Bible Studies - Miscellaneous

Pagan Christianity Today
Part 4

All Bible texts are from the King James Version.

The information for this study has been collected from:
'The Two Babylons' first published in book form 1858, by Rev. Alexander Hislop a Free Church of Scotland minister,
Crompton's Interactive Encyclopedia CD © 1994, 1995 by Crompton's NewMedia Inc.,
Collier's Encyclopedia © 1967 by Crowell-Collier Publishing Company;
and Infopedia CD, Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia © 1995 by Funk and Wagnalls.

Pagan festivals and forms of worship
still prevalent today in Christianity.

In this part of the study I have collected information about certain doctrines and beliefs which are generally classed as Christian, as well as information about pagan religions which show where some of the so called Christian beliefs came from. After each topic I have written a comment which is indented.

ABSOLUTION, term in Christian theology, most often used to refer to sacramental absolution, the judicial act in the sacrament of penance, by which the priest, as the minister of God, grants to confessing penitents forgiveness of their sins. In the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, the practice is based on John 20:22-23. To be effective, absolution supposes a true contrition for sin and a firm purpose of amendment on the part of the penitent. Absolution is also a part of the Anglican ritual, but penance is not considered one of the sacraments instituted by Christ. Most Protestant denominations do not regard penance as a sacrament and therefore do not acknowledge the necessity for sacramental absolution. They recognise a broader interpretation of absolution, that is, the remission of the sins of a repentant sinner. They believe this remission is achieved, not by the mediating judicial act of a minister or priest, but only through the direct acknowledgment of transgressions by the penitent to God and humble entreaty for his forgiveness. Although the term absolution is confined to Christian theology, the practice of penitently beseeching a deity's forgiveness for individual offences is common to almost all religions.

In 1 John 1:9,10; 2:1-3 we are told that if we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ who will cleanse us from all unrighteousness, IF we confess our sins to HIM. There is only one mediator between God and all mankind, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5), and no man cometh to the Father, but by Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Jeremiah 17:5, 7 tells us that blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, but cursed is the man that trusteth in man.

ALL SAINTS' DAY, also Allhallows or Hallowmas, festival celebrated on November 1 in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches in honour of God and all his saints, known and unknown. It became established as a church festival early in the 7th century when the Pantheon in Rome was consecrated as the Church of the Blessed Virgin and All Martyrs. November 1 may have been chosen because it was the day of one of the four great festivals of the pagan nations of the north, and it was church policy to supplant pagan with Christian observances.

Deuteronomy 5:8,9 says that we are not to make any graven image or likness of anything in heaven or earth or the water, and we are not to bow to them or serve or worship them. Jesus Christ tell us in Luke 4:8, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve (worship)." Also, there is nothing in the Bible that says we should worship or venerate saints, but this practice is prevalent throughout all paganism. The pagans had patron saints for every occasion, house, city, the elements, trades and professions, along with many other things. Today we find that so called Christians have patron saints for countries, trades and professions and diseases. Is there really any difference? No! Only that now days they are called names like St Peter, St Andrew, St Denis, St George, St Nicholas, St Patrick, St James, etc., instead of names like Bacchus god of wine, Astarte goddess of love and fruitfulness, Aphrodite goddess of love and beauty, etc. These were all humans which have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and need Christ's blood to justify them to fit them for heaven (Romans 3:24). These people have been put up on a pedestal and made, more or less, into gods.

ALL SOULS' DAY, in the Roman Catholic church, a festival falling on November 2, the object of which is, by prayers and almsgiving, to assist souls in purgatory. First instituted in the monasteries of Cluny, France, in 998, the observance soon became general, without any ordinance at large on the subject. Among European peasants, All Souls' Day is a time for reviving many pre-Christian folk customs.

When people become Christians, they are supposed to give up their old pagan ways and start a new life in Jesus Christ, but here we see that lots of people try to combine the two. This not only drags Christianity down into paganism, but is blaspheme against God as He is not truly being served. Praying for the dead can be traced back to pagan worship but not the Bible. Most Christian Churches believe like Paganism, which leaves hope after death for sinners, who at the time of their departure, were consciously unfit for the abodes of the blest, and those who are left behind are supposed to not only pray for them but give large amounts of money to the Church for these 'souls that have not quite made it'. But the Bible tells us that 'the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin' (1 John 1:7).

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AMULET, any object worn as a charm. An amulet is most often a stone, or piece of metal, with either an inscription or figures engraved on it. Usually suspended from the neck, it is worn as a guard against sickness or witchcraft. The ancient Egyptians wore amulets, sometimes in the form of necklaces. Among the Greeks, such a protective charm was called phylakterion. The use of amulets was inherited by the Christian church, the usual inscription on them being ichthys (the Greek word for "fish"), because it contained the initials of the Greek words for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. Among Gnostic sects, abraxas stones, gems with the Greek word abraxas engraved on them, were often used. Amulets became so common among Christians that, in the 4th century, the clergy were forbidden to make or sell them on pain of deprivation of holy orders; in 721 the wearing of amulets was solemnly condemned by the church. With the spread of Arabian astronomy, the astrological amulet, or talisman, became increasingly popular. Throughout the Middle East today, the practice of wearing amulets is almost universal.

Amulets are obviously a pagan charm which has been accepted by many Christians. It is interesting to note the usual inscription on them is the Greek word for fish. One of the names for Nimrod was Dagon, the fish god.

ANTHROPOMORPHISM, attribution of human form or qualities to that which is not human. Specifically, anthropomorphism is the depiction of God in a human image, with human bodily form and emotions, such as jealousy, wrath, or love. In art and literature, anthropomorphism is the depiction of natural objects, such as animals or plants, as talking, reasoning, sentient, human like beings.

As Christians we need to be careful not to make God appear to be like a humans. Yes, Adam and Ever were created in God's image but the thousands of years of sin has changed us. We are but a shadow of what they were.

ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN, in the Roman Catholic church and the Orthodox church, the doctrine that after her death the body of Mary, the mother of Christ, was taken into heaven and reunited with her soul. Defined as an article of faith by Pope Pius XII in 1950, the assumption was first commemorated as the Feast of the Dormition (falling asleep) of Mary in the 6th century; this feast later developed into the Feast of the Assumption, now celebrated in the Roman Catholic church on August 15.

There absolutely nothing in Scripture which supports this doctrine. However, we do find evidence of it in the ancient Babylonian system. They taught that Bacchus went down to hell, rescued his mother from the infernal powers, and carried her with him in triumph to heaven. When the mother (who represented Semiramis) of the Pagan Messiah (Bacchus who represented Nimrod), came to be celebrated as been thus 'assumed,' then it was that she, under the name of the 'Dove' was worshipped as the Incarnation of the Spirit of God, with whom she was identified. A Chinese festival is founded on a similar legend, and celebrated with lanterns and chandeliers, is also celebrated in the month of August.

BABYLONIAN RELIGION. Temple services were generally conducted in open courts containing fountains for ablution and altars for sacrifices. The cella, or inner part of the temple, in which the statue of the deity stood on a pedestal in a special niche, was the holy of holies, and only the high priest and other privileged members of the clergy and court were permitted to enter it.
Sacrifices, which were offered daily, consisted of animal and vegetable foods, libations of water, wine, and beer, and the burning of incense. Numerous annual and monthly festivals were held, including a feast to celebrate the new moon. The most important festival of all was the celebration of the new year at the spring equinox; it was known as the Akitu festival because some of its more esoteric ritual was enacted in the Akitu, Marduk's shrine outside of Babylon. The festival lasted 11 days and included such rites as purification, sacrifice, propitiation, penance, and absolution, but it also involved colourful processions.
For the Babylonians, death was indeed the consuming dread and a source of great despair. The Babylonian generally believed that at death the disembodied spirit descends to the dark nether world, and that human existence beyond the grave is at best only a dismal, wretched reflection of life on earth. Any hope of an eternal reward for the righteous and deserving was absent; everyone was impartially consigned to the world below. It is not strange that the most popular, dramatic, and creative Babylonian literary work, the Gilgamesh Epic, centers on a vain and pathetic quest for eternal life.

It is interesting to read what the beliefs of this pagan system are, and see how many have been adopted into modern Christians where they really have not place.

BAPTISTERY, in Christian churches, name given to a separate building or portion of the church in which the ceremony of baptism is performed. Beginning during the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century, many large baptisteries were erected. These baptisteries usually were circular or polygonal and usually were dedicated to John the Baptist. The baptismal basin itself was surrounded by columns, between which hangings were drawn that concealed from the public the actual scene of baptism, which was by immersion. This central section usually was roofed with a dome of masonry or wood; often around it was an encircling aisle, or sometimes two aisles, to accommodate spectators. Early examples of such baptisteries are found in Italy and Asia Minor, notably the 6th-century baptistery of Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom) in Fstanbul, Turkey. As immersion was replaced by sprinkling, such large baptisteries became unnecessary.

From this statement it is clear that baptism by immersion was the normal way of being baptised, which can be proved from the Bible. This was later replaced with sprinkling, which has no foundation in the Bible. However, one of the ceremonies of ancient Babylon was the sprinkling of babies which was supposed to cleanse them from their original sin, which was performed after an exorcism was done by a praying priest.

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BIBLE, The order as well as the number of books differs between the Jewish, the Protestant and Roman Catholic versions of the Bible. The Protestant (P) and Roman Catholic (C) versions of the Old Testament place the books in the same sequence, however the Protestant version includes only those books found in the Bible of the Judaism. The following books are included in the Roman Catholic version:- Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Baruch and Sirach. There are also some books called different names:- C 1 & 2 Kings = P 1 & 2 Samuel; C 3 & 4 Kings = P 1 & 2 Kings; C 1 & 2 Paralipomenon = P 1 & 2 Chronicles; C Canticle of Canticles = P Song of Solomon; and C The Apocalypse of St John the Apostle = P Revelation.

Like other Christian churches, the Roman Catholic church accepts the Bible as the basis for its teaching. This was an unquestioned assumption until the Reformation, and great theologians such as the 13th-century Italian St. Thomas Aquin taught that "Scripture alone" was the source for Theology. Even while maintaining a "Scripture-alone" position, theologians also held that certain truths or practices (such as infant baptism), although not found in Scripture, were validated by the tradition of the church. They agreed that the solemn decisions of the church, especially those that were arrived at by the ecumenical councils, were authentic interpretations of Christian doctrine and therefore irrevocably binding on the church. In reaction to the Protestant insistence during the Reformation on a seemingly unqualified "Scripture-alone" principle, the Council of Trent affirmed (Fourth Session) that Christian Revelation was contained in "written books" and in "unwritten traditions." Although this decree speaks at length and almost exclusively about the Bible, the insertion of the phrase about "unwritten traditions" was interpreted until recently as indicating a "two-source" theory.

The books which the Roman Catholic Church have included but which the Protestants left out, contradict the rest of the Bible in several places and their authenticity is very questionable. While the Roman Catholic Church claims to accept the Bible as true, most of her doctrines are clearly condemned or are in opposition to the Bible. All of her rites, rituals, ceremonies and services have their roots firmly in pagan tradition. I firmly believe that the King James Version is the true Word of God and is the only English version of the Bible that can be trusted.

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CANDLEMAS, Christian festival observed on February 2 in honour of the presentation of the infant Christ in the Temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary. The festival was probably meant to replace the great feast of expiation and purification (Februa) that was held in ancient Rome in mid-February. The date of the pagan feast was then transferred to February 2, the 40th day after Christmas; the 40-day period was in accordance with the Jewish law that required the ritual purification at the Temple of every mother of a male child 40 days after the child's birth. The Candlemas festival is believed to have been instituted in 541 or 542 by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I.

Here we see that a pagan festival has been adopted as a Christian one. The main problem with this one is that the 25th of December, Christmas, is a ancient Babylonian pagan festival celebrating the incarnation birth of Nimrod, actually Semiramis's illegitimate son, not that of Jesus Christ which could not have taken place at this time of year. So if this ceremony is about the presentation of an infant at the temple and the purification of his mother, the mother was Semiramis and the child was, what she claimed to be, the incarnation of her dead husband Nimrod who was her illegitimate son.

CROSS, ancient symbol found in many cultures. The cross, as a basic design motif, appears in the pottery, weaving, carving, and painting of many cultures. It may be simply decorative, or it may have symbolic meaning. The tau cross, for example, was a symbol of life to the ancient Egyptians, when combined with the circle (as in the crux ansata), it stood for eternity. For most ancient peoples the Greek cross was a metaphor for the four indestructible elements of creation (air, earth, fire, and water), thus symbolising permanence. The swastika, with the ends of its cross bars bent to the right, was common in both the Old World and the New. It originally represented the revolving sun, fire, or life and later, by extension, good luck. To Buddhists, a swastika represented resignation; to the Jains, it symbolised their seventh saint. To Hindus, a swastika with arms bent to the left symbolised night, magic, and the destructive goddess Kali. In early 20th-century Germany, the right-facing swastika was the Nazi party emblem.

The cross as a letter 't' is one of the symbols of Tammuz, as it was the first letter of his name. When Christ was crucified on the cross, the Romans were actually sacrificing Him and the two thieves to Tammuz. This symbol was used widely when depicting Tammuz and his priests, and has no place whatsoever in Christian circles.

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EUCHARIST, the development of Eucharist doctrine centers on two ideas: presence and sacrifice. In the New Testament, no attempt is made to explain Christ's presence at the Eucharist. The theologians of the early church tended to accept Jesus' words "This is my body" and "This cup . . . is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:19-20) as sufficient explanation of the miraculous transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, although some interpretations reflect the influence of Platonic philosophy on the early church. According to Scholastic speculation, the substance of the Eucharistic bread is, by the power of God, wholly transformed into the body of Christ. This view of the presence of Christ, called Transubstantiation, was most elaborately formulated by the 13th-century Italian theologian St. Thomas Aquinas. It has been the official teaching of the Roman Catholic church since the Middle Ages.

The Eucharist of the Roman Catholic church is required to be a perfect circle, or it is discarded. The importance which Rome attaches to the roundness of the wafer must have a reason, and that reason can be found at the altars of Egypt, on which were thin, round cakes. The round disk, so frequently used in the sacred emblems of Egypt, symbolised the sun. Now, when Osiris, the sun-divinity, became incarnate and was born, it was not merely that he should give his life as a sacrifice for men, but that he might also be the life and nourishment of the souls of men. The letters on the Eucharist are worth noting - I.H.S. To some Christians these letters are represented as signifying, 'Iesus Hominum Salvator,' 'Jesus the Saviour of men.' But let a Roman worshipper of Isis read them and he will tell you they stand for 'Isis, Horeb, Seb,' that is 'The Mother, the Child and the Father of the gods,' or put simply the Egyptian Trinity.

The bread our Lord used, when He instituted the Lord's Supper, was unleavened bread made with flour, salt, oil and water, whereas the Eucharist has no oil and sometimes contains yeast (Lev. 2:1, 5, 11, 13.). This He broke into pieces and gave to the disciples. These would not have been small perfect circles, nor did it have any letter on them. If they were anything like the shew bread in the sanctuary they would have been made with 2 deals flour or approx. 4 litres - which would have been huge. By saying that the priest actually turns the bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ, it makes the priest a creator of His Creator. It is obvious in both Matthew and Mark that the wine did not become Christ's blood, for in the verse after giving it to His disciples Christ then says He will not drink of the fruit of the vine until He drinks it new in His Father's Kingdom.

FIRE WORSHIP, religious devotion to fire as a divine or sacred element. Like sun worship, from which it cannot always be distinguished, the veneration of fire is one of the earliest forms of religion. The flame itself may be the object of adoration, or it may be regarded as the material manifestation of a divinity or fire spirit. Fire worship occupied a central position in the religious rites of the early Indo-European peoples. Among the pre-Hindus, sacrifice to the fire was one of the first acts of morning devotion, and the hymns addressed to the fire god Agni out numbered those in praise of any other divinity. The ancient Greek cults of Hestia, goddess of the hearth, and Hephaestus, god of fire, like those of their Roman counterparts, Vesta and Vulcan, were integral features of the religion of classical times. Fire worship also was generally practised among the ancient Slavic peoples, and the Celts offered prayers to Bridget, the patroness of fire, hearth, and fertility.

The worship of fire had its fullest development, however, in ancient Persia, where from earliest times the ceremonial keeping of the flame was the chief characteristic of the Zoroastrian religion. Fire was believed to be the earthly manifestation of the Divine, the heavenly light. The term for a "priest" in the Zoroastrian Scriptures is athravan, "belonging to the fire."

Closely associated with fire worship is the religious ceremony of fire walking. Practised by many peoples in all ages, it is still performed in Tahiti, Trinidad, Mauritius, the Fiji Islands, India, and Japan. The ceremony involves the procession of a priest and other celebrants barefoot across large stones that have been heated upon a bed of burning logs. In ancient times, particularly in India, the rite is said to have involved passing through the flames, rather than walking upon them.

One of the symbols used to supposedly represent the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, is a flame. But as we have just read above which dates back to paganism it actually represents Hestia or Vesta, both of which are just another name for Semiramis. We also hear of people going to Business Management Courses and expected to participate in fire walking. Why?

Ellen White wrote in Selected Messages book 1 page 227, "When He was baptized of John in Jordan, as He came up out of the water, the Spirit of God, like a dove of burnished gold, descended upon Him, and a voice from heaven said, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matthew 3:17)." If we need to use the dove symbol we should use one of burnished gold not white.

GREEK RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY, the basic elements of classical Greek religion were, in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, somewhat modified and supplemented by the influences of philosophy, Middle Eastern cults, and changes in popular belief. The main outlines of the official religion, however, remained unchanged.

Principal Divinities.
The celestial gods were thought to dwell in the sky or on Mount Olympus in Thessaly. The earth, or chthonic (Gr. chtho n, "earth"), deities were thought to dwell on or under the earth, and were closely associated with the heroes and the dead. The lines separating these divine orders were indefinite, and the deities of one order were not infrequently found in the other. The gods were held to be immortal; yet they were also believed to have had a beginning. They were represented as exercising control over the world and the forces of nature. This control, however, was limited by Ananke, the personification of necessity, to which even the gods bowed.

When a thorough investigation has been done, it can be said that the Greek Religion was extensively based on the Babylonian system of religion of Nimrod, Semiramis, and her son. This pagan religion of Babylon went world wide and traces of it can be seen in every pagan culture.

HALLOWEEN, name applied to the evening of October 31, preceding the Christian feast of Hallowmas, Allhallows, or All Saints' Day. The observances connected with Halloween are thought to have originated among the ancient Druids, who believed that on that evening, Saman, the lord of the dead, called forth hosts of evil spirits. The Druids customarily lit great fires on Halloween, apparently for the purpose of warding off all these spirits. Among the ancient Celts, Halloween was the last evening of the year and was regarded as a propitious time for examining the portents of the future. The Celts also believed that the spirits of the dead revisited their earthly homes on that evening. After the Romans conquered Britain, they added to Halloween features of the Roman harvest festival held on November 1 in honour of Pomona, goddess of the fruits of trees. The Celtic tradition of lighting fires on Halloween survived until modern times in Scotland and Wales, and the concept of ghosts and witches is still common to all Halloween observances. Traces of the Roman harvest festival survive in the custom, prevalent in both the U.S. and Great Britain, of playing games involving fruit, such as ducking for apples in a tub of water. Of similar origin is the use of hollowed-out pumpkins carved to resemble grotesque faces and lit by candles placed inside.

Halloween has been celebrated in the U.S.A. and Great Britain for years, and is becoming more popular in Australia each year. But this festival is mixed up with spiritualism and witchcraft which the Bible condemns.

HEAVEN, in religion, place where God, gods, or other spiritual beings dwell, and the place or condition of perfect supernatural happiness for the redeemed in the afterlife. In simple societies the concept of life after death was substantially that of a shadowy continuation of life on earth. Even in that concept, however, the principle of the necessity for vindication of divine justice was manifested. This principle is illustrated in the distinction between Elysium (a place of reward for the virtuous dead) and Tartarus (a place of damnation where the wicked were punished) in the Greek and Roman religions. The general belief of Christians is that, since the resurrection of Christ, the souls of the just who are free from sin are admitted immediately after death into heaven, where their chief joy consists in an unclouded vision of God known as the beatific vision. Their bliss is eternal, but at the general resurrection their souls are to be reunited to their perfected, or glorified, bodies. Some Christians believe that, before entering heaven, souls first pass through a state of purification called Purgatory.

Although God, the Creator of everything, is in heaven very few humans have made it there yet. There are Enoch, Moses, Elijah and those who rose from the grave when Christ arose which He took to heaven with Him. The rest, from Adam to now, are resting in their tomb whatever shape or form this may take. They will not be resurrected till Jesus Christ returns to take His people home, at which time only those ready for heaven will be raised, along with those who crucified Jesus Christ who will die when He takes His saints to heaven. The rest of mankind who are not prepared for heaven, will have to wait till the end of the 1,000 years before they are resurrected, only to die the second death in the lake of fire as punishment for their sins, never to live again. The first death is but a sleep, and only God can raise the dead from their sleep, which He does simply by speaking.

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HOLIDAY, day set apart for religious observance or for the commemoration of some extraordinary event or distinguished person, or for some other public occasion. Holidays are characterised by a partial or total cessation of work and normal business activities and are generally accompanied by public and private ceremonies, including feasting (or fasting), parades and carnivals, or displays of flags and speech making. Originally, in ancient times, holidays were predominantly religious in character and linked to natural events such as the annual course of the sun or the phases of the moon. The word holiday, in fact, is derived from "holy day." Subsequently, secular holidays commemorating historical occasions or distinguished persons outnumbered holy days, although many ancient religious rituals and customs have been carried over into modern times and incorporated into both secular and religious observations. Today, the outstanding holiday is one of religious observance and abstention from normal work routines, taking place on Sunday for Christians, Friday for Muslims, and Saturday for Jews. In the U.S., Sunday is not only a religious holiday but is also the only common-law holiday.

God gave His people annual Holy Days upon which they were to do no work (see Leviticus 23). These were part of the ceremonial law that Jesus Christ fulfilled as the Lamb of God, and which was nailed to the cross (Col 2:14). God also gave a weekly Holy Day, the 7th day of the week. This was, is and will be a perpetual Holy Day for God's people in this world and in the world to come.

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HOLY ORDERS Priesthood. Individual Christian ministers were not called priests until the 3rd century, when the term was first applied to bishops because of their role as celebrants of the Eucharist. The term priest (Lat. sacerdos ) implies a sacrificial ministry, and the Eucharist was regarded as sacrificial because of its mystical relation to the sacrifice of Christ. When presbyters were authorised to celebrate the Eucharist in the 4th century, they too were called priests. Today, the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican churches regard bishops, priests, and deacons as constituting holy orders. Because both bishops and presbyters function as priests, the Roman Catholic church, until the Second Vatican Council, considered priests (including bishops and presbyters), deacons, and subdeacons as the three orders.

The disciples, who following the example of Jesus Christ and performed the Lord's Supper many times, were never called or considered priests. They were only ever called apostles or elders (1 Peter 5:1, 2 Corinthians 11:5). The human priesthood was done away with by Jesus who "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Colossians 2:14 and ". . the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. . . " Matthew 27:51. Jesus Christ is our High Priest who is officiating if the Temple made without hands on the behalf of every sinner who calls upon Him, confessing and repenting of their sins (Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 8:1-6.) With Christ as our High Priest we have no need of a human one.

HOLY WEEK, in the Christian liturgical year, the week immediately preceding Easter, beginning with Palm Sunday. Solemn rites are observed commemorating the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Special observances recalling the institution of the Eucharist are held on Maundy Thursday; Scripture readings, solemn prayers, and veneration of the cross recall the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday. Holy Saturday commemorates the burial of Christ; midnight vigil services inaugurate the Easter celebration of the resurrection. Holy Week is sometimes called the "Great Week" by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians because it commemorates the great deeds of God for humankind.

Apart from the fact that Easter is a totally pagan festival of the death of the pagan messiah, Nimrod, the time that certain events are celebrated is totally different from when Christ died on the cross according to the Bible. Let us have a look at two of these:- Holy Saturday commemorates the burial of Christ - Jesus Christ was buried on the preparation day (Friday) as the Sabbath (Saturday) drew on Matthew 27:59-62; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:52-54; John 19:42. Midnight vigil services inaugurated the Easter celebration of the resurrection - Jesus Christ rose early on the first day of the week, Sunday, Mark 16:9.

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IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, Roman Catholic dogma holding that from the first instant of its creation, the soul of the Virgin Mary was free from original sin; this doctrine is not to be confused with that of the Virgin Birth, which holds that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin mother. Despite divergent scholarly opinions, the Roman Catholic church has consistently favoured belief in the Immaculate Conception; a festival of that name, the significance of which is now indefinite, was celebrated in the Eastern church as early as the 5th century and in the Western church from the 7th century. . . Finally in 1854, Pope Pius IX issued a solemn decree declaring the Immaculate Conception to be a dogma essential for the belief of the universal church. Under the title Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mary is invoked as the patron of the U. S., Brazil, Portugal, and Corsica. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is December 8.

"What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:9, 10. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23. "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. . . For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. " Romans 5:17, 19. According to the Bible there is only one person who lived a perfect life without sinning and that was our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Every single other person who has, is and will live on this earth are unrighteous and in need of a Saviour, which includes Mary the mother of Jesus. When Jesus was told that His mother and brethren were outside looking for Him, did He show any special respect to her? No! "And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Mark 3:33-35. Jesus Christ always honoured His mother as the Ten Commandments tells us to do, but apart from this He showed her no special respect like so many Christians today.

IMMORTALITY, unending existence of the soul after physical death. The doctrine of immortality is common to many religions; in different cultures, however, it takes various forms, ranging from ultimate extinction of the soul to its final survival and the resurrection of the body. In the religion of ancient Egypt, entrance to immortal life was dependent on the results of divine examination of the merits of an individual's life. Early Greek religion promised a shadowy continuation of life on earth in an underground region known as Hades.

Any belief that says there is an unending existence of the soul relies heavily on Satan's lie to Eve in the garden of Eden, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:" Genesis 3:4. Ecclesiasties 9:5 tells us that the dead do not know anything; and in Acts 2:29 - 34 it tells us that David is dead and buried and did not ascend into the heavens, even though God said he was a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the soul lives forever. Paul says that, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." 1 Corinthians 15:26, and John tells us "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:13-15. Hell, which most people believe is a place of eternal fire, is just another word for the grave. Its ending is in the lake of fire along with those whose names are not in the book of life.

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INFANT BAPTISM - Infants were probably baptised in the early church, following the Jewish understanding that even the youngest children belong to the covenant community. Indeed, the Apostolic Tradition explicitly provides for it. Nonetheless, because post baptismal sins were regarded as unforgivable (or could be forgiven only once), baptism was often postponed as long as possible. Between the 4th and 6th centuries, however, as the attitude toward post baptismal sin relaxed (because of the development of the penitential system), and the fear of dying unbaptised increased, infant baptism began to be required.

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:19, 20. To be baptised we must be taught the Gospel message, accept Jesus Christ, be able to observe all the commands and repent of sins. As infants can do none of these things, they are not eligible for baptism which is supposed to be by immersion. Baptism is the ceremony we are told to observe to commemorate Christ's death, burial and resurrection:- "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." Romans 6:3-5.

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LENT, period of fasting and penitence traditionally observed by Christians in preparation for Easter. The length of the Lenten fast, during which observants eat sparingly, was established in the 4th century as 40 days. In the Eastern churches, were both Saturday and Sunday are regarded as festival days, the period of Lent is the eight weeks before Easter; In the Western churches, where only Sunday is regarded as a festival, the 40-day period begins on Ash Wednesday and extends, with the omission of Sundays, to the day before Easter. The observance of fasting or other forms of self-denial during Lent varies within Protestant and Anglican churches. These bodies emphasise penitence. The Roman Catholic church has in recent years relaxed its laws on fasting. According to an apostolic constitution issued by Pope Paul VI in February 1966, fasting and abstinence during Lent are obligatory only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

As already pointed out above, Easter is nothing short of a pagan festival, therefore any service or ritual associated with it must also be pagan. Besides these facts where do we find in the Bible that a certain number of days should be set aside for fasting? Nowhere! It is a man made ritual that is classified as a Tradition.

MASS, the prayers and rites that constitute the central act of worship in the Roman Catholic Church. The Mass is a performance of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, in which, Catholics believe, bread and wine used in the service are miraculously transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Through the offering of the transformed elements, each celebration of the Mass reenacts the crucifixion of Christ at Calvary. The sacrifice of the cross and the Mass, the sacrifice of the altar, differ only in the manner of immolation. On the cross Christ suffered a bloody death. After his resurrection he was glorified, and death could not touch him. The shedding of his blood is, therefore, impossible, and the Mass must be a bloodless offering.

1 Corinthians 11:26 says "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." So the service instituted by our Lord Jesus at the last supper shows or reminds us of his death till he comes to take His people home to heaven. But there is a service which we are to participate in that reenacts His death, burial and resurrection. It is baptism by immersion. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:3, 4. So where did this bloodless offering come from? It can be traced back to the bloodless offerings to the Roman goddess Paphian Venus and the Babylonian goddess Mylitta, which are both just other names for Semiramis.

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MARDI GRAS (Fr., "fat Tuesday"), pre-Lenten festival celebrated in Roman Catholic countries and communities. In a strict sense, Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday, is celebrated by the French as the last of the three days of Shrovetide and is a time of preparation immediately before Ash Wednesday and the start of the fast of Lent. It is thus the last opportunity for merrymaking and indulgence in food and drink. In practice, Mardi Gras is generally celebrated for a full week before Lent. It is marked by spectacular parades featuring floats, pageants, elaborate costumes, masked balls, and dancing in the streets. Mardi Gras originated as one of the series of carnival days held in all Roman Catholic countries between Twelfth Night, or Epiphany, and Ash Wednesday; these carnivals had their origin in pre-Christian spring fertility rites. The most famous modern Mardi Gras festivities are those held in New Orleans, La.; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Nice, France; and Cologne, Germany.

The origin of the Mardi Gras is from the pagan spring fertility rites, yet today many people see nothing wrong with them.

MARY, As early as the 2nd century Christians venerated Mary by calling her Mother of God, a title that primarily stresses the divinity of Jesus. During the 4th century controversies concerning the divine and human natures of Jesus, the Greek title Theotokos ("Mother of God") came to be used for Mary in devotional and theological writing. Closely allied with the title Mother of God is the title Virgin Mary, affirming the virginal conception of Jesus (see Luke 1:35). Initially, this title stressed the belief that God, not Joseph, was the true Father of Jesus. In the Marian devotion that developed in the East in the 4th century Mary was venerated not only in the conception, but also in the birth of Jesus. Beginning in the 2d and 3d centuries Mary was called Holy or Blessed Virgin to express the belief that, because of her intimate union with God through the Holy Spirit in the conception of Jesus (see Luke 1:35), Mary was completely free from any taint of sin. In both the Eastern and Western churches, feast days in honour of the events of Mary's life came into existence between the 4th and 7th centuries. They celebrate her miraculous conception and her birth, narrated in the apocryphal protogospel of James (September 8), the Annunciation (q.v.; March 25), her purification in the Temple (February 2), and her death (called the Dormition in the Eastern church) and bodily assumption into heaven (August 15). As Christ became an awe-inspiring, judgmental figure, Mary came to be depicted as the one who interceded for sinners. As the fear of death and the Last Judgment intensified following the Black Plague in the 14th century, Mary was increasingly venerated in popular piety as mediator of the mercy of Christ. Her prayers and pleas were seen as the agency that tempered the stern justice of Christ. Among the popular devotions that came into being at this time were the rosary ; the angelus recited at sunrise, noon, and sunset; and litanies, invocations of Mary using such biblical titles as Mystical Rose, Tower of David, and Refuge of Sinners.

Doctrine of Immaculate Conception.
This doctrine maintains that Mary was conceived without original sin. Some people vigorously opposed the doctrine, maintaining that it detracted from Christ's role as universal Saviour. Pope Sixtus IV, however, defended it, establishing (1477) a feast of the Immaculate Conception with a proper mass and office to be celebrated on December 8. This feast was extended to the whole Western church by Pope Clement XI in 1708. In 1854 Pope Pius IX issued a solemn decree defining the Immaculate Conception for all Roman Catholics, but the doctrine has not been accepted by Protestants or by the Orthodox churches. In 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly defined as an article of faith for all Roman Catholics the doctrine of the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven.

According to the encyclopedias I used for this study, the worship of Mary did not start till around the 2nd century. If we were supposed to worship her, than there should be something in the Bible about it. But there is nothing. However, if we go back to Babylon we see that Nimrod was worshipped as an awe-inspiring, judgmental figure, while Semiramis was depicted as the one who interceded for man.
How can anyone accept that Jesus is anything but a loving, forgiving, merciful and fair judge when they consider that: (1) He left His throne in heaven where He was worshipped and obeyed by countless numbers of angels; (2) was born into a poor family in a lowly stable; (3) lived a life of poverty; (4) was hated, despised and rejected all His life by the people whom He had come to save; (5) and finally asking God to forgive the people who killed Him; (6) before He unselfishly laid down His life and suffered the Second Death, which is total separation from God; (7) to save each and everyone of us that we might share the life He now has in heaven?
If we truly wish to express Jesus Christ's divinity why not just call Him the Son of God, or the Lord Jesus Christ, terms that the Bible uses over and over.

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MAY DAY, name popularly given to the first day of May, which for centuries has been celebrated among the Latin and Germanic peoples. May Day festivals probably stem from the rites practised in honor of Flora, the Roman goddess of spring. May Day is currently celebrated as a festival for children marking the reappearance of flowers during the spring. It is traditionally greeted with joyous dancing around a garlanded pole, called a maypole, from which hang streamers held by the dancers. May Day is also celebrated in many European countries as a labour holiday, comparable to Labour Day in the U.S.A. and Australia.

Here is another pagan festival that has been assimilated into everyday life.

MESSIAH, in theology, the Anointed One, the Christ. It was the Hebrew name for the promised deliverer of humankind, assumed by Jesus and given to him by Christians. The English word is derived from the Hebrew m' shiah, meaning "anointed." In the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, this word is translated to Christos, from which "Christ" is derived. Hence the name Jesus Christ identifies Jesus as the Messiah.

The Messiah can be identified by the time prophecy given by Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27); by Isaiah's description of His life and death (Isaiah 53:3-9); by studying the Sanctuary and its services given to Moses on Mount Sinai, which all pointed forward to Christ and was the law that was nailed to the cross when Christ died. These any many other things in the Bible that all point to Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the Messiah, the Saviour of mankind.

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MIDSUMMER EVE, also Saint John's Eve, June 23, night before the festival of the nativity of John the Baptist. Throughout Europe it was often celebrated by bonfires; although the fires were blessed by priests, the celebration was generally conducted by the laity. Midsummer eve celebrations were a continuance of the Teutonic solar ceremonies and fertility rites associated with agriculture at the time of the summer solstice. The presence of supernatural beings, love magic, and merrymaking are some of the characteristics of this feast that inspired Shakespeare's masterpiece, A Midsummer Night's Dream, which in turn inspired the music of Felix Mendelssohn.

As the birth of Christ did not take place at Christmas time (See Christmas), then the birth of John the Baptist, which was 6 months before Christ (Luke 1:34-38) was not around June. This is simply just another pagan festival that has been given a Christian name.

MITHRAISM, one of the major religions of the Roman Empire, the cult of Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light and wisdom. In the Avesta, the sacred Zoroastrian writings of the ancient Persians, Mithra appears as the chief yazata (Avestan, "beneficent one"), or good spirit, and ruler of the world. He was supposed to have slain the divine bull, from whose dying body sprang all plants and animals beneficial to humanity. After the conquest of Assyria in the 7th century BC and of Babylonia in the 6th century BC, Mithra became the god of the sun, which was worshipped in his name. The Greeks of Asia Minor, by identifying Mithra with Helios, the Greek god of the sun, helped to spread the cult. It was brought to Rome about 68 BC by Cilician pirates whom the Roman general Pompey the Great had captured, and during the early empire it spread rapidly throughout Italy and the Roman provinces. It was a rival to Christianity in the Roman world. Mithraism was similar to Christianity in many respects, for example, in the ideals of humility and brotherly love, baptism, the rite of communion, the use of holy water, the adoration of the shepherds at Mithra's birth, the adoption of Sundays and of December 25 (Mithra's birthday) as holy days, and the belief in the immortality of the soul, the last judgment, and the resurrection. Mithraism differed from Christianity in the exclusion of women from its ceremonies and in its willingness to compromise with polytheism. The similarities, however, made possible the easy conversion of its followers to Christian doctrine.

The reason that Mithraism is so similar to a lot of Christianity today, is that the Roman Catholic church's doctrines, rites and rituals all come from Mithraism which is the worship of Nimrod, Semiramis and her son. If one is to compare the Bible with all these doctrines, rites and rituals you will see many differences between true Christianity and Mithraism.

NATURE WORSHIP, religious devotion paid either to nature as a deified collective entity or to all things in nature, including the elements, celestial bodies, plants, animals, and humanity. The worship of the elements does not seem to occur in the most rudimentary religions but frequently arises in later stages of religious development. The worship of fire, found among many primitive peoples, reached its highest development in the ancient Parsis sect of Persia. Celestial bodies have been deified in the religious systems of primitive and highly civilised peoples alike. The Khoikhoi of South Africa worship the moon; sun worship was practised by the Iroquois, the Plains Indians, and the Tsimshian Indians of North America and reached a high state of development among the Indians of Mexico and Peru. The sun was also a Hindu deity, regarded as maleficent by the Dravidians of southern India, but considered benevolent by the Munda of the central parts. The Babylonians were sun worshippers, and in ancient Persia worship of the sun was an integral part of the elaborate cult of Mithras. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun god Ra; they also apotheosized the moon and the star Sirius. Other Egyptian deities included the constellations and the circumpolar stars. Plants and trees have been worshipped as totems or because of their usefulness, beauty, or fear-inspiring aspect. They are considered either as holy in themselves or as the dwelling places of spirits. Both the soma plant of India and the coca shrub of Peru have been worshipped for the intoxicating properties of products derived from them. Field crops, regarded as harbouring spirits of fertility, have been worshipped both by primitive tribes and by the peasants of Europe, among whom traces of the cult may still be found.

In today's modern civilisation few people really worship nature, do they? Well let us think for just a moment. How many of us, without thinking, use the term 'Mother Nature'? Nature is not our mother, unless you don't believe in the Biblical Creation but in evolution for which there is no real evidence. God is the One who created us and controls nature. And how many people are putting the rights of plants and animals before the rights and lives of people. We are to care for nature, this was the original job of Adam and Eve - to tend the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15), but not at the expense of human life. There is a warning in Revelation 11:18 that just before Jesus Christ returns He will "destroy them which destroy the earth.", but all through the Bible and Jesus Christ's ministry we see than human welfare should come first. Humans are not just a higher form of animal life, we are beings who were created in the image of God and were given dominion over all the animals.

NOVENA, in Roman Catholic practice, nine days of public or private prayer. The custom of extending a devotion nine days is of Roman origin: The parentalia novendialia was a nine-day observance celebrated by the ancient Romans in honor of deceased family members. The custom was adopted for Christian usage during the 17th century, although its prototype is sometimes seen in the period of prayer spent by the disciples of Jesus prior to the descent of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1-2). Private novenas are frequently made in honor of the Virgin Mary. Perhaps the best-known liturgical novena is in honor of the Holy Spirit, celebrated as a preparation for Pentecost Sunday. Although the practice can appear superstitious, it is considered a legitimate devotional aid to extended prayer.

This pagan ritual was adopted into modern Christianity for no other reason than to Christianise another pagan rite. If it were truly a prototype of the disciples just before the Holy Spirit's descent, than it should be for members only, in a closed room, for 40 days not 9, and all who participate should, at its conclusion, be of one accord and so filled with power from God that many should be converted to a new way of life by their witnessing thereafter. This would be a true prototype of what happened in Acts 1-2. Nowhere does the Bible give us instructions to pray to or honor Mary, the mother of Jesus (see Mary above) or to pray for the dead (see All Souls' Day above, and Purgatory below.). We are to pray to Our Father in heaven, through His Son Jesus Christ, for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we may be true witness for God.

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ORIGINAL SIN, in Christian theology, the universal sinfulness of the human race, traditionally ascribed to the first sin committed by Adam. Sin, in Christian doctrine, is considered a state of alienation or estrangement from God. Scriptural Foundation. The term original sin is not found in the Bible. Theologians who advocate the doctrine of original sin argue, however, that it is strongly implied by Paul (see Rom. 7), by John (see 1 John 5:19), and even by Jesus himself (see Luke 11:13). Behind this New Testament teaching lies the world view of late Jewish Apocalyptic writings. Some of these writings attribute the corrupt state of the world to a prehistoric fall of Satan, the subsequent temptation of Adam and Eve, and the immersion of human history thereafter in disorder, disobedience, and pain (see 2 Esdras 7). In this apocalyptic framework, Paul and other New Testament writers interpreted the work of Christ as overcoming the tremendous power of inherited sin and evil once and for all, reconciling humanity to God, and thus making peace. The decline and fall of Rome in the late 4th and early 5th centuries produced a similar apocalyptic atmosphere of crisis and despair. In his controversy with the Romano-British monk Pelagius (c. 355-c. 425) over the nature of sin and grace, Augustine was able to appeal powerfully and effectively to the Pauline-apocalyptic understanding of the forgiveness of sin . In his elaboration of the doctrine, however, Augustine imported an idea foreign to the Bible: the notion that the taint of sin is transmitted from generation to generation by the act of procreation. He took this idea from the 2d-century theologian Tertullian, who actually coined the phrase original sin.

Because of Adam's sin, all mankind must die the first death, but by the obedience of Jesus Christ we may all have salvation and not participate in the second death (Romans 5, Revelation 20:12-15). This does not mean we are born sinners. The Bible tells us that "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4. "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin." Deuteronomy 24:16. "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. . . The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." Ezekiel 18:4, 20. "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Romans 14:12. When it comes to our salvation we do have to rely upon implied meaning, the Bible is clear. Adam sinned and plunged this world into sin, death, and separation from God. A way of escape was made immediately for all mankind in the promise of a Saviour, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Every single person is accountable for his/her own sins and not that of another person, shall be judged accordingly, and rewarded with either eternal death or life according to their works. This is mankind's second and last chance, there is no other.

PALM SUNDAY, in Christianity, Sunday before Easter, so called from the custom of blessing palms and of carrying portions of branches in procession, in commemoration of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The custom may be traced back at least to the 4th century.

Jesus Christ did make a triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding an ass, with the crowds laying their garments down for Him to ride over and waving palm branches crying "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." Matthew 21:9, but why are the palms blessed before they are carried in a procession? The following quote may give us a clue. "The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm-tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm-tree denoting the Pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith." The Two Babylons by Rev Alexander Hislop. In blessing the palms, they are in fact blessing the pagan messiah, Baal-Tamar, which is just another name for Nimrod.

PAPACY, office of the pope, the supreme head of the Roman Catholic church. The word is derived from the medieval Latin papa ("pope," or "father"), a term originally applied to bishops in general. Roman Catholics believe that the pope is the successor of St. Peter, to whom Christ entrusted the leadership of the church as recorded in Matt. 16:18-19: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. . . ." The pope has many official titles: bishop of Rome, vicar of Christ, successor to the prince of the apostles, supreme pontiff of the universal church, patriarch of the West, primate of Italy, archbishop and metropolitan of the Roman province, sovereign of the state of Vatican City, servant of the servants of God.

There are three important facts here that need to be looked at:

  1. Acknowledging the authority of the papacy or the pope, both of which mean father, is in direct conflict with the Bible. Jesus Christ Himself told us to call no man Rabbi, master or father, for one is your Father, which is in heaven (Matthew 23:8,9).

  2. Christ is the Rock upon which the church was built, and Peter Himself acknowledges, thing as does Paul.
    "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
    If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
    Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
    This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
    Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:8-12.

    "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
    To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
    Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
    Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded." 1 Peter 2:3-6.

    "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:4.

    It is also interesting to note that even after Matthew 16 where Christ talks of the church being build on this rock, the disciples still disputed as to who was the greatest and who would sit on Christ's right and left. If Christ had appointed Peter as their leader there would have been no argument as to who would sit at His right hand, or who was the greatest.

  3. Lastly, is the fact that when you take the roman title "Vicarius Filii Dei" which means "Vicar of Christ or the Son of God", and add up the value of the Roman numerals in that name, you get the number 666. This is the number of the beast of Revelation 13 which gives power to the image of the beast and causes all "both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Revelation 13:17, 18.

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PENANCE, in ecclesiastical usage the outward expression of repentance for sin, in response to which the assurance of forgiveness is given in the act of absolution.

Although the Bible does tell us we must repent of our sins, it does not even hint of doing penance. But, paganism does! Over and above the scourgings, there were also slashings and cuttings of the flesh required as propitiatory rites on the part of Apollo's worshippers. Osiris was cut in pieces, therefore, to imitate his fate, so far as living men might do so, they were required to cut and wound their own bodies. This was also done by the worshippers of Baal, Hindo divinities, Bellona, Saturn. This was practised also in the most savage form in the gladiatorial shows, in which the Roman people delighted in, despite all their boasted civility. Penances were intended to propitiate and please their god, and so to lay up a stock of merit that might tell in their behalf in the scales of Anubis. In the Papacy, the penance are not only intended to answer the same end, but, to a large extent, they are identical.

PHALLICISM, in anthropology and comparative religion, the worship of the generative power as expressed by the adoration of the phallus, or male organ of procreation. It is a characteristic element of most primitive religions. In ancient times it was practised by the early Semites and Greeks, among many other peoples, and became an important part of the worship of the Greek god Dionysus. Phallicism and its counterpart, the adoration of symbols of female fertility (as typified in the worship of the ancient goddess Cybele, a deification of the female generative or mother principle), are both manifestations of nature worship. In present-day India a female symbol, the yoni, and a phallic symbol, the linga, are employed in the worship of the Hindu god Siva. Picture of a church

Phallicism is very much a part of modern Christianity today. This may seem a very outlandish statement until we see that obelisks, steeples and shapes representing these two are actually phalluses. Now look around and what do we see on nearly every church and in St. Peter's square in Rome, phalluses everywhere. We even have many churches who try to hide this symbol by building a church with a high pitched roof and on the end having either windows or protruding bricks, making an obelisk shape (see picture right).

PRIEST, one especially consecrated to the service of a divinity and through whom worship, prayer, sacrifice, or other service is offered to the object of worship, and pardon, blessing, or deliverance is obtained by the worshipper. In earliest history the functions of priest were discharged by the head of the family; later the office became a public one, in many instances associated with that of the sovereign. Under the ceremonial law given to Moses, priests especially consecrated to the service of the Temple and the altar were selected from the tribe of Levi. The actual priesthood of Israel, however, was reserved for the male descendants of Aaron, who were authorised to offer sacrifice, supervise hygiene, and instruct the people in the Law of Moses. In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and in the Church of England and other Anglican churches, the priest is a member of the sacerdotal ministry. The priest has the power to celebrate Mass and to administer the sacraments, except holy orders (reserved for the bishop), matrimony (administered to one another by the couple and witnessed by the priest), and, in the Roman Catholic church and the Church of England, confirmation (usually performed by a bishop). Most Protestant churches acknowledge no specific priesthood. They believe in the universal priesthood of all believers and do not recognise the need for a mediator between themselves and God.

Jesus Christ is our High Priest, and all true believers are a royal priesthood (Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 8:1-6, 1 Peter 2:9). Also see Holy Orders above.

PURGATORY, in Christian theology, state of purgation, in which, according to the Roman Catholic and Eastern churches, souls after death either are purified from venial sins or undergo the temporal punishment that, after the guilt of mortal sin has been remitted, still remains to be endured by the sinner. The ultimate happiness of their souls is supposed to be thus secured. On the existence of purgatory Greek and Latin churches are agreed; they also agree that it is a state of suffering. Although the Latins hold that this is by fire, the Greeks do not determine the manner of the suffering, but regard it as being caused by tribulation. The medieval doctrine and practice regarding purgatory were among the grounds for the protest of the Waldenses and were rejected by the Reformers. Protestants held that salvation had been achieved for humankind by Christ and was obtained by faith in Christ alone.

This doctrine can only be accepted if you accept the lie that Satan through the serpent told Eve in the garden of Eden "Ye shall not surely die." Genesis 3:4. The Bible teaches that the dead know nothing (Genesis 3:19; Psalm 146:4; Job 14:10-12, 21; Ecclesiastes 9:5-7,10; Psalm 6:4,5; Acts 2:29, 34) and that they remain in the grave until Jesus Christ returns to take the redeemed home to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-53).

"In every system, therefore, except that of the Bible, the doctrine of a purgatory after death, and prayers for the dead, has always been found to occupy a place. Go wherever we may, in ancient or modern times, we shall find that Paganism leaves hope after death for sinners, who, at the time of their departure, were consciously unfit for the abodes of the blest. For this purpose a middle state has been feigned, in which, by means of purgatorial pains, guilt unremoved in time may in a future world be purged away, and the soul be made meet for final beatitude. . . . The doctrine of purgatory is purely Pagan, and cannot for a moment stand in the light of Scripture. For those who die in Christ no purgatory is, or can be, needed; for 'the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth from ALL sin.' If this be true, where can there be the need for any other cleansing? On the other hand, for those who die without personal union to Christ, and consequently unwashed, unjustified, unsaved, there can be no other cleansing; for, while 'he that hath the son hath life, he that hath not the Son hath not life,' and never can have it. Search the Scripture through, and it will be found that, in regard to all who "die in their sins," the decree of God is irreversible: 'Let him that is unjust be unjust still, and let him that is filthy be filthy still.' Thus the whole doctrine of purgatory is a system of pure bare-faced Pagan imposture, dishonouring to God, deluding men who live in sin with the hope of atoning for it after death, and cheating them at once out of their property and their salvation." The Two Babylons by Rev. Alexander Hislop pages 167, 169.

RELICS, in Christian usage, remains of the bodies of saints, or objects connected with the life of Jesus Christ or with the lives of the saints. Christians are known to have venerated the relics of martyrs at least as early as the 2d century. The influx of relics from the Middle East at the time of the Crusades and the development of superstitious cults around them led to doubts about their authenticity and value. The practice of veneration was effectively defended, however, by the 13th-century theologian St. Thomas Aquinas, who contended that the bodies of the saints are vessels of the Holy Spirit. The practice was reaffirmed by the Council of Trent after Protestant reformers rejected it. In the Orthodox church, the veneration of relics was sanctioned by the Council of Constantinople (1084), but the veneration of icons has always had a greater importance in the East. Relics of Muhammad and of Muslim religious teachers are preserved in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, but the veneration of relics has never been officially approved by Muslim authorities, who have sometimes condemned it as idolatry. The veneration of relics has been traditional in Buddhism, and relics attributed to the Buddha and to the great Buddhist teachers are displayed in several places.

The worship of relics or the instruction to do so cannot be found in the Bible, but it was a part of the ceremonies instituted to commemorate the tragic death of Nimrod who was divided into fourteen pieces, which were sent into many different regions infected by his apostasy and false worship, to cause terror upon all who might seek to follow his example. When the apostates regained their power, the very first thing they did was to seek for these dismembered relics of the great ringleader in idolatry, and to entomb them with the very mark of devotion. Thus was the superstitious rite of the veneration of relics instilled in paganism, which is just another rite that has been adopted by modern Christians.

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, the largest single Christian body, composed of those Christians who acknowledge the supreme authority of the bishop of Rome, the pope, in matters of faith. Although the Roman Catholic church holds certain doctrines that distinguish it from other Christian churches, it is most characteristic in the breadth and comprehensiveness of its doctrinal tradition. Although this doctrinal comprehensiveness may sometimes seem to lack internal coherence, it helps vindicate the church's claim to 'catholicity' (universality), even in doctrinal matters. The church does not in principle exclude any theological method, and since Pope Pius XII's encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943) it has officially sanctioned modern principles of exegesis for interpreting the Bible. Like other Christian churches, the Roman Catholic church accepts the Bible as the basis for its teaching.

While the Roman Catholic Church claims to accept the Bible as true, her doctrines are clearly condemned and are in opposition to the Bible. All of her rites, rituals, ceremonies and services have their roots firmly in pagan tradition. Therefore she cannot truly be called a Christian church and should be called a pagan church, which is what she really is.

ROSARY, a string of beads or a knotted cord used to count prayers. The term is also applied to the prayers themselves. Rosaries are used in many religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Most often associated with Roman Catholics, the rosary is also used by the Orthodox, for whom it is almost exclusively a Monastic devotion, and by some Anglicans. In Roman Catholic practice, the rosary is a string of beads made in the form of a circle, with a pendant crucifix. The standard rosary consists of five sets of beads called decades, each composed of one large and ten smaller beads. On the large beads, the Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, is said; on the smaller beads, the Hail Mary, or Ave Maria. In between the decades the 'Glory be,' a Doxology, is recited.

The rosary is almost universally found among pagan nations and is used for repetitive prayers. Apart from it being just another pagan tradition that has been adopted for no Biblical reason, the Lord Jesus forbade vain repetitions in prayer. "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Matthew 6:7.

SACRAMENTAL, in Christian theology, a sacred sign instituted by the church as a devotional aid. It is similar to a Sacrament in that it is a sacred sign; it differs from a sacrament in not having been instituted by Christ. Sacramentals span the whole range of words and actions, objects and gestures, and times and places. Included are various blessings, religious objects (such as holy water, crucifixes, and rosaries), liturgical ceremonies and seasons, and sacred places.

If these sacramental things were not instituted by Christ or supported by the Bible, how can they be Christian? Quite simply they are not. They are pagan sacramentals that have been adopted.

SAINTS, With greater enthusiasm than other Western churches, Roman Catholicism fosters the veneration of the saints and especially of Mary. Often criticised for letting veneration of the saints obscure the worship due God, the church has tried to limit it, for instance by reducing the number of saints whose feasts are observed in the Liturgy. Catholics also believe that they can help by their prayers and good works those who have died without being fully purified of their sins. This belief is closely associated with the doctrines of Purgatory and Indulgence.

Veneration of images or idols is practised by all heathens but in clearly condemned in the Bible (1 Thessalonians 1:9; Leviticus 26:1; 1 John 5:21; Revelation 21:8, 22:14,15; Exodus 20:4-6). Idolatry is always associated with paganism.

SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY, a holiday honouring lovers. It is celebrated February 14 by the custom of sending greeting cards or gifts to express affection. The cards, known as valentines, are often designed with hearts to symbolise love. The holiday probably derives from the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalis (February 15). The festival gradually became associated with the feast day (February 14) of two Roman martyrs, both named St. Valentine, who lived in the 3rd century. St. Valentine has traditionally been regarded as the patron saint of lovers.

Here is a pagan festival that's name has been changed and accepted into our everyday life. Associated with this day is Cupid with his bow and arrows, which in none other that Nimrod. It is also interesting to note that St. Valentine is the patron saint of lovers, which is exactly the way pagan gods are described, e.g. patron god of love.

STATIONS OF THE CROSS, series of 14 crosses, usually accompanied by images, representing events in the Passion of Christ and its immediate aftermath. Each station, in addition to representing an event, signifies the actual station, or site, of the event in Jerusalem or on Calvary, or Golgotha, and the series as a whole is, in effect, a model of the Via Dolorosa, the route along which Christ was taken to Calvary. The devout meditate and pray at each station successively. Seven of the events represented (the first, second, eighth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and fourteenth) are described in one or more of the Gospels, and the others are traditional. The 14 stations represent the following: (1) Christ's condemnation by Pilate (see Matt. 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:17-25; John 18:38-40, 19:4-16); (2) his receiving of the cross (see John 19:17); (3) his first fall under its weight; (4) the meeting with his mother, Mary; (5) the carrying of the cross by a passerby, Simon of Cyrene (the Gospels, however, place this event at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa; see Matt. 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26); (6) the wiping of Christ's face by Veronica; (7) Christ's second fall; (8) his exhortation to the women of Jerusalem (see Luke 23:27-31); (9) his third fall; (10) the stripping of his garments (see Matt. 27:28); (11) the crucifixion; (12) the death (see Matt. 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:30); (13) the presentation of the body to Mary; and (14) the burial (see Matt. 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).

Tradition seems to hold as much weight as does the Bible for this ceremony. Another problem with this ceremony is that the road that Christ walked upon when He was on this earth was many feet below today's street level, and with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the rejection of Christ by most of the Jews, who really knows where He walked, fell or was crucified? But really does any of this matter? The city of Jerusalem is no longer a sacred place. The curse of God is upon it because of the rejection and crucifixion of God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Never again will it be a sacred place until it is cleansed, along with the rest of this world, by the purifying fires of heaven. Making a site holy, so to speak, only turns ones attention away from our Lord Saviour Jesus Christ and accepting what He did for us by faith that works, to a part of His creation which is idolatry.

SUMERIAN RELIGION, religious beliefs of the peoples of ancient Sumer. The Sumerians believed that the universe was ruled by a pantheon comprising a group of living beings, human in form, but immortal and possessing superhuman powers. These beings, they believed, were invisible to mortal eyes and guided and controlled the cosmos in accordance with well-laid plans and duly prescribed laws. The Sumerians had four leading deities, known as creating gods. These gods were An, the god of heaven; Ki, the goddess of earth; Enlil, the god of air; and Enki, the god of water. Heaven, earth, air, and water were regarded as the four major components of the universe. The act of creation, it was held, was accomplished through utterance of the divine word; the creating deity had merely to make plans and pronounce the name of the thing to be created. To keep the cosmos in continuous and harmonious operation and to avoid confusion and conflict, the gods devised the me, a set of universal and unchangeable rules and laws that all beings were obliged to obey. Next in importance to the creating deities were the three sky deities, Nanna, the god of the moon; Utu, the sun god; and In anna, the queen of heaven. In anna was also the goddess of love, procreation, and war. Nanna was the father of Utu and In anna. Sumerian poets composed numerous myths about the exploits of In anna. Another god of great importance was Ninurta, the deity in charge of the violent and destructive south wind. One of the most beloved deities was the shepherd god Dumuzi, the biblical Tammuz. Dumuzi was originally a mortal ruler whose marriage to In anna ensured the fertility of the land and the fecundity of the womb. This marriage, however, according to a myth whose denouement has only recently come to light, ended in stark tragedy when the goddess, offended by her husband's unfeeling behaviour toward her, decreed that he be carried off to the netherworld for six months of each year hence the barren, sterile months of the hot summer. At the autumnal equinox, which marked the beginning of the Sumerian new year, Dumuzi returned to the earth. His reunion with his wife caused all animal and plant life to be revitalised and made fertile once again. Each new year the Sumerians celebrated the marriage between Dumuzi and In anna. The high point of the celebration was a ritual wherein the king impersonated Dumuzi; In anna was impersonated by one of her leading priestesses. Other Sumerian gods included those in charge of rivers, mountains, and plains; of the cities, fields, and farms; and of tools such as pickaxes, brick molds, and plows. Each of the important deities was the patron of one or more Sumerian cities. Large temples were erected in the name of the deity, who was worshipped as the divine ruler and protector of the city. Temple rites were conducted by many priests, priestesses, singers, musicians, sacred prostitutes, and eunuchs. Sacrifices were offered daily. The Sumerians believed that human beings were fashioned of clay and were created for the purpose of supplying the gods with food, drink, and shelter, so that the gods might have full leisure for their divine activities. Life was considered humanity's most precious possession, even though it is beset with uncertainty and haunted by insecurity; for when human beings die, it was believed, their spirits descend to the netherworld, where life is more wretched than on earth.

In the Sumarian religion the worship of Nimrod and Semiramis under different names can been seen. There are also many similarities to modern Christianity today.

SUN WORSHIP, religious devotion paid to the sun either as a deity or as the symbol of a deity. Sun worship was practised by the Iroquois, Plains Indians, and Tsimshian Indians of North America and reached a high state of development among the Indians of Mexico and Peru. The sun was also a Hindu deity, regarded as maleficent by the Dravidians of southern India and as benevolent by the Munda of the central parts. The Babylonians were sun worshippers, and in ancient Persia worship of the sun was an integral part of the elaborate cult of Mithras. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun god Ra. In ancient Greece the deities of the sun were Helios and Apollo. The worship of Helios was widespread; temples were built in Corinth, Argos, Troezen (no longer in existence), and many other cities, but the principal seat was on the island of Rhodes, in the Dodecanese, where four white horses were sacrificed annually to the god. A similar sacrifice was offered on the summit of Mount Hagios Elias, in the Ta'yetos Mountains, in Laconia. In time virtually all the functions of Helios were transferred to the god Apollo, in his identity as Phoebus. Sun worship persisted in Europe even after the introduction of Christianity, as is evidenced by its disguised survival in such traditional Christian practices as the Easter bonfire and the Yule log on Christmas.

Many more pagan traditions can be added to this Sun worship list - rosary, crucifixes, wax candles, idol worship, and infant baptism along with all the symbols the ancient sun worshippers used.

TRANSFIGURATION, the Feast of the Transfiguration originated in the Eastern church before the 7th century and was gradually introduced into the Western church. Its general observance in the Western church was established in 1456 by Pope Callistus III (r. 1455-58), who fixed its date as August 6 to commemorate a Christian victory over the Ottoman Turks at Belgrade. It is a major feast in the Orthodox and Armenian churches.

Here we have a feast with a Christian name, to commemorate a victory of war between two groups of people whose worship was based on paganism. So what is Christian about this feast? Nothing.

VESTAL VIRGINS, in Roman antiquity, priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Originally two and then four vestals were selected by the king; later the number was increased to six, and they were selected by the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest in the Roman religion. The vestals were vowed to 30 years of service as virgins: 10 of learning, 10 of performance, and 10 of teaching. A vestal who broke her vow of chastity was buried alive. To be eligible, a girl had to be over six and under ten years of age and without physical or mental defects; she had to be the daughter of a freeborn citizen resident of Italy; and both her mother and father had to be living. Among the duties of the vestals was the guarding and annual renewing of the sacred fire at the public shrine to Vesta and preparation of the sacrifices. They enjoyed many privileges, including the right to wear bridal dress.

When pagan Rome went underground the vestal virgins seemed to disappear, but they reemerged, as did everything else from pagan Rome, with a different name - Nuns. Although there are some differences, it is plain that the principle behind these two orders is the same and have the same origin, ancient Babylon.

In conclusion this quote from Prescott's Peru vol. I. page 103 seems very appropriate.

"It can be proved that the idolatry of the whole earth is one, that the sacred language of all nations is radically Chaldean--that the GREAT GODS of every country and clime are called by Babylonian names--and that all the Paganisms of the human race are only a wicked and deliberate, but yet most instructive corruption of the primeval gospel first preached in Eden, and through Noah, afterwards conveyed to all mankind. The system, first concocted in Babylon, and thence conveyed to the ends of the earth, has been modified and diluted in different ages and countries. In Papal Rome only is it now found nearly pure and entire. But yet, amid all the seeming variety of heathenism, there is an astonishing oneness and identity, bearing testimony to the truth of God's Word. The overthrow of all idolatry cannot now be distant. But before the idols of the heathens shall be finally cast to the moles and to the bats, I am persuaded that they will be made to fall down and worship "the Lord the king," to bear testimony to His glorious truth, and with one loud and united acclaim, ascribe salvation, and glory, and honour, and power unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever."
Taken from the Two Babylons by Rev. Alexander Hislop.

© S. D. Goeldner.

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© S. D. Goeldner, 1999. Last updated November, 2019.

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