Jesus as the Sun throughout History: The New Testament

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In her book Jesus as the Sun throughout History, D.M. Murdock / Acharya S presents evidence that many aspects of Jesus Christ, and of Christian tradition in general, represent motifs from solar mythology. In part 2 of this ebook excerpt, numerous quotes from the Christain New Testament are examined and early Christain holidays show evidence of sun worship and seasonal celebration.

Jesus as the Sun throughout History

by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S

Excerpted from the ebook

New Testament Solar Imagery

In the Gospel of Luke (1:78), Christ’s very advent is depicted as a visitation from the “dayspring on high”: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us…” The word for “dayspring” or “day” in the original Greek is ἀνατολή or anatole, which means “sunrise, east.” In reference to this scripture, Rev. Matthew Henry states:

“Christ is the Morning Light, the rising Sun, Mal. 4:2.” (Jenkins, 417)

Christ’s solar imagery continues in the New Testament, as at John 1:9: “The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.” The “true light” is also discussed at John 8:12:

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus’s role as the “light of the world” and “Sun of Righteousness” is elucidated at Matthew 17:2:

“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.”

In the book of Revelation (1:7), we read about Jesus: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him,” much like the material sun.

As it was in Matthew, the face of Christ as the sun is likewise revealed at Revelation 1:16:

“…in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.”

Jesus’s astrotheological nature is further indicated at Revelation 22:16, in which he is equated with the “bright morning star”:

“I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”

The “bright morning star” is typically said to be the planet Venus, but it could also refer to the sun itself.

To paraphrase New Testament sentiment concerning Christ:

“I am the light of the world that every eye will see.”

If every eye can see this “light of the world,” it is understandable that many individuals in ancient time believed Jesus Christ to be the solar orb itself, as they had with numerous gods preceding his purported advent. It is not only natural but logical that thousands of people in the earliest days of Christianity would have believed Christ to be the same as the gods they were already worshipping, the bulk of which possessed solar attributes and were often considered to be sun gods to a significant extent.

The Ancient Astrotheological Religion

In this regard, the early Christian Church fathers were quite cognizant of the astrotheological nature of other religions, remarking, for instance, as does Church father Tertullian (fl. 190-220) concerning the Egyptians (Ad Nationes, II, 2): “Most of the Egyptians believe that there are four gods – the Sun and the Moon, the Heaven and the Earth.” (Roberts, ANCL, XI, 457.) In the same book (Ad Nationes, II, 5), Tertullian further demonstrates his knowledge of the astrotheology of the ancients:

“On this account, men have accounted as gods – the sun, because it imparts from itself the light of day, ripens the fruit with its warmth, and measures the year with its stated periods; the moon, which is at once the solace of the night and the controller of the months by its governance; the stars also, certain indications as they are of those seasons which are to be observed in the tillage of our fields; lastly, the very heaven also under which, and the earth over which, as well as the intermediate space within which, all things conspire together for the good of man.” (Roberts, ANF, III, 133.)

In his “Sermon 27: On the Feast of the Nativity, VII,” Pope Leo the Great (c. 400-461) adamantly criticizes the prevalent nature worship and astrotheology, which he states was engaged in by both Pagans and Christians:

“IV. The foolish practice of some who turn to the sun and bow to it is reprehensible

“From such a system of teaching proceeds also the ungodly practice of certain foolish folk who worship the sun as it rises at the beginning of daylight from elevated positions: even some Christians think it is so proper to do this that, before entering the blessed Apostle Peter’s basilica, which is dedicated to the One Living and true God, when they have mounted the steps which lead to the raised platform, they turn round and bow themselves towards the rising sun and with bent neck do homage to its brilliant orb. We are full of grief and vexation that this should happen, which is partly due to the fault of ignorance and partly to the spirit of heathenism: because although some of them do perhaps worship the Creator of that fair light rather than the Light itself, which is His creature, yet we must abstain even from the appearance of this observance: for if one who has abandoned the worship of gods, finds it in our own worship, will he not hark back again to this fragment of his old superstition, as if it were allowable, when he sees it to be common both to Christians and to infidels?

“V. The sun and moon were created for use, not for worship…” (Schaff, NPNF, XII, 140.)

It is important to emphasize that Pope Leo specifically relates that “even some Christians think it is so proper to do this,” referring to the worship of the sun!

continue to Part 3



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