How Did BAAL-Worship Enter the CHRISTIAN Church?
Jeremiah wrote, "Learn not the way of the HEATHEN ... for the customs of the people are VAIN" (Jer. 10:2)."The prophets prophesy LIES in my name" (Jer. 14:14; 23:26). "In VAIN do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:9), "making the Word of God of NONE EFFECT through your TRADITION" (Mark 7:13). "For the mystery of INIQUITY doth already work" (2 Th. 2:3,7). "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come except there come a FALLING AWAY first" (2 Th. 2:3). "Take heed that no man DECEIVE you. For MANY shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall DECEIVE MANY" (Matt. 24:4-5) -- "speaking PERVERSE things" (Acts 20:30) "and MANY shall follow their PERNICIOUS ways" (2 Pet. 1:2) "turning the grace of God into LASCIVIOUSNESS" (Jude 3,19) "and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto FABLES" (2 Tim. 4:3-4). They "call evil good, and good evil" (Isa. 5:20) and "they have made VOID thy law" (Ps. 119:126).
There are TWO TYPES of FEAST DAYS mentioned in the Bible. The first type is known as "MY FEASTS" (Lev.23:2). The second type is called "YOUR FEAST DAYS" (Amos 5:21). God commands us to observe HIS feasts while condemning those who observe THEIR OWN feasts. God didn't command us to CELEBRATE THE FEASTS in one place only to CONDEMN FEAST-KEEPING in another place. He says, "I hate, I despise YOUR FEAST DAYS, and I will not smell (smell incense which is defined as hearing prayers -- Ps.141:2; Rev.5:8; 8:3) in YOUR SOLEMN ASSEMBLIES" (Amos 5:21). God says, "MY SABBATHS (both weekly and annual) they greatly polluted ... then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them ... I gave them up also to statutes that were NOT GOOD, and to judgments by which they should NOT LIVE" (Ez.20:13,21,25; cp. Lev.18:3 & Deut.12:8). "They have said in their heart ... Come, let us ABOLISH THE FEASTS of the Lord from the earth" (Ps. 74:8). They substituted counterfeit FEASTS. We read about these PAGAN "DAYS and MONTHS and TIMES and YEARS" in Galatians 4:8-11. Then Colossians 2:14-16 is clear proof that Christians today should keep GOD'S HOLY DAYS -- regardless of what men say.
Balaam tempted Israel to compromise with paganism by attending the worship services of the Midianites who worshipped Baal-Peor (Num. 25; Rev. 2:14).
Jeroboam created a counterfeit FEAST OF SUKKOT when he "ordained a feast in the EIGHTH month, on the fifteenth day of the month," like the Feast of Sukkot in Judah on the fifteenth day of the SEVENTH month (1 Ki. 12:31-33). Jeroboam CHANGED the TIME to a month "which he had devised of in his own heart" (v.33). Not only that, but Jeroboam CHANGED the WORSHIP of the true God for "two calves of gold" (v.28) and CHANGED the PRIESTHOOD to "the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi" (v.31). He also CHANGED the LOCATION of worship from Jerusalem to Bethel and Dan (vv.28-29).
Later, King Omri "walked in all the WAY OF JEROBOAM" (1 Ki.16:26) and REPLACED the laws of God with the "STATUTES OF OMRI" (Micah 6:16) and later even "Judah kept not the commandments of the Eternal their God, but walked in the STATUTES OF ISRAEL which they made (the statutes of Omri). And the Eternal REJECTED all the seed of Israel, and AFFLICTED them" (2 Ki.17:19-20).
Emperor Constantine Changed the Day of Rest to SUNDAY
Furthermore, the SABBATH was changed from SATURDAY to SUNDAY by Constantine's civil statute of 7, March 321: "On the venerable day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities REST, and let all workshops be CLOSED. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost." (Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in History of the Christian Church, by Schaff, Vol. III, p. 380)
Since the SUN and the SERPENT are the two "enlighteners" of mankind, one of the commonest symbols of the SUN was a disk with a SERPENT around it (Bunsen's Hieroglyphics, 1:497). Satan has nothing in common with Christ (John 14:30), so chose to be worshipped on SUNDAY -- the first day of the week -- to COUNTERFEIT the Sabbath. "Constantine's famous edict (321 AD) definitely enrolled SUNDAY among the holidays of the Roman State religion. The change from Saturn's day to SUNDAY must have further commended the planetary week in Christian circles, where the Lord's day ... beginning the week, had long been observed as the day on which Christ, the 'Sun of Righteousness' (supposedly) rose from the dead. Thus a PAGAN institution (Sunday observance) was engrafted on (professing) Christianity" (Webster's Rest Days, p. 222).
What was Constantine's own religion? "Constantine ... persevered till he was near 40 years of age in the practice of the established religion (paganism).... But the devotion of Constantine was more peculiarly directed to the genius of the SUN ... the SUN was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine." So he was the one who brought Baal-worship (Sunday-keeping) into the "Christian" church to stay. "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead (thoughts), or in his hand (deeds), the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God" (Rev. 14:9). What is that mark of the (Roman Empire) beast? SUNDAY-keeping -- which counterfeits God's SABBATH sign (Ex. 31:13).
The Pope Changed the Festivals
Another power described as a "LITTLE HORN" with "eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great ("pompous" -- R.A.V.) things" (Dan.7:8) decided to do the same thing as Omri, Jeroboam and Constantine. Daniel 7:25 says, "He shall speak against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High (Christians), thinking to CHANGE THE FEAST DAYS (of God) and the law" (New American Catholic Bible).
Since a "HORN" is defined as a "KING" (Dan.7:24), a "LITTLE HORN" must be a "LITTLE KING" -- a king ruling over a little kingdom or nation. But at the same time, this king looked "more stout than his fellows" (7:20) implying that he possessed a great deal of influence and power.
The "POPES" of Rome fit this description exactly. Not only have they oppressed Christians in the Inquisition and by means of religious wars, but from about 606 A.D. the "POPES" ruled as "little kings" over the "papal states" and later Vatican City. Catholics worldwide are subject to their authority. But their great power and influence lies in their pompous claim of being INFALLIBLE and of being ABLE TO FORGIVE SINS, of having the keys that OPEN AND SHUT HEAVEN, and of being nothing less than "GOD ON EARTH." The "VICAR of Christ" means "in PLACE OF Christ" since Christ has returned to the earth as King of kings in the person of the pope. The Millenium has (supposedly) begun. Emperors accepted the pope as ruling in Christ's place and consequently "gave their power and strength" (17:13) to the church-dominated beast. The "POPES" have even claimed authority to CHANGE GOD'S LAWS:
"The pope is of SO GREAT DIGNITY and SO EXALTED that he is NOT A MERE MAN, but as it were GOD, and the VICAR OF GOD ... The pope is as it were GOD ON EARTH ... The pope is of SO GREAT AUTHORITY and power that he can MODIFY, EXPLAIN, or INTERPRET even DIVINE LAWS ... The pope can MODIFY DIVINE LAW, since his power is not of man but of God, and he acts as VICEREGENT OF GOD upon earth with most ample power of binding and loosing his sheep" (pp.25-29 of Lucius Ferraris, "Papa II," Prompta Bibliotheca, vol. VI).
But how did the "POPES" counterfeit God's Feast Days?
They discarded the SACRED HEBREW CALENDAR in favor of "pope" Gregory XIII's ROMAN CALENDAR in use today. Thus the YEAR begins in DEAD WINTER rather than SPRING EQUINOX. The MONTH begins on ANY ARBITRARY PHASE OF THE MOON rather than with the NEW MOON CRESCENT. The DAY begins and ends at MIDNIGHT rather than SUNSET. catholic
At the Council of Laodicea in 364 A.D., the 29th Canon reads, "Christians must not JUDAIZE by resting on the Sabbath but must work on that day, rather, honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any be found to be JUDAIZERS, let them be anathema from Christ" (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 14, p. 148). No man could hold a job or engage in any kind of business unless he worked on Saturday and rested on Sunday. When the church declared someone to be "anathema" (accursed as a heretic), the Holy Roman Empire began torturing him to death unless he recanted. Augustine declared, "The holy doctors of the church have decreed that all glory of the Jewish Sabbath is transferred to it (Sunday). Let us therefore keep the Lord's Day as the ancients were commanded to do the Sabbath" (Sabbath Laws, p. 284). Pope Gregory of Rome, who reigned from 590-604, anathematized "Those who taught that it was not lawful to do work on the day of the Sabbath" (History of the Popes, Vol. II, P. 378). Yet even the Catholic Origen wrote in 230 AD, "There remaineth therefore a Sabbatism (Heb. 4:9)" (Origen's Opera book 2, p.358). He understood his native Greek tongue.
This compromise is admitted by the scholar, Aringhus. He mentions that the church "found it necessary, in the conversion of the Gentiles, to dissemble and WINK AT many things, and yield to the times" (Diegesis: The Discovery of the Origin of Christianity, Robert Taylor, Boston, Mass., 1829, p.237).
The PASSOVER was changed to EASTER SUNDAY by the Roman Bishop Sixtus (116-125 A.D.), Victor, Bishop of Rome (189-199 A.D.) and finally by the Roman Catholic Church in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicaea. Yet even in 400 AD, "In Asia Minor most people kept the fourteenth day of the (first) month (Passover)" (from Socrates' Ecclesiastical History 5:22, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, pp. 131-132). In place of PENTECOST, they substituted a "WHITESUNDAY" which falls fifty days after EASTER SUNDAY. In place of God's autumn festivals (when Christ was actually born), "POPE" Julius I set December 25 -- the winter solstice -- Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun -- as the most probable date (in his mind) of Christ's birth in 350 A.D. Roman Bishop Liberius ordered the observance of "X-MAS" on December 25 in 354 A.D. Instead of cutting branches to make sukkahs, a tree is cut down to make an idol (Jer. 10:3-4). "Old Nick" is a term for the Devil who appears as an "angel of light". "The interchange of presents between friends is alike characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the PAGANS" (Bibliotheca Sacra 12:153-155). In place of the EIGHTH DAY in October, which pictures the resurrection of the unconverted dead back to physical life -- a happy event -- the Catholics unintentionally invented a Satanic counterfeit called "ALL SAINT'S DAY" and falling on October 31, instituted by "POPE" Gregory IV in 834 A.D. -- a morbid, evil festival picturing the spirits of the dead visiting the living. "Many of the holy days in the religious calendar of Christendom were BORROWED, as is well known, from the festivals of ancient PAGANISM" (Rest Days, p. 306). In both Leviticus 19:26 and Deuteronomy 18:10,14 God commands Israelites to not observe these PAGAN TIMES.
God condemns these "LITTLE HORN" counterfeits in Isaiah 1:13-14: "Come no more with your meaningless offerings! Incense is abominable to Me; the NEW MOONS (astronomical and Gregorian) and Sabbaths (SUNDAYS), the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure iniquity along with the solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth (LENT, "GOOD FRIDAY," EASTER SUNDAY, WHITESUNDAY, X-MAS, HALLOWE'EN and Hillel II's Jewish feasts because they're at the wrong time) ; they are a trouble unto me; I am weary of bearing them." (Ber; JPS; ASV; KJV) (cp. Isa.5:11-12; Jer.51:37-39; Lam.1:4; 2:6-8,22; Hos.9:3,5; Zech.7:5-14; Mal.2:1-3,7-10).
So we see that men "CHANGED the ORDINANCE" (Isa.24:5). "And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" -- people contemptuously call it "JEWISH" today! (1 Peter 2: 1-2.). The Hebrew word for "ORDINANCE" here is "CHOQ" which can be translated as "an appointment of time" or a FEAST DAY. Yes, Israel "CHANGED" God's judgments and statutes (Ez.5:5-8) and chose "the STATUTES of the HEATHEN" (2 Kings 17:8) instead. Jeremiah 8:7 says, "Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her APPOINTED (Heb. "moed") times, and the turtle (turtledove) and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming (know when to migrate), but my people know not the judgment (law) of the Eternal" (don't know when to meet together for festivals and sabbath).
Did Jezebel Have Children?
Christians of Thyatira allowed a "Jezebel" WOMAN to "SEDUCE" them into IDOLATRY (Rev. 2:20). She had "CHILDREN" (Rev. 2:23). Who was this "Jezebel" FORNICATOR? The Roman Catholic Church is described as a scarlet HARLOT WOMAN (Rev. 17). She boasts that she "won't know the LOSS of CHILDREN" (Isa. 47:8-9) and "shall see no sorrow" (Rev. 18:7-8). Yet she is "the mother of HARLOTS" -- her daughters (Rev. 17:5). These DAUGHTER churches have come out of her in protest from 1517, but still have the IMMORAL character of their MOTHER.
Webster writes, "the feast of All Souls in November is a continuation of an old HEATHEN feast of the dead; and that the Nativity of Christ himself was assigned to the winter solstice in December because that day was deemed the Nativity of the Sun.... Many of the holy days in the religious calendar of Christendom were BORROWED, as is well known, from the festivals of ancient PAGANISM." Protestant churches borrowed these PAGAN celebrations from their Catholic mother.
Days of BAAL
In Hosea 2:11 and 13 God says, "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, HER feast days, HER new moons, and HER sabbaths, and all HER solemn feasts.... And I will visit upon her (punish her for) the DAYS OF BAALIM, unto which she burned incense ... and forgot me, saith the Lord." In England, the Puritan Parliament struck CHRISTMAS, EASTER, and PENTECOST (Whitesunday) from their calendar. They avoided celebrating these same holidays in America. "The Puritans rested on the Sabbath in order to keep it holy; they worked on DECEMBER 25 in order to strip it of its sanctity" (J.P. Walsh, "Holy Time and Sacred Space in Puritan New England," The American Quarterly, 32 (Spring 1980), p.81.
Why are they called "DAYS OF BAALIM"?
Nimrod took the name "Lord" which translated into Hebrew became "Baal" and into Greek became "Adonis." Therefore we call SUNDAY the "Lord's Day" -- thinking it is Christian. Because worshipping on SUNDAY goes back to Nimrod's Baal-worship about 2000 B.C., Baal being another name for the SUN. Webster defines "Baal" as "An idol ... representing the SUN." BAAL was the Sun god of the Canaanites, Phoenicians and even Druids, hence a round BALL and round BELL are named after him. Nimrod's religion consisted of child-sacrifice (Jer.19:5) and thus we get the word "cannibal" from "Cahna Baal" (Priest of Baal). This is why Leviticus 18:21 says, "thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the FIRE to Molech." (Deut.12:31; 2 Ki.16:3; 23:10; Jer.32:35; Ez.20:31). The modern FEAST OF NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN (June 24th) -- same as the ancient resurrection of Tammuz -- still follows the custom of people passing through the FIRE when it is very low. Sunday-keeping is actually prophetic of a FIERY DEATH in the LAKE OF FIRE for SUNDAY-keepers.
The term "YULE LOG" means "child log" because children were made to stand in a large circle around a tall oak pole. At sunrise, the shadow of the pole would fall upon a single child. The child was tied up and burned in a bone fire (bonfire). Nimrod (Heb. "marad" -- to rebel) "changed the government into tyranny -- seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his power" (Ant. 1:4:2). He conquered the people. He took God's place as Melek (Heb. "king") by becoming Molech (1 Ki. 11:7). This "mighty hunter against the Lord" (Gen. 10:9) had a Mesopotamian successor known as Balaam -- meaning "Conqueror of the People" in Semitic tongues (whose residence was St. Peter's of Mesopotamia -- Nu. 22:5); or in Greek a Nicolas -- a Conqueror (nikos) of the People (laos). McClintock and Strong's Encyclopedia says: “The sect of the Nicolaitanes is described as following the doctrine or teaching of Balaam -- and it appears not improbable that this name is employed symbolically, as NICOLAUS is equivalent in meaning to BALAAM” (vol. 1, p. 621). Yes, the two names NICOLAUS and BALAAM are exactly the same in meaning --they both point to NIMROD, the originator of paganism. His followers, called Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:15), worshipped this Saint Nicolas or Santa Claus in place of God. They taught that it was "cowardice to submit to God" (Ant. 1:4:2) -- a doctrine God hates (Rev. 2:15).
One of the gods of the ancient Lydians was called "SANTAS" (Langer, Encyc. of World History, p. 37). SANTA is SATAN who counterfeits Christ returning from the NORTH (Isa.14:13; Ps.48:2; 75:6) in the air wearing a RED garment (Rev.19:13) and WHITE BEARD (Rev.1:14). Only God is eternal (Rev. 1:8) and sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake (Pr. 5:21) and knows if you've been bad or good (Pr. 15:3) and will reward the good people at his coming (Rev. 2:23). But Satan has counterfeited these traits. Truly, Satan is "the god of this world" (2 Cor.4:4). Those who put presents under the tree are condemned by Ezekiel who mentions, "under every GREEN TREE ... the place where they did OFFER sweet savor to all their IDOLS" (Ez. 6:13). "In private the day [Saturnalia] began with the sacrifice of a young PIG ... all ranks devoted themselves to feasting and mirth, presents were interchanged among friends, and crowds thronged the streets, shouting 'Io Saturnalia!'" (Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 3rd ed., vol. 2, article "Oscilla.") Figurines and masks -- called "oscilla" -- were hung on the tree. This was a relic of human sacrifice.
Nimrod's wicked mother, known as Semiramis to historians, took the title of "Mother of God." She was the original SUN priestess woman with whom the kings of early days committed literal fornication (Rev. 17:1-5). They worshipped this "queen of heaven" using ROUND wafers or "cakes" at communion (Jer.44:17-19; Jer.7:18) in the spring, another image for the SUN. Ashtaroth (Judges 2:13) or EASTER was the mother/wife of Baal who gave birth to the SUN on December 25 (Wilkin's Egyptians 4:405), NINE MONTHS after she was fertilized in the Spring as "Mother Earth" or "Mother Nature." SUN-worshippers were fearful the SUN would continue to decline in the sky and not return and so celebrated the WINTER SOLSTICE. "But indeed a Christian will not even dishonour his own gate with laurel crowns (WREATHES)" (Tertullian, De Corona chpt.13). Wreathes are ROUND images of the SUN. These Baal priests pollute God's name with their X-MASS (Ez.20:39) and X-MASS tree (Jer.10:1-5) on which are hung more ROUND ornaments. Ezekiel mentions "women weeping for Tammuz ... and they worshipped the SUN toward the east" (Ez.8:14-16). He is describing EASTER SUNRISE services on SUNDAY morning. Aaron created a counterfeit festival FORTY DAYS after Pentecost, complete with a golden calf and solar disk (Ex.24:18; 32:4). It was a summer LENTEN season (Ex.32). Yes, originally they "worshipped the sun toward the east" in June-July during the 40-day period of "weeping for Tammuz" (Ez.8:14-16) and hence it was called the month of Tammuz. Later this "LENT" was transferred to spring. A LENT of 40 days was practiced by Babylonian Ishtar-worshippers (Easter: Its Story and Meaning, p.58, by Alan Watts, 1950). Baal's priests practiced PENANCE (1 Ki. 18:26). ROUND HOT CROSS BUNS originated in Babylon also. "The Greeks offered such sacred cakes to Astarte ... (which) they called bous (ox), in allusion to the ox-symbol marked on it, and from the accusative boun it is suggested that the word 'bun' is derived" (Encyc. Brit. 4:796) The cross on the bun is the letter "T" -- the initial of the SUN-god Tammuz. Actually, one of Mithra's signs was a cross formed by the ecliptic and celestial equator at the EQUINOX (Plato's dialogue, Timaeus). Hyginus, an Egyptian, says "An EGG of wondrous size is said to have FALLEN from HEAVEN into the River Euphrates.... out came Venus, who afterwards was called the Syrian Goddess" (Hyginus, Fabulae pp.148-149). Acts 19:35 says the goddess DIANA "FELL down from Jupiter." Then in Luke 10:18 we read that Christ "beheld SATAN as lightning FALL from HEAVEN." Therefore, the worship of DIANA is SATAN-worship. Yet how many "Christians" have EASTER-EGG HUNTS? The NIMBUS (radiant light) or HALO around many of the ancient gods and goddesses originated in SUN-worship. Semiramis was the original religious leader over the kings of the earth (Rev.17:1-2). Since the language of each country was different, naturally the names of Nimrod, Beltis and Ninus were changed in each language. All the gods mentioned in the Old Testament are just different names for these three members of the first ruling family of ancient Babylon. For instance, the Egyptian TRINITY is Osiris, Isis and Horus.
CUPID (meaning "desire" -- Dan. 11:37) is the Roman name for Ninus or Horus (ST. VALENTINE'S DAY). In the Chaldean tongue, the word for "HEART" was "BAL." An idol of him was called an "image of jealousy" (Ez. 8:5). If we add the 40 day purification of Semiramis (Lev. 12:1-4) to January 6th (Nimrod's birth day -- winter solstice), we arrive at February 14th -- Lupercalia. The FEBRUA were thongs from the skins of sacrificial animals used in rites of purification on the evening of February 14th -- hence the name of the month. "As far back as 496, Pope Gelasius changed Lupercalia on February 15 to St. Valentine's Day on February 14" (Lavinia Dobler, Customs and Holidays Around the World, p.172).
HALLOWEEN is blatant DEVIL-WORSHIP "in the eighth (Latin "Octo") month" (1 Ki. 12:32). Today this same system is called "daughter of Babylon" (Isa.47:1) and Revelation 18:3 says all nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication or false Babylonian doctrine (Jer. 51:7). This may be why God says in Hosea 2:14-17 that Israel "shall no more call me BAALI." When worshippers call upon Jesus' name on "CHRISTMAS" -- December 25 -- or at EASTER, aren't they calling him "BAALI"? H.G. Wells says of Mithraism: "It would seem the Christians adopted SUN-DAY as their chief day of worship instead of the Jewish Sabbath from the Mithraic cult" (The Outline Of History, p.543). Jesus condemned this system as "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth" (Rev. 17:5). For more information, see The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop; Babylon Mystery Religion by Ralph Woodrow; and Satan's Great Deception by C. Paul Meredith.
Mithraism Became Roman Catholicism
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition vol. 18, p. 624, article "Mithras" (commentary added in parentheses), we read:
Prayers were addressed to him (Mithra) by devotees who had purified themselves by ablution (like BAPTISM by sprinkling or immersion -- Justin's First Apology, ch.61) and repeated flagellation (like PENANCE -- 1 Ki. 18:28).... It seems at first to have had relations with the cult of the Great Mother of the Gods at Rome (MARY-worship is really "Queen of Heaven" worship -- Jer. 44:17-25 & p.64, Land of Sinim by Gillespie) (like a CONVENT for women -- priestesses of Cybele were known as "Mothers" in a cult for women only), whose influence served to protect it and facilitate its growth.... From the end of the 2nd century the emperors encouraged Mithraism, because of the support which it afforded to the divine right of monarchs. (Constantine dedicated his coins to "Sol Deus Invictus"; forbade work on SUNDAY in 321 AD -- Eusebius, Life of Constantine 4:18; then endorsed Easter SUNDAY at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD) ... Its importance at Rome may be judged from the abundance of monumental remains—more than 75 pieces of sculpture (IDOLS)... Heaven and Earth ... begat Ocean, who formed with them a TRINITY corresponding to Jupiter, Juno, and Neptune. (cp. Cumont, Mysteries of Mithra, pp. 109, 111, 191) ... Tertullian speaks of "marking the forehead ... which may have been the branding of a Mithraic sign (of a celestial CROSS -- Plato's Dialogue, Timaeus; Nabarz, The Mysteries of Mithras, p.36) (similar to LENT -- Ez. 8:14) ... A sacred communion of bread (like a HOST or HOT CROSS BUNS -- Cumont, p.160; Justin's First Apology, ch. 66; Jer. 7:18), water and possibly wine, compared by the Christian apologists to the EUCHARIST, was administered to the mystic who was entering upon one of the advanced degrees ... The ceremony was probably commemorative of the banquet of Mithras and Helios before the former's ASCENSION, and its effect strength of body, wisdom, prosperity, power to resist evil, and participation in the IMMORTALITY enjoyed by the god himself.... The Mithraic priest, sacerdos or antistes, was sometimes also of the degree of PATER (Padre or Father -- cp. Matt. 23:9) ("Simon [Magus] ... was known as FATHER among the Samaritans" -- p.122, Augustus to Constantine by Robert Grant). ("Simon [Magus] ... those who follow his lead, while pretending to accept that sober Christian philosophy [2 Cor. 11:13-15] ... prostrate themselves before PICTURES and IMAGES of Simon himself and his companion ... Helen ... WORSHIPPING THEM with INCENSE [Ez. 8:11; Hos. 11:2; 2 Ki.17:11], sacrifices and libations [blood -- Ps. 16:4]. Their most secret rites ... make sport of wretched women" [SEX with temple prostitutes] -- Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. p.48) Tertullian (De praescr. haeret. 40) calls the chief priest summus PONTIFEX (bridge between God and man), probably the PATER PATRUM (Father of Fathers -- cp. Matt. 23:9), ("who always lived at ROME" -- Arendzen's Mithraism) who had general supervision of all the initiates in one city, and states that he could marry but once (Even the pope's Dagon MITER comes from Latin MITRA). According to the same author, there were Mithraic, as well as Christian, VIRGINES et conlinentes (like NUNS). Besides the administration of ("the SEVEN" -- Aiken C.F., Mithraism and Christianity, p. 380) SACRAMENTS ... the priest ... addressed prayers to the SUN AT DAWN (like EASTER SUNRISE service -- Ez. 8:16), midday and twilight, turning TOWARDS EAST, south and west respectively. ... There was pouring of libations, (Gregorian?) CHANTING and MUSIC, and BELLS and CANDLES were employed in the service. ... The most interesting aspect of Mithraism is its antagonism to Christianity. Both religions were of Oriental origin; they were propagated about the same time, and spread with equal rapidity on account of the same causes, viz. the unity of the political world and the debasement of its moral life. At the end of the 2nd century each had advanced to the farthest limits of the empire ... the struggle was the more obstinate because of the RESEMBLANCES between the two religions, which were so NUMEROUS and so CLOSE as to be the subject of remark as early as the 2nd century, and the cause of mutual recrimination. (Mithra had "TWELVE DISCIPLES" -- p. 203, Carpenter, Origins of Pagan and Christian Beliefs).The FRATERNAL (convents of "BROTHERS" -- Cumont, p.190; "Mithraism had its MONKS and NUNS, as Tertullian admits, with the TONSURE in honour of the disc of the SUN" -- Khwaja, The Sources of Christianity, p. 100; cp. Leviticus 21:5; Ezekiel 44:20) ("in sacerdotal ROBES" -- Cumont, p.166) and democratic spirit of the first communities, and their humble origin; the identification of the object of adoration with LIGHT and the SUN; the legends (in both) of the SHEPHERDS with their gifts and adoration, the FLOOD, and the ARK; the representation in art of the FIERY CHARIOT, the drawing of WATER from the ROCK; the use of BELL and CANDLE, HOLY WATER and the COMMUNION; the sanctification of SUNDAY (Justin's First Apology, ch.67) and of the 25th of DECEMBER (Birthday of the SUN; X-MAS) ("the large-scale celebration of BIRTHDAYS in Europe began with the cult of Mithras" -- Wikipedia "Birthdays"); the insistence on MORAL CONDUCT, the emphasis placed upon ABSTINENCE and SELF-CONTROL; the doctrine of HEAVEN (an initiate may "ascend into HEAVEN" -- Wright, Early History of Heaven, p. 112) and (torture of wicked in) HELL, of primitive REVELATION, of the mediation of the LOGOS emanating from the divine, the ATONING SACRIFICE, the constant warfare between GOOD and EVIL and the final triumph of the former, the IMMORTALITY of the SOUL, the LAST JUDGMENT, the RESURRECTION of the flesh and the fiery destruction of the universe—are some of the resemblances which, whether real or only apparent, enabled Mithraism to prolong its resistance to Christianity. At their root lay a common Eastern origin rather than any borrowing. (CONSTANTINE BORROWED from Mithraism) On the other hand, there were important contrasts between the two. Mithraism courted the favour of Roman paganism and combined monotheism with polytheism, while Christianity was uncompromising. The former as a consequence won large numbers of supporters who were drawn by the possibility it afforded of adopting an attractive faith which did not involve a rupture with the religion of Roman society, and consequently with the state. In the middle of the 3rd century Mithraism seemed on the verge of becoming the universal religion. (It finally did in the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH)