Elevating his personal teachings above the Bible, and preaching a "no-works" doctrine of salvation, Simon Magus soon had a universal, popular following. Deified by the Romans, he was buried on Vatican Hill. Read how it happened in this article. SIMON Magus, just like his Samaritan forefathers, deliberately blended together the teachings of Babylon with Biblical phrases.
One of his main intentions was to appropriate a Christian vocabulary to the Babylonian ceremonial system. In other words, he kept on with his heathenism, but now called his system "Christian" in origin.
To legitimately introduce paganism into the Church he had to explain away many passages in the Old Testament which forbade idolatry and contact with the abominations of the heathen. This he quite cleverly did. His primary method of explaining the Old Testament was to allegorize its teachings.
Magus Degrades the Bible If this wasn't sufficient to explain it away, he would repudiate it as being of less value than the present will of God which was supposedly being revealed to him. In fact, he got to the place of doing away altogether with the Old Testament by teaching that its doctrines were meant to enslave people and that its commandments were too grievous to bear. "Irenaeus states that Simon taught, that the Jewish prophecies [the Old Testament] were inspired by the creator angels; therefore, those who had hope in him and Helen NEED NOT ATTEND TO THEM, BUT FREELY DO AS THEY WOULD; for that men should be saved according to his grace, and not by any intrinsic quality of their own, but by the accident of these being ordered by these creator angels WHO HAD MERELY WISHED TO ENSLAVE THOSE WHO HEARD THEM" (Dict. of Christian Biography, vol. 4, p. 683).
The Dict. of Religion and Ethics had this to say about this cardinal doctrine of SIMON PATER. "Simon taught that the precepts of the law and the prophets were inspired by angels [lesser beings] in the desire to reduce men to slavery, but those who believed in him and Helen, since they were delivered from the sinister tyranny of the law, were free to act as they would. For men are saved by grace and not by good works. The antinomianism of the Simonians issued in LIBERTINE conduct and A COMPROMISE WITH HEATHENISM" (vol. 11, p. 518).
Let's go on. "But he [Simon] promised that the world should be dissolved, and that those who were his own should be redeemed. And accordingly, HIS PRIESTS, Irenaeus tells us [yes, Simon established a priesthood], led lascivious lives, used magic and incantations, made philtres, HAD FAMILIAR SPIRITS by whose aid they were able to trouble with dreams those whom they would. They had IMAGES of Simon and Helen, in the forms respectively of JUPITER and MINERVA" (Dict. of Christian Biography, vol. 4, p. 683).
Simon Honored as Jupiter People who had demonistic powers as Simon did, were honoured as gods in the first century — even sacrifices were offered to them. Does this seem unlikely? Then read Acts 14:11-13. After seeing the great miracles that Paul and Barnabas had done through the Holy Spirit, Luke says: "When the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury." Then the priest of Jupiter came out to offer them sacrifice.
Paul and Barnabas "rent their clothes" at such action. What would SIMON MAGUS have done? Or rather, what did Simon Magus do? He let the Roman Senate with the approval of the Emperor Claudius deify him as a god and erect a statue to him. And, the people who followed SIMON called him JUPITER — at the same time calling themselves Christians. The statue that must have been dedicated to Simon was in the likeness of the chief god of the pagan world — the god that desolated the Holy Place in God's temple — Jupiter Capitolinus.
The Hebrews honoured and regarded the number seven as recorded in God's law — that is, kept the seventh day, the seven holy days, etc., — but Simon and his followers made a distinct change and honoured the number eight instead (i.e. the eighth day — which becomes the first day of the week). (See Ante-Nicean Fathers, vol. 7, p. 379.)
The Death of Simon Magus The records regarding Simon's death vary widely. Many of the stories try to incorporate some fiction from the Greek and Egyptian myths to enhance the reader's interest in this fascinating character. But the earliest records say that he was buried in Rome after a long period of great honour and deification.
It is not clearly known where Simon Magus alias Simon Pater or Simon Jupiter was buried. But this much is known. The place of burial for ALL prophets and holy men of the Romans was in the sacred cemetery on Vatican Hill. This much is certain.
Notice what Werner Keller in his The Bible as History says about the so-called burial of the Catholics' Peter. (Before reading Keller's statement, let us remember that he is a thorough-going Catholic and firmly, himself, believed that the Apostle Peter was buried in Rome. However, the Bible shows nothing of the kind. Now, let's read Keller's comment — the official comment of the Roman Catholic Church):
"On the night of his death on the cross Peter's followers BURIED his body. As in the case of Jesus on the hill of Calvary it was wrapped in linen and secretly taken to a PAGAN BURIAL GROUND on the Via Cornelia, behind the stone structure of the arena. This PAGAN CEMETERY lay on a knoll called VATICANUS: the Latin word 'vatis' means a 'prophet' or 'SOOTHSAYER'. In days gone by there had been an Etruscan oracle on this spot" (p. 368).
What an admission!
Keller ought to have better sense to know that this Peter buried in this cemetery, of all places, could NOT be the Apostle Peter. In the first place, Peter was a Jew, and they had to be buried in their own cemeteries. And even if by a happen-chance a Jew could be buried in a Roman cemetery, it is most unlikely that a Jew — especially one who attacked the Roman religion as the Apostle Peter did — would ever have been allowed into the most holy of pagan cemeteries! This cemetery was reserved for prophets, soothsayers and the great ones of pagan Rome. It would be as sensible to say that Hitler could find a place of burial in Westminster Abbey. And too, can you imagine TRUE Christians searching out a PAGAN CEMETERY — the chief one — in which to bury the chief Christian Apostle, the inveterate enemy of PAGANISM?
This place, of all places, could not be the place of the Apostle Peter's burial — even if he had been in Rome. But, there is really no better place for the burial of SIMON MAGUS. He had been, and was being, honoured as a god — not only by the people of Rome, but even by the Emperor and the Senate.
Yes, Keller and his Catholic friends have undoubtedly found a SIMON, but not the Apostle Peter.
Catholic Church Accepts SIMON MAGUS' Teachings We have the record of history which tells us that Simon's teaching spread like wildfire — especially in Rome where he was honoured as a god. In fact, after going there he made that city his headquarters. But let us recall that the followers of Simon called themselves TRUE Christians.
Simon steadfastly adhered to this. In fact, it finally became the desired name for his followers to use. The names Simonians and Samaritans began to die out in the 2nd century A.D. Justin tells us that some were still going by the parent name in his day (152 A.D.). But by the time of Origen (220 A.D.), he states that there were hardly 30 people in the world which went by the parent name. Yet Eusebius, who lived about 100 years later, said they were indeed still numerous all over the world.
The fact is, they were divorcing themselves from the use of the name SIMON or Samaritans because by the fourth century their names were beginning to have an odious connotation to them. Nonetheless the Simonians were very much around — this time with the name of "Christian." And we have the exact testimony of Eusebius himself (325 A.D.) that these people were flocking into the Catholic Church.
Notice what Eusebius says, after stating that Simon Magus in the days of the Apostles received baptism and feigned Christian belief: "And what is more surprising, the same thing IS DONE EVEN TO THIS DAY by those who follow HIS most impure heresy. For they, after the manner of their forefather, SLIPPING INTO THE CHURCH, like a pestilential and leprous disease GREATLY AFFLICT THOSE [a great number of people] into whom they are able to infuse the deadly and terrible poison concealed in themselves" (Eccl. Hist., II, ch. I, sect. 12).
This is amazing testimony, for Eusebius is telling us that these people were now "Christians" and that they were corrupting the entire church as a pestilential disease which hits the whole body. Eusebius later maintains that the chief troublemakers were being expelled from the Catholic Church. But how could they expel all of them? Almost the whole church by this time was affected.
It is not to be supposed that all of the early heretical sects were direct branches of the Simon Magus religion. By the end of the first century there were at least 50 minor sects. The Simon Magus group represented several of these sects, but not all of them. The truth is, the Simonians, whose headquarters were at Rome, finally absorbed ALL these minor sects by the fifth century.
Simonism IS Catholicism It is also true that even some of the Catholics (in Eusebius' time) were unwilling to go all the way and accept the SIMON MAGUS doctrines of IMAGES, PICTURES, INCANTATIONS, etc., but within another hundred years, history shows the bars were let down completely.
But in Eusebius' day, he even balked at their bringing outright images into the churches and worshiping them. Notice what he finally says of these "Christians" of SIMON: "Simon was the author of all heresy. From his time down to the present those who have followed his heresy have FEIGNED the sober philosophy of the Christians, which is celebrated among all on account of its purity of life. But they nevertheless have embraced again the superstitions of idols, which they seemed [ostentatiously] to have renounced; and they fall down before pictures and images of Simon himself and of the abovementioned Helena who was with him [that is, the images of JUPITER and MINERVA — the Catholics do exactly this today]; and they venture to worship them with incense and sacrifices and libations" (Eccl. Hist. II, 13, 6).
What clear and revealing statements!
Eusebius is not talking about what he considers distinct heretics outside the Catholic Church. He is talking about the MAJOR group IN THAT CHURCH which was continually adding more and more on a large scale. He attributes these evils to the "Christians" who followed SIMON MAGUS. They were so active in his day INSIDE THE CHURCH as to give him grave concern.
But what happened?
Did the few Catholic leaders of the fourth century who abhorred outright IDOLATRY manage to persuade the masses to give it up and turn away from the SIMONIANS (now called Christians) who were the cause of it all?
The answer from history is NO!
The Simonian "Christians" won out. Imagery, idolatry and paganism — became the Universal Church just as planned in the very beginning by SIMON MAGUS — or by the Devil who possessed him.
Can we now understand why God, through Luke, devotes a whole section of Acts to warn us of this man's origin. He was NEVER a part of the Church of God — NEVER!! But he, and his followers — from clear history — have succeeded in bringing in their UNIVERSAL religion — a pagan blend, called "Christian"!
Next Month: Magus Counterfeit Marked Throughout New Testament