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The Disposal of Pan in Ancient Church History

Jun 22, 2009

In Book IV of Lessons from Church History, at the end of chapter 11, "The Valerian Persecution," I wrote about how a Christian visited Caesarea Philippi and saw how the people worshiped Pan, or Azazel at the Grotto of Pan. It is posted online among the other books for you to read.


Eusebius tells us of something that happened in Caesarea while he was a boy. A soldier named Marinus had served in the army with distinction, perhaps in the service of Valerian in the Persian war. As he was about to be promoted to Centurion, a rival stepped forward and accused Marinus of being a Christian. As a Christian, unable to sacrifice to Caesar, Marinus was not allowed to be an officer in the Roman army.

The judge, whose name was Achaeus, asked Marinus about this, and Marinus told him that he was a Christian. The judge gave him three hours to rethink his beliefs. When Marinus returned, he firmly confessed himself to be a Christian, and so he was beheaded that day and promoted to a greater army of saints than the Roman army could have offered.

Astyrius, a Roman Senator, witnessed this execution. He too was a Christian but highly honored by emperors. He picked up the body of the martyr, placed it on a magnificent robe, and gave him an honorable burial. This same man, Astyrius, was known for a prayer of spiritual warfare that he did near a different Caesarea on the slopes of Mount Hermon in northern Palestine. Eusebius tells us in Eccl. Hist. VII, xvii,

“Near Caesarea Philippi, called Paneas by the Phoenicians, on the skirts of the mountain called Paneum, they point to springs believed to be the source of the Jordan. Into these they say that on a certain feast day [Tabernacles?] a victim is thrown, and that by the demon's power it disappears from sight miraculously. This occurrence strikes the onlookers as a marvel to be talked of everywhere. One day Astyrius was there while this was going on, and when he saw that the business amazed the crowd, he pitied their delusion, and looking up to heaven, pleaded through Christ with God who is over all to refute the demon who was deluding the people and stop them from being deceived. When he had offered this prayer, it is said that the sacrifice instantly came to the surface of the water. Thus their miracle was gone, and nothing marvelous ever again happened at that spot."

End of Quotation.

Whatever creature occupied the Grotto, whether prehistoric or supernatural (as they believed), Astyrius' spiritual warfare ended the "sightings' of this creature. Whether he merely retreated to another location (Mt. Shasta) or was  reconstituted by occult ceremonies, is unclear. But this spirit is what we have had to face since 1993.

Azazel specifically opposes the feast of Tabernacles (second work of Christ, who is the true Second Goat of Lev. 16). I think of him as a counterfeit, or as a usurper, who promises his followers the ability to become "ascended masters" (or transfigured beings) without having to submit to Jesus Christ or to become like Him in their character.

For this reason it is important that Azazel be overcome before Tabernacles can be fulfilled. And so this day, June 21, 2009 is a historic day in the history of the Kingdom of God. We now have precisely 3 1/2 years to Dec. 21, 2012 . . . .

This could prove interesting.

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Category: Commentary
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones