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TyrantsWrath TyrantsWrath 26-30, M 6 Answers Jun 6 in Community

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He was not the god of thunder that was Thor. As for aliens no just like all gods they are man made.

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well I Belive in God I think that some may have been alien in origin. but I do belive in a suprime creator. we may call him God but nobody knows what he really is

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Where is the proof of this creator not a single scientific piece of evidence has been found for its existence. The universe the planet earth and life can be explained scientifically and proven that no great creator had anything to do with it.

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not logi8cal we are the proof we are here something had to put us here and btw evoloution is also a relgion all the no one has ever seen any animal change into another animal and as for the fossels there is no way to prove that then bones had any off spring that lived is there?

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Evolution is NOT a religion it is a scientific theory. Now the difference between a theory and a scientific theory is that every fact has been checked thousands of times to prove it is a FACT. A normal theory is just someone saying I think trees eat babies and grow wings at night. No facts no scientific theory.
You really need to get your head out of books written thousands of years ago by men in mud huts who couldn't understand BASIC science.

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we did not come from a monkey. evoloution is a relgoin a extremely dumb one to boot it teachs that all live came from suop and that soup came from a rock. how dumb can you get? it also teachs that a banana and a humen are related. now come on who could belive that? Fact no one has EVER seen any animal chage into a different animal. its a relgion.

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Science has NEVER said we came from monkeys as I said you REALLY need to educate yourself. Primates are a varied species just have a look at the amount of different types.
Now where did you get this idea from that a creator was involved.

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Because something had to make us the earth did not just pop up at a perfact distance from the sun. are bodys are EXTREMILY complex they did not just form them selves or magicly over timed morphed from a complety different animal

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What is you source of this information if you cant back up your claim with some source then you have no basis for a debate,

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its simple logic something cannot come from nothing its impossabble the humen body is a desigin like a computer. so that suggests a desiginer logicaly because its by far to complex just to form itself under random chance

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It cant be simple logic if you have no documentation to back up your notion. You need a source of information or write one and have it PROVEN scientifically to be a true source.

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the truth is in the LOGIC something CANNOT come from nothing

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Wrong here you go.

Looks like you really need to keep up with advances in science.

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Whatever if you wanna belive we came from a rock gop for it. but be warned I know for a fact there is a God and I would not wanna be you on jugementday

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A a bible person ok let me ask you this what order was everything made in.

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no I don't go by the bible I don't belive that ******* off will send you to hell. I belive that the bible along with all relgons are like the game telephone. after a while the story gets way out of hand and people add stuff to it the truth is nobody knows for sure were we came from but the facts are facts evolution has way to many gaps to be true and something had to put us here are bodys are to perfect just to come from random chance

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then heres is the problem you have you dont even have a SINGLE form of source to collaborate your argument.
I can send you page link after page link proving evolution is going on even now.
I can send you links to science creating a form of life basic but its early days in science the life forms made later will no doubt EVOLVE.

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he did not evolve science is what we can test and weigh in the present not millions of years in the future or past. did you see the people who built the house your in?

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Yes I paid them to build it I know everyone of the people who built my house.
We evolved show me one piece of evidence which states we did not.

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show me evidence we evolved? and I don't mean miciro evolution mircro evoloution words like this if everyone on earth suddly died who was under 6 feet then after a well humens would just be 6 feet and over. I mean maco evoloution no one has EVER seen a cow have a chicken. or a fish have a mouse. andmircro evoloution should not even be called that because its not evoloution its just different genes that can come out at times and there has been no mutations that beafit a animal any mutations that has happind has always harmed the anamil more then helped it

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Life is still evolving now where is your proof you have yet to show any I have been showing all the proof so far YOUR TURN.

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them studys mean nothing. them studys are not facts.

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them studys can be very wrong

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Yes they are facts they are EVOLVING it has been witnessed so it is FACT.

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Show me some of your proof and dont say we are the proof I want PROOF not some creationist nonsense FACTS show me you source for your ideas. Your turn show me the evidence.

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FLASE because evoloution is still a Theory it would be a fact if they could prove it. I don't listen to nonsence studys FACT we CANNOT come from nothing the universe did not just pop into the air out of nothing\

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Show me FACTUAL evidence simply saying it is so does not mean it is. I could say I am 10 foot tall and have skin stronger than diamond just because I said it does not make it fact. SHOW ME PROOF.

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did you see who made the computer you are using or phone or whatever? how do you know it just did not pop in out of thin air? how do you know it did not evolve from a lesser model of a compter?

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for more PROOF that evoloution iis fairytale nonsence look up kent novid debates also all of jesesis followers were tourmented till death all they would have to do is admit that jeses was a fake now tell me do you know of anyone who would be tourmented for a lir and killd for a lie?

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Show me the source of your argument or you have no argument what so ever.
You cant state a creator made things when science has not found a single piece of evidence for this. Facts are facts and your god does not exist.
Now two things I want FIRST your source for this information.
Second some form of proof anything which you can prove a god made which science has not answered.

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for more PROOF that evoloution iis fairytale nonsence look up kent novid debates also all of jesesis followers were tourmented till death all they would have to do is admit that jeses was a fake now tell me do you know of anyone who would be tourmented for a lir and killd for a lie?

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did you see who made the computer you are using or phone or whatever? how do you know it just did not pop in out of thin air? how do you know it did not evolve from a lesser model of a compter? awnser me??

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Ah jesus now lets debate him first the name HORUS is the FIRST ever SON OF GOD. thousands of years before your jesus.
watch this first link then we will rip the Jesus myth apart.
I will work on the rest of the proof for you and it will be ready in ten mins so enjoy the video.

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did you see who made the computer you are using or phone or whatever? how do you know it just did not pop in out of thin air? how do you know it did not evolve from a lesser model of a compter

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for more PROOF that evoloution iis fairytale nonsence look up kent novid debates also all of jesesis followers were tourmented till death all they would have to do is admit that jeses was a fake now tell me do you know of anyone who would be tourmented for a lir and killd for a lie? Awnser me do you know of anyone who would be toutored and killd for a lie?

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That is not an form of proof of existence mate you have no basis of an argument and I am just about to destroy your jesus bloke as well so you really need the proof to show me,

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Jesus Christ is a False Messiah

According to Jesus’ admissions, as well as the Bible’s prophecies, Jesus of Nazareth could not have been the Messiah. This of course, would invalidate Christianity as we know it. The compilation presented here shall be split in three sections. The first shall be the biblical prophecies that were made in order to identify the messiah, which Jesus does not fulfill. The second shall be the prophecies that Christians use to say that Jesus was the Messiah, yet they clearly fail. The third set shall be the prophecies and statements Jesus made yet they are false and have never came true.

Prophecies to Identify the Messiah, Which Jesus Does Not Fulfill:

1) Matthew 1:23 says that Jesus (the messiah) would be called Immanuel, which means "God with us." Yet no one, not even his parents, call him Immanuel at any point in the bible.

2) The Messiah must be a physical descendant of David (Romans 1:3 & Acts 2:30). Yet, how could Jesus meet this requirement since his genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 show he descended from David through Joseph, who was not his natural father because of the Virgin Birth. Hence, this prophecy could not have been fulfilled.

3) Isaiah 7:16 seems to say that before Jesus had reached the age of maturity, both of the Jewish countries would be destroyed. Yet there is no mention of this prophecy being fulfilled in the New Testament with the coming of Jesus, hence this is another Messiah prophecy not fulfilled.

Prophecies Christians Use to Verify Jesus as the Messiah, Yet Clearly Fail:

4) The gospels (especially Matthew 21:4 and John 12:14-15) claim that Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. But the next few verses (Zechariah 9:10-13) show that the person referred to in this verse is a military king that would rule "from sea to sea". Since Jesus had neither an army nor a kingdom, he could not have fulfilled this prophecy.

5) Matthew (Matthew 2:17-18) quotes Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:15), claiming that it was a prophecy of King Herod’s alleged slaughter of the children in and around Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus. But this passage refers to the Babylonian captivity, as is clear by reading the next two verses (Jeremiah 31:16-17), and, thus, has nothing to do with Herod’s massacre.

6) John 19:33 says that during Jesus’ crucifixion, the soldiers didn’t break his legs because he was already dead. Verse John 19:36 claims that this fulfilled a prophecy: "Not a bone of him shall be broken." But there is no such prophecy. It is sometimes said that the prophecy appears in Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12 & Psalm 34:20. This is not correct. Exodus 12:46 & Numbers 9:12 are not prophecies, they are commandments. The Israelites are told not to break the bones of the Passover lamb, and this is all it is about. And Psalm 34:20 seems to refer to righteous people in general (see verse Psalm 34:19, where a plural is used), not to make a prophecy about a specific person.

7) "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." Hosea 11:1. Matthew (Matthew 2:15) claims that the flight of Jesus’ family to Egypt is a fulfillment of this verse. But Hosea 11:1 is not a prophecy at all. It is a reference to the Hebrew exodus from Egypt and has nothing to do with Jesus. Matthew tries to hide this fact by quoting only the last part of the verse ("Out of Egypt I have called my son").

8) "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2 The gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:5-6) claims that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfils this prophecy. But this is unlikely for two reasons.

A) "Bethlehem Ephratah" in Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb’s second wife, Ephrathah (1 Chronicles 2:18, 2:50-52 & 4:4).

B) The prophecy (if that is what it is) does not refer to the Messiah, but rather to a military leader, as can be seen from Micah 5:6. This leader is supposed to defeat the Assyrians, which, of course, Jesus never did. It should also be noted that Matthew altered the text of Micah 5:2 by saying: "And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah" rather than "Bethlehem Ephratah" as is said in Micah 5:2. He did this, intentionally no doubt, to make this verse appear to refer to the town of Bethlehem rather than the family clan.

Statements Jesus Made Which Are False:

9) Jesus in John 14:12 & Mark 16:17-18 said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." This implies that Jesus’ true followers should be able to routinely perform the following tricks: 1) cast out devils, 2) speak in tongues, 3) take up serpents, 4) drink poisons without harm, and 5) cure the sick by touching them and MANY other of Jesus’ "works". Curiously I have yet to see a Christian that can do any of the above on demand.

10) In John 14:13-14 Jesus stated: "And whatsoever ye ask in my name I do, that the Father may be glorified in the son. If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it." In reality, millions of people have made millions of requests in Jesus’ name and failed to receive satisfaction. This promise or prophecy has failed completely.

11) Paul says Christianity lives or dies on the Resurrection (1 Corinthian 15:14-17). Yet Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 that he would be buried three days and three nights as Jonah was in the whale three days and three nights. Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning is only one and a half days, so he could not have been the messiah by his own and Paul’s admission.

12) Jesus’ prophecy in John 13:38 ("The **** shall not crow, till thou [Peter] hast denied me three times") is false. Mark 14:66-68 shows the **** crowed after the first denial, not the third.

13) In Mark 10:19 Jesus said: "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother." Jesus needs to re-read the Ten Commandments. There is no Old Testament commandment against defrauding. The only relevant statement about defrauding is in Leviticus 19:13 , which says : "Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor." This is an OT law, but is not listed with the Ten Commandments. Surely, if Jesus was god incarnate he would know the commandments.

14) "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven" (John 3:13). If Jesus is in heaven, how can he be down on earth speaking? Moreover, according to 2 Kings 2:11 ("and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven") Jesus was not the only person to ascend into heaven, nor was he the first. Elijah preceded him and apparently Enoch did also ("And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him"--Genesis 5:24).

15) In Luke 23:43 Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." This obviously has to be false, for Jesus was supposed to lay dead in the tomb for three days following his crucifixion.

1 6) Jesus says : "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy" (Matthew 5:43). This statement does not exist in the OT either. In fact, Proverbs 24:17 says, "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth…"

17) Jesus is reported to say: "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it" (Luke 16:16). Certainly every man is not pressing to enter the kingdom of God. The very fact that I am an atheist (one third of the world’s population does not believe in a god) proves this verse to be false.

18) "Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?" (Matthew 12:5) Nowhere does the OT state that the priests in the temple profaned the Sabbath and were considered blameless.

19) "Yea; have ye never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise'" (Matthew 21:16). Jesus is quoting Psalm 8:2, which says, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies…". "Perfect praise" has little to do with "ordaining strength because of thine enemies." Another misquotation!

20) "But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him" (Mark 9:13). There are no prophecies in the OT of things that were to happen to Elijah.

Jesus, in all his "God incarnate" wisdom, contradicts himself:

21) Jesus consistently contradicts himself concerning his Godly status. "I and my father are one." (John 14:28) Also see Philippians 2:5-6 Those verses lead us to believe that he is a part of the trinity and equal to his father being a manifestation of him. Yet, Jesus also made many statements that deny he is the perfect men, much less God incarnate. Take the following for example: "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God" (Matthew 19:17). "My father if greater then I." (John 14:28) Also see Matthew 24:26 Clearly, Jesus is denouncing the possibility of him being the Messiah in those three verses.

22) Jesus said, "whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matthew 5:22). Yet, he himself did so repeatedly, as Matthew 23:17-19 and Luke 11:40 & 12:20 show. Clearly Jesus should be in danger of hell too?

23) Does Jesus support peace, or war? Matthew 5:39 "Resist not evil, but whoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Also note Matthew 6:38-42 & 26:52 where Jesus teaches non-resistance, Non-violence. Now read (Luke 22:36-37) Where Jesus commands people to take arms for a coming conflict. (John 2:15) Jesus uses a whip to physically drive people out of the temple.

24) Matthew 15:24 Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of lsrael,". This would of course mean that he is here only to save the Jews. The scriptures repeatedly back up this notion that Christ is savior to the Jews and not the gentiles (see Romans 16:17, Revelations 14:3-4 & John 10). The contradiction lies in what Jesus later tells his followers: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

25) Can we hate our kindred? Luke 14:26 Jesus says "If any man come unto me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brother, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he can not be my disciple." John 3:15 "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." Also see Ephesians 6:22, 5:25, & Matthew 15:4

26) Even many of the staunchest defenders of Jesus admit that his comment in Matthew 10:34 ("I came not to send peace but a sword") contradicts verses such as Matthew 26:52 ("Put up again thy sword into his place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword").

27) Deuteronomy 24:1 & 21:10-14 all say that divorce is allowed for the simple reason if a "man no longer delighteth in his wife". Yet Jesus comes along and breaks his father’s law by saying in Matthew 5:32 that adultery is the only way one can be divorced.

28) In Mark 8:35 Jesus said: "...but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s the same shall save it." How could Jesus have said this when there was no gospel when he lived? The gospel did not appear until after his death.

29) Matthew 6:13 Jesus recites a revised prayer and states, "Don’t bring us into temptation." God is the cause of everything, even Satan. God has been leading people into temptation since the Garden of Eden. Otherwise, the trees of life and knowledge would have never been there.

30) Matthew 12:1-8 Jesus thinks it’s okay to break his father’s laws, by breaking the Sabbath day. He states that he is basically exempt for such fiascoes and that he is Master of the Sabbath.

31) John 3:17 Jesus contradicts himself when he says, "God didn’t send his son into the world to condemn it, but to save it." Jesus seems to forget his own stories.

32) James 4:3 If your prayers are not answered, it’s your own damned fault. This is in direct contradiction to where Jesus says "seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be known to you".

33) "If Jesus bears witness of himself his witness is true" John 8:14, "If I bear witness of myself it is not true." John 5:31

34) "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20), versus "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always" (Matthew 26:11 , Mark 14:7, John 12:8) and "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am thither ye cannot come" (John 7:34). Is this the kind of friend one can rely on?

35) "And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her" (Mark 10:11 & Luke 6:18), versus "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery" (Matthew 19:9). In the book of Matthew, Jesus said a man could put away his wife if one factor-- fornication--is involved. In Mark and Luke he allowed no exceptions.

36) Jesus is quoted: "Judge not, and ye shall be not judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:37 & Matthew 7:1), versus "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Jesus stated men are not to judge but, then, allowed it under certain conditions. As in the case of divorce, he can’t seem to formulate a consistent policy.

37) "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46, (also note the time before crucification where Jesus prays for the "cup to passeth over me") versus "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, for this purpose I have come to this hour" (John 12:27 RSV). Jesus can’t seem to decide whether or not he wants to die. One moment he is willing; the next he isn’t.

38) In Luke 23:30 ("Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us, and to the hills, cover us") Jesus quoted Hosea 10:8 ("...and they shall say to the mountains, cover us; and to the hills, fall on us"). And, like Paul, he often quoted inaccurately. In this instance, he confused mountains with hills.

39) "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they know him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist" (Matthew 17:11-13). John the Baptist was beheaded, but Jesus was not. And what did John the Baptist restore? Nothing!

40) We are told salvation is obtained by faith alone (John 3:18 & 36) yet Jesus told a man to follow the Commandments-Matthew 19:16-18 (saving by works)-if he wanted eternal life.

41) In Luke 12:4 Jesus told his followers to "Be not afraid of them that kill the body." But Matthew 12:14-16, John 7:1, 8:59, 10:39, 11:53-54, & Mark 1:45 show that Jesus consistently feared death. Jesus went out of his way to hide, run, and attempt escape from the Roman and Jewish authorities.

42) Matthew 5:28 says to sin in "your heart" is considered a sin in itself. The messiah is supposed to be God incarnate, not able to sin, yet in Matthew 4:5 & Luke 4:5-9, Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, which is sinning in his heart. Jesus also took upon all the sins of the world during his crucifixion, so how can it be said that "Jesus was the perfect man without sin"? This would lead one to believe he was not the Messiah.

43) Jesus told us to "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you," but ignored his own advice by repeatedly denouncing his opposition. Matthew 23:17 ("Ye fools and blind"), Matthew 12:34 ("0 generation of vipers"), and Matthew 23:27 (". . . hypocrites . . . ye are like unto whited sepulchres. . .") are excellent examples of hypocrisy.

44) Did the people of Jesus’ generation see any signs? (Matthew 12:38-40) Jesus announced that no signs would be given to that generation except the Resurrection itself. (Mark 8:12-13) Jesus announced that no signs would be given to that generation. (Mark 16:20) They went out preaching, and the Lord confirmed the word through accompanying signs. (John 20:30) Jesus provided many wonders and signs. (Acts 2:22) Jesus provided many wonders and signs. (Acts 5:12 & 8:13) many signs and wonders were done through the apostles.

45) Jesus commands the disciples to go into Galilee immediately after the resurrection. Matthew 28:10 Jesus commands the disciples to "tarry in Jerusalem" immediately after the resurrection.

46) Matthew 28:18 & John 3:35 both tell that Jesus said he could do anything. Yet Mark 6:5 says Jesus was not all powerful.

47) Jesus says in Luke 2:13-14 that he came to bring peace on earth. Matthew 10:34 Jesus back peddles and says he did not come to bring peace on earth.

48) Did Christ receive testimony from man? "Ye sent unto John and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man." John 5:33-34 "And ye shall also bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." John 15:27

49) Christ laid down his life for his friends. John 15:13 & 10:11 Christ laid down his life for his enemies. Romans 5:10

50) Deuteronomy 23:2 says that bastards can not attend church unto the tenth generation. If Jesus was spawned by Mary and Jehovah as the Bible claims then he is technically a bastard and should not be the leader of the church.

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for more PROOF that evoloution iis fairytale nonsence look up kent novid debates also all of jesesis followers were tourmented till death all they would have to do is admit that jeses was a fake now tell me do you know of anyone who would be tourmented for a lir and killd for a lie?

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awnser me its a fact all 12 was tormented and killed all they would have to do is admet he was a fake why didint they?

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Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity share so many features that it seems that there must be a connection between them. Does this connection really exist? If so, how did it happen? And how much of the similarity between these faiths is due simply to parallel evolution, rather than direct contact and influence?

The simplest answer to the first question is, yes, there is a great deal of Zoroastrian influence on Judaism and Christianity, but the problem is that it is hard to document this exactly, at least in the early stages of Judaism. The evidence is there, but it is all "circumstantial" evidence and often does not stand up to the rigorous judgment of scholarship. Nevertheless, I will dare to present these ideas assertively, with the qualification that there will likely be no definite way to prove them either true or untrue.

In 586 BCE, the forces of the Babylonian Empire conquered the Jews, destroying their Temple and carrying off a proportion of the Jewish population into exile. The captives consisted especially of educated and upper-class people as well as the royal family. This "Babylonian captivity" lasted almost fifty years. In 539 BCE the Persians, under the leadership of the Achaemenid King Cyrus, conquered Babylon, and in 538 Cyrus issued a decree stating that the Jews would be allowed to return to their homeland. Not only were the Exiles released, but Cyrus, and to some extent his Achaemenid successors, also supported the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus' policy was motivated not only by his religious tolerance (he also encouraged other, pagan peoples to maintain their own religions) but by statesmanlike wisdom; people treated generously are less likely to rebel.

But not all the Jews wanted to go home. In the years of Exile, the adaptable Jewish people had established themselves in Mesopotamia, settling there and engaging in business and even politics. Many Jews, while remaining devout Jews, did not go back to their homeland. They carried on their lives in their new home, and as the Persian Empire consolidated its rule, some Jews even rose to high positions of service in the imperial court.

It was during the end of the Exile, among the Jews now living in the Persian Empire, that the first significant contact was made between the Jewish and Iranian cultures. And it is evident in the Bible that Jewish thinking changed after the Exile. The question is then: are these changes the result of the cultural meeting of Jewish and Iranian thinkers, or are these changes due to the shock of Exile? During the Exile, Jews had to change not only how they worshipped, since they no longer had their temple or the animal sacrifices which had been at the center of their faith, but also how they thought about God. The Jewish concept of God as their tribal protector, who would save them from being conquered or exiled, had to undergo revision.

I believe that both factors are present, inspiring the changes in post-exilic Judaism: not only the Jews thinking new thoughts about God and humanity, but also contact with the Zoroastrian religion of the Persian Empire. But then another question arises: how did the ancient Jews learn about Zoroastrianism? It is highly unlikely that Jewish scholars and thinkers ever directly encountered Zoroastrian scriptures such as the Gathas (the founding text of the Zoroastrian faith, attributed to the Prophet Zarathushtra himself) or the Yashts (hymns of praise to various intermediate deities and guardian spirits, adapted from pre- Zarathushtrian mythology). The priestly usage and archaic language of the Avesta scriptures would be a barrier to Jews. But most of Zoroastrianism, known and practiced among the people, existed in oral tradition: through word of mouth, not by the study of written scriptures. This oral tradition included stories about God, the Creation, the ethical and cosmic conflict of Good and Evil, the divine Judgment and the end of the world. The tradition would also include the well-known Zoroastrian symbolism of fire, light and darkness, as well as stories and prayers about the yazatas or intermediate spiritual beings and the Prophet Zarathushtra. These are all elements of what might be called "classic" Zoroastrianism (as it developed from the "primal" Zoroastrianism of the Gathas).

This is how the Jews encountered Zoroastrianism - in private dialogues and political and civic experience, rather than in formal religious studies. And as the Jewish religion was re-made after the catastrophe of the Exile, these Zoroastrian teachings began to filter into the Jewish religious culture.

There are some venturesome scholars who say that the Jewish idea of monotheism was inspired by contact with Zoroastrian monotheism. While it is true that Jewish monotheistic ideas did change after the Exile, I do not believe that it was Zoroastrian contact which inspired this change. Rather, it was the fact of the Exile itself. Jewish thinkers and prophets even before the Exile were hinting at a concept of One God who was greater than just an ethnic divinity. When the Captivity threw these thinkers into a foreign culture, away from their divinely appointed homeland, it was necessary to broaden their idea of God to a more universal and abstract deity, who could be worshipped with praise and moral actions rather than animal sacrifices and liturgies. The concept of a single God whom all nations would eventually worship evolved among a conquered and exiled people no longer assured of their divinely protected status.

The Gathas of Zarathushtra, which may pre-date Cyrus by almost a thousand years, do describe God in universalist and abstract terms, but by the time of the Jewish contact, it is unclear just what type of monotheism was believed in the Zoroastrian community. Was it a true monotheism which worships only One God, to whom all other gods are either evil demons or simply non- existent? This seems to be the monotheism of Zarathushtra, but not of the Achaemenid kings of the Persian Empire, who were able to incorporate the veneration of subordinate divinities into their worship, as long as these subordinates were recognized as creations of the One God and not gods in their own right. The Jews, as we will see, would recognize angels as semi-divine intermediaries, but would not go so far as the Zoroastrians in honoring those intermediaries with hymns of praise such as the Yashts.

One of the most important differences beween Jewish monotheism and Zoroastrian monotheism is that Jews recognize the one God as the source of both good and evil, light and darkness, while Zoroastrians, during all the phases of their long theological history, think of God only as the source of Good, with Evil as a separate principle. There is a famous passage in Second Isaiah, composed during or after the Exile, which is sometimes cited as a Jewish rebuke to the Zoroastrian idea of a dualistic God: "I am YHVH, unrivalled: I form the light and create the dark. I make good fortune and create calamity, it is I, YHVH, who do all this." (Isaiah 45:7) This passage, which is a major source for Jewish speculation on the source of good and evil in the world, denies the Zoroastrian idea of a God who is the source only of "good" and favorable things.

Therefore I would not say that contact with Zoroastrian monotheism influenced Jewish monotheism. The philosophical minds of the two cultures may indeed have recognized each other as fellow monotheists, but this central Jewish doctrine is one which was not learned from the Zoroastrians. It grew from the original monotheistic revelation attributed to Moses, just as Zoroastrian monotheism grew from the revelation of Zarathushtra (who may indeed have been roughly contemporary, though completely unconnected, with Moses). These were two parallel journeys towards understanding of one God.

There are other developments, however, in the Jewish faith which are much more easily connected with Zoroastrian ideas. One of the most visible changes after the Exile is the emergence of a Jewish idea of Heaven, Hell, and the afterlife. Before the Exile and Persian contact, Jews believed that the souls of the dead went to a dull, Hades-like place called "Sheol." After the Exile, the idea of a moralized afterlife, with heavenly rewards for the good and hellish punishment for the evil, appear in Judaism. One of the words for "heaven" in the Bible is Paradise - and this word, from the ancient Iranian words pairi-daeza, "enclosed garden," is one of the very few definite Persian loan-words in the Bible. This moral view of the afterlife is characteristic of Zarathushtrian teaching from its very beginning in the Gathas.

It is also thought that the Jewish idea of a coming Savior, or Messiah, was influenced by Zoroastrian messianism. Already in the book of Second Isaiah, possibly written during the Exile, the prophet speaks of a Savior who would come to rescue the Jewish people: a benefactor, "anointed" by God to fulfill his role (the word "messiah" means "anointed one"). In many verses, he identifies Cyrus the liberator as that Messiah. The growth of messianic ideas is parallel in both Jewish and Iranian thought. Zarathushtra, in his Gathas, describes a saoshyant (savior) as anyone who is a benefactor of the people. Similarly in Jewish prophecy, the Messiah is not a single special Savior but anyone who does great things for the Jewish people - even if that person is a Persian King. But as both Persian and Jewish savior-mythology evolve, the Saoshyant - and the Messiah - take on a special, individual, almost divine quality which will be very important in the birth of Christianity.

The conquests of Alexander of Macedon in the fourth century BCE created the first "global" culture (at least for the Western world) in which people, goods, and ideas could circulate from southern Europe, through the Middle East, all the way to Iran and India, and vice versa. It was in this cosmopolitan, Hellenistic world that Jews and Persians had further contact, and the Zoroastrian influence on Judaism became much stronger. This influence is clearly visible in the later Jewish writings such as the Book of Daniel and the books of the Maccabees, which were written in the second century BCE.

An interesting Biblical account of Zoroastrian-Jewish contact, as well as an early attestation of Middle Eastern petroleum, appears in the Second Book of the Maccabees (which is not found in Jewish Bibles, only in Catholic Christian ones). This document dates from about 124 BCE, which places it among the latest books of the Old Testament - so late that the Jewish canon does not recognize it. In the first chapter of this book, there is a story of how the Jewish altar fire was restored to the Temple after the Captivity. Jewish Temple practice required a continuously burning flame at the altar (Exodus 27:20) though this flame did not have the special "iconic" quality of the Zoroastrian sacred fire. Nevertheless, during the restoration of the Jewish temple, this story arose and is repeated in the Book of the Maccabees, four hundred years later: "When the matter (restoring the fire) became known and the king of the Persians heard that in the place where the exiled priests had hidden the fire a liquid had appeared, with which Nehemiah and his people had purified the materials of the sacrifice, the king, after verifying the facts, had the place enclosed and pronounced sacred." (2 Maccabees 1:33-34) This shows that at least at the time of the composition of 2 Maccabees, the Jewish writers were aware of the Zoroastrian reverence for fire - and also that, if the story is true, the Zoroastrians saw and respected similarities in practice between their own religion and that of the Jews. The fiery liquid cited here is petroleum, called "naphtha," a word which arises from a combination of Persian and Hebrew words.

The Iranian influence continues to be evident in Jewish writings from what is known as the "inter-testamental" period, that is, after the last canonical book of the Old Testament and before Christianity and the composition of the New Testament. This covers an era between about 150 BCE to 100 CE. These Jewish inter-testamental writings describe a complicated hierarchy of angelic beings, in an echo of the Zoroastrian concept of the holy court of the Yazatas. The Jewish idea of seven chief archangels probably has its inspiration in the seven Amesha Spentas, the highest guardian spirits of Zoroastrian belief. Jews had their own ideas of angels long before they encountered Zoroastrianism; angels were nameless, impersonal representatives of God's message and action. But after the Exile, Jewish angels gain names and personalities, and also are spoken of as guardians of various natural phenomena, just like the Zoroastrian yazatas. The Jewish and Christian idea of a personal "guardian angel" may also have been inspired by the Zoroastrian figure of the fravashi, the divine guardian-spirit of each individual human being.

Zoroastrian influence on Judaism is also evident in the evolution of Jewish ideas about good, evil, and the End of Time. The original statement of the famous Zoroastrian dualism of good and evil is found in the Gathas, where Zarathushtra describes the two conflicting principles of good and evil in what might be called psychological, or ethical terms. Human beings are faced with the existence of good and evil within themselves - he describes these principles as the "beneficent" and the "hostile" spirits - and everyone must make the choice for Good in order to follow God's will.

But by the Hellenistic era, Zoroastrianism had already developed its doctrine of "cosmic dualism" - the idea that the entire Universe is a battlefield between the One Good God, Ahura Mazda, and the separate Spirit of Evil, Ahriman. This view of dualism is a symbolic transformation, and an expansion, of the more psychologically based teaching of Zarathushtra that good and evil are ethical choices and states of mind.

Both "cosmic" and "ethical" dualism coexist in Zoroastrian thought throughout the long history of the faith; their history is not one of a "pristine" idea of ethical dualism which is supplanted or "corrupted" by the idea of cosmic dualism. And reflections of both types of dualism are found in Jewish thinking. The Biblical book of Deuteronomy, like the other early books of the Old Testament, was re-edited and possibly even re-written during and after the Exile. An important passage in Deuteronomy 30:15 shows a Jewish version of ethical dualism:

"See, today I set before you life and prosperity, death and disaster. If you obey the commandments of YHVH your God that I enjoin on you today, if you love YHVH your God and follow His ways, if you keep His commandments, His laws, His customs, you will live and increase, and YHVH your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to make your own. But if your heart strays, if you refuse to listen, if you let yourself be drawn into worshipping other gods and serving them, I tell you today, you will most certainly perish....I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live...." (Deut. 31:15-19, Jerusalem Bible translation)

Even though the original text of the Gathas was most probably inaccessible to the Jews, the teachings of Zarathushtra were part of the religious culture of the Persian people among whom many Jews lived. An interesting notion in Jewish moral thought which may have been somewhat inspired by Zoroastrian ethical dualism is the idea of the "evil impulse" and the "good impulse" (Hebrew, "yetzer tov, " good impulse, and "yetzer hara," evil impulse.). This idea seems to arise in the rabbinic thought of that "inter-testamental" period in which Jews encountered both Greek and Zoroastrian ideas. In this Jewish moral meditation, God gives human beings both a "good impulse" and an "evil impulse," and they must learn to choose between the promptings of these two mentalities.

What gives this idea a Jewish "twist" quite different from the original Zoroastrian teaching is that the evil impulse, in Jewish thought, is not entirely evil. It is not, like the Zarathushtrian "hostile spirit," completely inimical to goodness. The Jewish "evil impulse" is only evil when it is obeyed and yielded to without restraint. The evil impulse is sinful lust in excess, but in moderation it is necessary in order to prompt people to procreate; it is sinful greed in excess, but in right order, it is the drive behind trade and the pursuit of lawful profit. The Jewish "evil impulse" thus resembles Freud's concept of the "id," the amoral motive power behind human actions either for good or evil - and indeed, Freud was inspired by Jewish moral philosophy in his own thinking.

But despite these Jewish reflections of ethical dualism, it is the doctrine of "cosmic dualism," with its mythological and symbolic content, that most influenced the later Jewish thinkers. Even before the Exile, under the threat of destruction by foreign empires, Jewish prophets were moving toward a vision of not only political, but cosmic war and catastrophe. This type of prophecy, after the Exile, evolved into apocalyptic (from the Greek word apokalypsis which means "revelation"). This is a form of religious storytelling, poetry, and preaching which uses a high level of mythological symbolism to describe not only a cosmic battle between the forces of Good and Evil, but also a schedule for the coming End of Time.

Zoroastrianism, from the beginning, has taught that time and God's creation has a beginning, a middle, and an end-time in which all souls will be judged. The Zarathushtrian teachings were later elaborated and illustrated with mythological motifs, many of them borrowed from the pre-Zoroastrian Indo-Iranian gods and goddesses, as well as myths of cosmic conflict from ancient Mesopotamia. Later Zoroastrianism also teaches of a specific sacred time-line, a historical structure for the created world. The Zoroastrians are often credited with introducing eschatology, or the knowledge of the End of Time and its events, into the religious world of both West and East.

All religions borrow from their predecessors and adapt old material for their new dispensation, and Judaism is no exception. The Iranian world of angels and demons, light and darkness, God and an Adversary, and a sacred time-line, enters into the Jewish universe of apocalypse. Many of these apocalyptic writings survive from the "inter-testamental" period, such as the Book of Enoch, a compilation of spectacular visions about angels, demons, and the Last Judgment. The Jewish apocalyptic idea of the End of Time, as well as a final Judgment by God when that End arrives, owes a great deal to Zoroastrian thinking.

This Zoroastrian connection becomes even more evident in the writings of Jewish sects, such as the Essenes. Due to archeological finds such as the "Dead Sea Scrolls" and the "Nag Hammadi Library," the modern world can know what these ancient devotees believed - and some of these beliefs show direct Zoroastrian influence. This is especially true in the text known as the "Essene Manual of Discipline," which, like the apocalyptic texts, describes a war between the Spirit of Light and the Spirit of Darkness, as well as the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error, and an ultimate End-Time when the battle will be won. This Essene text sometimes sounds almost exactly like the Gathas, which are more than a millennium older: "For God has established the two spirits in equal measure until the last period, and has put eternal enmity between their divisions. An abomination to truth are deeds of error, and an abomination to error are all ways of truth..." (Essene Manual of Discipline, from THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS ed. Millar Burrows) It could be a free translation of the dualistic verses of the Gathas.

It is from these Jewish sects, as well as the Jewish mainstream, that Christianity emerged. The claiming of Jesus as the awaited Messiah was meant to answer Jewish hopes, and possibly usher in the End of Time, much as the Zoroastrians expected of their Saoshyant. It is in the context of the coming Saoshyant that the story in the second chapter of Matthew's Gospel (it is a story, not a historical event!) of the Three Magi should be read; these astrologers, who are thought to be Zoroastrians, were following the Savior-signs of their own religion when they sought out the infant Jesus. The famous Prologue of the Gospel of John ("In the beginning was the Word....") has many elements suggestive of Zoroastrian influence, including philosophical and ethical dualism, and the light/darkness metaphor so characteristic of Zoroastrianism. "And that life was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower." (John 1: 4-5)

It is often said that the figure of Satan, prince of Evil, was inspired by Zoroastrian teachings about Ahriman, the adversary of Ahura Mazda. But the Jewish idea of the "Adversary" (which is what "satan" means) is not quite like the Zoroastrian Ahriman. In the post-exilic Book of Job, Satan is an adversary, but he is also God's loyal servant, doing God's work by testing a righteous man. Some of the early Talmudic rabbis identified the "evil impulse" with Satan, but that idea was not completely accepted. Indeed, the features of Judaism that are most indebted to Zoroastrianism, such as angels, devils, Heaven and Hell, and eschatology, tended to fade among believers in later centuries, and they are no longer emphasized in the Jewish mainstream, though they continue to hold sway among Jewish sects such as the Hasidim.

It is in Christianity that the doctrine of the Devil is almost identical to the Zoroastrian concept. The Devil, or Satan, is a being who CHOSE to be evil, through pride, just as Zarathushtra's evil spirit chose to do evil; and this devil, as Christians believe, not only roams about attempting to corrupt people, but has corrupted the physical world as well, just as Ahriman does in the later Zoroastrian teachings.

Christianity also adopted Jewish - and Zoroastrian - apocalyptic myths about cosmic battles and the upcoming end of the world into its own doctrine. The Christian book of Revelation, the last book in the New Testament canon, is a later example of a form that goes back all the way through its Jewish sources to the distant, ancient worlds of Iran and Mesopotamia.

There are many devoted Jewish and Christian believers who deny that Zoroastrianism had any influence on their religions. In their view, this would compromise the unique revelations from God which characterize these religions. But there are other believers who follow a more universalist path. To these believers, the "seeds of wisdom" are found in every religion, including paganism and Zoroastrianism. Every religion has its grains of Truth, seeds which can be sown and grown in the garden of a new revelation, whether that is Jewish or Christian. In this view, it is not only not wrong to adapt what went before into the new faith, but it is essential. Thus nothing that is true will be lost.

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