which we derive "Sumeria". This one tarnished woman then, had such a lasting impact upon world history that not only do we call by her name the land from which civilization flowed, but God himself through the sacred writer has let us know that its distinguishing characteristic was that it was "the Land of Shinar," or Semiramis. Very little has come down to us through the millennia concerning Semiramis' rise to power, but it is safe to assume that it was initially upon Nimrod's coattails that she rode, although later in life as well as throughout history her influence overwhelmingly obscured that of her husband. Of course, it would not do to have an ex-harlot upon the throne, so the "polite fiction" was invented that she was a virgin sprung from the sea at Nimrod's landing, and hence a suitable bride for the emperor(thus the title Semiramis which has totally obscured her original name).

Semiramis was the instigator in forming the false religion aimed at supporting their rule, and of course her suggestion fell upon open ears. The religion she invented was based primarily upon a corruption of the primeval astronomy formulated by Noah's righteous ancestors before the flood. In the original this system depicted by means of constellations the story of Satan's rebellion and the war in the heavens, his subversion of mankind, the fall of Adam and Eve, the promise of One to come who would suffer and die to relieve man from the curse of sin then be installed as Lord of Creation, and the final re-subjugation of the cosmos to God through Him.

These eternal truths were corrupted by her (rather, quite obviously, by the evil one controlling her) into a mythic cycle wherein the great dragon is depicted as the rightful lord of the universe whose throne has been temporarily usurped by One whom we can recognize as the God of the Bible. The serpent creates man in his present miserable state, but promises that a child would one day born of a divine mother---which child would supplant God, become a god himself, and return rulership of the Earth to the serpent. These fables were based upon the then widely-known story of the constellations, and were introduced under the guise of revealing the hidden esoteric knowledge concealed in them (regardless of the fact that the original was quite straightforward).

Although this esotericism was the second element in Semiramis' cult, it only masked the actual goal which was the worship of the "heavenly host," which the Bible equates with Satan's army of fallen angels. Satan was quite willing to receive worship "by proxy", hence the third major element of the mystery religion was emperor-worship. This religion was propagated by a hierarchy of priests and priestesses, to whom were assigned the task of initiating the populace at large into it's ascending degrees of revelation, culminating at the highest level in both direct worship of Satan and demon-possession.

Although Nimrod was a brilliant strategist, he made a fatal blunder when he allowed Semiramis to retain full control over this religious hierarchy, and through it the minds and hearts of the people; for when a schism occurred between them she was able to turn it from a tool of support into a deadly weapon. The rift between husband and wife occurred when the queen bore an illegitimate son, and the king threatened her with both dethronement and exposure of her true origin. Semiramis, of course would not allow this to take place, and devised a plot to overthrow Nimrod.

During the course of the New Year's festivities at which the advent of Nimrod's rule was celebrated, there was a certain feast exclusively for the royal family and the upper echelons of the priesthood. During this feast, which included "courses" of psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs, a year-old ram was traditionally sacrificed by being torn limb-from-limb while still alive, and it's flesh eaten raw. This ram symbolized the old year passing into the heavens to allow room for the new year. A new-born lamb was then presented which, symbolizing the new year, would be kept and fattened for the next year's ceremonies. This year Semiramis directed the ritual according to the formula, with the exception that when the time came for the ram to be slaughtered, it was the king who was torn to pieces at the hands of the drug-crazed priesthood and Semiramis' bastard son was installed as king. Thus Nimrod, the mighty hunter, died a horrible death as a trapped beast himself.

Semiramis named her son Damu (from the Sumerian "dam," or blood), which in the later Babylonian language became Dammuzi, in Hebrew Tammuz, and in Greek Adonis. Of course, Semiramis assumed the regency for her infant son, and ruled as absolute monarch for 42 more years. In order to avoid having to kill her son on the next New Year's Day, she instituted an annual nation-wide sports competition, the winner of which would have the "honor" of taking Damu's place and ascending into heaven to become a god.

Semiramis was not unopposed in her arrogation of the regency, however, or her rule as a woman. The military arm of the government was divided into two camps for and against her, and a short war ensued which ended when the populace (roused by the priesthood) not only refused to support the "rebels" but actively opposed them. In the course of this war, though, things became so close that Semiramis was forced to build a system of walls, towers, and gates around Babylon to defend herself. She was thus the first to build fortifications and her crown afterwards was in the form of the turreted walls of Babylon. To oppose the accusations of "mere" womanhood laid against her, she had herself deified as the mother of the god Damu (since only a god can beget a god) , and installed as "The Queen of Heaven" pictured in the constellation Cassiopeia, which the ancients had intended as a corporate representation of those people faithful to God who will be enthroned by Him after the end of the age.

In spite of her cleverness, though, she also sowed the seeds of her own destruction. As she raised her son, she imbued him with divinity in the eyes of the priests and people as the means of retaining control as the divine mother without seeming to aggrandize herself. As Damu grew he became used to having every whim instantly gratified by a subservient, indeed groveling, populace. For safety's sake he had a personal bodyguard/companion group which he was never without, and which formed an elite corps of soldiery loyal and accountable to him alone. Upon coming to maturity and demanding of his mother to be installed as king, she not only refused him this--but, seeing him now as a challenge to her rule, slated him for the same death she had meted to his father. Damu caught on to her scheme, and pre-empted his "assumption" by slaying his mother with his own sword, and putting down any priestly protests by purging the hierarchy of all who would not vow allegiance to him. Thus Semiramis died after reigning as queen over Babylon for 102 years.

These events laid the groundwork for all of the pagan religious systems of antiquity, as well as many alive today. Semiramis, in particular was the model and original of every goddess and female cult figure in the ancient and modern worlds (either directly or by derivation); and thus it essential to know her story in order to discern what is factual legend and what is merely myth.

by Bryce Self
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SEMIRAMIS: Legendary Mysterious Great Queen of Assyria, edited by George E. Foryan

The Original Goddess: Semiramis of Babylon, by Y israyl Hawkins, House of Yahweh

Semiramis, Queen of Assyria, (Amazon Nation)

The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop


By Harry A. Ironside

As we go back into the dim twilight of history with Scripture, we learn that the founder of Bab-el, or Babylon, was Nimrod, of whose unholy achievements we read in the 10th chapter of Genesis. He was the arch-apostate of the patriarchal age. He is described as a "mighty hunter before the Lord" -- "a hunter of the souls of men," the rabbis said. Going out from the presence of the Lord, he impiously sought to gather a multitude about himself, and in defiance of the express command of God to spread abroad upon the face of the earth, he persuaded his associates and followers to join together in "building a city and a tower which should reach unto heaven."

Not surely as some of us were taught in our childhood a tower by which they might climb up into the skies to escape another possible flood, but a tower of renown, rising to a great height, to be recognized as a temple or rallying center for those who did not walk in obedience to the word of the Lord. With all the effrontery of our modern apostates, they called their city and tower Bab-El, the gate of God; but it was soon changed by divine judgment into Babel, Confusion. It bore the stamp of unreality from the first, for we are told, "they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar." An imitation of that which is real and true has ever since characterized Babylon in all ages.

Nimrod, or Nimroud-bar-Cush, as he is called on the monuments, was a grandson of Ham, the unworthy son of Noah, whose character is revealed in his exposure of his father's shame. We know that Noah had brought through the flood the revelation of the true God, for he was a preacher of righteousness, and his utterances on more than one occasion show that he had the prophetic gift. Ham on the other hand seems to have been all too readily affected by the apostasy that brought the flood, for he shows no evidence of self-judgment, but the very opposite. His name, as spelled out upon Egyptian monuments is Khem, and this agrees with the literal sound of the Hebrew word rendered Ham in our Bibles. It means "swarthy," "darkened," or more literally, "the sun-burnt." The name indicates the state of the man's soul. For what is a sun-burnt person? One who is darkened by light from heaven. Ham had been granted wonderful mercies; he was saved from the flood because of his father's faith, but he abused his privileges and "turned the grace of God into lasciviousness." He was actually darkened by the burning rays of light that God caused to shine upon his soul. Thus his conscience became seared as with a hot iron, and he became the founder of a race that departed from the living God and led the way into idolatry, worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator.

We know something of what this means. We speak of people today who have become, as we say, gospel-hardened. They too have been darkened by the light, and are often the ringleaders in apostasy: "If the light that is in thee becomes darkened, how great is the darkness." There are many in the world tonight who used to listen with tears in their eyes to the story of the matchless grace of God as revealed in the cross of Christ, but are unmoved now though that story be told ever so tenderly; they have become hardened in their sins, and their seared consciences no longer feel the Spirit's breath. It is a most dangerous thing to trifle with the light from heaven.

But to proceed with our theme, Ham became darkened by the light. We know his failure and sin. But when Noah had recovered himself and knew what his son had done unto him he pronounced, by the spirit of prophecy, a curse upon Canaan, not on Ham. Do you wonder at that? I did, until I saw that God had already pronounced a blessing upon all three sons of Noah-Shem, Ham, and Japheth. So Noah passes over his unworthy son and utters a curse upon Canaan, who we can well believe was, as we say, "a chip off the old block." Ham begat a son named Cush, "the black one," and he became the father of Nimrod, the apostate leader of his generation.

Ancient lore now comes to our assistance, and tells us that the wife of Nimrod-bar-Cush was the infamous Semiramis, the First. She is reputed to have been the founder of the Babylonian mysteries and the first high-priestess of idolatry. Thus Babylon became the fountainhead of idolatry, and the mother of every heathen and pagan system in the world. The mystery-religion that was originated there spread in various forms throughout the whole earth, and as we shall see in a few minutes, it is with us today. It is identical with the mystery of iniquity which wrought so energetically in Paul's day, and shall have its fullest development when the Holy Spirit has departed and the Babylon of the apocalypse holds sway.

Building on the primeval promise of the woman's Seed who was to come, Semiramis bore a son whom she declared was miraculously conceived, and when she presented him to the people, he was hailed as the promised deliverer. This was Tammuz, whose worship Ezekiel protested against in the days of the captivity. Thus was introduced the mystery of the mother and the child, a form of idolatry that is older than any other known to man. The rites of this worship were secret. Only the initiated were permitted to know its mysteries. It was Satan's effort to delude mankind with an imitation so like the truth of God that they would not know the true Seed of the woman when He came in the fullness of time. To this Justin Martyr bears definite witness.

From Babylon this mystery-religion spread to all the surrounding nations, as the years went on and the world was populated by the descendants of Noah. Everywhere the symbols were the same, and everywhere the cult of the mother and child became the popular system. Their worship was celebrated with the most disgusting and immoral practices. The image of the queen of heaven with the babe in her arms was seen everywhere, though the names might differ as languages differed. It became the mystery-religion of Phoenicia, and by the Phoenicians was carried to the ends of the earth. Ashtoreth and Tammuz, the mother and child of these hardy adventurers, became Isis and Horus in Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Venus and Cupid in Italy, and bore many other names in more distant places. Within 1,000 years, Babylonianism had become the religion of the world, which had rejected the Divine revelation.

Linked with the central mystery were countless lesser mysteries, the hidden meaning of which was known only to the initiates, but the outward forms were practiced by all the people. Among these were the doctrines of purgatorial purification after death, salvation by countless sacraments (such as priestly absolution), sprinkling with holy water, the offering of round cakes to the queen of heaven (as mentioned in the book of Jeremiah), dedication of virgins to the gods (which was literally sanctified prostitution), weeping for Tammuz for a period of 40 days prior to the great festival of Istar (who was said to have received her son back from the dead); for it was taught that Tammuz was slain by a wild boar and afterwards brought back to life. To him the egg was sacred, as depicting the mystery of his resurrection even as the evergreen was his chosen symbol and was set up in honor of his birth at the winter solstice, when a boar's head was eaten in memory of his conflict and a yule log burned with many mysterious observances.

The sign of the cross was sacred to Tammuz, as symbolizing the life giving principle and as the first letter of his name. It is represented upon vast numbers of the most ancient altars and temples, and did not, as many have supposed originate with Christianity. From this mystery-religion, the patriarch Abraham was separated by the divine call, and with this same evil cult the nation that sprang from him had constant conflict, until under Jezebel, a Phoenician princess, it was grafted onto what was left of the religion of Israel in the northern kingdom in the day of Ahab, and was the cause of their captivity at the last. Judah was polluted by it, for Baal-worship was but the Canaanitish form of Babylonian mysteries, and only by being sent into captivity to Babylon itself did Judah become cured of her fondness for idolatry. Baal was the Sun-God, the Life-giving One, identical with Tammuz.

When Christ came into this world the mystery of iniquity was everywhere holding sway, save where the truth of God as revealed in the Old Testament was known. Thus, when the early Christians set out upon the great task of carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth, they found themselves everywhere confronted by this system, in one form or another; for though Babylon as a city had long been but a mystery, her mysteries had not died with her. When the city and temples were destroyed, the high-priest fled with a company of initiates and their sacred vessels and images to Pergamos, where the Symbol of the serpent was set up as the emblem of the hidden wisdom. From there, they afterwards crossed the sea and immigrated to Italy, where, they settled on the Etruscan plain.

There the ancient cult was propagated under the name of the Etruscan Mysteries and eventually Rome became the headquarters of Babylonianism. The chief priests wore mitres shaped like the head of a fish, in honor of Dagon, the fish-god, the Lord of life-another form of the Tammuz mystery, as developed among Israel's old enemies, the Philistines. The chief priest when established in Rome took the title Pontifex Maximus, and this was imprinted in on his mitre. When Julius Caesar (who was an initiate like all young Romans of good family) had become the head of the States, he was elected Pontifex Maximus, and this title was held henceforth by all the Roman emperors down to Constantine the Great, who was at one and the same time, head of the church, and high priest to the heathen. The title was afterwards conferred upon the bishops of Rome, and is borne by the pope today, who is thus declared to be, not the successor of the fisherman-apostle Peter, but the direct successor of the high priest of the Babylonian mysteries, and the servant of the fish-god Dagon, for whom he wears, like his idolatrous predecessors, the fisherman's ring.

During the early centuries of the church's history, the mystery of iniquity had wrought with such astounding effect, and the Babylonian practices and teachings had been so largely absorbed by that which bore the name of the church of Christ, that the truth of the Holy Scriptures on many points had been wholly obscured, while idolatrous practices had been foisted upon the people as Christian sacraments, and the heathen philosophies took the place of gospel instruction. Thus was developed that amazing system which for a thousand years dominated Europe and trafficked in the bodies of souls of men, until the great Reformation of the 16th century brought in a measure of deliverance.

The Two Babylons

Alexander Hislop

Chapter II

Section III
The Mother of the Child

Now while the mother derived her glory in the first instance from the divine character attributed to the child in her arms, the mother in the long-run practically eclipsed the son. At first, in all likelihood, there would be no thought whatever of ascribing divinity to the mother. There was an express promise that necessarily led mankind to expect that, at some time or other, the Son of God, in amazing condescension, should appear in this world as the Son of man. But there was no promise whatever, or the least shadow of a promise, to lead any one to anticipate that a woman should ever be invested with attributes that should raise her to a level with Divinity. It is in the last degree improbable, therefore, that when the mother was first exhibited with the child in her arms, it should be intended to give divine honours to her. She was doubtless used chiefly as a pedestal for the upholding of the divine Son, and holding him forth to the adoration of mankind; and glory enough it would be counted for her, alone of all the daughters of Eve, to have given birth to the promised seed, the world's only hope. But while this, no doubt, was the design, it is a plain principle in all idolatries that that which most appeals to the senses must make the most powerful impression. Now the Son, even in his new incarnation, when Nimrod was believed to have reappeared in a fairer form, was exhibited merely as a child, without any very particular attraction; while the mother in whose arms he was, was set off with all the art of painting and sculpture, as invested with much of that extraordinary beauty which in reality belonged to her. The beauty of Semiramis is said on one occasion to have quelled a rising rebellion among her subjects on her sudden appearance among them; and it is recorded that the memory of the admiration excited in their minds by her appearance on that occasion was perpetuated by a statue erected in Babylon, representing her in the guise in which she had fascinated them so much. *

  • VALERIUS MAXIMUS. Valerius Maximus does not mention anything about the representation of Semiramis with the child in her arms; but as Semiramis was deified as Rhea, whose distinguishing character was that of goddess Mother, and as we have evidence that the name, "Seed of the Woman," or Zoroaster, goes back to the earliest times--viz., her own day (CLERICUS, De Chaldoeis), this implies that if there was any image-worship in these times, that "Seed of the Woman" must have occupied a prominent place in it. As over all the world the Mother and the child appear in some shape or other, and are found on the early Egyptian monuments, that shows that this worship must have had its roots in the primeval ages of the world. If, therefore, the mother was represented in so fascinating a form when singly represented, we may be sure that the same beauty for which she was celebrated would be given to her when exhibited with the child in her arms.

This Babylonian queen was not merely in character coincident with the Aphrodite of Greece and the Venus of Rome, but was, in point of fact, the historical original of that goddess that by the ancient world was regarded as the very embodiment of everything attractive in female form, and the perfection of female beauty; for Sanchuniathon assures us that Aphrodite or Venus was identical with Astarte, and Astarte being interpreted, is none other than "The woman that made towers or encompassing walls"--i.e., Semiramis. The Roman Venus, as is well known, was the Cyprian Venus, and the Venus of Cyprus is historically proved to have been derived from Babylon. Now, what in these circumstances might have been expected actually took place. If the child was to be adored, much more the mother. The mother, in point of fact, became the favourite object of worship. *

  • How extraordinary, yea, frantic, was the devotion in the minds of the Babylonians to this goddess queen, is sufficiently proved by the statement of Herodotus, as to the way in which she required to be propitiated. That a whole people should ever have consented to such a custom as is there described, shows the amazing hold her worship must have gained over them. Nonnus, speaking of the same goddess, calls her "The hope of the whole world." (DIONUSIACA in BRYANT) It was the same goddess, as we have seen, who was worshipped at Ephesus, whom Demetrius the silversmith characterised as the goddess "whom all Asia and the world worshipped" (Acts 19:27). So great was the devotion to this goddess queen, not of the Babylonians only, but of the ancient world in general, that the fame of the exploits of Semiramis has, in history, cast the exploits of her husband Ninus or Nimrod, entirely into the shade.

In regard to the identification of Rhea or Cybele and Venus, see note below.

To justify this worship, the mother was raised to divinity as well as her son, and she was looked upon as destined to complete that bruising of the serpent's head, which it was easy, if such a thing was needed, to find abundant and plausible reasons for alleging that Ninus or Nimrod, the great Son, in his mortal life had only begun.

The Roman Church maintains that it was not so much the seed of the woman, as the woman herself, that was to bruise the head of the serpent. In defiance of all grammar, she renders the Divine denunciation against the serpent thus: "She shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel." The same was held by the ancient Babylonians, and symbolically represented in their temples. In the uppermost story of the tower of Babel, or temple of Belus, Diodorus Siculus tells us there stood three images of the great divinities of Babylon; and one of these was of a woman grasping a serpent's head. Among the Greeks the same thing was symbolised; for Diana, whose real character was originally the same as that of the great Babylonian goddess, was represented as bearing in one of her hands a serpent deprived of its head. As time wore away, and the facts of Semiramis' history became obscured, her son's birth was boldly declared to be miraculous: and therefore she was called "Alma Mater," * "the Virgin Mother."

  • The term Alma is the precise term used by Isaiah in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, when announcing, 700 years before the event, that Christ should be born of a Virgin. If the question should be asked, how this Hebrew term Alma (not in a Roman, but a Hebrew sense) could find its way to Rome, the answer is, Through Etruria, which had an intimate connection with Assyria. The word "mater" itself, from which comes our own "mother," is originally Hebrew. It comes from Heb. Msh, "to draw forth," in Egyptian Ms, "to bring forth" (BUNSEN), which in the Chaldee form becomes Mt, whence the Egyptian Maut, "mother." Erh or Er, as in English (and a similar form is found in Sanscrit), is, "The doer." So that Mater or Mother signifies "The bringer forth."

It may be thought an objection to the above account of the epithet Alma, that this term is often applied to Venus, who certainly was no virgin. But this objection is more apparent than real. On the testimony of Augustine, himself an eye-witness, we know that the rites of Vesta, emphatically "the virgin goddess of Rome," under the name of Terra, were exactly the same as those of Venus, the goddess of impurity and licentiousness (AUGUSTINE, De Civitate Dei). Augustine elsewhere says that Vesta, the virgin goddess, "was by some called Venus."

Even in the mythology of our own Scandinavian ancestors, we have a remarkable evidence that Alma Mater, or the Virgin Mother, had been originally known to them. One of their gods called Heimdal, who is described in the most exalted terms, as having such quick perceptions as that he could hear the grass growing on the ground, or the wool on the sheep's back, and whose trumpet, when it blew, could be heard through all the worlds, is called by the paradoxical name, "the son of nine virgins." (MALLET) Now this obviously contains an enigma. Let the language in which the religion of Odin was originally delivered--viz., the Chaldee, be brought to bear upon it, and the enigma is solved at once. In Chaldee "the son of nine virgins" is Ben-Almut-Teshaah. But in pronunciation this is identical with "Ben-Almet-Ishaa," "the son of the virgin of salvation." That son was everywhere known as the "saviour seed." "Zera-hosha" and his virgin mother consequently claimed to be "the virgin of salvation." Even in the very heavens the God of Providence has constrained His enemies to inscribe a testimony to the great Scriptural truth proclaimed by the Hebrew prophet, that a "virgin should bring forth a son, whose name should be called Immanuel." The constellation Virgo, as admitted by the most learned astronomers, was dedicated to Ceres (Dr. JOHN HILL, in his Urania, and Mr. A. JAMIESON, in his Celestial Atlas), who is the same as the great goddess of Babylon, for Ceres was worshipped with the babe at her breast (SOPHOCLES, Antigone), even as the Babylonian goddess was. Virgo was originally the Assyrian Venus, the mother of Bacchus or Tammuz. Virgo then, was the Virgin Mother. Isaiah's prophecy was carried by the Jewish captives to Babylon, and hence the new title bestowed upon the Babylonian goddess.

That the birth of the Great Deliverer was to be miraculous, was widely known long before the Christian era. For centuries, some say for thousands of years before that event, the Buddhist priests had a tradition that a Virgin was to bring forth a child to bless the world. That this tradition came from no Popish or Christian source, is evident from the surprise felt and expressed by the Jesuit missionaries, when they first entered Thibet and China, and not only found a mother and a child worshipped as at home, but that mother worshipped under a character exactly corresponding with that of their own Madonna, "Virgo Deipara," "The Virgin mother of God," * and that, too, in regions where they could not find the least trace of either the name or history of our Lord Jesus Christ having ever been known.

  • See Sir J. F. DAVIS'S China, and LAFITAN, who says that the accounts sent home by the Popish missionaries bore that the sacred books of the Chinese spoke not merely of a Holy Mother, but of a Virgin Mother. For further evidence on this subject, see note below.

The primeval promise that the "seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head," naturally suggested the idea of a miraculous birth. Priestcraft and human presumption set themselves wickedly to anticipate the fulfilment of that promise; and the Babylonian queen seems to have been the first to whom that honour was given. The highest titles were accordingly bestowed upon her. She was called the "queen of heaven." (Jer 44:17,18,19,25) *

  • When Ashta, or "the woman," came to be called the "queen of heaven," the name "woman" became the highest title of honour applied to a female. This accounts for what we find so common among the ancient nations of the East, that queens and the most exalted personages were addressed by the name of "woman." "Woman" is not a complimentary title in our language; but formerly it had been applied by our ancestors in the very same way as among the Orientals; for our word "Queen" is derived from Cwino, which in the ancient Gothic just signified a woman.

In Egypt she was styled Athor--i.e., "the Habitation of God," (BUNSEN) to signify that in her dwelt all the "fulness of the Godhead." To point out the great goddess-mother, in a Pantheistic sense, as at once the Infinite and Almighty one, and the Virgin mother, this inscription was engraven upon one of her temples in Egypt: "I am all that has been, or that is, or that shall be. No mortal has removed my veil. The fruit which I have brought forth is the Sun." (Ibid.) In Greece she had the name of Hesita, and amongst the Romans, Vesta, which is just a modification of the same name--a name which, though it has been commonly understood in a different sense, really meant "The Dwelling-place." *

  • Hestia, in Greek, signifies "a house" or "dwelling." This is usually thought to be a secondary meaning of the word, its proper meaning being believed to be "fire." But the statements made in regard to Hestia, show that the name is derived from Hes or Hese, "to cover, to shelter," which is the very idea of a house, which "covers" or "shelters" from the inclemency of the weather. The verb "Hes" also signifies "to protect," to "show mercy," and from this evidently comes the character of Hestia as "the protectress of suppliants." Taking Hestia as derived from Hes, "to cover," or "shelter," the following statement of Smith is easily accounted for: "Hestia was the goddess of domestic life, and the giver of all domestic happiness; as such she was believed to dwell in the inner part of every house, and to have invented the art of building houses." If "fire" be supposed to be the original idea of Hestia, how could "fire" ever have been supposed to be "the builder of houses"! But taking Hestia in the sense of the Habitation or Dwelling-place, though derived from Hes, "to shelter," or "cover," it is easy to see how Hestia would come to be identified with "fire." The goddess who was regarded as the "Habitation of God" was known by the name of Ashta, "The Woman"; while "Ashta" also signified "The fire"; and thus Hestia or Vesta, as the Babylonian system was developed, would easily come to be regarded as "Fire," or "the goddess of fire." For the reason that suggested the idea of the Goddess-mother being a Habitation, see note below.

As the Dwelling-place of Deity, thus is Hestia or Vesta addressed in the Orphic Hymns:

"Daughter of Saturn, venerable dame,
Who dwell'st amid great fire's eternal flame,
In thee the gods have fix'd their DWELLING-PLACE,
Strong stable basis of the mortal race." *

  • TAYLOR'S Orphic Hymns: Hymn to Vesta. Though Vesta is here called the daughter of Saturn, she is also identified in all the Pantheons with Cybele or Rhea, the wife of Saturn.

Even when Vesta is identified with fire, this same character of Vesta as "The Dwelling-place" still distinctly appears. Thus Philolaus, speaking of a fire in the middle of the centre of the world, calls it "The Vesta of the universe, The HOUSE of Jupiter, The mother of the gods." In Babylon, the title of the goddess-mother as the Dwelling-place of God was Sacca, or in the emphatic form, Sacta, that is, "The Tabernacle." Hence, at this day, the great goddesses in India, as wielding all the power of the god whom they represent, are called "Sacti," or the "Tabernacle." *

  • KENNEDY and MOOR. A synonym for Sacca, "a tabernacle," is "Ahel," which, with the points, is pronounced "Ohel." From the first form of the word, the name of the wife of the god Buddha seems to be derived, which, in KENNEDY, is Ahalya, and in MOOR'S Pantheon, Ahilya. From the second form, in like manner, seems to be derived the name of the wife of the Patriarch of the Peruvians, "Mama Oello." (PRESCOTT'S Peru) Mama was by the Peruvians used in the Oriental sense: Oello, in all likelihood, was used in the same sense.

Now in her, as the Tabernacle or Temple of God, not only all power, but all grace and goodness were believed to dwell. Every quality of gentleness and mercy was regarded as centred in her; and when death had closed her career, while she was fabled to have been deified and changed into a pigeon, * to express the celestial benignity of her nature, she was called by the name of "D'Iune," ** or "The Dove," or without the article, "Juno"--the name of the Roman "queen of heaven," which has the very same meaning; and under the form of a dove as well as her own, she was worshipped by the Babylonians.

  • DIODORUS SIC. In connection with this the classical reader will remember the title of one of the fables in OVID'S Metamorphoses. "Semiramis into a pigeon."

** Dione, the name of the mother of Venus, and frequently applied to Venus herself, is evidently the same name as the above. Dione, as meaning Venus, is clearly applied by Ovid to the Babylonian goddess. (Fasti)

The dove, the chosen symbol of this deified queen, is commonly represented with an olive branch in her mouth, as she herself in her human form also is seen bearing the olive branch in her hand; and from this form of representing her, it is highly probable that she has derived the name by which she is commonly known, for "Z'emir-amit" means "The branch-bearer." *

  • From Ze, "the" or "that," emir, "branch," and amit, "bearer," in the feminine. HESYCHIUS says that Semiramis is a name for a "wild pigeon." The above explanation of the original meaning of the name Semiramis, as referring to Noah's wild pigeon (for it was evidently a wild one, as the tame one would not have suited the experiment), may account for its application by the Greeks to any wild pigeon.

When the goddess was thus represented as the Dove with the olive branch, there can be no doubt that the symbol had partly reference to the story of the flood; but there was much more in the symbol than a mere memorial of that great event. "A branch," as has been already proved, was the symbol of the deified son, and when the deified mother was represented as a Dove, what could the meaning of this representation be but just to identify her with the Spirit of all grace, that brooded, dove-like, over the deep at the creation; for in the sculptures at Nineveh, as we have seen, the wings and tail of the dove represented the third member of the idolatrous Assyrian trinity. In confirmation of this view, it must be stated that the Assyrian "Juno," or "The Virgin Venus," as she was called, was identified with the air. Thus Julius Firmicus says: "The Assyrians and part of the Africans wish the air to have the supremacy of the elements, for they have consecrated this same [element] under the name of Juno, or the Virgin Venus." Why was air thus identified with Juno, whose symbol was that of the third person of the Assyrian trinity? Why, but because in Chaldee the same word which signifies the air signifies also the "Holy Ghost." The knowledge of this entirely accounts for the statement of Proclus, that "Juno imports the generation of soul." Whence could the soul--the spirit of man--be supposed to have its origin, but from the Spirit of God. In accordance with this character of Juno as the incarnation of the Divine Spirit, the source of life, and also as the goddess of the air, thus is she invoked in the "Orphic Hymns":

"O royal Juno, of majestic mien,
Aerial formed, divine, Jove's blessed queen,
Throned in the bosom of caerulean air,
The race of mortals is thy constant care;
The cooling gales, thy power alone inspires,
Which nourish life, which every life desires;
Mother of showers and winds, from thee alone
Producing all things, mortal life is known;
All natures show thy temperament divine,
And universal sway alone is thine,
With sounding blasts of wind, the swelling sea
And rolling rivers roar when shook by thee." *

  • TAYLOR'S Orphic Hymns. Every classical reader must be aware of the identification of Juno with the air. The following, however, as still further illustrative of the subject from Proclus, may not be out of place: "The series of our sovereign mistress Juno, beginning from on high, pervades the last of things, and her allotment in the sublunary region is the air; for air is a symbol of soul, according to which also soul is called a spirit."

Thus, then, the deified queen, when in all respects regarded as a veritable woman, was at the same time adored as the incarnation of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of peace and love. In the temple of Hierapolis in Syria, there was a famous statue of the goddess Juno, to which crowds from all quarters flocked to worship. The image of the goddess was richly habited, on her head was a golden dove, and she was called by a name peculiar to the country, "Semeion." (BRYANT) What is the meaning of Semeion? It is evidently "The Habitation"; * and the "golden dove" on her head shows plainly who it was that was supposed to dwell in her--even the Spirit of God.

  • From Ze, "that," or "the great," and "Maaon," or Maion, "a habitation," which, in the Ionic dialect, in which Lucian, the describer of the goddess, wrote, would naturally become Meion.

When such transcendent dignity was bestowed on her, when such winning characters were attributed to her, and when, over and above all, her images presented her to the eyes of men as Venus Urania, "the heavenly Venus," the queen of beauty, who assured her worshippers of salvation, while giving loose reins to every unholy passion, and every depraved and sensual appetite--no wonder that everywhere she was enthusiastically adored. Under the name of the "Mother of the gods," the goddess queen of Babylon became an object of almost universal worship. "The Mother of the gods," says Clericus, "was worshipped by the Persians, the Syrians, and all the kings of Europe and Asia, with the most profound religious veneration." Tacitus gives evidence that the Babylonian goddess was worshipped in the heart of Germany, and Caesar, when he invaded Britain, found that the priests of this same goddess, known by the name of Druids, had been there before him. *

  • CAESAR, De Bello Gallico. The name Druid has been thought to be derived from the Greek Drus, an oak tree, or the Celtic Deru, which has the same meaning; but this is obviously a mistake. In Ireland, the name for a Druid is Droi, and in Wales Dryw; and it will be found that the connection of the Druids with the oak was more from the mere similarity of their name to that of the oak, than because they derived their name from it. The Druidic system in all its parts was evidently the Babylonian system. Dionysius informs us, that the rites of Bacchus were duly celebrated in the British Islands and Strabo cites Artemidorus to show that, in an island close to Britain, Ceres and Proserpine were venerated with rites similar to the orgies of Samothrace. It will be seen from the account of the Druidic Ceridwen and her child, afterwards to be noticed (see Chapter IV, Section III), that there was a great analogy between her character and that of the great goddess-mother of Babylon. Such was the system; and the name Dryw, or Droi, applied to the priests, is in exact accordance with that system. The name Zero, given in Hebrew or the early Chaldee, to the son of the great goddess queen, in later Chaldee became "Dero." The priest of Dero, "the seed," was called, as is the case in almost all religions, by the name of his god; and hence the familiar name "Druid" is thus proved to signify the priest of "Dero"--the woman's promised "seed." The classical Hamadryads were evidently in like manner priestesses of "Hamed-dero,"--"the desired seed"--i.e., "the desire of all nations."

Herodotus, from personal knowledge, testifies, that in Egypt this "queen of heaven" was "the greatest and most worshipped of all the divinities." Wherever her worship was introduced, it is amazing what fascinating power it exerted. Truly, the nations might be said to be "made drunk" with the wine of her fornications. So deeply, in particular, did the Jews in the days of Jeremiah drink of her wine cup, so bewitched were they with her idolatrous worship, that even after Jerusalem had been burnt, and the land desolated for this very thing, they could not be prevailed on to give it up. While dwelling in Egypt as forlorn exiles, instead of being witnesses for God against the heathenism around them, they were as much devoted to this form of idolatry as the Egyptians themselves. Jeremiah was sent of God to denounce wrath against them, if they continued to worship the queen of heaven; but his warnings were in vain. "Then," saith the prophet, "all the men which knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee; but we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil" (Jer 44:15-17). Thus did the Jews, God's own peculiar people, emulate the Egyptians in their devotion to the queen of heaven.

The worship of the goddess-mother with the child in her arms continued to be observed in Egypt till Christianity entered. If the Gospel had come in power among the mass of the people, the worship of this goddess-queen would have been overthrown. With the generality it came only in name. Instead, therefore, of the Babylonian goddess being cast out, in too many cases her name only was changed. She was called the Virgin Mary, and, with her child, was worshipped with the same idolatrous feeling by professing Christians, as formerly by open and avowed Pagans. The consequence was, that when, in AD 325, the Nicene Council was summoned to condemn the heresy of Arius, who denied the true divinity of Christ, that heresy indeed was condemned, but not without the help of men who gave distinct indications of a desire to put the creature on a level with the Creator, to set the Virgin-mother side by side with her Son. At the Council of Nice, says the author of "Nimrod," "The Melchite section"--that is, the representatives of the so-called Christianity of Egypt--"held that there were three persons in the Trinity--the Father, the Virgin Mary, and Messiah their Son." In reference to this astounding fact, elicited by the Nicene Council, Father Newman speaks exultingly of these discussions as tending to the glorification of Mary. "Thus," says he, "the controversy opened a question which it did not settle. It discovered a new sphere, if we may so speak, in the realms of light, to which the Church had not yet assigned its inhabitant. Thus, there was a wonder in Heaven; a throne was seen far above all created powers, mediatorial, intercessory, a title archetypal, a crown bright as the morning star, a glory issuing from the eternal throne, robes pure as the heavens, and a sceptre over all. And who was the predestined heir of that majesty? Who was that wisdom, and what was her name, the mother of fair love, and far, and holy hope, exalted like a palm-tree in Engaddi, and a rose-plant in Jericho, created from the beginning before the world, in God's counsels, and in Jerusalem was her power? The vision is found in the Apocalypse 'a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.'" *

  • NEWMAN'S Development. The intelligent reader will see at a glance the absurdity of applying this vision of the "woman" of the Apocalypse to the Virgin Mary. John expressly declares that what he saw was a "sign" or "symbol" (semeion). If the woman here is a literal woman, the woman that sits on the seven hills must be the same. "The woman" in both cases is a "symbol." "The woman" on the seven hills is the symbol of the false church; the woman clothed with the sun, of the true church--the Bride, the Lamb's wife.

"The votaries of Mary," adds he, "do not exceed the true faith, unless the blasphemers of her Son came up to it. The Church of Rome is not idolatrous, unless Arianism is orthodoxy." This is the very poetry of blasphemy. It contains an argument too; but what does that argument amount to? It just amounts to this, that if Christ be admitted to be truly and properly God, and worthy of Divine honours, His mother, from whom He derived merely His humanity, must be admitted to be the same, must be raised far above the level of all creatures, and be worshipped as a partaker of the Godhead. The divinity of Christ is made to stand or fall with the divinity of His mother. Such is Popery in the nineteenth century; yea, such is Popery in England. It was known already that Popery abroad was bold and unblushing in its blasphemies; that in Lisbon a church was to be seen with these words engraven on its front, "To the virgin goddess of Loretto, the Italian race, devoted to her DIVINITY, have dedicated this temple." (Journal of Professor GIBSON, in Scottish Protestant) But when till now was such language ever heard in Britain before? This, however, is just the exact reproduction of the doctrine of ancient Babylon in regard to the great goddess-mother. The Madonna of Rome, then, is just the Madonna of Babylon. The "Queen of Heaven" in the one system is the same as the "Queen of Heaven" in the other. The goddess worshipped in Babylon and Egypt as the Tabernacle or Habitation of God, is identical with her who, under the name of Mary, is called by Rome "The HOUSE consecrated to God," "the awful Dwelling-place," * "the Mansion of God" (Pancarpium Marioe), the "Tabernacle of the Holy Ghost" (Garden of the Soul), the "Temple of the Trinity" (Golden Manual in Scottish Protestant).

  • The Golden Manual in Scottish Protestant. The word here used for "Dwelling-place" in the Latin of this work is a pure Chaldee word--"Zabulo," and is from the same verb as Zebulun (Gen 30:20), the name which was given by Leah to her son, when she said "Now will my husband dwell with me."

Some may possibly be inclined to defend such language, by saying that the Scripture makes every believer to be a temple of the Holy Ghost, and, therefore, what harm can there be in speaking of the Virgin Mary, who was unquestionably a saint of God, under that name, or names of a similar import? Now, no doubt it is true that Paul says (1 Cor 3:16), "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" It is not only true, but it is a great truth, and a blessed one--a truth that enhances every comfort when enjoyed, and takes the sting out of every trouble when it comes, that every genuine Christian has less or more experience of what is contained in these words of the same apostle (2 Cor 6:16), "Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." It must also be admitted, and gladly admitted, that this implies the indwelling of all the Persons of the glorious Godhead; for the Lord Jesus hath said (John 14:23), "If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and WE will come unto him, and make our abode with him." But while admitting all this, on examination it will be found that the Popish and the Scriptural ideas conveyed by these expressions, however apparently similar, are essentially different. When it is said that a believer is "a temple of God," or a temple of the Holy Ghost, the meaning is (Eph 3:17) that "Christ dwells in the heart by faith." But when Rome says that Mary is "The Temple" or "Tabernacle of God," the meaning is the exact Pagan meaning of the term--viz., that the union between her and the Godhead is a union akin to the hypostatical union between the divine and human nature of Christ. The human nature of Christ is the "Tabernacle of God," inasmuch as the Divine nature has veiled its glory in such a way, by assuming our nature, that we can come near without overwhelming dread to the Holy God. To this glorious truth John refers when he says (John 1:14), "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt (literally tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." In this sense, Christ, the God-man, is the only "Tabernacle of God." Now, it is precisely in this sense that Rome calls Mary the "Tabernacle of God," or of the "Holy Ghost." Thus speaks the author of a Popish work devoted to the exaltation of the Virgin, in which all the peculiar titles and prerogatives of Christ are given to Mary: "Behold the tabernacle of God, the mansion of God, the habitation, the city of God is with men, and in men and for men, for their salvation, and exaltation, and eternal glorification...Is it most clear that this is true of the holy church? and in like manner also equally true of the most holy sacrament of the Lord's body? Is it (true) of every one of us in as far as we are truly Christians? Undoubtedly; but we have to contemplate this mystery (as existing) in a peculiar manner in the most holy Mother of our Lord." (Pancarpium Marioe) Then the author, after endeavouring to show that "Mary is rightly considered as the Tabernacle of God with men," and that in a peculiar sense, a sense different from that in which all Christians are the "temple of God," thus proceeds with express reference to her in this character of the Tabernacle: "Great truly is the benefit, singular is the privilege, that the Tabernacle of God should be with men, IN WHICH men may safely come near to God become man." (Ibid.) Here the whole mediatorial glory of Christ, as the God-man in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, is given to Mary, or at least is shared with her. The above extracts are taken from a work published upwards of two hundred years ago. Has the Papacy improved since then? Has it repented of its blasphemies? No, the very reverse. The quotation already given from Father Newman proves this; but there is still stronger proof. In a recently published work, the same blasphemous idea is even more clearly unfolded. While Mary is called "The HOUSE consecrated to God," and the "TEMPLE of the Trinity," the following versicle and response will show in what sense she is regarded as the temple of the Holy Ghost: "V. The Lord himself created HER in the Holy Ghost, and POURED HER out among all his works. V. O Lady, hear," &c. This astounding language manifestly implies that Mary is identified with the Holy Ghost, when it speaks of her "being poured out" on "all the works of God"; and that, as we have seen, was just the very way in which the Woman, regarded as the "Tabernacle" or House of God by the Pagans, was looked upon. Where is such language used in regard to the Virgin? Not in Spain; not in Austria; not in the dark places of Continental Europe; but in London, the seat and centre of the world's enlightenment.

The names of blasphemy bestowed by the Papacy on Mary have not one shadow of foundation in the Bible, but are all to be found in the Babylonian idolatry. Yea, the very features and complexions of the Roman and Babylonian Madonnas are the same. Till recent times, when Raphael somewhat departed from the beaten track, there was nothing either Jewish or even Italian in the Romish Madonnas. Had these pictures or images of the Virgin Mother been intended to represent the mother of our Lord, naturally they would have been cast either in the one mould or the other. But it was not so. In a land of dark-eyed beauties, with raven locks, the Madonna was always represented with blue eyes and golden hair, a complexion entirely different form the Jewish complexion, which naturally would have been supposed to belong to the mother of our Lord, but which precisely agrees with that which all antiquity attributes to the goddess queen of Babylon. In almost all lands the great goddess has been described with golden or yellow hair, showing that there must have been one grand prototype, to which they were all made to correspond. The "yellow-haired Ceres," might not have been accounted of any weight in this argument if she had stood alone, for it might have been supposed in that case that the epithet "yellow-haired" was borrowed from the corn that was supposed to be under her guardian care. But many other goddesses have the very same epithet applied to them. Europa, whom Jupiter carried away in the form of a bull, is called "The yellow-haired Europa." (OVID, Fasti) Minerva is called by Homer "the blue-eyed Minerva," and by Ovid "the yellow-haired"; the huntress Diana, who is commonly identified with the moon, is addressed by Anacreon as "the yellow-haired daughter of Jupiter," a title which the pale face of the silver moon could surely never have suggested. Dione, the mother of Venus, is described by Theocritus as "yellow-haired." Venus herself is frequently called "Aurea Venus," the "golden Venus." (HOMER'S Iliad) The Indian goddess Lakshmi, the "Mother of the Universe," is described as of "a golden complexion." (Asiatic Researches) Ariadne, the wife of Bacchus, was called "the yellow-haired Ariadne." (HESIOD, Theogonia) Thus does Dryden refer to her golden or yellow hair:

"Where the rude waves in Dian's harbour play,
The fair forsaken Ariadne lay;
There, sick with grief and frantic with despair,
Her dress she rent, and tore her golden hair."

The Gorgon Medusa before her transformation, while celebrated for her beauty, was equally celebrated for her golden hair:

"Medusa once had charms: to gain her love
A rival crowd of anxious lovers strove.
They who have seen her, own they ne'er did trace
More moving features in a sweeter face;
But above all, her length of hair they own
In golden ringlets waves, and graceful shone."

The mermaid that figured so much in the romantic tales of the north, which was evidently borrowed from the story of Atergatis, the fish goddess of Syria, who was called the mother of Semiramis, and was sometimes identified with Semiramis herself, was described with hair of the same kind. "The Ellewoman," such is the Scandinavian name for the mermaid, "is fair," says the introduction to the "Danish Tales" of Hans Andersen, "and gold-haired, and plays most sweetly on a stringed instrument." "She is frequently seen sitting on the surface of the waters, and combing her long golden hair with a golden comb." Even when Athor, the Venus of Egypt, was represented as a cow, doubtless to indicate the complexion of the goddess that cow represented, the cow's head and neck were gilded. (HERODOTUS and WILKINSON) When, therefore, it is known that the most famed pictures of the Virgin Mother in Italy represented her as of a fair complexion and with golden hair, and when over all Ireland the Virgin is almost invariably represented at this day in the very same manner, who can resist the conclusion that she must have been thus represented, only because she had been copied form the same prototype as the Pagan divinities?

Nor is this agreement in complexion only, but also in features. Jewish features are everywhere marked, and have a character peculiarly their own. But the original Madonnas have nothing at all of Jewish form or feature; but are declared by those who have personally compared both, entirely to agree in this respect, as well as in complexion, with the Babylonian Madonnas found by Sir Robert Ker Porter among the ruins of Babylon.

There is yet another remarkable characteristic of these pictures worthy of notice, and that is the nimbus or peculiar circle of light that frequently encompasses the head of the Roman Madonna. With this circle the heads of the so-called figures of Christ are also frequently surrounded. Whence could such a device have originated? In the case of our Lord, if His head had been merely surrounded with rays, there might have been some pretence for saying that that was borrowed from the Evangelic narrative, where it is stated, that on the holy mount His face became resplendent with light. But where, in the whole compass of Scripture, do we ever read that His head was surrounded with a disk, or a circle of light? But what will be searched for in vain in the Word of God, is found in he artistic representations of the great gods and goddesses of Babylon. The disk, and particularly the circle, were the well known symbols of the Sun-divinity, and figured largely in the symbolism of the East. With the circle or the disk the head of the Sun-divinity was encompassed. The same was the case in Pagan Rome. Apollo, as the child of the Sun, was often thus represented. The goddesses that claimed kindred with the Sun were equally entitled to be adorned with the nimbus or luminous circle. From Pompeii there is a representation of Circe, "the daughter of the Sun" with her head surrounded with a circle, in the very same way as the head of the Roman Madonna is at this day surrounded. Let any one compare the nimbus around the head of Circe, with that around the head of the Popish Virgin, and he will see how exactly they correspond. *

  • The explanation of the figure is thus given in Pompeii: "One of them [the paintings] is taken from the Odyssey, and represents Ulysses and Circe, at the moment when the hero, having drunk the charmed cup with impunity, by virtue of the antidote given him by Mercury [it is well known that Circe had a 'golden cup,' even as the Venus of Babylon had], draws his sword, and advances to avenge his companions," who, having drunk of her cup, had been changed into swine. The goddess, terrified, makes her submission at once, as described by Homer; Ulysses himself being the narrator: "Hence, seek the sty, there wallow with thy friends,
    She spake, I drawing from beside my thigh
    My Falchion keen, with death-denouncing looks,
    Rushed on her; she, with a shrill scream of fear,
    Ran under my raised arm, seized fast my knees,
    And in winged accents plaintive, thus began:
    'Say, who art thou,'" &c.--COWPER'S Odyssey

"This picture," adds the author of Pompeii, "is remarkable, as teaching us the origin of that ugly and unmeaning glory by which the heads of saints are often surrounded...This glory was called nimbus, or aureola, and is defined by Servius to be 'the luminous fluid which encircles the heads of the gods.' It belongs with peculiar propriety to Circe, as the daughter of the Sun. The emperors, with their usual modesty, assumed it as the mark of their divinity; and under this respectable patronage it passed, like many other Pagan superstitions and customs, into the use of the Church." The emperors here get rather more than a fair share of the blame due to them. It was not the emperors that brought "Pagan superstition" into the Church, so much as the Bishop of Rome. See Chapter VII, Section II.

Now, could any one possibly believe that all this coincidence could be accidental. Of course, if the Madonna had ever so exactly resembled the Virgin Mary, that would never have excused idolatry. But when it is evident that the goddess enshrined in the Papal Church for the supreme worship of its votaries, is that very Babylonian queen who set up Nimrod, or Ninus "the Son," as the rival of Christ, and who in her own person was the incarnation of every kind of licentiousness, how dark a character does that stamp on the Roman idolatry. What will it avail to mitigate the heinous character of that idolatry, to say that the child she holds forth to adoration is called by the name of Jesus? When she was worshipped with her child in Babylon of old, that child was called by a name as peculiar to Christ, as distinctive of His glorious character, as the name of Jesus. He was called "Zoro-ashta," "the seed of the woman." But that did not hinder the hot anger of God from being directed against those in the days of old who worshipped that "image of jealousy, provoking to jealousy." *

  • Ezekiel 8:3. There have been many speculations about what this "image of jealousy" could be. But when it is known that the grand feature of ancient idolatry was just the worship of the Mother and the child, and that child as the Son of God incarnate, all is plain. Compare verses 3 and 5 with verse 14, and it will be seen that the "women weeping for Tammuz" were weeping close beside the image of jealousy.

Neither can the giving of the name of Christ to the infant in the arms of the Romish Madonna, make it less the "image of jealousy," less offensive to the Most High, less fitted to provoke His high displeasure, when it is evident that that infant is worshipped as the child of her who was adored as Queen of Heaven, with all the attributes of divinity, and was at the same time the "Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth." Image-worship in every case the Lord abhors; but image-worship of such a kind as this must be peculiarly abhorrent to His holy soul. Now, if the facts I have adduced be true, is it wonderful that such dreadful threatenings should be directed in the Word of God against the Romish apostacy, and that the vials of this tremendous wrath are destined to be outpoured upon its guilty head? If these things be true (and gainsay them who can), who will venture now to plead for Papal Rome, or to call her a Christian Church? Is there one, who fears God, and who reads these lines, who would not admit that Paganism alone could ever have inspired such a doctrine as that avowed by the Melchites at the Nicene Council, that the Holy Trinity consisted of "the Father, the Virgin Mary, and the Messiah their Son"? (Quarterly Journal of Prophecy, July, 1852) Is there one who would not shrink with horror from such a thought? What, then, would the reader say of a Church that teaches its children to adore such a Trinity as that contained in the following lines?

"Heart of Jesus, I adore thee;
Heart of Mary, I implore thee;
Heart of Joseph, pure and just;

  • What every Christian must Know and Do. By the Rev. J. FURNISS. Published by James Duffy, Dublin. The edition of this Manual of Popery quoted above, besides the blasphemy it contains, contains most immoral principles, teaching distinctly the harmlessness of fraud, if only kept within due bounds. On this account, a great outcry having been raised against it, I believe this edition has been withdrawn from general circulation. The genuineness of the passage above given is, however, beyond all dispute. I received myself from a fried in Liverpool a copy of the edition containing these words, which is now in my possession, having previously seen them in a copy in the possession of the Rev. Richard Smyth of Armagh. It is not in Ireland, however, only, that such a trinity is exhibited for the worship of Romanists. In a Card, or Fly-leaf, issued by the Popish priests of Sunderland, now lying before me, with the heading "Paschal Duty, St. Mary's Church, Bishopwearmouth, 1859," the following is the 4th admonition given to the "Dear Christians" to whom it is addressed:

"4. And never forget the acts of a good Christian, recommended to you so often during the renewal of the Mission.

Blessed be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart, my life, and my soul.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me always; and in my last agony,
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, receive my last breath. Amen."

To induce the adherents of Rome to perform this "act of a good Christian," a considerable bribe is held out. In p. 30 of Furniss' Manual above referred to, under the head "Rule of Life," the following passage occurs: "In the morning, before you get up, make the sign of the cross, and say, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. (Each time you say this prayer, you get an indulgence of 100 days, which you can give to the souls in Purgatory)!" I must add that the title of Furniss' book, as given above, is the title of Mr. Smyth's copy. The title of the copy in my possession is "What every Christian must Know." London: Richardson & Son, 147 Strand. Both copies alike have the blasphemous words given in the text, and both have the "Imprimatur" of "Paulus Cullen."

If this is not Paganism, what is there that can be called by such a name? Yet this is the Trinity which now the Roman Catholics of Ireland from tender infancy are taught to adore. This is the Trinity which, in the latest books of catechetical instruction is presented as the grand object of devotion to the adherents of the Papacy. The manual that contains this blasphemy comes forth with the express "Imprimatur" of "Paulus Cullen," Popish Archbishop of Dublin. Will any one after this say that the Roman Catholic Church must still be called Christian, because it holds the doctrine of the Trinity? So did the Pagan Babylonians, so did the Egyptians, so do the Hindoos at this hour, in the very same sense in which Rome does. They all admitted A trinity, but did they worship THE Triune Jehovah, the King Eternal, Immortal, and Invisible? And will any one say with such evidence before him, that Rome does so? Away then, with the deadly delusion that Rome is Christian! There might once have been some palliation for entertaining such a supposition; but every day the "Grand Mystery" is revealing itself more and more in its true character. There is not, and there cannot be, any safety for the souls of men in "Babylon." "Come out of her, my people," is the loud and express command of God. Those who disobey that command, do it at their peril.


[Back] The Identification of Rhea or Cybele and Venus

In the exoteric doctrine of Greece and Rome, the characters of Cybele, the mother of the gods, and of Venus, the goddess of love, are generally very distinct, insomuch that some minds may perhaps find no slight difficulty in regard to the identification of these two divinities. But that difficulty will disappear, if the fundamental principle of the Mysteries be borne in mind--viz., that at bottom they recognised only Adad, "The One God." Adad being Triune, this left room, when the Babylonian Mystery of Iniquity took shape, for three different FORMS of divinity--the father, the mother, and the son; but all the multiform divinities with which the Pagan world abounded, whatever diversities there were among them, were resolved substantially into so many manifestations of one or other of these divine persons, or rather of two, for the first person was generally in the background. We have distinct evidence that this was the case. Apuleius tells us, that when he was initiated, the goddess Isis revealed herself to him as "The first of the celestials, and the uniform manifestation of the gods and goddesses...WHOSE ONE SOLE DIVINITY the whole orb of the earth venerated, and under a manifold form, with different rites, and under a variety of appellations"; and going over many of these appellations, she declares herself to be at once "Pessinuntica, the mother of the gods [i.e. Cybele], and Paphian Venus." Now, as this was the case in the later ages of the Mysteries, so it must have been the case from the very beginning; because they SET OUT, and necessarily set out, with the doctrine of the UNITY of the Godhead. This, of course, would give rise to no little absurdity and inconsistency in the very nature of the case. Both Wilkinson and Bunsen, to get rid of the inconsistencies they have met with in the Egyptian system, have found it necessary to have recourse to substantially the same explanation as I have done. Thus we find Wilkinson saying: "I have stated that Amun-re and other gods took the form of different deities, which, though it appears at first sight to present some difficulty, may readily be accounted for when we consider that each of those whose figures or emblem were adopted, was only an EMANATION, or deified attribute of the SAME GREAT BEING to whom they ascribed various characters, according to the several offices he was supposed to perform." The statement of Bunsen is to the same effect, and it is this: "Upon these premises, we think ourselves justified in concluding that the two series of gods were originally identical, and that, in the GREAT PAIR of gods, all those attributes were concentrated, from the development of which, in various personifications, that mythological system sprang up which we have been already considering."

The bearing of all this upon the question of the identification of Cybele and Astarte, or Venus, is important. Fundamentally, there was but one goddess--the Holy Spirit, represented as female, when the distinction of sex was wickedly ascribed to the Godhead, through a perversion of the great Scripture idea, that all the children of God are at once begotten of the Father, and born of the Spirit; and under this idea, the Spirit of God, as Mother, was represented under the form of a dove, in memory of the fact that that Spirit, at the creation, "fluttered"--for so, as I have observed, is the exact meaning of the term in Genesis 1:2--"on the face of the waters." This goddess, then, was called Ops, "the flutterer," or Juno, "The Dove," or Khubele, "The binder with cords," which last title had reference to "the bands of love, the cords of a man" (called in Hosea 11:4, "Khubeli Adam"), with which not only does God @mL3 continually, by His providential goodness, draw men unto Himself, but with which our first parent Adam, through the Spirit's indwelling, while the covenant of Eden was unbroken, was sweetly bound to God. This theme is minutely dwelt on in Pagan story, and the evidence is very abundant; but I cannot enter upon it here. Let this only be noticed, however, that the Romans joined the two terms Juno and Khubele--or, as it is commonly pronounced, Cybele--together; and on certain occasions invoked their supreme goddess, under the name of Juno Covella--that is, "The dove that binds with cords."

If the reader looks, in Layard, at the triune emblem of the supreme Assyrian divinity, he will see this very idea visibly embodied. There the wings and tail of the dove have two bands associated with them instead of feet (LAYARD'S Nineveh and its Remains).

In reference to events after the Fall, Cybele got a new idea attached to her name. Khubel signifies not only to "bind with cords," but also "to travail in birth"; and therefore Cybele appeared as the "Mother of the gods," by whom all God's children must be born anew or regenerated. But, for this purpose, it was held indispensable that there should be a union in the first instance with Rhea, "The gazer," the human "mother of gods and men," that the ruin she had introduced might be remedied. Hence the identification of Cybele and Rhea, which in all the Pantheons are declared to be only two different names of the same goddess, though, as we have seen, these goddesses were in reality entirely distinct. This same principle was applied to all the other deified mothers. They were deified only through the supposed miraculous identification with them of Juno or Cybele--in other words, of the Holy Spirit of God. Each of these mothers had her own legend, and had special worship suited thereto; but, as in all cases, she was held to be an incarnation of the one spirit of God, as the great Mother of all, the attributes of that one Spirit were always pre-supposed as belonging to her. This, then, was the case with the goddess recognised as Astarte or Venus, as well as with Rhea. Though there were points of difference between Cybele, or Rhea, and Astarte or Mylitta, the Assyrian Venus, Layard shows that there were also distinct points of contact between them. Cybele or Rhea was remarkable for her turreted crown. Mylitta, or Astarte, was represented with a similar crown. Cybele, or Rhea, was drawn by lions; Mylitta, or Astarte, was represented as standing on a lion. The worship of Mylitta, or Astarte, was a mass of moral pollution (HERODOTUS). The worship of Cybele, under the name of Terra, was the same (AUGUSTINE, De Civitate).

The first deified woman was no doubt Semiramis, as the first deified man was her husband. But it is evident that it was some time after the Mysteries began that this deification took place; for it was not till after Semiramis was dead that she was exalted to divinity, and worshipped under the form of a dove. When, however, the Mysteries were originally concocted, the deeds of Eve, who, through her connection with the serpent, brought forth death, must necessarily have occupied a place; for the Mystery of sin and death lies at the very foundation of all religion, and in the age of Semiramis and Nimrod, and Shem and Ham, all men must have been well acquainted with the facts of the Fall. At first the sin of Eve may have been admitted in all its sinfulness (otherwise men generally would have been shocked, especially when the general conscience had been quickened through the zeal of Shem); but when a woman was to be deified, the shape that the mystic story came to assume shows that that sin was softened, yea, that it changed its very character, and that by a perversion of the name given to Eve, as "the mother of all living ones," that is, all the regenerate, she was glorified as the authoress of spiritual life, and, under the very name Rhea, was recognised as the mother of the gods. Now, those who had the working of the Mystery of Iniquity did not find it very difficult to show that this name Rhea, originally appropriate to the mother of mankind, was hardly less appropriate for her who was the actual mother of the gods, that is, of all the deified mortals. Rhea, in the active sense, signifies "the Gazing woman," but in the passive it signifies "The woman gazed at," that is, "The beauty," and thus, under one and the same term, the mother of mankind and the mother of the Pagan gods, that is, Semiramis, were amalgamated; insomcuh, that now, as is well known, Rhea is currently recognised as the "Mother of gods and men" (HESIOD, Theogon). It is not wonderful, therefore that the name Rhea is found applied to her, who, by the Assyrians, was worshipped in the very character of Astarte or Venus.


The Virgin Mother of Paganism

"Almost all the Tartar princes," says SALVERTE (Des Sciences Occultes), "trace their genealogy to a celestial virgin, impregnated by a sun-beam, or some equally miraculous means." In India, the mother of Surya, the sun-god, who was born to destroy the enemies of the gods, is said to have become pregnant in this way, a beam of the sun having entered her womb, in consequence of which she brought forth the sun-god. Now the knowledge of this widely diffused myth casts light on the secret meaning of the name Aurora, given to the wife of Orion, to whose marriage with that "mighty hunter" Homer refers (Odyssey). While the name Aur-ora, in the physical sense, signifies also "pregnant with light"; and from "ohra," "to conceive" or be "pregnant," we have in Greek, the word for a wife. As Orion, according to Persian accounts, was Nimrod; and Nimrod, under the name of Ninus, was worshipped as the son of his wife, when he came to be deified as the sun-god, that name Aurora, as applied to his wife, is evidently intended to convey the very same idea as prevails in Tartary and India. These myths of the Tartars and Hindoos clearly prove that the Pagan idea of the miraculous conception had not come from any intermixture of Christianity with that superstition, but directly from the promise of "the seed of the woman." But how, it may be asked, could the idea of being pregnant with a sunbeam arise? There is reason to believe that it came from one of the natural names of the sun. From the Chaldean zhr, "to shine," comes, in the participle active, zuhro or zuhre, "the Shiner"; and hence, no doubt, from zuhro, "the Shiner," under the prompting of a designing priesthood, men would slide into the idea of zuro, "the seed,"--"the Shiner" and "the seed," according to the genius of Paganism, being thus identified. This was manifestly the case in Persia, where the sun as the great divinity; for the "Persians," says Maurice, "called God Sure" (Antiquities).


The Goddess Mother as a Habitation

What could ever have induced mankind to think of calling the great Goddess-mother, or mother of gods and men, a House or Habitation? The answer is evidently to be found in a statement made in Genesis 2:21, in regard to the formation of the mother of mankind: "And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, made (margin, literally BUILDED) he into a woman." That this history of the rib was well known to the Babylonians, is manifest from one of the names given to their primeval goddess, as found in Berosus. That name is Thalatth. But Thalatth is just the Chaldean form of the Hebrew Tzalaa, in the feminine,--the very word used in Genesis for the rib, of which Eve was formed; and the other name which Berosus couples with Thalatth, does much to confirm this; for that name, which is Omorka, * just signifies "The Mother of the world."

  • From "Am," "mother," and "arka," "earth." The first letter aleph in both of these words is often pronounced as o. Thus the pronunciation of a in Am, "mother," is seen in the Greek a "shoulder." Am, "mother," comes from am, "to support," and from am, pronounced om, comes the shoulder that bears burdens. Hence also the name Oma, as one of the names of Bona Des. Oma is evidently the "Mother."

When we have thus deciphered the meaning of the name Thalatth, as applied to the "mother of the world," that leads us at once to the understanding, of the name Thalasius, applied by the Romans to the god of marriage, the origin of which name has hitherto been sought in vain. Thalatthi signifies "belonging to the rib," and, with the Roman termination, becomes Thalatthius or "Thalasius, the man of the rib." And what name more appropriate than this for Adam, as the god of marriage, who, when the rib was brought to him, said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man." At first, when Thalatth, the rib, was builded into a woman, that "woman" was, in a very important sense, the "Habitation" or "Temple of God"; and had not the Fall intervened, all her children would, in consequence of mere natural generation, have been the children of God. The entrance of sin into the world subverted the original constitution of things. Still, when the promise of a Saviour was given and embraced, the renewed indwelling of the Holy Spirit was given too, not that she might thereby have any power in herself to bring forth children unto God, but only that she might duly act the part of a mother to a spiritually living offspring--to those whom God of his free grace should quicken, and bring from death unto life. Now, Paganism willingly overlooked all this; and taught, as soon as its votaries were prepared for receiving it, that this renewed indwelling of the spirit of God in the woman, was identification, and so it deified her. Then Rhea, "the gazer," the mother of mankind, was identified with Cybele "the binder with cords," or Juno, "the Dove," that is, the Holy Spirit. Then, in the blasphemous Pagan sense, she became Athor, "the Habitation of God," or Sacca, or Sacta, "the tabernacle" or "temple," in whom dwelt "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Thus she became Heva, "The Living One"; not in the sense in which Adam gave that name to his wife after the Fall, when the hope of life out of the midst of death was so unexpectedly presented to her as well as to himself; but in the sense of the communicator of spiritual and eternal life to men; for Rhea was called the "fountain of the blessed ones." The agency, then, of this deified woman was held to be indispensable for the begetting of spiritual children to God, in this, as it was admitted, fallen world. Looked at from this point of view, the meaning of the name given to the Babylonian goddess in 2 Kings 17:30, will be at once apparent. The name Succoth-benoth has very frequently been supposed to be a plural word, and to refer to booths or tabernacles used in Babylon for infamous purposes. But, as observed by Clericus (De Chaldoeis), who refers to the Rabbins as being of the same opinion, the context clearly shows that the name must be the name of an idol: (vv 29,30), "Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth." It is here evidently an idol that is spoken of; and as the name is feminine, that idol must have been the image of a goddess. Taken in this sense, then, and in the light of the Chaldean system as now unfolded, the meaning of "Succoth-benoth," as applied to the Babylonian goddess, is just "The tabernacle of child-bearing." *

  • That is, the Habitation in which the Spirit of God dwelt, for the purpose of begetting spiritual children.

When the Babylonian system was developed, Eve was represented as the first that occupied this place, and the very name Benoth, that signifies "child-bearing," explains also how it came about that the Woman, who, as Hestia or Vesta, was herself called the "Habitation," got the credit of "having invented the art of building houses" (SMITH, "Hestia"). Benah, the verb, from which Benoth comes, signifies at once to "bring forth children" and "to build houses"; the bringing forth of children being metaphorically regarded as the "building up of the house," that is, of the family.

While the Pagan system, so far as a Goddess-mother was concerned, was founded on this identification of the Celestial and Terrestrial mothers of the "blessed" immortals, each of these two divinities was still celebrated as having, in some sense, a distinct individuality; and, in consequence, all the different incarnations of the Saviour-seed were represented as born of two mothers. It is well known that Bimater, or Two-mothered, is one of the distinguishing epithets applied to Bacchus. Ovid makes the reason of the application of this epithet to him to have arisen from the myth, that when in embryo, he was rescued from the flames in which is mother died, was sewed up in Jupiter's thigh, and then brought forth at the due time. Without inquiring into the secret meaning of this, it is sufficient to state that Bacchus had two goddess-mothers; for, not only was he conceived by Semele, but he was brought into the world by the goddess Ippa (PROCLUS in Timoeum). This is the very same thing, no doubt, that is referred to, when it is said that after his mother Semele's death, his aunt Ino acted the part of a mother and nurse unto him. The same thing appears in the mythology of Egypt, for there we read that Osiris, under the form of Anubis, having been brought forth by Nepthys, was adopted and brought up by the goddess Isis as her own son. In consequence of this, the favourite Triad came everywhere to be the two mothers and the son. In WILKINSON, the reader will find a divine Triad, consisting of Isis and Nepthys, and the child of Horus between them. In Babylon, the statement of Diodorus shows that the Triad there at one period was two goddesses and the son--Hera, Rhea, and Zeus; and in the Capitol at Rome, in like manner, the Triad was Juno, Minerva, and Jupiter; while, when Jupiter was worshipped by the Roman matrons as "Jupiter puer," or "Jupiter the child," it was in company with Juno and the goddess Fortuna (CICERO, De Divinatione). This kind of divine Triad seems to be traced up to very ancient times among the Romans; for it is stated both by Dionysius Halicarnassius and by Livy, that soon after the expulsion of the Tarquins, there was at Rome a temple in which were worshipped Ceres, Liber, and Libera (DION. HALICARN and LIVY).

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Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

Mary, Queen of Heaven?

In the Roman Church, whenever there is a statue (especially of Mary) there is also a kneeler in front of it -- which forces you to BOW DOWN before it. This is a direct method of teaching the people to break the Second Commandment! Catholicism not only speaks of Mary worship , but it embraces all that Babylon has to offer. Everything from worshiping of humans in statue form, to worship of the sun, the moon, and the stars. The end result of such a religion as this is that homosexual decadence will run rampant within it when people choose this path. Is it not well-understood today that the Vatican in Rome houses the largest organized collection of homosexuals known to man? No marriage is allowed for either priest or nun. Men must live with men in the rectories for priests, and women must live with women in the convents as nuns. This is a fertile growing field for homosexuality and other crimes against YEHOVAH God!

by HOIM Staff

"Among all the women who have ever lived, the mother of Jesus Christ is the most celebrated, the most venerated...Among Roman Catholics, the Madonna is recognized not only as the Mother of God, but also, according to modern Popes, as the Queen of the Universe, Queen of Heaven, Seat of Wisdom, and even the Spouse of the Holy Spirit" ( Time Magazine , "Handmaid or Feminist?", December 30, 1991, p. 62-66).

Jeremiah 7:18 says, "...the women knead the dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger!"

Is the Roman Catholic version of Mary truly the BIBLICAL Mary? Or is she really the Queen of Heaven from the Babylonian church of old that angered YEHOVAH God in the book of Jeremiah? Out of all the proofs that expose the Vatican as the pagan church, this has to be one of the most graphic. It’s almost as if they went back in time and copied this pagan goddess exactly, so as to worship her as she desires them to. Old paintings and statues that have been unearthed of this demonic goddess are exact duplicates of statues and paintings you will find today in Roman Catholic Churches depicting Mary. Even the colors of her clothing match perfectly! It’s really quite shocking to say the least!

In Alexander Hislop's book, The Two Babylons , he traces the Babylonian worship of the Queen of Heaven back to the days following the death of Nimrod. As the story goes, after Nimrod's death, his wife, Semiramis, was determined to retain her power and wealth as a leader of the people. So, she came up with the idea that her husbands death was for the salvation of all mankind. Of course we know who actually schooled her in that demonic fallacy! Hislop goes on to say that…

“Though the death of her husband has given a rude shock to her power, yet her resolution and unbounded ambition were in nowise checked. On the contrary, her ambition took a still higher flight. In life her husband had been honoured as a hero; in death she will have him worshipped as a god, yea, as the woman’s promised seed, 'Zero-ashta,' who was destined to bruise the serpent's head, and in so doing, was to have his own heel bruised" ( The Two Babylons p. 58-59).

Satan is a very cunning enemy. He always counterfeits prophetic truth in advance so as to make his lies appear holy. In fact in Hislop's book, on page 76, he talks about Semiramis’s continued lies that got the people to believe her son was born miraculously. After they fell for that lie, she was then referred to as the “Virgin Mother” from that day forward. Is this not a demonic twist on the prophesied birth of the Messiah? Truth be known, after Nimrod died, Semiramis committed adultery and had gotten pregnant. To prevent the people from killing her for proving she was “human” by her obvious pregnancy, she lied and told them her husband Nimrod had ascended to the Sun and is now called Baal.

After she convinced them of this, she then stated he appeared to her and impregnated her with the rays of his glory without touching her. She also claimed that the moon was a goddess that went through a 28-day cycle and ovulated when full. She further said that she descended from the moon in a giant moon egg that fell into the Euphrates River. This was supposed to have happened during the first full moon after the spring equinox. This is where the Roman Catholic Church gets their calculation for Easter. Ask any Pagan or Catholic priest when Easter arrives, and they will most assuredly tell you that after the first full moon of Spring, the following Sunday will be Easter.

The Babylonian people believed all the lies of Semiramis, and she was then crowned QUEEN OF HEAVEN. She later gave birth to her son and named him Tammuz. By the way, this so called “Queen of Heaven” was also called Ishtar. In today’s world, that word is pronounced, EASTER.

So, is the Mary of Rome the same as the Mary of Babylon? The truth is, Catholics the world over call Mary QUEEN OF HEAVEN. When they pray the Rosary, as some do on a daily basis, they must recite the prayer entitled, “Hail Holy Queen.”

"From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen" ( Ad Caeli Reginam of Pope Pius XII , Encyclical on Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, Promulgated October 11, 1954).

Many Popes not only called her by her pagan title, they have also declared her Savior of the World, and worthy of worship. Here are just a few quotes from the dozens available online…

Pius IX, Ubi Primum , 1849: "For God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that THROUGH HER are obtained every hope, every grace, and ALL SALVATION. For this is his will, that we obtain everything through Mary."

Paul VI, Christi Matri: "The Church...been accustomed to have recourse to that most ready intercessor, her Mother Mary...For as St. Irenaeus says, she 'has become the cause of salvation for the whole human race."

John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia , 1980, quoting Lumen Gentium: "In fact, by being assumed into heaven she has not laid aside the office of salvation but by the manifold intercession she continues to obtain for us the grace of eternal salvation."

Pope John Paul II again said: "Membership in the Militia means complete dedication to the Kingdom of God and to the salvation of souls through Mary Immaculate."

These popes, like all the others, WORSHIP THE PAGAN QUEEN OF HEAVEN! And were you aware that John Paul II dedicated himself and his Pontificate to the Queen of Heaven? He bore the letter "M" for Mary in his coat of arms. And his personal motto, which by the way was embroidered on the side of his robes in Latin, contained the following words: "TOTUS TUUS SUM MARIA", which in English translates to: "MARY, I'M ALL YOURS."

For those that think the "Totus Tuus Sum Maria" was a fictitious or bogus proclamation of Pope John Paul II, notice this excerpt from a Los Angeles Times news article:

"By awarding the Virgin a central place in the cathedral's narrative, the archdiocese is keeping faith with a long, if fluctuating, Catholic and Orthodox tradition of devotion to Our Lady, a tradition enjoying a resurgence under Pope John Paul II. (The pope's personal motto, 'Totus tuus sum, Maria,' or 'I am all yours, Mary,' reflects his belief that the Virgin intervened to save his life from an assassin's bullet in 1981 so that he could help defeat European communism)" ( Sept 1, 2002 By Reed Johnson, Times Staff Writer).

The Black Madonna

But, the rest of the story rests in the common worship of the Black Madonna. What Black Madonna, you ask? The mother of the Messiah was white, or olive, but certainly not black. However, Roman Catholicism has reverted to the worship of the Black Madonna in most countries throughout the world. The Time Magazine article stated that one of most-heavily visited shrines in the world is the shrine of the Black Madonna, in Czestochowa,Poland. Of course, John Paul II was from Poland. Kathleen O'Hayes, of National Christian Research , states in her tape of the coming global Marion Apparition, that Pope John Paul II considered himself "the slave" of the Black Madonna. Kathleen further states that the Catholic Church placed Poland under the protection of this Black Madonna early in the 1950's. This development is of huge significance in realizing how the major religions of the world could be drawn into a One-World Religion in the very near future.

The first place in which to look is in antiquity. Hislop, in his book, The Two Babylons , notes the prevalence of the worship of a negro god or goddess, throughout the known world:

"...the great god Buddha is generally represented in China as a Negro..." (p. 57).

"In Egypt, the fair Horus, the son of the black Osiris, who was the favorite object of worship." (p. 69)

"It is [incredible] to find in what widely-severed countries, and amongst what millions of the human race at this day...a negro god is worshipped." ( Ibid. )

"...the Virgin in Algiers Cathedral is a Negress..." (Introduction by Donald Grey Barnhouse, D.D.).
According to Katherina Woodworth in her article Black Madonna ,
"The Catholic Church used the technique of enculturation -- adapting the local indigenous pagan beliefs and customs into their own local church practices, to aid in the assimilation of the newly-converted to Catholicism. Stephen Benko, author of The Virgin Goddess , writes, 'The Black Madonna is the ancient earth-goddess converted to Christianity.' He notes that many goddesses were represented as black -- including Artemis of Ephesus, Isis, Mariamne, Aphrodite-Mari, Juno the Blessed Virgin, Maya, the Trinity of Fates and Ceres/Demeter (the Greek/Roman Earth Goddess). Demeter/Ceres, he says, was especially influential, because as an earth goddess, she represents the fertility of the soil and, as any farmer knows, the blacker the soil, the more fertile is its potential.

"Some suggest that the black color of the Madonnas represent something archetypal and unexpressed in Christianity: black represents the Death Mother, the Crone, the Shadow Self. In Catholic countries, black is usually associated with magic and Black Madonnas are considered to be possessors of hermetic knowledge and magic -- as well as more powerful in manifesting miracles.

"Many scholars believe the Black Madonnas were originally the statues of Isis [Semiramis] -- who sorrowed for her lover, Osiris [Nimrod]. [As we have already seen, Osiris was considered to be black by the ancient world]. The cult of Isis was extremely popular at the time of the Messiah. Later, in the sixth century, a very popular temple of Isis at Philae was rededicated to Mary."

Building a Common Bridge

Now that we have established that the worship of black deities has long been an integral part of Paganism, and that this practice has extended to the Virgin Mary, let us now examine how the worship of the Black Female Goddess in Roman Catholicism is building a common bridge to the entire Pagan world. We will turn to New Age writings for this portion of our study.

In his most blasphemous book, The Armageddon Script , Peter Lemesurier writes enthusiastically about the worship of the Great Mother Earth. He writes as though he is an astronaut in a spaceship in orbit around our planet. "As they rounded the barren lunar globe for the...last time, and the resplendent half-earth once again rose from behind that now familiar curved and rocky horizon, what they saw coming up to meet them was strangely familiar. An image straight out of the racial memory. A god out of the world of the archetypes. It was none other than the rounded form of the Great Mother, Earth herself, clad in the same flowering robes of shimmering blue and white that had been those of mother-goddesses of earth and sky throughout man's history -- and not least his most recent mother-goddess, the Virgin Mary herself..." (p. 245-6).

Peter Lemesurier, as a Pagan worshipper, has no difficulty recognizing the truth that the worship of the Virgin Mary is ancient Pagan idolatry. Therefore, non-Christian Pagans the world over will have little difficulty accepting the worship of the Roman Catholic Virgin Mother.

Another New Age writer, China Galland, a practicing American Buddhist, has written a very revealing book entitled Longing For Darkness . Galland enthusiastically establishes the commonality between the Virgin Mary and other pagan goddesses.

"Durga, the warrior queen...was the only one who could restore harmony and set the world at peace...the gods sang her praises, called her the Queen of the Universe ..."

Remember the Time Magazine , quoted above, which reports that one of the names by which the Virgin Mary is known is the Queen of the Universe ? Galland continues:

"I had come to find the Buddha Tara, but instead I found the goddesses Durgan and Kali...Kali, the death-dealer and life-giver, the end and beginning of time. She was a deity of such proportions as I had heard only God the Father in Christianity described. The fact that Kali is dark and female turned my Catholic upbringing inside out...Some say she is black because black is the color in which all distinctions are dissolved, others say she is black because she is eternal night" (p. 27).

These two goddesses are Hindu.

The Buddhist goddess, Tara, was the object of Galland's search as she travelled the Far East. However, she was startled when she discovered that there are Hindu texts that describe Kali as Tara" (p. 30). This discovery links Hinduism with Buddhism.

Later, back in the United States, Galland discovered another New Age book entitled Mother Worship , by author Tara Doyle. This book reported the phenomenon of the Black Madonna in Switzerland. Galland records,

"I didn't recall that there were any dark female divinities in Christianity. I thought they were unique to religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. I could remember virtually nothing about a dark or black Madonna despite my years of Catholic upbringing... A brief entry in Newsweek magazine caught my eye. The Virgin Mary was reported to be appearing in the barks of trees in...Poland. I was intrigued...It seemed to be such a similar phenomenon to what had been reported about the Tara...I wondered what was going on in the spritus mundi , the spirit of the world, that reports of female deities literally emerging out of rocks and trees were surfacing in both East and West. The simultaneity was symbolically important..." (p. 49-50).

Later, Galland asks a Buddhist Master Teacher about the connection between these appearances, "I showed him the magazine clipping on the reported appearance of the Madonna in the bark of trees in Poland...[he replied] it is very similar to what we are talking about here. We have many occurrences like this in Tibetan Buddhism. We call it rangjung , it means self-arising ...These things appear because of the power and blessings of enlightened beings. Such beings work through the power of mental substance and the power of concentration..." (p. 65-66). Galland recounts her later meeting with the Dalai Lama. When she asks him about the Blessed Mother appearing in the bark of trees in Poland, he agrees that this phenomenon is Buddhist rangjung (p. 95).

We should not be surprised that Satan is now causing female deities to appear all over the world at this moment in history. If this is indeed the end of the age, then it is time for Satan to draw together his prophesied church.

Galland continues her study of Black Goddess worship by attending a Black Madonna seminar given by another New Age author, Gilles Quispel, who is the Historian of Religion at Utrecht University. Galland reports, "For Quispel, the Black Madonna plays a crucial psychic role which he described in Jungian terms as symbolizing the earth, matter, the feminine in man, and the self in woman...Unless men and women alike become conscious of this primeval image of the Black Madonna, and integrate it within themselves, humankind will be unable to resolve the problems of materialism, racism, [and] women's liberation..." (p51).

This statement is incredible because it is so New Age Pagan. What Quispel is saying is that the Black Madonna is such a basic, foundational element in the deepest recesses in the minds of all men, that she is the only answer to man's most critical needs. Only when people the world over recognize and worship the Black Madonna can there be true peace and unity in this world. The Black Madonna is the one common denominator among the religions of the world.

But there is more. The drive to the New World Order was officially started on May 1, 1776, as Jesuit priest, Adam Weishaupt, founded the Masters of the Illuminati. Listen to Galland continue. "...St. Ignatius gave his sword to the Black Madonna of Montserrat in Spain, became a priest, and founded the Jesuit Order..." (p. 52). This unbelievable information ties the worship of the Black Madonna to the Jesuit-based Masters of the Illuminati. Both the worship of the Black Madonna and the Jesuit Order are completely Roman Catholic in nature.

But, there is yet more incredible revelation from Galland in her book, Longing For Darkness . Some time after she had received her revelations from her Buddhist Master Teacher about the Black Madonna, she was practicing Buddhist meditation. "...As I continued to sit, Christ began to appear in my meditation, then Mary...I began to let myself see Christ, to visualize him behind me. I accepted him into my practice. As I continued the daily meditations, Mary gradually took a place on my left, the Buddha on my right... Mary and Jesus were my witnesses at first; then, over time, beloved friends. The Buddha Tara was always in front of me" (p. 67-68).

These meditations clearly show how Satan is moving the various false religions together in this end of the age. China Galland was visited in her occultic Buddhist meditations by three demons who represented themselves as the Messiah, the Roman Catholic Virgin Mary, and the Buddhist Tara. Millions of other people practicing similar New Age meditations are being similarly deceived. Make no mistake about it: Satan is drawing all the world's religions into one. The single most important common denominator in this evolving One-World Religion is the world-wide worship of the Virgin Mary/Black Madonna.

This goddess worship ties together approximately 75% of the world's population. (Information taken from "Almanac 1991".)

  • Roman Catholicism 971 million
  • Eastern Orthodox 164 million
  • Buddhism/Various Sects 1 billion 100 mill
  • Hinduism 690 million
  • Japanese Religions 230 million
  • Tribal Religions 100 million approx.
  • Mohammedism 924 million

While Mohammedism does not venerate the Virgin Mother, the Time Magazine article quoted above states, "Even the Koran praises [the Virgin Mary's] chastity and faith" (p. 62).

  • Protestants 351 million

Even liberal Protestants are changing aspects of their view of Mary. This Time Magazine article states, "Church of England theologian John Macquarrie has proposed revisions of such dogmas as the Assumption of Mary into heaven...Theologian Donald Bloesch of the University of Dubuque says fellow conservative Protestants 'need to see Mary as the pre-eminent saint' and 'the mother of the church'. Similar convergences will receive a thorough airing in February [1992], when U.S. Catholic and Lutheran negotiators issue an accord, years in the making, on Mary's role" (p. 66).

At this point, we have a potential membership of these false religions of 4 billion 500 million people.

Finally, the cult of the worship of the Virgin Mother is drawing the many Feminists of the New Age Movement into her grasp. The Time Magazine article above states this very graphically. "When he was made a bishop in 1958, John Paul...chose as his Latin motto Totus Tuus ( All Yours ) -- referring to Mary, not Christ...John Paul made Mary's unifying power a centerpiece of his papal arsenal...Although the Pope lauds Mary for her submissiveness, it is in relation to God, not to male-dominated society..." (p. 64-65).

The impact of this stance has been dramatic in Feminist circles. "Jane Schaberg, who chairs the religion department at the University of Detroit... contends...that the unwed Mary was impregnated by a man other than fiancé Joseph, and that she was a liberated woman who was not identified or destroyed by her relationship with men." This article continues, "...that notion of super-natural feminine power is alluring...There has been a stupendous upsurge in goddess research and the feminine divinity as an antecedent to the male god...Judeo-Christianity has been exclusively male, leaving a gap that cries out for feminine divinity" (p. 65-66).

Thus, you can see the tremendous drawing power which the Virgin Mary -- especially the Black Madonna -- is having between the various religions of the world. Satan has wisely implanted similar goddess worship in the many false religions of the world. Incredibly, he has even successfully corrupted Christianity through the Roman Catholic teaching of Mary, the Mother of the Messiah. The time has now come to draw all the world's religions together into the False Religious System revealed in the book of Revelation.

The Problem of the Brothers and Sisters

Notice how the theme Semiramus started is still active to this day? And we're not just talking about the title “Queen of Heaven” either. The Pope continues to call his Queen the Virgin Mother. In fact, almost every Catholic we’ve ever known does this as well. Yet, was she a virgin ALL her life as Rome assumes? Or is there biblical evidence to prove otherwise? And before continuing, understand, we are not proclaiming Mary was a virgin when she conceived the Messiah. Obviously, the act of being impregnated by Joseph caused her to loose her virginity! That much is true according to the Bible. The rest…? Well… let’s see...

The Question is: "Why does Catholic doctrine state that the Messiah had no brothers and sisters -- and Mary was a lifelong virgin till the day she died?"

Notice the following --

"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his BRETHREN, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his SISTERS, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?" (Matthew 13:55-56).

This verse confirms that people in the Messiah's hometown watched him grow up in that city helping his father in his trade as a carpenter. They remembered the Messiah lived there -- as well as the fact that he had four brothers. PLUS they still have the Messiah's SISTERS living among them. How many sisters did Yeshua have? The Bible doesn't say, however it does hint he had more then one. Why are they still living there? Did they get married and settled down in their hometown to raise a family? It makes no difference. The fact of the matter is -- the Bible accurately records that Mary had many children!

"While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his BRETHREN stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy BRETHREN stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my BRETHREN? and he stretched forth his hand TOWARD HIS DISCIPLES, and said behold my mother and my BRETHREN!" (Matthew 12:46-49).

Many teachers of Catholic doctrine believe that the Messiah called only those that believed in him, his brethren. They do this to allow the lie of “Mary the ever virgin” to continue. That way, whenever the word BRETHREN was used, the Catholic believer is taught it usually means disciples only. This way also, no longer would they think it means blood brothers and sisters. However, did you notice the statement made to the Messiah BEFORE he calls everyone in the room his brethren in that passage? A person comes to the Messiah to tell him that his mother and brethren are outside waiting on him. The Messiah took this opportunity to illustrate to the believers and apostles in the room that THEY are considered brethren now because they believe in Him. Rome uses this to make their lie work.

However, this also allows us to expose the lie of Rome because now there are brethren outside the room as well. The Messiah actually says in Matthew 19:29: "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." This verse is for believers that have to deal with unbelievers close to them. And those unbelievers are called BRETHREN not because they are believers, but because they are siblings! Does this verse not show the Messiah calling those people that are not believers BRETHREN when he refers to them as those that we need to forsake for him? Is that passage stating we must forsake fellow believers? Of course not.

It is no different than today. People from all walks of life call their fellow man brothers or sisters. What of the term, brothers in crime? And yes, just like back then, we have brothers and sisters in the Messiah. Just because Yeshua explained that if they believed in him they would become his brethren, it does not say that the Messiah denied his siblings. He just gained more brethren on this day. It was those that believed on him and his Truth in that room.

The Bible also says…

"And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and WITH HIS BRETHREN" (Acts 1:13-14).

These verses are now calling the apostles by name, and then Mary the mother of the Messiah with his brethren are now mentioned. But wait a minute…Are not all in the upper room brethren? Yes they are, it's just illustrated here that the Messiah's Mother and siblings are in the room as well now. What better way to illustrate the fact that the Messiah has an earthly family as well as his Church family. Think about it, all the apostles are mentioned by name in that room, THEN Mary and the BRETHREN of the Messiah are mentioned. Is this an attempt to show the two types of brethren? Indeed it is.

"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For [there is] no man [that] doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him" (John 7:1-5).

This is one of our favorite verses on this subject. How can it not be realized that "His brethren" here is BLUNTLY speaking of siblings? The argument is completely mute for those that would claim, "brethren" equals ONLY "disciples" now. How? The BRETHREN in this passage are telling the Messiah to be on his way and go perform his miracles so that his "DISCIPLES" will see it, "For neither did his brethren (or siblings) believe in him." Even Matthew Henry, in his comments on this passage, says this…

Matthew Henry on John 7:1-13:

”The brethren or kinsmen of Jesus were disgusted, when they found there was no prospect of worldly advantages from him. Ungodly men sometimes undertake to counsel those employed in the work of God; but they only advise what appears likely to promote present advantages. The people differed about his doctrine and miracles, while those who favoured him, dared not openly to avow their sentiments. Those who count the preachers of the gospel to be deceivers, speak out, while many who favour them, fear to get reproach by avowing regard for them.”

The Bible also says…

"But other of the apostles saw I none, save James THE LORD'S BROTHER" (Galatians 1:19).

How blunt can you get? Is this not an obvious verse? We found earlier in Matthew 13:55 that one of the Messiah's brothers was named James, and here we see James is mentioned again as the Lord's brother. But did you notice? First it stated “other of the apostles saw I none.” And then it mentions James the brother of the Messiah. But aren’t all the apostles brothers? Yes, in the faith they are, but it is plain here that James is the blood brother of Yeshua the Messiah!

By the way, this is the same James that was inspired by YEHOVAH God to write the book of James in the New Testament. The truth is, James did eventually realize the special calling that his brother Yeshua was subject to.

On a more obvious note to ponder... As blessed and loved as Mary was of YEHOVAH God, do you honestly believe the Almighty and ever-living God of all creation would punish her with a barren womb after giving birth to His Messiah? You need to understand that it was considered a blessing to have children back then. Unlike today’s society with their millions of self-centered flesh-pleasing abortions. PLUS, would it not be considered sin on Mary's part to DENY Joseph's carnal desires towards his own wife? Is it not written in Paul's epistle...

"Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." (I Corinthians 7:3-5).

For Rome to say Mary and Joseph never had relations as husband and wife, is to say Mary was IN SIN! But since Rome has already been able to preach to their flock that the Bible is a dead letter and useless book, the people are unaware such words like these are in their Bibles, making it difficult for them to prove that Rome is lying. Which brings us to the next method of deception Rome has been able to carry out regarding Mary. And this too is warned of in the Bibles Rome has convinced her flock to put down and hide away in the bookshelf!

A Warning for Those With the Ears to Hear!

PLEASE understand that we are sharing all this as a loving warning to all STRONG Catholics out there! We are not interested in the wicked ones that will send us hate-filled, vulgar e-mails packed with death threats. This warning goes out to those that have a heart for their God -- and a desire to please HIM and not man . The expose we are coming to now has to do with the so-called apparitions of Mary. Satan is attacking the biblical truth surrounding Mary so as to prevent people from seeing the Messiah as their ONLY Saviour and Mediator. Both Mary and Joseph were approved of by YEHOVAH God because of their adherence to His way of life -- fitting parents and roll-models for our Elder Brother and Messiah!

Think about it for a moment. She is blessed, she is Mary, she is the woman who, along with her husband Joseph, YEHOVAH God chose to raise His potential first-born Son on PLANET Earth! He chose her because He knew she would do according to His Word. Commons sense affords us the reality that YEHOVAH God chose Mary because she was more apt to follow His Truth. With that in mind, listen to the words this so-called “Mary” is saying to the Roman Catholic people in the form of a ghostly apparition. If you are a believer that Mary would never go against Biblical jurisprudence, or she would never do the exact opposite of what the Father in Heaven would have her do, then you too will understand that it is NOT Mary speaking these words! In 1917 the so-called apparition of Mary uttered these words...

"Only I can help you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God”

Oh, and by the way, if you want to verify ANY of these statements you can go to the Roman Catholic website that posts all these so called “messages from Heaven” on the website as well as countless other sites.

These words of the apparition are of someone calling herself “Mary” -- and are in direct conflict with the Word of YEHOVAH God that was spoken out of the mouth of the Messiah himself!

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

The Word of YEHOVAH God warns us that spirits will appear and claim they are from YEHOVAH God -- but what shall we do when they do this?

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).

And how to you TRY the spirits?

" To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20).

The Word of YEHOVAH God PLAINLY indicates that Mary was blessed because of her faithfulness to YEHOVAH God! However, when we hear words like this coming from someone claiming to be Mary, we can no longer consider her blessed. For if this was Mary, she would in no way be calling her Son and Saviour, Yeshua the Messiah, a LIAR! By saying that "Mary" is the "Only one that can help you" the apparition is actually saying quite bluntly that the Messiah, the Saviour of the World, CANNOT -- and WILL NOT -- help you! THIS IS A BLATANT DEMONIC TEACHING! This is MARY WORSHIP being suggested by someone, or something calling itself Mary. This was done first, of course, by Semiramis -- the wife of Nimrod!

The Woman of Luke 11:27

It was later repeated as the Messiah was speaking about demonic possession to those listening on. The Bible records what we consider to be a demonic mocking of the Messiah by a possessed women while he was addressing the crowds. It’s almost as if the demon in her was laughing at the Messiah and letting him know what they were planning on doing to his Father's Gospel truth once he ascended to Heaven after his resurrection. What are we talking about?

During the Messiah's ministry, a woman tries to draw special attention to the Messiah's mother, and the Messiah puts things in the proper perspective for us:

"And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!'" (Luke 11:27).

Like the “damsel” that was possessed that walked behind Paul mocking the Gospel Truths he preached, this woman is also referred to as a “CERTAIN” woman. So, what was the Messiah's immediate response to this “certain” woman’s obvious mockery? Yeshua said in the very next verse…

"But He said, 'More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'" (Luke 11:28).

Think of it, the Messiah just finished speaking on how it is best to stay close to YEHOVAH God once demons have been cast out, and this is suddenly proclaimed out loud! This is the first, and only time that we have found in the Bible that Satan is actually letting the cat out of the bag concerning his plans for the memory of Mary in the New Testament. This is an out-loud proclamation in the Bible for MARY WORSHIP -- in as blunt a manner as any can muster! And our Lord and Messiah lovingly rebukes that woman perfectly.

The Messiah agrees that, even though his mother was "happy and to be envied," as the Amplified Bible puts it, even more blessed is anyone who hears YEHOVAH God's Word and obeys it. He acknowledges that, yes, his mother was a fine lady -- but anyone focusing on the personage of Mary was really missing the point. The Messiah was interested in the attitude and conduct of people -- not their veneration of any human being!

This woman was directly stating that MARY herself was worthy of worship over and above YEHOVAH's Messiah! Can you see what just happened here? The Messiah himself, is preaching about demonic possession and how it is best to serve the Creator God, when a VERY "flesh serving" proclamation is made by a "certain" woman stating it is a far better thing to worship YEHOVAH's creation instead! Mary herself is in fact a created being, is she not? And YEHOVAH God is most assuredly is the Creator! What passage does this remind you of?

"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet" (Romans 1:24-27).

Is this not Catholicism in a nutshell? They not only speak of Mary worship, but they embrace all that Babylon has to offer. Everything from worshiping of humans in statue form, to worship of the sun the moon and the stars. That passage in Romans is bluntly describing a religion that will teach worship of the creature is far better then worship of the Creator that made those creatures in the first place! And to top it off, the passage states one of the end results of such a religion as this is that homosexual decadence will run rampant within it when they choose this path. Is it not well-understood today that the Roman Catholic Vatican houses the largest organized collection of homosexuals known to man? No marriage is allowed for either priest or nun. Men must live with men in the rectories for priests, and women must live with women in the convents as nuns. It doesn’t get any plainer then this! This is a fertile growing field for homosexuality and other crimes against YEHOVAH God!

The Marian Apparitions

Let’s get back to this demon calling itself Mary that is literally popping up all over the planet. There are apparitions of a demon claiming to be Mary in Fatima, Medjugorje, Hillside, and countless other areas around the World. Plus, you have sightings of Mary showing up in window panes, subway walls, burnt taco shells, trees, mirrors… seriously, the list of so called Marian apparitions is endless these days. And to make matters worse, whenever a sighting is reported, thousands of Catholics flock to the sight to worship it and await a miracle!

We recall when a so-called apparition was appearing in Highland Park, Illinois back in the early 90s. People would flock to that place and claim their rosary chains turned from steel, to pure gold. We also recall that a window that had a leaky seal formed a milky stain on it that looked like Mary. Thousands of Catholics started kneeling and praying to it from all over the place. It got so bad, the Hospital had to cover it up, and then remove that window to stop the traffic jams! And still, the faithful Catholic people will state rather boldly they do not worship Mary!

We could very easily write an entire book on all the evidence that is available today to prove that it is NOT Mary the mother of the Messiah -- or even the Messiah himself, that is appearing in Medjugorje, Bayside New York, Highland Park Illinois, Fatima, Lourdes, or countless other places.

The "apparition" calling itself Mary -- or "Our Lady of the Roses" as it prefers -- has been relaying "Messages from Heaven" for all to read. Is this from YEHOVAH God? How can we be sure? All we need to do is what the Bible says we must do when this occurs. It will reveal to us exactly who it is that is appearing to these people. Again, the Bible tells us very plainly that we should "believe not every spirit, but try (TEST) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1John 4:1). The Bible also warns us that in the end-times we will see an increase in demonic activity. The prophecy states that "they are the spirits of devils, working miracles" (Revelation 16:14). So we don’t doubt for a minute those rosaries turned to gold. The demons did it to convince the people. Just like the devil made the Sun dance in the sky in 1917 before thousands of people in Fatima.

Do you know what really boggles the mind here? The Bible does say demons will do this in the last days. And when it’s pointed out they are doing it, people shrug it off as if it’s not important, or not a prophesied event. The Catholics figure it isn’t a demon, and all the rest just think the Catholics are a bit strange. Both parties won’t admit they see demonic activity as is prophesied! Why is it that people believe the newspapers that men write over and above the prophecy that YEHOVAH God writes?

But don't take our word for it. Let's take a look at what these "apparitions" are saying before we make a decision. We need to see if they "are of God", and the only way to see if they are is to see if they are consistent with what the Word of YEHOVAH God says. Isaiah is very plain on that point! If they don’t speak according to the Word of YEHOVAH God there is no light in them! The truth is, if they are truly bringing us messages from Heaven, then these messages will harmonize with the ultimate message -- the Bible.

A Man was driving down the road with two of his sons a few years ago when he noticed a billboard as big as life with huge bold letters proclaiming, "Mary Speaks to America!" It had an "800" phone number on it to call. So he jotted it down and headed home. A week or so after making the call he received an envelope packed with information from "Our Lady's Children in Maryland." There were three flyers with tons of "Messages from Heaven", along with 15 promises from Mary listed on one of them. It also contained a "blessed" rose petal in the package -- which he promptly tossed in the garbage. We won’t go over all 15 promises of course, because most of them were easy to see as lies. However, we would like to touch on two right off:

The Fifteen Promises of Mary to Christians Who Recite the Rosary:

Promise # 9 = " I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary"

Promise # 14 = "All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ."

For those of you that are not aware of what a rosary is, it is a pagan beaded prayer chain that many other non-Christian religions use as well. What you do is pray a certain prayer on each bead of the chain, and between each series of beads you must also recite a prayer on the chain itself. Throughout the entire rosary you are supposed to meditate on certain aspects of the Messiah’s life. However, according to Scripture, the Messiah prefers we "use not VAIN REPETITIONS, as the heathen do" (Matthew 6:7). So the rosary itself is not consistent with what the Word of YEHOVAH God teaches for the method of prayer.

Right off the bat we see this cannot be Mary speaking from Heaven, because Mary would not do something that is contrary to the Word of YEHOVAH God.

We also learn in the Bible that "between us and you there is A GREAT GULF FIXED, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us" (Luke 16:26). So how could Mary deliver anyone out of anyplace? The Bible doesn't say that Mary is our deliverer, it says that "The LORD [YEHOVAH God] is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer" (2 Samuel 22:2). Also, there is absolutely no mention of a place called purgatory anywhere in the Bible in the first place. If you have a computer with the Bible online, try doing a search for the word "purgatory" -- you will find NOTHING!

Next we see that in Promise #14 it states that the Messiah is the ONLY SON of Mary. This too is in direct conflict with what the Word of YEHOVAH God says about the family that the Messiah grew up with. There are numerous verses that prove the Messiah was indeed from a large family. As we learned earlier, Matthew 13:55-56 stated that the Messiah not only had four brothers, He also had more than one sister! Because it also stated in that passage that “his SISTERS” (plural) were still among them in that city.

On one of the flyers it states that Mary says we should,

"Wear the brown Scapular and other sacramentals."

Also it states everyone should,

"Keep the statues in your homes" (Bayside The Lourdes of America , Jesus and Mary Speak to the World Through Veronica Lueken).

In the Roman Church, whenever there is a statue, there is also a kneeler in front of it, which forces you to BOW DOWN before it. This so-called statement from “Mary” is indeed a direct method of teaching the people of the world to break the Second Commandment, which plainly says,

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments" (Exodus 20:4-6).

A "graven image" and a statue, scapular, medal, sacramental, are all the SAME THING. IDOLS -- plain and simple! Did not the Messiah say on the tree, "it is finished" in John 19:30? The Messiah did NOT say, "It is finished...But wait a minute...My Mom will stop by in 1917, 1930, 1964, 1982, 1994, let you know what I am up to."

And for those of you that don’t know, a scapular is a small piece of fabric with a picture on one side of Simon Stock receiving the Scapular from a demon calling itself Mary. On the other side of the scapular you see, in writing, these words: “The wearer of this cloth will not suffer the flames of hell.” That’s right! It is taught in Roman Catholicism, that what the Messiah did on the tree was not enough to keep you from eternal death! You must also wear a peace of cloth around your neck to confirm your salvation.

Some people wear these things everyday! In fact, they are taught never to take it off! When it gets old and ragged they will buy a knew one, bring it to a priest, have it blessed, and then put it around their neck. Then, and only then, are they able to remove the old one! In fact, when Pope John Paul II was shot, he insisted they do NOT remove his scapular when he went in for surgery!

Mary would NEVER tell people to go against the Word of YEHOVAH God. In fact, when the Messiah was at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, Mary approached him to help the servants of the wedding regarding the lack of wine. In John 2:5, it says

"His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it" (John 2:5).

Why would Mary say you must do as the Messiah says in the Bible, and then later appear to say the exact opposite in an apparition? Makes no sense -- correct? According to Biblical jurisprudence, this “spirit” FAILED the test! This is yet another reason Rome does all it can to keep people from reading the Bible. It is LOADED throughout with tons of small as well as large proofs that Roman Catholicism is a religion inspired by Satan himself!

The demon calling itself Mary also said this…

"Wear any size crucifix that you can find. It does no have to be big or small, but an image of My Son" ( Directives from Heaven . From the vision of "Our Lady, Sept. 7 1985").

Once again, the Second Commandment is suggested to be broken. Notice the actual use of the word "image" by this demon! That is a direct attack on the Commandment itself! And it gets worse! These so called apparitions have a new demon showing up now, and he is claiming to be the Messiah HIMSELF!

"You must keep them upon you, with a crucifix. We demand a crucifix" ( Directives from Heaven . From the vision of "Jesus, June 18, 1987").

Here it seems the apparition of "Jesus" is demanding that all Catholics break the Commandments that he himself taught all Christians to keep during his time on earth! Is not the definition of sin in both the Old and New Testaments “transgression of the LAW?” Does not the Messiah say with his own mouth in John 15:10, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." So how is it possible that he would now tell everyone to wear an "image, or likeness of himself" when the Bible tells us that we should not do that?

YEHOVAH God blesses all with a wonderful and easy to understand clue to keep in mind. The Bible plainly says, "For I am the LORD, I change not;" in Malachi 3:6. Is this not a wonderful way to "test" the spirits that are popping up all over the place? Why would YEHOVAH God tell us one thing in His Bible, and another thing through the Messiah -- in some "apparition" in New York, Fatima, or Lourdes? Don't think that this is just some people playing a prank on everyone for reasons of financial gain. These "apparitions" are very real!

The Bible says very simply that "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" in 2 Corinthians 11:14. Satan does indeed use this method to deceive many! As a matter of fact, the devil will use even more miraculous methods for all to see very soon. We would suggest keeping your eyes on both Rome as well as Islam in the coming days. You can count on it! Satan knows his time is short, he needs to be more persuasive as the end gets closer, and he will pull out the big guns because prophecy CONFIRMS THIS!

This next demonic utterance is VERY annoying to us, to say the least…

"I wish at this time to stress anew to you that many must go forth as angels of light -- angels certainly, My children, without wings, but no less an angel" (Roses article Go forth as angels of light p. 3. From the vision of "Jesus June 18, 1994").

This kind of makes you wonder if anyone is reading their Bibles today, doesn't it? How can so many fall for such lies when the Word of YEHOVAH God has it all written down, well in advance in the Scriptures, that it will happen this way? If everyone knew the truth about where people go when they die, the Devil would have absolutely no power to deceive in this way. Everyone would know it's not Mary standing there because it is well stated in the Bible that she is IN THE GRAVE -- awaiting the resurrection!

For the Devil to use terms like, "angels of light", "purgatory", or "image", proves he has every confidence that those he deceives have no clue this is bluntly warned of in the Bible. It's almost as if he is showing off and proving his control over the population to keep them out of the Bible. He’s literally mocking YEHOVAH God and His Messiah here! This stuff is first-grade reader type warnings for everyone to see yet, if one refuses to simply look in the Bible, they won't see it. That’s why we share these facts with Catholics because we know they are NOT stupid! They were simply lied to . These biblical facts were never told to them. When they honestly investigate these things they will eventually realize IT’S TRUE -- and they leave the clutches of that Church!

By the way… How does YEHOVAH God feel about His children IGNORING His Bible?

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:6).

It appears...Not too well!

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Soon-Coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God Here On This Earth!

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Folks , here is some more intriguing information on this topic :-

All About Mary

Black Madonnas: Origin, History, Controversy

– Michael Duricy

There are black Madonnas and Black Madonnas . The former applies generically to any dark-skin-colored representation of Mary. Falling into this category are recent depictions of Our Lady like Larry Scully's Madonna and Child of Soweto . The term used frequently to designate these images is inculturated Madonnas, meaning artwork by African or African-American artists (sometimes also by artists of a different racial background) for people of the same or similar cultures. These representations may convey a critical message inasmuch as they highlight the universal and thus trans-racial significance of the Christ event (including Mary). Most of these images are of recent origin; others came to prominence only recently. In the latter case we are dealing with sometimes century-old artwork of Africa whose artistic and spiritual values have been ignored for a long time.

Madonna and Child of Soweto, Larry Scully

However, this is not the topic of the following feature. The meaning of Black Madonna used here refers to a type of Marian statue or painting of mainly medieval origin (12C-15C), of dark or black features whose exact origins are not always easy to determine, and most important, of particular prominence. The latter, the prominence of the Black Madonna, is mostly due to the allegedly miraculous character of the image.

Among the miraculous Marian images are the so-called "Black Madonnas." Many of these images are quite popular among the faithful. Of the hundreds which presently exist at various shrines, some of the better known images are: Our Lady of Altötting [Bavaria, Germany]; Our Lady of the Hermits [Einsiedeln, Switzerland]; Our Lady of Guadalupe [Mexico City]; Our Lady of Jasna Gora [Czestochowa, Poland]; Our Lady of Montserrat [Spain]; and Our Lady of Tindari [Sicily].

In the early days of the 'comparative religions' discipline, authors casually equated the 'Black Virgins' venerated by Catholics with pagan goddess images of similar appearance, providing some with a polemic argument against the Catholic Church. More recently, some feminist writers have suggested the Black Madonna as indicating a perspective on Mary underemphasized in traditional Christian doctrine. In any case, Black Madonnas have proved themselves as devotional aids within ecclesial life over the course of centuries. Many of these images have received approval from ecclesiastical authority in light of the divine approval manifested by well-attested miracles (subsequently approved by Church leadership).

History of the Black Madonna Genre

Important early studies of dark images in France were done by: Marie Durand-Lefebvre (1937); Emile Saillens (1945); and Jacques Huynen (1972). The first notable study of the origin and meaning of the so-called Black Madonnas in English appears to have been presented by Leonard Moss at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Dec. 28, 1952. Amazingly, all the images in Moss' study had a reputation for miracles. Based on a study of nearly one hundred samples from various parts of the world, Moss broke the images into three categories:

  1. dark brown or black madonnas with physiognomy and skin pigmentation matching that of the indigenous population.

  2. various art forms that have turned black as a result of certain physical factors such as: deterioration of lead-based pigments; accumulated smoke from the use of votive candles; and accumulation of grime over the ages.

  3. residual category with no ready explanation.

That a certain percentage of black images falls into the first group seems self-evident. For example, many African images of Mary depict her racially as a Black woman. This particular racial depiction is also apparent in many of the ethnic crèches in the Marian Library collection. Also, the famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from Mexico, although not necessarily intended to depict Mary's race as Black, was included in this class by Moss.

The second explanation is frequently cited by Catholic non-experts in relation to particular images. Though overused, it certainly applies to a certain percentage of Black Madonnas. The famous statue of Our Lady of the Hermits in Einsiedeln, Switzerland illustrates this phenomenon. After evacuation to Austria in 1798 to escape the designs of Napoleon when the Madonna was returned in 1803, she was found to have been cleaned during her stay in Bludenz. It was promptly decided that she should be restored to her wonted blackness before being exposed once more to the gaze of the faithful.

Similarly, the statue of Our Lady of Altötting was rescued from the ravaging of the church by flame in the year 907. This might account for the darkened features, though Moss has his doubts. If not the image at Altötting, other Black Madonnas were certainly altered in appearance after 'miraculous' rescues from burning churches.

After accounting for images which fall into the first two categories, we are left with a number of black Madonnas still requiring explanation. As Moss notes: "It is difficult to rule out artistic license." In the absence of texts stating the artist's intent, only speculation is possible. However, assuming that some of the images were darkened intentionally, we may attempt some explanations. There seem to be two particularly strong theories.

The first is that the images were darkened to illustrate a text from the Song of Songs: "I am black but beautiful." [ Negra sum sed formosa ] In support of this theory, note that many of the black Madonnas exist in France, and date from around the time of the crusades, when Bernard of Clairvaux wrote numerous commentaries on the Canticles , comparing the soul to the bride, as well as many on Our Lady. He was also known to have visited several shrines of the Black Madonna, for example: Chatillon and Affligem. In the Gothic period texts explicitly interpreted the Bride in Canticles as referring especially to Mary. Once artistic precedent had been set, subsequent black Madonnas may be explained by artistic convention rather than theological motivation. Based on historical correlations, Ean Begg speculates that the genre developed from an esoteric popular religion common among the Templars and Cathars, perhaps as a complement to the impetus from Bernard.

The other prominent theory is briefly summarized by Stephen Benko: "The Black Madonna is the ancient earth-goddess converted to Christianity." His argument begins by noting that many goddesses were pictured as black, among them Artemis of Ephesus, Isis, Ceres, and others. Ceres, the Roman goddess of agricultural fertility, is particularly important. Her Greek equivalent, Demeter, derives from Ge-meter or Earth Mother. The best fertile soil is black in color and the blacker it is, the more suited it is for agriculture.

Were these images taken as-is, renamed [baptized as it were] and reused in Christian worship? If so, the practice seems compatible in spirit with the norms on inculturation given by Pope St. Gregory the Great in a letter to priests written in 601:

It is said that the men of this nation are accustomed to sacrificing oxen. It is necessary that this custom be converted into a Christian rite. On the day of the dedication of the [pagan] temples thus changed into churches, and similarly for the festivals of the saints, whose relics will be placed there, you should allow them, as in the past, to build structures of foliage around these same churches. They shall bring to the churches their animals, and kill them, no longer as offerings to the devil, but for Christian banquets in name and honor of God, to whom after satiating themselves, they will give thanks. Only thus, by preserving for men some of the worldly joys, will you lead them thus more easily to relish the joys of the spirit.
We may even wonder whether pagan statues of Mother and Child were thought to represent someone other than the Virgin Mary and her Son, Jesus. For Roman Catholics, Mary is "The Woman." (cf. Jn 2 and 19) Similarly, the only child worthy of special note is "The Christ Child." Lacking explicit identification, it seems natural that Christians read these perspectives into any art they saw. In fact, it seems that Eusebius of Caesarea took advantage of this predisposition and, sublimating any pagan roots [which he considered likely], used an image of the black Madonna as preparatio evangelii or evangelical preparation, a readily accepted introduction to the full Christian mystery, which is indeed centered on the Word's Incarnation through Mary.

Far from condemning the phenomenon, Benko, a non-Catholic, goes even further in validating this example of inculturation. He begins by noting the Judeo-Christian roots of the earth-mother concept in Adam's creation in Genesis 2:7. Benko sees a parallel to the "New Creation" in which Christ is the "New Adam." Structurally, Mary parallels the earth of the first creation. Benko also cites Ambrose (d. ca. 390) as an explicit example: "From the virgin earth Adam, Christ from the virgin." Moss mentions a similar teaching from Ambrose's pupil: "Saint Augustine noted that the Virgin Mary represents the earth and that Jesus is of the earth born." A number of similar examples could be cited from the Christian Tradition in and around Syria. For example, the following is from the Maronite Liturgy:

The Lord reigns clothed in majesty. Alleluia.
I am the bread of life, said Our Lord.
From on high I came to earth so all might live in me.
Pure word without flesh I was sent from the Father.
Mary's womb received me like good earth a grain of wheat. [emphasis mine]
Behold, the priest bears me aloft to the altar.
Alleluia. Accept our offering.

Benko continues:

"Earth is not only the source of fertility and new life. It is also an agent of death ... everything comes from earth and returns to it. This is ultimately what lies behind the saying of Paul, 'What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.'"

Along similar lines, Benko mentions Genesis 3:19 as closely related to the Creation account of Genesis 2:7. The agricultural cycle images death and new life, themes closely connected the paschal mystery of Jesus. Indeed, some early Christian writers used pagan myths of life reborn from death, like the Phoenix rising from its ashes, as preambles to the announcement of Jesus' story.


We received the following commentary to add to this information:

"Concerning why is she black--in Aramaic the language of Jesus--black means 'sorrowful'. It is a language of idioms. This links the Blessed Mother to Isis who was called 'sorrowing' in her search for Osiris."

For further information on Black Madonnas, refer to The Cult of the Black Virgin (1985) by Ean Begg; Mother Worship:Themes and Variations (1982) by James Preston (ed.); and The Virgin Goddess (1993) by Stephen Benko.