Sun worship was prominent in Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and certainly Babylon. In his book The Worship of Nature, James G. Frazer makes this observation, “In ancient Babylonia the sun was worshipped from immemorial antiquity.” — (London: Macmillan and Co., 1926), vol. 1, p. 529. It may seem surprising, but at times Babylonian sun worship influenced the worship of God’s people in the Old Testament.
Read Ezekiel 8:16 and 2 Kings 23:5, 2 Kings 23:11. What did the prophets write about the influence of sun worship in Israel and Judah? (See also Romans 1:25.)
The prophet Ezekiel, a contemporary of Daniel, pictured some of God’s people with their backs toward the temple of God worshiping the sun toward the east. Instead of worshiping the Creator of the sun, they worshiped the sun instead.
In Revelation 17:1-18, John describes a time when the principles of Babylon, including sun worship, would enter the Christian church during an age of compromise. The casual conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great joy in the Roman Empire. Constantine had a strong affinity for sun worship. Edward Gibbon, the renowned historian, writes, “The Sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine.” — The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (London: J. O. Robinson & Co, Ltd., 1830), p. 12. In A.D. 321, Constantine also passed the first “Sunday law.” This edict stated, “On the venerable day of the Sun let the Magistrates and the people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.” — Edict of Constantine, A.D. 321. This was not a law enforcing Sunday observance for all of Constantine’s subjects, but it did strengthen the observance of Sunday in the minds of the Roman population.
It was in succeeding decades that emperors and popes continued through state decrees and church councils to establish Sunday as the singular day of worship, which it remains today, as well, for the majority of Christians. What a powerful example of the hard truth that just because the majority of people believe in something, or practice it, doesn’t make it right.
|Look around at how prevalent Sunday worship is in Christian churches. What should this fact teach us about how pervasive Satan’s deceptions are? Again, as with the state of the dead, what is our only safeguard?|