Friday, March 29, 2013

Pagan Roots of Easter

A dear sister in the Lord sent me a paper about Easter which she had written after extensive research.  She did a great job.  Following is an excerpt:

I know that you teach against the pagan rituals that plague this upcoming holiday as I do.  Perhaps you already know how and why these rituals originated and found their way into the early Christian church; but perhaps some of the facts I dug up are unknown to you and would like to share them with you.

When Constantine, a Roman ruler, rescued the early Christian church at the hand of the pagans in the early fourth century, he also allowed the pagan faction to work their pagan rituals into Christianity…

That is true.  In order to keep peace Constantine decided to take the pagan holiday of Easter and blend it with Christianity and then they could all celebrate.

Acts 12:4  KJV
And when he [Herod the king] had apprehended him [Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter [that pagan holiday Herod observed] to bring him forth to the people.

…desiring the material wealth that they would offer the new church…

Easter is a very lucrative holiday, isn’t it?  My wife is into clothes and she told me that there will be women in churches on Easter just so they can wear their new clothes.  That is what those people were doing.

…Queen Samaras [or Semeramis] of ancient Babylon continued to live on even after her death and reached a goddess status that she still enjoys today.  She is also known as Mother Nature and the Spring goddess.  During her reign as queen her fame spread far and wide, depending upon the time and place.  She became known by many names after her death when she had been proclaimed a pagan goddess.  Her name is also Isis (the fertility goddess); Artemis [Diana is the Roman equivalent] (goddess of the hunt);…

I will show you what this hunt is shortly. 

Acts 19:24
For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

Acts 19:27-28
So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.  And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Acts 19:34-35
But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the EphesiansAnd when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?

…and Ishtar.

Now look hard at that name.* It was originally given to her in Babylon after her demise.

As Spring approached each year it was believed that Ishtar floated down to earth in a giant multi-colored egg to land in the River Euphrates [in Babylon] and to eventually come to rest along the river bank in a bed of wicker reeds [used to make baskets].

Exodus 2:3
And when she could not longer hide him [Moses], she took for him an ark of bulrushes [wicker basket], and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags [reeds] by the river's brink.

The hunt was on for the Ishtar egg.

So the pagans would go out to the banks of the Euphrates and look for the Ishtar egg.

Whoever found it first would witness Ishtar breaking out of the egg and be blessed by her in the upcoming year with good fortune.  The sunrise service was practiced in Babylon and Egypt after Samaras’ death.  The pagan priest and priestesses would go to the temple at sunrise…

Isn’t that interesting?  Have you ever heard of Easter sunrise service?

…dressed in new white robes the priestesses also wore new head coverings, also called bonnets [Easter bonnets].  Ishtar/Isis, the Spring goddess, would be welcomed and all would disperse for the Ishtar egg hunt.

They would invite the goddess in a service and then they would all go and have the egg hunt. 

Tammuz was the son of Queen Samaras and King Nimrod.

Genesis 10:8-9
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.

At age 40 Tammuz was out hunting wild boar and was killed by one.  The people wept and wailed for 40 days, one day for each year of his life, and gave something up in homage to Tammuz for those 40 days.

The people who were mourning Tammuz were supposed to give something up for 40 days.

This became a yearly ritual on the anniversary of Tammuz’s death, later becoming part of the early Christian church and labeled Lent.  Also integrated into the annual ritual was the killing and eating of a wild boar...

They had a nice ham from that boar which is in the pig family – a swine.

…as a form of paying back the boar for killing Tammuz who also, along with King Nimrod, reached god status.

They would kill a boar every Easter and eat the boar as a payback for killing a god.  That is where you get your Easter ham.  Getting back to Ishtar the fertility goddess:

The rabbit is the oldest symbol of fertility, as rabbits are the fastest creatures of procreation.

What’s the old saying?  “They’re multiplying like rabbits.”?  This is the Easter bunny.

In closing, as I am sure you already know, Satan has seen to it that the most significant day the followers of Jesus Christ celebrate (the resurrection from death after paying for our sins) has been inundated with a glut of ritual that has zero to do with Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross for our sins.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures

*“What means the term Easter itself?  It is not a Christian name.  It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead.  Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country.  That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar…..the religious solemnities of April, as now practiced, are called by the name of Easter – that month, among our pagan ancestors, having been called Easter-monath.”  
Excerpt from “The Two Babylons” by Alexander Hislop, pages 103 and 104.


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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Speak the Same Thing, Pt. 13 (final)

1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Do you see what is behind that spirit of religion?  Muslims don’t just kill themselves; they strap on bombs and they blow everyone else up so they can all go to hell together.  Satan is that way.  But you were created in Christ Jesus for a purpose. 

Acts 16:16-18
…for I have appeared unto thee [Paul] for this purpose, to make thee a minister and … To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

God puts saints in the body to meet each particular need.  There are rich saints and poor saints.  If you have financial blessings from God, make that your ministry.  If you are creative or have computer skills, serve in that way.  But we are all joined together.

Ephesians 4:15-16
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together

Notice that.  God has created the body of Christ to be fitly joined together like the human body – like Adam and Eve’s. 

Genesis 2:22
And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

The Hebrew word for ‘made’ in this verse means that God ‘stacked her up.’  The original bodies of Adam and Eve were beyond our comprehension.  They were beautiful.  That is what God is doing with the church the body of Christ.

 …From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted [by the Spirit and word of God] by that which every joint supplieth, 
Every member of the church the body of Christ serves a purpose, and it is in the local assembly that we have the spiritual blessing from God to work out our own salvation (Phil.2:12).  Whether it is cleaning the floors, working in the kitchen, serving in children’s ministry, giving or preaching, every joint (member) supplieth, 
…according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, 
As you take in God’s word you are able to play your part.  It is effectual—it is increasing.  The more you get the word in you and the more you fellowship, the more you can serve God.  The word starts to effectually work in them that believe 
… maketh increase of the body 
Paul is talking about the local assembly.  Because every joint is supplying their measure (playing their part) the end result will be fantastic (like mixing all the different ingredients together to bake a delicious cake).  That is what God is doing.  We all play a part.  Even if you don’t understand it all, it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). 
…unto the edifying of itself in love.

You do have a part, whether it is with your time, treasure or talent.  It is between you and God.  If you don’t know what your part is, just be a part of your local grace assembly.  That is your time.  That is worship.  There are other things you can be doing, but that willing sacrifice of time to be there learning and worshiping with the saints can be your part.  But however we serve, we all play a part, and that part should be increasing.  Don’t be stagnant; let your part increase.  That is what God is saying.

Transcribed from an audio message by Ron Knight

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Speak the Same Thing, Pt. 12

When you follow Christ according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, he will put you under a performance-based acceptance system.

Matthew 5:28
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Matthew 5:22
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The Lord is really giving it to them and he is doing it on purpose.  Israel was under a performance-based acceptance system.  Christ’s earthly ministry, including the Sermon on the Mount, was under the law.  The only place you will find Christ’s commandments of grace is from the Apostle Paul in his epistles (Romans through Philemon).

1 Corinthians 14:37
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I [Paul] write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

The issue of being joined together is that God did not create parts of the body to be out there on their own without fellowship.

1 Corinthians 1:9-10
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing [that being, Paul’s doctrine] and that there be no divisions among you; […don’t let anyone put legalism on you] but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

 It is like being equals on a ship sailing together.  We are all members of one body (1 Cor. 12:12-25).  If you cut your hand off, it will not stay alive.  The rest of your body will hurt and still live, but if the doctor doesn’t reattach that hand it will wither away and die. 

That is the same thing that will happen to a grace believer out there alone.  Satan wants to kill you.  He wants to destroy you but because he can’t physically kill you (unless he tempts you into killing yourself), he has doctrines of devils and seducing spirits to ‘kill you’ spiritually.  Satan wants to kill every human being and take them to hell with him.

To be continued…

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Speak the Same Thing, Pt. 11

When you see ['mark', take notice] a short-accounts system that God put Israel under as children who were under a law performance then, you leave ['avoid'] a church, as they are adding legalism to the grace message.  If they put legalism on you to please God by your performance, you are to say “No.”

Romans 16:17
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such are false apostles [these men who are speaking for Christ, but are], deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (light in scripture means a source of divine revelation.) Therefore it is no great thing if his [Satan’s] ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

They will not tell you to live in the grace of God; they will tell you that you should be following the ten commandments to live right.  Take note of what they are saying:  they will be telling you, “Do this!  Don't do that!”  Their message puts the focus on you, and how you live.  A good grace preacher will put the focus on Christ, and Christ does scripture, rightly divided!   

Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gavew himself for me.

If you listen to them on the radio and TV you will hear them tell you what you need to do.  That is performance-based acceptance.  That is legalism.  I already know you’re a sinner because I’m one, saved by his grace.  God knows we are weak in the flesh.  He tells us to look at his Son and to make him the issue.  The only one who makes him the issue today is the Apostle Paul.  That is what I want you to see.

To be continued…

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Speak the Same Thing, Pt. 10

You are not under a performance-based, legalistic system to please God.  Yes, there are good works for us to walk in:

Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

That has to do with our sanctification, our service that will be rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ.  Whether we do those good works or not is not why God will or will not accept us.  We are accepted in the beloved.

Ephesians 1:6
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

How did the offense enter?

Romans 5:20
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

The way they offend is by putting the law on grace believers.  They tell you that the way to give is by going back to the law of Moses and the prophets (the law program for Israel); to “tithe and give offerings” and if you don’t you will be cursed of God, that he will devour (Deut. 31:17) and cause sickness, or your car to break down, or you will hurt your leg, because ‘you have some unconfessed sin in your life.’ 

To be continued…

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Speak the Same Thing, Pt. 9

Religion/denominationalism is big business where truth is trampled.  You can go with the flow and have a big 10,000-member church like Joel Osteen and some of those big-time guys; or you can have a little bitty flock like this ours here at Norcal Grace Fellowship.  You choose.  The judgment seat of Christ will bear it out. 

I look at the Lord Jesus in the book of Isaiah where it says that he looks to the Father at the end of his ministry and says, “Look at this little flock.”  This was God in the flesh, the Lord, the best preacher, the only perfect man, but he had only a tiny little flock.  By the end, in Jerusalem he only had 120 believers on Pentecost when he poured out the Spirit (Acts 1:15).  That is amazing to me.  You would think that he would have had 10,000 people.  No, they didn’t want the truth.  It will always be that way.  Don’t walk by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).  Every grace church on planet Earth is small.  But, we are here.

2 Corinthians 6:9a
As unknown, and yet well known;

Denominational preachers know about us.  They just pretend like we don’t exist because we know the Bible too well.  I know.  I have been dealing with them for years.  They serve their own belly – their own carnal desires for money, for filthy lucre’s sake, and here is how they do it:

Romans 16:18
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Some of them are so good; they can really turn a phrase.  The Baptists are very good at that.  Have you ever listened to Adrian Rogers?  They sound good; they speak well; but Paul said he was rude in speech.

          2 Corinthians 11:6

But though I be rude in speech,… 
We (grace teachers) will never be better speakers than they are, but we know some things they don’t grasp about the word.  
yet not in knowledge;

They use the Bible, but they don’t rightly divide it.  That is what Paul is saying—that they cause divisions.  How do they cause division and offenses?  When your heart tells you that you should not be under teaching and preaching that puts legalism (a performance-based acceptance system in order for you to please God) on you as a grace believer.  I’m not talking about your sanctification as a believer; they are either putting some work on you for your justification (to be saved), or they are telling you that you have to do some work to stay saved.

Romans 6:14
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

To be continued…

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Speak the Same Thing, Pt. 8

God looks at Jesus Christ, his perfect Son, and he compares you with him.  You could be better than me, but you’re not better than the Lord who is perfect.  He never sinned against the Father.  Stop comparing yourself with other people.  You need to be perfect in order to get to heaven (not just better than someone else).  You are dead in trespasses and sins [Colossians 2:13].  A dead man can’t do a thing to please God. 

Romans 3:10
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.

So why don’t you just trust the only One who can?  If your religion doesn’t tell you how to be perfect before God, right this moment forever, it’s not worth it!  Get out of it.  It’s a waste. Go fishing.  Go to a football game.  God doesn't want your imperfect works (Rom. 3:10).  The very best 15 minutes of your life won’t stand before the bar of heaven when compared with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:15
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

So those men Paul is talking about were saved…

Romans 16:18
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ,

(…but they were not serving the Lord.  Titus 1:16:  “in works they deny him.”)

but their own belly; (i.e., their own carnal desires.) 

To be continued…

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Speak the Same Thing, Pt. 7

I just listened to a preacher on the radio whose whole message was about ‘once saved, always saved.’  I kept waiting for him to tell the people that they were in the body of Christ.  He kept going to Hebrews (in Hebrews you can lose your salvation – Heb. 6 and 10).  He would go to Matthew where you can lose your salvation (Matt. 10:22).  He wasn’t rightly dividing.  He was using verses that were speaking to Israel when they were (and will again be) under a performance-based acceptance system.

He never said that we are members of the church the body of Christ.  We are a part of what God is doing as his inheritance in the saints (Eph. 1:18).  Once you trust Christ, you become a member of his body and even if we believe not – if we stop believing! – he abideth faithful

People called into to his show saying that they thought they could lose their salvation.  They all had verses but they weren't rightly dividing.  You cannot lose your salvation because it wasn't based on your works to begin with, and you don’t stay saved based on your works.

Romans 11:6
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

2 Timothy 1:9
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

This is serious.  Your eternal destiny is resting on what Paul has to say about how to have eternal life as a present possession. 

What does your church doctrine say about eternal life as a present possession?  If your religion/denomination doesn’t tell you how to be right with God this moment, for sure, forever, it’s not worth squat. It’s not!  Because you have to be perfect to please God!  But the truth is, you are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), so stop trying to please God with your own works…because you are not perfect.

To be continued…

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Speak the Same Thing, Pt. 6

I get this question all the time: 

“When do I know it is right for me to leave a church?  I understand what you are saying, but I’m going to such and such church; or, I am an elder at such and such church or I am a deacon at such and such church.  My family has always gone there; or, my father is the preacher there; or, our whole life is in this church; or, our children are active in the children’s ministry.  What am I to do?  How can I leave”?

I can’t tell you when to leave but I can tell you what the word of God says:

Romans 6:17-18
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
(So if Paul is the one giving us the doctrine and other men are preaching something that causes divisions (denominations) and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, you are to avoid them.)
For they that are such…
(Now these are saved men (today it could be both saved and lost men), but in this case they are other brothers who are preaching.)
…serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

They will get to the judgment seat of Christ and they will be saved, yet so as by fire (I Cor. 3:12-15).  Now you can’t lose your salvation—once saved, always saved.  If you are saved by God’s grace through faith and no works, you stay saved by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8-9).  It is all about what Christ did. Get your attention off yourself; it is what Christ did.

2 Timothy 2:13
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

To be continued…