2 Thessalonians 2:10, “And with all deceiving unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
Many who follow Christ hold close the truth of God never changing. Often times we hear, God is still the same today, as he was yesterday; but in the same breath, they turn around and say that the things that bothered God in the past, no longer bother him today. They try to make both statements sound true and they cannot, because the statements fight against one another.
Yes, we are under a new covenant, but sin is still sin, and if God never changes, then what he found to be abominable in the old testament, he still finds to be just as detestable today. If God does not still find certain things to be an abomination, then the scriptures and those who quote them err in proclaiming that he never changes.
I am doing this article to make those who are sincere in their walk stop and think. Too many have listened to what others have said without studying the word for themselves. As inherently evil men and women made of flesh, we often try to justify our ways, our life styles, and our sins. Some have even turned to friends, family, or leaders and have asked for their “opinions” about whether or not a certain situation, struggle, or sin is on the wide or narrow path. Often times, they are given opinions that differ from the scriptures. This is why we should not be asking the opinions of others for answers to our questions, but seeking scripture, and earnestly studying the word of God in prayer.
I have often times heard of unbelievers state how those who claim to walk in the faith of Christ are no different than the unbelievers. They claim that believers act the same, talk the same, live the same, and even join in on their celebrations. This has made me stand back and look at believers from the outside, and beloved, the unbelievers speak the truth. Most of the church blends in nicely with the world, and this is not what we were commanded to do.
This is one reason why thousands of believers are stepping away from traditions and separating themselves, and doing so among the ridicule and backlash of fellow believers. They are trying to make themselves look less like the world. They are seeking to look more like Christ and not blend in with the world.
HOW THE CHURCH LOOKS LIKE THE WORLD
Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
John 15:19, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.”
James 4:4, “You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses friendship of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Revelation 18:4, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you not be partakers of her sins, and that you do not receive of her plagues.”
Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Yeshua Christ.”
2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what does righteous and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore be followers of God, as beloved children.”
We are to be the church, the bride of Christ.
But some have gone so far as to adopt newer writings that were not even known of in the time of Christ. Some have changed the word of God, and in doing so, have created a new god that loves their sin. They have created a different Christ and a different god to worship. Some have brought in pagan idols and pagan worship.
In American society today, there are a lot of churches that are allowing unrepentant people to stand behind their pews and teach the immoralities of the world as a good thing, because they see God's laws as being outdated. People go to church when they need to feel good about themselves. Church has become a building where people can go to be seen and heard, rather than a place where they can hear and see the truth of God.
This did not happen over night. It has been slowly creeping in for decades.
The question is, when are we going to unite under the truth that God never changes? When are we going to take the scriptures seriously and agree without hypocrisy, that Jehovah is the same today as he was yesterday? When are we going to accept that He abhors sin and seeks for his followers to walk in righteousness? When are we going to stand firm in the faith, expel those things which God said was abominable, uphold righteousness, and flee from the sins of our flesh? When are we going to start coming out of the world, by looking different from the world?
MIRROR CELEBRATIONS Deuteronomy 12:30-32, “Take heed to yourselves that you are not snared by following them, after they have been destroyed from before you; and that you not inquire after their gods, saying, how did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise. You shall not do so unto the Lord your God: for every abomination unto the Lord, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughter have they burnt in the fires to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add to it, or take from it.”
The early Christians known as Puritans, fought strongly against many of the celebrations that the United States celebrates as a whole every year. Their fight was so powerful that for many years, these kinds of celebrations were illegal. But today both the rich and poor, evil and good, pagan and Christian; all decorate, dress and prepare for these celebrations.
Many today see the Puritans as having been overly religious freaks who did not comprehend the meaning behind the festivities, but they are wrong. They fought against them because they had a very good understanding of their origins. In order to understand the abomination that they seen within these kinds of traditions, we must first understand how the pagan gods/goddesses were worshiped. All through old testament scriptures, we read about Ashtoreth, Diana, Baal, and in Ezekiel 8, we read about the sun god, Tammuz.
There are many celebrations that people like to claim as being Christian, but they are not. They all have their origins rooted in paganism. If you look into the history, it was the Catholic church that adopted these celebrations and festivities from the pagans, as a way of making the faith more “palatable” to the pagans; and repackaged them to appear to be of a Christian nature. Keep in mind that the old testament scriptures are older than the Catholic Church, and so are these pagan gods/goddesses.
Go to Ezekiel 8 and read about the weeping for Tammuz. Tammuz, who was the rebirthed sun god of Nimrod, was killed by a wild boar when he was 40. So his mother/lover Ishtar ordered that as a remembrance of Tammuz's life that every year, the worshipers would weep for Tammuz for 40 days, one day for each year of his life. And at the end of the 40 days, they would eat a pig because it was a pig that killed Tammuz.
Also, go and look up statues of Tammuz, you will find that many of them contain Tammuz with a rabbit, because Tammuz was fond of rabbits. Yes, this is the god/goddess who gave us Easter, and no Easter and the Passover are not the same. You can see evidence of this in the different ways they are celebrated, though some NT scriptures have changed Passover, to read Easter.
During Easter, they would hide eggs that came from a bunny, and three month olds who were conceived in the goddess' temple on this day, the previous year, were killed upon the altar, and golden eggs were dipped into their blood. Which followers would then take home, because they believed that the spirit of Tammuz would be reborn on his birthday, which was December 25th.
Tammuz's birthday was celebrated pretty much the way we celebrate it today.
Then we have Halloween, which was also taken from the pagans and reinvented as 'all saints day'. But where in scripture were we ever commanded to pray for the dead or to celebrate the dead? We were not, yet many do not have eyes to see. The Catholic church has rebranded many pagan traditions, and gave them back to us as something good.
As a believer, you have to see what the pagans speak of when the pagan's own festivities are celebrated as our own. IF these celebrations that the Christians keep were really of God then unbelievers would want nothing to do with them. The world would want nothing to do with them! How many pagans/unbelievers do you know of who celebrate any of the feasts in the Bible? They do not because they are separate. Just as we should be separate.
We have for many years, been told that the biblical celebrations were only for the Jews, therefore few actually have any understanding of them. This was a lie fabricated by Satan through man to sew a tare in the faith, and leave room for him to exchange evil for good.
The Passover, for example, we know that Christ was our Passover Lamb, so you eat beef instead of lamb. You celebrate how the blood of Yeshua Christ, God's lamb, has bought us out of the bondage of sin and has broken every chain.
I will give you one last example: Hanukkah, is a celebration of the retaking of the temple, and is also called the Festival of Dedication. It was during this celebration in scripture that Christ entered the temple and declared his deity, John 10:22-42. Today, we know that our bodies are the temple of the holy spirit. We can spend this time both in celebration and reflection. We can use this time to be evaluate ourselves and to be certain that we are fully dedicated to God, putting nothing before him in our lives.
1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
1 Peter 2:5, “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua Christ.”
WHAT DOES REAL CHRISTIANITY LOOK LIKE
We have been so far removed from the true nature of Christianity in North America, that I see a lot of people trying their best and hoping it works out. But Christ said that we should strive to enter in through the straight and narrow, because many would seek it but few would find it.
If we want to see a good picture of Christianity, we can look to those in countries where they are persecuted and killed. How many of our lips would the name of Christ be found on, if the price was torture and death?
In these countries, they secretly gather in homes and pray and sing to God. Sometimes their homes are raided and they are arrested. The foreign jails do not provide the comfort that American jails do, yet, they still contend for the faith. Some worship without Bibles, and the few who have been gifted them, spend a lot of time memorizing the scriptures, then they pass it on to someone else to memorize, because they know that a book can be taken from them but what they hide in their hearts cannot be taken away.
Memorizing scripture is historical of the faith. Going all the way back to the Jews in old testament times, they had people who would memorize the scriptures and children were taught to memorize them from a young age. Even the early Christians would memorize the scriptures, but we have become too comfortable.
Some Christians who are found by extremists are beheaded, or humiliated and then cut into pieces. I tell you this so you can get a picture of what it looks like to be different from the world.
I am going to leave you with a few stories of real life martyrs to help you reflect on your walk and your true commitment to the faith. How far would you go to not look like the world, if it meant death?
During a hot and humid night in Nigeria, in a quiet village, Habila Adamu and his family slept in a concrete block house. At about 11pm, there was a loud pounding on his front door. “Come out”, a man shouted, “and bring your family too!”
Habila threw on clothes, and grabbed his wife Vivian and their young son. When he opened the door intruders clad in robes and masks greeted him. The lead man nodded his head in a cocky manner, “We are here to do the work of Allah.” Habila uttered a silent prayer that the Lord's will be done.
The man asked Habila many questions, and then he asked the most important question: “Are you a Christian or a Muslim?”
Habila did not hesitate, “I am a Christian.” Vivian knew that these men were members of Boko Haram, a jihadist group responsible for for the deaths of about ten thousand Nigerians in 2014 alone. The men then promised him a better life if he recited the Islamic profession of faith, the Shahada. They continued, “Say it and join us. Join Boko Haram.”
Habila glanced at his wife and young son, then said, “I am a Christian, and will always remain a Christian – even unto death.” A man then turned his attention to Vivian and offered a disingenuous smile, “If your husband does not cooperate, you will watch him die.”
These intruders spent much time trying to get Habila to renounce Christ but he remained silent. The only words he spoke were to his wife, Vivian, “Don't worry, the death of a Christian is great gain, not a loss.” The intruders then asked Vivian for all the money she had. She went into every room and gathered everything that may have been of value and brought it to the intruders.
Soon after, one of the men put the barrel of an AK-47 into Habila's mouth and pulled the triggered. Vivian screamed as her husband fell to the ground. The men told her to shut up, and kicked her husband to be certain he was dead before leaving.
Vivian ran to her husband and bent down, when she heard him whispered, “I …. am … still .. alive.” Straining, Habila said, “Please... get help.” Vivian raced to a neighbor's house to call for help but help never came. Finally, with the help of neighbors, Vivian got her husband to the hospital at about 6am.
The doctor was astonished, and claimed that it is only by God's grace that he survived. Habila had been scheduled to undergo an operation to graft his cheek bone but before doctors could begin the operation, his cheekbone had virtually and miraculously healed itself, making the need for the graft unnecessary.
Once Habila recovered, he returned home, he eagerly tells his story. Habila speaks of forgiveness, he says, “We are all condemned criminals. Jesus died for us because he loves us. That is why we must show love to the people who hate us.” -I AM N story 32
The assailants who attacked Solomon and his father were Muslim neighbors. Men who they both knew and seen daily suddenly started shooting at them. Solomon and his father, Inoma, darted left and right, seeking some sliver of cover. Other men wielding machetes joined in the attack against Solomon and his father.
A machete slammed down between Inoma's head and his shoulder, the left side of his torso collapsed, and he died instantly. Seconds later, Solomon stopped and stared at his father's killer. The man, still holding the machete dripping with Inoma's blood, warned Solomon to turn back to Islam or die. Solomon responded, “I will not.”
Solomon then felt liquid splash across his back and the gasoline fumes choked him. The killers commanded him to leave Jesus for Allah, but Solomon was persistent in his faith and refused. A blow to the back of the head knocked Solomon to the ground, then another man rode a motorcycle across his back, got off and laid the motorcycle on top of Solomon. The attackers then ignited his gasoline soaked shirt. Pinned to the ground by the weight of the motorcycle, Solomon could not escape the flames.
Some time later, racked in agonizing pain, Solomon barely can remember being lifted into a four wheel drive vehicle for a torturous bumpy ride on winding roads to the hospital. Solomon lived but his back looks like scorched leather. He lives in constant pain that doctors have said will never go away.
He does not lament his disfigurement, or the added difficulty it creates for him as a carpenter, or the fact that his wife to be fled after the attack. He says that he believes his fiance' left because she was not God's choice for him. He only asks for prayer to regain his strength and that the right lady is sent to him to wed.
Despite all he has been through, Solomon is not bitter or discouraged. With confidence, he states, “I will not turn back. The salvation I have in Christ was not free but was paid with a price. I am prepared to suffer in persecutions for the salvation that I have in Christ.” He prays that God forgives those who attacked him and his father. He says that he has forgiven them as well. -I AM N story 18