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There is one universal and transcendental God, Ahura Mazda, the one Uncreated Creator to whom all worship is ultimately directed.
Ahura Mazda's creation—evident as asha, truth and order—is the antithesis of chaos, evident as druj, falsehood and disorder. The resulting conflict involves the entire universe, including humanity, which has an active role to play in the conflict.
Active participation in life through good thoughts, good words and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep the chaos at bay. This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster's concept of free will, and Zoroastrianism rejects all forms of monasticism.
Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail over evil Angra Mainyu / Ahriman at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end. In the final renovation, all of creation—even the souls of the dead that were initially banished to "darkness"—will be reunited in Ahura Mazda returning to life in the undead form. At the end of time a savior-figure [a Saoshyant] will bring about a final renovation of the world, and in which the dead will be revived.
Zoroastrian eschatology, by 500 BC, had fully developed a concept of the end of the world through a divine devouring in fire.
According to Zoroastrian philosophy, redacted in the Zand-i Vohuman Yasht, "at the end of thy tenth hundredth winter [...] the sun is more unseen and more spotted; the year, month, and day are shorter; and the earth is more barren; and the crop will not yield the seed; and men [...] become more deceitful and more given to vile practices. They have no gratitude.
Honorable wealth will all proceed to those of perverted faith [...] and a dark cloud makes the whole sky night [...] and it will rain more noxious creatures than winter."
Saoshyant, the Man of Peace, battles the forces of evil. A resurrection will then occur, and the righteous will live in peace for eternity while evil will be condemned to an eternal existence within molten metal. The righteous will, "wade through the metal as if warm milk," while the evil are scalded.
At the end of the battle between the righteous and wicked, the Last Judgement of all souls will commence. Sinners will be punished for three days, but are then forgiven. The world will reach perfection as poverty, old age, disease, thirst, hunger, and death are halted.
Originally posted by secretagent woooman
It's also the origin of the hell concept, that was unheard until one of Zoroaster's hallucinations. Zoroastrianism had a profound effect on Christianity, very interesting because it was such a short lived religion.
The scary part is now the folks who hallucinate their role to bring about the "Apocalypse" can actually do it, and by all signs want to.
Google Video Link
Originally posted by Praetorian Guard
Be careful assigning influence, here...are you sure the Jews did not influence the Zoroastrians?
Fundamentally the Jews were polytheists. But whatever its date, the idea of the covenant tells us that the Israelites were not yet monotheists, since it only made sense in a polytheistic setting. God stated that there are many gods: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me"(Exodus 20:3). The full monotheistic conception of God came later (Isaiah 43:10-13, Jer 10:1-16).
The second Isaiah juxtaposes the great Persian King Cyrus with the first monotheistic declarations in the Bible. The second Isaiah is the first expression of universalism which has no antecedent in the Bible, according to the Anchor Bible note at Isaiah 45. He also first introduces the idea of false gods - a fundamental and indispensable criteria for monotheism. A universal God determines that only one is worshiped; a tribal god, of necessity, implies polytheism since there are other tribes.
Before the exile, God was a vengeful, bloodthirsty, and jealous anthropomorphic tribal God of fear. After the exile, He became a good, perfect, remote, and universal God of love: identical to Ahura-Mazda. It needed the subsequent missions of Nehemiah and Ezra backed by the Achaemenian Imperial Government's authority to make the Jews ruefully conform to the new ideal of monotheism.
The exile to Babylon was a traumatic event in Jewish history, as the destruction of the political independence of the kingdom coincided with the destruction of the monarchy and of the First Temple of Jerusalem. Prior to this, several deportations of Judaean nobility and leading citizens occurred. After the overthrow of Babylonia by the Persian Empire, the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great gave Jews permission to return to their homeland in 537 BCE, and more than 40,000 are said to have returned, as noted in the Biblical accounts of Jehoiakim, Ezra, and Nehemiah.
The Babylonian captivity had a number of serious effects on Judaism and the Jewish culture, including changes to the Hebrew alphabet and changes in the fundamental practices and customs of the Jewish religion. This period saw the last high-point of Biblical prophecy in the person of Ezekiel, followed by the emergence of the central role of the Torah in Jewish life. This process coincided with the emergence of scribes and sages as Jewish leaders (see Ezra and the Pharisees).
Prior to the exile, the Israelites had been organized on a tribal basis, while afterwards they came to be organized by clans, with only the tribe of Levi continuing in its special role. After the Babylonian captivity, there were always sizable numbers of Jews living outside Eretz Israel, thus marking one starting point of the "Jewish diaspora."
Originally posted by Ridhya
Hm yeah, I caught part of a documentary recently of archaelogists in Israel excavating ancient Hebrew sites, and they found more statues of a goddess (forget name) than of their god. It was theorised that Yahweh was married to a goddess (whether in reality or lore) and she was beloved more than he. Every household seemed to have a tiny statue of her for sacrifices.
Ishtar was the goddess of love and war to the ancient Babylonians.
Certain Sumerian gods made the leap to Greece and later to Rome, and Ishtar was such a deity. She became Aphrodite to the Greeks. They stripped her of her war-making aspect and focused almost solely on her nature as goddess of love (especially sexual) and beauty. From the Greeks, the Romans adopted this goddess as their own under the name of Venus. All forms of Ishtar under all of their different names were associated with the planet we now know as Venus and which was first known as the morning and evening stars.
144,000 is a natural number. It has a religious significance for Christians because of its use in the Book of Revelation of the New Testament. It is also significant in some New Age religious movements.
This is also a significant number in the Mayan calendar. It represents a cycle of time named Baktun.
The first uses of the pentagram we know of are found in Mesopotamian writings dating to about 3000 B.C.
The earliest archaeological magen David national symbol is on a Babylonian bas relief carving, in the 6th century BCE. The Babylonian king historically recorded his conquest of the King and population of Judah. Both kings are shown standing facing each other. The King of Babylon stands on the right. A winged sun disk is above the King of Babylon. The encircled six-legged star pattern magen David is above the King of Judah.