3. PAGANISM IN A CHRISTIAN DISGUISE:Part 1

Sun Worship

When Christians increased in numbers, they experienced great persecution in Rome. The remains of the famous Colesseum still lie as a witness of the cru-elties that once took place. The number of Christian’s

who ended their lives by being torn apart by lions, as entertainment in colesseums and arenas, total approximately 80 000!The religion that was most common in Rome at that time, was sun wor-ship. This, incidentally, was the most widespread heathen religion in the centuries before and after Christ. We still find different gods pertaining to this heathen religion in various places around the world. In the occult, the sun is a symbol of Lucifer or Satan. That is probably why it is no coincidence that sun worship was so widespread. In Egypt the sun god was named Ra, in Central-America we find the sun god Quetzal-coatl, the Persian sun god was Mithra, in Babylon they had Baal and the son Tammuz, and Apollo was the Greek sun god. These are just some of the many names the sun god had. Because of the close connection between sun worship and the luciferian religion, it is not hard to understand why God warned us about this kind of worship. Let us travel even further back in time. God warned the Israelites against sun worship

“Lest ye corrupt yourselves… And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them”


(Deuteronomy 4:16 & 19)

Nevertheless this was exactly what the Israelites began doing not long after. The Israelites adopted the idolatrous worship that was going on all around them, and they worshipped,

“Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.”

(2 Kings 23:5).

In spite of the warning, they still took part in sun worship. In Ezekiel 8, we read,

“He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? Even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? But turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations. And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? For they say, the LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.”

They had turned their back to the Most Holy, where the law of God was, to wor-ship the sun god, just as the law prohibited.

The origin of sun worship

Sun worship began in ancient Babylon and spread to the four corners of the world. In ancient Babylon, the sun, the moon and the stars were worshipped. The Babylonians believed the stars were their dead heros that had ascended to heaven and become gods. One of beliefs central to their religious ceremonies was the zodiac. A part of the Babylonian belief was that the serpents power was in the sun. The sun therefore became a symbol of the serpent (or the devil). The number allocated to the sun in pagan worship was 666.

The growth of sun worship

In Genesis 11 we read how God confused the people at the Tower of Babel and introduced different languages. As man dispersed they took the sun cult with them. As the languages changed, the sun god, the queen of heaven and the gods of the zodiac all received new names according to the various languages. There-fore today we can find rituals and religions throughout the world which have strong similarities with sun worship in ancient Babylon; from the indians of south America to the Middle East up to Asia. Among these is the Egyptian reli-gion which has so many similarities it is practically a direct copy, and both the Greeks and the Romans copied the Egyptians. The Greeks are covered in great detail by the Greek historian Herodot. In 133B.C. Babylonian sun worship was dedicated into Rome by Attalus III. There the symbold and ceremonies were woven into Cæcars cult and subse-quently into Roman Catholicism. (The Great Controversy, Jim Arrabito (New Illustrated)).

Sun worship in the Christian church

How exactly did the Roman Catholic church appear on the world scene? From the time when the Christians suffered martyrdom until Rome became Christian, there were a number of changes.

“Persecution ceased, and in its stead were substituted the dangerous allurements of temporal prosperity and worldly honour. Idolaters were led to receive a part of the Christian faith, while they rejected other essential truths. They professed to accept Jesus as the Son of God and to believe in His death and resurrection, but they had no conviction of sin and felt no need of repentance or of a change of heart. With some concessions on their part they proposed that Christians should make concessions, that all might unite on the platform of belief in Christ. Now the church was in fearful peril. Prison, torture, fire, and sword were bless-ings in comparison with this. Some of the Christians stood firm, declaring that they could make no compromise. Others were in favour of yielding or modifying some features of their faith and uniting with those who had accepted a part of Christianity, urging that this might be the means of their full conversion. That was a time of deep anguish to the faithful followers of Christ. Under a cloak of pretended Christianity, Satan was insinuating himself into the church, to corrupt their faith and turn their minds from the word of truth. Most of the Christians at last consented to lower their standard, and a union was formed between Christianity and paganism. Although the worshipers of idols professed to be converted, and united with the church, they still clung to their idolatry, only changing the objects of their worship to images of Jesus, and even of Mary and the saints. The foul leaven of idolatry, thus brought into the church, continued its baleful work. Unsound doctrines, superstitious rites, and idolatrous ceremonies were incorporated into her faith and worship. As the followers of Christ united with idolaters, the Christian religion became corrupted, and the church lost her purity and power”.

Sunday

The Persian sun god Mithra was one of the most influential forms of sun worship adopted by the Romans. This happened before Christianity reached Rome. The first day of the week, Sunday, was dedicated to the sun and Mithra, so Sunday received the title, “The Lord’s Day”, and, “The Day of the Sun” (Sun day).
Because of this, Sunday was acknowledged as the Sun’s day, and was of spe-cial interest to sun wor-shippers. When Emperor Constantine realised that the gulf between Christ-ians and sun worshippers weakened the country, he converted to Christianity, but also retained

faith in his old religion, sun worship. In that way, he could present himself as a leader to the Christians aswell as the pagans. Constantine’s motives for converting to Christianity were of a more political nature than a conviction of faith. Old Roman coins reveal that Constantine continued to worship the sun, as the coins are decorated with symbols of sun worship along with the Emperor.

“In the early part of the fourth century the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public festival throughout the Roman Empire. The day of the sun was reverenced by his pagan subjects and was honoured by Christians; it was the emperor’s policy to unite the conflicting interests of heathenism and Christianity. He was urged to do this by the bishops of the church, who, inspired by ambition and thirst for power, perceived that if the same day was observed by both Christians and heathen, it would promote the nominal acceptance of Christianity by pagans and thus advance the power and glory of the church. But while many God-fearing Christians were gradually led to regard Sunday as possessing a degree of sacredness, they still held the true Sabbath as the holy of the Lord and observed it in obedience to the fourth commandment. The archdeceiver had not completed his work. He was resolved to gather the Christian world under his banner and to exercise his power through his
vicegerent, the proud pontiff who claimed to be the representative of Christ. Through half-converted pagans, ambitious prelates, and world-loving church-men he accomplished his purpose. Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly every council the Sabbath which God had instituted was pressed down a little lower, while Sunday was correspondingly exalted. Thus the pagan festival came finally to be honoured as a divine institution, while the Bible Sabbath was pronounced a relic of Judaism, and its observers were declared to be accursed.”

(The Great Controversy page 53).

The first Sunday law was introduced by Emperor Constantine on the 7th day of March, 321 AD.

“On the Venerable Day of the Sun [“venerabili die Solis” – the sacred day of the Sun] let the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.


(“Codex Justinianus,” lib.3, tit.12,3; trans. In Phillip Schaff, His-tory of the Christian Church. Vol. 3 page 380.)

“This [Constantine’s Sunday decree of March, 321] is the ‘parent’ Sunday law making it a day of rest and release from labour. For from that time to the present there have been decrees about the observance of Sunday which have profoundly influenced European and American society. When the Church became a part of State under the Christian emperors, Sunday observance was enforced by civil statutes, and later when the Empire was past, the Church in the hands of the papacy enforced it by ecclesiastical and also by civil enactments.”

(Walther W. Hyde, “Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire,” 1946, p.261)

Remains of the struggle are found in two institutions adopted from its rival by Christianity in the fourth century, the two Mithraic sacred days, December twenty-fifth, dies natalis solis, as the birthday of Jesus, and Sunday, ‘the vener-able day of the Sun,’ as Constantine called it in his edict of 321.”

(Walter Wood-burn Hyde, Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire, p. 60.)

“Constantine laboured at this time untiringly to unite the worshipers of the old and the new into one religion. All his laws and contrivances are lawful and peaceable means melt together a purified heathenism and a moderated Christianity… Of all of his blending and melting together of Christianity and heathen-ism, none is more easy to see through than this making of his Sunday law: The Christians worshipped their Christ, the heathen their Sun-god… [so they now should be combined].”

(H.G.Heggtveit, “Illustrated Church History,” 1895, p.202, Noed.)

The Catholic church itself says,

“You may read the Bible from Genesis to rev-elation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we (Catholics) never sanctify.”

(James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 111, 16th ed., 1879.)

Gradually, force was used to further the agenda. Not only did they demand that Sunday should be kept holy, but everyone that kept God’s true Sabbath, should be stopped, and even persecuted.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the command-ments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” .

(Revelation 12:17)

At a Church meeting held in Bergen, Norway, 22 August 1435,

It had come to the ears of the archbishop that people in different places of the kingdom had ventured the keeping holy of Saturday. It is strictly forbidden – it is stated – in the Church-Law, for any one to keep or to adobt holy days, outside of those which the pope, archbishop, or bishops appoint” .

(The History of the Norwegian Church under Catholicism, F. Keyser, Vol. 11, page 488, Oslo, 1858)

Norway, 1435 (Catholic provincial at Bergen),

We are informed that some people in different districts of the kingdom, have adopted and observed Satur-day keeping. It is severely forbiddenin holy church canonone and all to observe days excepting those which the holy Pope, archbishop, or the bishops command. Saturday-keeping must under no circumstances be permitted here-after further than the church canon commands. Therefore, we counsel all the friends of God throughout all Norway who want to be obedient towards the holy church to let this evil of Saturday-keeping alone; and the rest we forbid under the penalty of severe church punishment to keep Saturday holy.”

(The Catholic Main Seat in Bergen, Norway, volume 7, page 397).

Norway, 1436 (Church Conference at Oslo),

It is forbidden under the same penalty to keep Saturday holy by refraining from labour”.

(History of the Norwegian Church, page 401)

“About 590, Pope Gregory, in a letter to the Roman people, denounced as the prophets of Antichrist those who maintained that work ought not to be done on the seventh day.”


(James T. Riggold in the Law of Sunday, page 267).

“Gregory, bishop by the grace of God to his well-beloved sons, the Roman citi-zens: It has come to me that certain men of perverse spirit have disseminated among you things depraved and opposed to the holy faith, so that they forbid anything to be done on the day of the Sabbath. What shall I call them except preachers of antichrist?”

(Epistles, book 13: epistle 1)

“Christians shall not Judaise and be idle on Saturday [“sabbato”], but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honour, and, as being Chris-tians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out [“anathema,” – excommunicated] from Christ.”


(Counsel of Laodicea, 337 AD, Canon 29, quoted in C.J. Hefeles book “A His-tory of the Councils of the Church”, vol. 2, page 316)

“The papal author, Bonacursus wrote the following against ‘Pasagini’: “Not a few, but many, know what are the errors of those who are called Pasagini… First, they teach that we should obey the Sabbath. Furthermore, to increase their terror, they condemn and reject all the church Fathers, and the whole Roman Church.”


(D’Achery, “Spicilegium,” 1, f.211-214; Muratory, “Antiq.Med.Aevi,” 5,f.152, Hahn, Volume 3 page 209; The Sabbath of Jesus Christ Through the Ages, J.F.Coltheart, Truth for Today, 1997).

“Robinson gives an account of some of the Waldenses of the Alps, who were called Sabbati, Sabbatati, Insabbatati, but more frequently Inzabbatati. ‘One says they were so named from the Hebrew word sabbath because they kept the Saturday for the Lord’s day.” .

(General History of the Baptist Denomination, Volume II, page 413)

“To destroy completely these heretics (Waldenses, France) Pope Innocent III sent Dominican inquisitors into France, and also crusaders, promising “a ple-nary remission of all sins, to those who took on them the crusade …against the Albigenses.”

(Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol.XII, article. ‘Raymond VI,’ page 670).

In Spain:

Aphonse, King of Aragon, etc., to all archbishops, bishops and to all others.. We command you that heretics, to wit, Waldenses and Insab-bathi, should be expelled away from the face of God and from all Catholics and ordered to depart from our kingdom.”


(“Marianae
, Praefatio in Lucam Tudensem,” found in “Macima Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum,” Volume 35, page 190)

“France – King Louis IX, 1329. Published the statute “Cupientes” in which he charges himself to clear southern France from heretics as the Sabbath-keepers were called.”

(The Sabbath of Jesus Christ Through the Ages, J.F.Coltheart, Truth for Today, 1997).

In France:

“Thousands of God’s people were tortured to death by the Inquisition, buried alive, burned to death, or hacked to pieces by the crusaders. While devastating the city of Biterre, the soldiers asked the Catholic leaders how they should know who were heretics; Arnold, Abbot of Cisteaux, answered: “Slay them all, for the Lord knows who are His.”


(The Sabbath of Jesus Christ Through the Ages, J.F.Coltheart, Truth for Today, 1997; “History of the Inquisi-sion,” page 96).

“The inquisitors… [declare] that the sign of a Voudois, deemed worthy of death, was that he followed Christ and sought to obey the commandments of God.”

(History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages,” H.C. Lea, Vol.1).

The Catholic Church had succeeded in creating great confusion. Those who kept God’s commandments were called evil, and even antichrist. On the other hand, those who broke God’s commandments to keep the Pope’s command-ments, were called true Christians, but God’s word tells us, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;


that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

“For professing faith contrary to the teachings of the Church of Rome, history records the martyrdom of more than one hundred million people. A million Waldenses and Albigenses [Swiss and French Protestants] perished during a crusade proclaimed by Pope Innocent III in 1208. Beginning from the establishment of the Jesuits in 1540 to 1580, nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred and fifty thousand perished by the Inquisition in thirty years. Within the space of thirty-eight years after the edict of Charles V against the Protestants, fifty thousand persons were hanged, beheaded, or burned alive for heresy. Eighteen thousand more perished during the administration of the Duke of Alva in five and a half years.” .

(Brief Bible Readings page 16)

And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”

(Revelation 17:5-6).

“For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” (Revelation 16:6). “In the centuries that followed, persecution against believers in the Bible Sab-bath intensified until very few were left alive. When the Reformation began, the true Sabbath was almost unknown.”

(Editor of Harvestime Books “The Mark of the Beast”.)

The fourth commandment was given as a memorial of the true Creator of all life. Concerning the Sabbath commandment, the Lord says,

And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.”

(Ezekiel 20:20).

During all this confusion, when the Isra-elites adopted sun worship, the Lord reminded them over and over again about this commandment. It was a sign that it was the true Creator they worshipped, He who created the earth in six days and rested the seventh, and not the sun god. Satan, who made it appear that the sun god was the creator and giver of life, had to remove this sign of worship. If he was to make man worship him, or the sun god as the creator, he had to remove the sign that identified the true Crea-tor. That is why Sunday, the sun’s day, was made a day of rest instead of God’s Sabbath. Thus, all those who accepted this false day of rest, also accepted a new law-giver and creator.Satan had succeeded in infiltrating the Christian church with sun worship. He had succeeded in making them reject God’s commandments and replacing them with his own counterfeit. Instead of keeping the Sabbath, that was a sign between the Creator and the created, Christians now kept Sunday, signifying the power of the sun god. The sign that identified the true Creator, had been replaced with the sign of the false creator. Furthermore there were few that were seeking the true God, thinking they already worshipped Him.


The foundation of Roman Catholicism

“On the one hand, the two religions [Mithraism and Christianity] in outlying regions of the Empire, long followed different lines of dispersion. Christianity from it’s origin in the religion of Israel, spread at first among the cities on the Mediterranean, chiefly where there were colonies of Jews. On the other hand, outside Italy, Mithraism, which was propagated by soldiers and imperial officers, followed the line of the camps and centres of commerce chiefly along the great rivers of the northern frontier. Yet at Ostia and Rome and elsewhere, the two eastern religions must have been early brought face to face. In the syncretism of that age, the age of Gnosticism, rites and doctrines passed easily from one system to another. Mithra certainly absorbed much from kindred worships of Asia Minor, from Hellenic mysteries, and from Alexandrian philosophy. It is equally certain that the Church did not disdain a policy of accommodation, along with the consecration of altars of Christ in the old shrines of paganism. The Cult of local heroes was transferred to saints and martyrs. Converts found it hard to part with consecrated phrases and forms of devotion, and might address Jesus in epithets sacred to the Sun. Some Christians in the fifth century still saluted the rising sun with a prayer”


(The Society from Nero to Marcus Aure-lius, page 622, Samuel Dill, 1964, USA)

“The birthdays of Sol Invictus and of Mithra were celebrated on 25th December, close to the time of the winter solstice. In 353 or 354 CE Pope Liberius set his date as the Feast of the Nativity and a few years later he founded the Church of Santa Maria della Neva, now know as Santa Maria Maggiore, which become the centre of the Roman celebration of Christmas. The Nativity gradually absorbed or supplanted all the other solstice rites. Solar imagery came increasingly to be used to portray the risen Christ (who was also called Sol Invictus), and the
old solar disk that had once appeared behind the head of Asian rulers became the halo of Christian Saints. Excavation under Saint Peter’s Basilica, under-taken in hope of finding the tomb of Peter, found a very early Christian mosaic that showed Christ driving a chariot, with rays above His head. [Common way to picture Mithra and Jupiter]”.

(The Encyclopaedia of Religion, Volume 14, Mircea Eliade, USA, 1997)

“Christianity came face to face with the Babylonian paganism in various forms that had been established in the Roman Empire. The early Christians refused to have anything to do with its customs and beliefs. Much persecution resulted. Many Christians were falsely accused, thrown to the lions, burned at the stake, and in other ways tortured and martyred. Then great changes began to be made. The emperor of Rome professed conversion to Christianity. Imperial orders went forth throughout the empire that persecutions should cease. Bishops were given high honours. The church began to receive worldly recognition and power. But for all of this, a great price had to be paid. Many compromises were made with paganism. Instead of the church being separate from the world, it became a part of this world system. The emperor showing favour, demanded a place of leadership in the church; for in paganism, emperors were believed to be gods. From here on, wholesale mixtures of paganism into Christianity were made, especially at Rome.”


(Babylon Mystery Religion, R.E. Woodrow, 1990 Edotion, USA)

“We know that Mithraism was a state-religion in Rome at the time the Christian church was established in this area. Certain rituals from this pagan religion, like keeping Sunday and the use of the round sun-cake in the Lord’s Supper, was adopted by the church at this time. The Mithra-worship was strongly bonded to astrology and included the worship of the mystical sun god. We can, with certainty, assert that the pagan sun worship is the base for several of today’s Christian customs.” (Source unknown).

“From the forgoing, which treats merely of the more important solar festivals, it is clear that these products of paganism are as much in force at present from a symbolic point of view, as they ever were, and that Christianity countenances, and in many cases has actually adopted and practises, pagan rites whose heathen significance is merely lost sight of because attention is not called to the sources whence these rites have sprung. In short, Sun worship, symbolically speaking,
lies at the very heart of the great festivals which the Christian Church celebrates today, and these relics of heathen religion, through the medium of their sacred rites, curiously enough blended with practices and beliefs utterly antagonistic to the spirit that prompted them. The reason for the survival of many of the sym-bols of Sun worship and the practice of many customs peculiar to this ancient form of idolatry, lies in the fact that the early Christian teachers found the people so wedded to their old rites and usages, that it was in vain to hope for the com-plete abandonment of these long-cherished practices. Hence a compromise was wisely effected, and the old pagan customs were deprived of the idolatry that
was so obnoxious to the Christian, and transferred as meaningless symbols and empty forms to the Christian festivals.”

(Sun Lore Of All Ages, William Tyler Olcott, 1914, page 248).

Christ Himself said that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets. God’s truth had been entrusted to the Jews, and Christ’s mission was explained from these truths. When Christianity spread and became rich with influence, Christ was repositioned as the ful-fillment of the doctrine and philosophy of the pagan gods, instead of the fulfillment of the law and the prophets given to the Jews. The result was that the image of Christ was destroyed and distorted. In addition they persecuted those who believed in the Messiah who was in harmony with the Old Jewish Testament.

Sun worship under a new name

Sun worship is something that God detests according to the Bible. Sun worship in ancient Babylon was connected to astrology, and as mentioned earlier, the sun was a symbol of the serpent, the dragon, or Satan. The fact that sun worship is now practised in God’s name, shows us how far Satan is willing to go in his battle against God.Thousands of Catholic churches all over the world are decorated with symbols of the sun. One of the worst examples I’ve seen is in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This is where the Catholic Church claims Jesus was crucified and buried. On the spot where they claim Jesus was crucified, they have erected an idol of Jesus with a sun burst around the whole layout. All those wanting to touch the “stone” that they claim the cross was placed in, must kneel down in front of the gold statue with the sun encompassing it. It is impossible to touch the rock without bowing down to the idol. Not only is this set up a direct violation of God’s Ten Commandment law, but is also sun worship. It is not Jesus that is being honoured here. Thousands of Christians journey here year in and year out, believing that this is the place where Jesus was crucified. Thus the Catholic Church has succeeded in inviting thousands of people to kneel before an idol of the sun god, whilst believing it is Jesus. Although such people are tricked, if they had studied the Bible, they would have seen the deception and been saved from it.

___________________________________________________________________________
To read previous chapter: PONTIFEX MAXIMUS
Next Chapter: Paganism in christian disguise, Part 2

Read the book Confrontation where these chapters are from HERE (PDF).

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