. . . fully after the LORD                  I Kings 11:6                      by Steve Flinchum

Chapter 11


(Luke 20:4)

    As we continue in this study, let us remember the words of Jesus in John 4:23-24. In verse 23 He said:

. . . the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth . . . .

In verse 24 He said:

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Let us also keep in mind that each true congregation of the Lord is made up of individual members who are saved, baptized, and joined together as the body of Christ in a certain location or area with the purpose and charge of continuing His work on earth.

    This body does not dissolve or cease to exist at the last "amen" on Sunday night and then mystically reconstitute at the next meeting. It is still a body on Monday, Tuesday, and every day. A member or members cannot live an unholy or disobedient life at home, at work, at school, or at play without having a harmful effect on the body it is a part of.

    Since the religious holidays have such an influence and impact, it seems sensible to me that we should want to know and do God's will and follow His instructions for us in regard to them.

    The celebrations and observance of "Christmas" and "Easter" are undoubtedly the most esteemed and enthusiastically participated in. At "Easter" we often see community wide and inter-denominational participation in "holy week" observances and "sunrise services" and such things. At "Christmas" time we will see "church houses" packed beyond capacity and folks "goin' early to get a good seat" for "Christmas" programs. At that time of year, many homes where the Bible is never opened suddenly become traffic-stopping religious displays. Many promote the holiday as a great opportunity to "share Christ with the world." Let us ask, "What is proper -- what is acceptable to God regarding our participation in and observance of these holidays?"

    I have many times heard, "No one knows the exact date of Christ's birth, but most Christians observe Christmas on December 25." I looked in the World Book Encyclopedia under "Christmas," and that is the exact wording of the second sentence in that article. That troubled me because I have also heard many times, and believe that, "if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right."

    To appreciate the seriousness of the matter, consider the examples and consequences from the Bible involving improper religious practices that we looked at earlier.

    We have clear guidance from the Bible for the observing of "the Lord's day" on the first day of the week, for a memorial of Christ's resurrection as the seventh day had been a memorial of God's finished work of creation.

    In John 20:19, we find the disciples assembled on the first day of the week, and Jesus came and "stood in the midst." In verse 26, we see that "after eight days again" the same thing happened. In Acts 2:1 we read:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

There, they were again meeting on the first day of the week, and with the presence and approval of the Holy Spirit. Again in Acts 20:7, "upon the first day of the week" the Lord's congregation "came together." In I Corinthians 16:1-2, Paul giving instruction "concerning the collection," said:

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

It was "on the Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10) when Jesus appeared to John with the Revelation.

    Notice the precision of God's instructions in the Old Testament regarding the days for the feasts and other things. Those Jewish feast days were accurately kept up with and are still noted on many calendars. If we are to observe an event of such magnitude as "Christmas", shouldn't we get the date right?

    In Luke 1:5, speaking of the father of John the Baptist, the Bible says that he was "a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia." It was "while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course," (Luke 1:8) that an "angel of the Lord" (v.11) told him, ". . . thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John" (v.13).

    In I Chronicles 24:10, it is found that the eighth course of priestly duty was assigned to Abia or "Abijah" as it is spelled there. There were twenty-four such courses of duty, each course being one week in duration. Counting one week for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and one week for Pentecost, when all were on duty, Zacharias' course would be the tenth week of the year on the religious calendar in use at that time. Zacharias would also have had another "course" of priestly duty the thirty-fifth week, when his turn would come again, counting one week for the Feast of Tabernacles.

    By the wording of Luke 1:23-24, it would seem most probable that Elisabeth conceived as soon as this course of Zacharias' was over. That would have been either about the twenty-first day of the month of Sivan or about the twenty-first day of Heshvan. We can see from Luke 1:56-57 and Luke 2:6 that the birth of John and the birth of Jesus were both at full term. According to Luke 1:36 John was six months older than Jesus. With all this we can be fairly confident that Jesus was born either in mid to late September or mid to late January, as it would come out on our calendar today. The exact date varies from year to year, because of the difference in a lunar based calendar and a solar based calendar.

    A close look at Matthew 2:13-23 and Luke 2:21-39, in light of "the law of Moses" (Luke 2:22), which is found in Leviticus 12:1-8, reveals that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14) "And was there until the death of Herod . . ." (v.15).

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (Luke 2:22)

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, if a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean. (Leviticus 12:1-8)

According to these verses, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Jerusalem forty-one days after He was born. Herod must have died less than forty days after Jesus' birth.

    Josephus wrote quite a bit about this Herod, and described in much detail his illness leading to his death. Josephus even gave a date during that illness of Herod of March 13, 4 B.C., when there was an eclipse of the moon. Josephus then continued telling of Herod's illness and other events up until the time of his death, which was probably several months later. While it looks like Josephus could easily have given us the date of Herod's death, we are left conspicuously without one.

    Polycarp could very well have known the date of Jesus' birth. Polycarp, a pastor at Smyrna, was born around 69 A.D., and was martyred on February 23, 155. Irenaeus, in a letter to Florinus wrote of his remembrance of hearing Polycarp preach and talk of his acquaintance

. . . with John and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord, and how he would relate their words. And everything that he had heard from them about the Lord, about His miracles and about His teaching, Polycarp used to tell us as one who received it from those who had seen the Word of Life with their own eyes, and all this in perfect harmony with the scriptures. To these things I used to listen at the time, through the mercy of God vouchsafed to me, noting them down, not on paper but in my heart, and constantly by the grace of God I brood over my accurate recollections.

This information can be found in the 1957 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, in the article on Polycarp.

    Under "Christmas," in Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) we read that Polycarp ". . . set His birth on Sunday, when the world's creation began . . . ," but to my knowledge, he never gave a date in any of his writings. Jesus' birthday was obviously not observed or celebrated by Polycarp or by the Christians of that time.

    One would think that Mary, Joseph, Elisabeth, Zacharias, the shepherds, the wise men, Simeon, or Anna, realizing what had happened, would have noted and remembered the date of Jesus' birth and one of the writers of the New Testament would have recorded it.

    Adam Clark, John Gill, Albert Barnes, J.B. Lightfoot, Joseph Mede, and many other commentators question the likelihood of shepherds being in the fields in winter. For several reasons, I believe the September date, which would be the same date as the first day of creation and of the Feast of Trumpets (marked Rosh Hashanah on many calendars today) to be the most likely, but it must be admitted that we can only speculate as to which of the two dates is correct.

    Why does the Bible leave us hanging with those two dates without specifying one? Why has God kept the writers of history from recording the date? Could it be that God did not intend for us to know the date or to celebrate Jesus' birth? I believe that that is precisely the case, and as we continue to investigate, it will be shown why. I believe God has blessed us with the two dates so that we can know that December 25 is not a celebration of Jesus' birth, yet left the ambiguity to show that we are not to celebrate the occasion at all.

    All this should lead us to ask, "How did December 25 get chosen for this celebration, and if God didn't give us the holiday, who did?"

    Not long after the world had been destroyed by the flood of Noah's time, people were again being led by, and following, the same spirit as had "Cain, who was of that wicked one" (I John 3:12). In every age there have been false prophets such as the "certain men crept in unawares"in Jude verse 4. They, like "the angels which kept not their first estate" in Jude verse 6, and "despise dominion"(v.8), "speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves" (v.10).

. . . ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgement of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. (Jude 3-11)

In making his offering to God, Cain taught error in his typological preaching, and rather than repent, he rebelled.

    Rejecting God, the people corrupted themselves with "what they know naturally as brute beasts." Recognizing the heat from the sun as the primary cause of the earth's production, the heathen people thought of the sun as the father of all living things, and the earth as a goddess, fertilized by the rays of the sun. That most likely was the religious belief of the builders of the tower of Babel.

    That is also the origin of the terms, "Mother Earth" and "Mother Nature" which are experiencing great revival today.

    Evidence of the worship of "father sun" and "mother earth," and the many religions that have developed from it, can be found world-wide and in almost every time period. Its influence can be seen in many ways. Notice the similarity and relationship of the words "mother," "maternity," and "maternal," derived from the Latin word "mater," and the words "matter," and "material," which come from the Latin word "materia." Notice how the theme of the fertile mating of the earth and sky is central and universal in about all mythology.

    In The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop traces the development of the Babylonian mystery religion back to Semiramis, the wife of Noah's great-grandson Nimrod. Speaking of the worship of Semiramis by the Babylonians, and how she bore a child whom she declared was miraculously conceived, Hislop says on page 21 that:

It was from the son, however, that she derived all her glory and her claims to deification. That son, though represented as a child in his mother's arms, was a person of great stature and immense bodily powers, as well as most fascinating manners. In Scripture he is referred to (Ezek. viii. 14) under the name of Tammuz, but he is commonly known among classical writers under the name of Bacchus, that is "The Lamented one."

On page 291 of Lectures on the Revelation, H.A. Ironside says:

From Babylon this mystery-religion spread to all the surrounding nations, as the years went on and the world was populated by the descendants of Noah. Everywhere the symbols were the same, and everywhere the cult of the mother and the child became the popular system; their worship was celebrated with the most disgusting and immoral practices. The image of the queen of heaven with the babe in her arms was seen everywhere, though the names might differ as languages differed. It became the mystery-religion of Phoenicia, and by the Phoenicians was carried to the ends of the earth. Ashtoreth and Tammuz, the mother and child of these hardy adventurers, became Isis and Horus in Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Venus and Cupid in Italy, and bore many other names in more distant places. Within 1000 years Babylonianism had become the religion of the world, which had rejected the Divine revelation.

    In Egypt was the myth of Isis, "the Great Mother." Will Durant, in volume one (pages 200-201) of his nine volume The Story of Civilization says:

The Egyptians worshiped her with especial fondness and piety, and raised up jeweled images to her as the Mother of God; her tonsured priests praised her in sonorous matins and vespers; and in midwinter of each year, coincident with the annual rebirth of the sun towards the end of our December, the temples of her divine child, Horus (god of the sun), showed her, in holy effigy, nursing in a stable the babe she had miraculously conceived.

In a later chapter of volume one of The Story of Civilization (page 235) Durant says:

Ishtar (Astarte to the Greeks, Ashtoreth to the Jews) interests us not only as analogue of the Egyptian Isis and prototype of the Grecian Aphrodite and Roman Venus, but as the formal beneficiary of one of the strangest of Babylonian customs. She was Demeter as well as Aphrodite--no mere goddess of physical beauty and love, but the gracious divinity of bounteous motherhood, the secret inspiration of the growing soil, and the creative principle everywhere. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . her worshipers repeatedly addressed her as "The Virgin," "The Holy Virgin," and " The Virgin Mother,". . . .

Durant then quotes from The Mothers by Robert Briffault, a Babylonian litany in which they address Ishtar as "Queen of Heaven."

A couple of pages later (p.238) Durant says:

Tammuz, son of the great god Ea, is a shepherd pasturing his flock under the great tree Erida (which covers the whole earth with its shade) when Ishtar, always insatiable, falls in love with him, and chooses him to be the spouse of her youth. But Tammuz, like Adonis, is gored to death by a wild boar, and descends, like all the dead, into that dark subterranean Hades which the Babylonians called Aralu, and over which they set as ruler Ishtar's jealous sister, Ereshkigal. Ishtar, mourning inconsolably, resolves to go down to Aralu and restore Tammuz to life by bathing his wounds in the waters of a healing spring.

On the next page, Durant says:

To the modern scholar it is only an admirable legend, symbolizing delightfully the yearly death and rebirth of the soil, . . . to the Babylonians it was sacred history, faithfully believed and annually commemorated in a day of mourning and wailing for the dead Tammuz, followed by riotous rejoicing over his resurrection.

Two chapters later, on page 295, Durant says:

And as Ishtar had loved Tammuz, so Astarte had loved Adoni (i.e., Lord), whose death on the tusks of a boar was annually mourned at Byblos and Paphos (in Cyprus) with wailing and beating of the breast.

Encyclopedia Britannica (1957), which also contains much of this information, says:

The liturgical wailings for Tammuz during the period of his sojourn in Aralu are numerous and describe every aspect of the theological doctrines concerning him.

In Persia, at the time of Artaxerxes II (404-359 B.C.), the worship of Mithra became strong. In chapter 13, on page 372, Durant says:

. . . in the first centuries of our era, the cult of Mithra as a divine youth of beautiful countenance with a radiant halo over his head as a symbol of his ancient identity with the sun -- spread throughout the Roman Empire, and shared in giving Christmas to Christianity.

Encyclopedia Britannica mentions the date of December 25 as being a Mithraic feast in the fourth century.

Instead of believing the first verse of the Bible that, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," those worshipers believe that the gods were created by the earth and sun.

In Encyclopedia Britannica(1957), the article on "Christmas" says:

In the beginning many of the earth's inhabitants were sun worshipers because the course of their lives depended on it's yearly round in the heavens, and feasts were held to aid its return from distant wanderings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thus these ancient peoples held feasts at the same period that Christmas is now observed; they built great bonfires in order to give the winter sun god strength and to bring him back to life again. When it became apparent that the days were growing longer, there was great rejoicing because of the promise of the lengthening days to follow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . when the fathers of the church in A.D. 440 decided upon a date to celebrate the event, they wisely chose the day of the winter solstice which was firmly fixed in the minds of the people and which was their most important festival. Because of changes in man-made calendars, the time of the solstice and the date of Christmas vary by a few days.

    Notice that God did not instruct us to have any such celebration or observance and gave us no date for it. It was "the fathers of the church" who "decided" upon the celebration and the date. It is important to recognize that the "church" we are talking about here is the "church" whose "father's" also had about two-hundred years earlier "decided" on the false doctrine of baptism being necessary for the obtaining of salvation, and about one-hundred years earlier, had "decided" that babies must be baptized to keep them from going to hell. It is the same "church" that has killed over fifty-million people for refusing to recognize their baptism ("picture-preaching") as valid.

In Mark 11:28 Jesus was asked the question:

By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?"

Jesus answered their question with a question, saying in verse 30:

The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

(Implying that it was from heaven.)

    In our evaluation of or participation with this so called "church" or her daughter "churches" (those who protested out of her) or her baptisms, ceremonies, and holidays, I believe it is imperative that we ask the question, "Is it from heaven or of men?"

    The next item concerning the history and development of the holidays that I want to present is a quotation of Pope Gregory I, from the writings of Bede.

    Bede was born in 672 or 673, and lived until 735. He was a Catholic priest and according to his autobiography, spent his whole life, from the age of seven, in a monastery. In 731 Bede wrote the Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. Encyclopedia Britannica says of Bede:

. . . he showed a very unusual conscientiousness in collecting his information from the best available sources, and in distinguishing between what he believed to be fact, and what he regarded as rumor or tradition.

Bede had at his disposal the library of books collected by Benedict Biscop. In Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Bede quoted instructions given by Pope Gregory I, in 601 A.D., to missionaries sent from Rome. In those instructions, Pope Gregory I said:

Let the shrines and idols by no means be destroyed but let the idols which are in them be destroyed. Let water be consecrated and sprinkled in these temples; let altars be erected . . . so that the people, not seeing their temples destroyed, may displace error, and recognize and adore the true God. . . . And because they were wont to sacrifice oxen to devils, some celebration should be given in exchange for this . . . they should celebrate a religious feast and worship God by their feasting, so that still keeping outward pleasures, they may more readily receive spiritual joys.

That quotation is in the Encyclopedia Britannica (1957), under "Christmas."

    In 719, Pope Gregory II commisioned St. Boniface as a missionary to Germany. While in Germany, St. Boniface found that the Teutonic people had a tradition of sacrificing a child each year under a large oak tree. St. Boniface suggested that rather than sacrifice the child, they should cut a fir tree and celebrate around it at home. The Christmas tree tradition continued down through the years in Germany and, in the sixteenth century, Martin Luther decorated one with candles. From that, the decorating with lights and ornaments caught on. Early in the nineteenth century (less than two hundred years ago), the Christmas tree tradition was brought into America by German settlers.

    Most of this information can be gleaned from Encyclopedia Britannica under "Boniface, Saint," "Christmas," and "Teutonic Peoples."

World Book Encyclopedia (1985) says:

The popularity of Christmas grew until the Reformation, a religious movement of the 1500's. This movement gave birth to Protestantism. During the Reformation, many Christians began to consider Christmas a pagan celebration because it included nonreligious customs. During the 1600's, because of these feelings, Christmas was outlawed in England and in parts of the English colonies in America. However, people continued to exchange Christmas gifts and soon started to follow the other old customs again. [underlining added]

    Let us now look at what the Bible says about the worship of these gods and goddesses of the sun and the earth. Review the paragraphs, a few pages ago, about Ashtoreth, Ishtar, and Isis. In Judges 2:13 we find that Israel was worshiping Ashtaroth.

And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

Baal is also synonymous with Tammuz. Notice God's response in verses 14 and 15:

And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.

I Kings 11:5 says:

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians. . . .

Verse 6 says:

And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

    It will be shown that God considers participating in the worship of those gods and goddesses to be adultery. It is not that Solomon totally renounced God, or came to the point of no longer believing in God, but that he tried to serve both; he "went not fully after the LORD." Notice also that spiritual adultery is far more serious than physical adultery. David had committed physical adultery with Bathsheba, which was wrong, and even had her husband murdered, which was wrong, but Solomon's spiritual adultery was far worse.

    In Matthew Henry's commentary on this eleventh chapter of I Kings, he says that Solomon "left his first love." Reading farther, verses 9-11 say:

And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

    Nergal, mentioned in II Kings 17:30, is the sun god Horus, the "divine child" of Isis ("Mother of God" to the Egyptians), mentioned earlier.

    In I Samuel chapter 7, we also find record of a time when the Israelites were worshiping Ashtaroth. Note that they had not intentionally abandoned God and renounced Him, but were trying to hang on to both. Verse 2 says that, ". . . all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD." They wanted God and His blessings, but they were sinning against Him, committing adultery with the "strange gods and Ashtaroth."

And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only. (I Samuel 7:3-4)

They repented with a genuine repentance and verse 9 says that ". . . the LORD heard . . . ."

Not long afterwards, in I Samuel 12:10, the same people were again serving Baalim and Ashtaroth.

    We know that adultery does not necessarily mean the divorcing or total abandonment of one's spouse for another, but is often an attempt to love more than one. One need only give the appearance of having an "affair" to show dishonor and disrespect. These things are true in the spiritual sense as well.

    In II Kings 23 we see the proper action taken by Josiah, regarding the "high places . . . which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth (v.13). In verse 14, Josiah "brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves."

    Israel, as the wife of God, is to be seen as a type of the bride of Christ, to whom He has engaged Himself to be married. The bride of Christ, I believe, will consist of the saved who have followed Christ in proper baptism, served Him as obedient members of one of His true congregations, and have kept themselves pure by ecclesiastical separation and going "fully after the LORD." Every person who is saved will not be in the bride of Christ, although one who is saved can be, by repenting of what is wrong and making it right. While all who go to Heaven will be clothed in the imputed righteousness of Christ, Revelation 19:7 shows that the Lamb's wife will have "made herself ready." We can start today. We can learn much from the study of the typology of the wife of God.

I Corinthians 10:6-11 says:

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolators, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Isaiah 54:5-6 says to Israel:

For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

In Jeremiah 3:8 God said:

And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

In verse 11 He said:

The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

Verse 14 says:

Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you . . . .

In Jeremiah 31:31-32, God said of Israel and Judah, ". . . I was an husband unto them."

In Hosea chapters 1 and 2, Israel is pictured as the cast off wife.

    I believe Jesus made the formal announcement and declaration of His engagement and intention to marry His bride elect in Matthew 26:29 when He said:

But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

He then went on to say:

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Notice that He said, "are many mansions" (as in already are), yet promised, "I go to prepare a place for you" (His bride).

    I believe that that indicates that while all who are truly saved by God's grace through faith in Christ will go to Heaven, there will be something special for those who have followed Christ in proper baptism and serving in one of His congregations with obedience, ecclesiastical separation, and spiritual purity. We may stumble, fall, and fail many times, like Peter did that night, when he denied the Lord. Matthew 26:75 says, ". . . And he went out, and wept bitterly." God stands ready to forgive, if we will turn to Him in sincere repentance.

    I find that my beliefs concerning the bride of Christ are strongly rejected, hated and despised among most of professing Christianity. Often, when those beliefs have been defended with the Bible, the response is, "What does it matter anyway? The main thing is getting people saved." That is just the point; the main thing is getting people saved, but it is God that does the saving, and He has chosen to use the truth in doing it. God may occasionally save someone where false doctrine is being preached, but we can be sure that He did not use the false doctrine to accomplish it. Too many have decided that God can save more people if we can just trick them into believing. Is that "from heaven, or of men"?

    Ephesians 5:22-32 should leave no doubt but that the Lord's true congregations are the ones engaged to be His bride. Notice especially verse 27: ". . . not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." How can we teach, or support and encourage, error and false doctrine and not have spot, or wrinkle, or blemish?

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:22-32)

    Seeing the connection of the typology of Israel and Judah as the wife of God, and how it applies to those engaged to be married to the Lamb, ("For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning . . . " Romans 15:4) let us go back and study further of their spiritual adulteries. If God regarded Judah's sin as worse than Israel's because she should have learned from Israel's mistakes, where does that put us who have the examples of both?

    Go back and review the pages on Ishtar/Ashtoreth and Tammuz/Adonis, and notice also the names with which the Babylonians spoke of Ishtar/Ashtoreth, such as "The Holy Virgin," "The Virgin Mother," and "Queen of Heaven." As we study through the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, we find that much is said about all this.

    It is observed that the "green tree" has always been much a part of the adulterous observance of "Christmas." In Jeremiah 3:6, God accused Israel of having gone "under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot."

Jeremiah 10:1-2 says:

Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    Remember how the heathen were dismayed by the shortening of the days toward winter solstice, and worshiped the sun to encourage it back to life? In Matthew Henry's comments on these verses, he says:

It ill becomes those that are taught of God to learn the way of the heathen, and to think of worshiping the true God with such rites and ceremonies as they used in the worship of their false gods.

Continuing in verses 3 and 4 of Jeremiah 10, God said:

For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    The involvement of green trees in the worship of false gods and goddesses is found in Deuteronomy 12:2; I Kings 14:23; II Kings 16:4; II Kings 17:10; II Chronicles 28:4; Isaiah 57:5; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:6,13; Jeremiah 17:2; and Ezekiel 6:13.

    Groves are mentioned in that context in Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5; 12:3; 16:21; Judges 3:7; 6:25, 26, 28, 30; I Kings 14:15,23; 15:13; 16:33; 18:19; II Kings 13:6; 17:10, 16; 18:4; 21:3,7; 23:4,6,7,14,15; II Chronicles 14:3; 15;16; 17:6; 19:3; 24:18; 31:1; 33:3,19; 34:3,4,7; Isaiah 17:8; 27:9; Jeremiah 17:2; Micah 5:14.

    Look at the celebration going on in Jeremiah 7:17-19 where God said:

Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

    Notice that the "queen of heaven" was being worshiped there by the people of Judah. You will remember this was one of the titles given to Ishtar/Ashtaroth by the Babylonians. Judah had learned "the way of the heathen" in that holiday celebration.

God's response in verse 20 was:

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.

In verses 25 and 26, God said:

Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.

Remember that Romans 15:4 says:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning . . . .

And I Corinthians 10:6-7 says:

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them . . . .

Notice again verses 11 and 12:

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

    If the people of Judah, having the examples of their fathers, and God's repeated warnings and chastisement, "did worse than their fathers," then how much worse it must be for us today to be involved in the same holiday observances!

    Notice how that the heathen holidays, dressed up as "Christian Holidays," gain more and more influence and emphasis each year, while going "fully after the LORD," and true Christianity, has become almost extinct. "Christmas" was hardly even observed in our country two hundred years ago. World Book Encyclopedia says:

During the 1600's . . . Christmas was outlawed in England and in parts of the English colonies in America.

Encyclopedia Britannica says:

The festive aspects were not accepted in New England until about 1875 . . . .

    There are people living today, who have, in their lifetime, seen the holiday grow from when they "were little the boys got firecrackers, the girls got a corn-shuck doll, and everybody got an apple, and sometimes an orange if daddy was able to get them," to the enormous affair that it is now, starting about a week earlier each year. In twenty years, Easter has gone from hunting Easter eggs and "dressing up" on Easter Sunday, to Easter gifts, Easter cards, Easter plays, Easter egg trees, and now, even lights. All sorts of community wide inter-denominational "holy week" activities go on.

I Corinthians 10:14 says:

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Verse 21 says:

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and the table of devils.

In the next chapter, teaching on the Lord's supper, I Corinthians 11:27-29, says:

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

    How can we fool with Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) and the Easter Bunny and with Ashtaroth and Tammuz celebrations, and then observe the Lord's supper without eating and drinking "unworthily"? I Corinthians 10:30 says:

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

    Is it any wonder that our world is "going to hell in a handbasket," and that so many of the Lord's congregations are so weak? Is it any wonder that our families are falling apart, and that loved ones are going to hell? Is it any wonder we are perceived, like Lot was, "as one who mocked"?

And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one who mocked unto his sons in law.

Let us return to the book of Jeremiah, and in chapter 19, notice the descriptions of the observances there in verses 4 and 13.

Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; (v.4) They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: (v.5)

And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods. (v.13)

    It is striking that we repeatedly see the sacrificing of children in connection with these pagan observances. It should not surprise us that the practice of abortion and the murdering of children is enjoying an increase of popularity in proportion to that of Christmas and Easter. There are about 4400 legalized abortions per day in America. There are twice as many legalized abortions per year, in America, than the total casualties of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined. Without any research or much thought, I can think of about ten children who have been allegedly murdered by their own parents in the past year.

    Notice that the worship of Baal, mentioned in verse 5 above, is often spoken of in the Bible, and often, as in Judges 2:13 in connection with Ashtaroth ("The Holy Virgin" and "Queen of Heaven). Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) says:

Of the worship of the Tyrian Baal, who is also called Melkart (king of the city), and is often identified with the Greek Heracles, but sometimes with the Olympian Zeus, we have many accounts in ancient writers, from Herodotus downwards. He had a magnificent temple to which gifts streamed from all countries, especially at the great feasts. The solar character of this deity appears especially in the annual feast of his awakening after the winter solstice.

    Reference to Baal is found in Numbers 22:41; Judges 2:13; 6:25,28,30,31,32; I Kings 16:31,32; 18:19,21,25,26,40; 19:18; 22:53; II Kings 3:2; 10:18,19,20,21,22,23,25,26,27,28; 11:18; 17:16; 21:3; 23:4,5; I Chronicles 4:33; 5:5; 8:30; 9:36; II Chronicles 23:17; Jeremiah 2:8; 7:9; 11:13,17; 12:16; 19:5; 23:13,27; 32:29,35; Hosea 2:8; 13:1; Zephaniah 1:4; and Romans 11:4.

    Now look at Jeremiah 44:15-29, where the people are again worshiping "the queen of heaven," Ashtaroth, the mother of Tammuz, the sun god.

Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men? Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying, The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings,and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind? So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day. Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows. Therefore hear ye the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth. Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them. Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or theirs. And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil: (Jeremiah 44:15-29)

Speaking further about the Babylonian mystery-religion, on pages 292 and 293 of Lectures on the Revelation, H.A. Ironside says:

Linked with this central mystery were countless lesser mysteries, the hidden meaning of which was known only to the initiates, but the outward forms were practised by all the people. Among these were the doctrines of purgatorial purification after death, salvation by countless sacraments such as priestly absolution, sprinkling with holy water, the offering of round cakes to the queen of heaven as mentioned in the book of Jeremiah, dedication of virgins to the gods, which was literally sanctified prostitution, weeping for Tammuz for a period of 40 days, prior to the great festival of Istar, who was said to have received her son back from the dead; for it was taught that Tammuz was slain by a wild boar and afterwards brought back to life. To him the egg was sacred, as depicting the mystery of his resurrection, even as the evergreen was his chosen symbol and was set up in honor of his birth at the winter solstice, when the boar's head was eaten in memory of his conflict and a yule-log burned with many mysterious observances. The sign of the cross was sacred to Tammuz, as symbolizing the life-giving principle and as the first letter of his name. It is represented upon vast numbers of the most ancient altars and temples, and did not, as many have supposed, originate with Christianity.

Those things are covered in great detail in The Two Babylons, by Hislop.

Finally, let us read Ezekiel 8. In this chapter, Ezekiel, who was in Babylon at the time, was taken by God, in a vision, to Jerusalem, to see the idolatry going on there. Verse 14 says:

Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

There, there were "women weeping for Tammuz," like the Babylonians, only they were doing it at "the LORD'S house." In verse 16, Ezekiel said:

And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

They were having a "sunrise service" in God's house and He was not pleased with it.

In verse 18, God said:

Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

God is still God, and does not change. We, having these examples can expect no more leniency than those of old, who are our examples. Proverbs 28:9 is still true :

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Encyclopedia Britannica(1957) says that, according to Bede (introduced earlier), in Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation written in 731 A.D., that:

Eostur-monath, or Easter month, corresponding to our month of April and dedicated to Eostre, or Ostara, goddess of the spring, gave its name to the Christian holy day.

Encyclopedia Britannica goes on to say:


The customs and symbols associated with the observance of Easter have ancient origins, not only in the Teutonic rites of spring but also go far back in antiquity. . . the conception of the egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of colouring and eating eggs during their spring festival.

World Book Encyclopedia says:


The ancient Romans held the festival of Lupercalia on February 15 to ensure protection from wolves. During this celebration, young men struck people with strips of animal hide. Women took the blows because they thought that the whipping made them more fertile. After the Romans conquered Britain in A.D.43, the British borrowed many Roman festivals. Many writers link the festival of Lupercalia with Valentine's Day because of the similar date and the connection with fertility.

Two stories are then related in the article, of men named Saint Valentine, and then it says:


Many stories say Valentine was executed on February 14 about A.D. 269.

The next sentence states the fact that:


In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius named February 14 as St. Valentine's Day.

Another part of the celebration of the Roman Lupercalia, dedicated to the fertility god Lupercus was a "love lottery," in which the names of women were placed in a jar and drawn out by the young men to whom they would serve as companions for the year.

Encyclopedia Britannica(1957) says:

Halloween (Allhallows Even) is the evening of Oct. 31. In its strictly religious aspect, this occasion is known as the vigil of Hallowmas or All Saints' day, Nov. 1, observed by the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. Pope Gregory III (731-741) assigned this date for celebrating the feast . . . .

The article then tells much about the popular customs and practices of Halloween that were handed down from the Roman harvest festival of Pomona, and from Druidism.

Later the article says:

By the end of the middle ages, the celebration of Allhallows Eve was an established part of the annual calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. However after the Reformation, Protestants rejected this feast along with other important ones such as Christmas and Easter.

    It has been shown here, by well documented history, and by two commonly available and well recognized encyclopedias, not only that these so called "Christian holidays" are totally of pagan origin, having been dedicated to sun gods, fertility gods and goddesses, and satanism, but also how and even when that they have been adapted and adopted by the founders of a counterfiet "Christianity."

    It has been shown from the Bible, the written Word of God, numerous examples of the observances of these pagan feasts, and the attempts of the people to incorporate their observance and practice into serving or worshiping and following God.

    It has also been shown from the Bible, God's disapproval of such practice, the warnings and instructions against such practice, and the consequences and costs of ignoring God's warning and instructions by continuing such practice.

    Lacking spiritual discernment, most of the world's writers of history, philosophy, and religion have, knowing the things presented here, but being unable or unwilling to distinguish between the counterfeit "Christianity" and true Christianity, wrongly concluded that Christianity is no more than a "tradition" that has evolved and that changes as man does. Sadly, many of their readers, as well as many educators, and tragically many in so called Bible colleges, theological seminaries, and pulpits, have swallowed this deadly and damning lie of Satan.

    Those who profess to be saved by grace through faith in Christ, and claim to be bearers of the truth, yet hold on to paganism, are just helping to support the lie. Satan must really have a big time hearing people gripe about how "the world has taken Christ out of Christmas." Christ has never been in "Christmas" --His name has been taken in vain.

    Satan has known Bible doctrine and prophecy for a long time. He was familiar with God's word when he was twisting it around to deceive Eve. In Matthew 4:5-6, we find Satan able to quote scripture from Psalm 91:11-12, and understanding it to be speaking prophetically of Jesus.

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Matthew 4:5-6)

    James 2:19 says that the devils "believe, and tremble." The devils in Matthew 8:29 asked Jesus, "Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" Those devils had no doubt but that torment was in their future, and likely understood Tophet in Isaiah 30:33 to be a symbol of the fires of hell, which Jesus later, in Matthew 25:41, spoke of as "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." That they asked "Art thou come to torment us before the time?" indicates that they knew that there were things that must yet be fulfilled before the time of their torment.

    With that kind of knowledge and insight, we should not be surprised that Satan knew enough about the future events of Jesus' birth and death, to be able to earlier lay the foundations in pagan worship, which could so easily be incorporated into his scheme of counterfeiting Christianity. Satan really meant it when he said, "I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14).

    Satan has established his counterfeit "Christianity" complete with congregations he has built, false apostles, false prophets, and false ministers.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.                  (II Corinthians 11:13-15)

    Let us now look at yet another reason why we should not observe Christmas or Easter. Return to John 4:23-24, in which Jesus said:

. . . the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Earlier, we considered the requirement of these verses that we must worship "in truth," but notice that we also "must worship him in spirit" because "God is a Spirit" and II Corinthians 3:17 says that "the Lord is that Spirit."

    If we "must" worship Him in spirit and as Spirit, we can conclude that to worship Him in the flesh and as flesh, which is not commanded, is not acceptable worship. Jesus does still have a living and physical body, but it is not with us at the present time; He is with us in Spirit only.

II Corinthians 5:16 says:

. . . yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

In Matthew Henry's comments on this verse, he makes this note:

Those who make images of Christ, and use them in their worship, do not take the way that God has appointed for strengthening their faith and quickening their affections; for it is the will of God that we should not know Christ anymore after the flesh.

Galations 5:24-25 says:

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Consider the record of Jesus' visit with Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42.

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about with much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

    Martha was "cumbered about with much serving," much like you or I might be when someone special comes to visit. Martha was no doubt working hard to present the finest of accomodations within her means, but in all that, she was only relating to Jesus physically, and regarding Him in the human sense, however highly it may have been.

    That was permissable at the time, since Jesus was still with them in His physical body, but such relationship and regard paled miserably in comparison to regarding and relating to Him in recognition of all that He is spiritually, as did her sister Mary.

    Jesus said, "one thing is needful," and His neglect to instruct Mary to serve as was Martha, shows that that was not the "one thing" that is needful. Jesus could have provided the food that Martha was so cumbered about with, just as easily as He had fed the five-thousand. Jesus said:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

    Mary had chosen the spiritual part of Jesus. Physically, Jesus was about to be taken away from them, and Mary had wisely "chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

    Now that Jesus has departed physically, it is no longer acceptable to worship Him in the physical sense. To attempt to worship Jesus as a baby in a manger or as a man on a cross is to detract from Him as resurrected and eternal Lord and Saviour. Jesus is to be "lifted up," not brought down and degraded with paganism and idolatry, as is done with Christmas and Easter.

    If we stop to consider the matter, not through man's eyes, but with spiritual discernment, (led by the Bible and the Holy Spirit) it becomes very clear that there are actually two different "Christs" we are talking about here. There is the "Christ" of Christmas and Easter that is so universally accepted and honored by the world, and there is the true Christ who is the Son of the living God, the resurrected Lord and Saviour who hates sin and has conquered death and hell, whom the world hates. As I write this paragraph, I literally tremble to think of how easily people will be deceived by "that man of sin" (II Thessalonians 2:3), after the saved are "caught up . . . in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." Will the testimony we leave behind be a help or a hindrance in the deception of friends and relatives left behind?

    Think of how that big factories will shut down for Christmas, huge bonuses are sometimes given, and businesses, restaurants, and grocery stores will close so that their employees can "observe" the holiday (holy day).

Can you picture a factory shutting down for someone to preach God's Word? Can you picture bonuses being handed out to employees for telling co-workers and customers about their Saviour? Can you picture all the stores and restaurants closing so that their employees may observe the Lord's day? Can you imagine going to Sunday school and finding no empty parking spaces?

Let us pay attention to the warning Paul gave to the Galatians, to whom he said:

Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

(Galatians 4:10-11)

In Galatians 1:6-12, Paul gave them and us this warning and instruction:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    It would be inexcusable not to also point out here, that to preach a Christ that can save if we can hold on to Him, or a Christ that can save if we are baptized, or if we live right, or the many other ifs that man may append, is to preach another "Christ" or another "gospel."

    Let us consider one other example of someone serving and following Jesus, but not as all that He is. That is the tragic example of Judas Iscariot. I believe that Judas recognized Jesus as one who would rule and reign, as one who would set up His kingdom and rule with a rod of iron. Judas very likely recognized Jesus as virgin born and as the Son of God, having seen many miracles performed and the display of the power and presence of God as he had travelled and companied with Jesus daily. But, having not been born again, having not been quickened by the Holy Spirit, Judas was unable to recognize Jesus as Saviour. Judas could only regard Jesus in a political or worldly sense. I believe Judas was getting impatient with the present pace of things, and decided that in betraying Jesus, he could bring things to a head, to force a showdown, and get the ruling and reigning underway.

    It is understandable that Judas would have been enthusiastic about such an arrangement; after all, as he probably thought, he would be the treasurer, the chief financial officer of the kingdom. Judas probably knew that Jesus couldn't be captured or killed against His will. Judas had no doubt many times witnessed Jesus eluding and escaping from those who wanted to kill Him when "his hour was not yet come." Judas no doubt knew much about Jesus' greatness and power, but did not know Him as Saviour. He didn't have "that good part," as did Mary.

    Many try to follow with a pick and choose "Christianity," in which they can pick and choose and design a "Christ" that suits the fancy of their own fleshly desires. In doing so, they will tragically reject and betray the true Christ for a handful of silver, or less.

    Notice how easily one can become amused and fascinated with holidays, or the abuse and perversion of Christian music, or "Christian" jewelry, "Christian" bumper stickers, "Christian" cruises and tours, books, tapes, and cards, but have no time or interest for prayer, Bible study, or even Sunday school. It is so easy to become caught up in revelry of how wonderful it will be "over yonder," but neglect to be surrendered and submissive to the Lord and His work here and now. We must examine our Christianity, and ask if it is "from heaven, or of men."

    The holiday or day of special observance for a true Christian is "the Lord's day," the first day of the week. No other day should come any where close to our regard for, and the observance of "the Lord's day." That is the day which we are to observe in celebration of Jesus as resurrected Lord and Saviour. The Bible gives us instructions and examples for how to do it and when.

    Just as those of old had the seventh day as a sabbath in honor of God's completion of creation, we have the first day as our sabbath in honor of the completed work of Jesus. The Lord's day should be the highest day of our life; it is the day to go all out. Nothing good should be held back in our observance and honoring of the Lord's day. It is then that our gifts are to be given in honoring Jesus.

    Jesus also gave us the observance of the Lord's supper as an ordinance to His congregations, saying, "this do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). The Bible gives us much clear instruction and teaching on this ordinance, and since it is also a part of our teaching in picture or typology, as is baptism, it is imperative that we follow the New Testament teachings on it with all sincerity and diligence.

    I have shown that since Jesus no longer dwells with us in a physical body such as a baby in a manger, or a man on a cross, it is improper and degrading to worship Him as such. We do, however, have the presence of His body in the form of each of His congregations of saved and scripturally baptized followers. If we have gifts to give or honor to show unto Jesus, then it must properly be given to one of His congregations. If it is our desire to share the good news about Jesus with the world, it is to "be done decently and in order" (I Corinthians 14:40), and through one of the true congregations and bodies of Christ, not through some pagan holiday.

    It seems that often the final holdout with Christmas is the giving of gifts. The objection is sometimes given, "I just like to give gifts. What's wrong with that?" With 364 other days, 51 other weeks, or 11 other months, why pick a time that would dishonor the Lord? Much is made at that time of year of "helping the needy," or giving a friend or loved one "something they really need." Why make them wait all year? Do people just get needy once a year? In I Corinthians 16:1-2, these instructions are given:

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

    Let us go back to a statement which I quoted earlier from World Book Encyclopedia, about Christmas being considered a pagan celebration by many Christians, and the outlawing of the holiday in England and the English Colonies of America during the 1600's. That article said:

However, people continued to exchange Christmas gifts and soon started to follow the other old customs again.

    In light of all this, we are forced to ask, "What is the proper response and disposition concerning these holidays?" What part does one who has been engaged to be married as the bride of Christ have in such holidays and observances? I believe that the question can best be answered with another question. What part should a lady, engaged to be married, have in dating those other than the groom to be? What if she insists, "It's just for fun," or, "We don't really mean anything by it," or, "Everyone else does it"? What if she were your fiance? What will Jesus say? What has God's Word already said?

    I realize that much of what has been written here is very harsh and strong; but the strongest, and most harsh, I have only copied from the pages of the Bible. The rest, I believe, is clearly supported by it. What I have written, I have written with the desire for lost souls to be saved, and for the Lord's congregations to be all that He meant for them to be. It is written with a desire that you and I may glorify God and experience the power, the joy, and the effectiveness of life in Christ to its fullest. It is written in humility, knowing that not so long ago I was ignorantly partaker of some of the very things written about.

    Some think that I have gone too far by not observing the holidays, so I must ask, "How far is too far to go in following Jesus?" Can we ever go far enough? We must go "fully after the LORD." Remember that when Solomon "went not fully after the LORD," the Bible says that "Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD," and that "the LORD was angry with Solomon" (I Kings 11:5-11).

I am well aware, by experience, of the problems and implications in taking such a stand, but it must be done.

    Are you willing to stand for the real Jesus, and let the world go by? Christian parent or head of household, are you willing to lead and to teach these truths to those whom God has given you responsibility for? This must be done in love and with patience, not procrastination but patience; but it must be done.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.   (Joshua 24:15)

    As it has already been shown, if we reject God's instructions, even our prayer is abomination (Proverbs 28:9). Will your prayer be abomination in your time of need? Will you be able to pray for those you love?

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God   (James 4:3-4)

    Teacher or pastor whom God has called to lead His people, and to teach them to observe all things whatsoever He has commanded, will you declare "all the counsel of God"? (Acts 20:27)

    Someone may say, "That would split my church." I realize that that is a very serious matter, but we must ask, "Who has been doing the building?" To the extent that man has been doing the building, there is likely to be problems. If Jesus has done the building, then, conditioned on the terms that a congregation "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," we have His promises that "lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:19-20), and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). We have no promise of God's blessing upon disobedience.

For other foundation can no man lay than that that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.    (I Corinthians 3:11-15)

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Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

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My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6)

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Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (II Timothy 4:2-5)

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. . . that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15)

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Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:29-30)

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Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.    (Ephesians 5:4-11)

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Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Corinthians 6:14-18)

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Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:3-4)

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He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)

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    The subject of this chapter is not just the product of an over-active imagination or the adoption of a pet-peeve with frantic search for a Bible verse to support it. It is one of the major subjects dealt with in the Bible, and is addressed repeatedly from cover to cover. The subject is just as serious as it is real. I am convinced that participation in these pagan holy-days is as sinful and damnable now as it was four thousand years ago. We are more accountable now than ever before.

    The gods and goddesses of the Babylonians and Romans are the very gods and goddesses that are worshipped and honored in the "Christ-mass" and Eostur celebrations and observances. Review chapter eight of this book, and notice that the refusal to acknowledge the gods and goddesses of these holidays was the primary reason the Christians of the first three centuries, A.D., were persecuted by the Roman pagans. Notice on page 68 that they were not persecuted because they believed in God, but because they believed in God only and refused to acknowledge the other gods. Notice on page 70 that the populace considered the Christians the enemies of their gods and blamed them for anything that went wrong. The Christians were then called, "the atheists" or, "the deniers of the gods." Notice on pages 75 through 79 that there was a time when everyone was required by law to worship those false gods, and the Christians were killed for refusing to do so. Study pages 82 and 83 where it is seen that people who claimed to be Christians, but defiled themselves with those pagan gods and holy-days is the very thing that, in the year 251 A.D., led to the Novations declaring dis-fellowship with the "church" at Rome, and others who compromised with paganism to escape persecution rather than go "fully after the LORD." That is the reason Jesus' true congregations refused to recognize the baptism of those who compromised, and as a result, have been persecuted as Re-baptizers, Ana-baptists, or Baptists ever since. I doubt that the Novations, Donatists, and ancient Waldenses congregations would accept many of us as members by letter of recommendation if they were here today. How would anyone defend his participation in the holidays to folks like Polycarp, Appolonia, Quintilla, and many others who were martyred on such occasions.

    The inquisitor AEneas Sylvius who wrote a history of Bohemia and afterwards ascended to the title of Pope Pius II, made the following charge against the Waldenses of Bohemia:

Their third class of errors is as follows. They contemn all approved

ecclesiastical customs which they do not read of in the gospel, such as the observation of Candlemas, Palm-Sunday, the reconciliation of penitents, and the adoration of the cross on Good-Friday. They despise the feast of Easter, and all other festivals of Christ and the saints, and say that one day is as good as another, working upon holy-days, where they can do it without being taken notice of.

(The History of the Christian Church by William Jones, volume II, pages 34-35).

    Notice on page 107, that the inquisitor Reinerius Sacco complained that "they deride all the festivals" and do work on holy days.

    Page 25 of History of the Ancient Christians, written by Jean Paul Perrin in 1618 says:

The Waldenses rejected the Romish festivals, and observed no other day of rest than Sunday; whence they were named "Insabbathas," regarders not of the Sabbaths.

    In book I, pages 33 and 34, of The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont, written by Samuel Moreland in 1658, we find article ten of "An ancient Confession of Faith of the Waldenses, Copied out of certain Manuscripts, bearing date Anno Dom. 1120" which says:

Article 10

Item, we have always accounted as an unspeakable abomination before God, all those Inventions of men, namely, the Feasts and the Vigils of Saints, the Water which they call holy. As likewise to abstain from Flesh upon certain Days, and the like; but especially their Masses.

One of the chiefest of "those Inventions of men" which they "accounted as an unspeakable abomination before God" was the "Christ-Mass." Consider this Christmas story of some Waldensians' experience with the Roman Catholic Inquisitors, copied from pages 49 and 50 of Bright Lights in Dark Times:

The scene of this catastrophe was the Valley of the Pragelas. It was the Christmas of 1400, and the inhabitants dreaded no attack, believing themselves sufficiently protected by the snows which then lay deep on their mountains. They were destined to experience the bitter fact that the rigours of the season had not quenched the fire of their persecutors' malice. An inquisitor named Borelli, at the head of an armed troop, broke suddenly into Pragelas, meditating the entire extinction of its population. The miserable inhabitants fled in haste to the mountains, carrying on their shoulders their old men, their sick and their infants, knowing what fate awaited them should they leave them behind. In their flight a great many were overtaken and slain. Nightfall brought them deliverance from the pursuit, but no deliverence from the horrors not less dreadful. Without shelter, without food, the frozen snow around them, the winter's sky overhead, their sufferings were inexpressibly great. When morning broke, what a heart-rending spectacle did day disclose! Of the miserable group the hands and feet of many were frozen; while others were stretched on the snow, stiffened corpes. Fifty young children, some say eighty, were found dead with cold, some lying on the bare ice, others locked in the frozen arms of their mothers, who had perished on that dreadful night along with their babes. In the Valley of Pragelas, to this day, sire recites to son the tale of that Christmas tragedy.

That event is also told about on pages 220 and 221, volume II, of The History of the Christian Church by William Jones; in Vignaux's Memoires des Vaudois; in book II, chapter III of the section on the history of the Waldenses in History of the Ancient Christians by Jean Paul Perrin; in Pierre Gilles' Histoire Ecclesiastica; and on page 194 of The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont, by Samuel Morland.

    On pages 223 and 224 of Memorials of Baptist Martyrs by J. Newton Brown, is found the following record of a meeting of Ana-baptists in Aldgate, London, England, in 1575:

These persons had fled from the slaughterings and devastations caused by the Duke of Alva in Flanders, and in the expectation that in now Protestant England they would be free from the persecutions to which they had been exposed. But their peace and security did not last long. Popery had passed away only in name, and its spirit still lived in full vigor in the queen and government; and these simple-hearted Christian people soon felt its power.

The morning of the Sabbath, April 3d, 1575, had dawned. It was deemed by the dominant party a holy season--Easter day, the grand feast in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Thirty disciples of the Lord, men and women, had assembled in an upper room for worship near the Aldgate, one of the entrances of the city of London. How pure, how tender, but how unearthly the devotion of such a meeting! Outcasts and strangers, they sought a heavenly citizenship, and in this sojourn met to comfort each other, and to unite their prayers at a throne of grace. What a power of principle did they unfold! All the dignity of Christian manhood was there seen! They knew the power of suffering; they were prepared again to brave its fury, if necessary, for the advancement of the truth. Imagination realizes more than this, as by an effort it aims to identify itself with this little band of Christian disciples.

Their meeting, though conducted in quietude, was detected by their neighbors, and a constable was soon on the spot with an assistant or two from whom they might all have easily escaped. Addressing them as devils, this professed officer of justice demanded which was their teacher. Seven and twenty of their names were at his command recorded, and taking the promise of the rest to remain, he proceeded with seven of them to a magistrate. He soon after returned, and with opprobrious and cruel words drove the rest before him to the jail. Two escaped on the way; the rest were led "as sheep to the slaughter."

    It is to be noticed that the word "Easter" is found in the King James Translation, in Acts 12:4. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says:


PASCHA, mistranslated "Easter" in Acts 12:4, A.V., denotes the Passover (R.V.). The phrase "after the Passover" signifies after the whole festival was at an end. The term Easter is not of Christian origin. It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean goddess, the queen of heaven. The festival of Pasch held by Christians in post-apostolic times was a continuation of the Jewish feast, but was not instituted by Christ, nor was it connected with Lent. From this Pasch the Pagan festival of Easter was quite distinct and was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt Pagan festivals to Christianity.

I suppose that "Easter" is one of those "Old Ecclesiastical Words" that King James ordered "to be kept" (page 20).

Read the following samples of what a few others have written.

Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. (Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) in a sermon preached December 24, 1871, titled "Joy Born at Bethlehem", found on page 67 of 12 Christmas Sermons by Charles H. Spurgeon)

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When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide, and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then. It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men, as to observe the ordinances of the Lord. (Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) in comments on Psalm 81 in The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon)

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And who is it that celebrates "Christmas"? The whole "civilized world." Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who "despise and reject Him," and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on its lowest ground, we would ask, Is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any truly born-again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world's joys? Verily, "the customs of the people are vain"; and it is written, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (Exodus 23:2). (A. W. Pink (1886-1952) in a sermon titled "Xmas", printed in The Berea Baptist Banner December, 1995)

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H.A.Ironside, writing of the woman in Revelation 17:

There is no mistaking her identity. Pagan Rome was the lineal successor of Babylon. Papal Rome absorbed the Babylonian mysteries; and the Rome of the Beast of the last days will be the seat of the revived satanic system that began with Nimrod and his infamous consort Semiramis, which has from that day to this been opposed to everything that is of God; and which changed the truth of God into a lie, worshiping and serving the creature more than the Creator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The images of the mother and child that are enshrined in Rome's temples are only different in name to the images worshiped in the groves and temples of Semiramis, Ashtoreth, Isis, and other so-called "queens of heaven." In many instances the old idols were simply re-named and adored as before. . . . . . . . . . . It is a lamentable fact that Babylon's principles and practices are rapidly but surely pervading the churches that escaped from Rome at the time of the Reformation. We see evidences of it in the wide use of high-sounding ecclesiastical titles, once unknown in the reformed churches, and in the revival of holy days and church feasts such as Lent, Good Friday, Easter, and Christ's Mass, or, as it is generally written, Christmas. (Lectures on the Revelation by H. A. Ironside)

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What Would They Think?

. . . What would they think about the carnival atmosphere that pervades many "Baptist" churches? What would they think about the gimmicks, the worldly music, the fleshly allurements? What would they think -- they who knew the cost of true discipleship and in many cases paid for their faith with their lives?

What would they think of "Baptist" churches that highly exalt the Christmas and Easter holidays of Rome with parties, banquets, and cantatas? What would they think -- they who gladly suffered martyrdom rather than bend the knee to such Popery and paganism?

What would they think of the "Baptist" preachers who preach a gospel devoid of repentance? What would they think of those who preach Christ as Savior, but not as Lord? What would they think -- those who died confessing: "Jesus Christ is Lord?"

What would those ancient witnesses think of all the modern "Baptist" churches that receive every sort of alien immersion? What would those Baptists of old think -- those who bore the hated epithet of "Ana-Baptist" (re-baptizer) because they would not recognize the spurious baptisms of apostate Christianity? What would they think -- they who suffered unto death the persecutions of the Roman whore and her Protestant harlot daughters rather than accept their false baptisms?

What would those staid saints of the past think of "Baptist" women who dress alternately like men or harlots? What would they think of the unashamed nakedness of modern "Baptist" Sunday School beach parties? What would they think of "Baptist" men who refuse to be the spiritual heads of their houses? What would they think of "Baptist" presidential candidates that support the right of women to murder their unborn children? What would they think of good "Baptists" who change mates like they do T-shirts?

Yes indeed -- What would they think? I rather hope that they can't observe what takes place here below!

(Greg Wilson, in article titled "What Would They Think?" in The Landmark Baptist Contender, published by Landmark Independent Baptist Church, Homestead, Fla., November 1994)

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Study Romans 1:16-32, which says:

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorrruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    These verses describe the development of the belief and worship of the father sun and mother earth, Tammuz and Ishtar, and the condition and circumstances that it leads to. It started with people who "knew God" but "glorified him not as God," and "their foolish heart was darkened" (v.21). They "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature," the creation, the thing or things created, "more than the Creator" (v.25). Verse 26 says, "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections. . . ." And, ". . . as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind. . . ."

    Is it only coincidence that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were given "up unto vile affections" and destroyed by God were located in southern Babylonia, where the worship of Tammuz and Ishtar originated? Is it only coincidence that our country, where the pagan holidays have flourished so, has to a great extent been given "up unto vile affections," and verses 28-32 are so descriptive of the true state of the Union? Is it only coincidence that the Roman Catholic Church, the new Babylon, that adapted the pagan holy-days to apostate "Christianity," are being so troubled by the "vile affections" of verses 26 and 27? Is it only coincidence that her Protestant daughters are being similarly plagued as they try to "be like mommy?" Is it only coincidence that we are experiencing such an epidemic of reprobate mindedness? No, No, No, No, and No. Yes, the pagan "Christian" holidays are as sinful and damning as ever, regardless of what we may pretend or call them. It all starts with "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God."

    On page 25 of Sanctification as Taught in God's Word, Clarence Walker wrote:

I know many churches that ought to get rid of their many "spots" and "wrinkles" among which is the observing of Easter and other days. They need to be "SANCTIFIED BY THE WORD."

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