In the lands of ancient Persia, the worship of a messiah like Deity was established some 600 years prior to the conception of Christinaity. This God, who was believed to have said, "I am a star which goes with thee and shines out of the depths", was Mithra.
Born on 25 December, Mithra was the offspring of the Sun, and was the third most important Persian God after Ormuzd and Ahrimanes. He was said to be a beautiful youth and a mediator, a "spiritual light contending with spiritual darkness, and through his labours the kingdom of darkness shall be lit with heaven's own light; the eternal will receive all things back into his favour, the world will be redeemed to God. The impure are to be purified, and the evil made good, through the mediation of Mithras, the reconciler of Ormuzd and Ahriman. Mithras is the Good, his name is Love. In relation to the Eternal he is the source of grace, in relation to man he is the life-giver and mediator" (Plato, Philo, and Paul, p. 15).
Considered to be a great teacher, Mithra travelled with twelve companions and was known for performing miracles. He was referred to as "the good shepherd, "the way, the truth and the light, redeemer, saviour, Messiah". Mithra was also identified with both the lion and the lamb.
The International Encyclopedia states: "Mithras seems to have owed his prominence to the belief that he was the source of life, and could also redeem the souls of the dead into the better world ... The ceremonies included a sort of baptism to remove sins, anointing, and a sacred meal of bread and water, while a consecrated wine, believed to possess wonderful power, played a prominent part."
Professor Franz Cumont, of the University of Ghent, writes as follows concerning the religion of Mithra and the religion of Christ: "The sectaries of the Persian God, like the Christians', purified themselves by baptism, received by a species of confirmation the power necessary to combat the spirit of evil; and expected from a Lord's supper salvation of body and soul. Like the latter, they also held Sunday sacred, and celebrated the birth of the Sun on the 25th of December.... They both preached a categorical system of ethics, regarded asceticism as meritorious and counted among their principal virtues abstinence and continence, renunciation and self-control. Their conceptions of the world and of the destiny of man were similar. They both admitted the existence of a Heaven inhabited by beatified ones, situated in the upper regions, and of a Hell, peopled by demons, situated in the bowels of the Earth. They both placed a flood at the beginning of history; they both assigned as the source of their condition, a primitive revelation; they both, finally, believed in the immortality of the soul, in a last judgment, and in a resurrection of the dead, consequent upon a final conflagration of the universe" (The Mysteries of Mithras, pp. 190, 191).
In the catacombs at Rome was preserved a relic of the old Mithraic worship. It was a picture of the infant Mithra seated in the lap of his virgin mother, while on their knees before him were Persian Magi adoring him and offering gifts. Mithra was also buried in a tomb and after three days he rose again. His resurrection was celebrated every year.
Click here to read the entire acticle Jesus as a reincarnation of Mithra