The Third Dispensation featured the first instance of man uniting under a common purpose. Unfortunately, their purpose was comparative and the dispensation failed.
Although their community was fractured and dispersed as a result of judgment, the people took what they established at Babel with them, and it formed the basis of much of our historic social structure. One of the things established at Babel was “organized religion” (systematic alternatives to God’s Plan).
I’d planned on looking at the two people who started the institutionalization of organized religion, but I need to give some background information first. Organized religion is a corruption of God’s true plan. But in order to show how that truth was corrupted, it has to be shown that the truth of God’s plan was established and known in the first place.
When I was a college undergrad, I took a class on anthropology (mostly because I was pursuing a cute girl who was in the class…but I digress). I received a lower than expected grade on a paper I wrote about ancient civilizations, and when I asked about it, my professor stated that I lost points because I used the Bible as an academic reference.
When I objected, he (literally) laughed in my face and told me that the Bible is completely unreliable and fraudulent. He said that the major themes of the Bible – creation, original sin, the fall of man, redemption, the virgin birth of the “Son of God”, his sacrifice and resurrection, as well as his return to judge evil – all pre-date the Bible by many centuries. He claimed that the writers of the Bible simply plagiarized these ideas and modified them to fit their culture.
When I did more research, I found that what he said had some merit! There are striking similarities between many of the ancient religious of the other cultures in the area where most of the Biblical narrative takes place (Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Sumerians, Greeks, etc). So does this make the Bible the first occurrence of identity theft?
The original manuscript in the sky
The Bible was written between 1500 BC and 95AD, but we know that God’s plan for man’s redemption pre-dates the Biblical manuscript (in fact it begins with the first two people that existed. It can’t get much earlier than that). And logically, a manuscript that documents this plan can’t be considered fraudulent based solely on the idea that it was written many years after the fact.
But the truth is that the Bible is not the first documentation of God’s plan. It was documented in a medium that is much older even than any of the ancient texts from which people like my former professor claim that the Bible plagiarized. Where? Just look up!
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. – Genesis 1:14-15
God intended the stars to be used to track seasons and signs. What signs? Among other things, signs that tell the story of His plan! God used stars and constellations as a pneumonic of the entire plan of redemption. The gospel message is literally written in the stars.
The constellations that are a common part of astronomy tell the story of redemption. From the time of Adam forward, men had knowledge of the major themes of redemption from the virgin birth to the Second Coming. The charts on this site are a good place to start if you want to do an in-depth study of this.
Now I know that this subject matter is pretty controversial because it looks like tacit endorsement of astrology. Let me be clear, I AM NOT mixing God and astrology. Astrology is a man-made, quasi-occultic corruption of the original intent of the constellations; which purports that our personalities and destinies are influenced by the position and gravitational effects of the stars when we are born (which is kind of silly since the doctor who delivered you had a far greater gravitational effect on you that a constellation millions of light-years away.)
But does the Bible acknowledge named constellations and their importance? Actually, yes. In the book of Job, God gives the titular protagonist a three-chapter science lecture/quiz, and the constellations was one of the topics:
“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? – Job 38:31-33 (NKJV)
“Mazzeroth” is the Hebrew word for constellation. Also mentioned in this passage are the constellations of Orion, the Pleiades, and Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (the Great Bear with its cubs).
Its also interesting that the familiar word for the constellations “Zodiac”, is Zodiakos, in Greek, meaning a “way having steps (or stages)”. The root word comes from the Hebrew “soad” which means “the way”. The first followers of Jesus were initially called followers of “the Way”. (They were later labeled “Christians” by others in a semi-derogatory way.)
Again, the Mazzeroth has NOTHING to do with any sort of mystical divination, fortunetelling, date setting, predictions, or the like. It was (and is) a visual depiction, and constant reminder that that God has a plan.
A down to earth explanation
But don’t worry if the whole “Gospel in the stars” idea still doesn’t fly with you. The Mazzeroth isn’t the only proof that the details of God’s plan were known before the Bible was written. The book of Jude says that Enoch, who lived during the Second Dispensation, preached about the second coming of Christ accompanied by believers to execute judgment. So either Enoch got a 3000 year advance copy of Revelation 19, or the details of God’s plans were circulating during his time.
So the reason that all the ancient religions have similar features is because they are all corruptions of the original story. And how do we know the Bible is the accurate original? Because it was inspired by the first cause of existence.
The people of the Third dispensation are responsible for the first corruption of the Mazzeroth (the Tower of Babel is believed by Bible scholars to have been a Ziggurat – an ancient temple used to worship the stars). After the people were dispersed, they carried the corruption (organized religion) with them and modified it to fit their cultures and social structures.
So how exactly did the corruption begin, and why was it so influential? We’ll begin answering those questions in the next post.
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