"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And You're OK With That?

"God told the Israelites to destroy all traces of these false religious practices from among them. He said if they did not, they would be ensnared and destroyed by them. God was right! Somehow these things have made their way into the Church and the lives of Christians.  What does this all have to do with Easter?
Well, another set of local Babylonian names included Tummuz and Ishtar. These are Assyrian names for Nimrod and Semiramus.  Does the name Ishtar sound like Easter? Well it should. It is the same. The death and "resurrection" of these false gods was celebrated annually in the spring. The celebration included coloring eggs, an ancient symbol of fertility. The ancients even hid eggs for children to find. Rabbits, known for their prolific reproduction, also became part of the pagan celebration."  -- Resurrection Sunday and the Babylonian Connection; By Errol Hale

"The term 'Easter' is not of Christian origin.  It is another form of Astarte, one of the titles of the Chaldean (Babylonian) goddess.... the pagan festival of 'Easter'... was introduced into the apostate Western religion, as part of the attempt to adapt pagan festivals to Christianity"  - Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (1985, p. 192, "Easter").

Easter - "In Babylonia Ishtar was identified with Venus. Like Venus,  Ishtar was the goddess of erotic love and fertility. Her chief seat of worship was Uruk (Erech), where prostitution was practiced in her name and she was served with immoral rites by bands of men and women."
- The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1979, Volume 1, pages 319-320


I had pondered for days about what I might post on during passover.  I wanted to be upbeat and positive.  Actually, I feel pretty good and my mood is happy.  Maybe that's why I can and should post this information right now.

A trip into town brings with it the confrontation of many things Easter.  I look back over my life, and I am appalled that for so long I was deceived.  Worse than that, I grieve over the years I spent purposefully deluding myself into another, even worse lie, that it was about what meaning "I" gave something.  Well, well, well.  Wasn't I just full of myself.  God forgive me.

Twyla and I remind each other on a regular basis that we all suffer from ignorance of some sort.  God will not hold us accountable for not knowing about some truth to which we have never been exposed.  However, once we've been informed and given a chance to investigate, pleading ignorance, or worse yet, willfully disobeying God is going to cost us.  I pray that people wake up from that before it is too late.

I am sure beyond sure that the Creator wants to commune with the only creature that He created in His own image, yet it is in our nature to be rebellious.  Even those who claim allegiance to the God of the Bible, still look for ways to have what they want in spite of the commands.  We cause ourselves to become separated and distant from the God who loves us when we choose to let "things" come between us.  Why do we insist on thinking that a Holy God will bless us while we do the very things that He tells us not to?

Then there is the laziness factor.  Some of us discover that there are things that the "Church" does and teaches that just flat out don't agree with Scripture, and we just let it slide, or ride, or glide.  We don't want to rock the boat.  After all, it's just a little thing, right?  What does it matter in the big scheme of things?  And please, please, please let's not get bogged down in that dreaded legalism.  Now there is a concept I can't seem to find explicitly stated in Scripture.  The fact is that false ideas, false doctrine and false practice can become so ingrained in groups and organizations and it's just easier to go along to get along.  In the spiritual world there are seldom immediate consequences for our actions.  God often lets things go on for hundreds of years without doing or saying anything and so people get lulled into a sense of "it must not be that important."  Then the clock runs out and we are suddenly shocked when the consequences do hit, and then like little children we scream, "It's not fair!  I didn't know!"

It is difficult to feel isolated for taking a stand.  Choosing to seek after God and obedience to His Word can make for feelings of loneliness.  I am far more blessed than many others in that I have a wife who truly seeks after God as I do and there is very little we disagree on.  I think this stems from our commitment to surrender to what the Word actually says as opposed to what we want it to say.  We have each other to lean on when it seems that we are the only ones swimming upstream.  And we sometimes stop and ask, "Are we crazy?  Could it be that we aren't understanding this right?"

Do I have all the answers?  Not if I lived to be a thousand years old.  But I know that I know what I know.  When I was younger, I was satisfied with searching only until I found the answer that satisfied me.  As I have matured and the longing in my soul to know God more has increased, I've discovered that approach just doesn't work any more.  Now it is a matter of asking, "What is the truth whether I like it or not?"  and "How can I be sure that this is true?  Have I exhausted all the possibilities?"  "What is in my human, fallible nature, that could make me buy into a lie and miss the truth?"

There is probably no greater influence on human behavior than the desire for approval from other humans.  This is why Yeshua told His disciples that they would have to be willing to hate even the immediate members of their families when it came to choosing between Himself and the world.

"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."  -- Matthew 10:37,38

I used to think I could just take that as hyperbole, but the closer I get to God the more I find myself having to choose.  Do I want the approval of men or the approval of God?  Sometimes you can have both, and it's great when that happens, but that keeps proving more and more to be the exception rather than the rule.

I heard the pastor of Passion For Truth Ministries teaching about the idolotrous, blasphemous pagan roots of Easter and Christmas.  He heard this one phrase repeated over and over in response to the truth that he was exposing.  God forgive me that I once probably used these same words or something very close in effect.

"But that's not what it means to me."

Wow.  What an arrogant, rebellious and blasphemous response.  It isn't about me.  Where do I get off deciding that I get to assign the meaning to something in the public domain?  If you really think that works, get yourself a Nazi swastika tee shirt and wear it around town, and when people start jeering you or asking you what you think you are doing, just explain to them that it means something else to you.  If you are white, take a little trip into a predominantly black neighborhood and start greeting people with "Hey Nigger, what's up?"  and if you survive the first beating, try explaining that you meant it the way Chris Rock or Fiddy Cent means it.  Let me know how that works out for you.

If you want to argue back that it's not just you, but the whole "Church" that gives Easter its meaning, I must ask you this:  Since when did the church start dictating to God what the meaning of anything is?  Is that our standard?  The people who make up the body can now democratically decide what everything means?  I guess that would explain why we have a thousand denominations and nobody can agree on this Christianity stuff.  Somewhere along the line we got the idea that following God was a democratic process.

Father, help me to take You at Your Word.  Help me to live out ALL of Your Word and not try to bend it to my own agenda.  Help me to recognize the chametz (leaven) that seeks to creep in and permeate the bread of life.

Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)  Passover began this Monday, the 18th at sundown.  Many blessings to all of you who celebrate God's appointed feasts according to His calendar.


1 comment:

Please don't make me disable comments because you couldn't maintain decorum and civil discourse. You can disagree all you want to, just don't get nasty.