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by Wayne Blank
The sun is a medium-sized main sequence yellow star at the center of our solar system, about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from earth. Measuring about 865,000 miles (1,400,000 kilometers) in diameter, the sun could contain 1,300,000 earths. The sun is very big, very hot, and makes life possible on earth - but the sun isn't a god. God created the sun, and the over 200 billion other stars in the "Milky Way" galaxy, plus hundreds of billions of other galaxies throughout the universe. The sun was created by the Creator.
A Pagan Favorite
Since the most ancient times, the sun has been a favorite "god" or god symbol of pagan people all around the world. The Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia), Egyptians (see The Ancient Egyptians), Greeks (see Ancient Empires - Greece) and Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome) all had their sun gods. The native peoples of North and South America widely practiced sun worship, as did their Asian ancestors. The Europeans too were deeply involved in sun worship, and many of their sun-god festivals were carried over when they professed conversion to Christianity. These can still be seen today in the Easter bonfire and sunrise services, and the Christmas burning of the Yule log.
Sun worship was also widely practiced by the people of the Middle East, and even the Israelites were sometimes corrupted by it:
"Then he said to me, "Have you seen this, O son of man? You will see still greater abominations than these." And he brought me into the inner court of the house of The Lord; and behold, at the door of the Temple of The Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of The Lord, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the sun toward the east." (Ezekiel 8:15-16 RSV)
The heads of Saints didn't really glow as is so often portrayed in religious art. The use of the halo, or nimbus, originated with the pagan Greeks and Romans to represent their sun god, Helios. Later artists adopted it for use in Christian images.
The halo is actually just the sun behind the person's head, as illustrated above. It's easy to recognize once one realizes what it is, although it's also often stylized to make it less obvious. Originally a very devious way of mixing idolatrous sun worship with Christianity by converts who were not all that converted, the pagan halo became an unfortunate tradition in Christian art.
God's Calendar and The Pagan Calendar
Today, the names that are used for the days of the week are all named after the sun, moon, or pagan gods. Sunday ("sun" day), Monday ("moon" day), Tuesday ("Tiwe's" day), Wednesday ("Woden's" day), Thursday ("Thor's" day), Friday ("Frie's" day) and Saturday ("Saturn's" day) are all pagan in origin.
Throughout The Bible, the days of the week were identified by number, from first to seventh. Only the seventh day was given a name, the Sabbath:
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to The Lord your God." (Exodus 20:8-10 RSV) (see The Ten Commandments and The Ten Commandments Now?)
As well, any day prior to a Sabbath, whether the regular weekly seventh-day Sabbath, or any of the annual Sabbaths (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles) was designated as a "Preparation day."
Sabbath To "Sun"day
The Fourth Commandment is to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. All of the righteous people of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, including Jesus Christ Himself (e.g. Luke 4:16), observed the Sabbath. No where in the Bible, including after Christ's resurrection, will you find people observing the first day of the week, Sunday, as a replacement for the Sabbath.
This reality was freely admitted by Roman Catholic Cardinal Gibbon in his Faith Of Our Fathers: "But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify."
So, why do so many Christian-professing churches use Sunday for the Sabbath? And the big question, should they be doing so?
An Unjustifiable Justification
Essentially, Sunday worship is supposedly justified because of the assumption that Christ was resurrected on the first day of the week. Without a Sunday resurrection, there is no justification what-so-ever for observing Sunday as a day of Christian worship, as Sunday-keeping theologians readily admit.
But, was Christ resurrected on a Sunday?
We know that Christ was crucified on the day before a Sabbath, the "preparation" day (e.g. Mark 15:42). Many have assumed that meant Friday, and commonly refer to it as "Good Friday." But the Bible record doesn't say that He was crucified on the day before the regular weekly Sabbath. He was crucified before the annual Sabbath, the Passover (i.e. John 19:14). That preparation day was not a Friday. "Good Friday" never happened.
Further, Christ said that the only proof that He was the Messiah was that He would be in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights (Matthew 12:39-40), which is 72 hours. Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is barely 36 hours, only 2 nights and 1 day. Friday to Sunday doesn't work. If someone deliberately shortchanged you like that at the supermarket, you could have them arrested.
The chart below illustrates the difference (Note: Biblical days begin and end at sunset).
When Peter, John and Mary of Magdala arrived at the tomb early that Sunday morning, the resurrection had already occurred. It was long before sunrise because it was still dark, but the tomb was then already empty. (John 20:1).
We know that Christ was placed in the tomb in late afternoon near sunset (Matthew 27:57), and would arise 72 hours later as He said. He would therefore have arisen also on a late afternoon, near sunset, 3 days later. Since He was already gone by Sunday morning, He had to have arisen the previous afternoon near sunset, on Saturday, not Sunday.
The crucifixion was on a Wednesday afternoon, with the burial just before sunset, and the resurrection was on the Sabbath afternoon just before sunset. The seventh day, not the first. Jesus Christ was not resurrected on a Sunday morning, or at any time during a Sunday. Worship on the first day of the week cannot be justified by the facts. It doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Who Decided On Sunday?
As already stated, Sunday worship did not originate in the Bible, or in the reality of the events of the crucifixion and resurrection. All of the first Christians, including Peter, Paul, all of the apostles, Mary and Joseph, all of the people who wrote the Bible, and Jesus Christ Himself were seventh-day Sabbath keepers. All of them.
So, where did Sunday worship come from?
Gradually, the Roman empire that persecuted Christians began to adopt Christianity, or rather, its own self-serving version of Christianity, which was a blend of politics and religion, a little truth, but mostly outright Roman paganism - which included worship of the Roman sun god. Sunday worship came about as a pagan corruption of God's holy seventh-day Sabbath.
By the fourth century, only Jews (by then, God's Sabbath was becoming known as the "Jewish" Sabbath), and a relatively few true Christians, continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath as God commanded everyone. There is only one true God, and one true Sabbath.
In 321, the Roman emperor Constantine issued an edict which outlawed work on the "venerable day of the sun," Sunday, and within 3 years the corrupted version of Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman empire. From that, the Roman Catholic Church, and its many Protestant daughter churches, got the commonly-accepted Sunday observance of today - utterly pagan in origin, and completely contrary to God's command.
Traditions of men cannot save you. Only the Truth, and genuine obedience to it, is the way to salvation. If you didn't know the truth about Sunday before, now you do. And God knows that you do.
Fact Finder: On the Judgment Day, will we all be accountable for what we have done with what we have known?
This Week's Bible Quiz
What Bible book follows each of these Bible books?
For the answers to this July 4 2000 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page