Israelite tabernacle and temples....of pagan origin?

by Alana 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Alana

    I believe that it was the History Channel that I was watching this was about Egypt--Land of the gods. In it is talked about the ancient gods of Egypt and the elaborate Egyptian temples. Then, it spoke of how when the Israelites left Egypt how they at first had their movable tabernacle and then their temples and how the set-up of them with the courtyards and the Holy and Most Holy places were based upon the pharoahic worship and temples of the Egyptians.

    That certainly caught my attention.....of course, my boyfriend didn't understand why I was so interested in what was said and then I explained how JW's are to abhor things with pagan origins (or at least those which the WTS have hand-picked to have JW's abhor)....and to think that the ancient Jewish temple was based upon pagan religion would be hard to some JW's to handle. Remember, even the NWT had the drawing of the temple in it and I remember talks about how "Holy" the temple was....straight from Jehovah. Well, sounds like it wasn't straight from heaven after all.......Anyone else see this or hear of this before?


  • shamus

    Everything has pagan origin.......

    Trace back anything, and you will see. JWs see - at least the pharisees do...

  • gitasatsangha

    whether Hebrews came from Egypt is still sketchy at best. But they were close neighbors, and unlike Israel, Egypt had culture and a lot of it for a long time. Hebrews, on ther other hand, were nothing more then nomadic herdsman. Anything near Egypt was likely to be highly influenced by it (take the pyramids of Sudan, for instance or certain place names). Egypt is still influencing design to this day. It wasn't likely that Israel was going to develop an archetectural style from scratch. The basically had to choose from Egyptian, Phonecian or go out further along the Fertile Crescent. Phonecia obviously played a big part in it, but I'd bet its likely so did egyptian influences.

  • Satanus

    It wouldn't surprise me at all. Moses' name is egyptian. Some people think the hebrews in egypt were the hyksos, the socalled shepherd kings, who were later driven out.


  • bebu
    It wasn't likely that Israel was going to develop an archetectural style from scratch.

    Right. Many good points there! And no culture developed in a vacuum. (Even Egypt had a beginning, and was influenced by neighboring cultures, BTW...)

    I think that it is not such a terrible thing to assert that God used concepts that were already around the Hebrews/Jews. The 10 commandments is written in a style common to contracts made between vassals and rulers. Even Abraham, when he made a sacrifice on an altar, had learned these concepts from the culture in which he grew up; he did not create them himself.

    The assumption that every concept/style originated with Biblical authors or characters is not true. It shakes the beliefs of some folks, but if you turn the telescope around and look thru the other end, you see other kinds of truth entirely.

    For one thing, you see that God has placed truths in each culture as pegs, spots where He could hang the gospel. Sacrifice is a commonly understood idea thru out all races, for example, as men entreaty their god(s) for some favor. Certain places are designated as being holier/sacred than others. Certain writings and traditions are given prominence. Certain events get celebrated. What is right/clean/good are concepts that, tho' there can be disagreements, everyone understands.

    For another thing, you see that God is being very kind and gracious, respecting the cultures of men. He is not the angry, fascist Jehovah of the WT. He stoops down to speak with us in the places where we are at, in this moment; not creating a "perfect culture" (a pure language??), demanding that we must join--or else. God has such divine humility. It is a relief to think that God doesn't automatically reject everything that man creates. He is a lot more relaxed about "form" than you've heard. And culture is a "form" for expression.

    So, I believe there are universal concepts that all races can understand, and that God used a particular primitive one, that had influence from a more advanced one, to reveal Himself. He pulled from what was around to communicate, and revealed Himself in new ways as well. Is that scandalous? I don't think so. It does means that folks who built their theology on the foundation that "Israel was going to develop an archetectural style/theology/culture from scratch" are going to be shaken.

    BTW, in Christian missions, as opposed to JW missions, the missionary looks for the truths and concepts that are already there in the culture. This is called 'contextualization'. Is this culture similar to the OT culture, or do they have well-developed sciences? Who are their gods/demons? How effective is their god(s)? How do the people deal with shame and/or guilt? What kind of truths do their writings/rituals reveal? What stories do they tell? What is important? What are their symbols? Etc. etc.

    It is not necessary to reinvent the whole culture, but within the new culture, working just with what they already have, it is possible to adapt their cultural stories/symbols and contextualize the gospel to them. It is a rather interesting field, actually, combining all the social sciences with communication.

    Of course, this is why JWs feel superior to Christians, as they refuse to deal with anything "pagan", and won't touch Christmas or Easter or birthdays or.. or... or... Bad news, guys: so much of what is part of our everyday life comes from odd places (but you all already knew that!) .

    Anyway, I think God has already shown that He was willing to contextualize personally, by putting the sacred Word into the vulgar human context. Incarnation.

    Well, this was a 'quick' agreement with gitasatsangha that got waaaay out of hand...


  • gitasatsangha
    BTW, in Christian missions, as opposed to JW missions, the missionary looks for the truths and concepts that are already there in the culture.

    Or offer food and money for the locals to change their religion. There's a reason missionaries are killed in places like India and the Congo. No one likes them. Christian missionaries are fundamentally no different then JWs in that regard. The main aim of missionaries is to change people's religion. If not, then why not let the locals abide by the truths and concepts that are already there in the culture. They may have a helluva lot more truth and concepts in one pinky then the missionary has in that entire archaic book he quotes from.

    Hearing about missionaries kicked our or killed never makes me sad. It's chickens coming home to roost, to misquote another nonchristian

  • neverthere

    I had an aunt and uncle who were evangelical baptist missionaries in the Belgian Congo in the 40s and 50s, they were chased out by the headhunters and almost killed. Luckily they made it out alive. For their service to the christian god they were rewarded with almost dying from heart worm, my aunt died a horrible death from alzheimers and my uncle has 20th century disease.

    Most christian religious holidays were plunked down on pagan ones in order for the christians to try and stamp out our religion. It didn't work and mostlikely will never work, as the christian congregations get smaller the pagan communites grow and prosper, makes you wonder,


  • Sirona


    It is my understanding that the theme even of Jesus's sacrificial death and susequent resurrection comes from ideas of pagan religion. In egypt the Pharoah had to pour out his own blood as a sacrifice. The deities reflected the Father, Virgin and Son theme aswell. If you look into ancient religion there are many similarities to the bible theme.

    Even nowadays pagans have as part of their beliefs a Virgin mother who gives birth to a God, who is subsequently sacrificed to save mankind.


  • Yerusalyim


    If Christians are killed in other countries for prosetylization, what about folks like Mother Teresa. She wasn't a missionary at all, yet was hated and reviled by many in India. Nuns in her Order were killed too. All they did was try to give a dignified death to the dying.

    Trying to convert someone isn't a crime, and it should bother you that other religious groups and societies would view that as a valid reason to kill someone. Should we in the US or the UK start killing the Muslim missionaries in our countries?

  • Satanus


    Should we in the US or the UK start killing the Muslim missionaries in our countries?

    Was that bait? We are much more refined and subtle about it. Not that i'm in total disagreement. It's the false reasons and false standards that irritate me.


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