In the fall, we participate in the great celebration called the "Feast of Tabernacles". We have been so very blessed by this feast with the fellowship, praising our Creator and giving honor to Yahweh throughout the feast. Each year, we learn new things about what Yahweh wants for us in our lives and by these observances, our spiritual walk has been greatly blessed over the years.
There is a stark contrast between the Holy Days of Yahweh and the unholi-days of the world. In the fall, we are approaching the time of year where we find the world keeping its unholi-days, I would like to consider what the scriptures have to say about incorporating pagan observances into our worship and into our lives.
Before I begin I would like to say that the purpose of this message is not to put others down, but to open the scriptures to those who might not realize certain truths within. In no way do I believe I am above reproof, but I also must diligently seek to worship our Father in Spirit and in Truth.
Having said this, we do know that there are many within the confines of Christianity that believe Yahweh 'doesn't mind' if we observe Christmas, have the Cross as the sign of our faith, call on upon Yahweh using a pagan name and many other such practices that have its roots in paganism. The logic is, the meaning of these things 'has changed' and they no longer mean those things today. Therefore Yahweh 'doesn't mind' if we doing these things since the meaning has 'changed'.
For examples, here are some responses that I have encountered over the years:
* It's okay to eat pork, the pig has been domesticated and is fed whole grains for it's food and is not roaming the earth eating garbage like it used to.
* It's okay to keep the Sabbath day on the first day instead of the 7th day because this is the day the Messiah resurrected. The 7th day is no longer kept by Christians so as long as you are keeping a Sabbath, Yahweh 'doesn't mind'.
* It's okay to keep Christmas, it used to be pagan but it doesn't mean that anymore
* It's okay to have the cross as the sign of our faith, it was pagan but it doesn't mean that anymore
* It's okay to call Yahweh by the pagan name "God", it used to be pagan but it doesn't mean that anymore.
Within the logic of each of these statements, we find a common thread. Each of them say that something has changed. Because of that change, what USED to be wrong is now considered right! I believe this to be a snare. Do we find any examples of this in the scriptures? Is there anything in Genesis through Revelation that would justify the idea that something that used to be wrong can later on be right? The answer is, "No, to the contrary!".
Let's consider first of all the scriptural prohibition of incorporating paganism into our worship in the first
place. When the children of Israel were about to go into the promised land, Yahweh's desire was that they not take their pagan practices and apply it to Him:
Deuteronomy 12:28 - Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of YAHWEH thy Elohim. 29 - When YAHWEH thy Elohim shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30 - Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their elohim, saying, How did these nations serve their elohim? even so will I do likewise.Yahweh commanded that they not even inquire after their gods. Yahweh didn't want them to 'learn the way of the heathen' at all! This is consistent with what Yahweh said later:
"Learn not the way of the heathen". Here are 2 commandments in scripture where we are told to not learn about pagan worship, much less apply their practices to the worship of Yahweh.
Jeremiah 10:2 - Thus saith YAHWEH, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Yahweh says plainly "Thou shalt not do so unto YAHWEH thy Elohim". Do what? Worship Yahweh in the way the other nations worship their deities. We find more evidence in the "New Testament" scriptures:
Deuteronomy 12:31 - Thou shalt not do so unto YAHWEH thy Elohim: for every abomination to YAHWEH, which he hateth, have they done unto their elohim; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their elohim.
Here is a direct condemnation of continuing in those 'weak and beggarly elements' which were in paganism/idolatry. This included the observance of certain days, months, times and years found within idolatry. Some have tried to use this against those who observe the commanded feast days such as Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, etc. but Yahweh's commandments are not "weak and beggarly elements". Paul himself kept the feasts; surely he would not be bringing condemnation upon himself here!
Galatians 4:8 - But then, indeed, when you did not know YAHWEH, you served those which by nature are not mighty ones. 9 - But now after you have known YAHWEH, or rather are known by YAHWEH, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 - You observe days and months and seasons and years.11 - I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
Acts 18:20 - When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 21 - But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if YAHWEH will. And he sailed from Ephesus.Therefore, this is certainly talking about Gentiles 'turning again' to idolatry, not returning to Yahweh's commandments! Within that idolatry was the observance of days, months, times, etc that are not found in the pages of scripture. It is clearly condemned here
We find the people of Judah were doing similar things in Jeremiah chapter 2. They were claiming that they weren't polluted with Baal, but Yahweh said:
They claimed they weren't polluted, but apparently their actions showed otherwise. Therefore it is certainly wrong to mix paganism into worship. Paganism is actually Satanism.
Jeremiah 2:22 - For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Master YAHWEH. 23 - How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;
Why would anyone believe it is okay to incorporate Satanism into our worship? How terrible! The Egyptians observed many of these pagan practices, what did Yahweh command Israel?
1Corinthians 10:20 - But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to Elohim: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 - Ye cannot drink the cup of YAHWEH, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of YAHWEH's table, and of the table of devils. 22 - Do we provoke YAHWEH to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
They are told specifically to keep Yahweh's commandments, not the ones of the Egyptians nor the ones in the land of Canaan. Yet, we find in modern day mainstream Christianity that people are doing these very things. We are told to keep Yahweh's commandments and not add to them nor take away from them:
Leviticus 18:2 - Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am YAHWEH your Elohim. 3 - After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. 4 - Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am YAHWEH your Elohim. 5 - Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am YAHWEH.
Did the children of Israel obey these commands?
Deuteronomy 12:32 - What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
They did not. How about today, can we participate in pagan practices today? Does Yahweh indeed have a double standard? Should we mingle among the heathen and learn their works? Certainly no. Yahweh is no respecter of persons and shows no partiality.
Psalms 106:32 - They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: 33 - Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips. 34 - They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom YAHWEH commanded them: 35 - But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
Colossians 3:25 - But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
1Peter 1:13 - Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the favor that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Yahushua the Messiah; 14 - as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 - but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 - because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." 17 - And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay [here] in fear;On Judgment day, Yahweh will judge each without partiality or respecter of persons. If something was wrong in 2000BCE then it is also wrong in the 21st century.
Christmas, Easter, Cross symbols and various other 'strange doctrines' (though under different names) were alive and well in Yahushua's time and they are alive and well in the 21st century. It was wrong then, it is wrong now.
Hebrews 13:7 - Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of YAHWEH to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 - Yahushua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 - Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by favor, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
Consider this, if something was wrong in the year 300...in what year did it become acceptable to Yahweh? 301? 400? 500?? 1900?? The answer is NEVER.
Regardless of excuses, reasoning's, etc. there is one standard that we will be expected to live by on Judgment day and that is Yahweh's word. If Yahweh's word says it is wrong then it is ALWAYS wrong. I have yet to see a pig chewing the cud. Until the day I see a pig chewing the cud, I will declare it UNCLEAN as Yahweh's word says. These are all attempts to undermine the word of Yahweh. If it was wrong to change the Sabbath to Sunday in years gone by, it is wrong now. If it was wrong to take heathen customs and apply them to Yahweh in years gone by, then it is wrong now. Yahweh does not change. Shouldn't the roots of our worship be in the scriptures rather than in idolatry and vain customs? Yet just the opposite is embraced today...all with a million excuses, none of which will stand. All of these are embraced and Yahweh's commandments are rejected. Yahweh commands us to keep the feasts, keep the Sabbaths, call upon His name and walk in HIS ways, not the ways of the world.
Only when we refuse to be conformed to this world and yield ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our mind will we know what the good and acceptable and perfect will of Yahweh.
Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of YAHWEH.
Therefore, I call upon all to forsake vain tradition and to walk in the commandments of Yahweh. Our fathers have inherited lies, but let's worship our Father in Spirit and in truth:
Yahweh is seeking those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth, not vain and idolatrous worship from the gods of Egypt in generations past.
John 4:23 - But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 - Elohim is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
HalleluYah, when all is said and done we can know that we are doing right if our conduct is according to the Word of Yahweh. Let's put away the practices of the wicked and lets embrace the practices found in the word of Yahweh. The Word of Yahweh is Yahushua the Messiah. We know that He never observed such things, nor did He command them. Therefore let us walk as He walked!
Joshua 24:14 - Now therefore fear YAHWEH, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the elohim which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye YAHWEH.
We can rest in this promise. Let's allow Yahushua the Messiah to be in us and allow the Spirit of Yahweh to convict our hearts to worship our Almighty Father Yahweh in Spirit and in TRUTH, no matter what year we live in.
1John 2:4 - He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 - But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of YAHWEH is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 - He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.