My Holiday Take
Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
What is the real issue in all of this? To me, it really is about holiness. Peter said:
as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
Basically, Peter is advising us to not walk in our previous lusts as we did before we were born-again in Jesus Christ. We are not ignorant anymore. That was our only excuse back then. We did things wrong and participated in things against God out of plain ignorance. But now, we know that we are commanded to walk in a holy manner, in all behavior just as it was written in days of old.
For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. [emphasis added are mine]
From Old to New Covenant, the call for His people to be holy, for He is holy, is unchanged. In the same manner that He did not want the Israelites to participate in spiritual idolatry with other nations, He also expects His New Covenant church to not participate in pagan rituals and practices that honor, worship, and venerate other gods, no matter how old in human history they may be. It is still considered spiritual idolatry.
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 God.
The new covenant church is to be transformed, through revelation, Revelation renews the mind. As our minds are renewed, our thinking changes... As our thinking changes, we then walk differently than we did, before the revelation came to us. When we walk according to revelation, then we prove, through our new walk, what is that good, well-pleasing, and complete will of God.
The problem many Christians have is many of us don't want to repent. We don't want to change our ways and yet God is commanding us, "Be holy in all manner of behavior and godliness!", which is a command we must respond to.
No doubt He has separated us from the world. No doubt He has overcome sin. No doubt He has made us priests and kings to rule and reign with Him, but we must walk these truths out. We must walk separated from the world, being in it and not of it. Some of us look like we were no different than the world. We must walk blameless and without sin, yet always walking humbly and continually repenting asking forgiveness as He conforms us little by little, day by day, in the image of His perfection, Jesus. We must walk as priest and kings, not pseudo prophets and pseudo apostles that hypocritically say and expect one thing, and yet, do another. We must respond to the call!
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
We must purify ourselves from the stains of walking according to the flesh. How? By not walking in them anymore. We must come out from among these things and be set apart as He has called us to be holy. Holy means to be separated from sin, the things of this world and the kingdom of darkness and, at the same time, consecrated or dedicated to God and the things of the Kingdom of God and light.
Why do we, who call ourselves born-again Christians, continue to walk in the ways of this world, which are contrary to God? Why do we continue to participate in out-rightly (some subtly) ungodly religious practices and then call that which is evil, good, harmless and ineffectual against our spiritual lives?
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
We, who are supposedly priests and kings of the Most High God, continue to practice and involve ourselves in pagan rituals (cleverly camouflaged) that origin-ally were used to worship and revere other gods. What do the scriptures say about drinking of the cup of demons and the cup of the Lord?
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: [emphasis added are mine]
(1Co 10:20-22); (1Co 10:31-32)
This was spoken of in reference to the communion that Christians partake of, the bread and the wine. You see, the apostles knew about the rites and rituals of the nations. They preached against partaking of them. They knew it would incite Jesus to jealousy, just as the Israelites incited Him to jealousy in the Old Covenant for partaking in the rites and rituals of pagan nations. They knew that their celebrations contained sacrifices, not just merely to wooden or stone idols, but to demons. Paul said you can't partake of both Jesus and of demons. It's one or the other. Choose you this day whom you will serve! Paul, furthermore commanded this:
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.[emphasis added are mine]
As new creatures in Messiah we are obligated to walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:7). To no longer walk as the rest of the world, who walk in darkness. We have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. If you hear and obey Jesus, you will not walk in the ways of the old man, who is deluded in its lusts. You will walk in the renewing of the spirit of your mind, putting on the new creature that was created in righteousness and mercy when you were born-again.
The Jews believe and understand correctly that there is one God (Deuteronomy 6: 4). There is no one else besides Him (Isaiah 45: 5). There are no other gods that can be compared to Him (Isaiah 46: 5,9). He alone made all of creation (Isaiah 44: 24; 45: 7, 18,).
They were explicitly taught by God that He is one and that they should love Him alone, with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength for this was the greatest commandment. They knew that their neighboring nations paid homage and worshipped a plethora of gods and had designated a schedule to celebrate holidays for them. They were told to not learn the way of the heathen or be dismayed at the signs of the heavens as the heathens are dismayed. They were commanded not to follow along in their customs for they were useless (Jeremiah 10: 2). That is simply akin to Him saying to no longer walk as the rest of the nations (Reread Eph 4:17-24).
Jesus, never, nope, not even once, participated in these pagan celebrations which were around in His day. The Jews, assuredly, had not celebrated these pagan celebrations in Jerusalem, but they were surrounded with neighboring nations who did. All of them had celebrations and designated times (holidays) for their gods. These celebrations had been around long before God ever manifested in the flesh and they were the same practices that God said for Israel not to learn or partake of them.
The only celebrations that Jesus took part in were those that were held in Jerusalem. They were ordained by God to honor and remember His promises and all His works of faithfulness which He had shown Israel in the past. Not a single apostle, before or after Jesus' ascension, ever took part in celebrations that are now known today as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine's or any other pagan celebration. Now, grant it, these names were not used back then, but their celebrations were practiced.
The apostles simply knew better than to mix and fellowship with these practices. They knew light had no fellowship with darkness (II Corinthians 6:14). The light in which they walked in exposed the lies and deception contained in the darkness of these practices and they even commanded the Jews and Gentiles to abstain from these things (Acts 15: 20,29).
What happened and why do so many Christians celebrate the origin-ally pagan ungodly "'holi'-days"? Two to Three centuries after the apostles slept, a man named Constantine rose to power in Rome. He needed to find a way to amalgamate and conform the nations, cultures and barbarians that he was conquering into Rome. His idea was to partner himself with the Catholic church and "Christianize" the barbarians and their cultural practices (celebrations to their gods).
So, for instance, instead of the them worshipping the sun god named Mythra (who evolved from the god of Egypt, Ra) they changed the name and said in a nutshell, "Now his name is Jesus. You can continue your practices, but you will use the name Jesus for your god." They simply changed the names and painted these gods (demons) with different colors and called it "Christian" holidays and celebrations. Have you ever heard the saying, "A rose by any other name, is still a rose"?
For the same reason that I don't celebrate Halloween, because of its ungodly origins and veneration of evil, I don't celebrate Christmas, Easter, Valentines, or any other holiday for that matter. It doesn't matter to me what color you paint it: red, green, white, blue... we should not be ignorant of the wiles of the devil (II Corinthians 2:11). His plan is to get you to compromise in any area of your life in any way, shape, or form. He'll even come to you as an angel of light if you don't discern him (II Corinthians 11:14).
My family and I choose not to drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons (I Corinthians 10: 20-21). We choose Jesus and His holy way.
Didn't you know, there is a way of holiness?
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.[emphasis added are mine]
Here is a prophecy that speaks of a way that was coming, The Way of Holiness. In actuality, "The Way" has already been established because Jesus is "The Way". The loathsome and offensive will not walk this way. It will only be for "waywalkers", those who choose to walk "The Way" and take up their cross and follow Him, and fools will dare not walk this "Way", for they refuse to repent of their evil ways and follow Him.
On this way of holiness there is not lion or ravenous creature waiting to consume passerbys, for this is The Way of Holiness. The redeemed of the Lord will return on this way and they will return with shouting and eternal cheer. Sorrow and grief will flee away, because they have been redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb and these who return and come to Zion will shout for joy in their Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah, the Holy Lamb of God.
...And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Joshua 24:14, 15
Let it be known, there is but one God and
His name is Jesus, whom I serve.
© copyright 2001, revised 2008 Jesus M. Ruiz