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MONG THE ANCIENT nations, not only were statues of the gods and goddesses in human form made, but many objects that had a hidden or mystery meaning were a part of heathen worship. An outstanding example of this is seen in the use of the ancient obelisks.

Diodorus spoke of an obelisk 130 feet high that was erected by Queen Semira-mis in Babylon.1 The Bible mentions an obelisk-type image approximately nine feet in breadth and ninety feet high. "The people...fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up" in Babylon (Daniel 3:1-7). But it was in Egypt (an early stronghold of the mystery religion) that the use of the obelisk was best known. Many of the obelisks are still in Egypt, though some have been removed to other nations. One is in Central Park in New York, another in London, and others were transported to ROME.

Originally, the obelisk was associated with sun-worship, a symbol of "Baal" (which was a title of Nimrod). The ancients—having rejected the knowledge of the true creator—seeing that the sun gave life to plants and to man, looked upon the sun as a god, the great life giver. To them, the obelisk also had a sexual significance. Realizing that through sexual union life was produced, the phallus (the male organ of reproduction) was considered (along with the sun) a symbol of life. These were the beliefs represented by the r I


The word "images" in the Bible is translated from several different Hebrew words. One of these words, matzebah, means "standing images" or obelisks (1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 18:4; 23:14; Jer. 43:13; Micah 5:13). Another word is hammanim which means "sun images", images dedicated to the sun or obelisks (Isaiah 17:8; 27:9).

In order for the obelisks to carry out their intended symbolism, they were placed upright—erect. Thus they pointed up—toward the sun. As a symbol of the phallus, the erect position also had an obvious significance. Bearing this in mind, it is interesting to notice that when divine judgment was pronounced against this false worship, it was said that these images (obelisks) "shall not stand up", but would be cast down (Isaiah 27:9).

When the Israelites mixed heathen worship into their religion in the days of Ezekiel, they erected an "image of jealousy in the entry" of the temple (Ezekiel 8:5). This image was probably an obelisk, the symbol of the phallus, for (as Scofield says) they were "given over to phallic cults."3 Placing an obelisk at the entrance of a heathen temple was, apparently, not an uncommom practice at the time. One stood at the entrance of the temple of Turn and another in front of the temple of Hathor, the "abode of Horus" (Tammuz).4

Interestingly enough, there is also an obelisk at the entrance of St. Peter's in Rome, as the photograph shows on the next page. It is not a mere copy of an Egyptian obelisk, it is the very same obelisk that stood in Egypt in ancient times! When the mystery religion came to Rome in pagan days, not only were obelisks made and erected at Rome, but obelisks of Egypt—at great expense—were hauled there and erected by the emperors. Caligula, in 37-41 A.D., had the obelisk now at the Vatican brought from Heliopolis, Egypt, to his circus on the Vatican Hill, where now stands St. Peter's.5 Heliopolis is but the Greek name of Beth-shemesh, which was the center of Egyptian sun-worship in olden days. In the Old Testament, these obelisks that stood there are mentioned as the "images of Bethshemesh" (Jer. 43:13)!

The very same obelisk that once stood at the ancient temple which was the center of Egyptian paganism, now sI.iimIk lirfmv ihf mufti»1« flniP'h nf UnftutiiMu! litis sc<'nv like more than a mere coincidence.

The red granite obelisk of the Vatican Is itself 83 feet high

!!,"{;! IVr-l hi;;!! with iis fixmtiulioiu and «I'lyli^ .'!?<1 »ons in 1 ,VMi. in ut'di<r 1» iYnl,i»r n in front, of tin* dtttrfl» in Si, fVIfi'V squitn , o w;i.i mm-i'il to its (Jccmmk location h.s onU'-r of PofH' Sixtu* V, Of ¡'isiii'M' movmii (Ins hc;ivy ob<*iisk~ ispmitlh in I lv>.<e days • ^ m rj iliffiriiH task, Mauj movers r»'<"iisiil fo nttrwpi flu1 tVat, »»sjiwiafly >itntv Uui pop»1 IijmI ultiH IicmI ¡hi' ,'< n,n> if the otwlisk w«s drop-

ptnJ riful l»rtiki«ii,h

Fiiwlls ,t man by (he name o) i)omi>nk'c Fontana acccpt,hI the iTKpoiiMbiii{>, With J 5 winch en, 160 horse?., and a crow of SOU workmen, tin1 task of moving Ivgaii. 'Ilic date was September ICf, 1 ¡»«6, Multitudes crowded flue extensive square, While the obelisk was heing moved, tin* crowd, upon


penalty of death, was required to remain silent. Finally, after near failure, the obelisk was erected—to the sound of hundreds of bells ringing, the roar of cannons, and the loud cheers of the multitude. The Egyptian idol was dedicated to the "cross" (the cross on top of the obelisk is supposed to contain a piece from the original cross), mass was celebrated, and the pope pronounced a blessing on the workmen and their horses.7

The drawing on the next page shows the pattern of St. Peter's and the circular court in front of it. At the center of this court stands the obelisk. This court is bordered by 248 Doric style columns which cost approximately one million dollars. The style for such columns was borrowed from the styling of pagan temples.

Like the obelisk, pagan columns were often regarded as "mystery" forms of the phallus. In the vestibule of the pagan temple of the goddess at Hierapolis, an inscription referring to the columns reads: "I, Dionysus, dedicated these phalli to Hera, my step-mother."8

Re-erecting the Vatican obelisk (from an old drawing).

A. High altar

B. Statue of Peter.

C. Egyptian Obelisk.

Plan of St. Peter's

Even as Roman Catholic leaders borrowed other ideas from paganism, it is no surprise that building elaborate and expensive temples also became the custom. Worldly-minded leaders thought they should build a temple of greater splendor than those of the old Roman religion.

We know that God directed his people under the rulership of Solomon to build a temple—in the Old Testament—and chose to put his presence there. But in the New Testament, it is clear that the Holy Spirit no longer dwells in temples made with men's hands (Acts 17:24). Now, God dwells in his people—bis true church—by the Spirit! Says Paul: "YE are the temple of God...the Spirit of God dwelleth in you" (1 Cor. 3:16). Understanding this grand truth, the early church—filled with the Spirit—never went forth to build temples of stone and steel. They went forth to preach the gospel. Their time was not spent in financial drives and oppressive pledges in order to build a fancier building than a temple down the street! According to Halley's Bible Handbook, we do not have a record of a church building (as such) being built prior to 222-235 A. D. !

This is not to suggest it is wrong to have church buildings. Probably the reason church buildings were not built earlier was because, due to persecutions, the first Christians were not allowed to own title to property. But had they been allowed this privilege, we feel certain that such buildings would have been built simply—not for outward show. They would not have tried to compete with the expensive styling of the heathen temples of splendor-like the temple of Diana at Ephesus or the Pantheon of Rome.

But when the church came to political power and wealth under the reign of Constantine, a pattern for building elaborate and expensive church buildings was set and has continued to this day. This idea has become so implanted in the minds of people, that the word "church" (to most people) means a building. But in its Biblical use, the word refers to an assembly or group of people who are—themselves—the temple of the Holy Spirit! As strange as it may sound, a church building could be totally destroyed, and yet the actual church (the people) remain.

The majority of expensive church buildings that have been built over the centuries have featured a tower. Each generation of church builders has copied the former generation, probably never questioning the origin of the idea. Some towers have cost fortunes to build. They have added no spiritual value. Jesus, of course, never built such structures when he was on earth, nor did he give any instructions for them to be built after his departure. How, then, did this tower tradition in church architecture begin?

If the reader will permit us a certain liberty at this point, we will suggest a theory which points back to Babylon. Of course we all remember the tower of Babel. The people said, "Let us make brick...let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven" (Gen. 11:3,4). The expression "unto heaven" is no doubt a figure of speech for great height, as was also the case when cities with walls that reached "up to heaven" were mentioned (Deut. 1:28). We are not to suppose those Babel builders intended to build clear up in the heaven of God's throne. Instead, there is sufficient evidence to show that the tower (commonly called a "zig-gurat") was connected with their religion—with sun-worship.

"Of all the lofty monuments of Babylon, the towering 'Ziggurat' must certainly have been one of the most spectacular constructions of its time, rising majestically above its huge encircling wall of a thousand towers...around the vast square, chambers were set aside for pilgrims, as well as for the priests who looked after the 'Ziggurat.' Koldewey called this collection of buildings the 'Vatican of Babylon'."9

It has been suggested that one of the meanings of the name of the goddess Astarte (Semiramis), written as "Asht-tart", means "the woman that made towers."10 The goddess Cy-bele (who also has been identified with Semiramis) was known as the tower bearing goddess, the first (says Ovid) that erected towers in cities and was represented with a tower-like crown on her head, as was also Diana (see page 17). In the symbolism of the Catholic church, a tower is emblematic of the virgin Mary!11 Does all of this somehow connect?

Some ancient towers, as we all know, were built for military purposes, for watchtowers. But many of the towers that were built in the Babylonian Empire were exclusively religious towers, connected with a temple! In those times, a stranger entering a Babylonian city would have no difficulty locating its temple, we are told, for high above the flat roofed houses, its tower could be seen/12 The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "It is a striking fact that most Babylonian cities possessed a... temple-tower."13

Is it possible that Babylon (as with other things we have mentioned) could be the source for religious towers? We recall that it was while they were building the huge tower of Babel that the dispersion began. It is certainly not impossible that as men migrated to various lands they took the idea of a "tower" with them. Though these towers have developed into different forms in different countries, yet the towers in one form or another remain!

Towers have long been an established part of the religion of the Chinese. The "pagoda" (linked with the word "goddess") at Nankin is shown in our illustration.

In the Hindu religion, "scattered above the large temple inclosures are great pagodas or towers...rising high above the surrounding country, everywhere they could be seen by the people, and thus their devotion to their idolatrous worship was increased. Many of these pagodas are several hundred feet high, and are covered with sculptures representing scenes in the lives of the gods of the temple, or of eminent saints."14

Among the Mohammedans also, though in a somewhat different form, can be seen the towers of their religion. The first illustration on the following page shows the numerous towers, called minarets, at Mecca. Towers of this style were also used at the famous Church of St. Sophia

Pagoda at Nankin

Pagoda at Nankin

The numerous towers at Mecca.

The Church of St. Sophia at Constantinople at Constantinople (above illustration).

The use of towers is also carried out in Christendom—Catholic and Protestant. The tower of the great Cathedral of Cologne rises 515 feet above the street while that of the Cathedral of Ulm, Germany, is 528 feet high. Even small chapels often have a tower of some kind. It is a tradition that is seldom questioned.

At the top of many church towers, a spire often points to the sky! Several writers link, and perhaps not without some justification, the steeples and spires with the ancient obelisk. "There is evidence", says one, "to show that the spires of our churches owe their existence to the uprights or obelisks outside the temples of former ages."15 Another says: "There are still in existence today remarkable specimens of original phallic symbols...steeples on the churches...and obelisks...all show the influence of our phallus-worshipping ancestors."16

The numerous towers at Mecca.

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