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In 1990, I had the opportunity to visit a site in southeastern Turkey known as Nemrut Dag. Nemrut Dag is a seven thousand foot mountain and on top is the burial site of Antiochus I Theos, King of Commagene.

Commagene is a kingdom bordering on the area Cilicia. Claiming the title Theos or God, Antiochus thought it only right that he should be buried upon a high place-the dwelling place of the gods. Antiochus is buried in a tumulus style of burial, under 150 feet of rocks on top of Nemrut Dag. There, both Greek and Persian gods were worshipped-demonstrating syncretism-a blending of all the pagan religions during the time of the Grecian Empire.

On the east side of the mountain there is a terrace overlooking the Euphrates river valley. Here the sun was worshipped as it rose. On the West there is another terrace where the sun was worshipped as it set. Statues of the gods line the terraces and, in a central location, we find a depiction of Antiochus shaking hands with the sun god Mithra.

There upon Nemrut, we find irrefutable evidence of the Persian sun god Mithra’s’ influence upon the Grecian Empire.

In 17 A.D., the Roman emperor Tiberias Caesar annexed the small country of Commagene, in which the mountain Nemrut Dag is located. It was the policy of the Roman Empire to send soldiers from one area of the empire to another in an effort to create a more homogeneous population. As the soldiers from Commagene were sent out to other parts of the empire they took their worship of the sun god Mithra with them. The worship of Mithra was a man’s religion and Mithraism soon became the faith of Roman soldiers. Mithraic shrines are most numerous at locations of military encampment.

Some historians are perplexed by the similarities between traditional Christianity and Mithraism. One historian states, “There are striking coincidences with Christianity. Mithra was born in a cave on the 25th of December and was venerated on Sundays.”

The truth is, there is no reason to be perplexed. It is no coincidence that a December 25th birthday and a Sunday observance were incorporated into Christianity. They are elements of a cleverly devised Satanic scheme to combine pagan sun worship with the worship of the Biblical Creator, Yeshua of Nazareth, Jesus Christ. The very same scheme is followed throughout the Old Testament-the combination of the worship of the sun god under the name Baal, with the true worship of the Creator.

Now these unpleasant facts are easily documented. Scholars and theologians are well aware. Even so, most of them will do anything possible to avoid having to discuss it. Will we defend the things that we have been taught by those who withhold vital information? Or will we think for ourselves and apply the truths of scripture which plainly warn against such deception?

Let us heed the words of the book of Colossians: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8

Earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints: I’m Richard Rives with Just the Facts.

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