Questions About the Star
Stars abound during the Christmas season. They are used as tree toppers, hung in strands of light, and sprinkled as confetti. There are lighted stars, glittering stars, colored stars, striped stars, solid stars, and many other types of stars made of everything from brass to glass. There are also many explanations given as to why the star is so popular at Christmas time. Some people say a star signaled the birth of Christ. Other people say Christ is referred to as the morning star in the Bible. Still, others say the star is symbolic of Christ being a beacon of light. There is truth in each one of these statements. However, here are some questions to consider.
Question 1. What does the Bible say about the use of the star in religious rites?
Question 2. Does the use of the star in religious ceremony predate the coming of Christ?
Question 3. What does the star represent in religious ceremonies?
Question 4. Do Pagans also use the star at Christmas time? If so, why do they incorporate the star into their religious operations at this time of year?
Question 5. Are man-made stars really representative of actual stars? Do stars really look like the shape commonly called a star? If not, where did the shape come from?
Question 6. Should we incorporate the star in our religious rites and ceremonies?
We will look at these questions one at a time.
What Does the Bible Say About the Use of the Star in Religious Rites?
The best place to start when determining if one should participate in a religious rite is, of course, the Bible. The Bible uses the symbolism of the star in a positive light at times, and the Bible also has some negative things to say about the inclusion of stars in religious rites. Therefore, we must examine our use of the star to determine if that use is in line with the positive comments of the Bible or if the way we use the star is condemned in the Bible. The star is used several times throughout the Bible as a symbol of enlightenment, truth, and goodness. Surely, there can be no greater example of this than Revelation 22:16.
Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Christ refers to Himself as “the bright and morning star” in that verse. However, the Bible often uses symbolism to help us understand the messages contained within its pages. This does not necessarily mean we should incorporate these symbols into our religious rites. For example, look at Malachi 4:2.
Mal 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
What does the term “Sun of righteousness” mean in this verse? The sun is the brightest thing we can comprehend. Therefore, the symbolism of this verse is simply telling us the “Sun of righteousness,” referred to here, is the most righteous. The verse is telling us there is no one more righteous than the one who will "arise with healing in his wings." Does this mean we should make a figure of the sun with wings and use it in our religious rites to represent God? After all, that verse does talk about the “Sun of righteousness” having wings. It also describes those who fear God as calves. Should we dress up as calves in our worship of God? Of course not. There is a real danger when we take the symbolism of the Bible and fashion that symbolism into objects. Those objects then become idols.
There is an example of this danger portrayed in the Bible when Aaron made the golden calf while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments. Why would the people of the Exodus, who had seen numerous miracles performed by God, choose to worship a golden calf? Remember, these people had seen plague after plague fall on Egypt. They watched ten plagues come in succession. They had seen their own lives spared at the Passover. They had seen the parting of the Red Sea. They had seen the Red Sea swallow the Egyptian army which pursued them. How then, did they come to make a golden calf to worship when God had been so active in their lives? The Bible tells us Aaron made the golden calf (Exo 32:35). This is the same Aaron who God had chosen to assist Moses (Exo 4:27). Could the calf have represented the One True God to Aaron and the people? Here is what the people and Aaron said at the time Aaron fashioned the Golden calf.
Exo 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. Exo 32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.
In these verses, Aaron and the people appear to think they are serving the LORD which brought them up out of the land of Egypt by building an altar before the calf. By studying this further, we will understand why Aaron could have thought he was worshipping the One True God by including the golden calf in his religious operations. This will show us what to look for in our own religious rites so we can ensure we are following God rather than allowing ourselves to be misled as Aaron was.
The first letter in the alphabet is the letter A. The letter A has long been representative of God. Christ even refers to himself as the Alpha and the Omega in Rev 1:8, Rev 1:11, Rev 21:6, and Rev 22:13. In the Greek alphabet, alpha is the first letter, and Omega is the last letter. Therefore, in these verses, Christ is saying He is the beginning and the end. The first letter in the Hebrew alphabet is the Aleph. This is the letter which would have represented God to the Hebrew world. Notice the wording in the next quote. The author states the Jewish sages considered the Aleph “to be made in the image of the Lord.”
The fact a person would associate the letter A, Alpha, or Aleph with God is understandable. This is sound Biblical symbolism. As we have seen, Christ even uses the letter Alpha in reference to Himself. In fact, the claim the Aleph is “made in the image of the Lord” is also reasonable. This is because the Hebrew alphabet is derived from ancient pictographs. Therefore, one might associate the pictograph, or image, from which the Aleph is descended as the symbolic image of God. This ties to the golden calf made by Aaron because the Aleph is descended from the pictographic image of an ox head. The Aleph means ox.
The pictographic representation of the Aleph was the head of an ox.
We can turn to the works of William Foxwell Albright for more information on the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions. Professor Albright was a well-respected archeologist who is considered to be the founder of the Biblical archaeology movement. He also played an important role in the authentication of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948. The following image from Professor Albright's work shows the connection between the ox head pictograph and the Aleph.
Professor Albright dated the pictographs used in his study to between 1550 and 1450 B.C. (Albright 6,10). He also confirms this was the language of the Israelites at the time of the Exodus.
With all of this in mind, one can easily see how Aaron may have thought he was worshipping God by making a golden calf. This is because the ox or cow was a symbol for God at that time. If Aaron wanted to write the word God, he may have used a symbol of an ox head. This was likely true for many nations other than Israel also. People all over the world were worshipping cattle at that time.
Aaron had chosen to worship God in the same manner other people worshipped Isis and Venus. This is important for two reasons: first, God tells us not to worship Him in the same way others worship their pagan idols (see Deuteronomy 12 especially Deu 12:1 - Deu 12:4 and Deu 12:30 - Deu 12:31), and secondly, we will see shortly the star which is commonly found on top of Christmas trees is directly connected to the worship of Isis and Venus in the same manner the cow was in Aaron's day. Aaron was mistaken in thinking he was serving God by incorporating the figure of a cow into his religious rites. Likewise, we may be mistaken if we think we are serving God by incorporating a star into our religious rites. Even if there appears to be a good reason for including an object in one's religious ceremonies, the rationale is likely faulty. This was certainly true for the golden calf. Is it also true of the star? What does the Bible tell us about how God regards the inclusion of the star in religious ceremonies?
Amo 5:26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
Amo 5:27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.
There are two words in those verses we may not be familiar with. Moloch and Chiun are words which are not common to us today. Here are the definitions of those two words as per Strong’s dictionary.
H3594 kîyûn from H3559; properly a statue, i.e. idol; but used (by euphemism) for some heathen deity (perhaps corresponding to Priapus or Baal-peor):— Chiun" (Strong H4432, H3594).
There is also another Bible verse which quotes the above verse while speaking of God’s people using a star in their religious rites.
Act 7:43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
According to Strong’s dictionary, the word Remphan is similar to the word Chiun used in the verse from Amos above.
The Bible presents a very distinct and clear message for the followers of God in regard to using a star in religious ceremonies: do not do it. We can draw no other conclusion based upon the scriptures referenced above. We will examine other scriptures which verify this finding. God disapproves of the religious use of a man-made star. God calls it the "star of your god Remphan" in the above verses. These verses also answer our second question. The use of the star in religious ceremony does predate the coming of Christ. Some of the verses we have been looking at come from the book of Amos which was written about 755 B.C. That is several centuries before the coming of Christ.
What Does the Star Represent in Religious Ceremonies?
The Bible states the star was the “star of your god Remphan.” We must turn to sources outside of the Bible to get more information about Remphan. I did not find an entry for Remphan in my copy of the Encyclopedia Americana or the online edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. However, the third edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica does have an article on this pagan deity which turns up a very familiar name.
In that quote, the authors equate Rephan and its associated star to Saturn. This provides a direct link to the Saturnalia from which many Christmas traditions originate. However, the authors of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry continue by listing another possibility for the identity of Remphan which they feel is more likely. They tell us Remphan is probably the ancient pagan deity called Sothis.
There is, however, another star which they might naturally adore, and which we know they actually did adore, as one of their most beneficent gods, at a very early period. . . . the dog-star of modern Europe. By the Egyptians it was called Sothis or Soth, which signifies safety, beneficence, fecundity ; and it received this name, because making its appearance in the heavens at the very time when the Nile overflowed the country, it was supposed to regulate the inundation. On this account Plutarch (If.et Ofir.) tells us, they believed the soul of their illustrious benefactress Isis to have transmigrated into the star Sothis, which they therefore worshipped as the divinity which rendered their country fruitful. It made its appearance, too, on the first day of the month Thoth (A), which was the beginning of the Egyptian year, and as such celebrated with feasting and festivity ; and being by much the brightest star in the heavens, Horopollo (cap. 3.) informs us it was considered as sovereign over the rest" ("Remphan").
The authors of that entry equate the Biblically condemned Remphan and its associated star to a star called Sothis and the worship of Isis. This is the same Isis we learned in the quote by Barnett was symbolized by a cow which made Aaron's use of the cow in the worship of God all the more egregious. Therefore, the inclusion of a star in Christian religious operations would be identical and equally egregious to Aaron's use of the cow in the Israelite's religious operations. The Egyptians believed the soul of Isis transmigrated into the star which they called Sothis. The star Sothis being associated in this manner with their god Isis made it worthy of worship as well. The star which they could see took the place of the pagan god they could not see. We are now able to better understand the meaning behind the Bible verses Amo 5:26 and Act 7:43. The people of God were worshipping Remphan/Isis whose soul they believed dwelled in the star Sothis. The star became the emblem for the god they worshipped.
We know Isis to be an alias of Cybele from the previous chapter which examined her. The fact the Egyptians considered Sothis to be sovereign over the rest of the stars lends credence to this connection because, as you will remember, another of Cybele's aliases was "Queen of Heaven." Here is the chart of Aliases for Cybele used in the previous chapter. The title has been changed to "Queen of Heaven" since this is a title by which she is known in the Bible. The names Remphan, Sothis, and Soth have been added to reflect the information we have just learned.
|“Queen of Heaven” Aliases||Spouse||Brother|
|Alma Mater||Elder Vesta||Ishtar||Mother Earth||Pessinuntia||Saturn||Saturn|
|Astroarche||Estia||Isis||Mother of the gods||Remphan|
|Berecynthia Mater||Fatua||Magna Deorum||Mygdonia||Rhea|
|Bona Dea||Fauna||Magna Pales||Mylitta||Soth|
|Dindyme or Dindymene||Idaea Mater||Melechet||Pasithea||Virgin Mary|
Both Saturn and Isis/Cybele were closely tied to the Saturnalia and those customs it shares with Christmas. Therefore, both of the opinions expressed in the Encyclopedia Britannica article lead us to the same conclusion. Remphan is the same as either Saturn or Isis, both of which were worshipped at the Saturnalia which of course connects the pagan rituals surrounding their worship with the time of the winter solstice and Christmas. Additionally, the worship of Saturn and Isis/Sothis was likely intertwined then much like it has been for the past two thousand years. The fact these pagan deities were worshipped at the time of the Exodus illuminates a sobering reality: many of the pagan customs associated with Christmas may have been common to the Saturnalia, but the origins of those customs predate the Exodus. The following quote confirms the connection between Sothis and Isis and also provides a clue to help identify her in pagan symbolism.
The Grecian name of the dog-star Sirius, which was consecrated to the goddess Isis. ‘The heliacal rising of this star marked the commencement of the Egyptian civil year, and in their astronomy Sothis was regarded as the queen of thirty-six constellations, which presided successively over the thirty-six decades of the year. The Sothic Cycle was one of the most important eras in Egyptian chronology, and its recurrence has been recorded in several temples. A portion of that of Denderah was consecrated to celebrating the rising of this star, which was also worshipped at Assuan at the temple of Isis’" (Cooper 533).
Again, we see the same type of language used for Sothis (Isis) which we became familiar with in our study of Cybele. The title "Queen of Thirty-Six Constellations" relates precisely with Cybele's epithet — "Queen of Heaven." The title "Queen of Thirty-Six Constellations" will now be added to the chart of aliases.
|“Queen of Heaven” Aliases||Spouse||Brother|
|Alma Mater||Estia||Magna Deorum||Mylitta||Soth||Saturn||Saturn|
|Berecynthia Mater||Fauna||Mater||Pasithea||Virgin Mary|
|Cybele||Idaea Mater||Mother Earth||Queen of Thirty-Six Constellations|
|Dindyme or Dindymene||Ishtar||Mother of the Gods||Remphan|
Notice the pagan Sothis is equated with the triangle at the top of the previous quote. The triangle is more important and more relevant to the star and pagan symbolism than one might suppose. Shortly, we will see how the triangle is used to construct the star associated with this heathen deity. First, the following quote reiterates the connection between the triangle and Sothis. This quote will also introduce us to the masculine side of the pagan god Isis-Sothis.
This quote tells us four important things.
1. Sopt is the masculine form of Isis-Sothis.
2. The symbol for this pagan deity is the triangle.
3. Another masculine name for this pagan god is Horus.
4. This pagan god is connected with sun worship.
The names Horus and Sopt are now added to our chart of aliases.
|“Queen of Heaven” aliases||Spouse||Brother|
|Berecynthia Mater||Fauna||Magna Pales||Ops||Soth|
|Dindyme or Dindymene||Idaea Mater||Mother Earth||queen of thirty-six constellations|
|Elder Vesta||Ishtar||Mother of the Gods||Remphan|
The fact this pagan god is known as both a male divinity and a female divinity is intrinsic to paganism as described in the following quote.
After learning pagan gods have a male and female representation, one may reasonably consider the possibility Cybele can be linked to every pagan deity. This may explain why she is often called the "goddess with ten thousand names."
The more a person learns of this pagan deity, the more one can see Mary Ann Dwight is not exaggerating in the following quote.
Furthermore, if we are to believe Macrobius, the sum of every pagan deity can be linked directly to the sun and the worship thereof.
Finally, those who discourse on the gods show that the sun's power is reckoned as the totality of all powers . . ." (Macrobius 209, 307).
Our chart of aliases could realistically be re-written to include the name of every pagan deity, and we could simply change the title to read Satan's Aliases.
Now, we will take a closer look at how the star is constructed from the triangle. Two different quotes (Cooper and Offord) have now informed us the symbol for the pagan deity called Isis-Sothis, or Horus, is the triangle. This is the same triangle which is so often used to make a star by various religious orders. The animation here shows how the triangles are used to form the star commonly associated with Judaism, Freemasonry, the order of the Eastern Star, as well as other religious sects. This animation accurately depicts the description in the following quote taken from a Freemason publication. This quote describes how the star is made from triangles and also explains the symbolism involved with the star and its parts.
In our Hiramic Legend we to-day have a dramatic symbolism representing the revivification of the earth after the death of winter; or, in other words, of Life, Death and Resurrection—the same symbolism as is to be found in the Osiric and Scandinavian legends, the mysteries of the Cabiri, of Isis, of Bacchus and the Druidical rites. To the man studying nature, the Sun is the place in the universe for the throne of the Deity. It strikes his observation as the emblem of God's power. He therefore hung up a circular disc of bright metal as a symbol, painting on his temple walls a circle to represent the Most High.
Fire and Water were the next most remarkable agencies he knew. Fire he represented as a triangle with its apex pointing upwards; Water as a triangle pointing downwards. Conjointly, these triangles form an Hexalpha, which, inside a circle, became the jewel of the Royal Arch. This double interlaced triangle, known as the 'Seal of King Solomon,' is a very ancient symbol. The Brahmins coupled the names of Siva, the God of Fire, with Vishnu, the God of Water (in the Circle of the Deity) as the great Hindu trinity. The Circumference, a line without beginning or end, represented Eternity just as the Snake, drawn in circle form, with its tail in its mouth, was symbolic of the eternal). the symbol then, as to-day, standing to represent the Triune God, which was, and is, and shall be, without beginning or end, all-powerful, all-destructive, all-healing" (Carson 12).
This quote is filled with the same type of language we read again and again in pagan literature. In our quest for the truth about Christmas, we see one common recurring theme among pagans is the celebration of the rebirth of the sun at the winter solstice. In this quote, we again find similar language as Mr. Carson writes about the “revivification of the earth after the death of winter.” He also confirms the connection between sun worship and Osiris, Isis, and Bacchus. The adoration for the sun is made obvious when he tells us it is the “throne of the deity.” Mr. Carson then goes on to describe the two triangles representing fire and water which make up the hexalpha or 6 pointed star. He then connects these symbols to the pagan idols of Hinduism. Throughout the text, there is an attempt to equate all these pagan idols such as Isis, Siva, and Vishnu with the One True God. This connection is clearly contrary to scripture. The use of the star described in this quote is also clearly against scripture. This star made up of one triangle representing water and another triangle representing fire has deep roots in paganism as the above quote makes clear. Besides being called the Royal Arch and the Seal of King Solomon, these triangles also symbolize the pagan idols Shamash and Dagon.
That path is paved with the crushed remains of the idols he once served.
The Bible clearly shows the nature of the pagan idol Dagon. The Bible tells us the Philistines credited Dagon when they captured Samson and put out his eyes (Jdg 16:23). The Bible also tells us the Philistines hung King Saul's head in the temple of Dagon after the battle at Mount Gilboa (1Ch 10:10). The Bible also makes clear the god Dagon is no God. When the Philistines stole the ark of God, they placed it in the temple of Dagon. However, God toppled the idol of Dagon on its face so the idol bowed down to the ark of the LORD. When Dagon's worshippers set the idol back up, God toppled the idol again. This time the head and the hands were broken off of the idol (1Sa 5:2 - 1Sa 5:5). The symbolism seems clear: there was no wisdom in the idol, so it had no need of a head; and the idol could do nothing, so its hands were of no use.
Humanity has refused to learn the lessons of history. Time after time, the pages of our Bible deliver the same message: there is One God. Idols are worthless figures made by the hands of man. They can do nothing. They are not worthy of comparison to God. Their power is confined to the delusional minds of misinformed men. These worthless objects of harlotry continue to lead mankind astray. They scorch him as he blindly follows them along detours through vast spiritual deserts. Mankind must fight the delusion of Satan’s mirage and trample the idols underfoot as he trudges through the darkness. The correct path will be lit by the realization these pagan idols cannot save and have no place in our religious rites. There is but one narrow path connecting man to his Maker. For the former pagan and many reformed Christians, that path is paved with the crushed remains of the idols he once used in his religious service. Only God can save. This is the knowledge that leads to the waiting, caring, forgiving, loving hand of God.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
This message has been repeatedly rejected by God's people, and all too often, the pagan lure dangled in front of them has been Cybele in all her forms and with all her symbolic trappings.
The Bible tells us clearly the people who lived at the time of Jeremiah and Josiah were using idols associated with Cybele. Jeremiah 7:18 specifically mentions her by her alias "Queen of Heaven." Archeology confirms what the Bible tells us.
The far left stele in this image dates to the twelfth century B.C. and is currently at the Louvre. The Louvre webpage for a similar object tells us the eight-sided star is representative of Ishtar which is listed as an alias of Cybele or the “Queen of Heaven” in our chart of aliases.
This quote tells us Ishtar is represented as Venus. Remember, the quote from Barnett told us the cow represented Venus as well as Isis. Therefore, the inclusion of a star representing Venus in Christian religious operations would again be equally egregious to Aaron's use of a cow in the Israelite's religious operations. Venus is still known as the morning star as it was in antiquity. This is because the planet Venus appears as a bright star before the rising of the sun for a substantial part of the year. Therefore, when Christ states he is the bright and morning star in Revelation 22:16, those who take this symbolic statement literally will equate Christ with the planet Venus exactly as Aaron equated God with the ox and the golden calf.
Though not a star at all, the planet Venus appears as such a bright starlike point in the early morning skies, it has been mistaken for a 'Morning Star' for most of recorded time. Its striking appearance makes it noticeable to anyone who bothers to look up. This is because, with the exception of the moon, Venus is brighter than any other object in the night sky.
Since Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth is, the planet's orbit never takes it far from the Sun ( when viewed from our planet). As a result, Venus can only be seen in the early morning sky, rising in the east just before sunrise, or in the early evening sky, sinking toward the western horizon just after sunset.
What is the Evening Star?
Venus" (Knocke 131).
The descriptive symbolism we see used in the New Testament is the same descriptive symbolism we see used in the Old Testament. Look at this example from Psalms.
Psa 19:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Psa 19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
Psa 19:3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Psa 19:4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Psa 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
Psa 19:6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The idea of God knowing the end from the beginning in the Old Testament (Isa 46:10) is replicated by the new testament statement Christ is the beginning and the end (Rev 1:8).
Venus is also known as the evening star as we saw in the quote from Knocke above. Venus is seen as the beginning and the ending star: the morning and evening star. This relates well to the idea of God being the beginning and the end. If we were looking for a heavenly body to represent these symbolic descriptions of God, we would find no better suitor than the planet Venus. Our ancestors appear to have done just that. Scripture has always been misinterpreted by some as surely as some misinterpret it today. Christ told us there are few who find the way (Mat 7:14). Therefore, we should not be surprised when people top a Christmas tree with the star of Ishtar, or paint this star on their nation's flag, or use it as a symbol of their faith, or make it an integral part of their architectural designs. We know Ishtar is simply another name for the “Queen of Heaven” condemned in the Bible as a serious stumbling block for the people of God.
The people of God have been exposed to the star of Ishtar continuously since before Moses led them out of Egypt roughly 3400 years ago. We have seen how the triangles which represented Isis-Sothis (Horus) to the Egyptians of that time are used to make this star. The Bible also tells us the Egyptians were worshipping stars when God delivered His people at the time of the Exodus.
Deu 4:19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. Deu 4:20 But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.
We have seen clear depictions of the star of Ishtar used by pagans as a god who watched over the transactions on border stones. Some of these stones date from shortly after the Exodus. They show Nebuchadnezzar I who lived roughly 3100 years ago used the star on the border stones of his day. We know Solomon who died roughly 2900 years ago served Ashtoreth because the Bible tells us so in 2Ki 23:13. Ashtoreth is the same as Astroarche (Robinson, Edward 115) listed in our chart of aliases for the “Queen of Heaven.” One cannot reasonably doubt the star in Solomon’s seal (Star of David) which is synonymous with the Jewish people is none other than the star of Ishtar, the star of Isis, an emblem of the “Queen of heaven.” The custom of using the star of Ishtar on border stones continued through the time of Merodachbaladan (Hinke 20) who we see had friendly relations with Hezekiah in 2Ki 20:12 and Isa 39:1. Hezekiah's rule ended roughly 2700 years ago. The Bible reiterates God’s people were worshipping idols from the time they came out of Egypt until the time of Manasseh who was king of Judah about 2660 years ago.
2Ki 21:15 Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.
The Bible tells us they were bringing idols used in the worship of the sun, moon, planets, and stars into the temple of the LORD during this time.
2Ki 21:5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
The people of God were without doubt incorporating the “Queen of Heaven” in the form of Venus and the star of Ishtar into their religious operations at this time. The Bible confirms God's people were incorporating the planets into their worship up until Josiah ruled a couple of years after Manasseh. The following verse shows the people were worshipping all the host of heaven including planets.
2Ki 23:5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
The people continued to incorporate idols in their worship up until the time Josiah became king. The Bible tells us Josiah was the only king who fully turned to the LORD with all of his heart. Are we fully turning to the LORD with all of our heart if we are incorporating this star into our religious operations by hanging it on a Christmas tree in our home, place of work, or church?
2Ki 23:25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.
After Josiah, the people quickly turned back to idolatry, and before long they were being carted off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar II in what would be known as the Babylonian captivity. During the Babylonian captivity, the people of God continued to be exposed to the worship of the “Queen of Heaven.” One of Nebuchadnezzar II’s most infamous undertakings was the famed gate dedicated to her called the Ishtar gate. The image here is of one of the lions on the Ishtar gate. We learned from Macrobius in the previous chapter the mighty lion was a symbol of Cybele. Here we see the lion attached in stone to Cybele’s alias Ishtar. Daniel of the Bible would have likely been brought through this very gate as a captive into Babylon. The Temple of Ishtar of Agade was rebuilt under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (Koldewey 300). Captive Israelites were likely used as laborers in this restoration. God’s chosen people chose to worship the “Queen of Heaven” which could do nothing for them rather than the One True God who could have spared them. Because they chose to forsake God, He allowed them to be taken captive and to be subjected to forced labor in service of the very idol they chose over God. The irony is inescapable. Almost unbelievably, the same star made up of two triangles used in the worship of the “Queen of Heaven” is the same star seen on the Israeli flag today (see figure 4).
As Christians, we may think the meaning behind these symbols is irrelevant. But, these symbols and the meanings behind them are very important to some people and apparently to God (see Deuteronomy 12 especially Deu 12:1 - Deu 12:4 and Deu 12:30 - Deu 12:31).
Pagan symbolism is full of meaning. Christians must be aware of this fact. How are we different from pagans if we use the same symbolism in our religious rites they use in theirs? The Bible tells us not to worship God in the same manner the pagans worship their idols. These symbols such as the star are definitely used in the worship of pagan deities as we have seen.
Another well-known group associated with the star is The Order of the Eastern Star. They are generally considered to be the female counterpart to members of the Masons/Freemasons, although there are also male members of the Eastern Star. They claim to be Biblically based, and they also place a great deal of emphasis on both the star and the triangles which form the star.
The total tradition and history of the Order of the Eastern Star is dependent upon a knowledge of the symbols and legends of our fraternal organization" (Plessner IX-X).
While the six-pointed star appears to be more generally recognized, stars come in all manner of styles with different numbers of points. Looking back at the border stones in figure 3, one will notice stars with four, six, and eight points. Apparently, the four-pointed and eight-pointed stars are both associated with Ishtar (Cybele) depending upon which civilization and era are being considered.
"The lion headed dragon is the symbol of Nergal, identified with Saturn, while the eight-pointed star is certainly the symbol of Išhtar, identified with Venus, the morning and evening star" (Hinke 89, 106).
The eight-point star is often made by combining two squares. One square is set on one of its points and is superimposed over another square which is set on one of its flat sides. This animation shows how the squares are used to form the star. The eight-point star is called by different names depending upon who is referring to it. The Mormons call it the Seal of Melchizedek and include it in their artwork and architecture. In fact, the entire San Diego Mormon temple, built in 1993, is based upon this symbol. The floors, ceilings, elevator doors, glass, roof (skylight), landscaping, fencing, and even the driveway contain eight-pointed stars made of squares offset by forty-five degrees. This star is also found in Islamic architecture and Buddhist artwork. By adding darker shading to the octagon naturally created within the two squares, the eight lighter colored points become triangles. The animation here shows the octagon in grey and the triangles in yellow. This form of the star is often associated with eastern religions, and variants of this shape are especially prominent in Hindu religious artwork of their goddesses. Five-pointed stars and nine-pointed stars are often used by people of the Bahá'í faith as symbols in their religious operations. The pentagram or five-pointed star is widely used in black magic, and the inverted five-pointed star has become synonymous with Satanism. Interestingly, this is the same version of the star used by The Order of the Eastern Star as seen in the first image on the first row of figure 9. All stars seem to have a litany of pagan religious meaning connected to them none of which have any sort of Biblical foundation for the Christian.
Pagan Stars at Christmas Time
Do Pagans also use the star at Christmas time? If so, why do they incorporate the star into their religious operations at this time of year? We know from our investigation of Remphan, the star is connected to the worship of the pagan deities associated with the Saturnalia which connects directly to Christmas traditions. The timing of the Saturnalia is based on the winter solstice which is a very important event in Pagan ritual. The winter solstice marks the birth of the year for pagans today as it has since at least the time of the exodus. Naturally, therefore, the star itself has become symbolic of the year for pagans. The eight-point star is related to the eight-armed sun cross or wheel of life in paganism. Each of the eight arms, emanating out from the center of the wheel like spokes, points to a pagan holiday. Therefore, Pagans call an eight-pointed star within a circle the wheel of the year. The holidays may vary from sect to sect. However, three of the points of the eight-armed sun cross almost universally point to three pagan holidays which coincide closely with three holidays celebrated by many Christians. These are Samhain (Halloween), Yule (Christmas), and Ostara (Easter).
The observance of the winter solstice and the celebrations accompanying this observance date back to before the exodus and are intrinsically woven into the fabric of Pagan life.
Around the time of the Exodus, the Egyptians and God’s people alike carried the star of the god Remphan/Sothis and celebrated this pagan idol with feasting and festivity at the Pagan new year. This is the same time of the year Christmas is celebrated today and coincides closely with the day New years is celebrated all over the world. However, this is not consistent with the timing of the Biblical new year. God delivered His people from Egyptian bondage both in terms of the physical slavery they endured under the Egyptians and also in terms of the spiritual bondage they had picked up in practicing paganism alongside the Egyptians. The Exodus and in particular the Passover was symbolic of Christ giving himself for a sacrifice to deliver us from the bondage of sin. It was a new beginning and coincided with the beginning of the Biblical year. God told the people that the Passover which is in the spring is in the first month of the year.
Exo 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
it shall be the first month of the year to you.
One needs to read Exodus 12:1 through Exodus 12:11 to see the context of that verse is the Passover. So, the Biblical new year is not on December 25 or January 1 using today's calendar as many people now take for granted. The Biblical new year is in the spring. God made this very clear, and it is part of the way God delivered His people from the spiritual bondage of the Egyptians and their own sin: by releasing them from the pagan service they were performing to the stars (Venus/Sothis), their related pagan deities (Rephan/Isis/Cybele), and the sun in homage to the rebirth of the pagan year. Today, however, God’s people still place the same star God called the "star of your god" atop their trees and follow the same pagan practices including feasting and festivity at the winter solstice which is the Pagan new year and is the foundational basis for the timing of Christmas. The Exodus is also symbolic of a future event: the final delivery of God’s people from the bondage of this fleshly existence. Until then, will God’s people continue to lift the star of Rephan up and place it atop their tree at the winter solstice? This star leads to spiritual darkness and away from the emanating light of Christ.
Do Pagan Stars Look Like Real Stars?
Are man-made stars really representative of actual stars? Do stars really look like the shape commonly called a star? If not, where did the shape come from? Due to entoptic phenomena within the eye and diffraction spikes in telescopes and cameras, one can see a definite similarity between man-made stars and the real thing. These phenomena are normally perceived as vertical and horizontal lines emanating from a bright center. These phenomena do not, however, resemble or explain the triangles and squares which are often used to make man-made stars. This all leads one to the conclusion people copied what they saw in nature and then attached pagan symbolism, rites, and worship to what they had created. In doing so, they had transformed the beauty of the night sky given to us by our Creator into shameful idols.
Stars in Religious Ceremony
Should we incorporate the star in our religious rites and ceremonies? Some may say the star atop the Christmas tree represents the star of Bethlehem, but everything we have learned in this chapter tells us that star has long been an integral part of pagan worship. Does placing a star atop a Christmas tree equate with worshiping the star? One could argue that point either way. Interestingly, if we look at how the star was used by the people who God chastened in the Bible for using it, one could also argue they were not worshiping it. Look at Amo 5:26.
Amo 5:26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
Notice the Bible says "ye have borne" it. What does the word "borne" mean? We can look at Strong's dictionary to define this word in context.
The definition here tells us the people were lifting the star up. They were exalting it, magnifying it, or showing it some form of respect. Apparently, they were not bowing down to it and worshipping it, but they were giving it a place of prominence in their religious ceremonies. The question we must ask ourselves is what are we doing if we place a star atop a Christmas tree? Are we lifting it up? Are we exalting it? Are we magnifying it, showing some kind of respect to it, or giving it a place of prominence in our religious ceremony or in our home? We must each answer that for ourselves. Look at that verse from Amos in context and notice the people were worshipping God and keeping God's feast days which He had implemented, but they were doing so while also incorporating some pagan rituals involving a star.
Amo 5:21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Amo 5:22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Amo 5:23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. Amo 5:24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amo 5:25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? Amo 5:26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Amo 5:27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.
God consistently condemns the mixing of pagan rituals or idols with worship directed toward Him. The word of God never tells us to incorporate a star in our worship service. On the contrary, the man-made star is only associated with idolatry in the Bible.
We began this chapter with six questions. We can now answer those questions using what we have learned.
1. The Bible condemns the use of the star in religious rites.
2. God’s people have been using the star in religious ceremony right alongside the pagans since the time of the Exodus long before the coming of Christ.
3. The stars used in religious ceremonies represent pagan ideas.
4. Pagan tradition is the basis for Christians, Jews, and pagans incorporating the star into their religious operations during the time of the Christmas season each year.
5. The stars used in religious ceremonies often resemble images of real stars, and they become idols when incorporated into religious operations. They are also often constructed of pagan symbolism using squares or triangles.
6. Incorporating the star into religious practices has consistently landed the people of God in hot water so to speak.
Should the star of pagan deities, in any of its forms, be part of our religious service to Christ? The Bible tells us not to include the idols of paganism in our worship of God (Deu 12:4). We can learn from history by looking at what happened to God's people when they decided to disobey God and include the star in their religious rites.
Jer 9:13 And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; Jer 9:14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: Jer 9:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. Jer 9:16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.
Jeremiah warned the people what would happen prior to the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 B.C. In this warning, Jeremiah specifically mentioned a place called Tophet (Jer 7:31 - Jer 7:32, Jer 19:11 - Jer 19:14. The Jewish Encyclopedia shows an etymological connection between Tophet and Ashtoreth ("Queen of Heaven") which implies a connection between the place and the idol.
This further illustrates the people of that time were worshipping the "Queen of Heaven" who we know was symbolized by the very star now associated with Christmas. King Josiah fulfilled one of Jeremiah's prophecies by destroying the pagan idols at Topeth as he tried to bring the nation back to God (2 Kings 23:10). Jeremiah's prophecy had told of how the bones of people who incorporated the sun, moon, and stars in their religious rites would be brought out of their sepulchers and spread before those same heavenly bodies they had loved and served.
Jer 8:1 At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves: Jer 8:2 And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.
This prophecy was fulfilled by King Josiah in 2Ki 23:16. Jeremiah went on to describe the state of the people. He says they were continually backsliding, and they were corrupt from the smallest to the greatest. This included the priests. They did not recognize the judgment of God had fallen on them, and they failed to repent. This could very easily be a description of the state of the world today. People fail to recognize God and fail to see Christendom is thoroughly infected with the same types of paganism for which God's people have been repeatedly destroyed in the past. The same star (star of Ishtar) worshipped when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 586 B.C. is the same star now commonly associated with Christmas. We must not follow after the world. We must follow God and prove what is acceptable to God. Christ is our light, and our belief in Him will lead us away from the darkness of pagan ritual.
Joh 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
A star topping a Christmas tree or contained in other Christmas decorations cannot draw us one fraction of an inch closer to Christ. However, if we spend the same amount of time in prayer or reading the Bible which we would have spent buying, hanging, or otherwise engaged with a decorative star we will indeed draw closer to Christ. God is our light. Long after the sun and the moon and the stars are gone, God will be the light.
Rev 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
The Bible tells us not to worship God in the same manner the pagans worship their gods. The star, in all of its forms, is one of the most common idols among pagans of every denomination. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are not immune to the effects of the star. The star has cast its dark shadow across the course of human history arresting men’s souls and leading God’s people into oblivion. We must walk away from the dark abyss of the pagan star and toward the light of God so the love of God can shine within our hearts.
The next logical step through this list of traditions and customs is to take a look at the tree which rests beneath the star just examined.
By Robby Lockeby