Tel-World Ministries




The Sabbath - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know



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 The History of Sunday Worship 

Worshiping on Sunday did not begin with the advent of Christianity; it was a religious day of worship two thousand years before Jesus Christ.

Shortly after the flood of Noah, Nimrod and his mother-wife, Semiramis, founded the great pagan religions. From its beginning at the tower of Babel, sun-worship spread through the entire ancient world.

History  tells us that all religions, except the true religion of the God of the Bible, originated in Babylon. It is admitted by most Bible scholars and historians that the gods and goddesses of the ancient civilizations were all a part of the same religious belief system.

However, the names of the various deities were different  because of the confusing of the languages at the tower of Babel (Gen.10 & 11). See also "The Two Babylons," by Alexander Hislop. This amazing book historically documents sun-worship as the leading religion in all the ancient civilizations:

"Fire was worshiped as the enlightener and purifier. Now, it was thus at the very beginning; for Nimrod is singled out by  the voice of antiquity as commencing  the  fire-worship" (The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop, p. 226).

All the pagan religions, with their many and varied gods and goddesses, worshiped the sun as their main deity. Moreover, sun-worship is the direct worship of Satan the Devil under the symbolism  of worshiping the sun. One of the names of  Satan in the Old Testament is Lucifer, which means "lightbringer."  This was Satan's name before his rebellion against God (Isa.14:12-14).


Fire-worship  was only one form of sun-worship that was actually Satan worship.  

"The sun, as the great source of light and  heat, was worshiped under the name of Baal; . . .the sun, under  that name was worshiped in the earliest ages of the world. . ."  (ibid. p. 226).

"The beginning, then, of sun-worship and of the worship of the host of  heaven, was a sin against the light [of  God and  his Word], a presumptuous, heaven-daring sin" (ibid. p. 226).  

Ancient Israel not only transgressed the Sabbath of God (profaned and secularized it) when they worshiped  Baal  they also observed  Sunday,  because Baal worship is sun-worship and Sun-day is the day when the sun is worshiped.

"Baal" is from the ancient  Hebrew language and means "lord."  Therefore,  Sun-day  is Baal's  day, or the lord's day. But, that lord is not  the  Lord God of the Bible, rather, it is the lord Satan. Satan is called the god of this world (2.Cor.4:4), and is worshiped as god by those who have been deceived into believing his lies.


"Along with  the sun, as the great fire-god, and in due time, identified with him, the serpent was worshiped. 'In mythology of the primitive world,' says Owen, 'the serpent is universally the symbol of the sun.'  In Egypt, one of the commonest symbols of the sun, or sun-god, is a disc with a serpent around it.

"As the sun was the great enlightener of the physical  world, so the serpent was held to have been the great enlightener of the spiritual, by  giving to mankind the  'knowledge of good and evil'  . . . at all events, we have evidence, both  Scriptural  and profane,  for  the fact that  the worship of the serpent began side by side with the worship of fire and sun" (ibid. p. 227).

From the very first chapters of the Bible, Satan is pictured as a serpent. And at the end, he is still pictured as a  serpent. In Revelation 12:3 Satan is called  "a great red dragon," which could  also be  translated "'a fiery dragon', 'fiery serpent', or 'serpent of fire'".

This historical background is essential to understanding  that Sun-worship was the dominant religion in all the ancient civilizations, and that it spread from "Mother Babylon" into all countries: India, China, Africa, Greece, Rome, Mexico, South America, Egypt, and Europe. Sun-worship was a very prominent religion and Sunday was  the main day of worship in the Roman empire by the time of Jesus Christ, just as it was in ancient Babylon:

"In pagan Rome, this fire-worship and serpent-worship were sometimes separate, sometimes conjoined; but both occupied a pre-eminent place in Roman esteem" (ibid. p. 236).

"Now if this worship of the sacred serpent of  the Sun, the great fire-god, was so universal in Rome, what symbol could more graphically  portray the idolatrous power of pagan Imperial Rome  than the 'Great  Fiery Serpent?'  No doubt it was to set  forth  this very thing that the Imperial standard itself - the standard  of the pagan  Emperor of Rome, as Pontifex Maximus -  head of  the great system of fire-worship, was the serpent elevated on a lofty pole,  and so colored as to exhibit it as a recognized symbol  of fire-worship" (ibid. p. 238).

The Babylonian sun-worship system made the king or emperor the direct representative of the sun god. As such, he was the king-god or god-king. He was the only one in whom the highest  level of the spirit  of the sun-deity resided.  This spirit was  not  the holy  spirit of God, but the spirit of Satan the Devil. This is why the pagan emperors were worshiped as gods.  The pure form of this kind of sun-worship was transferred from Babylon   to  the city of Pergamos in Asia Minor after the death of Belshazzar.

In Revelation 2:12-13, Pergamos is called "Satan's seat," and was the headquarters of the original Babylonian sun-worship until Imperial Rome began to take over the leadership. The relocation of "Satan's Seat" began in the person of  Julius Caesar when, as emperor, he had supreme civil and religious rule:

"When Julius Caesar, who  had previously been elected  Pontifex Maximus, became also, as Emperor, the supreme civil ruler  of the  Romans, then as head of Roman religion, all the powers  and functions of the true legitimate Babylonian Pontiff were supremely vested in him, and he found himself in a position to assert these powers" (ibid. p. 241).

In the year 46 B.C., Julius Caesar was made "Praefectus  Morum" (supervisor of morals), which means he was made the head of Roman religions. And in the year  44 B.C., he was made dictator for life (See Langer's Encyclopedia of World History).

It  is essential to understand that from that time forward, the Emperor of Rome was also the head of the state religions. This did not change until Emperor Justinian, who reigned from 527-565 A.D., submitted to the head of the Roman Catholic Church. From that time forward, the Pope was acknowledged by the Emperor to be Pontifex Maximus over all religions. The Pope now had supreme authority in religious matters, and the Emperors had control of the political power of the state.


The names of the days of the Roman week are very revealing  in understanding about Sun-day worship before it  allegedly became a "Christian" institution. Sun-day, or the day of the Sun, was the main pagan day of worship. Although other pagan gods had days named after them, only "dies solis" (Latin for "day of the sun") was proclaimed to be holy:

"There is no question that the existence of the planetary week with its Sun-day ("dies solis") is crucial for determining any influence of Sun-worship on the [professing] Christian adoption of Sunday observance, inasmuch as the Sun before the existence of a weekly "Sun-day" was venerated every morning" (From  Sabbath to Sunday, Samuele Bacchiocchi, 1977. p. 237).

The prominence of Sun-worship in the Roman Empire was attributed to two factors. First, it had been a part of  the religious worship system of  pagan Rome for a very long time. It was widespread, but not the official dominant religion." Next,  the Eastern cult of sun-worship, "Sol Invictus  (Invincible  Sun), through  the cult of "Sol Invictus Mithra"  and  "Sol  Elagabal," became  the  dominant religion of the Empire. Notice the "bal" at the end of the name; this signifies that it  incorporated ba(a)l worship.

"Mithraism primarily was a private cult, though it  numbered among its adherents  magistrates and  emperors. Sol Invictus Elagabal, on the other hand, was a popular cult with grandiose temples, and  during the rule of the young Emperor Elagabalus (A.D. 218-222) was made the official cult of the  whole empire" (ibid. p. 241).

The "Day of the Sun" also had pre-eminence as a day of worshiping the sun. That the day of the Sun enjoyed pre-eminence already by the middle of the second century is clearly  indicated by the famous astrologer Vettius Valens. In his Anthology composed between 154-174 A.D., when explaining  how to find the day of the week of any given birth date, he states, "And this is the  sequence of the planetary stars in relation to the days of the  week: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn" (ibid. p. 251).  

"The 'dies solis' was evidently the most sacred [day] of the week for the faithful of Mithra and the gods have arranged the days of the week, whose names the Romans have dedicated to certain stars. The first day [of the week] they called the day of the Sun because  it is the ruler of all the stars" (ibid. p. 250,  footnote 53).

The foregoing shows that in pagan Roman times (before, during, and after the coming of Jesus Christ), Sun-day was the most prominent day of worship in the Roman Empire. Most of the Christian religions today wrongly assume that this pagan day of worship is holy.            

There were many forces and factors involved in the disintegration and  abandonment of God's Sabbath. However, the major factor  was that of hate. Even today, the majority of Christendom holds the Sabbath in disdain.

Hate is the opposite of love. God is love and his way is a  way of love! Everything in God's Word is based on love: love towards God, as expressed by the first four commandments, and love towards neighbor, as expressed by the last six commandments.  Jesus made  it absolutely clear that all the law and  the  prophets hang on the two principles of  "loving God" and "loving neighbor" (Matt.22:37-40).

Hatred is a powerful tool that Satan has used to divide and conquer. It is natural for the human mind to hate, and especially to hate God and his way: "If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you" (Jn.15:18 Para.).

The Jewish Problem

Long before Jesus Christ was born, the Jews despised the Gentiles (non-Jews). This attitude of hatred towards the Gentiles was particularly heightened during the days of Antiochus  Epiphanes when he determined to convert every Jew into a pagan Greek or exterminate the entire nation in the process.

In order to prevent Jews from being assimilated into other races, which would result in having their religion and nation destroyed, the  Jewish religious and civil leaders created a closed Jewish society. This  was  accomplished by legislating many laws which  forbade contact with Gentiles. They could not even keep company with anyone who was not a Jew or a Jewish proselyte. This problem carried  over into the early New Testament Church when God began calling  Gentiles to salvation (Acts 10 & 11; Galatians 1& 2). Such extremes bred more and more hatred: Gentile toward Jew and Jew toward Gentile.

At times the Romans were amiable toward and tolerant of the Jewish religion, and they even recognized Judaism as a legitimate religion. The Roman Empire even passed laws that forbade discrimination against Jews and the Jewish religion. But this  tolerance did not last very long.

Romans, Jews, And The Sabbath

"Some Romans had not only recognized Judaism as a 'religio lecita' but had also shown it great respect and some, even  admiration for the religious principles of the Jews. But this admiration came to an end  about 66 A.D., when the Romans drastically changed their attitude toward the Jews and began to persecute them, both militarily and fiscally.  

"Besides military measures, Rome adopted new political and fiscal policies against the Jews. Under Vespasian  (A.D.  69-79), both the Sanhedrin and the office of the High Priest were abolished, and worship at the temple site was forbidden.

"Hadrian  (A.D. 117-138) . . . went so far as to prohibit any Jew, under the threat of death, to enter the area of the new city [of Jerusalem]. Moreover, he outlawed the practice of  the Jewish religion and particularly the observance of the  Sabbath"  (From Sabbath to Sunday, Samuele Bacchiocchi. p.171).

The hatred of the Jews by the Romans heightened in intensity and bitterness. Even Roman writers began to openly attack  all  the practices of the Jews.

"Quintilian (ca. A.D. 35-100) alludes to Moses as the founder of the Jewish superstition which is pernicious to other people. Similarly for Martial (ca. A.D. 40-104), the circumcised Jews and their Sabbath are a synonym of degradation.

"Plutarch (ca. A.D. 46-119) labeled the Jews as a  superstitious nation and singled out their Sabbath-keeping (which he regarded as a time of drunkenness) [the same] as one of the many barbarian customs adopted by the Greeks.

"Juvenal, in a satire written about A.D. 125, pitied the corrupting influence of a Judaizing father who taught his son to eschew the  uncircumcised  and to spend 'each seventh day in idleness, taking no part in the duties of life.'

"Tacitus (ca. A.D. 55-120), whom Jules Isaac labels as 'the most beautiful jewel in the crown of anti-Semitism,' surpassed all his predecessors in bitterness. The Jews according to this  historian, descend from lepers expelled from Egypt and abstain from pork in  remembrance of their leprosy (a disease which, according to prevailing  beliefs, was common among pigs).  Their indolence  on the Sabbath commemorates the day they left Egypt.

"All their customs, Tacitus writes, 'are perverse and disgusting,' and as a people they are 'singularly prone to lust'" (ibid. p. 176).

After Judea was conquered by the Romans, there was  always some kind of revolt or sedition taking place that was proclaimed as a means of ridding the Jews of Gentile domination. The result was the general hatred in the Roman world toward the Sabbath, because the Jews, who were constantly revolting held the Sabbath holy.

Into this atmosphere of hatred and vengeance, Christianity was born! The early Christians suffered much because they  admittedly worshiped  the same God and observed the same Sabbath and annual festival days as the Jews.                      

By B. L. Cocherell

Revised 4/99

Congregation of God
P.O. Box 612440
San Jose, CA 95161

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