The Apple Of God's Eye

February 10, 2010

Valentine's Day: A Millennia Old Fertility Rite With A Little Magic To Boot!

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When we were small children, we’d often use the word “why”—usually in the form of a question, directed at a person older than us. And each answer, it seemed, triggered another question—another why. But as we grew older, our curiosity began to wane. We stopped asking why so frequently. What was the reason? Was it because we thought we knew everything at that point? No, we became comfortable with the status quo. Most of us began to accept things the way they are—without question.

And so it is with the holiday we are fast approaching on February 14, 2010 – Valentine’s Day — a day which supposedly celebrates love and affection between couples by giving flowers and sending greeting cards.

But since there’s no biblical basis for its observance, we must look to secular history to determine its origin.

Centuries before Christ, the Romans celebrated the evenings of February 14 and 15 (named “Lupercalia)” as an idolatrous and sensuous festival in honor of Lupercus, the “hunter of wolves.” This pagan free-for-all was to be done away with when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, but the general public would have none of it, and so only the more grossly sensual observances were toned down.

Modern tradition says that this holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. But the fact is that by this time, the holiday had BECOME a “Christian” custom, appropriating the name St. Valentine in place of Lupercus (Lavinia Dobler, Customs and Holidays Around the World). (more…)

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December 25, 2009

"What is the Jewish Holiday Hanukkah All About?

Hanukkah is a Hebrew word meaning “dedication.” The holiday commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem by Judah Maccabee following the expulsion of the Seleucid Syrians under Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 B.C. The full account of the story can be found in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, chapters 5-11.

Hanukkah is a Jewish national feast of rejoicing. We read that Jesus was present at the festival of Dedication (since he was a physical Jew) in John 10:22. We learn from Christ’s example that acknowledging national holidays not emanating from paganism (such as the American Thanksgiving Day) is not wrong and does not violate God’s higher Law.

Many have noticed that Hanukkah customs are similar to Christmas, because many Jews, especially in the United States and Canada, have adopted Christmas customs and attached them to the celebration of Hanukkah. This is a fact that many Jews themselves regret.

August 6, 2009

Is "Independence Day" Of Pagan Origin?

Independence_Day1Independence Day, celebrated on July 4th in the United States, is not fundamentally religious in character. It is a secular holiday of comparatively recent origin. The holidays that Christians should not keep are those that are pagan in origin; but there is nothing inherently pagan about the 4th of July.

As a patriotic American citizen, there is certainly nothing wrong with observing a day that celebrates the freedoms bestowed upon this great nation by Almighty God. Patriotism becomes a sin only when it supersedes the worship of God!

April 2, 2009

Is There A Biblical Prohibition Against The Symbol Of The Heart?

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Is any biblical prohibition against using the symbol of the heart, since it is often associated with the pagan observance of Valentine’s Day?

 We should remember that it is God who made the heart. Reference is made to it many times in the Bible. God uses this organ as a SYMBOL of our attitude and thoughts, for example. 

The pagans merely adopted a stylized drawing of a heart as a symbol in their worship, as for Valentine’s Day. In fact, a number of other objects in God’s creation have been treated in a similar manner. But, the misuse of an object by this or that group, even if the people are atheistic, should not prohibit a Christian from putting it to a proper use. Based on this principle, it is not wrong to use the heart shape in jewelry, pillows, or other items. 

There is one other factor to consider — conscience. If a person feels that the heart symbol is “tainted,” so to speak, because of its connection with the pagan Valentine’s Day, then it would be wise to avoid its use. The Bible tells us, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).

Is Hanukkah (Festival Of Lights) Of Biblical Origin?

gatesofrighteousness.blogspot.com/2007_12_01_...

gatesofrighteousness.blogspot.com/2007_12_01_...

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is observed in honor of the rededication of the Temple by Judas Maccabaeus in the second century B.C. It is an eight-day festival in which candles are lit, one on the first evening, two on the second, and so on until eight are lit on the last evening, symbolizing that the light of faith is certain to grow. 

Jesus, a Jew by human birth, was present at the Festival of Dedication (John 10:22). We learn from Christ’s example that it is not wrong to acknowledge certain national holidays, as long as they are not derived from paganism and do not violate God’s law. Thanksgiving, an American holiday, is an example. 

Modern Hanukkah observances are similar to Christmas celebrations. Many Jews, especially in the United States and Canada, have adopted Christmas customs and attached them to the celebration of Hanukkah. 

The reference to God as the “Father of lights” (Jas. 1:17) has no connection with the observance of Hanukkah.

March 30, 2009

Is The Feast Of Purim Biblically Commanded?

This festival is one of the national feasts of the Jewish people. It is much like our Thanksgiving Day or Fourth of July. It commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from the Persian Empire during the fifth century B.C. The origin of this feast is found in the Bible (see the book of Esther, especially the ninth chapter). But, it is not one of God’s Holy Days. 

This is not to say that this or similar festivals, such as the Feast of Lights (from the Maccabean period in the second century B.C.), are without meaning. For the Jews, these festivals are rich in meaning and history. As a Jew, Jesus observed them. 

As mentioned, these festivals are not part of God’s Holy Days (see Leviticus 23, for example). God does not command us to keep them.

Is Father's Day Or Mother's Day Of Religious Origin?

Neither Father’s Day nor Mother’s Day is fundamentally religious in character in North America. They are secular holidays of comparatively recent origin.

The history of Father’s Day started in 1909, in Spokane, Washington, Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon when she was inspired to have a special day dedicated to her father, whom she felt touched her with his sacrifices, courage, selflessness and love. She held the first Father’s Day celebration on 19th of June 1910, and the idea caught on. However, it was to be thirty years before a Joint Resolution of Congress gave recognition to Father’s Day, and another 16 years before President Richard Nixon established the third Sunday of June as a permanent national observance of Father’s Day.

The history of Mother’s Day is supposed to go back centuries, but it wasn’t until 1907, when Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948), a Philadelphia schoolteacher, began a movement to set up a national Mother’s Day in honor of her mother. The first Mother’s Day observance was a church service, and her hard work finally paid off in the year 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers. 

Sadly, in this world parents are too often forgotten and neglected in day-to-day living. It seems we need to make up for this by a special holiday dedicated to the role of each parent. The Bible, of course, teaches that parents should be HONORED at all times (Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-3). 

But of course there is nothing wrong with acknowledging these days. Yes, Christians follow God’s instructions in remembering and honoring parents daily, but if one also wants to send a card with personal best wishes or telephone parents on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, that is fine also. There is no biblical command against it.

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