Arnobius, Instrumental Music Worship TeamsArnobius begins his first book by denouncing idolatrous, musical worship, bacchic prophesiers or soothsayers who deem themselves very wise in their eyes, acting as if they were inspired, and announcing with all the authority of an oracle, that from the time when the Christian people began to exist in the world the universe has gone to ruin... even the gods have abandoned their places.
Arnobius writing (A.D. 297-303) Ridicules instrumental music in worship and Charismatic Worship as idolatrous.
In a footnote on the first page of Book I the editor notes that-
The words insanir, m bacchari, refer to the appearance of the ancient seers when under the influence of the deity. The meaning is, that they make their asserverations with all the confidence of a seer when filled, as he pretended, with the influence of the god." (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 413)
He notes that it is childish that the gods of the pagans were not interested in heavenly things but with the courser things of earth. However, he is aware that the professional religionists devised the myths and fables to fool fools. They felt this need because "we need to do something about the falling attendance."
Nay, rather, to speak out more truly, the augurs, the dream interpreters, the SOOTHSAYERS, the prophets, and the PRIESTLINGS, ever vain, have devised these fables; for they,
fearing that their own arts be brought to nought, and that they may extort but scanty contributions from the devotees, now few and infrequent,
whenever they have found you to be willing that their craft should come into disrepute, cry aloud, the Gods are neglected, and
in the temples there is now a very thin attendance. For ceremonies are exposed to derision, and the time-
honoured rites of institutions once sacred have sunk before the superstitions of new religions.
And men--a senseless race--being unable, from their inborn blindness, to see even that which is placed in open light,
dare to assert in their frenzy
what you in your sane mind do not blush to believe. (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 418).
Arnobius ridicules the pagan gods by asking: arnobius, instrumental music in worship,
Is it the Titans and the Bocchores of the Moors, and the Syrian deities the offspring of eggs? Is it Apis (worshipped at Mt Sinai), born in the Peloponnese, and in Egypt is called Serapis? (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 422)
Arnobius is aware that most of the "gods" were "dead heros" who had invented some useful device or composed a song and thereby been deified--
Aesculapius, because he discovered the use of herbs; Minerva, because she produced the olive; Triptolemus, because he invented the plough; Hercules, because he overpowered and restrained wild beasts and robbers. (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 423)
In showing how ridiculous it was that the Earth be worshipped by the sacrifice of a pregnant sow just because the earth was fruitful, Arnobius concludes that it was equally logical that instrumental music in worship be used to honor the pretend gods:
Apollo should be honored by the sacrifice of musicians because he is a musician;... and because Mercury (Hermes) is eloquent, sacrifice should be made to him with the eloquent and most fluent. (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 423).
Instrumental Music in worship performers are charged with the sin of "idolatry." We still worship those who can speak the loudest, makes the best show or sing the best tune: no ugly person need apply:
I worshipped images produced from the furnace, gods made on anvils and by hammers, the bones of elephants, paintings, wreaths on aged trees; whenever I espied an anointed stone and one bedaubed with olive oil, as if some power resided in it I worshipped it, I addressed myself to it and begged blessings from a senseless stock. (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VII, p. 423).
Why do you speak of things which you have not examined, and which are unknown to you, prating with the garrulity of a rash tongue? Were, then, those things which were done, the freaks of demons, and the tricks of the magical arts? Can you specify and point out to me any one of all those magicians who have ever existed in past ages, that did anything similar, in the thousandth degree, to Christ? Who has done this without any power of incantations? (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 425).
Christ "wrought without any aid from external things,
without the observance of any ceremonial,
without any definite mode of procedure,
but solely by the inherent might of His authority.... Is He one of us, at whose command, at whose voice, raised in the utterances of audible and intelligible words, infirmities, diseases, fevers, and other ailments of the body fled away." (Footnote: This is contrasted with the mutterings of strange words used by the magicians.") (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 425)
Whose name (Christ), when heard, puts to flight evil spirits, imposes silence on soothsayers, prevents men from consulting augurs, causes the efforts of arrogant magicians to be frustrated, not by the dread of His name, as you allege, but by the free exercise of a greater power." (Arnobious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 426)
For when He forsaw that you were to be the detractors of His deeds and of His divine work, in order that no lurking suspicion might remain of His having lavished these gifts and bounties by magic arts... without any deceit and without any material aids." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, I, p. 427)
Playing Instrumental Music Games with Christ
On page 427 Arnobius discuses "magical arts" as opposed to the miracles of the unlearned apostles who used no deceit or material aids. On page 427 he shows that Christ drove demons from people and "reversed the ceremonies of the funeral rites" which had been conducted to magically appease the "loved one" perhaps neglected in life.
In contrasting Christ with Bactrian and others who claimed powers of magic and had herbs with power. They "muttered words" and thereby cast spells. On the other hand, Christ worked with simple word commands--
There was nothing magical, as you suppose, nothing human, delusive, or crafty in Christ; no deceit lurked in Him, although you smile in derision, as your wont is, and though you split with roars of laughter." (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 428)
In continuing his discussion of how the power of Christ works, the soothsayers, augurs and magicians has been replaced by those who pour "dulcet sounds" into the ears--
For indeed it evidences a worthless heart to seek enjoyment in matters of importance; and when you have to deal with those who are sick and diseased,
to pour into their ears dulcet sounds, not to apply a remedy to their wounds." (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 430)
If the Sibyl, when she was uttering and pouring forth her prophecies and oracular responses, was filled, as you say, with Apollo's power, had been cut down and slain by impious robbers, would Appolo be said to have been slain in her? If Bacis, If Helenus, Marcius, and other soothsayers, had been in like manner robbed of life and light when raving as inspired, would any one say that those who, speaking by their mouths, declared to inquireres what should be done?" (Arnobious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 431)
Instrumental Worship, the Priest and Homosexual connection
"Tyrants and kings plunder and pillage the treasuries of temples and "wrest away the chastity of matrons and maidens,--these men you name indigites and divi; and you worship with couches, altars, temples and other service,
and by celebrating their games and birthday... who seek to persuade men that
the rights of marriage should be held in common;
who lie with boys, beautiful, lustful, naked; who declare that you are beasts...
all these with wonder and applause you exalt to the stars of heaven, you place in the shrines of your libraries, you present with chariots and statues, and as much as in you lies, give with a kind of immortality." (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 432)
"Some of them are brought forward in the character of lovers, destroyers of purity, to commit shameful and degrading deeds not only with women, but with men also. You take no care as to what is said about matters of such importance." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, AnteNicene, VI, p. 487).
Arnobius: Don't Listen to Polished Speakers about Instrumental Music
"They speak in the most elegant language, and that their words flow in polished periods; that they reason in syllogisms with utmost acuteness; .. that they say many things about the different kinds of numbers, many things about music; that by their maxims and precepts they settle the problems of geometry also." However, he continues--
A comparison of persons must be decided,
not by vigour of eloquence,
but by the excellence of the works which they have done.
He must not be called a good teacher who has expressed himself clearly,
but he who accompanies his promises with the guarantee of divine works." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 438).
"If men either knew themselves thoroughly, or had the slightest knowledge of God, they would never claim as their own a divine and immortal nature; nor would they think themselves something great because they have made for themselves... knives, swords" and etc.
carried away by pride and arrogance, would they believe themselves to be deities of the first rank, and fellows of the highest in his exaltation, because they had devised the arts of grammar, music, oratory, and geometry.
For we do not see what is so wonderful in these arts, that because of their discovery
the soul should be believed to be above the sun as well as all the stars, to surpass both in grandeur and essence the whole universe, of which these are parts. "
For what else do these assert that they can either declare or teach, than that we may learn to know the rules and differences of nouns,
the intervals in the sounds of different tones, that we may speak persuasively in lawsuits, that we may measure the confines of the earth?
Now if the soul had brought these arts with it from the celestial regions, and it were impossible not to know them, all men would long before this be busied with them all over the earth...
But see now how few musicians, logicians, and geometricians are there in the world! How few orators, poets, critics!..." (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 441)
And be not deceived or deluded with vain hopes by that which is said by some ignorant and most presumptious pretenders, that they are born of God, and are not subject to the decrees of fate; that His palace lies open to them if they lead a life of temperance, and that after death as men, they are restored without hinderance, as if their father's abode;
not by that which the "Magi assert, that they have intercessory prayers, won over by which some powers make the way easy to those who are striving to mount to heaven;
not by that which Etruria holds out in the Acherontic books that souls become, and are freed from the law of death, if the blood of certain animals is offered to certain deities.
These are empty delusions, and excite vain desires. None but the Almighty God can preserve souls; nor is there any one besides who can give them length of days, and grant to them also a spirit which shall never die."
(Footnote: Magi are 'certain fortune-telling vagrant seers, who persuade the rich
that they have power with the gods, by means of charms and sacrifices... on familiar terms with evil powers, and thus able to accomplish whatever is within these spirit's power.) (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 457)
The pagans argued that Christianity could not be true because it was so young. However, Arnobius noted that, by the same argument, the gods who gained their status through the arts such as instrumental music as worship cannot be true gods.
His argument is that music and other arts as proof that one was a god must have had their own beginning at one time."For instance, music did not seem to originate with the gods because it was a fairly recent invention--Medicine, philosophy, music and all the other arts by which social life has been built up and refined,--were these born with men, and did they not rather begin to be pursued, understood, and practiced lately, nay, rather, but a short time since?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 460).
By their argument, therefore, their religion could not be true.
Most of the ancient gods were people who had excelled in some art or science. They lived, died and were thought to relive when their music was played or their art performed. The musical skills were often honored above others.
These gods, of course, were not "elected" by the common people. Nor had they ever performed any miracle after their death. Rather, they were promoted by the philosophers, actors and writers who used them to control others in the name of religion. Singing and instrumental music was a mark of being inspired:
"This, then, this matter of forms and sexes, is the first affront which you, noble advocates in sooth, and pious writers, offer to your deities. But what is the next, that you represent to us the gods, some are artificers, some physicians, others working in wool, as sailors, players on the harp and flute, hunters, shepherds, and, as there was nothing more, rustics? (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 469).
He continues to make the close association between the music and the craft of divination. By this music "made in heaven" the musician as diviner could--in many traditions--get a message not available to men of lesser skills. Arnobius asks why the gods or those controlled by the gods have skills just like common mechanics--
Arnobius: And that god, he says, is a musician, and this other can divine...
what occasion for the gods knowing and being acquainted with these handicrafts as though they were worthless mechanics?
For, are songs sung and music played in heaven,
that the nine sisters (muses or musicians in Revelation 18) may gracefully combine and harmonize pauses and rhythms of tones? Are there on the mountains of the stars, forests, wood, groves, that Diana may be esteemed very mighty in hunting?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 469).
Socrates: But does a general, who knows that his army has worthless arms, think to make gain, or think it worth while to make gain, from them?
Friend: By no means.
Socrates: Or does a flute-player who has worthless flutes, or a harper with a lyre, a bowman with a bow, or anyone else at all, in short, among ordinary craftsmen or sensible men in general, with any implement or other equipment of any sort that is worthless, think to make gain from it?
Socrates: Then whoever can they be, your lovers of gain? For I presume they are not the people whom we have successively mentioned, but people who know their worthless things, and yet think they are to make gain from them. But in that case, by what you say, remarkable sir, no man alive is a lover of gain
Friend: Well, Socrates, I should like to call those lovers of gain who from insatiable greed consumedly long for things that are even quite petty and of little or no worth,
Music and craftsmanship were always associated. The end-time church will be very materialistic and they will use instrumental music, as did Tyre and Babylon, to seduce people out of their money:
And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. Re 18:14
And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; Re 18:22
Cratylus: Soc. And mine, too, Hermogenes. But do not be too much of a precisian, or "you will unnerve me of my strength." When you have allowed me to add mechane (contrivance) to techne (art) I shall be at the top of my bent, for I conceive mechane to be a sign of great accomplishment- anein; for mekos the meaning of greatness, and these two, mekos and anein, make up the word mechane.The Greek language identifies all singing and instruments as enchantment or sorcery because it intends to use external means to make mental changes which can be sold as the "spirit" inside. That is why MELODY defines the realm of Apollo or Abaddon using the locusts which are the muses in Revelation 18:22
Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. Ac.19:38
And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; Re.18:22
Technites (h5079) tekh-nee'-tace; from 5078; an artisan; fig. a founder (Creator): - builder, craftsman.
Techn-ê , hê, ( [tektôn] ) art, skill, cunning of hand, esp. in metalworking, Od.3.433, 6.234, 11.614; also of a shipwright, Il.3.61; of a soothsayer, A.Ag.249 (pl., lyr.), Eu.17, S.OT389, etc.; technai heterôn heterai Pi.N.1.25 ; ôpase t. pasan Id.O.7.50 .
John identifies the operatives of the Mother of Harlots (Rev 17) sorcerers.
Of course, this is John's "hidden in plain sight" definition of all prostitute religions including the end time church which will have had all of the CANDLESTICKS or the "seven spirits" which would rest on Messiah as the BRANCH as prophesied in Isaiah 11.
Rev 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived
The theologians (writers-speakers-performers) could understand the fallacy of claiming that true gods needed such skills to get a message or do some work. Therefore, they seemed to back down and say that perhaps the musicians as servants of the gods actually needed such skills.
Therefore, because the gods often created mortals or lesser gods to do their work, those who promoted them to be honored could claim that the gods were not the musicians or artists but that they controlled or presided over them. For instance, in the Babylonian theology Lamech might have been reborn as Ea who was just the patron god of music--
But you will, perhaps, say that the gods are not artificers,
but that they preside over these arts, and have their oversight;
nay, that under their care all things have been placed, which we manage and conduct." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 470).
The soothsayers receive their knowledge of their art from the Phythian god, and why does he so often give and affort answeres equivocal, doubtful, dteeped in darkness and obscurity." (Arnibious, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 470)
But it is only poets whom you have thought proper to allow to invent unseemly tales about the gods, and to turn them shamefully into sport?
What do your pantomimists, the actors, that crowd of mimics and adulterers?
Do they not abuse your gods
to make themselves gain,
and do not the others find enticing, pleasures in the wrongs and insults offered to the gods?
Are the public games, too, the colleges of all the priests and magistrates take their place, the chief Pontiffs, and the chief priests of the curiae... crowned with wreaths of laurel, the flamines diales with their mitres;
the augurs take their place, who disclose the divine mind and will;
and chaste maidens also, who cherish and guard the ever-burning place." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 470).
Gods of the Air arnobius, instrumental music in worship, arnobius, instrumental music in worship,
Paul warned the Corinthians that they were on the edge of imitating the Israelites at Mount Sinai where they "rose up to play." This included instrumental music in worship and antics much like speaking in tongues. In chapter fourteen, he warned that they were trying to speak to God instead of listening (14:2) and, therefore, they were just speaking into the air (14:9) -- worship is a listening for the whispered silence of God's voice.
Corinth: Juno as god was supposed to be the air and spoken to in "tongues"
"For if she is the air, as you have been wont to jest and say, repeating in reversed order the syllables of the Greek name, there will be found no sister and spouse of almighty Jupiter." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 472). (This was an enchantment song)
Arnobius wanted to know, however, that when people performed these rituals the gods didn't make life any easier. While the crashing cymbals hid Jupiter from harm, when others made the same noise nothing good came from their efforts. The best song supposed to be a message from heaven didn't seem to have any more power than ordinary poems.
Musical Mercury the Go Between with God
The answer, of course, was that in addition to performing the sympathetic magic such as music, you also had to feed the god by offering sacrifices--which the priests ate.
Mercury (Logos, word), also, has been named as though he were a kind of go-between; (mediator) and because conversation passes between two speakers, and is exchanged by them, that which is expressed by this name has been produced.
If this, then, is the case, Mercury is not the name of a god,
but of speech and words exchanged by persons." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 472).
The corinthians were also being baptized for the dead. This was an ancient pagan ritual performed in the belief that they could improve the lot of their dead ancestors. The Corinthians in speaking to god (the word is generic) were just "speaking into the air." Rather than getting their tongues, songs and sermons from the god Paul said that they were just speaking out of their own spirit.
"Gods are called by many names and "at another time, again, he maintains that they are gods of the air, and are termed heros; at another, following the opinion of the ancients, he says that the Lares are ghosts, as it were a kind of tutelary demon, spirits of dead men." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 475).
Arnobius, Musical Mocking arnobius, instrumental music in worship,
"Mocking the belief that Mellonia introduces herself into the entrails, or Limentinus, and that they set themselves to make known what you seek to learn, Arnobius asks--
May it not happen, may it not come to pass, although you craftily conceal it, that the one should take the other's place, deluding, mocking, deceiving, and presenting the appearance of the deity invoked? If the magi, who are so much akin to soothsayers, relate that, in their incantations,
pretend gods steal in frequently instead of those invoked; that some of these, moreover, are spirits of grosser substance, who pretend that they are gods, and delude the ignorant by their lies and deceit." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 479).
The magicians or soothsayers sang their incantations but Arnobius warned that other "gods" or evil spirits seemed to steal in and, instead of divine truth, delivered lies and deceit.
Arnobius, Marrying and Giving in Marriage arnobius, instrumental music in worship,
And what do we say about their marriages, too, when indeed you say that some celebrated their nuptials, and entertained joyous throngs, and that the goddesses sported at these; and that some threw all things into utter confusion with dissensions because they had no share in singing the Fescennine verses, and occasioned danger and destruction to the next generation of men?" Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 482).
Did, then, the god who makes the thunder crash, lightens and hurls the thunderbolt, and draws together terrible clouds, drink in the streams of the breast, wail as an infant, creep about,
and that he might be persuaded to cease his crying most foolishly protracted,
was he made silent by the noise of rattles, and put to sleep lying in a very soft cradle, and lulled with broken words." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 482).
Arnobius: Asking how you can believe what the theologians say.
"let us suppose that from the foundation of the world no man ever wrote anything about the gods: we wish to find out, and desire to know, whether
you can mutter or murmur in mentioning the gods, or conceive those in thought to whom no idea from any book gave shape in your mind.
But when it is clear that you have been informed of their names and powers by the suggestions of books,
it is unjust to deny the reliableness of these books by whose testimony and authority you establish what you say." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 482).
What say you, O men? Did, then, shall I repeat, the god who makes the thunder crash, lightens and hurls the thunderbolt, and draws together terrible clouds,
drink in the streams of the breast, wail as an infant, creep about, and,
that he might be persuaded to cease his crying most foolishly protracted,
was he made silent by the noise of a rattle,
and put to sleep lying in a very soft cradle, and
lulled with broken words?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 483).
"Does "Apollo, having become rich, by his ambigious responses, deceived the very kings by whose treasures and gifts he had been enriched?"
"Did we declare that Mercury was a thief? that Laverna is so also and along with him presides over secret frauds?
"Is the writer Myrtilus one of us, who declares that the Muses were the handmaids of Megalcon, daughter of Macarus?"
"Did we say that Venus was a courtezan, deified by a Cyprian king named Cinyras? (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 484).
Who, I say, can believe that the deity reclined at men's tables, was troubled on account of his avarice, deceived his suppliants by an ambiguous reply, excelled in the tricks of thieves, committed adultery, acted as a slave, was wounded?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 485).
Arnobius, Ante-Nicene Fathers, The Gods Must be Entertained by Music and Ritual
The people understood that the "gods" they worshipped were "but men." However, the myths were so strong that they dared not go through the rituals.
It was acknowledged that the ritual ceremonies: ,
"But all of these things, they say, are the fictions of poets, and games arranged for pleasure. It is not credible, indeed, that men by means of thoughtless, who sought to trace out the character of the remotest antiquity, either did not insert in their poems the fables which survived in men's minds and common conversation." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VII, p. 486).
However, while the pagans understood that their religious rituals were associated with games they were still afraid of offending the gods who would punish them if they did not "dance while they played." The superstition was so strong that they played the game or felt in danger of national destruction--
"If in your ceremonies and rites neglected sacrifices and expiatory offerings may be demanded, guilt is said to have been contracted; if by a momentary forgetfulness any
one has erred either in speaking or in pouring wine; or again, if at the solemn games and sacred races the dancer has halted or the musician suddenly becomes silent--
you all cry out immediately that something has been done contrary to the sacredness of the ceremonies; or if the boy termed patrimus let go the thong in ignorance, or could not hold to the earth: and yet do you dare to deny that the gods are ever wrong by you in sins so grievous, while you confess yourselves that, in less matters, they are often angry, to the natiopnal ruin?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VII, p. 486).
Arnobius: Professional play As Worship: a
"But this crime is not enough: the persons of the most sacred gods are mixed up with farces also, and scurrilous plays. And that the idle onlookers may be excited to laughter and jollity, the deities are hit at in jocular quips, the spectators shout and rise up, the whole pit resounds to the clapping of hands and applause
"And to the debauched scoffers at the gods gifts and presents are ordained, ease,
freedom from public burdens, exemption and relief, together with triumphal garlands,
a crime for which no amends can be made by any apologies...
you wish your inactive minds to be occupied with useless dreamings, demand that days be given to you,
and exhibitions made with out any interval?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 488).
Funerals: Music for the Dead arnobius, instrumental music in worship,
Footnote: "The service in which these prayers were offered was presided over by the bishop, to whom the dead body was brough: hymns were then sung of thanksgiving to God, the giver of victory,
by whose help and grace the departed brother had been victorious. The priest next gave thanks to God, and some chapters of the Scripture were read: afterwards the catechumens were dismissed; the names of those at rest were then read in a clear voice, to remind the survivors of the success with which others had combated the temptation of the world. The priest again prayed for the departed, at the close of beseeching God to grant him pardon, and admission among the undying. Thereafter the body was kissed, anointed, and buried." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 488).
"And what, I ask, was the charm which forced Jupiter to leave the all-important direction of the universe,
and appear at the bidding of mortals? the sacrificial meal, incense, blood, the scent of burning laurel-boughts,
and muttering of spells?
And were all these more powerful than Jupiter,
so that they compelled him to do unwillingly what was enjoined, or to give himself up of his own accord to their crafty tricks." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p.490).
Arnobius: Mother Goddess arnobius, instrumental music in worship,
"Within the confines of Phrygia, he says, there is a rock of unheard-of wildness in every respect, the name of which is Agdus, so named by the natives of that district. Stones taken from it, as Themis by her oracle had enjoined, Deucalion and Pyrrha threw upon the earth, at that time emptied of men; and from this Great Mother, too, as she is called, was fashioned along with the others, and animated by the deity.
Her, given over to rest and sleep on the very summit of the rock, Jupiter assailed with lewdest desires. But when, after long strife,
he could not accomplish what he had proposed to himself, he, baffled, spent his lust on the stone. This the rock received, and with many groanings Acdetis is born in the tenth month, being named from his mother rock.
In him there had been resistless might, and a fierceness of disposition beyond control, a lust made furious, and derived from both sexes (or a hermaphrodite)." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p.491).
Arnobius: Acdestis the Homosexual Father arnobius, instrumental music in worship,
"Now, when it had been often considered in the councils of the gods, by what means it might be possible either to weaken or curb his audacity, Liber, the rest hanging back, takes upon himself this task.
"With the strongest wine he drugs a spring much resorted to by Acdestis where he had been wont to assuage the heat and burning thirst roused in him by sport and hunting.
Hither runs Acdestis to drink when he felt the need; he gulps down the draught too greedily into his gaping veins. Overcome by what he is quite unaccustomed to, he is in consequence sent fast asleep. Liber is near the snares which he had set; over his foot he throws one end of the halter formed of hairs, woven together very skillfully; with the other end
he lays hold of his privy members. When the fumes of the wine passed off, Acdestis starts up furiously, and his foot draging the noose, by his own strength he robs himself of his sex;." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p.491).
"With the tearing asunder of these parts there is an immense flow of blood; both are carried off and swallowed up by the earth; from them there suddely springs up, covered with fruit, a pomegranate tree, seeing the beauty of which, with admiration, Nana, daughter of the king or river Sagarius, gathers and places in her bosom some of the fruit. By this she becomes pregnant; her father shuts her up, supposing that she had been debauched, and seeks to have her starved to death; she is kept alive by the mother of the gods with apples, and other food, and brings forth a child, but Sangarious orders it exposes.
One Phorbas having found the child, takes it home, brings it up on goats' milk; and as handsome fellows are so named in Lydia, or because the Phrygians in their own way of speaking call their goats attagi, it happened in consequence that the boy obtained the name Attis. Him the mother of the gods loved exceedingly, because he was of most surpassing beauty." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p.491-2).
"Acdestis, who was his companion, as he grew up fondling him, and bound to him by wicked compliance with his lust in the only way now possible, leading him through the wooded glades, and presenting him with the spoils of many wild beasts, which the boy Attis at first said boastfully were won by his own toil and labour.
Afterwards, under the influence of wine, he admits that he is both loved by Acdestis, and honored by him with the gifts brought from the forest; whence it is unlawful for those polluted by drinking wine to enter into his sanctuary, because it discovered his secret." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p.492).
Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity? Habakkuk 2:13
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14
Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy wineskin to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness Habakkuk 2:15
Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the Lords right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory. Habakkuk 2:16
This "cup of God's wrath" will happen at the end of times.
"Then Midas, king of Pessinus, wishing to withdraw the youth from so disgraceful an intimacy, resolves to give him his own daughter in marriage, and caused the gates of the town to be closed, that no one of evil omen might disturb the marriage joys.
"But the mother of the gods, knowing the fate of the youth, and that he would live among men in safety only so long as he was free from the ties of marriage, that no disaster might occur, enters the closed city, raising its walls with her head, which began to be crowned with towers in consequence.
"Acdestis, bursting with rage because of the boy's being torn from himself, and brought to seek a wife, fills all the guests with frenzied madness:
Acdetis Shrieking or Praising with Instrumental Music Emasculates Himself
"In additio the Phrygians shriek aloud, panic-stricken at the appearance of the gods; a daughter of adulterous Gallus cuts off her breats;
Attis (son) snatches the pipe born by him (Acdetis) who was goading them to frenzy; and he, too,
now filled with furious passion,
raving frantically and tossed about,
throws himself down at last, and under a pine tree mutilates himself, saying, 'Take these, Acdestis, for
which you have stirred up so great and terrible perilous commotions.
"With the streaming blood his life flies; but the Great Mother of the gods gathers the parts which had been cut off, and throws earth on them, having first covered them, and wraped them in the garment of the dead.
From the blood which had flowed springs a flower, the violet, and with this the tree is girt." Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 492)
Paul would warn: arnobius, instrumental music in worship,
Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. Gal 5:11
As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! Gal 5:12
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. Gal 5:13
Attis is now dead and Jupiter refused to restore him to life.
"What, however, fate allowed, he readily grants that his body should not decay, that his hairs should always grow, that the least of his fingers should live, and should be kept ever in motion; content with which favours, it is said that Acdestis concecrated the body in Penninus, and honored it with yearly rites and priestly services." Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 492)
"From the stones, you say, which Deucalion (Noah) and Pyrrha threw, was produced the mother of the gods. What do you say, O theologians? what, ye priests of the heavenly powers? Did the mother of the gods, then, not exist at all for the sake of the deluge? and would there be no cause or beginning of her bieth, had not violent storms of rain swept away the whole race of men? It is through man, then, that she feels herself to exist, and she owes it to Pyrrha's kindness that she herself addressed as a real being; but if that is indeed true, this too will be of necessity not be fooled, that she was human, not divine. For it is certain that men are sprung originally from the casting of stones." Arnobius then connects this with the flood. (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p.493)
Arnobius: Wine to Emasculate Acdetis-Males Become Mothers
The account is repeated:
"father Liber overcame the fierceness of Acdestis, having glided down from the peaks of heaven after the very venerable meetings of the gods, cropping the tails of horses, plaiting pliant halters, drugging the waters harmless and pure with much strong wine, and after that drunkenness spring from drinking, to have carefully introduced his hands, handled the members of the sleeper, and directed his care skilfully to the parts which were to perish, so that the hold of the nooses placed round them might surround them all." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p.494).
"After her offspring was born, it was ordered by Sangarious to be cast far away: that which he believed to be divinely conceived long before, he would not have called the offspring of his child. The infant was brought up on he-goats" milk.
O Story ever opposed and must be inimical to the male sex,
in which not only do men lay aside their virile powers,
but beasts even which were males becomes mothers." (Arnobius, Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p.494).
Arnobius: Greek God of the Wineskin, Snakes, Music and Soothsaying
"Do they recall to memory those lamentations with which the tower-bearing Mother, along with the weeping Acdestis, wailing aloud, followed the boy?
"Or if the things which we say are not so, declare, say yourselves--
those effeminate and delicate men whom we see among you in
the sacred rites of this deity--what business, what care, what concern have they there; and
why do they like mourners wound their arms and breasts, and act as those dolefully circumstanced." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 496).
We shall pass by the wild Bacchanalia also, which are named in Greek Omophagia, in which
with seeming frenzy and the loss of senses you twine snakes about you; and ,
to show yourselves full of the divinity and majesty of the god, tear in peaces with gory mouths the flesh of loudly-bleating goats." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 496).
"If any one perchance thinks that we are speaking calumnies, let him take the books of the Thracian soothsayer (Orpheus the inventor of musical soothsaying), which you speak of as of divine antiquity; and he will find that we are neither cunningly inventing anything,
nor seeking means to bring the holiness of the gods into ridicule, and doing so: for we shall bring forward the very verses which the son of Calliope uttered in the Greek,
and published abroad in his songs to the human race through out all all ages." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 499).
This was the sign when Israel demanded a "human" god so that they could worship like the nations. The sign was performed upon Saul and when Elijah and Yahweh did battle with the effeminate priests and prophetesses of Jezebel.
If the idol was not in the form of a musical instrument (often curved for the sexual impact) he was often pictured (imaged) with harp and song--
"the fancy of artists have found full scope in representing the bodies of the gods,
and giving forms to them at which even the sternest might laugh...
the Delian god with a plectrum and lyre, gestulating like a player on the cithern and an actor about to sing... nor can any figure of any deity be found which does not have certain characteristics bestowed on it by the generosity of its makers."
"But why do I laugh at the sickles and tridents which have been given to the Gods Why at the horns, hammers, and caps, when I know that certain images have the forms of certain men, and the features of notoriuos courtesans?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, 511)
Having been heaped together, it may be, from a harlot's gauds or from a woman's ornaments, from camels' bones or from the tooth of the Indian beast, from cooking-pots and little jars, from candlesticks and lamps, or from less cleanly vessels."
"And so unmindful of what the substance and origin of the images are, you, men, rational beings and endowed with gift of wisdom and discretion, sink down before pieces of baked earthenware, adore plates of copper, beg from the teeth of elephants good health... acquisitions, gains, good harvests, and very rich vintages." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 512, 13)
The ivory (teeth of elephants) which Amos condemned along with music in Israel was most often in the form of Egyptian and other idols. Ivory, precious stones and precious metals were often "graven images" in the form of a god.
For instance, the gods and goddesses who invented musical instruments and composed songs (magical incantations) were honored after their death by idols or jewelry as a way to pay token worship much as Christ is worshipped with images of the cross--
the mother of the gods, with her timbrel; the Muses, with their pipes and psalteries; Ceres, with huge breasts, or the drinking cup swinging in Liber's right hand." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 517).
Ancient rituals of worship were often turned into the games of Children. For instance, the Jews were admonished by Jesus because they played the musical game of "giving in marriage" and He refused to dance. They played the mournful tunes of the funeral ritual and He refused to shed artificial tears.
Arnobius: Token Worship with Crosses and Music to Exhilarate and Appease the Gods
We might say that the little cross idol would be taken more seriously if the worshiper actually hung themselves on the cross. In the same way, Arnobius chides the pagans because they tokenized their worship with little trinkets, often musical instruments, when he thought they might be taken more seriously if they literally danced and sang--
O dreadful forms of terror and frightful bugbears on account of which the human race was to be benumbed for ever, to attempt nothing in its utter amazement, and to restrain itself from every wicked and shameful act--little sickles, keys, caps, pieces of wood, winged sandals, staves,
little timbrels, pipes, psalteries, breasts protruding and of great size, little drinking cups, pincers, and horns filled with fruit... Would it not have been
better to dance and to sing, than calling it gravity and pretending to be serious, to relate what is so insipid and so silly, that images were formed by the ancients to check wrongdoing, and
to arouse the fears of the wicked and impious?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 517).
And can any man persuade himself that the gods become mild as
they are exhilarated by pleasures, (Click For A Second Incarnation)
that they long for sensual enjoyment,
and, like some base creatures,
are affected by agreeable sensations,
and charmed and tickled for the moment by a pleasantness which soon passes away...
The NIV The LXX add the reason for music&emdash;
You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. who excel in the sound of musical instruments; -- Amos 6:5 NIV
they have regarded them as abiding, not as fleeting pleasure." Amos 6:5 LXX
Moreover, every pleasure is, as it were, a kind of flattery of the body, and is addressed to the five well-known senses;
but if the gods above feel it, they must partake of those bodies through which there is a way to the senses, and a door by which to receive pleasures.
We have to examine the argument which we hear continually coming from the lips of the common people, and find embedded in popular conviction,
that sacrifices are offered to the gods of heaven for this purpose,
that they may lay aside their anger and passion, and they be restored to a calm and placid tranquility, the indignation of their fiery spirits being assuaged." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 519).
God "knows" His people in a covenant sense but there is some desire to know God personally which is to say in a sexual way. The pagan belief was that by these sense rituals you offered your body so that the god came to you, sang, played the magic flute and even smelled the sense. This "if it feels good to me it must feel good to God" is the heart of all idolatry.
Arnobius: But -- Is Instrumental Music as Worship a Secret Way to Insult the Gods
Arnobius notes the common theme that many "acts" of worship were really ways to insult the gods who were known to be evil. You could get away with it most often by the use of music as you soothed a deadly cobra and made him helpless.
"If I consume a pullet, a calf under his eyes and on his altars,
he forgets the wrong which I did to him,
and abandons completely all sense of displeasure. What passes from this act to modify his resentment? Or what service is a goose, a goat, or a peacock, that from its blood relief is brought to the angry god?
It is clear from Job 21, Isaish 5, Amos 1-8 and Ezekiel 33 and the mocking God at Mount Sinai, when demanding a king and when refusing and ridiculing Jesus, that music, dance and charismati fits was a way to insult the gods in the belief that if you couldn't please them at least you could threaten them or drive them crazy. Arnobius understands ans asks:
"Do the gods, then make insulting them a matter of payment? and as little boys, to induce them to give up their fits of passion and desist from their wailings, get little sparrows, dolls, ponies, puppets, with which they may be able to divert themselves?... But if this cannot be, it would be much wiser that they should continue obstinately offended,
than that they should be softened by being corrupted with bribes." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 520).
"because the Earth is a mother she is in like manner to be entertained with gravid swine,
then also Apollo should be honoured by the sacrifice of musicians because he is a musician... and because Mercury is eloquent,
sacrifice should be made to him with the eloquent and most fluent." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 526).
"But let there be, as you wish, honour in wine and in incense, let the anger and displeasure of the deities be appeased by the immolation and slaughter of victims: are the gods moved by garlands also, wreaths and flowers,
by the jingling of brass also, and the shaking of cymbals, by timbrels also, and also by symphonious pipes? (footnote: trumpets and pipes) (See 1 Corinthians 13-14)
"What effect has the clattering of castanets,
"that when the deities have heard them, they think that honor has been shown to them and lay aside their fiery spirit of resentment in forgetfulness?
Or, as little boys are frightened by giving over their silly wailings by hearing the sound of rattles,
are the almighty deities also soothed in the same way by the whistling of pipes? And do they become mild, is their indignation softened at the musical sound of cymbals?
'What is the meaning of those calls which you sing in the morning, joining your voice to the music of the pipe. Do the gods of heaven fall asleep, so that they should return to their posts? What is the meaning of those slumbers to which you commend them with auspicious salutations that they may be in good health?
Are they awakened from sleep; and that they may be able to overcome by it, must soothing lullabies be heard?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 530-531).
Religious rituals and childish games are all mixed up in the story of pagan religions. For instance old outdated rituals such as the fertility drama begins to embarass people and they gradually fade into the games of children. Immature worshipers, on the other hand, are likely to turn their games into acts of worship in the belief that if it makes me happy it must make the gods happy. If the Jews, for instance, could have involved Jesus and John in the fertility ritual of marriage and funeral; if they could just make them dance and mourn then the Incarnate God would be "of the party" and He would forget that He came to pronounce judgment upon them.
Arnobius sees these silly games among the pagans and tried to defeat them because they were endangering the young church--
"But the games which you celebrate... and all the rest which you wish to be sacred, and to be considered religious duties, what reason have they, what cause, that it was necessary that they should be instituted and founded and designated by the names of the deities. The gods are honoured by these, says my opponent;
and if they have any recollection of offences committed by men, they lay it aside, get rid of it, and show themselves gracious to us again, their friendship being renewed.
And what is the cause, again, that they are made quite calm and gentle,
if absurd things are done, and
idle fellows sport (sing, play, dance, act) before the eyes of the multitude." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 531).
"Does Flora think that honor is shown to her if at her games she sees that shameful actions are done, and
the stews abandoned for the theatres?
Is not this, then, to lessen the dignity of the gods to dedicate and consecrate to them the basest things which a rigidly virtuous mind will turn from with disgust,
that performers of which your law has decided to be dishonoured and to be considered infamous? (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 531).
"The gods, forsooth, delight in mimics; and that surpassing excellence which has not been comprehended by any human faculty,
opens its ears most willingly to hear these plays, with most of which they know they are mixed up to be turned to derision;
they are delighted, as it is, with the shaved heads of fools,
by the sound of flaps, and by the noise of applause." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 531).
"But further, if they see men weakening themselves to the effeminacy of women, some vociferating uselessly, others running about without cause, others friendship is unbroken, bruising and maiming each with the bloody cestus,
while contending in speaking without drawing breath,
swelling out their cheeks with wind,
and shouting out noisily empty vows,
do they lift up their hands to heaven in their admiration,
start up moved by such wonders, burst into exclamation, again become gracious to men?"
"If these things cause the gods to forget their resentment, if they derive the highest pleasure from comedies, Atellane farces, and pantomimes, why do you delay, why do you hesitate, to say that the gods themselves also play, act lasciviously, dance, compose obsene songs, and undulate with trembling haunches?" Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 531)
The footnote says that this "was a contest in which each strove to speak or sing with one breath longer than the rest."
In showing how ridiculous it was that the Earth be worshipped by the sacrifice of a pregnant sow just because the earth was fruitful, Arnobius concludes that it was equally logical that--
The first part of the ritual is called a play and is common to most paganism. He wrote:
"you are persuaded that, by the crash of cymbals and the sound of pipes, by horse-races and theatrical plays,
the gods are both delighted and affected and that their resentful feelings conceived before are mollified by these... we judge it incredible that... they should be pleased and delighted
with those things which a wise man laughs at, and which do not seem to have any charm except to little children." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 533).
"What is the meaning of the earth's roarings, the earthquakes, which we have been told occurred because the games had been celebrated careslssly, and their nature and circumstances had not been attended to, and yet, on their being celebrated afresh, and repeated with assidious care, the terrors of the gods were stilled, and they were recalled to care and friendship for men? How often, after that--
in obedience to the commands of the seers and the responses of the diviners--sacrifice has been offered, and
certain gods have been summoned from nations dwelling beyond the sea, and shrines erected to them, and certain images and statutes set on loftier pillars (pedestals) have fears of impending dangers been diverted." (Arnobius, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 533)
After Israel "rose up to play" at Mount Sinai they were performing a popular act of worship or ritual drama. Later, Moses wrote:
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden (in the nether world) from thee, neither is it far off. Deuteronomy 30:11
It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Deuteronomy 30:12
Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Deuteronomy 30:13
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. Deuteronomy 30:14
Paul knew this and warned the Romans against the pagan forms of ascending to God or descending ceremonies:
For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. Romans 10:5
But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Romans 10:6
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; Romans 10:8
punished with the cross, a very worthless slave whom he had beaten with rods.
Then, when the games were ended, and the races not long finished, a pestilence began to distress the state; and when each brough fresh ill worse than what was before, and
the people were perishing in crowds, in a dream Jupiter said to a certain rustic, obscure from the lowliness of his lot, that he should go to the consuls,
pount out that the dancer had displeaed him, that it might be better for the state if the respect due to the games were paid to them, and they were again celebrated afresh with assiduous care."
When the people didn't respond--
"Jupiter was rendered hostile to the lingerer, and imposes as punishment on him the death of his sons. Afterwards, when he threatened the man himself with death unless he went to announce his disapproval of the dancer,--overcome by fear of dying,
since he was already himself also burning with the feaver of the plague, having been infected, he was carried to the senate-house, as his neighbours wished, and, when his vision had been declared, the contagious fever passed away.
The repetition of the games being then decreed, great care was, on the one hand, given to the shows, and its former good health was restored to the people."
"Jupiter, I suppose, dines, and must be satiated with great banquets, and long filled with eager cravings for food by fasting, and hungry after the usual interval. The vintage festival of Aesculapius is being celebrated.
The gods, then, cultivate vineyards, and having collected gatherers, press the wine for their own use. The lectisternium of Ceres will be on the next Ides,
for the gods have couches; and that they may be able to lie on softer cushions, the pillows are shaken up when they have been pressed down." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 534).
Paul in Romans 10 and 1 Cor 10 speaks of this "sending across the sea" ritual which was the PLAY or musical worship of the trinity at Mount Sinai. He identifies this as demon worship.
Arnobius observes that it would be more God-like for Jupiter to change the man's mind than to threaten him with the death of his sons. Couldn't he have given the dancer more skill?
"Once on a time, when the state and republic were in difficulties, caused either by a terrible plague continually infecting the people and carrying them off, or by enemies powerful, and at that time almost threatening to rob it of its liberty because of their success in battle--
by order and advice of the seers, certain gods were summoned from among nations dwelling beyond the sea,
and honoured with magnificent temples; and that the violence of the plague abated, and very frequent triumps were gained, the power of the enemy being broken and the territory of the empire was increased and provinces without number fell under your sway." (Arnobius, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 534).
When David took the census and bargained with God in order to stop the resulting plague, the introduction of musical sacrifices accompanied the cleansing of the people. Later, Hezekiah also bargained with God in order to stop the plague. He repeated David's musical prophesying and the plague stopped. After all, Israel had long ago left God's righteous control and lived and worshiped like the nations. Click for these musical ceremonies which should never be interpreted as Christian acts of worship.
The Book: Arnobius of Sicca : The Case Against the Pagans (Ancient Christian Writers, No 7) Vol 1
M. Burghard / Hardcover / Published 1975
Ante-Nicene Fathers : Third Century (Early Church Fathers) by A. Roberts (Editor), James Donaldson
Counter added 11.21.04 3041 Rev 5.09.07 10.26.08 6000 12.06.12 6427