If Peter the Jew and a disciple of Yahushua found it difficult at times to understand the writings of Paul, is it surprising then to find the anti-Torah 'Christian' ministers base their position on their faulty understanding of Galatians? Even amongst the Torah-observant community, there is a lack of clarity on Paul's intended message. We praise Father Yahuwah for using Brother Tom Martincic to provide the clearest interpretation of Paul's message. Click here to listen to these 5 episodes, and we recommend listening to them in their given order. You will never again be confused about the subject of circumcision. WE ARE OVERJOYED & MOST THANKFUL TO YAHUWAH's HOLY SPIRIT FOR HELPING US COMPREHEND The GALATIAN MESSAGE.
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eCourses Completion Status

Constantine: The Original Ecumenical Ruler

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
Click here to start the quiz

Constantine the Great (c. A.D. 272 – May 22, 337) is widely known as the first Christian

Constantine I
emperor. His "Sunday law" is viewed as the religious act of a recent convert to honor his new day of worship. Roman Catholics and the Greek Orthodox have canonized him, while Saturday sabbatarians accuse the Roman Catholic Church of influencing Constantine into changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. They denounce the Catholic Church for deceiving all Christendom into believing that Sunday is the proper day of worship.

This is neither accurate nor is it fair to the Roman Catholic Church.

• Constantine had not yet converted at the time of his "Sunday law."
• The Roman Catholic Church has always been open about their role in this legislation.
• Most significantly, the "Sunday law" was actually civil legislation which outlawed the Biblical luni-solar calendar and enforced Julian calendation upon Christians and Jews.

Constantine's "Sunday law" laid the foundation for a massive deception: Sunday as the day on which Christ was resurrected; Saturday as the Bible's seventh-day Sabbath.

Constantine the Convert?

Constantine's veneration of the "day of the Sun" was not a religious act as a Christian, for he would not "convert" for two more years.

1His decision in October of A.D. 312 to paint a Christian symbol 2on the shields of his men at the battle of the Milvian Bridge was not a conversion. As with all his acts, it was politically motivated. Even after officially converting in 323, he postponed his baptism until just before his death in 337. Furthermore, he retained the office and title pontifex maximus, head of the state religion which he had assumed in 312, for the rest of his life.3

Christianity was made by him [Constantine] the religion of the state but Paganism was not persecuted though discouraged. The Christianity of the emperor himself has been a subject of warm controversy both in ancient and modern times, but the graphic account which Niebuhr gives of Constantine's belief seems to be perfectly just. Speaking of the murder of Licinius and his own son Crispus, Niebuhr remarks,4"Many judge of him by too severe a standard, because they look upon him as a Christian; but I cannot regard him in that light. The religion which he had in his head must have been a strange compound indeed. The man who had on his coins the inscription Sol Invictus, who worshipped pagan divinities, consulted the haruspices, indulged in a number of pagan superstitions, and on the other hand, built churches, shut up pagan temples, and interfered with the Council of Nicæa, must have been a repulsive phænomenon, and was certainly not a Christian. He did not allow himself to be baptized till the last moments of his life, and those who praise him for this do not know what they are doing. He was a superstitious man, and mixed up his Christian religion with all kinds of absurd superstitions and opinions. . . . To speak of him as a saint is a profanation of the word." 5

It is intriguing that this quote refers to Constantine's involvement with the Council of Nicæa as "interference." Do not doubt it: Constantine's "Sunday law" was civil legislation enacted to unite his empire via a single calendar.

Constantine: the consummate politician

Constantine was foremost a politician and a military strategist. He issued at least six decrees relating to Sunday observance, but all were for purely political reasons. These decrees were:

• March 7, 321: A law commanding townspeople, courts and trades to cease from labor on the day of the Sun.
• June, 321: Emancipation and manumission of slaves allowed on the day of the Sun.
• Christian soldiers allowed to attend Sunday church services.
• Pagan troops required to recite a prayer while on the drill field on Sunday.
• Sunday declared a market day throughout the entire year.
• A decree supporting the Council of Nicæa's decision that Christ's resurrection should henceforth be observed on the day of the Sun (Easter Sunday) rather than commemorating the death of Christ on the actual crucifixion Passover date of Nisan (Abib) 14.

Constantine wanted a unified empire. With his eastern counterpart, Licinius, he had issued a decree in 313 known as the Edict of Milan which granted Christians protection under civil law. This did not promote Christianity above paganism as much as "level the playing field", allowing Christians equal rights.

For the first time Christianity was placed on a legal footing with the other religions and with them enjoyed the protection of the civil law. Licinius was a pagan, and this law grants no privilege to the Christians that is not allowed to the heathen. It is another evidence of Constantine's policy of maintaining peace in the religious world.6

Constantine was no saint. He was a tyrant guilty of murdering his own son. His motivation for a united empire was not prompted by a desire for peace. Constantine's drive for a unified empire was founded upon his desire for greater power. Some historians connect Constantine's tolerance of Christianity with a desire to be able to enlist Christians as soldiers, thus increasing the size of his army. (Up to this point, Christians avoided enlisting.) All of Constantine's "religious tolerance" acts should be viewed in the light of a dictator seeking uniformity, and thus greater control, in his empire.

Renowned church historian, Philip Schaff, cautioned against reading too much into Constantine's "Sunday law":

The Sunday law of Constantine must not be overrated. He enjoined the observance, or rather forbade the public desecration of Sunday, not under the name of Sabbatum [Sabbath] or dies Domini [Lord's day], but under its old astrological and heathen title, dies Solis [Sunday], familiar to all his subjects, so that the law was as applicable to the worshipers of Hercules, Apollo, and Mithras, as to the Christians. There is no reference whatever in his law either to the fourth commandment or to the resurrection of Christ.7

Constantine was an equal opportunity monarch. While Christians hailed him as "the servant of God" and called him the "blessed Prince", pagans regarded him as their Supreme Pontiff. Constantine demanded unity. He forced compromise in an unexpected way: calendar reform.

J. Westbury-Jones highlights the purposeful ambiguity of Constantine's law:

How such a law would further the designs of Constantine it is not difficult to discover. It would confer a special honor upon the festival of the Christian church,8and it would grant a slight boon to the pagans themselves. In fact there is nothing in this edict which might not have been written by a pagan. The law does honor to the pagan deity whom Constantine had adopted as his special patron god, Apollo or the Sun.9The very name of the day lent itself to this ambiguity. The term Sunday (dies Solis) was in use among Christians as well as pagan.10

Of all Constantine's edicts, the one that had the greatest and most lasting effect on Christendom was his legislation supporting the Council of Nicæa's decree establishing the observance of Easter. "By the time of Constantine, apostasy in the church was ready for the aid of a friendly civil ruler to supply the wanting force of coercion."11

The time was ripe for a reconciliation of state and church, each of which needed the other. It was a stroke of genius in Constantine to realize this and act upon it. He offered peace to the church, provided that she would recognize the state and support the imperial power.12

All of Constantine's acts had the ulterior motive of political gain and the Council of Nicæa was no exception.

1R. L. Odom, Sunday in Roman Paganism, (TEACH Services, Inc., 2003) p. 177.
2The monogram known as Chi-Rho, the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ."
3Various inscriptions as recorded in Corpus Inseriptionum Latinarum, 1863 ed., Vol. 2, p. 58, #481; "Constantine I", New Standard Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 792; C. B. Coleman, Constantine the Great and Christianity, p. 46, as listed in Odom, op.cit.
4See History of Rome, Vol. V, p. 359.
5A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, (Sir William Smith, ed., Three Vols., AMS Press, 1967, reprint of 1890 edition), Vol. 1, p. 836, emphasis supplied.
6Odom, op.cit., p. 181.
7Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, (New York: Charles Scribner & Co., 1870) Vol. II, p. 380, emphasis supplied.
8The paganized Roman Christians had long been worshipping on Sunday by this time.
9Constantine's personal motto remained Soli Invicto even after his "conversion".
10J. Westbury-Jones, Roman and Christian Imperialism, p. 210, emphasis supplied.
11Odom, op.cit., p. 175.
12Michael I. Rostovtzeff, The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire, (Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 1926), p. 456.