An interesting excerpt.
Origin Of The Fish Symbol <><
The modern churches of the world will tell you that the initial letters of the Greek phrase "Iesous Chreistos Theou Uios Soter" [Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior], as an acronym, form the Greek word ICHTHUS, which means "fish." One source even purports that the symbol was used by believers in the early days of persecution as a secret sign of their shared faith. Allegedly, one person would draw an arc in the sand, and the other would complete the sign to show his "brotherhood in Christ." (Source: Symbols in Christian Art and Architecture) This symbol is used, Christians are told, because we are called to be "fishers of men." But as often happens when something smells fishy, the truth of the origins go further back in history than the time of Christ. Lets spend a few moments reviewing the birth of the fish into professing Christianity.
"The fish first appear in an early myth, pushing a giant egg out of the waters of the river Euphrates. From the egg emerged the love - goddess Atagartis (Venus). Both she and her son-lover, Ichthys (Cupid), took the form of fishes and in all her temples there were sacred fish ponds." ["Star Myths, Tales of the Constellations". Marianne McDonald 1996 Friedman Group.]. (Isaiah 19:10 And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish.) The Greek astronomer Ertosthenes (born 27 BCE) tells us that the origin of the fish symbolism is Derke a Syrian goddess who was half-fish, half-woman. The Greeks used a derivation of a word from Adir and Dag (Great and Fish) it was drawn with a woman's head upon a huge fish's body and such was connected with the Syrian Dagon and the Jewish Dagalin, their title for the Two Fishes. Fishes were sacred to the Greeks and Romans, being connected with the worship of Aphrodite (Venus). An interesting survival of pagan ritualism is found in the custom of eating fish on Friday. Freya, in whose honor the day was named, was the Scandinavian Venus, and this day was sacred among many nations to the goddess of beauty and fecundity.
This analogy further links the fish with the procreative 'mystery'. The fish outline figure was chosen by several ancient cults of goddess worship as a symbol of the goddess due to the fact if you turn it on end, it looks like the female sex organ. Please realize that many pagan ancient cultures were totally immersed in religious sytems that glorified and held in great esteem the cycles of nature, fertility of the earth and people; and sexual activity was even used IN their ritualized religious temple services. B. G. Walker's book, "The Woman's Encyclopaedia of Myths and Secrets" says: "The fish symbol has been used for millennia worldwide as a religious symbol associated with the Pagan Great Mother Goddess. It is the outline of her vulva. The first symbol was often drawn by overlapping two very thin crescent moons. One represented the crescent shortly before the new moon; the other shortly after, when the moon is just visible. The Moon is the heavenly body that has long been associated with the Goddess, just as the sun is a symbol of the God. The link between the Goddess and fish was found in various areas of the ancient world. In China, Great Mother Kwan-yin often portrayed in the shape of a fish. In India, the Goddess Kali was called the "fish-eyed one". In Egypt, Isis was called the Great Fish of the Abyss. In Greece the Greek word 'delphos' meant both fish and womb. The word is derived from the location of the ancient Oracle at Delphi who worshipped the original fish goddess, Themis. The later fish Goddess, Aphrodite Salacia, was worshipped by her followers on her sacred day, Friday. They ate fish and engaging in orgies. From her name comes the English word "salacious" which means lustful or obscene. Also from her name comes the name of our fourth month, April. In later centuries, the Christian church adsorbed this tradition by requiring the faithful to eat fish on Friday - a tradition that was only recently abandoned."[B. G. Walker, "The Woman's Encyclopaedia of Myths and Secrets", Harper & Row, San Francisco CA, 1983, Pg 313-314]
In Rev. Alexander Hislop's book The Two Babylons, pp. 252 and 270, we read, "that Icthus, or the Fish, was one of the names of Bacchus." Bacchus was just another name for Tammuz, the Sun-deity who as Horus in Egypt had been a fish from time immemorial, and when the equinox entered the sign of Pisces, Horus, was portrayed as Ichthys with the fish sign of over his head. The fish, as a pair of fishes or pisces, is part of the Chaldean (Babylonian) zodiac, as one of the signs of astral worship with the Sun at the center of the zodiac. It therefore formed part of, and was a sign of Sun-worship. The son of the Syrian goddess Atargatis was also known as Ichthus. Another Fish-deity was the Babylonian Ea, who became known amongst the Greeks as Oannes, similar to the Fish-deity of the Philistines called Dagon, halfman and half fish. The Fish is also associated with the sun..."the god of the sun...as a fish," also being an Egyptian phallic emblem, as well as a sign of fecundity for their many eggs, or the female generative organ, or of female goddesses.
The early Catholic church adopted many elements of pagan worship [syncretism] by "Christianizing" pagan practices, emblems and even pagan deities with stories that masked their pagan origin into something that looked more "christian.". Paganism was mixed with the Apostolic Beliefs and the association of the fish with Jesus was another attempt at religious snycretism. "The fish symbol of the yonic Goddess was so revered throughout the Roman empire that Christian authorities insisted on taking it over, with extensive revision of myths to deny its earlier female-genital meanings." ["The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, by Barbara G. Walker]
Augustine, the Catholic Church Father, weakly explained, "If you combine the initial letters of the five Greek words, which are Iesous Chreistos Theou Uios Soter, Jesus Christ the Son of God the Saviour, they make the word ichthus, meaning fish, and the mystic meaning of this noun is Christ, because He had power to exist alive, that is, without sin, in the bottomless pit of our mortal life, as in the depths of the sea." A testimony from an early "church father", a man named Faustus, wrote to Augustine, stating: "You have substituted your love-feasts for the sacrifices of the Pagans; for their idols your martyrs, whom you serve with the very same honours. You appease the shades of the dead with wine and feasts; you celebrate the solemn festivals of the Gentiles, their calends, and their solstices; and as to their manners, those you have retained without any alteration. Nothing distinguises you from the Pagans, except that you hold your assemblies apart from them." [Quoted by Draper, Science and Religion, p. 48.] In The Two Babylons Hislop states that Jesus "began to be popularly called ICHTHYS (or ICHTHUS), that is 'the Fish', manifestly to identify Him with Dagon." Dagon was the Fish-deity of the Phillistines.
The Catholic church was so fond of this pagan association that the Popes miter took the shape of the fish-head of Dagonish priests. The fish symbol was easily associated to the female Catholic devotees called "Nuns". The word 'nun' means both 'fish' and 'growth' and originated with the Old Egyptian Deity "Nun-Naunet". Among early paganized-Christians three interlocking fishes were used to symbolize the Trinity, and the fish is also one of the eight sacred symbols of the Buddha.
We have learned that the symbol of the fish being associated with Christ was a product of religious syncretism which painted the pagan symbol with a veneer of 'christianity.' The fish symbol is pagan ... then again ... any symbols used in worship of God would be pagan. Regardless of the fish outline symbols origin, it is clear that symbols should not be used in Christian worship.
The adoration or veneration of the fish emblem (or any image) is clearly and emphatically forbidden in Deut. 4:15-19. "Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: 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." (KJV)
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
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