Lonely Port

Chapter 18

Out of Darkness

 The red granite obelisk finally came home.

But here is the story:

 Earlier we mentioned that Heliopolis literally: "city of the sun” in Egypt was the center of North African sun worship around the time of Christ. And the center of sun worship in Heliopolis was a red granite obelisk that was 83 feet high. What is an "obelisk?" It is a tall pillar, pointed at the top, that anciently was a symbol of the Sun-god. Pagans would place these in front of their churches to identify them.

In A.D. 37-41, Emperor Caligula of Rome, a devoted Sun-worshiper, ordered that this immense obelisk at Heliopolis, Egypt, be carefully packed and brought at great expense to Rome. There it was later erected by Nero in the center of the "Circus" that Caligula had built. Chariot races, often dedicated to Lord Mithra, the Sun-god, were run there.

This Circus was located on one of the seven hills of Rome: Vatican hill. This was fine with everyone, for Vatican hill, back in those days, wasn't used for anything other than the Circus horse races. But then the years passed, and with them the centuries. And a new ruler over Rome came into power: Pope Sixtus V. His followers all over Europe were busy fighting the Great Reformation that had begun half a century before.

But Pope Sixtus V wanted to add the finishing touch to the sparkling new St. Peter's Cathedral—the largest Catholic Church in the world. Located in the heart of Vatican hill, it was not far from that old red obelisk.

In the year 1585, a decree from the holy one of Rome went out to all the people: The obelisk that the pagan Emperor Caligula had brought over from Heliopolis—must be brought to the front of St. Peter's and set up in the exact center of the circular court that stood before it. By so doing, the obellsk of the Sun would be placed at the center of the Vatican. And this was understandable.

The decree called for someone to do the moving. But there was no one with enough courage to tackle the operation, even though a large sum of money was offered.

The problem was that the decree included a death penalty to the mover—if he accidentally let the obelisk fall to the ground as he was erecting it. This ancient relic of paganism was obviously more important than the lives of Christians.

Finally a man stepped forward and said he would contract to do the job. His name was Domenico Fontana. Using 45 winches, 160 horses, and a crew of 800 men, the moving operation began.

Starting at that ancient pagan carnival site, Caligula's Circus Maximus, Fontana carefully began the job of lowering the immense 83-foot-high sun-image to the ground. Masterful architects like Antonio Da Sangallo and Michelangelo had said the moving operation couldn't be done. (The sun-image weighed over a million Roman pounds.) But Domenico and his brother Giovanni spent a year on the task. Immense machines lowered and transported the pagan worship symbol. Eight hundred men, braced for the task by a sacrament from the pope himself, and working with 160 horses, pulled on 44 ropes, each as thick as a man's arm,—and gradually raised it aloft at the new site. The date: September 10, 1586. The pope himself was present to pray to heaven that the sun-image would not be injured. He also issued an edict while it was being raised that no one in the surrounding crowds could speak aloud, on pain of death, lest the workmen be distracted and the solar idol of Heliopolis be shattered. Only reverent whispers were to be heard as the symbol of the Sun-god was moved to its proper place in front of St. Peter's. When the job was completed, hundreds of church bells rang out, cannons roared, and the crowds cheered wildly. Coming forth from the cathedral, Pope Sixtus approached the sun pillar and blessed and dedicated it to the "cross." Then, entering St. Peter's at the head of a procession, he performed a solemn mass in its honor, and pronounced a blessing on the workmen and their horses.

Domenico Fontana became the hero of Rome, and Pope Sixtus V sent official announcements to foreign governments. It was clear to all that the Religion of Rome had achieved a new climax in greatness.

The red granite Obelisk of the Vatican can be seen today in the immense circular court in front of St. Peter's. In the exact center of 248 large Doric-style columns (which alone cost nearly a million dollars), stands the sun-red obelisk. Weighing 320 tons, it stands 83 feet high, on top of a 49-foot foundation—132 feet in all.

The great Obelisk of the ancient "City of the Sun" is back home again-standing Once more at the entrance to the largest church in town. .to identify it.

It is back at the center of worship—in the City of the Sun.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper containing 95 protests to the door of the University Church in Wittenberg, Germany. That day marks the beginning of the Great Reformation.

But that Reformation was never completed, for Luther and his associates had so recently come out of the darkness of Catholic error, that they only partially perceived those errors. We are deeply thankful for what they did, but the work they began is yet to be finished.

When the Reformation burst upon Europe in the Sixteenth Century, Rome determined to crush out the interest of the people in returning to Bible religion. The three primary methods used to extinguish Protestantism were warfare, Jesuit espionage, and the Council of Trent.

The Council of Trent was convened by the pope and continued from December 13, 1545 to December 4, 1563. Its assigned purpose was to clarify Roman Catholic doctrine in order to strengthen the Church in its fight against Protestantism. It is generally considered to have been one of the most important councils in the history of Romanism.

Every basic modern doctrine of Catholicism finds its foundation in the decisions affirmed at the Council of Trent.

"From a doctrinal and disciplinary point of view, it was the most important council in the history of the Roman church, fixing her distinctive faith and practise in relation to the Protestant Evangelical churches." Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, article entitled "Council of Trent. "

The Protestants had launched a campaign that all doctrine must be brought to the test of the Inspired Word. And if not found there it must be rejected. This deep truth lies at the heart of Protestantism.

But Rome was determined to overthrow that truth and again bring the people into bondage to its errors. How they were to do this was the question, for there was a division in the Church over the primacy of Tradition.

The Roman Catholic Church had always been founded on the words of men ("Tradition"), with a sprinkling of the Word of God ("Scripture"). They had always declared Tradition to be superior to Scripture in every dispute over worship, doctrine or practice.

And what is "Tradition?" It is the sayings of men. It is the decisions of Roman Catholic councils, the decrees of its popes, and the words of its canonized saints.

"Like two sacred rivers flowing from Paradise, the Bible and divine Tradition contain the Word of God, the precious gems of revealed truths.

"Though these two divine streams are in themselves, on account of their divine origin, of equal sacredness, and are both full of revealed truths, still, of the two, TRADITION is to us more clear and safe." [Full caps theirs] Joseph F. Di Bruno. Catholic Belief. 1884 ed.. p. 45. [Di Bruno was an Italian Catholic priest and writer.]

"Some of the truths that have been handed down to us by Tradition and are not recorded in the Sacred Scriptures, are the following: That there are just seven sacraments; that there is a purgatory; that, in the new law [Roman Catholic "Canon Law"] , Sunday should be kept holy instead of the Sabbath; that infants should be baptized, and that there are precisely seventy-two books in the Bible [66 in our Bible that are inspired, plus 6 apocryphal books)." Francis I. Butler, Holy Family Catechism, No.3, p. 63 [Butler (1859-?) was Catholic priest of Boston and an author of a series of catechisms].

But when the Council of Trent convened, there was a battle over this matter. Should Tradition rule over the Bible, or should they carry equal authority? Should the Bible be considered more authoritative, or should Tradition be set aside entirely?

There was much bickering over this matter at Trent. Protestantism was making a powerful attack on Romish beliefs, which were based on Tradition. Since Roman Catholic tradition was nothing more than a hodge-podge collection of confused sayings, many of the archbishops and cardinals attending this very important Catholic council naturally hesitated to officially announce that Tradition was the basis of the Roman Catholic Church.

But then came the deciding point—and it came as a surprise.

What is not generally known is that the entire argument was settled in one day.

When Gaspar del Fosso, the Archbishop of Reggio, stood up and spoke on January 18, 1562, he decided once and for all the entire future course of Catholicism.

Rising to his feet, and calling for attention, he whole-heartedly praised Tradition and then made bitter jibes at those who wanted to downgrade its supremacy in the Church.

Since others had already spoken in defense of Tradition, what is it that made del Fosso's speech so decisive? It was this:

He reasoned that the Church of Rome was founded on Tradition and it and its beliefs would soon perish without it. Then he gave his punch line: He told the assembled delegates that the great proof that the doctrine of "Tradition-above- Scripture" must be right—was the fact that the Church of Rome had centuries earlier changed the Seventh-day Sabbath, which God Himself had commanded, to Sunday, the first day of the week.

Del Fosso declared that THIS proved that Tradition was more important than the Bible—for Church Tradition had presumed to change the very laws of GOD Himself—and had apparently succeeded! And what is more, del Fosso climaxed,—the Protestants were obeying Rome and keeping Sunday also. That morning, Del Fosso made it clear that Sunday sacredness was the pivotal proof of the entire doctrinal structure of Catholicism.

His logical speech settled the matter. The tone of the gathering changed. Never again in the councils of Rome was a question to be raised in regard to the supreme authority of Roman Catholic Tradition. For Sunday-keeping had settled it. The fact that Rome had changed the Sabbath to Sunday and the fact that Protestants carefully obeyed the papacy by keeping it, was the "proof" needed to forever establish Rome's authority.

"Finally, at the last opening [session] on the eighteenth of January, 1562, their last scruple was set aside; the Archbishop of Reggio made a speech in which he openly declared that tradition stood above Scripture. The authority of the church could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scriptures, because the church had changed the Sabbath into Sunday, not by the command of Christ but by its own authority. With this, to be sure, the last illusion was destroyed, and it was declared that tradition does not signify antiquity, but continual inspiration." J.H. Holtzman, Canon and Tradition, p.263.

Oddly enough, the Protestant leaders who presented the Augsburg Confession, a little over thirty years earlier, had recognized this very fact that Rome's authority was keyed to her attempted change of the Bible Sabbath:

"They [the Catholic bishops] allege the changing of the Sabbath into the Lord's day, contrary, as it seemeth, to the Decalogue; and they have no example more in their mouths than the change of the Sabbath. They will needs have the church's power to be very great, because it hath done away with a precept of the Decalogue. "

"But of this question ours do thus teach: that the Bishops have no power to ordain any thing contrary to the Gospel, as was showed before." —from the Augsburg Confession, quoted in Library of Original Sources, Volume 5, pp. 173-174.

Soon after this confession of Protestant faith was made at Augsburg, Germany, in 1530, the Reformers and their followers found themselves deluged in war and intrigue. Fighting for the faith they already had—indeed, for their very lives—they had little time to carry the Reformation further—and rediscover many of the Biblical truths buried under centuries of error and speculation.

But the Catholic leaders knew—and they tell us in their writings:

"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles ..From beginning to end of scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first." Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August, 1900.

"It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodist, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church." Priest Brady, in an address at Elizabeth, N.J. on March 17, 1903, reported in the Elizabeth, N.J. News of March 18, 1903.

The Sunday as a day of the week set apart for the obligatory public worship of Almighty God is purely a creation of the Catholic Church." John Gilmary Shea, in The American Catholic Quarterly Review, January, 1883, p. 139 [Shea, (1824-1892) was an important Catholic historian of his time].

"Protestants ..accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change. .But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that in accepting the Bible, in observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope." Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950 [One of the largest U.S. Roman Catholic magazines].

"If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church." Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the Cardinal in a letter dated February 10, 1920.

"Protestants often deride the authority of Church tradition, and claim to be directed by the Bible only; yet they, too, have been guided by customs of the ancient Church, which find no warrant in the Bible, but rest on Church tradition only! A striking instance of this is the following:—The first positive command in the Decalogue is to 'Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy: ..But the Sabbath Day, the observance of which God commanded, was our Saturday. Yet who among either Catholics or Protestants, except a sect or two, ever kept that commandment now? None. Why is this? The Bible which Protestants claim to obey exclusively, gives no authorization for the substitution of the first day of the week for the seventh. On what authority, therefore, have they done so? Plainly on the authority of that very Catholic Church which they abandoned, and whose traditions they condemn."-John L. Stoddard. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, p. 80 [Stoddard (1850-1931 ) was an agnostic writer most of his life, who later was converted to Catholicism] .

"Now the [Catholic] Church. .Instituted by God's authority, Sunday as the day of worship. This same Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory. . We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for Sunday."-Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About, 1927, p. 236 [Jesuit theologian and writer].

"The Catholic Church for over one thousand yean before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her Divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. .But the Protestant says: 'How can I receive the teachings of an apostate Church?' How, we ask, have you managed to receive her teaching all your life, in direct opposition to your recognized teacher, the Bible, on the Sabbath question?"- The Christian Sabbath, 2nd ed., published by the Catholic Mirror. [This Baltimore periodical was the official paper of Cardinal Gibbons..]

"If you follow the Bible alone there can be no question that you are obliged to keep Saturday holy, since that is the day especially prescribed by Almighty God to be kept holy to the Lord." Priest F.G. Lentz, The Question Box, 1900, p. 98 [Lentz (d. 1917) was a Catholic priest and writer, based in the Illinois area] .

Yes, now we understand. The Sun day and the worship of God on that day instead of on the Bible Sabbath—IS THE MARK of Rome's authority in religious matters.

Oh, that more people understood this! Oh, that everyone would leave the mark of Rome—and return to the symbol of obedience to the true God—the Sign of creation, sanctification and salvation.

"Keep the Sabbath. .It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the Seventh day He rested, and was refreshed." Exodus 31:16-17.

"Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you." Exodus 31:13.

"Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them." Ezekiel 20: 12.

"And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." Ezekiel 20:20.

Yes, it is time to return to God's Sign of Creation, Sanctification and Salvation. It is time to flee the Mark of Roman Babylon.

"Prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone.

"The Bible says 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic Church says, No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.

“And Lo! The entire civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the Holy Catholic Church." Priest Thomas Enright, CSSR, President of Redemptorist College, Kansas City, Mo., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, February 18, 1884, and printed in the Hartford Kansas Weekly Call, February 22, 1884, and in the American Sentinel, a New York Roman Catholic journal in June 1893, p. 173-

Cardinal Gibbons was the leading Roman Catholic spokesman for the Vatican in America at the turn of the century. He wrote the well known "Faith of our Fathers" which went through many printings.

A letter addressed to his office brought the following reply:

"Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act.. AND THE ACT IS A MARK of her ecclesiastical power."—from the office of Cardinal Gibbons, through Chancellor H.F. Thomas, November 11, 1895.

For us, who live down in earth's final hour, these are facts too serious to be ignored. Knowing the truth about the Bible Sabbath and the Sun-day, we must individually make our decision.

For the end is just ahead.