Truly the evidence of the dark getting darker is a sign that the light is also getting lighter. We are no longer in stagnant puddles. As the gray areas disappear, we are either drifting into a flood of lies or flowing into a river of life. For those of us who keep moving along as “truth-seekers,” we are propelled into more light and understanding.
This increased light however requires a change in direction to keep in the flow of truth. Change is often exciting and welcome but sometimes is a bit scary, as were our graduations. It can be a bit intimidating to leave the familiar behind, to leave the comfort zone of good to move toward the promise of best.
As an example, notice that our website logo has changed. The old one had a halo. Once we discovered both the origins and meaning of the halo, it had to go. It is replaced with a scroll, more emblematic of the scriptures. The old logo, present on the cover pages of our Lessons has not been changed. I may never get to that as we move on.
In fact, with all of our writings, you may notice a few changes from the earlier ones to the more recent ones. It is a reflection of coming into a clearer understanding. Thanks for your patience with the variances as we move along. We’ll mention a few other changes later in this blog.
Let’s get back to the halo. “Halo” is not mentioned in the scriptures. The halo is a sun disc.
They are famously seen in Christian art around the heads of those seen as “divine” or “anointed.” This is the same way that sun worshippers ascribed divinity to their gods. As Todd Bennett says on page 183 of his book, “Restoration,” the word “halo” derives from the name of a sun-god named, “Helios,” which permeated both Judaism and Christianity.
This new understanding of the halo brought us into the valley of decision once again. The halo is no longer the symbol of preference for our website logo. It is not that we felt that we had to change the logo, but because we no longer wanted its association. We do not make changes to become “legalistic,” but to be obedient to the leading of His Spirit from within.
Finding the origin of the halo in worship to the sun-god, yet, used so much later in Christianity, stirred us to dig a bit deeper. As we searched further, we uncovered more, which led us to other changes that we’ll also share. What we found was that sun-god worship is commonly found in all ancient cultures and many modern ones.
The sun god was the predominant religion at the Tower of Babel. When the different language groups dispersed, they had different names for their sun god. He was known variously as Mithras, Horus, Ra, Dionysus, Attis, and more.
They were all born on December 25th, which was the winter solstice back then. This was the big holiday to celebrate the day when the length of sunlight in the day would increase. To the followers, these sun gods were all born of a virgin.
The sun god was worshipped weekly at the beginning of the week, Sunday. This discovery raised another question. Why would Christians change from keeping the Sabbath as their day of rest to Sunday?
This would be in harmony with a religious tradition, but in contrast to the fact that Paul and others who wrote the New Covenant continued to observe the Sabbath. That would be a study in itself, with mistranslations to explain another time. It’s pointed out in Rood’s “The Chronological Gospels.”
Not all went along with shifting away from the Sabbath being celebrated from Friday’s sunset to Saturday’s sunset. They resisted at a terrible cost. Both the political and religious powers did all they could to force this change. They wanted one culture, one of mixture with the pagan society. This is what they saw as a way to amass control and wealth.
All who would not make the change were persecuted. They had their homes and wealth confiscated. They were even murdered in vast numbers. Encyclopedias lay out this gruesome story with details from history.
The Catholic Church even had a bishop who bragged that the church was powerful enough to change the set-apart day of the week from the Sabbath to Sunday. The boast was also that the Pope wielded more authority than the Scriptures. The day of sun-god worship was to become the standard for “the churched.”
Needless to say, knowing such truth, we don’t do sunrise services any more than we would endorse halos. I am NOT saying that we cannot appreciate a beautiful sunrise. Just that we are not to have a service with a focus on it. We see Sunday as a day of work, just as we do the other five workdays.
When first presented with more truth, we would tend to say, “well, that’s not what it means to me.” However, what does it mean to God? Investigating the scriptures, we saw in Jeremiah 16 and Ezekiel 8 how horribly disgusting it is to God to have his people facing East to the sun rather than focusing on Yahovah’s (God’s) Presence, symbolically west of the Most Holy Place.
We see a fuller context of this by also reading Jeremiah 7 and 44. We see there the people saying they have not abandoned God, they just also have some traditions that they love and combine with the worship of Yahovah, like offerings to the virgin queen of heaven when they “go to church.” God is very clear in the Word of His strong disapproval of such an attitude.
Since we’re on the topic of halos and sun-god worship, I’ll share a bit more. One change leads to another, just as the path of the righteous becomes brighter as we walk along with it. We’ve been led to other changes as we’ve been faced with new truth over the years. Here’s another that ties in with our topic.
When my 2nd wife passed away in 2001, so did the tradition of a Christmas tree in our home. There has not been a Christmas tree in my home since. Back then, I just knew that there was no Scripture to back up having a tree or celebrating the birth of Jesus on that day.
I suspected pagan origins but didn’t research it at the time. I just knew by the Spirit that it was something to leave behind as I moved on. Since then, I’ve learned of the symbolism of Christmas trees, so we were thankful that they were left behind too.
The Pilgrims, in fact, made it illegal to have a Christmas tree or a Christmas service. Why? They knew it was linked to pagan sun-god worship. There were even fines in our country into the 1700s for having a Christmas tree. Although I have abandoned Christmas trees, I am not offended by those who are comfortable with things I’ve left behind.
In areas where we have gained understanding, we must let His love override differences with other believers, giving room for them to grow in those areas while gleaning truths from them in areas that are new to us. All of us “truth-seekers” are on the winning team like a family. We cheer each other onwards and upwards in the Messiah.
It’s easy to change a logo, not attend sunrise services, or not have a Christmas tree. It is another thing to walk in Him so that His Spirit may change us within into His likeness and nature. As the change occurs in the heavens of the Spirit, may His Life be manifested in the earthen vessels that we are. There are changes in both the spiritual and natural realms as we flow in the River of Life.
By Eric and Mary Elizabeth Ellis
Posted as a blog entry on bibleconcepts.com.