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Venerable Day of the Sun

Sunday church was part of my life growing up.  I attended weekly  services as a child and sang in the choirs as a teenager.   I never questioned Sunday worship because it was just what everyone I knew did.  We went to church on Sunday.  Period.  As an adult, I continued to attend Sunday church services until the Lord showed me His better way of the Sabbath.

Many years ago our family had some visitors from New Zealand.  After spending several days with us and learning about our Messianic walk of faith, they asked if they could stay for Sabbath.  While reading some Scriptures, the husband interrupted and asked why the church doesn’t keep the Sabbath any more.  Before anyone in our family could answer his question, his wife responded, “The catholic church changed it.” 

“…Instead of the seventh day, and other festivals appointed by the old law, the church has prescribed the Sundays and holy days to be set apart for God’s worship; and these we are now obliged to keep in consequence of God’s commandment, instead of the ancient Sabbath” (The Catholic Christian Instructed in the Sacraments, Sacrifices, Ceremonies, and Observances of the Church By Way of Question and Answer, RT Rev. Dr. Challoner, p. 204.)

As with Christmas and Easter, Sunday worship has its roots not in the Scriptures, but in the history of the world and ultimately the church fathers who created the idea that Sunday was the memorial day for Jesus’ resurrection. Sunday is named for the ‘venerable day of the sun’ and probably came from Egyptian astrology.    It is also the first day of the week according to all calendars, historic and modern-day.

In 321 C.E., Constantine decreed that Sunday would be observed as the Roman day of rest:  “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church: Vol. II: From Constantine the Great to Gregory the Great A.D. 311–600 (New York: Charles Scribner, 1867) page 380 note 1.)

This doctrine was codified at the Council of Nicea in 325 C.E. with its many other anti-semitic regulations further separating the Jewish Sabbath from the Christian Sunday.  In 363 C.E. the Council of Laodicea prohibited Christians from observing the Biblical Sabbath and encouraged them to work on Saturday and rest on the Sunday.   The fact that this edict was issued indicates that Sunday worship was still not totally accepted by Christians.

Yeshua sent an angel to the church in Laodicea warning them about mixing the holy and the profane, the hot and the cold.  It makes him vomit!   He tells this lukewarm congregation that he stands at the door and knocks and if anyone hears his voice and opens the door, he will eat with them (Revelation 3:14-20).  This is a reference to the Sabbath day, the fourth dalet commandment along with the words, the ruler of God’s creation.  It would seem that Yeshua already knew that Laodicea would fall away from the truth and mix it with lies.   Only those with ‘ears to hear’ would be victorious and sit on thrones to rule and reign with Him. 

Contrary to God’s command for the Sabbath day,  Sunday worship was mandated by the Roman catholic church as the sabbath of Christian worship.   The outline of God’s week of working for six days and resting on the seventh was transformed into a Sunday sabbath having people rest on the first day of the week and then working.   I remember when an elder in a church I attended brought that little fact to my attention.  Though we worshipped on Sunday, he commented, “I wonder how God will deal with the church for turning His order around – resting then working rather than working and resting.”   

Of course, we can worship God any day of the week we desire.  In fact, we should worship Him every day as Creator of the Universe and for all the blessings and promises fulfilled in our lives.  However, that doesn’t mean His holy day of Sabbath should have become a day disdained by Christianity and Scriptures misinterpreted that undeniably suggest that early Jews and gentiles worshipped on Sabbath in synagogues.  Acts 20:7 is one example.

“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.”

Without even suggesting that days were rendered evening to evening, is it really possible that Paul began to speak during a Sunday morning worship service until midnight on the first day of the week and then left the next day?  Would people really sit for 15-20 hours and listen to him proclaim the Word of God when today an hour is too long? 

Verse 8 continues “There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.”  Biblical days are from sunset to sunset.  This means that when Paul started speaking on the first day of the week, it was probably after sunset or Saturday evening.   He talked for four or five hours, Eutychus goes to sleep, falls out the window and dies. After Eutychus is resurrected from the dead, Paul leaves in the morning which would be Sunday morning.

“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made” (1 Corinthians 16:2).

This verse is used to support collecting tithes and offerings at Sunday morning church services.  Does this verse really suggest passing the offering plates on Sunday morning?

“And let us … not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

There is nothing in this verse to suggest that meeting together was to happen on the first day of the week or forsaking the fellowship means not going to church on Sunday.

Sunday is often called ‘The LORD’s Day’ as if the Yeshua actually honored it as such.  In Matthew 12:8 and Mark 2:28, Yeshua said “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”  At the time he made this  statements, the Sabbath was still the seventh day,  therefore the ‘Day of the LORD’ should be the Sabbath.    Since the word Sabbath has its Hebrew root in sheva or ‘seven’, it would always have to be  the seventh day, not the first, third or any day that man desires.

“On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,  which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea” (Revelation 1:10).

Many interpret this Scripture to mean that on a Sunday morning,  the apostle John was in the Spirit and given revelation.   However, the passage doesn’t say it was on a Sunday.  This inference comes from centuries of Christian theology that moved the Sabbath to the first day of the week and then called it The LORD’s Day.

John was a Jew and well-versed in the Hebrew language of the Hebrew Scriptures.  To him the phrase en teé juriake´heem´ra (The LORD’s Day) would imply what is called by the prophets Isaiah, Joel and Amos as “The Day of the LORD” or the time of the coming destruction that brings forth the Messianic age. 

There are other clues in the passage to the timing of The LORD’s Day and neither have anything to do with Sunday.   John heard a loud voice that sounded like a trumpet.  Since the book of Revelation is about prophecy, to use the sound of the trumpet as a prophetic voice is appropriate.  Also, the Feast of Trumpets is believed to be the time for preparing for God’s judgment of earth and its people.

The trumpet voice tells John to send seven messages to the seven churches in East Asia.  These messages contain warnings for ‘The Day of the LORD’ so those in the congregations who have ‘ears to hear’ will recognize the times and be prepared. 

Still, some Christians perpetuate Sunday as The LORD’s Day, but this is really the result of ignorance.  When they wish someone a ‘Happy Lord’s Day’ they are really wishing them a ‘Happy Judgment Day’ quite different from saying Shabbat Shalom or Sabbath Peace on the Sabbath.   The real blessing of the ‘The LORD’s Day’  is not about wishing someone a  great worship time on Sunday, but in reading book of Revelation and the prophecy it contains (Revelation 1:1-3).

The  change from the Sabbath command to a first day of the week memorial to the god of the sun was not begun by Yeshua or the Apostles, but by the Roman church that didn’t heed Paul’s warnings about arrogance. This catholic mandate brings misunderstanding to the prophetic revelation given to John regarding the events of the ‘Day of the LORD’ and the return of the Messiah of Israel to earth.

“He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east” (Ezekiel 8:16).

Ezekiel had vision of the Temple in Jerusalem before the glory of the LORD departs through the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem and stops over the Mount of Olives.  Digging through a hole at the entrance to the court, Ezekiel witnesses seventy elders of Israel offering incense to foreign gods.  Twenty-five men are in the inner courts near the altar.  They face east with their backs toward the Temple and bow to the sun.   These detestable things, the worship of the sun in the east,  force God to remove His glory from the Temple.  His glory will not return until Yeshua sets his feet on the Mount of Olives and removes all the detestable practices of the nations from his Kingdom. 

Learning about some of the the roots of Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Sunday, perhaps Galatians 4:8-11 can be read and understood in the context in which it was written to gentiles:

“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?  You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!  I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you” (Galatians 4:8-11).

©2015 Tent Stake Ministries (Chapter from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.)

The Easter Women

When my children were young, I had a little book I read to them every Easter about the women going to the tomb and seeing the empty grave.  It wasn’t until I understood who the Easter women really are that I stopped reading the book.   I realized that combining the holy with the profane didn’t bring revelation of God’s plan of salvation through Yeshua to the world, but kept alive the worship of foreign gods and goddesses that couldn’t be in the lives of my children if I wanted to love the God of Israel with all of my heart. 

“So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines’  (1 Samuel 7:3).

Nimrod, from Genesis 10, had wife whose name was Semiramis.  She was an adulteress and an idolator.  When her husband died, she gave birth to an illegitimate son claiming that he was supernaturally conceived in order to hide her own immoral behavior.  She even claimed that he was ‘the promised seed’ so there would be no judgment against her behavior.  When the child was born,  she named him Tammuz and declared that he was Nimrod reborn. This  allowed her to have an immoral mother-son relationship.  Not only was Tammuz worshipped, but so was his mother, Ishtar,  from whom we derive the English word, Easter, and the Hebrew concept of Ashtoreth.

Coming out of Hades

Tammuz became a shepherd and one day while herding his flocks, he was killed by a wild boar.  Ishtar, his mother turned lover, mourned for him.  She descended into the underworld, or Hades,  to deliver him from death.   She weeped for 40 days which eventually made the god of water and wisdom, Enki,  send a heavenly messenger to Hades to rescue her and her son.   All women in Babylon began this 40-day time of mourning on the second day of the fourth month. According to the prophet Ezekiel, this lamenting time was considered detestable to the LORD.  

“Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz.  He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this” (Ezekiel 8:14)

After the 40 days, when Istar and Tammuz were set free from the underworld, there was a festival that was full of sexual immorality and dancing around Asherah poles on the ‘high places’. The worship of Ashtoreth (Ishtar) and Asherah combined over time and were known in ancient Israel as the Queen of Heaven.

“Judah’s sin is engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point, on the tablets of their heart and on the horns of their altars. Even their children remember their altars and Asherah poles beside the spreading trees and on the high hills” (Jeremiah 17:1-2).

As with Christmas, the catholic church embraced the pagan worship of Nimrod, the Queen of Heaven and Tammuz and tweaked it.    As preparation for Easter, there is a 40-day period called Lent.  The day before Lent begins, there is great feasting with immoral parties.  Remnants of these pagan traditions are embedded in Carnival of Brazil and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.   When the first day of Lent arrives, known as Ash Wednesday,  those same immoral  crowds, including Protestants and Evangelicals who have embraced catholic doctrines,  flock to churches to receive ashes on their forehead symbolic of mourning and sorrow for the dead.  For the next 40 days there is ‘soulful preparation’ through denial and fasting culminating in the great celebration called Easter, the memorial of Tammuz, the son of the Queen of Heaven, Ishtar,  being released from Hades.  

“The children gather the wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and, just to provoke me, they pour out drink offerings to other gods!” (Jeremiah 7:18).

Though this all may have Biblical understones, the God of Israel warned his people about the worship of Tammuz and honoring the Queen of Heaven with cakes (hot cross buns).  Dancing around a ‘May Pole’ is honoring  the the pagan goddess Asherah with a sexual symbol made from a tree.  Even the idea of coloring eggs has been embraced by the church.  Traditionally, during the season of Lent, all eggs were removed from the home for forty days when they were  colored red for a ‘blood sacrifice’  for Ashtoreth and Asherah.  The Easter ham is nothing more than a massive sacrifice of pigs as a way to atone for the death of  Tammuz from a wild boar.  

Jeremiah’s warning is not heeded by the men or women of Israel. They didn’t care that they worshipped other gods contrary to what God commanded. Instead they remained rebellious in their stony hearts and fervently declared they weren’t going to change their wicked ways.  They believed that their prosperity came from the Queen of Heaven and not from the God of Israel so they continued in their abominations until judgment came.

“Then all the men who knew that their wives were offering incense to other gods, along with all the women standing by, a huge crowd … answered Jeremiah: “As for the word you have just spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you.  Instead, we will certainly continue to fulfill every word our mouths have spoken: we will offer incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our ancestors, our kings and our leaders, in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food; everything was fine, we didn’t experience anything unpleasant.  But since we stopped offering to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything, and we have been destroyed by sword and famine” (Jeremiah 44:15-18).

We are to learn from Israel’s mistakes and not imitate their abominations.  We are not to have hardness of heart when we hear God’s voice;  read His Word.   When we as the nations join with Israel by faith in Yeshua, we must repent from these disgusting pagan practices and return to a pure worship of the God of Israel as outlined in His Word.   We should not invent cutesy little stories as a way to justify unholy traditions that are abominable to the God of Israel who bought us with the blood of His Son and not with the traditions surrounding a pagan god murdered by a wild pig that honors the Queen of Heaven, Ishtar. 

©2015 Tent Stake Ministries (Chapter from Journey with Jeremiah)

November 2, 2014 Post-Halloween Reflections

MenorahTo Followers of Christ: 

Job 24:13 ““There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths.”

I guess if it’s okay for my Christian friends to post their dark and evil Halloween pictures on Facebook and other places, it must be okay for me to wonder why they took part in the holiday at all.  It just doesn’t compute in ‘my renewed mind’  how one can say they believe in the resurrection of the dead because Jesus rose from the dead and then dress like dead people, zombies, skeletons.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

It makes no sense to me that anyone would want to redeem this wicked, lawless, holiday for Christ.  I just can’t wrap my brain around how anyone who claims to be a Christian would justify honoring a holiday that Jesus would never have taken part in or even condoned because of its darkness.  Jesus called us ‘out of the darkness into His glorious light.’ 

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

I  am reminded of the Scripture in James 2:13, “You believe that “God is one”? Good for you! The demons believe it too — the thought makes them shudder with fear!” I think, “Wow, Christians don’t even shudder at the thought of demons, they play with them and dress like them.  They must have forgotten that Jesus cast demons OUT of people who knew what it was like to be possessed.

Mark 1:39 “So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”

God used Halloween many years ago to set me free from demonic things in my life by showing me demons hanging on people who were ‘harmlessly’ dressed up and unknowingly partying with their possessor on Halloween.  It was the most eye-opening moment in my life and changed its course drastically.    Unfortunately, being given the gift of discerning spirits isn’t one of the more tolerated gifts in the Body of Christ because everyone who is supposed to be set apart, and holy to the Lord has embraced the world and rationalized their behavior with the world.  

James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

Whether or not a Christian realizes it, they will stand before God one day and give an account of their lives.  They will have to explain to the King of Kings, The Lord of Hosts (the military commander of the heavenly realms) why they celebrated a holiday that mocked God as the Creator of Life, His Son who died to bring them Life, and the Spirit of God that gives them Life.   

Romans 14:10 “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”

Kirk Cameron.  He is nothing but a man who has embraced the world, the things of the world and then teaches others to do so with arrogance and ignorance.  He has become a spokesman for idolatry and is far removed from the will and purpose of God. He doesn’t know the Scriptures; he twists them as the adversary did in the wilderness with Jesus.  More importantly, He doesn’t know the God of the Bible except in how he has divined Him to be with some ‘feel good about yourself message.’  I can honestly say, “I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes on judgement day.”  (And by the way, Kirk, there ARE those who do not eat food sacrificed to idols, including Paul who you so dangerously take out of historical, cultural and Biblical context.  Peter warns about people like you.2 Peter 3:16 “Indeed, he (Paul) speaks about these things in all his letters. They contain some things that are hard to understand, things which the uninstructed and unstable distort, to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”)

My friend, Patricia,  posted a Scripture today from Revelation 22:11-12 and it seems appropriate regarding my concluding thoughts on Halloween. 

“Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. “Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.” “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done.”

I pray for those Christians I know personally who embrace death and its trappings through Halloween because the burden on my soul and spirit becomes so great during this time of year, exhausting, draining because I literally can see the evil.   Each year my prayer list gets longer because there is a great falling away, apostasy among those who didn’t take part in darkness just a few years ago – just like Jesus prophesied would happen.  This year my prayers included an entire local church.   I hope that someday each person that I prayed for comes to understand the darkness that they have embraced and understand how the Light of the World  shines in the darkness and calls them out.  Jesus is coming soon.  

“…Each one’s work will be shown for what it is; the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire — the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.  If the work someone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward;  if it is burned up, he will have to bear the loss: he will still escape with his life, but it will be like escaping through a fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).  

©2014 Tent Stake Ministries

Chrismas is Yours, Not Mine and They’re Okay

Christmas is not our holiday.  It just isn’t.  It hasn’t been for over 20 years.  It’s just that simple.   Every year when one of my adult children says this to someone who does celebrate the holiday, they are invariably asked, “How has that affected you?” making them feel like they have been deprived of something grandiose or that their parents are mean green ogres.

This year has been interesting to listen to their responses and reactions.  One said they ‘love’ this time of year because they don’t have to be stressed out like everyone they know trying to buy gifts, getting them wrapped and attending parties.  One specific one said she has LOVED wrapping gifts at her job knowing she’s helping to relieve some of the stress of those who do celebrate!?   Another one said, they’ve never really thought about what they missed because there’s nothing to miss.  The discussion drifted into the conversations they have had with those people and not one person ever  mentioned a spiritual connection to the holiday – not one.  And, we live in a town where there’s a church on every corner!

Though I know that everyone at the doctor’s office yesterday meant well when they wished me, “Have a Merry Christmas”, I wonder what they thought when I said, “YOU have a Merry Christmas, our family does not celebrate.”  I know from their silence every one of them was dumbfounded.  Probably in their minds they were thinking,  ‘who would be so humbug to not celebrate this holiday of cheer?’  But then again, “How has not celebrating Christmas historically affected the Jews?”

You see, we have never felt comfortable about lying.  We especially have never felt comfortable lying to our children about a hopping rabbit that lays chocolate eggs, the little lady with fluttering wings who steals from them while they sleep, or the jolly man from the north pole who flies a sleigh through the sky led by eight wingless mammals with antlers.  And, really, he comes down the chimney?  We don’t even have one!

More than feeling uncomfortable, we realized we would begin the cycle of lying.  With the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, we were subtly teaching our children that when they grew up and realized that they’ve all been a make-believe sham, they would begin to question us as an authority on truth or lies.   As parents, we wanted to set an example – a lifetime example.

The most important Truth to us was our faith in the God of Israel and the birth, life, death. resurrection, and soon return of our Messiah.  To think that someday our children would doubt Yeshua as the Savior of the world, His Lordship in their lives because we fabricated cutesy games about other beings they couldn’t see, feel, touch, or hear was just not worth the price of their spiritual well-being – now or in eternity.  Lies are lies.  Not bearing a false witness is a commandment.  And, there was going to be someone other than their mommy and daddy being the ‘father of lies.’

Some celebrants may not include Santa and his reindeer in their holiday festivities because they honestly do want to honor the time as Jesus’ birthday.  If you have read my other blog posts about Christmas, you’re  probably already aware that we don’t celebrate Yeshua’s  birthday at this time of year.  At one time we did, but then we learned that’s another lie based on the lie that ‘we don’t know when he was born.’  When we were made aware of the timing of the Messiah’s birth through Scripture, we were honest with our first two children at the time  (4 and 2 at the time – now 26 and 24, 19 and 16) about our own deception.  We repented and removed the lie from our lives and our hearts.   So, Christmas became ‘not our holiday’.  It may be yours, and our children are okay.

Back to the original question from a different perspective, “How has not celebrating Hanukkah, Passover or Feast of Tabernacles affected your children, spiritually?”

©2013 Tentstake Ministries

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