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 CHAPTER FIVE

Zorastrian Influence

 

 

 

 

 

 

The religion of ancient Persia was founded by Zoroaster; one of the world's great faiths that bears the closest resemblance to Judaism and Christianity. According to the tradition in the Parsee books, Zoroaster was born in 660 B.C. and died in 583; but many scholars claim that he must have flourished at a much earlier time. All investigators, however, are agreed that his teachings were generally in force throughout Iran before the time of the Jewish Captivity

 

Zoroaster was originally a Magian priest, and it is from this group, the Magi - Kings from the East came to see baby Jesus following astral signs led by the star.  Zoroastrian eschatological teachings-the fight between good and evil, freewill of man, the coming of a Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting are nearly identical to Christianity.

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https://www.greenwichtime.com/opinion/article/Syncretism-and-the-Zoroastrian-influence-on-4732682.php
Rabbi Mitchell M. Hurvitz is senior sabbi at Temple Sholom of Greenwich, co-founder of the Sholom Center for Interfaith Learning and Fellowship and a past-president of the Greenwich Fellowship of Clergy For an archive of past Greenwich Citizen Columns, please visit www.templesholom.com.2013
http://www.hinduwebsite.com/zoroastrianism/afterlife.asp
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Zoroastrianism https://www.theosophical.org/publications/quest-magazine/42-publications/quest-m%20agazine/1231-zoroastrianism-history-beliefs-and-practices
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/15283-zoroastrianism
http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/mine/jud_zor.htm

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Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism are similar in their cosmological ideas. The six days of Creation in Genesis finds a parallel in the six periods of Creation described in the Zoroastrian scriptures. Mankind, according to each religion, is descended from a single couple, and Mashya (man) and Mashyana (women) are the Iranian Adam and Eve.  the Flood story is nearly identical  Avestan story

 

Thus it is not surprising to see that they were all based on similar revelations. 

 

The Babylonian army conquered the Southern Kingdom in 586 BCE. Jerusalem was destroyed. The Judah were taken into captivity to Babylon.

 

The development of the concept of heaven and hell materialized only after the Babylonian exile and return to Jerusalem. The pre-exilic Biblical books do not make reference to "afterlife."

 

"The early Jews were not monotheists but henotheists or even outright polytheists. They had one central god but believed in other gods. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3). This was the tribal god, often bloodthirsty and murderous who not only (they claimed) ordered the killing of women and children, but also even directly murdered the first born of Egypt. Every tribe seemed to have their own god. This was no God of love or compassion, but a god of survival." http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/mine/jud_zor.htm

The early Israelite theology was simply that, we came from dust and would return to dust. With the first exile Jewish nation got immersed in the religion of the Persian Empire and Zoroastrianism and there arose many doctrinal finalization. .  They were both monotheistic religion and hence could see eye to eye resulting in Cyrus allowing them to return and rebuild their nation.

 

Hence Judaism assimilated the idea that :"personal and individual immortality is always offered to the righteous."

 

Origin of the word Pardesa

 

The origin of the word "paradise" is Persian, and the afterlife concept is transferred to post-exilic Judaism. The paradise garden is a form of garden of Old Iranian origin, specifically Achaemenid. Originally denominated by a single noun denoting "a walled-in compound or garden", separating it from "pairi" ("around") with a "daeza" or "diz" ("wall", "brick", or "shape"), Xenophon Grecized the Persian phrase "pairi-daeza" into "Paradeisos". Some people even today refer to Eden as Parudeesa. 

 

So the assumption was that the righteous will return to Eden and will have the Father to Son/Daughter relationship with the Father God

 

Life after Death according to Zoroastrian tradition
Automatic separation through programmed Bridge

 

According to the Zoroastrian tradition, after the death of the body, the soul remains in this world for three days and nights, in the care of Sraosha, one of the Yazatas or angels. During this period, prayers are said and rituals performed to assure a safe passage of the soul into the spiritual realm. On the dawn of the fourth day, the spirit is believed to have crossed over to the other world, where it arrives at the allegorical Chinvat Bridge-  bridge of judgment” .

 

The cross over has various versions.  In one version, at the Chinvat Bridge, the soul meets a maiden who is the embodiment of all the good words, thoughts, and deeds of its preceding life. If the soul has led a righteous life (one in accord with the divine Plan), the maiden appears in a beautiful form. If not, she appears as an ugly hag. This image, fair or foul, confronts the soul, and the soul acknowledges that the image is an embodiment of its own actions and thereby judges itself, knowing whether it is worthy to cross over the bridge to the other side or must return to earth to learn further lessons. (reincarnation)

 

 

By another account, after the soul meets its own image, it appears before a heavenly tribunal, where divine justice is administered. Good souls go to a heaven called Vahishta Ahu, the Excellent Abode. Evil souls are consigned to a hell called Achista Ahu, the Worst Existence. 

 

One account reflects a belief in reincarnation; the other does not.

 

In the oldest Zoroastrian scriptures, heaven and hell are not places, but states of mind that result from right or wrong choices. Zoroaster spoke of the  House of Lies and the House of Song, ť to which souls are sent. Some say that the fall of the soul into the House of Lies means a return of the soul to earth, the realm of unreality or lies.

 

The souls will remain in their respective abodes until the end of the current cycle of time. At the end of it there will be a Judgment Day, when God will revive all the dead souls and review their actions once again. This gives our resurrection of the dead both righteous and unrighteous unto a final judgement seat - the white throne Judgement. Those who were on the side of the good and God will be rewarded with an eternal heavenly life, while the rest will be consigned to a world of torment again.

 

As distinct from Judaism this is the resurrection of all the dead to universal purification and renewal of the world. In the frashokereti doctrine, the final renovation of the universe is when evil will be destroyed, and everything else will be then in perfect unity with God (Ahura Mazda).

 

The doctrinal premises are
(1) good will eventually prevail over evil;
(2) creation was initially perfectly good, but was subsequently corrupted by evil;
(3) the world will ultimately be restored to the perfection it had at the time of creation;
(4) the "salvation for the individual depended on the sum of [that person's] thoughts, words and deeds, and there could be no intervention, whether compassionate or capricious, by any divine being to alter this.

" Thus, each human bears the responsibility for the fate of his own soul, and simultaneously shares in the responsibility for the fate of the world. It is not difficult to see that Judaism had adopted the same doctrines as those of the Zorastrians which had been transmitted to Christians partially.  It is generally believed that the concept of Heaven and Hell were taken over and syncretised soon after the exile of Israel into Babylon.

According to the tradition in the Parsee books, Zoroaster was born in 660 B.C. and died in 583; but many scholars claim that he must have flourished at a much earlier time. Zoroaster's birth is dated between 1500 and 1200 B.C. All investigators, however, are agreed that his teachings were generally in force throughout Iran before the time of the Jewish Captivity. His name in its ancient form in the Avesta is "Zarathustra,"

 

 

 

"When the influence of Zoroastrianism on Judaism and Christianity is studied, time and again we return to:

First, the figure of Satan, originally a servant of God, appointed by Him as His prosecutor, came more and more to resemble Ahriman, the enemy of God.


Secondly, the figure of the Messiah, originally a future King of Israel who would save his people from oppression, evolved, in Deutero-Isaiah for instance, into
a universal Savior very similar to the Iranian Saoshyant.

 

 

Other points of comparison between Iran and Israel include

l   the doctrine of the millennia;

l  the Last Judgment; the heavenly book in which human actions are inscribed;

l  the Resurrection; the final transformation of the earth; paradise on earth or in heaven; and hell."
by J. Duchesne-Guillemin

 http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/15283-zoroastrianism

 

Islamic version of Judgment and Paradise.

 

Islam was essentially a return from the Christian modification on Jewish faith and developed as a strict monotheistic tradition.  Most of the teachings are similar to the Jewish teachings.  Islam originated in Mecca and Medina at the start of the 7th century. In 610 CE, Muhammad began receiving his revelations. The major difference in the Abrahamic religions lie in their approach to who God is.  Islam considers God as Master and humans as the Slaves.

 

Afterlife will start with the "Day of the Arising" and a trumpet blast which will wake the dead from their graves. "When all created beings, including men, angels, jinn, devils and animals gather and sweat unshaded from the sun the Perspiration will follow. Sinners and unbelievers will suffer and sweat longer on this day, which lasts for "50,000 years". God will judge each soul,  accept no excuses, and examine every act and intention—no matter how small. It is believed those whose good deeds outweigh the bad will be assigned to Jannah (heaven), and those whose bad deeds outweigh the good to Jahannam.(Hell). Finally the souls will traverse over hellfire via the bridge of sirat.

 

The sirat is a long and narrow bridge that everyone will have to pass through before entering Heaven. It is believed to be a “bridge over Hell”. It has been said that this bridge will be a reflection of ones life in this world (Dunyia). The more a person saves himself from evil actions the more it will be easier for him to pass over it.

Narrated by Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri: We, the companions of the Prophet asked: "O Allah's Apostle! What is the bridge?'

 

https://www.ummah.com/forum/forum/general/the-lounge/291602-the-sirat-bridge

www.myreligionislam.com › Belief in the Last Day › Paradise and Hell

www.islamicinsights.com › Religion

https://askaquestionto.us/question-answer/thehereafter/what-is-sirat-bridge

https://askaquestionto.us/question-answer/thehereafter/what-is-sirat-bridg

 

 

Allah's Apostle said, "It is a slippery (bridge) on which there are clamps and (Hooks like) a thorny seed that is wide at one side and narrow at the other and has thorns with bent ends. Such a thorny seed is found in Najd and is called As-Sa'dan. Some of the believers will cross the bridge as quickly as the wink of an eye, some others as quick as lightning, a strong wind, fast horses or she-camels. So some will be safe without any harm; some will be safe after receiving some scratches, and some will fall down into Hell. The last person will cross by being dragged over the bridge." (Sahih Bukhari- Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532)

These hooks will snatch the people according to their deeds.

 

 

The bridge is like a hair split into seven parts and sharp as a sharp razor

 

Some people will be ruined because of their evil deeds, and some will be cut into pieces and fall down in hell, but will be saved afterwards, when Allah has finished the judgments among His slaves, and intends to take out of the Fire whoever He wishes to take out from among those who used to testify that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah.” (Sahi Bukhari- Volume 8, Book 76, Number 577)

 

The Sirat is thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword. Angels will try hard to save Believers. Jabrail 'alaihis-salam will grip my waist, and I will pray, "O my Lord! Give salvation to my nation and rescue them." On that day many people who will slip and fall.) [Bayhaqi]  'We were informed that the Siraat is a walking distance of 15000 years: 5000 years climbing up, 5000 years getting down, and 5000 years walking on the surface (lengthwise), and it is thinner than a hair and sharper than a knife, placed on Hellfire.' [Ibn 'Asaakir]

Abu Sa'id al Khudri reported Allah's Messenger as saying: "When the believers pass safely over (the bridge across) Hell, they will be stopped at a bridge between Hell and Paradise where they will retaliate against one another for the injustices done among them in the world, and when they are purified of all their sins, they will be admitted to Paradise. By Him in Whose hands the life of Muhammad is, everybody will recognize his dwelling in Paradise better than he recognizes his dwelling in this world." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Fath Al-Bari)

The bridge is the judgement which is to be crossed soon after the resurrection. 

 

After Crossing the Bridge

 

When Believers cross the Sirat, they will come across two springs. They will have a bath from one of the springs and will drink from the other. Thus, after attaining material and spiritual purity, they will come to the gate of Paradise.  Angels will say, as it is stated in Zumar Sura,"Peace be upon you. Welcome! Enter here eternally."  The believers will enter Paradise and they will be of the shape and image of their father, Adam, sixty cubits in height.  Then they will be clothed garments of Paradise, and all of them will go into Paradise. INSHALLAH!!

 

Notice that even from the Hell some will have opportunity to get to heaven.  Only the worst will be left forever.  There is also a purgaorial path instead of the Sirat bridge where a punitive time is served and compensations of sins are made who will then walk into the paradise.

 

 

Jahannam etymologically related to Hebrew Gehennom and refers to an afterlife place of punishment for evildoers. The punishments are carried in accordance with the degree of evil one has done during ones life.  In Quran, Jahannam is also referred as al-Nar ("The Fire"), Jaheem   ("Blazing Fire" ), Hatamah  ("That which Breaks to Pieces" ), Haawiyah  ("The Abyss" ), Ladthaa  , Sa’eer   ("The Blaze" ), Saqar and also the names of different gates to hell.  According to Quran Surah 11:119, Jahannam is for both evil among the Jinn and humans.


 

 

 

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