Sunday, March 31, 2013, 8:23 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song: Trust Him / An Original Work / August 15, 2012 Based off Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be of courage; Be strong and take heart today. Do not fear when foes attack you. Trust in God always. He will rescue you in times Of trouble and distress, He’ll comfort you in all ways As you trust Him with your life today. Trust in Him always. God is with you; He’ll not leave you. You can always count on Him. He will fulfill all He promised Before you began. His word teaches you All that you need for this life. Let Him lead you. Open your heart; Let his truth envelope you today. Listen and obey. Love your Lord God; follow Jesus. Repent of your sins today. Make Him your Lord and your master; Trust Him and obey. Follow Him where’er He leads you In His service; be His witness, Telling others about Jesus’ Price that He did pay For your sins always. http://originalworks.info/trust-him/ Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Jeremiah 44 (NIV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2044&version=NIV In Egypt God told Jeremiah the prophet to tell the people of Judah not to flee to Egypt, because there they would die, because the king of Babylon would invade Egypt and would kill them there, but they did not listen, and they fled to Egypt. It appears they took Jeremiah with them. While in Egypt the Lord spoke again to the people through Jeremiah concerning the people’s idolatry. God had already judged Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah for the evil they had done in burning incense to and worshiping other gods. “Again and again” God sent his messengers the prophets to the people telling them not to do the detestable things that God hated, but they did not listen. They did not turn from their evil ways. They kept on worshiping other gods. So, God’s anger was poured out upon them in judgment. Now God was telling his people who had fled to Egypt that they should take special note of what happened in Judah and in Jerusalem. Why should they bring this disaster upon themselves by continuing to rebel against God by worshiping what their hands had made, and by not humbling themselves and not showing reverence to God, and by not obeying his commands? Yet, the people’s response to these calls for repentance and warnings of judgment, if they did not repent, was to tell God, through Jeremiah, that they were not going to listen to the message Jeremiah spoke to them in the name of the Lord. They would continue to burn incense to the “Queen of Heaven,” and to pour out drink offerings to her just as their ancestors had done. Wow! They blamed God for their hardships and decided things were better for them when they bowed to the “Queen of Heaven.” Jeremiah’s response to this was to tell the people that when the Lord could no longer endure their wicked actions and the detestable things they did, judgment would fall. Jeremiah told the people, since they were bent on continuing to worship the “Queen of Heaven,” to go ahead and keep their vows to continue doing what they knew was wrong, because they would soon realize that doing so would not bring them prosperity, as they had suggested, but would in fact bring much disaster and loss of life upon them. God assured them that his threats of harm against them would surely stand. The Queen of Heaven So, what lesson can we learn from this today? Today, at least here in America, is the traditional Easter celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, or is it? When I read this passage in Jeremiah this morning, the term “Queen of Heaven” really jumped out at me, and I felt it was particularly significant that I would be reading this specific chapter on this day. I read up through chapter 43 at 2:22 a.m. when the Lord got me up in the middle of the night, so this was the next chapter. So, I looked up “Queen of Heaven” which led me to Ishtar, the Babylonian “Queen of Heaven,” who has her counterpart (or cognate) in the Aramean goddess Astarte, or the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Ishtar supposedly had a “dying god” lover Tammuz. [See Ezekiel 8 concerning the detestable things God showed Ezekiel that his people and their leaders were doing inside his temple, one of which was weeping over Tammuz.] Tammuz, in mythology, supposedly died and then came back to life again. [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar] History of Tammuz: Nimrod, a great-grandson of Noah, was supposedly the leader responsible for the building of the Tower of Babel and the rebellion against God, though I can find no Biblical account of Nimrod’s involvement with the Tower of Babel. Yet, in Genesis 10 it does say that the first centers of his kingdom were Babylon (et al) in Shinar, which is where the Tower of Babel was built, as is recorded in Genesis 11. Tradition has it, or Babylonian history purportedly has it that Nimrod died, his wife elevated his name to Bel or Baal, i.e. “sun god,” and stated that he, from heaven, impregnated her and she gave birth to a son Tammuz. He became known as the son of the sun god (perhaps a pre-figure of the antichrist). Nimrod’s subjects apparently wept over his death and then began to worship his son Tammuz and then they began weeping for Tammuz (thus the reference in Ez. 8). The people of God were adopting this pagan practice, which was idolatry. [Source: http://www.wnd.com/2008/05/64924/] So all this leads to the pagan roots of the celebration of Easter. “Ishtar” is pronounced “Easter.” She was supposedly both the mother and the lover of Tammuz. When Tammuz died, then Ishtar, as tradition has it, said that he ascended to his father, Baal, and together they would be like father, son and spirit. Ishtar then became worshiped as Queen of Heaven. The celebration of the Queen of Heaven purportedly involved the tradition of Lent, eggs, rabbits, et al, apparently all a part of this worship of celebration of the “Queen of Heaven” in Babylon. [Source: http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org/tracts/tract1.html] Today I am no expert on Greek, Roman or Egyptian gods and goddess and their mythology. Yet, in my research, I did find a common historical account of Ishtar. I have also read that our Statue of Liberty is fashioned after the goddess Ishtar and she is also depicted as representative of the Great Prostitute mentioned in the book of Revelation. Much of Washington D.C. – its layout, structure, symbols, buildings, et al - is fashioned after Greek, Roman and Egyptian gods and goddesses. Look at our money, the Great Seal, the all-seeing eye of Horus (Satan), the unfinished pyramid (the old world order waiting for the new world order to complete it), and many of the buildings and statues in D.C., and you will see that our country was begun, not as a Christian nation, but as the new Rome, the new Babylon, and is based off of paganism, occultism, and Satanism with a mixture of Christianity within, I believe, for the purpose of deception, though paganism is a mixture of religions by nature. This paganism has also infiltrated the church. We are taught in the institutional church to worship (pledge allegiance, devotion and loyalty to) the image of our government, which is of Satan. Humanism and worldliness has so infiltrated the church so that it is barely distinguishable between the church and the world. The church has adopted many pagan practices and celebrations as its own, and has given them Christian connotations. Yet, even if we were to take the historic and pagan roots of Easter (and Christmas), and completely remove them from the mix, and we were to evaluate the celebrations of Easter and Christmas just in their own merit, how would they stack up against the word of God? What have bunnies, painted eggs, buying new clothes, and the rituals associated with the celebration of Easter have to do with Jesus Christ? Nothing! What do you think most children think about when they think of Easter? – Jesus’ death and resurrection, so we can be free of slavery to sin? Or, Easter bunnies, eggs, chocolate, wearing new clothes, Easter egg hunts, et al? Just like at Christmas, the focus is not on Jesus Christ. At Christmas the focus is on the false god “Santa,” whose name is strangely much like “Satan.” It is on commercialism, greed, buying, parties, gifts, and fake gods who bring young children things that they like and enjoy. How can Jesus Christ as a baby or as a crucified Savior compete with bunnies, eggs, candy, fun, presents, decorated trees, and Santa in the minds of young children? He can’t, and that is exactly the point of the deception: Teach the church that they should honor Christ by celebrating his life and death and resurrection on pagan holidays that include pagan rituals and practices, and that focus the attention, especially for children, away from the Savior onto false gods, i.e. false christs. What an effective evil plot, too! So, what is the point of all this? I believe God sees our celebrations of Easter and of Christmas as pagan, not so much because of the pagan roots, but because they are a mixture of celebrating him along with celebrating “other gods,” and he does not even get top billing, especially in the minds of young children. Jesus said the way he wanted to be remembered was through communion, not just the taking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, but in us dying to sin and self each day, and through following him wherever he leads us in obedience to his commands, and in surrender to his will for our lives. Also see: http://originalworks.info/pagan-revelry/ Fully Surrendered / Alfred C. Snead / George C. Stebbins Fully surrendered—Lord, I would be, Fully surrendered, dear Lord, to Thee. All on the altar laid, Surrender fully made, Thou hast my ransom paid; I yield to Thee. Fully surrendered—life, time, and all, All Thou hast given me held at Thy call. Speak but the word to me, Gladly I'll follow Thee, Now and eternally Obey my Lord. Fully surrendered—silver and gold, His, who hath given me riches untold. All, all belong to Thee, For Thou didst purchase me, Thine evermore to be, Jesus, my Lord. Fully surrendered—Lord, I am Thine; Fully surrendered, Savior divine! Live Thou Thy life in me; All fullness dwells in Thee; Not I, but Christ in me, Christ all in all.