Pagan Names (Part 3)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
The outline is attached below.
6. The Jews used the pagan Babylonian calendar. A. The Jews adopted the names of the months from the pagan Babylonian calendar into their Hebrew calendar after the Exile. i. "Before the Exile the individual months were usually designated by numbers (the twelfth month occurs in 2 Kings 25:27; Jer. 52:31); yet we find also the following names: “Ear month” (Heb. ḥōdesh hā˒ābıb̂ ; Ex. 13:4; 23:15; Deut. 16:1), corresponding to the later Nisan; “Bloom month” (ḥōdesh ziw; 1 Kings 6:1, 37), the second month; “Rain month” (yeraḥ bûl; 6:38), the eighth month; “Freshet month” (yeraḥ hā˒ētānım̂ ; 8:2), the seventh month; all of which seem to be mere appellatives. Occasionally the months were newly numbered after the postexilian period. "After the Exile the months received the following names: (1) Nisan (Neh. 2:1; Esther 3:7), the first month, in which the Passover was held and in which the vernal equinox fell; (2) Iyâr (Targum on 2 Chron. 30:2); (3) Sivân (Esther 8:9); (4) Tammûz; (5) Ab; (6) Elụl (Neh. 6:15), the last month of the civil year in the postexilian age; (7) Tishrı,̂ in which the festivals of the Day of Atonement and Tabernacles fell; (8) Marchesvân (Josephus Ant. 1.3.3); (9) Chislêu (Neh. 1:1; Zech. 7:1); (10) Tebêth (Esther 2:16); (11) Shebât (Zech. 1:7); (12) Adâr (Esther 3:7; 8:12). (Time, Month, Unger's Bible Dictionary) ii. "The year begins in spring, and is divided into reš šatti "beginning", mišil šatti "middle", and qīt šatti "end of the year". The word for "month" was arḫu (construct state araḫ). The chief deity of the Assyrians is assigned the surplus intercalary month, showing that the calendar originates in Babylonian, and not later Assyrian times. "During the 6th century BC Babylonian captivity of the Hebrews, the Babylonian month names were adopted into the Hebrew calendar. The Assyrian calendar used in Iraq and the Levant also uses many of the same names for its months, such as Iyyar, Tammuz, Ab, Elul, Tishri, and Adar. Finally, the Turkish incorporated some (but not all) of these Assyrian month names as part of their own calendar." (Babylonian calendar, Wikipedia, 2-17-2021) iii. The Jews used the Babylonian names for their months and they were recorded in scripture through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. B. The Babylonian names of the month i. Nisan (Neh 2:1; Est 3:7) a. Nisan - (nīʹsan; Heb. nıŝān, from Akkad. nisanu, “beginning, opening”). The first month of the sacred year, called Abib in the Pentateuch, for which it is substituted only in the time of the captivity (Neh. 2:1; Esther 3:7). See Calendar; Time. (Unger's Bible Dictionary) ii. Sivan (Est 8:9) a. Sivan - (sē-van; Heb. sıw̄ ān from Akkad. sım̄ ānu). The third month of the Hebrew sacred year, and ninth of the civil year (Esther 8:9). See Calendar; Time. (Ibid) iii. Elul (Neh 6:15) a. Elul - (eʹlūl; Heb. ˒ĕlûl from Akkad. ulūlu). The sixth month of the ecclesiastical, and twelfth of the civil, year of the Jews. See articles Calendar; Time. (Ibid) iv. Chisleu (Neh 1:1; Zec 7:1) a. Chisleu - (kĭsl̑ ū; Heb. kislēw from Akkad. kislimu) in the KJV, The name of the third civil or ninth ecclesiastical month adopted from the Babylonians after the captivity (Neh. 1:1; Zech. 7:1). See Calendar; Time. (Ibid) b. Notice in Zec 7:1 that the ninth ecclesiastical month was called by its Babylonian name. v. Tebeth (Est 2:16) a. Tebeth - (teʹbeth; Akkad. ṭebetu, “the month of sinking in,” i.e., wet, muddy month). The tenth month of the second year of the Hebrews (Esther 2:16), corresponding in the main to January. (Ibid) vi. Sebat (Zec 1:7) a. Shebat - See Sebat. (Unger's Bible Dictionary) b. Sebat - The fifth month of the Hebrew civil year. See Calendar; Time. (Ibid) vii. Adar (Ezr 6:15; Est 3:7; Est 8:12) a. Adar - (aʹdār; from Akkad. adaru, addaru, probably “dark” or “cloudy”). A later name of the twelfth month of the Jewish year borrowed by the Jews from the Babylonian calendar during the Exile. It extended from the new moon of February to that of March (Ezra 6:15; Esther 3:7, 13; 9:15). See Time. For the city, see Hazaraddar. (Ibid) viii. Tammuz a. Tammuz was also the name of one of the months in the Babylonian calendar which the Jews adopted (see quote from Unger's Bible Dictionary above). b. Tammuz - (tamʹuz). The name of the fourth Babylonian month and of an ancient Akkadian deity. See Gods, False. (Ibid) C. If the Jews adopted and used pagan Babylonian names for the months of their calendar and the Holy Spirit inspired prophets to record it in the scriptures, then it is clearly not a sin to do so. 7. If the prophets and apostles writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit used pagan names for people, places, and calendars, then it is permissible for Christians to call things by pagan names including the days of the week as long as they are not using those names in an act of worship or reverence. IV. What about Exo 23:13? 1. If this means we can't utter the name of a pagan god, then the Holy Spirit is guilty of it (see above). 2. The names of other gods were spoken and written by the prophets numerous times in scripture, such as: A. Adrammelech (2Ki 17:31) B. Anammelech (2Ki 17:31) C. Ashima (2Ki 17:30) D. Ashtoreth (Astarte, Astaroth) (1Ki 11:5, 33; 2Ki 23:13; Jdg 2:13) E. Baal (Jdg 2:13) F. Baalzebub (2Ki 1:2) G. Bel (Jer 51:44) H. Chemosh (Jdg 11:24; 1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13) I. Chiun (Amo 5:26) J. Dagon (Jdg 16:23) K. Diana (Eph 19:24) L. Merodach (Jer 50:2) M. Milcom (1Ki 11:5; 2Ki 23:13) N. Moloch (Amo 5:26) O. Nebo (Isa 46:1) P. Nergal (2Ki 17:30) Q. Nibhaz (2Ki 17:31) R. Nisroch (2Ki 19:37) S. Queen of heaven (Jer 44:19) T. Rimmon (2Ki 5:18) U. Remphan (Act 7:43) V. Succothbenoth (2Ki 17:30) W. Tammuz (Eze 8:14) X. Tartak (2Ki 17:31) 3. These 24 references to other gods in the scriptures proves that Exo 23:13 doesn't forbid the uttering of the name of a pagan god, else the prophets and the Holy Spirit Himself is guilty. A. Therefore, saying the name of a day of the week that was named after a pagan god is not condemned by Exo 23:13. B. The Bible is full of examples or people, places, and calendrical periods which were names after pagan gods (see above). 4. If Exo 23:13 is not forbidding us from saying the name of a pagan god, then what is it forbidding? A. We are not to make mention of the names of other gods. i. Mention n. - 1. Bearing in mind, consideration. Obs. (last usage in 1300) 2. a. In early use, the action of commemorating or calling to mind by speech or writing. Now in more restricted sense, the action, or an act, of incidentally referring to, remarking upon, or introducing the name of (a person or thing) in spoken or written discourse. Orig. in phrase to make mention of (= Fr. faire mention de), which is now slightly arch. or literary, exc. in negative contexts. ii. Commemorate v. - 1. trans. †a. To call to the remembrance of hearers or readers; to make mention of, relate, or rehearse. Obs. b. To mention as worthy of remembrance; to make eulogistic or honourable mention of; to celebrate in speech or writing. iii. In other words, we are not to speak of the name of other gods in a way that calls our hearers to a good and worthy remembrance of them. a. This is what Israel did when they spoke endearingly of the queen of heaven and her provision for them (Jer 44:16-18). b. This is what Exo 23:13 is condemning. iv. Making mention of someone is speaking well of him (Gen 40:14; Eph 1:15-16; 1Th 1:2; Phm 1:4). a. Making mention of a pagan god is speaking well of him. b. This is what Exo 23:13 is condemning. v. Making mention of God's name is worshiping God (Psa 71:16; Isa 12:4; Isa 63:7). a. Making mention of a pagan god is worshiping it. b. This is what Exo 23:13 is condemning. vi. Making mention of God is speaking in His name (Jer 20:9). a. Making mention of a pagan god is speaking in his name. b. This is what Exo 23:13 is condemning. B. Taking up the names of other gods in our lips is associated with hastening after them (Psa 16:4). i. Israel was not to worship any other god (Exo 34:14) which would require mentioning its name. ii. This is the kind of mentioning of a name of a pagan god that the Bible condemns. C. Making mention of the name of other gods is associated with swearing by them, serving them, and worshiping them (Jos 23:7). i. Simply saying the name of a false god is not what the Bible condemns. ii. It is rather using their names in worship or reverence. iii. Saying a name of a day of week which has a pagan origin is not mentioning the name of a pagan god in reverence or worship. D. We must not make mention of other gods in worship or honor of them or by calling upon them for help (1Ki 18:26). E. The prophets were not to speak in the name of other gods (Deut 18:20). F. This is what Exo 23:13 is condemning. G. We must not walk in the name of gods, but in the name of our own God (Mic 4:5). i. We must not love, serve, walk, seek, or worship pagan gods (Jer 8:2). ii. This is what Exo 23:13 is condemning. V. Many words in the English language have their etymology in Greek and Roman mythology. 1. Many words that we use every day are English equivalents of the names of Greek and Roman gods, such as the following (source): A. Achilles heel - "used to refer to a small but potentially serious weakness or vulnerable point...The expression comes from the Greek hero Achilles, who as a baby was dipped by his mother, the sea god Thetis, in the river Styx and whose body as a result became invulnerable – except for the heel by which his mother had held him." B. Aphrodisiac - from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. C. Cereal - from Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility. D. Gigantic - from the Greek word Gigantikos who were the 24 Giants in Greek mythology who launched an attack on Zeus and the gods of Olympus who were defeated with the help of Heracles. E. Herculean - from Greek hero Heracles (Hercules). F. Mentor - from Mentor, a figure in Greek mythology who was asked by Odysseus to be an advisor and guide to his son while he was off fighting in the Trojan War. G. Nectar - from the Greek word nektar which was the drink of the gods which conferred immortality to those who drank it. H. Panic - from the Greek word panikos which means "of Pan" who was the god of the fields, woods, shepherds, and flocks who was believed to have the power to strike sudden terror into humans and animals in Greek mythology. I. Siren - 2. Class. Mythol. One of several fabulous monsters, part woman, part bird, who were supposed to lure sailors to destruction by their enchanting singing. 7. a. An acoustical instrument (invented by Cagniard de la Tour in 1819) for producing musical tones and used in numbering the vibrations in any note. (OED) J. Tantalize - "from Tantalus, who in Greek mythology committed certain terrible crimes and was punished for them after his death by being suspended from the bough of a fruit tree over a lake whose waters covered the lower half of his body. He was tormented by hunger and thirst, but when he raised his arm to pick a fruit from the tree, a gust of wind would blew it out of his reach, and when he bent down to drink, the level of the water in the lake would fall." K. Titanic - from the Titans who were unruly children and grandchildren of the gods Uranus (the Sky) and Gaia (the Earth) in Greek mythology. L. Venereal - from Venus the Roman goddess of love. 2. When we use these words that have come into our language from pagans, we are not worshiping or honoring pagan gods. 3. The same is the case for the names of the days of the week and months of the year. 4. Don't make a man an offender for a word (Isa 29:21).
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