We finally arrive at the identity of this entity probably best known to us in the modern world. One of the days of the week in the English-speaking world, Saturday (Saturn’s Day), and the second largest planet in the solar system are named for Saturn.
As with his older identities, Saturn was believed to be the former king of the cosmos, an old god whose rule had been ended by his son, the storm-god. In Saturn’s case, this was Jupiter, the Roman name for the Greek Zeus, Hittite Tarhunz, Hurrian Teshub, Amorite Hadad (but better known to us as Baal), and Akkadian and Babylonian Marduk. We also see echoes of this dysfunctional family relationship in the Norse gods Odin and Thor, and other places where the storm-god emerged as king of the pantheon—for example, Perun of the Slavs, Taranis of the Celts, and Indra of Vedic (ancient Hindu) religion.
As we’ve already noted, Saturn was the equivalent of Kronos, king of the Titans. In both Roman and Greek religion, he was the old god who ruled the earth during a long-ago Golden Age when humanity lived like gods, free from toil and care. Both were confined to the netherworld after they’d been dethroned.
Historians of the classical age made no distinction between Kronos, Saturn, and Baal Hammon. It was accepted that he was the same god worshiped under different names by Greeks, Romans, and Phoenicians. The parallel between child sacrifice and the myth of Saturn/Kronos devouring his own children is obvious. Diodorus Siculus, writing in the first century AD, drily noted that “the story passed down among the Greeks from ancient myth that Kronos did away with his own children appears to have been kept in mind among the Carthaginians through this observance.” Christian apologist Tertullian was less charitable:
Since Saturn did not spare his own children, of course he stuck to his habit of not sparing those of other people, whom indeed their own parents offered of themselves, being pleased to answer the call, and fondled the infants, lest they should weep when being sacrificed. And yet a parent’s murder of his child is far worse than simple homicide.
Indeed. But in our civilized, modern world, we mostly avoid the guilt associated with infanticide by convincing ourselves that an unborn child is nothing more than a clump of cells inside a pregnant woman’s body. Kronos and his minions have been very effective at selling this message—abortion was the world’s leading cause of death in 2020, with roughly twice as many children terminated in the womb as deaths from cancer, HIV/AIDS, traffic fatalities, smoking, and alcohol combined.
There are important differences, however, in the way the Romans saw Saturn and the Greek view of Kronos. Latin literature, especially in the works of the first century BC poet Virgil, tended to depict Saturn as a semi-historical character who’d found sanctuary in Italy, which Virgil described as Saturnia tellus (“Saturn’s land”). In fact, Virgil was instrumental in the rehabilitation of Saturn. Unlike Hesiod’s Kronos, who never interacted with humanity, in Virgil’s work, Saturn evolved from a former ruler of the cosmos confined to Tartarus into an earthly sovereign ruling over an age of peace and plenty.
While the accounts of Saturn’s fall from power are similar to the tale of Kronos written by Hesiod centuries earlier, Romans believed that Saturn had been compelled to eliminate his male children so that the sons of his brother, Titan, would inherit the throne. Saturn’s wife, Ops, hid the infant Jupiter, who was raised by his aunt, Vesta. When Jupiter reached maturity, he returned with an army and freed Saturn, who’d been imprisoned by Titan. Instead of showing a little gratitude, however, Saturn plotted an ambush to prevent Jupiter from claiming the kingship of the gods. When that failed, Saturn fled to Italy, where he lived as a farmer and ruled over an age of peace and prosperity. The main difference between Kronos and Saturn is that while both were reprehensible, Saturn was also weak and cowardly.
It begs the question: Why did anybody ever worship this god?
Still, the character of Saturn described by Virgil in the Aeneid became the semi-official version of the deity in the Roman Empire. It looks like a sort of supernatural whitewash, a rebranding of the old god to soften his image with the people. It began in the archaic Greek period; where Hesiod had left Kronos and the Titans imprisoned in Tartarus in his Theogony, the poet wrote in Works and Days that Zeus eventually relented and released his father from the underworld:
But when earth had covered this generation also, Zeus the son of Cronos made yet another, the fourth, upon the fruitful earth, which was nobler and more righteous, a god-like race of hero-men who are called demi-gods, the race before our own, throughout the boundless earth. Grim war and dread battle destroyed a part of them, […] But to the others father Zeus the son of Cronos gave a living and an abode apart from men, and made them dwell at the ends of earth. And they live untouched by sorrow in the islands of the blessed along the shore of deep-swirling Ocean, happy heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and Cronos rules over them; for the father of men and gods released him from his bonds.
To reiterate, we identify Saturn/Kronos as the Watcher chief Shemihazah, and he, like the rest of the angels who sinned, is still in chains in Tartarus. I mention these Greek and Roman stories only to show what the pagans of the biblical era believed about this entity.
We need to debunk one persistent bit of fake news about Saturn before we go any further. The festival of Saturnalia, held annually between December 17 and 23, was undoubtedly the most popular of the year for Romans. As noted in an earlier article, it was marked by a reversal of societal norms, which apparently hearkened back to better days:
The first inhabitants of Italy were the Aborigines, whose king, Saturnus, is said to have been a man of such extraordinary justice, that no one was a slave in his reign, or had any private property, but all things were common to all, and undivided, as one estate for the use of every one; in memory of which way of life, it has been ordered that at the Saturnalia slaves should everywhere sit down with their masters at the entertainments, the rank of all being made equal. Italy was accordingly called, from the name of that king, Saturnia; and the hill on which he dwelt Saturnius, on which now stands the Capitol, as if Saturnus had been dislodged from his seat by Jupiter.
Isn’t it fitting that the Great Conjunction of 2020, marking the return of Saturn’s reign right in the middle of Saturnalia, signaled to astrologers, occultists, and New Agers the beginning of a new golden age? The Roman historian Justin, who wrote the paragraph above more than eighteen hundred years ago, might have been describing the principles of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset: “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy.”
But I digress.
It’s widely believed by skeptics, and some well-meaning but misinformed Christians, that the date for celebrating Christmas was chosen by the early church to “Christianize” Saturnalia. The story goes that the festival was so popular that even Christians in the Roman Empire wouldn’t give it up, so church leaders declared December 25 the birthday of Jesus, established a feast, and stole Saturnalia from the pagans.
That was not the case.
The earliest record of the observance of Christmas is from Clement of Alexandria around AD 200. But the first suggestion that Christmas might be linked to pagan worship didn’t come until the twelfth century, about nine hundred years later. In other words, as far as historians can tell, no Christians between the third through twelfth centuries thought they were accidentally worshiping a pagan god at Christmas. While some noted the proximity of December 25 to the winter solstice, which falls on December 21 or 22, early Christian writers did not believe the church chose the date. Rather, they saw it as a sign that God was the true sun, superior to the false gods of the pagans.
The Donatist sect in North Africa celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25 in the early fourth century, before Constantine became emperor of Rome (so we can’t blame him for setting the date, either). And while it’s true that the emperor Aurelian made veneration of Sol Invictus the law throughout the Roman Empire in AD 274, a collection of ancient writings called Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae puts the feast day during the reign of Licinius (AD 308–324) on November 18. There is little evidence that a feast for Sol Invictus was held on December 25 before the middle of the fourth century AD, and Christians were celebrating the birth of Christ on that date about half a century earlier.
So, given that nobody in the first century recorded the actual date of Jesus’ birth, how did the early church arrive at December 25? It’s a little complex, but it illustrates the motives of the Church Fathers, which did not include sneaking pagan worship into the faith.
Second-century Latin Christians in Rome and North Africa made an effort to calculate the exact date of Jesus’ death. For reasons that escape us, they settled on March 25, AD 29. (March 25 was not a Friday that year, nor was it Passover Eve, nor did Passover Eve fall on a Friday in AD 29, or even in the month of March.) The March 25 date was also noted by early church theologians Tertullian and Augustine.
There was a widespread belief among Jews of the day in the “integral age” of great prophets, which means it was thought that the prophets of Israel died on the same day they were conceived. It’s not biblical, but that’s not the point. What matters is the early church believed it, and that’s how it was decided that Jesus was born in late December: Adding nine months to March 25 brings you to—you guessed it—December 25.
Yes, it’s really that simple. Saturn and Saturnalia had nothing to do with setting the date of Christmas.
The effort to claim the credit, however, is the work of the dark god and his minions. The recent pushback against celebrating Christmas has been so intense that some Christians are careful to avoid mentioning the holiday, except with trusted friends, lest they be accused of accidentally worshiping Saturn, Baal, Sol Invictus, or Nimrod—by other Christians. The Christmas season used to be the one time of year when Christ was openly proclaimed in our society. Sadly, zealous but misinformed believers have unwittingly helped the Fallen reclaim the holiday.
It’s almost certain that Jesus was not born on December 25. It’s also true that the Christmas holiday has attracted a lot of baggage—pagan traditions, hyper-commercialization, and awful renditions of Christmas carols by pop divas. It doesn’t matter. The important point is this: The early church did not establish December 25 as a feast day celebrating the birth of Jesus to copy or co-opt a pagan holiday.
That said, Saturn successfully rebranded the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, as Sāturni diēs, Saturn’s Day, in the second century AD when Rome replaced its eight-day cycle with a seven-day week. And there is biblical evidence that some Jews adopted the worship of Saturn during the Babylonian captivity:
“You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god—your images that you made for yourselves, and I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts. (Amos 5:26–27)
Sikkuth appears to be a reference to a minor Babylonian god named Sakkud, or Sakkut. However, the pronunciation was close enough to the Hebrew word sukkat (“hut”) that the Jewish scholars who translated the Septuagint rendered the first line, “And you took along the tent of Molech.” The consonants of Molech and melek (“king”) are identical, but it’s interesting that the translators were comfortable bringing the “king-god” into this passage. This is exactly how Stephen quoted Amos during his speech to the Sanhedrin.
It’s especially interesting since “Kiyyun” refers to the Babylonian name for Saturn, Kajjamānu, “the Steady One.” Kajjamānu was unimportant in the Mesopotamian pantheon, but it’s indicative of the hubris of the king-god: Under his influence, most of the Western world now calls God’s divinely ordained day of rest “Saturn’s Day.”
And because that isn’t enough, many Christians have been convinced in recent years that Saturn, not Jesus, is the reason we celebrate Christmas.
Next: The return of Saturn
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 Diodorus Siculus, op. cit., 20.14.7.
 Tertullian, op. cit.
 Nearly 42.7 million, according to Worldometer. “Abortion No. 1 Cause of Death Worldwide in 2020.” Decision, Jan. 5, 2021. https://decisionmagazine.com/abortion-no-1-cause-of-death-worldwide-in-2020/, retrieved 4/6/21.
 Patricia A. Johnston, “Vergil’s Conception of Saturnus.” California Studies in Classical Antiquity, Vol. 10 (1977), pp. 57–70.
 Ibid., p. 57.
 Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Works and Days 156–169a. (Medford, MA: Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd., 1914).
 Justinus, Epitome of Pompeius Trogus’ ‘Philippic Histories’ 43.1.3–5. http://www.attalus.org/translate/justin7.html#43.1, retrieved 4/13/21.
 Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata 1.21.145. https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02101.htm, retrieved 4/13/21.
 Andrew McGowan, “How December 25 Became Christmas.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Dec. 18, 2020. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/, retrieved 4/13/21.
 Hermann Dessau, Inscriptiones latinae selectee, Vol 3 (Berlin: Weidmann, 1916), p. 24.
 William J. Tighe, “Calculating Christmas: The Story Behind December 25.” Touchstone, Dec. 2003, https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v, retrieved 4/13/21.
 McGowan, op. cit.
 It’s far more likely that His birthdate was September 11, 3 BC. See Ernest L. Martin, The Star That Astonished the World, available to read online at www.askelm.com/star/.
 M. Stol, “Sakkuth.” In Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst (Eds.), Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), p. 722.
 Acts 7:43.
 M. Stol, “Kaiwan.” In Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst (Eds.), Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans, 1999), p. 478.
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