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Over the years, I have observed a rise in the belief that Jesus Christ, the Gospel message, the Old and the New Testament Scriptures, and the Christian Faith derived from ancient mythology and ancient pagan religions.
The purpose of this belief is to disparage and disprove Jesus Christ, the Gospel message, the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and the Christian Faith.
The ultimate goal is to discourage professing Christians from believing in Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and the Holy Scriptures, and lure them away from the Christian Faith.
This belief is promoted online typically by individuals who ascribe to secular humanism, New Age philosophy, occult metaphysics, Neo-Paganism, and various forms of “African spirituality” or Afrocentric Neo-Paganism (especially Kemetism, also referred to as “Kemeticism” or “Neterism”).
The purpose of this article is to refute one of the many misleading assertions that are spread on the internet to advance this idea that Jesus Christ, the Gospel message, the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and the Christian Faith derived from ancient mythology and ancient pagan religions.
This particular assertion states that the name “Israel” derived from a combination of the names “Isis,” “Ra,” and “El.”
Maybe you’ve seen it promoted in images like the one below:
I’ve actually encountered quite a few people who claimed that the letters “I-s” in Israel came from “Isis” (the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess), and the letters “r-a” in Israel came from “Ra” (the name of an ancient Egyptian false god).
This assertion might sound compelling at first glance, but it’s easily demolished by applying a little logic and critical-thinking skills.
The line of reasoning behind this assertion is that since there’s an “is” in both “Israel” and “Isis” — then these two names must be related to each other, and the name “Israel” must have come from the name “Isis.”
This line of reasoning is flawed for two reasons.
- Just because two words contain the letters “i-s,” that doesn’t mean they are related to each other and derived from the name “Isis.”
For example, the name “Mississippi” has an “is” in it. Does this mean that the name “Mississippi” is related to and derived from the name “Isis”? Of course not.
The name “Mississippi” came from the word “Messipi,” which is the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, “Misi-ziibi” (meaning “Great River”).
The word “is” has the letters “i-s” in it as well. Does that mean the word “is” is related to and derived from the name “Isis”? Nope.
If you’ve ever taught or studied Language Arts, then you know that just because two words contain the same letters, that doesn’t mean they are related to each other or that one derived from the other.
2. The name “Isis” is an English word. It is the English rendering of the Greek name “Aisis” which is Greek for “Aset” (the Egyptian name spelling of Isis).
The English name “Isis” obviously didn’t exist at the time of Jacob when God named him named Yisrael. So it is erroneous to state that the ancient Hebrew name “Yisrael” came from an English word when the English language didn’t even exist at that time.
Did The “r-a” in Israel Come From The Name Of The Ancient Egyptian Idol “Ra”?
There is no historical evidence to substantiate the belief that the “r-a” in Israel came from the name “Ra.” Zero proof. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Just because two words contain the letters “ra,” that doesn’t mean they are related to each other or derived from the name “Ra.”
The word “ran” contains the letters “ra.” Does that mean the word “ran” is related to or derived from the name “Ra”? Of course not. The word “ran” is the past tense of the word “run.”
The “ra” in Israel comes from the same primitive root as the “ra” in Sarah’s name — meaning “to contend, have power, contend with, persist, exert oneself, persevere, to prevail, to have power (as a prince).” (Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon H8280)
The “el” in Israel is the shortened form of “elohim” which has multiple meanings depending on the context: “God Almighty, god-like one, mighty one, mighty men, men of rank, mighty heroes, angel, false god, (demons, imaginations), mighty things in nature, strength, power.” (Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon H3478)
The connection between the name “Israel” and ancient Egyptian idols is imaginary and mythical. It doesn’t exist. People are making things up as they go and creating false connections based on a presupposition that the Christian Faith originated from ancient Egyptian mythology.
Followers of Kemet are attempting to cash in on phonetic similarities without philological justifications for it. And based on an English transliteration at that. Kinda New Agey.
The patriarch Jacob and his progeny did live in Egypt. However, God had already named him Yisrael long before he moved to Egypt.
There is some debate over the exact meaning of the name Israel. However, one thing is safe to conclude from both Biblical history and the secular historical record — the name Israel did not come from the names of ancient Egyptian idols.