THE HISTORY OF SUN-DAY WORSHIP

Worshiping on Sunday did not begin with the advent of Christianity; it was a religious day of worship two thousand years before Jesus Christ.

Shortly  after  the flood of Noah, Nimrod  and  his  mother-wife, Semiramis, founded the great pagan religions.  From its beginning at  the  tower of Babel, sun-worship spread  through  the  entire ancient world.

History  tells us that all religions, except the true religion  of the  God of the Bible, originated in Babylon. It is  admitted  by most Bible scholars and historians that the gods and goddesses  of the ancient  civilizations were all a part of the  same religious belief system.

However, the names of the various deities were different  because of the confusing of the languages at the tower of Babel (Gen.10 & 11). See also  "The Two Babylons," by Alexander Hislop.  This amazing book historically documents sun-worship as the leading  religion in all the ancient civilizations:

"Fire was worshiped as the enlightener and purifier.  Now, it was thus  at  the very beginning; for Nimrod is singled  out  by  the voice  of  antiquity as commencing  the  fire-worship" (The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop, p. 226).

All  the  pagan religions, with their many and  varied  gods  and goddesses, worshiped the sun as their main deity. Moreover, sun-worship is the direct worship of Satan the Devil  under the symbolism  of worshiping the sun.  One of the names of  Satan  in the  Old Testament is Lucifer, which means  "lightbringer."  This  was Satan's name before his rebellion against God (Isa.14:12-14).

FIRE-WORSHIP

Fire-worship  was only one form of sun-worship that was  actually  Satan worship.  

"The sun, as the great source of light and  heat,  was  worshiped under the name of Baal;  . . . the sun, under  that name was worshiped in the earliest ages of the world. . ."  (ibid. p. 226).

"The  beginning, then, of sun-worship  and of the worship of  the host  of  heaven,  was a sin against the light [of  God  and  his Word], a presumptuous, heaven-daring sin" (ibid. p. 226).  

Ancient Israel not only transgressed the Sabbath of God (profaned and  secularized  it) when they worshiped  Baal   they  also observed  Sunday,  because Baal worship is sun-worship  and Sun-day is the day when the sun is worshiped.

"Baal" is  from the ancient  Hebrew language and means "lord."  Therefore,  Sun-day  is Baal's  day, or the lord's day. But, that lord is not  the  Lord God of the Bible, rather, it is the lord Satan.  Satan is  called the  god of this world (2.Cor.4:4), and is worshiped as  god   by those who have been deceived into believing his lies.

SUN AND SERPENT    

"Along  with  the sun, as the great fire-god, and  in  due  time, identified with him, the serpent was worshiped. 'In mythology  of the primitive world,' says Owen, 'the serpent is universally  the symbol of the sun.'  In Egypt, one of the commonest  symbols  of the sun, or sun-god, is a disc with a serpent around it.

"As the sun was the great enlightener of the physical  world, so the serpent was held to have been the great enlightener of the spiritual,  by  giving  to mankind the  'knowledge  of  good  and  evil'  . . . at all events, we have evidence, both  Scriptural  and profane,  for  the fact that  the worship of the serpent   began side by side with the worship of fire and sun" (ibid. p. 227).

From the very first chapters of the Bible, Satan is pictured as a serpent.  And at the end, he is still pictured as a  serpent.  In Revelation  12:3,   Satan is called  "a great red  dragon,"  which could also be  translated 'a fiery dragon',  'fiery  serpent',  or 'serpent of fire.'

This  historical  background is essential to  understanding  that Sun-worship was the dominant religion in all the ancient  civilizations,  and  that it spread from "Mother Babylon" into  all  countries: India, China, Africa, Greece, Rome, Mexico, South America, Egypt, and Europe. Sun-worship was a very prominent religion  and Sunday  was  the main day of worship in the Roman empire  by  the time of Jesus Christ, just as it was in ancient Babylon:

"In pagan Rome, this fire-worship and serpent-worship were  sometimes  separate,  sometimes conjoined; but both occupied  a  preeminent place in Roman esteem" (ibid. p. 236).

"Now if this worship of the sacred serpent of  the Sun, the great fire-god, was so universal in Rome, what symbol could more graphically  portray the idolatrous power of pagan Imperial Rome  than the 'Great  Fiery Serpent?'  No doubt it was to set  forth  this very  thing that the Imperial standard itself - the  standard  of the  pagan  Emperor of Rome, as Pontifex Maximus -  head  of  the great system of fire-worship, was the serpent elevated on a lofty pole,  and so colored as to exhibit it as a recognized symbol  of fire-worship" (ibid. p. 238).

The Babylonian sun-worship system made the king or emperor  the direct representative of the sun god.  As such, he was the king-god or  god-king.  He was the only one in whom the highest  level of the  spirit  of the sun-deity resided.  This spirit was  not  the holy  spirit of God, but the spirit of Satan the Devil.  This  is why the pagan emperors were worshiped as gods.  The pure form  of this kind  of sun-worship was transferred from Babylon   to  the city of Pergamos in Asia Minor after the death of Belshazzar.

In Revelation 2:12-13, Pergamos is called "Satan's seat," and was the  headquarters of the  original Babylonian sun-worship   until Imperial  Rome began to take over the leadership. The  relocation of "Satan's Seat" began in the person of  Julius Caesar when,  as emperor, he had supreme civil and religious rule:

"When Julius Caesar, who  had previously been elected  Pontifex Maximus, became also, as Emperor, the supreme civil ruler  of the  Romans, then as head of Roman religion, all the  powers and functions of the true legitimate Babylonian Pontiff were supremely  vested in him, and he found himself in a position  to  assert these powers" (ibid. p. 241).

In  the  year 46 B.C., Julius Caesar was made  "Praefectus  Morum" (supervisor of morals), which means he was made the head of Roman religions.   And in the year  44 B.C., he was made  dictator for life  (See Langer's Encyclopedia of World History).

It  is essential to understand that from that time  forward,  the Emperor  of Rome was also the head of the state religions.   This did not change until Emperor Justinian, who reigned from  527-565 A.D., submitted to the head of the Roman Catholic  Church.  From that time forward, the Pope was acknowledged by the Emperor to be Pontifex  Maximus  over all religions. The Pope  now  had supreme authority  in religious matters, and the Emperors had control  of the political power of the state.

SUN-DAY: THE MAIN ROMAN DAY OF WORSHIP

The  names  of the days of the Roman week are very  revealing  in understanding about  Sun-day worship  before it  allegedly became  a  "Christian" institution.  Sun-day, or the day  of  the Sun,  was the main pagan day of worship.  Although  other  pagan gods   had days named after them,  only "dies solis" (Latin  for "day of the sun") was proclaimed to be holy:

"There  is no question that the existence of the  planetary  week with  its Sun-day ("dies solis") is crucial for  determining  any influence  of Sun-worship on the [professing] Christian adoption of Sunday observance, inasmuch as the Sun before the existence of a  weekly "Sun-day"  was venerated every morning"  (From  Sabbath to Sunday, Samuele Bacchiocchi, 1977. p. 237).

The prominence of Sun-worship in the Roman Empire was attributed to  two  factors.   First, it had been a part  of  the  religious worship  system  of  pagan Rome for a vary long  time.   It  was widespread,  but not the official dominant religion."  Next,  the Eastern  cult  of sun-worship, "Sol Invictus  (Invincible  Sun), through  the cult of "Sol Invictus Mithra"  and  "Sol  Elagabal," became the dominant religion of the  Empire.  Notice the  "bal" at  the  end  of the name; this signifies  that it incorporated ba(a)l worship.

"Mithraism  primarily  was a private cult,  though  it   numbered among  its  adherents  magistrates and  emperors.   Sol  Invictus Elagabal,  on the other hand, was a popular cult  with  grandiose temples,  and  during the rule of the  young  Emperor  Elagabalus (A.D.  218-222) was made the official cult of the  whole  empire" (ibid. p. 241).

The "Day of the Sun" also had pre-eminence as a day of worshiping the sun.  That the day of the Sun enjoyed pre-eminence already by the  middle  of the second century is clearly  indicated  by  the famous  astrologer  Vettius Valens.  In  his  Anthology  composed between 154-174 A.D., when explaining  how to find the day of the week of any given birth date, he states,  "And this is the sequence of the planetary stars in relation to the  days  of the  week:   Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter,  Venus,  Saturn" (ibid. p. 251).  

"The 'dies solis' was evidently the most sacred [day] of the week for the faithful of Mithra and the gods have arranged the days of the week, whose names the Romans have dedicated to certain stars. The  first day [of the week] they called the day of the  Sun  because  it is the ruler  of all the stars" (ibid. p. 250,  footnote 53).

The  foregoing shows that in pagan Roman times  (before,  during, and  after  the  coming of Jesus Christ), Sun-day  was  the  most prominent day of worship in the Roman Empire.  Most of the Christian religions today wrongly assume that this pagan day of worship  is holy.            

There were many forces and factors involved in the disintegration and  abandonment of God's Sabbath. However, the major factor  was that of hate.  Even today, the majority of Christendom holds the Sabbath in disdain.

Hate  is the opposite of love.  God is love and his way is a  way of love! Everything in God's Word is based on love: love towards God,  as expressed by the first four commandments, and  love towards neighbor, as expressed by the last six commandments.  Jesus made  it absolutely clear that all the law and  the  prophets hang on the two principles  of  "loving God"  and  "loving neighbor" (Matt.22:37-40).

Hatred  is  a  powerful tool that Satan has used  to  divide  and conquer.  It is natural for the human mind to hate, and especially  to hate God and his way: "If the world hates you,  you  know that it hated me before it hated you" (Jn.15:18 Para.).

The Jewish Problem

Long before Jesus Christ was born, the Jews despised the Gentiles (non-Jews).   This  attitude of hatred towards the  Gentiles  was particularly  heightened during the days of Antiochus  Epiphanes when  he  determined to convert every Jew into a pagan  Greek  or exterminate the entire nation in the process.

In order to prevent Jews from being assimilated into other races, which would result in having their religion and nation destroyed, the  Jewish religious  and  civil leaders created a  closed  Jewish society.  This  was  accomplished by legislating many  laws  which  forbade contact  with  Gentiles. They could not even keep  company  with anyone  who  was not a Jew or a Jewish proselyte.   This problem carried  over into the early New Testament Church when God  began calling  Gentiles to salvation (Acts 10 & 11; Galatians 1& 2). Such extremes bred more and more hatred: Gentile toward Jew  and Jew toward Gentile.

At  times  the  Romans were amiable toward and  tolerant  of  the Jewish religion, and they even recognized Judaism as a legitimate religion. The Roman Empire even passed laws that forbade discrimination against Jews and the Jewish religion. But this  tolerance did not last very long.

Romans, Jews, And The Sabbath

"Some  Romans  had  not only  recognized Judaism  as  a  'religio lecita' but had also shown it great respect and some, even  admiration for the religious principles of the Jews. But this admiration  came to an end  about 66 A.D., when the Romans  drastically changed  their  attitude toward the Jews and began  to  persecute them, both militarily and fiscally.  

"Besides  military  measures,  Rome  adopted  new  political  and fiscal policies against the Jews. Under Vespasian  (A.D.  69-79), both  the Sanhedrin and the office of the High Priest were abolished, and worship at the temple site was forbidden.

"Hadrian  (A.D. 117-138) . . . went so far as to prohibit any  Jew, under the threat of death, to enter the area of the new city  [of Jerusalem].   Moreover,  he outlawed the practice of  the  Jewish religion and particularly the observance of the  Sabbath"  (From Sabbath to Sunday, Samuele Bacchiocchi. p.171).

The hatred of the Jews by the Romans heightened in intensity  and bitterness.  Even  Roman writers began to openly attack  all  the practices of the Jews.

"Quintilian (ca. A.D. 35-100) alludes to Moses as the founder  of the  Jewish superstition which is pernicious to  other  people.  Similarly for Martial (ca. A.D. 40-104), the circumcised Jews and their Sabbath are a synonym of degradation.

"Plutarch  (ca. A.D. 46-119) labeled the Jews as a  superstitious nation  and singled out their Sabbath-keeping (which he  regarded as a time of drunkenness) [the same] as one of the many barbarian customs adopted by the Greeks.

"Juvenal, in a satire written about A.D. 125, pitied the corrupting influence of a Judaizing father who taught his son to  eschew the  uncircumcised  and to spend 'each seventh day  in  idleness,  taking no part in the duties of life.'

"Tacitus (ca. A.D. 55-120), whom Jules Isaac labels as 'the  most beautiful jewel in the crown of anti-Semitism,' surpassed all his predecessors in bitterness.  The Jews according to this  historian, descend from lepers expelled from Egypt and abstain from pork in  remembrance of their leprosy (a disease which,  according  to prevailing  beliefs, was common among pigs).  Their indolence  on the Sabbath  commemorates the day they left Egypt.

"All  their customs, Tacitus writes, 'are perverse  and  disgusting,'  and  as  a people they are 'singularly  prone  to  lust'" (ibid. p. 176).

After  Judea was conquered by the Romans, there was  always  some kind of revolt or sedition taking place that was proclaimed as a means of ridding the Jews of Gentile domination.  The result was the general hatred in the Roman world toward the Sabbath, because the Jews, who were constantly revolting held the Sabbath holy.

Into  this atmosphere of hatred and vengeance,  Christianity  was born! The early Christians suffered much because they  admittedly worshiped  the same God and observed the same Sabbath and annual festival days as the Jews.                      

By B. L. Cocherell, file b5w7