Eucharist: Is This An Emblem of Baal, the Sun-God of Paganism?
Original Remembrance Was Ordinary Unleavened Bread
Originally, the Ebionites -- the repositors of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew -- insisted that the remembrance service about Jesus at Passover (what later became the weekly communion in Catholicism) must use unleavened bread. (See references below.)
However, the Roman Catholics did away with this notion in the 4th century, using only leavened bread, i.e., cakes, apparently round, in such services. However, as proven below, in the 10th Century the Roman church revived the use of unleavened bread, but in the shape of the round modern host which thereby kept the roundness of the cakes of the 4th century form. Why that is important will be evident later.
Here is a summary of what the Ebionites instituted which lasted in the church at large until the 4th Century:
It is related that during the first ages of the church none but unleavened bread was used in the eucharist, till the Ebionites arose, who held that all observances prescribed by Moses were still in force. Upon which both the eastern and western churches took up the use of leavened bread; and after the extinction of that heresy, the western church returned to the azymous [i.e., unleavened bread] the eastern absolutely adhering to the former usage. ("Azymous," A New, complete and universal dictionary (1764) (ed. John Marchant, Daniel Bellamy.)
Pagan Competing Practice of Round Cakes of Leavened Bread
In the pagan religion of Rome, in the Sol Invictus aka Baal religion imported from Syria in the 200s (taken from Phoenicia), a transubstantiatian ritual was performed on Sun-day with a round cake and wine which the faithful were told had become the flesh and blood of their god. This was particularly important on Easter Sun-day i.e., the celebration of the goddess Eostre / Ishtar / Ashtoreth day, the 'Mother of God' aka Baal.
Origin of Roman Church Eucharistic Practices
The famous early reformer and translator, Wycliffe, was the first to resurrect in 1381 AD knowledge that the Eucharistic practice of Roman Catholicism copied Baal practices. As Bridgett summarizes:
"And--to confine ourselves to the matter of the Holy Eucharist--Wycliffe, as we have just been told, spoke of those who held the doctrine of transubstantiation as 'priests of Baal.' Wycliffe considered that this belief brought upon its holders the anger of God." (Thomas Edward Bridgett, History of the Holy Eucharist in Great Britain: Anglo-Normans, later English and Scotch (C. Keegan Paul, 1881) at 298.)
Wycliffe was also concerned about the deification of the host in the ceremony. According to Lechler's summary:
"[Wycliffe] affirms that so-called Christians who take to be their God that 'accident' which they see in the hands of the priest at Mass, sin worse than heathen who in their fetish worship give divine honors throughout the day to whatever object they chance first to see in the early morning.' 'The indignation of Wycliffe against the idolatry committed in the worshipping of the Host,' says the same writer, 'is all the stronger that he cannot avoid the conviction that the authors of this deification of a creature are perfectly well aware of what their God really is. Such priests accordingly he does not scruple to call plainly Baal-priests.'" (Bridgett, id., at 295-96, quoting Professor Lechler Vol. 2 at 182.)
In Roman Catholic practice, as of 1200 AD, the only mandatory day of the year one had to take the host was the Sunday of "Pasqua" (Passover called Easter in British territories which followed Constantinian-era law on how to name these periods). (Bridgett, id., at 261.)
In Roman Catholic practice since the 4th century, the round Eucharist was a leavened cake; it was not made of unleavened bread until the 10th century. "Indeed Sirmondus maintains that the use of unleavened bread in the holy Eucharist was unknown in the Latin Church before the tenth century...." (John McClintock, James Strong, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature (Harper: 1869) Vol. 1 at 578.)
Thus, it started out more as a round cake than the host we think of today.
Roman Catholicism presents today as the host at Mass conducted by the pope the round Eucharist in a sun-burst monstrance. It is called the Ostensorium. The church boasts this imagery is to convey the image of the Sun:
"During the baroque period, it took on a rayed form of a sun-monstrance with a circular window surrounded by a silver or gold frame with rays."
Rev. Jovian P. Lang, OFM,The Dictionary of the Liturgy (N.Y.: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1989) at 436.
Ishtar aka Eostre and Baal-Sol-Invictus
Ishtar was the Mother goddess of ancient Babylon. There is a reference to her in Jeremiah 44:19. Because Ishtar was known as the Queen of Heaven, the Bible is speaking of her when it says the women of Judah were "burning incense, pouring out drink [i.e. wine] offerings, and offering cakes to the Queen of Heaven." (Jer. 44:19.) Notice there is a cake and wine involved in worshipping this Queen of Heaven.
In Alexander Hilsop's work The Two Babylons or Papal Worship Proved To Be The Worship of Nimrod and His Wife (New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1959) he explains: "the goddess-mother has evidently radiated in all directions from Chaldea [i.e., Babylon]." Id., at 158. Ishtar became a deity of Egypt and many other lands. Ishtar's worshippers everywhere "partook of the [cakes and wine], swearing new fidelity to her." Id., at 159. Hilsop then explains the modern Eucharistic practices of a round host replaced the Christian communion services with normal bread in the 4th Century in the Roman Catholic Church:
"In the fourth century, when the Queen of Heaven, under the name of Mary, was beginning to be worshipped in the Christian church [at Rome], this 'unbloody' [bread and wine] sacrifice also was brought in...[A]t the time, it was well-known to have been adopted from the Pagans." Id., at 159.
The Eucharist in that period was a round cake. Hilsop explains that a similarly shaped round cake was an emblem of the Sun in pagan practices, and reflected Sol Invictus aka Baal, the Son of Ishtar:
The importance which Rome attaches to the roundness of the wafer, must have a reason, and that reason will be found, if we look at the altars of Egypt. 'The thin round cake,' says Wilkinson, 'occurs on all Egyptian altars. Almost every jot and title in the Egyptian worship had a symbolic meaning. The round disk, so frequent in the sacred emblems of Egypt, symbolized the sun.'...[The] round wafer, whose roundness is so important an element in the Romish Mystery...is only another symbol of Baal, or the sun. (Hilsop, id., at 160, 163.)
Hilsop then explains the Egyptian practices with the Sun-God, known in Egypt as Osiris -- a child born of Ishtar in the Egyptian version of the same religion:
Now, when Osiris, the sun-divinity, became incarnate, and was born, it was not merely that he should give his life as a sacrifice for men, but that he also might be the life and nourishment of the souls of men....Now, this Son, who was symbolized as 'Corn' was the Sun-divinity incarnate, according to the sacred oracle of the goddess of Egypt....What could be more natural then, if this incarnate divinity is symbolized...as a round wafer to identify him with the Sun?" Id., 160-61, 163.
In Phoenicia, the Sun-God was called Baal. And the main female deity was Ashtoreth -- phonetically close to Ishtar and Eostre. (See "Baal," McLintock, Cyclopedia, supra, at 578; see also "Ashtoreth," id., at 464.) In the Holman Bible Dictionary we read about Baal in Canaan commonly meant the Sun-God:
Baal worship revolved around two themes that represented the conception of Baal his worshippers held. Baal was both the sun-god and storm-god. He was worshipped as sun-god when the people wished to express thanks and gratitude for light and warmth and fertility.
In Roman Catholicism, Mary receives the reverence and worship that belonged to Ishtar in paganism. In 1954, Pope Pius XII officially declared Mary the Queen of Heaven. Here is a link to the official encyclical. In The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (LUMEN GENTIUM) by Pope Paul VI, November 21, 1964, paragraph 59 we read this reverential statement, giving Mary the title that belongs to a pagan deity:
... Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death.
Ebionites Rejected Transubstantiation From the Earliest Period
The Ebionites--the earliest Jewish Christians--believed that drinking the wine at the passover to remember the work of Jesus was symbolic. One was not uniting with God by drinking it.
In Irenaeus' Adversus Haereses, 5.1.3, he wrote ca. 180 AD that
the Ebionites...reject the commixture of the heavenly wine, and wish it to be water of the world only, not receiving God so as to have union with Him....
However, Ignatius of Antioch ca. 106 AD contended that the bread and wine are indeed the body and blood of Christ, and we do apparently unite with Christ by ingesting it. See "Transubstantiation," Wikipedia. By 787 AD, the Roman Catholic church finally adopted as doctrine that we ingest God's blood and flesh by eating the communion wafer. (See "Transubstantiation," Wikipedia; see also infra.)
This transubstantiation doctrine that emerged copied precisely the pagan mystery religions of Rome. This is explained in mainstream Christian-Protestant encyclopedias:
In this meal we see the increasing dominance of the influence of the mystery religions -- the elements of the Eucharist as the medicine of immortality, the antidote of death, Ign. Eph. 20:2, over the relationship to Jewish feasts.
(Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley, "Eucharist," Encyclopedia of Christianity (1999) Vol. 2 at 168.)
This transubstantiation notion was finally rejected in the Reformation by Carlstadt (the co-founder of the Reformation with Luther) who said the wine was figurative / symbolic. (Luther flip-flopped, later switching to believe in consubstantiation which is essentially transubstantiation. See Id., Wikipedia.)
Tertullian in 200 AD had likewise said the bread component was figurative, in support of the Ebionite position that the wine was symbolic:
In about 200 AD, Tertullian wrote (Against Marcion IV. 40): "Taking bread and distributing it to his disciples he made it his own body by saying, 'This is my body,' that is a 'figure of my body.' On the other hand, there would not have been a figure unless there was a true body." (Id., Wikipedia.)
[Tertullian here was refuting Marcion who claimed Jesus did not truly have a human body. So he says it could not be a figure of a body unless there was a true human flesh which it represents.]
However, that was not enough to stymie the change later. Fahblbush and Bromiley point out that despite there being patristic quotes to support transubstantiation, it did not become a doctrine of Catholicism until 787 AD. This was the seventh ecumenical conference at Nicea. Id.
Jim Staley, "Get Rid of Easter!" part 2 of 8, beginning at 9:30 explains and demonstrates the pagan origins of the Eucharist are still reflected in its depiction and worship within the Catholic church.