Paganism in the Church - Part 3

Scripture: Revelation 12:10, Luke 23:44, Colossians 2:15
This is the third of three broadcasts on false worship and pagan practices creeping into the church. Sun worship is a central focus of this compromise. What does the Bible say about true worship and the resurrection of Christ.
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Today we come to the climax of our series on "Paganism in the Church," and the subject today is centered in the symbol of the cross. Although the cross has become a revered relic and often even an object of worship, I would like to explore the ancient background of this cherished symbol. In our last broadcast we discovered that the Bible describes the worship of Tammuz, the Pagan God of the Sun. Satan inspired those idolatrous people to represent Tammuz by the letter "T," the first letter of his name. It came to be a world-wide symbol of sun worship and all the moral pollutions attached to that kind of worship. The heathen actually sacrificed human beings to the devil on crosses. Centuries before Jesus was born crucifixion was a method of worshiping the pagan sun god.

When sun-worshiping generals went to battle they offered thousands of human sacrifices to the devil. It is said that Alexander the Great, after a victorious campaign, crucified over 10,000 human beings on the cross to celebrate his victory. Three-thousand chief Babylonians were crucified at one time as a sacrifice to the Devil.

When the Catholics first went down into South America and Mexico, soon after these were discovered, they were amazed to find that the sun-worshiping heathen there had crosses. They were amazed because they did not know that these people knew anything about crosses. They did not know anything about Christianity, but they had crosses because they were the sign of Tammuz-the Sun God. But listen, friends, the time finally came for the Son of God to be born. The exact day of His birth no one knows. But He lived to be thirty-three and one-half when He was crucified, which was in the spring of the year at the time of the Passover. Listen friends, it is almost too terrible for words. You remember Tammuz was exalted by Satan to be the false Messiah or rival of Jesus. The symbol of the cross, the first letter of his name, "T", was the sign of sun worship. Down through the years, many times as Satan had succeeded in leading Israel into sin and Pagan sun worship, it had seemed that the sun god was victorious over the true God. Jesus, the Creator of the world, came into a world that had forgotten Him. He suffered every insult at its hands and, finally, died upon the symbol of sun worship, the cross; as Paul says, "Even the death of the cross."

In order to show that his system of worship was superior to that of God's and to show his supremacy, Satan heaped the supreme insult upon Christ by crucifying Him upon the cross, the symbol of sun worship! Think of the Son of God dying in such awful humiliation while the people looked on, in derision. What mockery! And what rejoicing then by the demons! The Son of God delivered by His own people and crucified by the sun-worshiping Romans on the symbol of sun worship! Think of the great Son of God dying in such awful humiliation while the people looked on, wagging their heads in mockery.

But Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the Heavenly Universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. The last link of sympathy was broken. "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." Revelation 12:10. Yet Satan was not then destroyed. For the sake of man, his existence must be continued. Men, as well as angels, must see the contrast between the Prince of Light and the Prince of Darkness. He must choose whom he will serve.

Now as we look at Calvary, what do we see? We see the Author of life with His form stripped of all of its clothing. He is hung before the sun, on the symbol of the cross-the cross that was once the symbol of heathen worship and heathen pollution. And on that Friday afternoon, the sun was darkened. God placed His hand over the sun while Christ hung upon the cross. Now, the blackening of the sun by God's hand was not just an incidental thing. It had some significance to it. (Luke 23:44). There was a reason why that sun was darkened. You see, that sun to the heathen was the symbol of the Devil or Sun God. So God placed His hand over the sun to show that He controlled the sun. God said, "That is as far as you can go." God darkened the sun to prove He was the creator and had power over these things!

But now let's answer a most important question friends. Do you know why Jesus came forth from the tomb before daybreak on that Sunday morning? According to all the background I have given, you must realize that at sunrise on the first day of the week men would be worshiping the Sun, or the Devil, while Jesus Christ would be in the tomb. Yes, at sunrise Satan would be worshiped. It is Friday night, the moments are tense. Now, to make sure of his victim, the devil had the tomb of Jesus Christ sealed with a seal. Do you know what the name of that seal was? It is called the Roman seal, but in Latin the name was "SINGLEM-SOLIS," which in Latin means, "The seal of the sun." So on that tomb of Jesus Christ they placed "Singlem-solis" the seal of the sun god, and the Devil thought he had his victim there to stay. He sealed Him with the seal of the sun.

But on the first day of the week, it was revealed before daylight just who was superior. Christ rested in His tomb as the Sabbath passed on. He knew that sun worshippers everywhere the moment the sun rose would worship Satan. But before the rising of the Sun, when the stone is still in place and there are over 100 Roman guards on watch, together with a host of evil angels and Satan, something happens. There are other visitors there also, angels that excel in strength were there to welcome the Prince of Life. So in John 20:1 it says He came forth "while it was yet dark." Look also at Matthew 28:2-6.

Friends, here is the reason why Jesus came forth on the first day of the week while it was yet dark. It was because God did not permit the Devil to be worshiped on his day when the sun rose while His Son was still in the tomb. God brought Him forth from the dead, and he came forth while it was yet dark for God did not leave His Son in that tomb while the Devil would be worshipped on his day. I am glad that God saw fit to bring forth His Son, and that He was able to proclaim as He came forth from that grave, "I am the resurrection and the life."

Jesus Christ on Calvary and in His resurrection conquered, friends. He came forth as an eternal conqueror, and where the resurrection is questioned, the atonement is forgotten. We are not left to conclude for ourselves that Jesus triumphed over Satan. God's Word declares it (Colossians 2:15). There were principalities and powers there that morning, but Christ triumphed over them! And Jesus Christ was out of that tomb when the sun rose, and the Devil was not worshipped while Christ lay in His tomb. Christ's victory was over the grave, and principalities, and everything that Satan stood for.

It had been Satan's plan to make the first day of the week-the pagan day of the sun-a triumphant celebration over the defeat and death of Jesus. But he lost that opportunity when Christ burst the power of the tomb before those heathen worshipers could gather to have their sun-day ceremonies. God did not allow them to triumph over the death of His Son. Satan had failed in his efforts to exalt the pagan day of sun worship.

But what a tragedy that 300 years later, Satan was able to accomplish what he failed to do at Calvary. By a clever compromise with heathen sun worship, he influenced a backsliding church to accept the counterfeit Sunday in place of the seventh-day Sabbath. Let's take a look at the way it all happened.

The Pagans worshiped the sun on Sunday (Sun's day). It was the heathen festival in honor of the sun god. Webster's Unabridged Dictionary says of Sunday, "So called because the day was anciently dedicated to the sun or to its worship." The North British Review, Vol. 18, p. 409; calls Sunday "the wild solar holiday of all Pagan times." And Gibbon, in a note; paragraph 2, chapter 20, says that "Constantine styles the Lord's day Dies Solis (day of the sun), a name which could not offend the ears of his Pagan subjects." The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia has the following to say on the subject of Sunday: "Sunday (Dies Solis of the Roman calendar, day of the sun: because dedicated to the sun), the first day of the week, was adopted by the early Christians as a day of worship. The (Sun) of Latin adoration, they interpreted as the (Sun of Righteousness)...No regulations for its observance are laid down in the New Testament, nor, indeed is its observance ever enjoined."

Think of it, the Sabbath (seventh day), which God blessed and made holy for man to worship the true God upon, was gradually set aside and the festival day of Pagan sun worship was taken into the church. Professor Hutton Webster, Ph.D., in his book "REST DAYS," p. 270; has this to say: "What began, however, as a Pagan ordinance, ended as a Christian regulation, and a long series of imperial decrees, during the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries enjoined with increasing stringency abstinence from labor on Sunday."

Paganism with all of its pomp, and ceremonies, and holy days crept silently into the Christian Church until it developed into an Apostate system of religious worship. Notice this statement from SCHAFF'S CHURCH HISTORY, page 375; "Not a few pagan habits crept into the church concealed by new names. This is conceded by the most earnest of the Fathers. Leo the Great speaks of Christians in Rome who worshiped the sun, before repairing to the church of St. Peter. In the celebration of Sunday, as it was introduced by Constantine, and still continues on the whole continent of Europe, the cults of the old Sun god Apollo mingles with the remembrance of the resurrection of Christ."

So that is the story, friends, concerning the devil's most masterful deception of all history. Not only did he bring in the Pagan forms of worship, but he managed to install the old heathen day of sun worship in place of the holy Sabbath of the Lord. And he continues to blind people to what the Bible teaches on this subject, so that they will still follow pagan tradition instead of the commandments of God. No wonder Jesus exclaimed "But in vain ye do worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9.

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