The Queen of Heaven and Sun Worship enters the Church, plus the Consequences
Part 6 looked at how Satan has contaminated the Church with man’s wisdom in a step-by-step process across seven churches (Rev. 2 & 3), resulting in an apostate “Church.” Part 7 goes to the genesis of the contamination and looks at the two main sources of paganism that impacted the Church through the influence of Emperor Constantine: The queen of heaven and sun worship. The rule of Constantine had a devastating effect on Christianity, resulting in not only syncretic contamination by paganism, but also the introduction of a new doctrine, Replacement Theology. This doctrine totally changed the Churches view on end times prophecy, and encouraged anti-Semitic beliefs which resulted in the Christian persecution of Jews through the ages. The study concludes with an important plea to the Church to never underestimate the importance of God’s word in our worship of Him, and how it has been the intent of Satan, from the time of Constantine, to replace God’s Word in the Church with man’s wisdom. The ultimate goal of Satan is to impose his will over the will of God, and this is best achieved by attacking God’s guidebook for mankind. If believers do not continually study the manufactures handbook, it is easy for the enemy to rewrite the rules.
Paganism – Diana of Ephesus
Ephesus was home to the temple of the Roman goddess Diana (the Greek Artemis in mythology) which was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The goddess Diana/Artemis was an alter ego of Semiramis, the wife of the Biblical Nimrod, and therefore carried the same title as Semiramis – “Queen of Heaven.” The temple to Diana was built entirely of marble, and was the largest building in the entire Greek world, 36 of its 127 pillars – each sixty feet high – were over laid with gold. The temple was hugely extravagant and impressive to the people of the time. Diana’s temple was dedicated to a black meteorite that fell on Ephesus, it was a big, shiny, black block of material covered in lumps, each shaped like a female breast. This was regarded as a sign from Diana, and so a cult of the female breast was developed in Ephesus. This many-breasted meteorite was set on an altar and miniature silver productions of it were sold to tourists, who would then take these miniatures home and worship them along with their other household gods.
The worship of Diana the “virgin goddess,” appears to have been fused in Ephesus with the mother goddess of Asia Minor. The result was that Diana was patron of all prostitutes, and with her many bosomed images, she represented fertility and sexuality. Many rites of ancient times described the immorality of the city. It is no coincidence that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians dealt with spiritual warfare as Ephesus was also a centre of witchcraft, superstition and demonism, having a weird mixture of black arts, demon worship, astrology and occult practices of various kinds. Image cults flourished in Ephesus, and one kind of Magic formula was actually called “Ephesia Grammata,” with magical formulars being inscribed on the statues of Diana.
The image of Diana bears a startling resemblance to the icons of Mary the mother of Christ. In fact, it was at the Council of Ephesus in 431 that Mary was later proclaimed “Queen of heaven” and “Mother of God,” in imitation of the pagan worship of Diana/Artemis of Ephesus, even though the Greek term Theotokos (mother of god) is nowhere found in the New Testament. One need only read Acts 19 to see how precious Diana/Artemis was to the Ephesians; this devotion is now directed towards Mary.
The city of Ephesus, which had identified so closely with the apostolic church, became foundational to the later paganising that saw mainstream Christianity transformed into a paganised and politicised syncretic Christianity. The temple to Diana in Ephesus is now in ruins and her statue resides in the Vatican Museum, but her place of worship in Ephesus has moved just a few kilometres away – to a shrine for Mary, the new “Queen of Heaven.”
Mary in May
The goddess Diana was known by many names, including Queen of Heaven; the Great Goddess; Lunar Virgin; Mother of Animals; Lady of Wild Creatures; and the Huntress. She also became known as Queen of May Day. This is a pagan festival, still celebrated today, which begins on the evening of April 29th, known as Walpurgis Night, and continues through May 1st. Walpurgis Night, takes place exactly six months before Halloween, the two most sacred pagan festivals are exactly six months apart.
A popular May Day event is the Maypole, which has pagan origins; it is a celebration in dance that spring has arrived and rebirth has begun. The original Maypole was a living tree, nowadays the celebration uses a pole planted in an open field, where it can be the centre of the celebration. With the decline of Christianity in the west, this pagan ritual is being revived and becoming a popular annual celebration, especially in Europe and Great Britain. There is an interesting connection between the Canaanite fertility goddess Asherah, and the wooden poles or trees that were the symbol that represented her (covered in part 3 of this series), and the pagan spring celebration of the queen of heaven and her Maypole (originally a tree). What both definitely have in common, is that God detests both equally.
In the Roman Catholic Church, May Day is associated with the Virgin Mary, and they celebrate her crowning as the Queen of the May on this date: “It has been a long-standing Catholic tradition to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary in May … It was during the Middle Ages (11th century) that the idea of giving the month of May to Mary began with an old tradition, the “30-Day Devotion to Mary”, which was originally held August 15 to September 14” (Catholic encyclopaedia).
May 1 marks the Celtic festival of Beltane, also referred to as May Day, which many neopagans and Wiccans around the world observe to celebrate the onset of summer. Beltane is also celebrated by Satanists, being their second most important day after Halloween – Anton LaVey established the Satanic Church on the festival of Beltane.
Constantine and Sun Worship
Paganism in Christianity, and ultimately in the Roman Catholic Church, started with the Roman Emperor Constantine’s “conversion” to Christianity, which occurred after the battle of the Milvian Bridge in October, AD 312. This was the key battle in the civil war fought for control of the empire between Constantine and Maxentius. Before the battle, Constantine supposedly had a vision of a flaming cross in the sky, with the inscription in Greek “by this sign conquer.” The deception was that the cross Constantine saw was a chi-rho cross which is a pagan sun symbol, not the cross of Jesus. We are required to believe that Constantine was told by the Prince of Peace, Jesus, to use the sign of the cross to go out and slaughter his enemy! It is interesting to note that two years earlier, in AD 310, Constantine claimed he saw a vision of the sun god Apollo and publicly made vows to serve him. After his victory against Maxentius, Constantine went to Apollo’s shrine to make sacrifices. His victory, however, did enable Constantine to come to power as Emperor of Rome.
For 280 years Christians had been persecuted by the Romans, then suddenly in March AD 313, with the edict of Milan, Constantine made Christianity an official religion of the Roman Empire, and the persecutions ceased. Constantine was a realist, he understood that there needed to be changes made to restore unity in his Empire. He saw that through the Christian Church, he could have a morally strong people, hard workers and would be loyal to him. By his issuing the edict of toleration, he became not only the head of the Church but also a leader to whom the previously persecuted Christians were deeply indebted.
Constantine was very pragmatic, he realised that over the vast extent of the Roman Empire he could not expect everyone to forsake their religious beliefs to embrace Christianity. He, therefore, promoted the adoption of pagan beliefs by the Church, as a means of unifying the Roman population. Although this brought an end to the persecution of the Church, the result was far worse than the persecution – the corruption of the Church.
Cardinal John Henry Newman, the greatest Roman Catholic theological thinker Great Britain has ever produced, wrote that, “at least 70% of the rights, rituals customs and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church are pagan in origin” (1).
Evidence of where Constantine’s loyalties lay, can clearly be seen in the Arch of Constantine, which he had built next to the Colosseum after the battle of the Milvian Bridge to celebrate his victory. Now Constantine claimed that before the battle, Jesus gave him a vision of a cross in the sky, saying to him “in this sign conquer.” Yet Constantine’s arch was decorated with images of the goddess, Victoria and sacrifices were made to Apollo, Diana, and Hercules. Furthermore, on the east side of the arch, facing the rising sun, is a rendering of the sun God Apollo. Then on top of his arch Constantine erected a bronze statue of himself, in a chariot with four horses in the same manner as Apollo is depicted when traversing the sky each day. Any evidence that Constantine was grateful to Jesus for his victory was absent from the Arch.
Despite his legalising Christianity in the Empire and being head of the Church, Constantine remained a pagan, worshipping pagan gods, specifically the sun Gods Mithras, Sol and Apollo:
The evidence that Constantine did not convert to Christianity, and was a diehard pagan is so strong, that historians are changing their minds about him. Some historians now believe that he was attempting to convince the people of Rome that he was the second coming of Jesus.
Other evidence that Constantine’s sudden conversion to Christianity was not a sincere conversion, but rather a means to an end, was that after becoming Emperor, he had his eldest son Crispus executed, and drowned his wife Fausta in boiling water.
Constantine Corrupts the Church
The change for the Christian Church was enormous, from being an illegal religion in the empire, targeted for persecution and eradication, it became the dominant religion in the empire. Along with that elevation in status was the financial backing of the empire, with Constantine funding the building of churches, the ecumenical council at Nicaea, and the copying and dissemination of scripture. Many in the Church therefore believed they owed a great debt to Constantine, and consequently were amenable to the many changes he brought with the newfound freedom. The cost to the Church, however, would prove in time to be enormous. The consequences included:
- With the emperor becoming a “Christian” it became politically expedient for pagans to “convert”, a nominal Christianity was therefore allowed, if not encouraged. The consequences were that the Church made compromises with paganism, allowing pagan practises and traditions to take root in Christianity, and thus over time man’s traditions superseded God’s Word within the Church – the seed of the serpent took root and grew.
- The once Jewish origins of Christianity were erased by paganism, firmly driving a wedge between Christians and Jews and making Christianity repugnant to the Jew. James Carol in his book titled Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, reveals that it was Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor, who was the one largely responsible for the Biblical reinterpretations that would label the Jews as being responsible for the death of Jesus. With the break of Christianity from its Jewish roots, the scriptures were then ripe to be fashioned by Gentile philosophies.
- With the federal funding the Church received and its rise in prominence in the Empire, the Church became wealthy and showed more of a tendency to worldliness and the love of luxury. The opulence and grandeur that was the pride of paganism became the norm for the Church; the Church forgot that Jesus was born in a stable.
- With his increase in power and authority Emperor Constantine became vain and would dress in splendid decorative robes. Constantine presented a set of these robs as a gift to the bishop of Jerusalem, which rivalled even the pagan priests in splendour. This was the first-time pagan vestments were used in the Christian Church. The Roman Church soon adopted the wearing of vestments for its Bishops, and before the end of the fourth century bishops were wearing special clothes known as mass vestments, some for high mass and some for low mass. The wearing of vestments served to distinguish the priest from the congregation, further broadening the gap between clergy and laity (Nicoliatism).
- As mentioned earlier, Constantine convened the first ecumenical council of Nicaea (325 AD), to solve the problems raised by Arianism (denying the divinity of Jesus). The council not only defined Christianity, but it also purged Arianism, whose adherents were banished for not seeing Jesus as God, making heresy a crime – this would have drastic consequences during the time of the inquisitions. Over the centuries of the many inquisitions, millions of people were ladled heretics and put to death, their property was then seized by the Roman Church. Regarding the total number of deaths during the inquisitions, it is important to remember that the large majority died as a result of their imprisonment and torture, not from being burned at the stake.
- Constantine likely never became a Christian, despite his being baptised shortly before his death. Constantine was a sun worshipper, showing allegiance to Mithras, Sol and Apollo throughout his life. Combining His belief in the sun God with the Son of God was an easy step for him. Evidence of this corruption is seen in the solar halo of his personal god Sol Invictus, becoming a Christian symbol; pagan symbolism entered into Church art.
Thanks to Constantine Christianity began to develop a decidedly pagan Roman face.
(1) John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine; London: B.M. Pickering; 1878
Replacement Theology (Supersessionism) is the belief that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan for mankind. God has finished with the Jew, all His covenants with them have been cancelled, and the promises in scripture now belong to the Church. The Jewish people are now no longer a “chosen people,” they are no different from any other cultural group in God’s eyes. So, any reference to “Israel” in the New Testament after the time of Pentecost in Acts 2, refers to the Church. Through Jesus, all Gentile believers become the seed of Abraham and therefore the Church is the new “Israel.”
The danger of Replacement Theology is that the promises, covenants and blessings ascribed to Israel in the Bible, have been taken away from the Jews and given to the Church. Which means with all their promises removed, the Jews are left with the curses found in the scripture. Replacement Theology believes that the curses upon the Jews are due to their rejection of Jesus, and the cry of their ancestors, “His blood is on us and on our children!” (Matt. 27:25). They forget that the blood of Jesus “speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Heb. 12:24), it brings reconciliation, not vengeance and judgement.
Replacement Theology relies heavily, on the allegorical interpretation and spiritualising of prophetic scriptures. Prophecies about the future of the literal nation of Israel and the Jewish people are replaced with the Church. There will not be a literal Kingdom rule of Jesus over the nation of Israel; the Kingdom exists here and now in the spiritual, the Church is the Kingdom. This belief leads to the idea that the Church will convert the world, which is held by post-Millennialists, and supports universalism – which is what Satan wants! It has a positive outlook, which is far preferred to the negative literal view held by pre-Millennialists of a seven-year Tribulation, an Antichrist and Armageddon. Because of their error, post-Millennialists will be easily duped into following the deceptions of the apostate church and a move to a one-world religion under the Antichrist.
The term Hypostatic union is a technical term in Christian theology, used to describe the union of Christ’s humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence. The understanding that Jesus is both fully man and fully God was a declaration made at the First Council of Nicaea in 325, and is a doctrine of the Church. Jesus often referred to Himself as “the Son of Man”, a phrase taken from Daniel 7:13 where “one like a son of man” comes with the clouds of heaven to be presented before the Ancient of Days, and he is show to be worshipped. This “one like a son of man” is as a distinct individual agent – a heavenly judge who would vindicate the righteous. So, Jesus was clearly identifying himself as the Messiah, being fully God and fully man when calling Himself “the Son of Man.”
As the Son of David, Jesus will return to rule the world from the throne of David, the Prince of Peace will rule from the City of peace. Jesus will take His place as the ruler of Israel, fulfilling the Davidic covenant that one of David’s line would be the Messiah (2 Samuel 7), and rule over Israel. At the end of the thousand years of rule, the earth is destroyed by fire and there is a New Heaven and a New Earth. Jesus as the Son of God will rule from New Jerusalem, a heavenly Kingdom for eternity.
Replacement Theology denies the Kingdom rule of the Son of David; therefore, it is denying the hypostatic union of Jesus. Thus, Replacement Theology, and all the eschatological beliefs that it has spawned, such as Amillennialism, Post-millennialism and Preterism that deny a Kingdom rule, fall under the definition of heresy.
The origins of Anti-Semitism in Christianity
With the seat of Satan established in the city of Rome, Satan is able to establish his will as being superior to the will of God over the people of the Empire. So, it is not merely an act of chance that Constantine became emperor and “converted” to Christianity, and that the foundations for Christian anti-Semitism are all laid in Rome? The examples of Christian anti-Semitism are:
- Replacement Theology (The belief that the Church is the New Israel, and the promises of God that were for Israel, now belong exclusively to the Church): The book of Romans was written by Paul to counter the first case of Replacement Theology in the Church. Emperor Claudius banished the Jews from Rome in AD 49 (Acts 18:2), leaving the Church entirely Gentile. This meant that the Church in Rome was very likely the first Church ever to be comprised entirely of Gentiles. When Nero came to power after Claudius died, he invited the Jews back to Rome in AD 54, because they benefited the cities trade. After an extended absence, Jews such as Aquila and Pricilla of the Book of Acts, returned to Rome and looked to resume their roles in the Roman Church. The Gentile Church refused to accept the returning Jews, believing that the banishment from the capital of the empire by Claudius was evidence enough that God had rejected the Jews and had elected the Gentiles to replace them.
Replacement Theology later became intrenched in the Church with the anti-Semitism of Constantine and Augustine playing a major role. Constantine labelled the Jews “Christ killers,” and Augustine compared the Jewish people to Cain, who murdered his brother, and became the first criminal in biblical history. Augustine considered the Jews to be “a wicked sect” who should be banished because of their evil.
- Amillennialism, an anti-Semitic End Times theology was founded by Augustine in Rome.
- The command to establish laws to separate the Church from Judaism originated in Rome.
The above three points are further evidence that the seat of Satan, which the Book of Revelation indicates was in Pergamum (Rev. 2:13), has moved to Rome (covered in part 6). It is also important to note that the theological foundations of anti-Semitism listed above also become the foundations of the apostate church.
Five reasons Satan hates the Jews:
Satan wants to suffocate the Church
With the power of the Holy Spirit now flowing through the Church, the enmity of Satan is also directed against the God breathed Word of God within in the Church.
the Hebrew word Ruach is translated into three different meanings in Scripture:
- Wind (Num. 11:31; 10:13).
- Spirit (Judges 6:34; 1 Sam. 16:14 and 1 Kings 18:12)
- Breath (Job 12:10).
The first use of Ruach in the Bible is in the opening chapter where the Holy Spirit is the “Ruach of God” (Gen. 1:2). Psalm 33:6 interprets Genesis 1 by saying: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host” (Psalm 33:6). The Lord spoke creation into existence, the breath of God was formed into Words that carried creative power.
As the Bible translates the word Ruach three different ways the reader may miss the great significance of what has been written. The breath of God is to be interpreted as the Word of God:
“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).
Paul clearly stresses that all scripture is not just a collection of 66 books, but rather that it is written under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The breath of God brought life, power and authority to the logos Word.
There are a number of examples in scripture where the “breath” of God is interpreted as His Word:
- “At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. (Exodus 15:8-10). By God’s Word the Red Sea was part for the nation of Israel to pass through, and then again at God’s Word the sea collapsed back onto the Egyptian Pharoah and his army.
- “But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand (Job 32:8). The “breath” of God gives us understanding.
- “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11). God’s Word always succeeds in completing its purpose.
- “I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophecy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.” (Ezekiel 37:7-10). Ezekiel spoke with the breath of God, giving a prophecy which was fulfilled in the amazing miracle that took place in 1948, the formation of the state of Israel. The dry bones came to life.
- “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’.” (John 20:22). The Ruach of God gives spiritual life to each person.
The importance of God’s Word must never be underestimated by the Church, just as a person needs to breath continually or they will die, so too must a believer continually, daily, study God’s Word. Satan knows that God’s Word brings life to the body of the Church so he does all in his power to strangle the body and prevent the “breath” of God from sustaining the Church.
A close look at Church history reveals that when God wants to arouse His children to do His will, He will raise up people to proclaim the Word of the Lord. This can be seen in the preaching of Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox during the Reformation, and also in the awakening revivals through men like John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield. Satan knows the power of God’s Word to change men’s hearts, and its authority in guiding and direct them on the path of righteousness. So, Satan will continually seek ways to contaminate God’s Word with his counterfeit wisdom, drawing mankind away from the will of God and into his deceptions and apostasy. The battle between the “Seed of the Woman” and the “seed of the serpent” is continuous, and unrelenting, only when Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom will there be a cessation of the conflict. The Kingdom rule by Jesus, will mean an end to Satan’s rule, the Seed of the Woman will impose His will upon the earth, and the seed of the serpent will be crushed. Satan knows this, and it is the main reasons why the apostate doctrine of Replacement Theology does not hold to a belief in the Millennial Kingdom.