Commentary: Fishy Syncretism
Martin G. Collins
Given 04-Jan-20; 11 minutes
The Philistines were a thorn in the sides of God’s people all the way back to Abraham. Later, they continued their torment as a bitter enemy of the Israelites. You recall that Samson’s epic story, in about the 12th century BC, ended with him dying while destroying the Philistines' temple of Dagon. Judges 16:23, 30 tells us,
Judges 16:30 Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he pushed with all his might, and the temple [i.e., of Dagon] fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So, the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.
A few years later, the Philistines attacked the Israelites and took the ark of the covenant; and again, Dagon, the god of the Philistines was a central figure.
I Samuel 5:2-7 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So, they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon's torso was left of it. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon's house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day. But the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, "The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god."
So, the Philistine fish god Dagon was an abomination to the God of Israel.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 4, under the article “Dagon.”
[Dagon is] A Philistine deity. It is commonly admitted that the name Dagon is a diminutive form, hence a term of endearment, derived from the Semitic root dag, and means, accordingly, "little fish." The name, therefore, indicates a fish-shaped god.
The religious fish symbol antedates the Christian era and has its roots in pagan fertility awareness and sexuality. The feminine corresponding fish god is Atargatis [a-targa-tis], the Syrian goddess with a woman's body and fish's tail. The mermaid is derived from this Phoenician idol. She corresponds to the Greek Aphrodite.
Barbara G. Walker writes in The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects that the fish symbol connected to Jesus Christ was a "rationale invented after the fact... Christians simply copied this pagan symbol along with many others."
It is interesting that David Grabbe gave the biblical symbolism and imagery of the fish, and this in no way conflicts with that. What this shows is what the world has done to take whatever God has used, or was going to use, and they have counterfeited it or used it to their own gain, which we will see as we go through the rest of this.
So, the fish is used as a recognition sign of mainstream Christianity. It is also identified as the "Ichthus," [ik-thus] an acronym from the Greek form of the English phrase "Jesus Christ the Son of God, Savior."
Oxford English Dictionary (C.E.) defines "Ichthyic" [ik-thic] as "of, pertaining to, or characteristic of fishes; the fish world in all its orders."
Ichthys [ik-this] was the offspring son of the ancient sea goddess Atargatis, and she was known in various mythic systems as Tirgata, Aphrodite, Pelagia, or Delphine. The word delphine also meant "womb" and "dolphin" in some tongues, and representations of this appeared in the depiction of mermaids.
The fish is also a central element in other stories, including the goddess of Ephesus (who has a fish amulet covering her genital region), as well as the tale of the fish that swallowed the sexual organ of Osiris, and was also considered a symbol of the sexual organ of Isis.
Well before the Christian era, the fish symbol was known as "the Great Mother," a pointed oval sign, the “vesica piscis” or Vessel of the Fish. "Fish" and "womb" were synonymous terms in ancient Greek, delphos.
Its link to fertility, birth, feminine sexuality, and the natural force of women was acknowledged also by the Celts, as well as pagan cultures throughout northern Europe.
The later fish goddess, Aphrodite Salacia, was worshipped by her followers on her sacred day, Friday. They ate fish and engaged in orgies. From her name comes the English word "salacious" which means scandalous, lustful, or obscene. Also, from her name comes the name of our fourth month, April. You see how the paganism has been infused into everything in our lives.
In Scandinavia, the great goddess was named Freya; fish were eaten in her honor. The 6th day of the week was named Friday after her.
In later centuries, the Roman Catholic church adsorbed this tradition by requiring its members to eat fish on Friday—a tradition that was only recently reduced in its importance.
The fish symbol was used as a code sign for early Catholic Christianity. The Ichthys found its way into the ritual and decor of Roman Catholic Church rites. One case in point is the church mitre worn by prelates—that cone-shaped hat they wear. Dr. Thomas Inman discussed this phenomenon in his two-volume opus, Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names (1869). He included a representation of a sculpture from Mesopotamia, observing:
It is the impression of an ancient gem, and represents a man clothed with a fish, the head being the mitre; priests thus clothed, often bearing in their hand the mystic bag. . . . In almost every instance, it will be recognized that the fish's head is represented as of the same form as the modern bishop's mitre.
The fish also appears in another sacred iconograph, the Avatars of Vishnu, where the deity
is represented as emerging from the mouth of a fish, and being a fish himself; the legend being that he was to be the Saviour of the world in a deluge which was to follow. . .
The fish symbol was so revered throughout the Roman empire that Roman Catholic authorities insisted on taking it over, with extensive revision of myths to deny its earlier female-genital meanings.
Sometimes the Christ child was portrayed inside the vesica piscis, which was superimposed on Mary's belly and obviously represented her womb, just as in the ancient symbolism of the Great Mother Goddess.
The symbol itself, the eating of fish on Friday, and the association of the symbol with deity were all taken over by the Roman Catholic Church from pagan sources. Only the overt sexual component was deleted. Nevertheless, spiritual immorality and idolatry are widespread in mainstream Christianity.
From its focus of worshipping a god-man born of a virgin to the selection of holidays and symbols, Catholic Christianity and its daughter, mainstream Christianity, appropriated the metaphors of earlier pagan religions, grafting them into its own syncretized account of the creation and beyond.
Few mainstream Christian worshippers are aware of this. Even fewer know that when they flaunt the Ichthys—the fish—as a representation of mainstream Christianity, they are, in fact, displaying a more ancient symbol indicative of the reproductive potency of Dagon and the female anatomy sign of the Great Mother Goddess.
Finally, notice that God told Moses to warn the Israelites that they were to beware of idolatry in their worship of Him and in all their religious activities.
Deuteronomy 4:15-19 "Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage."
God warns us that we are not to make or wear or use any symbol, image, icon, or emblem to represent Him or His church. No cross, no fish, and no Triquetra (i.e., Trinity knot).
Satan puts his mark on his counterfeit Christianity to claim and identify it as his! Since that is a fact, why would any authentic Christian identify himself with Satan’s counterfeit Christianity by using its symbols? Knowing the truth, an authentic Christian would not!