Over the past few decades, a new history of Biblical times has emerged promoting the idea that early Israelites worshiped both a God and a Goddess. This new history contends that the goddess part of their worship was suppressed as the Israelites became a more patriarchal society, and that Jewish history and scriptures were altered to eliminate any reference to it during the reign of King Josiah (640-609 BC). According to some, this suppression became outright oppression when Christianity came along and the followers of Jesus demanded that the Lord be seen as a celibate deity instead of the sexual man they insist He really was. It was then, they say, that goddess worship became subject to punishment resulting in the church sponsored execution over several hundred years of nearly 5 million women for practicing witchcraft.
Today, Even The Past Is Uncertain
The feminist authors of this new history make the claim as did the secular humanists before them that the male God was a relative late comer on the scene, the humanists saying that religion was a by-product of the same evolution that produced man and the feminists claiming that mankind appropriately worshipped a female deity long before the male God came along.
According to these feminists the cause and effect relationship between sexual intercourse and conception was not always known. Therefore the birthing of a child, an exclusively female act, was viewed as a supernatural gift from the Great Mother goddess to her favored female children. Later, as the connection was made, a male god was added to the mix but in a subordinate role.
Early human society reflected this hierarchy, they say, with women being dominant just as their female deity was dominant. Men grew jealous of this dominance, especially where it involved creating new life, and fought to gain control of other aspects of society. As they did, the female deity was “demoted” and the so-called curse of Eve was contrived as a punishment to women for Eve’s sin. (For example, it’s claimed that midwives’ efforts to moderate pain in childbirth were outlawed by the male dominated religion that required women to suffer in Eve’s place.)
Along Came Josiah
Before the time of King Josiah, they say, the Israelites worshipped El as God and his wife or consort Asherah, as Goddess. (I first read of this idea in James Michner’s “The Source”, a novelized history of the Middle East. Asherah, of course, was the Canaanite goddess of fertility; named Isis in Egypt, Astarte or Ishtar in Babylon, Aphrodite in Greek, and Venus in Roman mythology.)
Feminist writers claim that during Josiah’s reign, this practice was officially banned but the people simply changed Asherah’s name to Shekinah and continued as before. This quote from a current New Age web site is revealing.
“Shekinah – also spelled Shekhina, Shekhinah, Shekina, and Shechina – is known in the Qabalah, an ancient form of Jewish mysticism, as one of the emanations of God and the actual Presence of God. The belief was that one could not see God in Its fullness, but could see the emanation of God, Shekinah. When Moses asked to see God, it was Shekinah that he saw. Shekinah is also the consort, or Bride, of God. As such, she is Mother to us all, just as God is our Father.”
“In earlier times, God was seen as either dwelling in the clouds or in high places like mountains or very high hills. With the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, and then the construction of the Temple, a part of the Godhead came to dwell in the Ark and then in the Temple. This could not be the male God, the God of the Sky and of High Places. So Shekinah, formerly known as Asherah, a Goddess of Earth and Sea, came to dwell in the Ark of the Covenant and then in the Temple.”
“Unfortunately, Shekinah has been all but lost to Christianity. Elements of Her remain in Mother Mary, who was perhaps Shekinah’s incarnation. Mary Theotokos, as She is called, actually held the presence of God (Yeshua) within Her. She is known as the Queen of Heaven, but she is the representative of God to us and delivers our prayers to Him, according to Catholic tradition. Her apparitions are much more frequent than the apparitions of Yeshua, and the Father never appears. It seems that She is truly His representative to us, because (as we know) She is His Bride.”
“The union of Shekinah and El was never more evident than in the Sabbath. She is known as the Sabbath Bride, or the Sabbath Queen. Each week on the Sabbath, God and Goddess, El and Shekinah, act out the Song of Songs. One rabbi called that holy book the “Holy of Holies” of the Bible!”
The DaVinci Code
This thinking formed the basis for much of what author Dan Brown set forth in his novel, The DaVinci Code, carrying it to its current feminist conclusion that Jesus had a wife (Mary Magdalene) and at least one child, who escaped to France after the crucifixion. The DaVinci Code is a great work of fiction, and as a devotee of suspense novels I enjoyed it. But it is fiction. I’m astonished at the number of “Christians” who apparently believe it contains a legitimate view of Israel’s early religious history, as well as a deeper look into the earthly life of our Lord Jesus. All right, so most of us know that this is just a story made up to create an alternate reality so pagan feminists can refute Judeo-Christian theology. And the fact that it’s presented by “scholars” as being pre-Hebraic shouldn’t surprise us either. Secular Humanists have long contended that all mankind was originally pagan, so that’s nothing new.
So What’s The Big Deal?
Aside from the fact that so many “Christians” are wondering if this stuff is true, the big deal is that Shekinah is an extra-biblical term used by Rabbinic scholars to describe the Holy Spirit of God. Christians use the term Shekinah Glory in reference to Old Testament appearances of the Holy Spirit. The name comes from the Hebrew word shachan, which literally means “to dwell” and gives rise to the descriptive phrase, “He Who dwells between the Cherubim,” used of God during the time He lived among the Israelites in the Tabernacle and later in Solomon’s Temple. It is true that at times in early Jewish history the people were seduced into idolatry, often involving the pagan goddess Asherah, but these periods of unfaithfulness never failed to anger God, and always brought His wrath upon them. King Josiah is credited with bringing them back to the worship of God from one such period, and ushering in a time of great revival and blessing for the Southern Kingdom. (2 Kings 22-23) Saying that Asherah and Shekinah are one and the same, and that the One we know as the 3rd member of the Trinity was really God’s female sex partner, acting out the Song of Solomon with Him in the Holy of Holies every Sabbath is the highest form of blasphemy, since the Bible says that sexual sins are the worst of all. (1 Cor. 6:17-19) Asserting that the Bible and all other historical accounts were purposely altered to deny this claim is an ingenious way to deceive people, because if all the existing records are false how do you prove them wrong?
That’s Not Right
But the multitude of errors the feminists committed in presenting their case (the claim that the name Jehovah combines the male and female words for God, when it was really an invention of the King James translators in 1611; the claim that Mary Magdalene was from the “other royal tribe” of Benjamin; the identification of Pneuma as the female “holy soul” counterpart to the male Holy Spirit, etc.) shows that they are either biblically ignorant (and hope you are too), grossly anti-semitic, or more likely both. This is the very kind of claim that led Jesus to condemn the Pharisees, saying, “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matt 12:31-32)