Sunday, March 16, 2008

Easter - The Devil's Holiday

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

What do we find when entering into Roman Catholicism’s “borrowing” of paganism? We find their continued alliance with breaking the regulative principle, and the replacement of true worship, with worshipping that which is unholy. They institute unscriptural burdens such as Lent, fast days, sacred rites that control their kingdom with superstitions and false religion guised in the cloak of “authority” and hide the truth from people to damn them for all eternity. One such deception is their introduction of the “Christian festival of Easter.” Look around and you will see the world-wide acceptance of the chocolate bunny and hardboiled egg. It is harmless, right?

What does one find when looking at the celebration of Easter? The term “Easter” is certainly not Christian, and is of Chalcedonian origin. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people at Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use today. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar – the devil or Satan. Worship of the devil in this way was introduced to the English people through the Druids who worshipped the devil through nature.

Take a moment and note that Romanism or Druidism for that matter, would not openly say “they are worshipping the devil.” Of course they would deny it. However, the Scripture is exceedingly clear that any doctrine not brought to men through the Triune Godhead, and the Savior Jesus Christ, is a doctrine of demons and therefore, a worshipping of the devil. This certainly applies not only to the contemporary church when it introduces destructive heresies, or twists Paul’s words to their own destruction, as Peters states, but also applies to false religious ideas that pull people away from the one true Savior and only God Jesus Christ. One cannot introduce false religion without partaking of demonic influences and devil worship in that light.
As a result of Druidic worship, and influences that have penetrated into Romanism, contemporary Christendom of almost every flavor still has those influences lingering today in their worship, and their Sunday morning bulletins around the time of Easter. The Druids would worship in lighting a fire in the center circle and each worshipper putting in a “bit of oat-cake in a shepherd's bonnet; they all sit down, and draw blindfold a piece from the bonnet. One piece has been previously blackened, and whoever gets that piece has to jump through the fire in the centre of the circle, and pay a forfeit. This is, in fact, a part of the ancient worship of Baal, and the person on whom the lot fell was previously burnt as a sacrifice.” Scripture deems this “walking through the fire” or “fire sacrifice.” God condemns the practice of making children walk through the fire in Leviticus 18:21, “You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.”

Easter, then, traces back through Astarte was also worshipped in ancient times, and that from the name Astarte, whose name in Nineveh was Ishtar, the religious workings during the month of March and April, as now practiced in most of Christendom, are called by the name of Easter. In ancient times the pagans called this time of the year Easter-monath.

Even Socrates, the ancient philosopher, describes the different ways in which Easter was observed in different countries in his time during the fifth century. He states, “Thus much already laid down may seem a sufficient treatise to prove that the celebration of the feast of Easter began everywhere more of custom than by any commandment either of Christ or any Apostle." (Hist. Ecclesiast.) Even Socrates, the pagan philosopher knew Easter was not a Christian doctrine.

Where did people begin worshipping “gods” on Easter? Hislop explains, “The forty days' of fasting during the Romanist Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, "in the spring of the year," is still observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devil-worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians. It was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans, for thus we read in Humboldt, where he gives account of Mexican observances: "Three days after the vernal equinox...began a solemn fast of forty days in honor of the sun." Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt which was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god. At the same time, the rape of Proserpine seems to have been commemorated, and in a similar manner; for Julius Firmicus informs us that, for "forty nights" the "wailing for Proserpine" continued; and from Arnobius we learn that the fast which the Pagans observed, called "Castus" or the "sacred" fast, was, by the Christians in his time, believed to have been primarily in imitation of the long fast of Ceres, when for many days she determinedly refused to eat on account of her "excess of sorrow," that is, on account of the loss of her daughter Proserpine, when carried away by Pluto, the god of hell. As the stories of Bacchus, or Adonis and Proserpine, though originally distinct, were made to join on and fit in to one another, so that Bacchus was called Liber, and his wife Ariadne, Libera (which was one of the names of Proserpine), it is highly probable that the forty days' fast of Lent was made in later times to have reference to both. Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing, and which, in many countries, was considerably later than the Christian festival, being observed in Palestine and Assyria in June, therefore called the "month of Tammuz"; in Egypt, about the middle of May, and in Britain, sometime in April. To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skilful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity--now far sunk in idolatry--in this as in so many other things, to shake hands. The instrument in accomplishing this amalgamation was the abbot Dionysius the Little, to whom also we owe it, as modern chronologers have demonstrated, that the date of the Christian era, or of the birth of Christ Himself, was moved FOUR YEARS from the true time. Whether this was done through ignorance or design may be matter of question; but there seems to be no doubt of the fact, that the birth of the Lord Jesus was made full four years later than the truth. This change of the calendar in regard to Easter was attended with momentous consequences. It brought into the Church the grossest corruption and the rankest superstition in connection with the abstinence of Lent. Let anyone only read the atrocities that were commemorated during the "sacred fast" or Pagan Lent, as described by Arnobius and Clemens Alexandrinus, and surely he must blush for the Christianity of those who, with the full knowledge of all these abominations, "went down to Egypt for help" to stir up the languid devotion of the degenerate Church, and who could find no more excellent way to "revive" it, than by borrowing from so polluted a source; the absurdities and abominations connected with which the early Christian writers had held up to scorn. That Christians should ever think of introducing the Pagan abstinence of Lent was a sign of evil; it showed how low they had sunk, and it was also a cause of evil; it inevitably led to deeper degradation. Originally, even in Rome, Lent, with the preceding revelries of the Carnival, was entirely unknown; and even when fasting before the Christian Pasch was held to be necessary, it was by slow steps that, in this respect, it came to conform with the ritual of Paganism. What may have been the period of fasting in the Roman Church before sitting of the Nicene Council does not very clearly appear, but for a considerable period after that Council, we have distinct evidence that it did not exceed three weeks.”

So we have the history of “Easter” and its popular observances today confirm the testimony of history as to its Babylonian character, such as the hot-crossed buns that are so tasty.

The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now. The "buns" were used in the worship of the queen of heaven, the goddess Easter, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens--that is, 1500 years before the Christian era. Jeremiah 7:18 states, “The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.” Jeremiah uses the word "bun" which is where the concept was derived. The Hebrew word was pronounced Khavan, which in Greek became sometimes Kapan-os. The Hebrew shows how Khvan, pronounced as one syllable, would pass into the Latin panis, "bread," and the second how, in like manner, Khvon would become Bon or Bun. The hot cross buns are not now offered, but eaten, on the festival of Astarte; but this leaves no doubt as to where the original idea came from.

What about the Ishtar Eggs? Where do we get bunnies and eggs in baskets and egg hunts during a Christian holy-day? The origin of the Paschal eggs is just as pagan. The ancient Druids bore an egg, as the sacred emblem of their order. Hislop says, “In the Dionysiaca, or mysteries of Bacchus, as celebrated in Athens, one part of the nocturnal ceremony consisted in the consecration of an egg. The Hindo fables celebrate their mundane egg as of a golden color. The people of Japan make their sacred egg to have been brazen. In China, at this hour, dyed or painted eggs are used on sacred festivals, even as in this country. In ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposes in their temples. From Egypt these sacred eggs can be distinctly traced to the banks of the Euphrates. The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians.” Hyginus, the poet states, “An egg of wondrous size is said to have fallen from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank, where the doves having settled upon it, and hatched it, out came Venus, who afterwards was called the Syrian Goddess"--that is, Astarte, or Easter. So the Easter Egg became one of the symbols of Astarte, and its occult meaning had reference to the ark during the time of the flood, in which the whole human race were shut up, as the chick is enclosed in the egg before it is hatched.
The egg, then, became used as a symbol for the whole world as Noah and his family, after the destruction was the “whole world” floating on the waters of the flood. Hislop states, “The coming of the egg from heaven evidently refers to the preparation of the ark by express appointment of God; and the same thing seems clearly implied in the Egyptian story of the mundane egg which was said to have come out of the mouth of the great god. The doves resting on the egg need no explanation. This, then, was the meaning of the mystic egg in one aspect. As, however, everything that was good or beneficial to mankind was represented in the Chaldean mysteries, as in some way connected with the Babylonian goddess, so the greatest blessing to the human race, which the ark contained in its bosom, was held to be Astarte, who was the great civiliser and benefactor of the world. Though the deified queen, whom Astarte represented, had no actual existence till some centuries after the flood, yet through the doctrine of metempsychosis, which was firmly established in Babylon, it was easy for her worshippers to be made to believe that, in a previous incarnation, she had lived in the Antediluvian world, and passed in safety through the waters of the flood. Now the Romish Church adopted this mystic egg of Astarte, and consecrated it as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. A form of prayer was even appointed to be used in connection with it, Pope Paul V teaching his superstitious votaries thus to pray at Easter this specific prayer, “Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may become a wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Scottish Guardian, April, 1844).

That Semiramis, under the name of Astarte, was worshipped not only as an incarnation of the Spirit of God, but as the mother of mankind, we have very clear and satisfactory evidence. There is no doubt that "the Syrian goddess" was Astarte (LAYARD'S Nineveh and its Remains). Now, the Assyrian goddess, or Astarte, is akin to simply worshipping the devil. Astarte is not Jesus Christ, is not the Triune Godhead, is not biblical, but everything that God prohibits. The bunny with its fertility connotations and the ancient pagan festivals that used rabbits as symbols of fertility in Babylonian times or the use of eggs, or the use of candy (which derived from the use of pomegranates and oranges that were also used in ancient times of pagan rituals) is identified as devil worship by any thinking Christian. It is no wonder that the use of the symbol of the dove itself as a Christian symbol did not come from the idea of the Spirit resting as a dove upon Christ during His baptism, but as a representative of the Mother of the gods, in whom that Spirit was said to be incarnate, was celebrated as the originator of some of the useful arts and sciences. And we find very readily in Greek mythology that the character attributed to the Minerva, whose name Athena as a synonym for Beltis, the well known name of the Assyrian goddess. Athena, the Minerva of Athens, is universally known as the "goddess of wisdom," the inventress of arts and sciences.
We have Rome borrowing pagan rituals to change the date of Christ’s entrance into the word by 4 years to compensate amalgamating the celebration of devil worship with Christianity; the adoption of Ishtar, or Astarte, Easter, as a Papist degradation of worship; the violation of the regulative principle in deeming a day to be worshipped as such, the entrance of eggs from Druidic worship, or pomegranates and oranges that turned into chocolate bunnies and Ishtar eggs for a candy basket to give on Easter Sunday, and the Babylonian influences of pagan rituals through every aspect of Easter and we find you, reader, going out this week to apply this all to little Johnny and little Debbie because everyone else is doing it at church.
If you want to be a Papist, then call yourself a Papist, or a Druid, or a Grecian worshipper of the devil. Don’t call yourself Christian by upholding a blatantly obvious demonic holy-day that God abhors. When you partake of such wicked schemes, God’s anger is aroused, and He states in Deuteronomy 32:17, “They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known.” When you give your child their Easter basket, recall God’s words, and heed the Psalmist in Psalm 106:37, “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons.” Know that you serve the same blasphemies that Romanism has brought into Christendom, and that the Scriptures rightly warn the covenant people of God that they should abstain from such things and be separate. 1 Timothy 4:1 states, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” When you worship using the devil’s teachings, you give heed to demonic influences and introduce them to your children. You might say, “Hey, come on. It’s just a chocolate bunny, some jelly beans and a few hardboiled eggs right?” No. It is a giving of your mind, heart and family over to the trinkets of the devil and the worship of his holy-day that has been resurrected and founded on demonic influences and teachings – it is devil worship. If you celebrate Easter, you spit in the face of Jesus Christ who is to be worshipped not on one day in the year on “Resurrection Sunday”, but all the days of all your life – for He is the Redeemer of the Covenant people of God every day.

There is a great difference between the works of the devil and the works of the Triune God. The devil deceives by subtle manipulation (Hey, Easter is not all bad), and the Triune Godhead commands nothing more than perfect obedience to His will and Word (Thou Shalt not worship any other gods, nor shall you worship God according to the commandments of men). The devil wants you to worship Jesus Christ in the manner that demonic teachings lay out Easter. God commands you to worship Him as His Word dictates. Deuteronomy 4:2 states, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.” The devil is the father of lies and wants you to believe the lie that Easter is a Christian holiday, like Lent and Christmas. But our true Father is in heaven who commands us today, as Acts 17:30-31 states, “to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead," who is Jesus Christ. Talk about that day and wonder, Christian, if you will stand when He appears. There is safety in appearing in the righteousness of Christ on the Day of Judgment. But there is no safety in any degree of comprises for the sake of a few jelly beans.
Post Script – I do not want Christians to be leery of buying a bag of jelly beans or eating a Cadbury Egg. It is not that jelly beans or chocolate bunnies are evil in and of themselves. Buy some jelly beans during the 4th of July and have at them. Make some chocolate bunnies and eat them up during January or September. But do not associate yourself or your family with the Romanist amalgamation of pagan rituals during the March-April time of Lent, Good Friday, Palm Sunday and Easter. Those associations are in direct violation of God’s commands, and those associations overrule your plea to Christian Liberty because God is very clear about His worship. As Revelation 19:10 states, “Worship God.”

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Small Groups - The Abdication of Pastoral Responsibility

Good Evening. A Puritan’s Mind brings you the old time radio program The Wild Boar News Podcast from Sunny South Florida. Welcome, I’m Dr. Matthew McMahon.

For some reason, contemporary pseudo pastors seem to believe that their main objective is to win souls and grow their church. They win souls by offering an Arminian Gospel, and they grow their church by incorporating those won over into some kind of assimilation into a corporate-like environment. No doubt it works well. Most companies operate by taking new employees, and assimilating them into the structure of the company with specific tasks that will aid the overall streamlined environment. These companies thrive as communication is passed down from the CEO to various departments, that in turn, oversee those departments to the company’s greater good. This is, again, much like many contemporary churches whose pastors abdicate their pastoral responsibility for integration through a man-centered incorporation to their corporate empire. How else can they afford their new Lexus or beachfront summer condo. Numbers means revenue, and revenue means success.

What’s the secret? Small groups. As corporations have departments, contemporary churches have small groups.

What are small groups? Besides being a blatant disregard for the pastoral duties of overseeing the flock personally, and manageably, small groups give mega congregations the ability to divide up (as if Christ desires His church to be divided) and to learn watered down lessons about self-esteem, church ministries, or whatever doctrines a contemporary church deems suitable to “fellowship with the saints.” Leaders of small groups are called “Small Group Champions” or “Lay Leaders”. Such people are chosen by the pastor, or as Christianity Today writer Fred Smith states, that small group champions are “identified” as “promising people” who can “take on” the guidance of a small group. Smith lists 10 requirements for church ceos to identify small group champions, and 4 conclusions that would read well in any article in the business section of the Wall Street Journal or Fast Company Magazine, like: What will this person do to be liked, or can the CEO Pastor provide a suitable environment for this person to succeed? Of course, there was no mention to glorify God, or ability to take on pastoral duties. No, the contemporary church cares little for those things.

In an article called “Confession of a Small-Group Leader” Joe Higginbotham said of himself that his group was successful because “The nonchurchy, spontaneous atmosphere of our group was its most basic appeal.”

The Good News of South Florida Newspaper said that “small groups need to be managed”. Of course they do, much like any corporate department.

This gives rise to the new phenomena of the “church without walls”. Small Groups extending into the world where people, in a non-churchy environment, managed by champion leaders, and chosen on the basis as to whether they will be liked or not, has a trendy kick to it. Realize listener that the feel good church of the future must continue to create trendy applications in order for you, the non-denominational, unchurched attendee feels a sense of belonging that is indiscriminatory. Don’t you feel good about that?

But, as false shepherds continue to propagate such irreverent anti-biblical concepts to abdicate themselves from actually caring for the flock as a flock in expository biblical teaching, and pastoral duties, more and more mainline denominations are picking up bad habits of such abdication because they see that their churches are losing ground to that which is more trendy and popular. In allowing others to take over pastoral responsibility, churches are growing, so they think, erroneously, that it can’t be all bad if growth is inevitable. Growth, they think, in numbers, gives them the ability for their church to do good. But what does that have to do with the glory of Jesus Christ?

True pastors, however, hold to the Bible. The Bible is quite plain on this point. Pastors are not to abandon their flock, or give up their responsibility to preaching and teaching the truth to them.

Ephesians 4:11-12, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

Now, many pseudo pastors will whine and wail on this note, and hold steadfast to the corporate principle that their churches are thriving because small group departments are succeeding. But if that’s the case, the best thing that small groups actually do is demonstrate that the pseudo pastor who is leading that church is no pastor at all. The success of the small group over their leadership and preaching of the flock themselves is a true sign that demonstrates their inadequacy to take a leadership role and equip the flock, and further demonstrates that their abdication is a sign that they should have never been behind the pulpit in the first place.

This is Dr. Matthew McMahon signing off.