The aspects of the Messiah that the Bible assigns to Jesus Christ can be traced back to humanity’s primitive cultures. In “Pagan Origins of the Christian Myth,” Jackson makes note of the vegetation theory developed by Sir James George Frazer, in his “Golden Bough” and by Grant Allen in “The Evolution of the Idea of God.” Jackson quotes psychologist Dr. David Forsyth, who summarized the theory:
“Many gods besides Christ have been supposed to die, be resurrected and ascend to heaven. This idea has now been traced back to its origin among primitive people in the annual death and resurrection of crops and plant life generally. According to the advocates of the solar myth theory, the ancient crucified saviors were personifications of the sun, and their life-stories were allegories of the sun’s passage through the 12 constellations of the Zodiac.”
“Vegetation cults, it seems are older than stellar or solar cults, but were later blended with them. In the primitive vegetation-god sacrifice, the victim was, it is believed, originally the king, or head-man, of the tribe or clan. It was believed by ancient man that the prosperity of the tribe depended on the well-being of the ruler. If the king became old and feeble, it was considered a foregone conclusion that the nation or tribe would suffer a similar decline. So the king, who was usually regarded as a god in human form, was sacrificed, and replaced with a younger and more vigorous man. He was generally slain while bound to a sacred tree, with arms outstretched in the form of a cross. After being entombed, he was believed to rise from the dead within three days; the three-day period representing the return of vegetation.”
Other saviors with stories similar to life of Jesus, which contain a virgin birth, death, and resurrection, include Buddha, Krishna, Odysseus, Romulus, Dionysus, Heracles, Glycon, Zoroaster, Attis of Phrygia, and Horus.