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The Final Reformation

Chapter III


These two words "Baal" and "Babylon" are central in the Scripture's exhortation on idolatry. These two words are not only used historically, but are also used prophetically for the end-time. Our Mighty One will remove the names of Baal and the Baals (Baalim) from our mouths in the end-time, Hos. 2: 16-17. In Jer. 23:27 we read a similar passage and here this message apparently has a double reference, thus for the end-time too. A synonym for Baal is Bel, the Babylonian name for Baal, and is generally regarded as the national deity of Babylon. We read of Bel and Babylon's destruction in Jer. 50:2, which many commentators believe to be an end-time passage in the verses following, namely verses 4-7. This prophecy against Bel (Baal) is also found in Jer. 51:44 and Isa. 46:1.

Who is this Bel or Baal? The almost unanimous pronouncement by commentators and scholars is: It is the Sun-deity. A few scholars prefer to identify Bel with Zeus. However, all admit that Zeus was originally the Sky-deity and later on became known to be the Sun-deity. In Isa. 46:1 bel is named with Nebo, Bel's son (or called Bel's grandson by some), and also known as Sun-deity. The names of the Sun-deities, Bel and Nebo, were taken up in the names Belshazzar, Belteshazzar; and Nebo's name in that of Nebuchadenezzar, Nebuzardan, etc. Nebo was also known as Nabu. The Scriptures reveal to us another supreme deity of the Babylonians, namely Merodach, in Jer.. 50:2, known in Babylonian literature as Marduk. he was another will-known Sun-deity,and was usually regarded to be just another name for Bel. Thus, the Scriptures clearly reveal to us that the chief deities of Babylon were Sun-deities. Archaeological and historical sources confirm this naming a great number of deities, most of them different names for the Sun-deity, or variations thereof. The Moon-deity and Ishtar were also included, especially in the Babylonian trinities. Ishtar represents the star Venus, or maybe represents all the stars in general. Ishtar was also known as Cybele, Semiramis, Aphrodite, Demeter, Dea Syria, Venus, Ma and Rhea. She was also later on identified with Isis. this Ishtar is known to us by her Scriptural names: Ashtoreth and Ashtaroth (Greek: Astarte). She was regarded as the ancient Moon-deity, and by others as Venus, and by others just as a star. The young Sun-deity was popularly known as Tammuz, and he had his female consort Ishtar who was also his mother, who gave birth to him.

But before we become too involved with all of Babylon's pantheon, suffice it to say that the Scriptures reveal to us the names of the three chief deities of Babylon, namely, Bal (Baal), Merodach (Marduk),and Nebo (Nabu). Therefore, the Scriptures, the only source for doctrinal truth, reveal to us that the Babylonian religion was basically Sun-worship, because all three their chief deities were identified with the Sun. This is also confirmed by the testimony of the scholars of archaeology and religious history. Prof. F. Max Muller wrote, "Babylon, There also the decipherers of the Babylonian tablets soon discovered that the Sun-god was the principal deity ... Baal, the supreme deity of the Semitic inhabitants of the Mesopotamian kingdom, was clearly a Sun-god."229

According to the Scriptures in Gen. 10:10, Babel or Babylon was "the beginning" of Nimrod's kingdom. Whether Nimrod was in fact the "founder" of Babylon, is not directly stated. However, the Babylonians themselves, in their literature, claim that Bel (Baal) was the founder of Babylon.230 Some scholars believe that Bel was just the same as Nimrod, the latter becoming deified after his death and becoming known as Bel, their Sun-deity. Assyria was the sister-nation of Babylonia and had in fact adopted the system of writing, most of the literature, the laws, and the religion of Babylonia.231 On the other hand, Assyria annexed and dominated Babylonia in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C.E.232 many scholars combined Assyria and Babylonia in their studies, both being Semitic nations in any case. Therefore the religion of these two nations became commonly known as Babylo-Assyrian religion. Babylon had its national deity, the Sun, called Bel (Baal), and afterwards Merodach (Marduk or Bel-Marduk) and Nebo (Nabu). Secular history tells us of numerous tells us of numerous other Babylonian Sky- or Sun-deities, such as Shamash, Ninurta, Anu, Ea, Enlil, and many others too. Likewise, the great national deity of Assyria was a Sun-deity as well, named: Asshur. Asshur, the son of Shem (Gen. 10:22), is generally accepted as the father of the Assyrians. After his death, the Assyrians deified him and then identified him with the Sun. And so he became the mighty sun-deity of the Assyrians. His name was of course also used for one of the major cities of Assyria, namely Asshur, which was regarded as the ancient capital of Assyria. This capital, Asshur, was shifted to Nineveh, and the worship of Asshur was shifted as the same time. Asshur, the Sun-deity of the city of Asshur, had now become the chief deity of the whole nation and the central power that governed Assyria. Assyria became the "land of the god Asshur."233 The symbol of this deity Asshur was the sun-disc or nimbus, which was later to appear ever so often on portrayals and images of The Messiah, and other figures from Scripture. It is interesting to note that quite a few commentators believe that the end-time enemy of The Messiah, and The Messiah's people will be the Assyrian (Asshur), and they base their tenet on the following passages: Micah 5:5-6, Isa. 10:24, Isa. 14:25, Isa. 30:31, and a few other texts. Are we looking for an earthly man, or are we to be on guard against the sun-deity of the Babylo-Assyrians?

The Bablo-Assyrian religion spread to the surrounding countries, in the form of its deities, but also in another form that of its astrology, astronomy and cosmic or astral religion. The Babylonians were the ones who started astrology, i.e. the occult influence of the host of heaven upon human affairs. Morris Jastrow described the very nature of astrology as follows, "The fundamental factor in astrology is the identification of the heavenly bodies with the chief gods of the pantheon."235 Therefore, astrology was in fact a study of the influence exerted upon man by the host of heaven, the pagan's Sky-deities.

This is virtually the same as the concept of "cosmic or stral religion". The Babylonians eventually became rational about it, and thus the science of astronomy came into being. On the other hand, we find that in Greece the reverse had happened.236 There we find that astronomy came first and then astrology evolved. However, the two were blended.237 Science and religion worked together to promote the common interest of all pagan nations, namely, the worship of the sun, the moon and the stars.

Not many people are aware of the fact that the sun is a star itself - see any dictionary. The sun is a star, because a star is defined as a planetary body that emits its own light in contrast to the other planets, e.g. the moon, that only reflect light. Strictly speaking, if we speak of all the stars, then the large star, the sun, should be included. The Greek words for star, aster an astran, were applied to the sun, as well as to the other stars.238 Therefore, when we speak of astral religion, astronomy or astrology, we must never overlook the fact that the sun is the largest of the stars in our visible planetary system. The zodiac, which typifies astrology, came into existence when the Babylonians evolved the thought of the sun's path through the sky, divided into twelve sections, and each being distinguished by its chief constellation or star.239 This Chaldean cosmology became very prominent in the entire Syrian syncretism. The sun remained supreme in the system because it led the starry choir.240 The numerous Sun-temples n Palmyra, Syria, testify of this. we should not forget that Syria was at one time part of the Assyrian empire and also derived its name from Assyria,241 as many do believe. It is from one of these Sun temples in Palmyra, Syria, namely from the temple of bel, that the great image of Bel was removed and taken to Rome, where it was erected. This was done by emperor aurelian of Rome, who was known as "the sun-emperor". aurelian also took the image of Helios, another Sun-deity, from Palmyra, and erected it in Rome. This supreme Sun-deity, Bel, was honoured throughout northern Syria and had come from Babylon.242 So, the worship of Bel, the founder of Babylon, eventually became established in Rome. No wonder that the Church Father Augustine candidly wrote that "Rome was funded as the second Babylon and as the daughter of the former Babylon."243 In the same book Augustine again said, "Babylonia as the first Rome ... Rome itself is like a second Babylon."244 Further testimony of Rome being Mystery Babylon, is recorded for us by Hislop in The Two Babylons, pp. 240-241 and p. 279, wherein he quotes his sources, "The true legitimate Babylonian Pontiff ... after the death of Belshazzar, and the expultion of the Chaldean priesthood from Babylon by the Medo-Persian kings, was at Pergamos, where afterwards was one of the seven churches of Asia. There, in consequence, for many centuries was 'Satan's seat' (Rev. 2:13)." he then quotes Barker who relates that the defeated Chaldeans fled to Asia Minor, and fixed their central college at Pergamos. Hislop then continues, "in course of time, the Pontificate of Rome and the Pontificate of Pergamos itself part and parcel of the roman empire, when Attalus III, the last of its kings, at his death, left by will all his dominions to the Roman people, B.C.E.133." We will discuss this "Second Babylon" - Rome, later on. Not only did Bel, the Sun-deity of old Babylon, become established in Rome, but also the Babylonians (Chaldean) astrology became grimly established in Rome between the years 323 - 44 B.C.E. 245

Another Sun-deity was found in Babylonia, namely Zoroaster, and he was the head of the Chaldean Mysteries.246 some scholars think that he came to Babylonia when the Persians conquered Babylonia. Others think that his name originated in India. Nevertheless, with the Persian's (Iranian's) conquest of Babylonia, there also came to Babylon the well-known Sun-deity Ahura-Mazda. He became identified with the Babylonian Bel (Baal),247 and was to play an important role in the Manichean and Mithras religions of Rome. These latter two religions both kept Sun-day in honour of the Sun-deity, as previously stated. The Babylonian empire had vanished but its religion was very much alive in Syria, and from here it was taken to Rome when the Roman pantheon and Greek pantheon had waned. The outcome? Franz Cumont summarised it so well, "Solar pantheism, which grew up among the Syrians of the hellenistic period as a result of the influence of Chaldean astrology, imposed itself upon the whole Roman world under the empire ... Syria was Rome's teacher and predecessor. The last formula reached by the religion ... of the Romans, was a divinity unique, almighty, eternal, universal and ineffable, that revealed itself throughout nature, but whose most splendid and most energetic manifestation was the Sun."248 Again he wrote, "solar pantheism was the last form of Roman paganism."249

Previous to all this, another image of a Sky-deity was brought to Rome. The female deity of Babylon, namely Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven, or Venus or Star, was known as Cybele amongst the Persians, and was also known as Mater Dea, "Mother of God" or the "mother goddess". Her image was formally brought from pergamum to Rome, a temple was built in her honour, and a festival instituted.250 This was done in the year 204 B.C.E. Yahush˙a warned us about Pergamum (Pergamos) in Rev. 2:13-14, "where Satan's throne is" and, "those who hold the doctrine of Balaam". it is well known that Pergamum (Pergamos) was a centre of many major pagan cults that worshipped the host of heaven - Zeus, Athena, Dionysus, Asclepius,251 and previously Cybele too, before her image was taken to Rome. Later on, in the first three centuries of our Common Era, just before Constantine entered the scene, we find that Rome began to forsake her own Roman pantheon, and the Greek pantheon too, and turned to he deities of the other countries under her rule, especially the worship of the Sun.

What happened in Rome in the period 44 B.C.E. - 321 C.E.? Julius Caesar was succeeded by Augustus in +- 44 B.C.E. Augustus was the first of the Emperors of Rome. Joscelyn Godwin, Mystery Religions, p. 59, describes him as a devotee of Apollo, the Sun-deity. Augustus was even regarded by some as an incarnation of the Sun-deity. The year 54 C.E. brings us the accesion of Nero who strongly promoted the cult of Isis, another Sun-deity. Isis was identified with many other female deities known as "Mother of God", and thereby also with Cybele who was also known as such. Apart from being a Sun-deity, both Cybele and Isis has sexual fornication as part of their worship. This is what is meant by the "doctrine of Balaam" - Rev. 2:14 and Numb. 31:16. Nero was quite open about this Sun-worship and had a huge Colossus built, an enormous image of himself in the guise of the Sun.252 But this Colossus was never completed. Nero placed his own portrait on his coins with the radiate crown of the Sun around his head. He was actually honoured in one place as "the new Sun-god shining on the Greeks."253 In the year 117 C.E. Hadrian ascended the throne and he was known for his promotion of Serapis- and Isis-worship, both being Sun-deities.

In the year 218 the 14-year old heliogabalus (also known as Elagabalus) ascended the throne. His very name reveals that he was dedicated to Helios and to Baal (Bel or Belus). He was a worshipper of the Sun-deity, Baal of Emesa in Syria, and brought this coarse idol-image from Emesa to Rome, and tried to subordinate the whole ancient pantheon to it: Sol invictus Elagabal.254 He had had his training in the priesthood of the Sun-deity at Emesa and then tried to establish Syrian Baal-worship in Rome. However, his reign did not last long, for he was murdered. In the year 238 C.E., Manes began to preach and teach. he was the founder of Manicheism. Their teachings comprised Sun-day keeping, severe anti-Judaism, the teaching of Buddha, the teachings of Zoroaster as well as the teachings of the Messiah of the New Testament. Manes gave himself a title, which read, "Mani, the messenger of the God of Truth to Babylonia."255 One of the famous Church Fathers, Augustine, was himself a scholar of this Manicheism for nine years. Manes rejected the Old Testament "with horror" and was even more blasphemous that the earlier Gnostics, like Marcion who spoke of the The Mighty One of the Old Testament as a tyrant. Manes was worse, for he described our Mighty One as follows: "the Prince of Darkness ... For He led them astray in the lusts that He taught them, since he was not the God of Truth"!256 This blasphemous spirit which hates, or ignore, or wants to change the Almighty of the Old Testament, has had its influence, n varying degrees, up to this day. In the meantime, the Mithra-cult was concurrently also growing, also bent on Sun-worship and the keeping of Sun-day.

The year 270 C.E. marks the accession of emperor Aurelian, the "sun-emperor" , who established an official cult of the Sun at Rome.257 He was also sympathetic towards "Mithra, the god who was himself now regularly identified with the Sun."257 Aurelian's sun-deity was called Sol Invictus, the Invincible Sun, the Unconquered Sun. He built a new "sanctuary" in Rome into which he placed the images of Bel and Helios, which he had taken from the Palmyra in Syria.258 Aurelian was the emperor who established the sun as the supreme diety of Rome, according to the inscriptions on his coins. The Sun had taken over Jupiter's role as protector. His Sol Invictus was also known as Deus Sol,259 whose birthday was the 25th of December.259 The Sun had indeed become the superb symbol and rallying point for the empire.260 But Mithra (Mithras) was still to be finally identified with Sol Invictus. And this happened when Diocletian. Aurelian's successor, took the final plunge in 307 C.E. and proclaimed that Mithras is indeed Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun-deity, the Protector of their empire. The worship of Mithras spread like wildfire.261 For the sake of completeness, we would at this stage just skip the period of Constantine, and then mention the big influence which another Roman emperor had later on, namely emperor Julian. He came after Constantine, after the latter had fused sun-worship with the Messianic Faith. Julian (the Apostate, as he was known), reverted back to the former, older frank Sun-worship, calling himself a "follower of King Sun", being a devotee of Mithras, but also propagating the worship of Apollo, Serapis, Mars and Cybele.262

We have briefly sketched the influence of the emperors in promoting Sun-worship, mainly by also getting themselves, humans, identified with the Sun-deity. On the religious scene the various Sun-cults were striving for supremacy. But as a group of different Sun-worshipping cults they had a common enemy and a common rival: the Messianic Faith. We all know the successful dictum: If you can't beat them, then join them! Before Constantine entered the scene, the strongest groups were Manicheism and Mithraism, both of them keeping Sun-day, as we have seen before. Interspersed with these cults, we find the Greek-originated Neoplatonic philosophy, which had such a tremendous influence on the Alexandrian Clement and Origen, and also on the Roman cults. Alfoldi summarises the deep and ultimately devastating influence of neoplatonic philosophy, "In absorbing the Sun-god with the rest of the popular religions, it wet Sol on the throne of the universe and made it easy to suppose that this supreme being was none other than the Almighty of the Christians. The summa divinitas, the nameless supreme deity of the Edict of Toleration of Milan, assuredly bears the stamp of the style of this philosophic deism. Even at the end of his life, Constantine had not been able to free himself from the influence of a few Neoplatonic philosophers ... (who) were, of course, priests and magicians rather than scholars. This connection of solar monotheism with the Christian Almighty, and so with Christ, may have been a bond of union between them. Such muddled combinations of quite distinct forms of monotheism were all the easier, because the Church, on its side, had long been using the comparison of Christ with the Sun as an instructive symbol, naming in 'sun of Truth', 'Sun of Resurrection', 'Sun of Salvation', and thus admitting the influence of the cult of Sol ... Constantine could, with a good conscience cross over to a toleration of Sol beside the Redeemer."263

We must also not forget the tremendously strong influence of the Isis-cult, the licentious sun-cult of Egypt, which sporadically came and went in Rome, depending on the favour or antagonism of its emperor. With this, came the worship of Serapis too. Serapis became the "sycretistic" Sun-deity, being identified with Zeus, helios, Osiris and many others. We have already seen that in Alexandria (the major seat of Serapis-worship) it was the practice of Christ worshippers and Serapis-worshippers to mix in their worship. The Christian apologist Minucius Felix, writing in the 2nd or 3rd century, comments that the Egyptian (Alexandrian) cult of Serapis has been completely adopted by the Romans.264

Sir J.G. Frazer sketches so well the preparation of the scene for Constantine to enter, "In Babylonia, under the powerful influence of chaldean theology and astrology, the Iranian (Persian) deities were assimilated to their nearest Semitic (Babylonian and Assyrian) counterparts, the Supreme God Ahura Mazda being identified with the Sky-god Bel ... and Mithra equated with the sun-god Shamash. But Babylonia was only a stage in the triumphal march of Mithra westward (to Rome)."265 He further describes the period prior to Constantine's accession as follows, "The imperial patronage thus accorded to Sun-worship ... before the establishment of Christianity was little more than an official recognition of a universal solar religion which had long been spreading in the Empire under the combined influence of philosophic thought (Neoplatonic philosophy), astrological speculation (astrology and astral religion) and Oriental mysteries. Among these mysteries none were more popular ... than the worship of the Old Persion god Mithra, who was now definately identified with the Sun-god under the title of the Unconquered sun. About the beginning of our era Strabo affirms without hesitation or ambiguity that the Persian deity Mithra was the Sun."266

In our study of the subject of what happened prior to, and during, the reign of Constantine, we finally come to the man responsible for ending this 250-year old conflict between the Sun-cults and the Messianic Faith, by fusing them, namely Constantine, the emperor of Rome. We have already, in this book, related much of what happened when these two major streams of religion were joined together by Constantine, and the fusion which was subsequently made complete. A few more remarks from literary and archaeological sources will help us to better understand what happened. Alfoldi summarises these two main streams as follows: The first, "the worship of the Sun-god: Philosophy changing into theosophy, the astrological speculations of the Chaldeans, the wild mysticism of the half-Christian Gnostics met here in one wild confusion; and with them met that religion of the Sun that pervaded the whole East and the primitive ideas of the Indo-Germans and their like about the magical power and omnipotence of the god (the sun-deity). This deification of the Sun, in this composite form, was vastly attractive. Official Roman policy had once ventured in this direction and had tried to exalt Sol Invictus as dominus imperii Romanii to be the heavenly lord of the Roman Empire."267 He then describes the second stream, the Messianic Faith.

As to the so-called "conversion of Constantine", Alfoldi states, "modern research has even ventured ... to question the fact of his conversion, or at least his sincerity."268 "By their fruits you will know them" - our Messiah taught in Matt. 7:20. We have already mentioned that Constantine, after his "conversion", kept on with inscriptions to the Sun-deity on his coins. It is well documented that the image-statue that he had built in constantinople in the year 330 C.E. - note: this was many years after his "conversion" - was clearly a hybrid sun-deity image. Franz Boll, Sternglaube und Sterndeutung, p. 31, recounts, as other sources do too, that Constantine also ordered a horoscope from an astrologer for himself, for this new city of his: Constantinople - many years after his "conversion". He also "sacrificed to Jupiter, Best and Greatest", 269 after his "conversion". Even shortly before his death in 337 C.E., he had a commemorative coin struck on which Constantine is represented as Jupiter, while one of his sons is represented in the guise of Bacchus.270 We can only conclude, as Alfoldi does, "The imperial cult remains; only such forms as offend Christian sentiment are a little veiled."271 This proves to us that the religious part of his "conversion", the vertical love, was indeed insincere or false. But alsoth ethical or moral part of his "conversion", the horizontal love towards his fellow-man, left much to be desired. Although the following facts have been veiled, or ignored, history tells us that Constantine, after his, "conversion", drowned his unoffending wife, Fausta, in a bath of boiling water, in the year 320 C.E., Constantine beheaded his eldest son, Crispus. These facts are so irrefutable, that even Dr. Lardner, who endeavoured to whitewash Constantine generally in his book, Credibility, had to acknowledge that Constantine was indeed responsible for these atrocious deeds (vol. 2, pp. 342 - 343).

We have already discussed how the nimbus or sun-disc was found in the portrayal or images of Sun-deities in ancient times, as well as in the centuries just before the time of Constantine. These sun-discs (nimbuses) were continued in the portrayals and images of our Messiah, or Heavenly Father, Yahush˙a's mother, and many other personalities from Scripture. In some cases this was done by means of sun-rays of emanation of light ("glory"). However, there is another proof of how Sun - and Moon-worship was perpetuated in the Church since the time of Constantine. In javier Teixidor, The Pantheon of Palmyra, we see on Plates III, VIII, XI, and XXXI, how the sun-rays together with the moon's crescent are represented on two images or in some cases, separate in the two top corners of the relief. These Sun- and Moon-attributes were applied to the various deities depicted on the sculptured reliefs - in these cases Bel, Baal shamin, Mithra, and Bel again, in that order. similarly, we find in Mysteria Mithrae (editor Ugo Bianchi - an International Seminary held in Rome in 1978), the figure of Mithras with the sun-rayed head of the Sun-deity in one top corner and the moon-crescented head of the Moon-deity in the other top corner. However, in this same book, Mysteria Mithrae, we find the very same Sun- and Moon-deities, depicted over our Heavenly Father and over His Son in feliefs and sculptures produced by the Church which was formed when Constantine took over. Numerous illustrations are found in this book. first of all we see fig. 15 (our Messiah as Shepherd, in this case with seven stars too); then fig. 19 (our Messiah standing between Father Sun and Mother Moon, with a star tool; fig. 30 (our Messiah on the cross, a nimbus round his head, with the sun and the moon-crescent above His head); fig. 32 (our Messiah on the cross with the Sun-deity and the Moon-deity in full form above and next to His head); fig. 25 (our Messiah and Mary, on two adjacent reliefs, both having a sun-rayed and a moon-crescented head in the top corners); fig. 23 (our Messiah being carved out with the sun and the moon above Him); fig. 24 (Abraham on the point of offering Isaac, with the sun and the moon depicted underneath); fig. 27 (our Messiah being baptized, with the Sun- and Moon-deities i the top corners); figs. 28 and 29 (two medallions with 4 depictions of our Messiah and His Father, both with sun-discs around their heads, and a round sun, a four-beamed cross, and a six beamed cross, similar to the Chi-Rho, as well as a pair of stars, above them).

What more evidence do we need to prove the irrefutable fact that the worship of the host of heaven became fused with the Messianic Faith! The Woman of Revelation12:1 is indeed clothed with the Sun, she has the Moon under her feet, and she has a crown of stars upon her head. Sun, moon and stars comprise the host of heaven. The twelve stars probably represent the zodiac, for the zodiac has twelve division, each division representing a path of the sun through the sky in twelve different stages of the year, and each of these twelve paths being represented by its chief constellation of stars, or star.239 This in fact is astrology or astral religion, which originated in Babylon and had finally come to Rome. The Sun, the Moon and the Stars identify Babylon, and identify the Woman of Rev. 12:1 too.


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