Keith Hunt - Babylon Mysteries #2 - Page Two   Restitution of All Things

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Babylon Mysteries #2

Mary and Saint Days




               From the book "Babylon Mystery

                    Religion" by Woodrow





CHAPTER THREE



MARY WORSHIP



     PERHAPS THE MOST outstanding proof that Mary worship

developed out of the old worship of the pagan mother goddess may

be seen from the fact that in pagan religion, the mother was

worshipped as much (or more) than her son! This provides an

outstanding clue to help us solve the mystery of Babylon today!

True Christianity teaches that the Lord Jesus - and HE alone - is

the way, the truth, and the life; that only HE can forgive sin;

that only HE, of all earth's creatures, has ever lived a life

that was never stained with sin; and HE is to be worshipped - not

ever his mother. But Roman Catholicism - showing the influence

that paganism has had in its development - in many ways exalts

the MOTHER also.

     One can travel the world over, and whether in a massive

cathedral or in a village chapel, the statue of Mary will occupy

a prominent position. In reciting the Rosary, the "Hail Mary" is

repeated nine times as often as the "Lord's Prayer." Catholics

are taught that the reason for praying to Mary is that she can

take the petition to her son, Jesus; and since she is his mother,

he will answer the request for her sake. The inference is that

Mary is more compassionate, understanding, and merciful than her

son Jesus. Certainly this is contrary to the scriptures! Yet this

idea has often been repeated in Catholic writings.

One noted Roman Catholic writer, Alphonsus Liguori, wrote at

length telling how much more effectual prayers are that are

addressed to Mary rather than to Christ. Liguori, incidently, was

canonized as a "saint" by Pope Gregory XIV in 1839 and was

declared a "doctor" of the Catholic church by Pope Pius IX. In

one portion of his writings, he described an imaginary scene in

which a sinful man saw two ladders hanging from heaven. Mary was

at the top of one; Jesus at the top of the other. When the sinner

tried to climb the one ladder, he saw the angry face of Christ

and fell defeated. But when he climbed Mary's ladder, he ascended

easily and was openly welcomed by Mary who brought him into

heaven and presented him to Christ! Then all was well. The story

was supposed to show how much easier and more effective it is to

go to Christ through Mary (Boettner - "Roman Catholicism, p.147).

     The same writer said that the sinner who ventures to come

directly to Christ may come with dread of his wrath. But if he

will pray to the Virgin, she will only have to "show" that "the

breasts that Will gave him suck" and his wrath will be

immediately appeased! (Hislop - "Two Babylons, p.158).

     Such reasoning is in direct conflict with a scriptural

example. "Blessed is the womb that bare thee", a woman said to

Jesus,"and the paps that thou has sucked!" But Jesus answered,

"Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep

it" (Lk.11:27,28).

     Such ideas about the breasts, on the other hand, were not

foreign to the worshippers of the pagan mother goddess. Images of

her have been unearthed which often show her breasts extremely

out of proportion to her body. In the case of Diana, to symbolize

her fertility, she is pictured with as many as one hundred

breasts!

     Further attempts to exalt Mary to a glorified position

within Catholicism may be seen in the doctrine of the "immaculate

conception." This doctrine was pronounced and defined by Pius IX

in 1854 - that the Blessed Virgin Man "in the first instant of

her conception... was preserved exempt from all stain of original

sin" (Catholic Ency. vol.7,p.674 art, "Immaculate conception").

     It would appear that this teaching is only a further effort

to make Mary more closely resemble the goddess of paganism, for

in the old myths, the goddess was also believed to have had a

supernatural conception! The stories varied, but all told of

supernatural happenings in connection with her entrance into the

world, that she was superior to ordinary mortals, that she was

divine. Little by little, so that the teachings about Mary

would not appear inferior to those of the mother goddess, it was

necessary to teach that Mary's entrance into this world involved

a supernatural element also!

     Is the doctrine that Mary was born without the stain of

original sin scriptural? We will answer this in the words of The

Catholic Encyclopedia itself: "No direct or categorical and

stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from

Scripture" It is pointed out, rather, that these ideas were a

gradual development within the church (Ibid.,p.675).

     Right here it should be explained that this is a basic,

perhaps the basic, difference between the Roman Catholic approach

to Christianity and the general Protestant view. The Roman

Catholic church, as it acknowledges, has long grown and developed

around a multitude of traditions and ideas handed down by church

fathers over the centuries, even beliefs brought over from

paganism if they could be "Christianized" and also the

scriptures. Concepts from all of these sources have been mixed

together and developed, finally to become dogmas at various

church councils. On the other hand, the view which the Protestant

Reformation sought to revive was a return to the actual

scriptures as a more sound basis for doctrine, with little or no

emphasis on the ideas that developed in later centuries.

     Going right to the scriptures, not only is any proof for the

idea of the immaculate conception of Mary lacking, there is

evidence to the contrary. While she was a chosen vessel of the

Lord, was a godly and virtuous woman - a virgin - she was as much

a human as any other member of Adam's family. "All have sinned

and come short of the glory of God" (Rom.3:23), the only

exception being Jesus Christ himself. Like everyone else, Mary

needed a savior and plainly admitted this when she said: "And my

spirit hath rejoiced in God my SAVIOR" (Lk.1:47).

     If Mary needed a savior, she was not a savior herself. If

she needed a savior, then she needed to be saved, forgiven, and

redeemed - even as others. The fact is, our Lord's divinity did

not depend on his mother being some type of exalted, divine

person. Instead, he was divine because he was the only begotten

son of God. His divinity came from his heavenly Father.

The idea that Mary was superior to other human beings was not the

teaching of Jesus. Once someone mentioned his mother and

brethren. Jesus asked, "Who is my mother? and who are my

brethren?" Then, stretching forth his hand toward his disciples,

said, "Behold my mother and my brethren! For WHOSOEVER shall do

the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother,

and sister, and MOTHER" (Matt.12:46-50). Plainly enough, anyone

who does the will of God is, in a definite sense, on the same

level with Mary.

     Each day Catholics the world over recite the Hail Mary, the

Rosary, the Angelus, the Litanies of the Blessed Virgin, and

others. Multiplying the number of these prayers, times the number

of Catholics who recite them each day, someone has estimated that

Mary would have to listen to 46,296 petitions a second! Obviously

no one but God himself could do this. Nevertheless, Catholics

believe that Mary hears all of these prayers; and so, of

necessity, they have had to exalt her to the divine level -

scriptural or not!

     Attempting to justify the way Mary has been exalted, some

have quoted the words of Gabriel to Mary, "Blessed art thou among

women" (Lk.1:28). But Mary being "blessed among women" cannot

make her a divine person, for many centuries before this, a

similar blessing was pronounced upon Jael, of whom it was said:

"Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be.

..."(Judges 5:24).

     Before Pentecost, Mary gathered with the other disciples

waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit. We read that the

apostles "all continued with one accord in prayer and

supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and

his brethren" (Acts 1:14). Typical of Catholic ideas concern-

ing Mary, the illustration (as seen in the Official Baltimore

Catechisms) attempts to give to Mary a central position. But as

all students of the Bible know, the disciples were not looking to

Mary on that occasion. They were looking to their resurrected and

ascended CHRIST to outpour on them the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We notice also in the drawing that the Holy Spirit (as a dove) is

seen hovering over her! Yet, as far as the scriptural account is

concerned, the only one upon whom the Spirit as a dove descended

was Jesus himself - not his mother! On the other hand, the pagan

virgin goddess under the name of Juno was often represented with

a dove on her head, as was also Astarte, Cybele, and Isis! (Doane

- "Bible Myths, p.357).

     Further attempts to glorify Mary may be seen in the Roman

Catholic doctrine of the perpetual virginity. This is the

teaching that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. But as

The Encyclopedia Britannica explains, the doctrine of the

perpetual virginity of Mary was not taught until about three

hundred years after the ascension of Christ. It was not until the

Council of Chalcedon in 451 that this fabulous quality gained the

official recognition of Rome.

     According to the scriptures, the birth of Jesus was the

result of a supernatural conception (Matt.1:23), without an

earthly father. But after Jesus was born, Mary gave birth to

other children - the natural offspring of her union with Joseph,

her husband. Jesus was Mary's "firstborn" son (Matt.1:25); it

does not say he was her only child. Jesus being her firstborn

child could certainly infer that later she had a second-born

child, possibly a third-born child, etc. That such was the case

seems apparent, for the names of four brothers are mentioned:

James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (Matt.13:55). Sisters are also

mentioned. The people of Nazareth said: " . . . and his sisters,

are they not all with us?" (verse 56). The word "sisters" is

plural, of course, so we know that Jesus had at least two sisters

and probably more, for this verse speaks of "all" his sisters.

Usually if we are referring to only two people, we would say

"both" of them, not "all" of them. The implication is that at

least three sisters are referred to. If we figure three sisters

and four brothers, half-brothers and half-sisters of Jesus, this

would make Mary the mother of eight children.

     The scriptures say: "Joseph ... knew her not till she had

brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS"

(Matt.1:25). Joseph "knew her not" until after Jesus was born,

but after that, Mary and Joseph did come together as husband and

wife and children were born to them. The idea that Joseph kept

Mary as a virgin all of her life is clearly unscriptural.

     During the times of the falling away, as though to more

closely identify Mary with the mother goddess, some taught that

Mary's body never saw corruption, that she bodily ascended into

heaven, and is now the "queen of heaven." It was not until this

present century, however, that the doctrine of the "assumption"

of Mary was officially proclaimed as a doctrine of the Roman

Catholic church. It was in 1951 that Pope Pius XII proclaimed

that Mary's body saw no corruption, but was taken to

heaven.(Catholic Ency.vol.2,p.632, art, "Assumption, Feast of").

     The words of St.Bernard sum up the Roman Catholic position:

"On the third day after Mary's death, when the apostles gathered

around her tomb, they found it empty. The sacred body had been

carried up to the Celestial Paradise... the grave had no power

over one who was immaculate... But it was not enough that Mary

should be received into heaven. She was to be no ordinary

citizen... she had a dignity beyond the reach even of the highest

of the archangels. Mary was to be crowned Queen of Heaven by the

eternal Father: she was to have a throne at her Son's right hand

... Now day by day, hour by hour, she is praying for us,

obtaining graces for us, preserving us from danger, shielding us

from temptation, showering down blessings upon us."

     All of these ideas about Mary are linked with the belief

that she bodily ascended into heaven. But the Bible says

absolutely nothing about the assumption of Mary. To the contrary,

John 3:13 says: "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that

came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven" -

Jesus Christ himself. HE is the one that is at God's right hand,

HE is the one that is our mediator, HE is the one that showers

down blessings upon us - not his mother!



     Closely connected with the idea of praying to Mary is an

instrument called the rosary. It consists of a chain with fifteen

sets of small beads, each set marked off by one large bead. The

ends of this chain are joined by a medal bearing the imprint of

Mary. From this hangs a short chain at the end of which is a

crucifix. The beads on the rosary are for counting prayers -

prayers that are repeated over and over. Though this instrument

is widely used within the Roman Catholic church, it is clearly

not of Christian origin. It has been known in many countries.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "In almost all countries, then,

we meet with something in the nature of prayer-counters or

rosary-beads." It goes on to cite a number of examples, including

a sculpture of ancient Nineveh, mentioned by Layard, of two

winged females praying before a sacred tree, each holding a

rosary. For centuries, among the Mohammedans, a bead-string

consisting of 33,66, or 99 beads has been used for counting the

names of Allah. Marco Polo, in the thirteenth century, was

surprised to find the King of Malabar using a rosary of precious

stones to count his prayers. St.Francis Xavier and his companions

were equally astonished to see that rosaries were universally

familiar to the Buddhists of Japan (Catholic Ency. vol.13, p.185,

art, "Rosary").

     Among the Phoenicians a circle of beads resembling a rosary

was used in the worship of Astarte, the mother goddess, about 800

B.C. (Seymour - "The Cross in Tradition, History, and Art,

p.21). This rosary is seen on some early Phoenician coins. The

Brahmans have from early times used rosaries with tens and

hundreds of beads. The worshippers of Vishnu give their children

rosaries of 108 beads. A similar rosary is used by millions of

Buddhists in India and Tibet. The worshipper of Siva uses a

rosary upon which he repeats, if possible, all the 1,008 names of

his god (Ency.of Religions, vol. 3, pp, 203-205).

     Beads for the counting of prayers were known in Asiatic

Greece. Such was the purpose, according to Hislop, for the

necklace seen on the statue of Diana. He also points out that in

Rome, certain necklaces worn by women were for counting or

remembering prayers, the "monile," meaning "remembrancer."

(Hislop - "Two Babylons" pp.187-188).

     The most often repeated prayer and the main prayer of the

rosary is the "Hail Mary" which is as follows: "Hail Mary, full

of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou among women,

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of

God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death, Amen."

The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "There is little or no trace of

the Hail Mary as an accepted devotional formula before about

1050" (Catholic Ency. vol.7, p.111, art "Hail Mary"). The

complete rosary involves repeating the Hail Mary 53 times, the

Lord's prayer 6 times, 5 Mysteries, 5 Meditations on the

Mysteries, 5 Glory Be's, and the Apostles' Creed.

     Notice that the prayer to Mary, the Hail Mary, is repeated

almost NINE times as often as the Lord's prayer! Is a prayer

composed by men and directed to Mary nine times as important or

effective as the prayer taught by Jesus and directed to God?

     Those who worshipped the goddess Diana repeated a religious

phrase over and over - "...all with one voice about the space of

two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians" (Acts

19:34). Jesus spoke of repetitious prayer as being a practice of

the heathen. "When ye pray," he said, "use not vain repetitions,

as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for

their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your

Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him"

(Matt.6:7-13). In this passage, Jesus plainly told his followers

NOT to pray a little prayer over and over. It is significant to

notice that it was right after giving this warning, in the very

next verse, that he said: "After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven..." and gave the disciples what we

refer to as "The Lord's Prayer." Jesus gave this prayer as an

opposite to the heathen type of prayer. Yet Roman Catholics are

taught to pray this prayer over and over. If this prayer was not

to be repeated over and over, how much less a little man-made

prayer to Mary! It seems to us that memorizing prayers, then

repeating them over and over while counting rosary beads, could

easily become more of a "memory test" than a spontaneous

expression of prayer from the heart.





CHAPTER FOUR



SAINTS, SAINTS' DAYS, and SYMBOLS



     IN ADDITION TO the prayers and devotions that are directed

to Mary, Roman Catholics also honor and pray to various "saints."

These saints, according to the Catholic position, are martyrs or

other notable people of the church who have died and whom the

Popes have pronounced saints.

     In many minds, the word "saint" refers only to a person who

has attained some special degree of holiness, only a very unique

follower of Christ. But according to the Bible, ALL true

Christians are saints - even those who may sadly lack spiritual

maturity or knowledge. Thus, the writings of Paul to Christians

at Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth, or Rome, were addressed "to the

saints" (Eph.1:1, etc.). Saints, it should be noticed, were

living people, not those who had died.

     If we want a "saint" to pray for us, it must be a living

person. But if we try to commune with people that have died, what

else is this but a form of spiritism? Repeatedly the Bible

condemns all attempts to commune with the dead (see Isaiah 8:19,

20). Yet many recite the "Apostles' Creed" which says: "We

believe ... in the communion of saints." supposing that such

includes the idea of prayers for and to the dead. Concerning this

very point, The Catholic Encyclopedia says: "Catholic teaching

regarding prayers for the dead is bound up inseparably with the

doctrine ... of the c o m m u n i o n   of saints which is an

article of the Apostles' Creed." Prayers "to the saints and

martyrs collectively, or to some one of them in particular" are

recommended (Catholic Ency." vol.4,p.653.655, art "Prayers for

the dead" ). The actual wording of the Council of Trent is that

"the saints who reign together with Christ offer up their own

prayers to God for men. It is good and useful suppliantly to

invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, and help

for obtaining benefits from God" (Ibid., vol 8, p.70, art

"Intercession").

     What are the objections to these beliefs? We will let "The

Catholic Encyclopedia" answer for itself. "The chief objections

raised against the intercession and invocation of the saints are

that these doctrines are opposed to the faith and trust which we

should have in God alone ... and that they cannot be proved from

Scriptures..." (Ibid). With this statement we agree. Nowhere do

the scriptures indicate that the living can be blessed or

benefited by prayers to or through those who have already died.

Instead, in many ways, the Catholic doctrines regarding "saints"

are very similar to the old pagan ideas that were held regarding

the "gods."

     Looking back again to the "mother" of false religion -

Babylon - we find that the people prayed to and honored a

plurality of gods. In fact, the Babylonian system developed until

it had some 5,000 gods and goddesses (Hays - "In the Beginning"

vol.2,p.65). In much the same way as Catholics believe

concerning their "saints", the Babylonians believed that their

"gods" had at one time been living here on earth, but were now

on a higher plane ("Ency. of Religion" vol.2,p.78). "Every month

and every day of the month was under the protection of a

particular divinity" (Williams - "The Historians' History of the

World" vol.1,p.518). There was a god for this problem, a god for

each of the different occupations, a god for this and a god for

that.

     From Babylon-like the worship of the great mother - such

concepts about the "gods" spread to the nations. Even the

Buddhists in China had their "worship of various deities, as the

goddess of sailors, the god of war, the gods of special

neighborhoods or occupations" (Dobbins - "Story of the World's

Worship" p.621). The Syrians believed the powers of certain gods

were limited to certain areas, as an incident in the Bible

records: "Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were

stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and

surely we shall be stronger than they" (1 Kings 20:23).

     When Rome conquered the world, these same ideas were very

much in evidence as the following sketch will show. "Brighit" was

goddess of smiths and poetry. "Juno Regina" was the goddess of

womanhood and marriage. "Minerva" was the goddess of wisdom,

handicrafts, and musicians. "Venus" was the goddess of sexual

love and birth. "Vesta" was the goddess of bakers and sacred

fires. "Ops" was the goddess of wealth. "Ceres" was the goddess

of corn, wheat, and growing vegetation. (Our word "cereal"

fittingly, comes from her name.) "Hercules" was the god of joy

and wine. "Mercury" was the god of orators and, in the old

fables, quite an orator himself, which explains why the people of

Lystra thought of Paul as the god Mercury (Acts 14:11,12). The

gods "Castor" and "Pollux" were the protectors of Rome and of

travellers at sea (cf. Acts 28:11). "Cronus" was the guardian of

oaths. "Janus" was the god of doors and gates. "There were gods

who presided over every moment of a man's life, gods of house and

garden, of food and drink, of health and sickness" (Durant - "The

Story of Civilization: Caesar and Christ, pp.61-63).

     With the idea of gods and goddesses associated with various

events in life now established in pagan Rome, it was but another

step for these same concepts to finally be merged into the church

of Rome. Since converts from paganism were reluctant to part with

their "gods" - unless they could find some satisfactory

counterpart in Christianity - the gods and goddesses were renamed

and called "saints." The old idea of gods associated with certain

occupations and days has continued in the Roman Catholic belief

in saints and saints'days, as the following table shows.



Actors - St. Genesius - August 25; Architects - St. Thomas -     

ecember 21; Astonomers - St. Cominic - August 4; Athletes -     

St. Sebastain - January 20; Bakers - St. Elizabeth -           

November 19; Bankers - St. Matthew - September 21; Beggars -     

St. Alexius - July 17; Book Sellers- St. John of God - March 8;

Bricklayers - St. Steven - December 26; Builders - St. Vincent -

April 5; Butchers - St. Hadrian - September 28; Cab drivers -    

St. Fiarce - August 30; Candle-makers - St. Bernard -        

August 20; Comedians - St. Vitus - June 15; Cooks - St. Martha   

- July 29; Dentists - St. Appollonia - February 9; Doctors -     

St. Luke - October 18; Editors - St. John Bosco - January 31;

Fishermen - St. Andrew - November 30; Florists - St. Dorothy     

- February 6; Hat makers - St. James - May 11; Housekeepers -    

St. Anne - July 26; Hunters - St. Hubert - November 3; Laborers  

- St. James the Greater - July 25; Lawyers - St. Ives -May 19;

Librarians - St. Jerome - September 30; Merchants - St. Francis

of Assisi - October 4; Miners - St. Barbara - December 4;

Musicians - St. Cecilia - November 22; Notaries - St. Mark the

Evangelist - April 25; Nurses - St. Cathrine - April 30; Painter 

- St. Luke - October 18; Pharmacists - St. Gemma Galgani - April

11; Plasterers - St. Bartholomew - August 24; Printers -         

St. John of God - March 8; Sailors - St. Brendan - May 16;

Scientists - St. Albert - November 15; Singers - St. Gregory     

- March 12; Steel workers - St. Eliguis - December 1; Students   

- St. Thomas Aquinas - March 7; Surgeons - S.S. Cosmas & Damian  

- September 27; Tailors - St. Boniface of Credtion - June 5;

Tax Collectors - St. Matthew - September 21;



The Roman Catholic Church also has saints for the following

Barren women - St. Anthony; Old maids - St. Andrew;

Beer drinkers - St. Nicholas; Poor - St. Lawrence;

Children - St. Dominic;  Pregnant women - St. Gerard;

Domestic animals - St. Anthony; Television - St. Clare;

Emigrants - St. Francis; Temptation - St. Syriacus;

Family troubles - St. Eustachius; To apprehend thieves - St.

Gervase; Fire - St. Lawrence; To have children - St. Felicitas;

Floods - St. Columban; To obtain a husband - St. Joseph;

lightning storms - St. Barbara; To obtain a wife - St. Anne;

Lovers - St. Raphael; To find lost articles - St. Anthony;



Catholics are taught to pray to certain "saints" for help with

the following afflictions:    

          

Arthritis - St. James; Epilepsy, nerves - St. Vitus;

Bite of dogs - St. Hubert; Fever - St. George;

Bite of snakes - St. Hilary; Foot diseases - St. Victor;

Blindness - St. Raphael; Gall stones - St. Liberius;

Cancer - St. Peregrine; Gout - St. Andrew; Cramps - St.Murice;   

Headaches - St. Denis; Deafness - St. Cadoc; Heart trouble - St.

John of God; Disease of breast - St. Agatha; Insanity - St.

Dympna; Disease of eyes - St. Lucy; Skin disease - St. Roch;

Disease of throat - St. Blase; Sterility - St. Giles;



     St.Hubert was born about 656 and appeared on our list as

the patron saint of hunters and healer of hydrophobia. Before his

conversion, almost all of his time was spent hunting. On a Good

Friday morning, according to legend, he pursued a large stag

which suddenly turned and he saw a crucifix between its antlers

and heard a voice tell him to turn to God.



     But why pray to saints when Christians have access to God?

Catholics are taught that through praying to saints, they may be

able to obtain help that God otherwise might not give! They are

told to worship God and then to "pray, first to Saint Mary, and

the holy apostles, and the holy martyrs, and all God's saints

.... to consider them as friends and protectors, and to implore

their aid in the hour of distress, with the hope that God would

grant to the patron what he might otherwise refuse to the

supplicant" (Catholic Ency. vol.4,p.173, art "Communion of

Saints").

     Everything considered, it seems evident that the Roman

Catholic system of patron saints developed out of the earlier

beliefs in gods devoted to days, occupations, and the various

needs of human life.

     Many of the old legends that had been associated with the

pagan gods were transferred over to the saints. The Catholic

Encyclopedia even says these "legends repeat the conceptions

found in the pre-Christian religious tales ... The legend is not

Christian, only Christianized ... In many cases it has obviously

the same origin as the myth ... Antiquity traced back sources,

whose natural elements it did not understand, to the heroes; such

was also the case with many legends of the saints ... It became

easy to transfer to the Christian martyrs the conceptions which

the ancients held concerning their heroes. This transference was

promoted by the numerous cases in which Christian saints became

the successors of local deities, and Christian worship supplanted

the ancient local worship. This explains the great number of

similarities between gods and saints" (Ibid.,vol,9,pp.130,131,art

Legends").

     As paganism and Christianity were mixed together, sometimes

a saint was given a similar sounding name as that of the pagan

god or goddess it replaced. The goddess "Victoria" of the

Basses-Alpes was renamed as St.Victoire, "Cheron" as St.Ceranos,

"Artemis" as St.Artemidos, "Dionysus" as St.Dionysus, etc. The

goddess "Brighit" (regarded as the daughter of the sungod and who

was represented with a child in her arms) was smoothly renamed as

"Saint Bridget." In pagan days, her chief temple at Kildare was

served by Vestal Virgins who tended the sacred fires. Later her

temple became a convent and her vestals, nuns. They continued to

tend the ritual fire, only it was now called "St.Bridget's fire" 

(Urin - "Festivals, Holy Days, and Saints' Day" p.26).

     The best preserved ancient temple now remaining in Rome is

the Pantheon which in olden times was dedicated (according to the

inscription over the portico) to "Jove and all the gods." This

was reconsecrated by Pope Boniface IV to "The Virgin Mary and all

the saints." Such practices were not uncommon. "Churches or ruins

of churches have been frequently found on the sites where pagan

shrines or temples originally stood ... It is also to some extent

true that sometimes the saint whose aid was to be invoked at the

Christian shrine bore some outward analogy to the deity

previously hallowed in that place. Thus in Athens the shrine of

the healer Asklepios ... when it became a church, was made sacred

to the two saints whom the Christian Athenians invoked as

miraculous healers, Kosmas and Damian" (Catholic Ency.

vol.2,p.44, art "Athens").

     A cave shown in Bethlehem as the place in which Jesus was

born, was, according to Jerome, actually a rock shrine in which

the Babylonian god Tammuz had been worshipped. The scriptures

never state that Jesus was born in a cave. Throughout the Roman

Empire, paganism died in one form, only to live again within the

Roman Catholic church. Not only did the devotion to the old gods

continue (in a new form), but the use of statues of these gods as

well. In some cases, it is said, the very same statues that had

been worshipped as pagan gods were renamed as Christian saints.

Through the centuries, more and more statues were made, until

today there are churches in Europe which contain as many as two,

three, and four thousand statues (Hasting's Ency.of Religion and

Ethics, art "Omage and Idols"). In large impressive cathedrals,

in small chapels, at wayside shrines, on the dashboards of

automobiles - in all these places the idols of Catholicism may be

found in abundance.

     The use of such idols within the Roman Catholic Church

provides another clue in solving the mystery of modern Babylon;

for, as Herodotus mentioned, Babylon was the source from which

all systems of idolatry flowed to the nations. To link the word

"idols" with statues of Mary and the saints may sound quite harsh

to some. But can this be totally incorrect? It is admitted in

Catholic writings that at numerous times and among various

people, images of the saints have been worshipped in

superstitious ways. Such abuses, however, are generally placed

in the past. It is explained that in this enlightened age, no

educated person actually worships the object itself, but rather

what the object represents. Generally this is true. But is this

not also true of heathen tribes that use idols (unmistakably

idols) in the worship of demon-gods? Most of these do not believe

the idol itself is a god, but only representative of the

demon-god they worship.

     Several articles within "The Catholic Encyclopedia" seek to

explain that the use of images is proper on the basis of them

being representative of Christ or the saints. "The honor which is

given to them is referred to the objects which they represent, so

that through the images which we kiss, and before which we

uncover our heads and kneel, we adore Christ and venerate the

saints whose likenesses they are" (Catholic Ency.vol.7,p.636, art

"Idolatry").

     Not all Christians are convinced, however, that this

"explanation" is strong enough reason to bypass verses such as

Exodus 20:4,5: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,

or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is

in the earth beneath, or that is underneath the earth: Thou shalt

not bow down thyself to them."

     In the Old Testament, when the Israelites conquered a

heathen city or country, they were not to adopt the idols of

these people into their religion. Such were to be destroyed, even

though they might be covered with silver and gold! "The graven

images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not

desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it

unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination

to the Lord" (Deut.7:25). They were to "destroy all their

pictures" of pagan gods also (Numbers 33:52). 

     To what extent these instructions were to be carried out

under the New Testament has been often debated over the

centuries. The Catholic Encyclopedia gives a historical sketch of

this, showing how people fought and even died over this very

issue, especially in the eighth century. Though upholding the use

of statues and pictures, it says "there seems to have been a

dislike of holy pictures, a suspicion that their use was, or

might become, idolatrous, among certain Christians for many

centuries," and mentions several Catholic bishops who were of

this same opinion (Ibid.,p.620, art, "Iconoclasm").

     For people to fight and kill each other over this issue -

regardless of which side they were on - was unmistakably contrary

to the teachings of Christ.

     The pagans placed a circle or aureole around the heads of

those who were "gods" in their pictures. This practice continued

right on in the art of the Romish church ... St. Augustine is

shown in Catholic books - with a circular disk around his head.

All Catholic saints are pictured this same way. But to see that

this practice was borrowed from heathenism, we need only to

notice the drawing of Buddha which also features the circular

symbol around his head! The artists and sculptors of ancient

Babylon used the disk or aureola around any being they wished to

represent as a god or goddess (Inman - Ancient Pagan and Modern

Christian Symbolism" p.35). The Romans depicted "Circe," the

pagan goddess of the sun, with a circle surrounding her head.

From its use in pagan Rome, the same symbolism passed into papal

Rome and has continued to this day, as evidenced in thousands of

paintings of Mary and the saints.

     Pictures, supposedly of Christ, were painted with "golden

beams" surrounding his head. This was exactly the way the sungod

of the pagans had been represented for centuries.

     The church of the first four centuries used no pictures of

Christ. The  scriptures do not give us any description of the

physical features of Jesus whereby an accurate painting could be

made of him. It seems evident, then, that the pictures of Christ,

like those of Mary and the saints, have come from the

imaginations of artists. We only have to make a short study of

religious art to find that in different centuries and among

different nationalities, many pictures of Christ - some very

different - may be found. Obviously all of these cannot be what

he looked like. Besides, having now ascended into heaven, we no

longer know him "after the flesh" (2 Cor.5:16), having been

"glorified" (John 7:39), and with a "glorious body" (Phil. 3:21),

not even the best artist in the world could portray the King in

his beauty. Any picture, even at its best, could never show how

wonderful he really is!



                              ...............



TO BE CONTINUED



With what we have learnt above about Saints and Saints' Days, we

can now come to see what Paul was instructing and correcting the

people of Galatia about, in Galatians 4:8-11.



Verse eight, Paul talks to those who "knew NOT God, yet did

service unto them which by nature are no gods." Paul is NOT

addressing the Jews (who did know God, having a form of

knowledge, but without proper understanding) - he is talking now

to those who DID NOT know the true God, but who had served false

gods, that were not gods in any form or shape. 

Verse nine, Paul says they HAD COME TO KNOW God, or God was

knowing them, as now being called of God to His light and

service, and true way to live and practice. 



Then he says, "how TURN you AGAIN to the weak and beggarly

rudiments where you desire to be in bondage." They were TURNING

BACK, and the Greek here is "back to" "again at first" "again

anew" - it is indeed meaning "back again to" as doing something

that they once did and were now returning to it once again.



None of God's commandments of any kind, can be considered "weak

and beggarly" - if they are from God, they are from HIM, and so

have a purpose. God does not do anything that is "weak and

beggarly."



The Galatians (many of them) had returned to their former ways.

The ones who at one time "knew not God" but had "served gods that

were not gods" had again gone back to serving the weak and

beggarly rudiments of the gods of this world, the false customs

and practices and traditions, that belonged to the worship and

service of false gods. In that service of bondage was the

observance of "days, and months, and times, and years."



Woodrow has brought out in some detail what many of those

observance days etc. were. 



This section of Galatians HAS NOTHING TO DO with God's holy days,

calendar, new month days, and the Festival observance that is

ordained of God, BUT it has everything to do with people who have

come out of false observances of false gods, that they once

observed, coming to KNOW the true Eternal God and all His true

ways, and then turning from them and turning back AGAIN to the

bondage of the false customs and traditions and observances of

the world of gods that are no gods - Keith Hunt 


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