to PICK Of PASSEHCEH5
merged into the religious system of Rome. This included the idea of a Supreme Pontiff (Pontifex Maximus). Thus Babylonian paganism, which had originally been carried out under the rulership of Nimrod, was united under the rulership of one man at Rome: Julius Caesar. It was the year 63 B. C. that Julius Caesar was officially recognized as the "Pontifex Maximus" of the mystery religion—now established at Rome.
To illustrate how this title was used by the Caesars, we show here an old Roman coin of Augustus Caesar (B. C. 27-14 A. D.) with his title as the "Pont-Max", the head of the mysteries. It is interesting to note that coins such as this were in circulation during the days of our Lord's earthly ministry. "And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's" (Matt. 22:17-22).
The Roman emperors (including Constantine) continued to hold the office of Pontifex Maximus until 376 when Gratian, for Christian reasons, refused it. He recognized this title and office as idolatrous and blasphemous. By this time, however, the bishop of Rome had arisen to political power and prestige. Consequently, in 378, Demasus, bishop of Rome, was elected the Pontifex Maximus—the official high priest of the mysteries! Since Rome was considered the most important city in the world, some of the Christians looked to the bishop of Rome as "bishop of bishops" and head of the church. This produced a unique situation. One man was now looked to as head by both Christians and pagans. By this time, and through the years that followed, the streams of paganism and Christianity flowed together, producing what is known as the Roman Catholic Church, under the headship of the Pontifex Maximus, the Pope.
The title Pontifex Maximus is repeatedly found on inscriptions throughout the Vatican—above the entry of St. Peter's, above the statue of Peter, in the dome, above the Holy Year Door which is opened only during a jubilee year, etc. The accompanying medal, struck by
Pope Leo X just before the Reformation, illustrates one of the ways that the title "Pont. Max." has been used by the popes.
But how could a man be at one and the same time both the head of the church and the Pontifex Maximus, the head of the pagan mysteries? In an attempt to cover this discrepancy, church leaders sought for similarities between the two religions. They knew that if they could find even a few points that each side had in common, both could be merged into one, for by this time most were not concerned about details. They desired numbers and political power. Truth was secondary.
One striking similarity was that the Supreme Pontiff of paganism bore the Chaldean title peter or interpreter—the interpreter of the mysteries.1 Here was an opportunity to "Christianize" the pagan office of Pontifex Maximus, the office the bishop of Rome now held, by associating the "Peter" or Grand Interpreter of Rome with Peter the apostle. But to make the apostle Peter the Peter-Roma was not without its problems. To do so, it was necessary to teach that Peter had been in Rome. This is the real reason that since the fourth century (and not before) that numerous tales began to be voiced about Peter being the first bishop of Rome.2 "And so, to the blinded Christians of the apostasy, the Pope was the representative of Peter the apostle, while to the initiated pagans, he was only the representative of Peter, the interpreter of their well-known mysteries."3
According to an old tradition, Nimrod was "the opener" of secrets or mysteries, "the firstborn" of deified human beings. The word translated "openeth" in verses such as Exodus 13:2, as Strong's Concordance points out, is the Hebrew word "peter."4 To what extent things such as this may have influenced traditions that have been handed down about Peter and Rome, we cannot say.
Since the apostle Peter was known as Simon Peter, it is interesting to note that Rome not only had a "Peter", an opener or interpreter of the mysteries, but also a religious leader named Simon who went there in the first century! In fact, it was the Simon who had practiced sorcery in Samaria (Acts 8:9) that later went to Rome and founded a counterfeit Christian religion there! Because this sounds so bizarre, in order to make it clear there is no bias on our part, we quote the following right from The Catholic Encyclopedia about this Simon: "Justin Martyr and other early writers inform us that he afterwards went to Rome, worked miracles there by the power of demons, and received Divine honors both in Rome and in his own country. Though much extravagant legend afterwards gathered around the name of this Simon...It seems nevertheless probable that there must be some foundation in fact for the account given by Justin and accepted by Eusebius. The historical Simon Magus no doubt founded some sort of religion as a counterfeit of Christianity in which he claimed to play a part analogous to that of Christ. "5
We know that the Romish church became expert in taking various ideas or traditions and mixing them together into its one united system of religion. If Simon did build up a following in Rome, if he received Divine honors, if he founded a counterfeit Christian religion in which he played a part analogous to Christ, is it not possible that such ideas could have influenced later traditions? Perhaps this "Simon" being in Rome was later confused with Simon Peter. The popes have claimed to be "Christ in office" on earth. Apparently Simon the sorcerer made the same claim in Rome, but we never read of any such claim being made by Simon Peter the apostle!
Another mixture at Rome involved "keys." For almost a thousand years, the people of Rome had believed in the mystic keys of the pagan god Janus and the goddess Cybele.6 In Mithraism, one of the main branches of the mysteries that came to Rome, the sun-god carried two keys.7 When the emperor claimed to be sucessor of the "gods" and the Supreme Pontiff of the mysteries, the keys came to be symbols of his authority. Later when the bishop of Rome became the Pontifex Maximus in about 378, he automatically became the possessor of the mystic keys. This gained recognition for the pope from the pagans and, again, there was the opportunity to mix Peter into the story. Had not Christ said to Peter, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 16:19)? It was not until 431, however, that the pope publically claimed that the keys he possessed were the keys of authority given to the apostle Peter. This was over fifty years after the pope had become the Pontifex Maximus, the possessor of the keys. For an example of how the keys are shown as symbols of the pope's authority, see the large fan on page 89.
The key given to Peter (and to all the other disciples) represented the message of the gospel whereby people could enter the kingdom of God. Because some have not rightly understood this, it is not uncommom for Peter to be pictured as the gatekeeper of heaven, deciding who he will let in and who he won't! Janus with key and cock This is very much like the ideas that were associated with the pagan god Janus, for he was the keeper of the doors and gates in the pagan mythology of Rome, the opener. Janus, with key in hand, is shown in the above drawing. He was represented with two faces—one young, the other old (a later version of Nimrod incarnated in Tammuz). It is interesting to notice that not only was the key a symbol of Janus, the cock was also regarded as being sacred to him.8 There was no problem to link the cock with Peter, for had not a cock crowed on the night that he denied the Lord? (John 18:27).
It is certain that the title "Supreme Pontiff" or "Pontifex Maximus" which the pope bears is not a Christian designation, for it was the title used by Roman emperors before the Christian Era. The word "pontiff" comes from the word pons, "bridge", and facio, "make." It means "bridge-maker." The priest-king emperors of pagan days were regarded as the makers and guardians of the bridges of Rome. Each of them served as high priest and claimed to be the bridge or connecting link between this life and the next.
That branch of the mysteries known as Mithraism grew in Rome until it became—at one time—almost the only faith of the empire.9 The head priest was called the Pater Patrum, that is, the Father of the Fathers.10 Borrowing directly from this title, at the head of the Roman Catholic Church, is the Papa or Pope—the Father of Fathers. The "Father" of Mithraism had his seat at Rome then, and the "Father" of Catholicism has his there now.
The expensive and highly decorated garments that the
popes wear were not adopted from Christianity, but were patterned after those of the Roman emperors. The historians have not let this fact go unnoticed, for indeed their testimony is that "the vestments of the clergy...were legacies from pagan Rome."11 The tiara crown that the popes wear—though decorated in different ways at different times—is identical in shape to that worn by the "gods" or angels that are shown on ancient pagan Assyrian tablets.12 It is similar to that seen on Dagon, the fish-god. (cf. the tiara pictured on page 94).
Dagon was actually but a mystery form of the false Babylonian "savior." The name Dagon comes from dag (a word commonly translated "fish" in the Bible) and means fish-god.13 Though it originated in the paganism of Babylon,14 Dagon worship became especially popular among the hea-thenistic Philistines (Judges 16:21-30; 1 Sam. 5:5, 6).
The way that Dagon was depicted on Mesopotamian sculpture is seen in the drawing above (second figure from left).15 Layard, in Babylon and Nineveh, explains that "the head of the fish formed a m itre above that of the man, while its scaly, fan-like tail fell as a cloak behind, leaving the human limbs and feet exposed."16 Later, in the development of things, just the top portion remained as a mitre, with the jaws of the fish slightly opened. On several pagan Maltese coins, a'
god (whose characteristics are the same as those of Osiris, the Egyptian Nim-rod), is shown with the fish body removed, and only the fish-head mitre remaining.17
A famous painting by Moretto shows St. Ambrose wearing a mitre shaped like the head of a fish. This same type of mitre is worn by the pope as seen in the sketch of Pope Paul VI as he delivered a sermon on "Peace" during his historic visit to the United States in 1965. The picture on page 89 also shows the fish-head mitre.
H. A. Ironside says that the pope is "the direct successor of the high priest of the Babylonian mysteries and the servant of the fish-god Dagon, for whom he wears, like his idolatrous predecessors, the fisherman's ring." Again, in mixing paganism and Christianity together, similarities made the mixture less obvious. In this case, since Peter had been a fisherman, the fish-god ring with the title Pontifex Maximus inscribed on it was associated with him. But a ring like this was never worn by Peter the Apostle. No one ever bowed and kissed his ring. He probably didn't even
have one—for silver and gold had he none! (Acts 3).
Another clue to help us solve the mystery of Babylon modern may be seen in the use of the pallium which the pope wears over his shoulders. The unabridged dictionaries define it as a garment that was worn by the pagan clergy of Pallium.
Greece and Rome, before the Christian Era. In modern times, the pallium is made of white wool which is taken from two lambs which have been "blessed" in the basilica of St. Agnes, Rome. As a symbol that the archbishops also share in the plenitude of the papal office, the pope sends the pallium to them. Before it is sent, however, it is laid all night on the supposed tomb of St. Peter-such a practice being a copy of paganism that was practiced among the Greeks!
For centuries the Romish church claimed to posses the very chair in which Peter had sat and ministered at Rome. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains that the plates on the front of this chair show fabulous animals of mythology as well as the fabled "labors of Hercules."** In another volume of The Catholic Encyclopedia, we find these words: "Gilga-
Chair of St. Peter.
mesh, whom, mythology transit) cules,.,would then be the perse Nemrod (Nimrod)."19 It is cm to Hercules and carvings associs the so-called "Chafe of Peter," cause us to think of this chair as ■A scientific commission appo
1988, has now reported that enough to elate from the clays c on the carbon, dating and other ib fiv i-ti.M' t< no older ili.it the old ideas about Peter's chs accurate.
)t of Peter
)t of Peter
Near the high altar of St. Peter's (see page 43) is a large bronze statue supposedly of Peter. This statue is looked upon with the most profound veneration and its foot has been kissed so many times that the toes are nearly worn away! The photograph on the previous page shows a former pope (John XXIII) about to kiss this statue which was dressed up with rich papal robes and a three-tiered papal crown for the occasion.
The practice of kissing an idol or statue was borrowed from paganism. As we have seen, Baal worship was linked with the ancient worship of Nimrod in deified form (as the sun-god). In the days of Elijah, multitudes had bowed to Baal and kissed him. "Yet", God said, "I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him" (1 Kings 19:18). In one of his "mystery" forms, Nimrod (incarnated in the young Tammuz) was represented as a calf. Statues of calves were made, worshipped, and kissed! "They sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say to them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves" (Hosea 13:1-3). Kissing an idol was a part of Baal worship!
Not only was the practice of kissing an idol adopted by the Romish church, so was the custom of religious processions in which idols are carried. Such processions are a common part of Roman Catholic practice, yet these did not originate with Christianity. In the fifteenth century B. C., an image of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar was carried with great pomp and ceremony from Babylon to Egypt.20 Idol processions were practiced in Greece, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, and many other countries in olden times.
The Bible shows the folly of those who think good can come from idols—idols so powerless they must be carried! Isaiah, in direct reference to the gods of Babylon, had this to say: "They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove" (Isaiah 46:6, 7).
Not only have such processions continued in the Roman Catholic Church in which idols are carried, but the pope is n' ¿f
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