The Apple Of God's Eye

April 25, 2011

How Rome Counterfeited God’s Holy Days

pacinst.com

There are millions of  professing Christians in the world today — everyone of them, in greater or lesser degree, practicing the pagan mysteries of ancient Babylon!

How could the world believe that its hundreds of competitive sects and denominations are the one true Church of God? — and believe that its heathen customs and holidays supersede the authority of the Bible?

What Is the “Mystery of Babylon”?

Admittedly the customs of the Protestant world came from the Roman Catholic Church; but how did Rome fall heir to the “Mystery of Babylon?” Here is the answer!

In Revelation 17:5, an angel reveals to the apostle John, in symbol, the professing Christian world of today. Notice what kind of world it is! It is dominated by a “Mother Church” — symbolized by a fallen woman — whose name is “a mystery, ‘BABYLON THE GREAT, the Mother of the Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.'”

That is her real name! She is named after the city Babylon! But why is this great church not called the mystery of “Nineveh,” or the mystery of “Sidon,” or “Athens,” or “Thebes”? — all famous cities of the ancient world in which competitive pagan mystery religions were located. Why is it called specifically the mystery of “Babylon”? How did the “Babylonian mysteries- migrate to Rome? And what were the customs or mysteries that specifically distinguished the city of Babylon from the other centers of mystery cults?

First, notice what a “mystery” is. A mystery is secret knowledge revealed only to an inner circle, not to outsiders in general. Paul speaks of the teaching of the true Church as a Mystery. “Now to the one able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent through the times of ages, but now is manifested,” he wrote in Rom. 16:25-26. This mystery includes the knowledge God has revealed in the Bible. But the Bible is written in such a way that the world, which is carnally minded, cannot understand it. It is a mystery to the world!

Those who constitute the true Church of God are also called the “mystery of God” in Revelation 10:7. (more…)

February 21, 2011

Did Samuel The Prophet Come Back As A Spirit?

walk-by-faith.com

King Saul asked God about an impending battle with the Philistines, but God gave him no answer (I Sam. 28:1-6). In great fear (verse 5), Saul disguised himself and went to the witch at Endor, a woman who had contact with familiar spirits or demons. She asked, “Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, bring me up Samuel” (verse 11).

The woman complied with Saul’s request — or at least she performed some ritual which made it appear that she did. And “when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice” (verse 12) because she then realized she was dealing with King Saul and could well be in jeopardy of her life for practicing witchcraft (verses 3 and 9). But Saul told her not to be afraid and asked what she had seen. She replied “I saw a god-like being coming up out of the earth” (verse 13, Jewish translation).

Saul then asked the woman, “What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived [thought] that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself” (verse 14).

In describing what she saw, the woman used these expressions: “a god-like being,” “an old man,” and “he is covered with a mantle.” There is not one word that it was actually Samuel himself! What did she see? She saw an evil spirit which presented itself in a way in which it could be mistaken for Samuel.

The Bible reveals that Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). He is the god of this world and can transform himself into an angel of light (II Cor. 4:4; 11:14). Satan and his demons have the power to produce apparitions and to appear in human or animal forms.

The next question in I Samuel 28 arises over verse 15: “And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” Why does the account read as though Samuel were speaking to Saul? It is merely a matter of what Saul wanted to see and hear. Demons enjoy fooling people. This one took the opportunity to play into Saul’s hand by impersonating Samuel. It apparently knew the outcome of the battle and told Saul that he would die the following day and that his army would be defeated by the Philistines.

Deception is one of Satan’s devices (Rev. 12:9). I Samuel 28 records that “Samuel” spoke, although it was actually a demon speaking through what looked like a human (John Gill’s Exposition Of The Bible). Samuel was not there, either in body or spirit. He was, and still is, dead and in his grave, awaiting the resurrection. This account is written, at least in part, from the human point of view, that is, the way it appeared to the witch and to Saul.

This scripture in no way contradicts the multitude of clear scriptures proving that the soul is mortal.

February 12, 2011

What Did Christ Look Like In The Flesh?

pressthat.wordpress.com

The debate on what Jesus Christ looked like in the flesh has many contradictions. The Bible does not give an exact description of Jesus, but a simple study of the Bible shows that Christ could not have looked as modern pictures or movies represent Him.

As a human being, Jesus Christ was a Jew (Heb. 7:14) and looked like a normal Jewish man of His time. He was also a carpenter, working outdoors. That means He was tanned in the summer and wind-burnt in the winter, with a healthy, weathered look about Him. Since carpenters at the time of Christ were also familiar with stone masonry, Christ would have been muscular enough to carry and place large stones in homes and buildings. He was definitely not weak and feminine looking like modern pictures depict Him.

Bible description of Christ

The only Biblical description of Jesus Christ in the flesh is given as this: “[H]e hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2). In other words, Christ had no distinguishing features or handsomeness that made Him stand out in a crowd. He even used this fact to His own advantage many times. He was able to escape harm by blending safely into a mass of other Jews on more than one occasion. Remember also, Judas had to point Him out to the authorities with a kiss (Matt. 26:48-50).

It is also important to recognize that the Jews of Christ’s day considered it a great shame for a man to have long hair (1 Cor. 11:14). So Christ would never have looked like the pampered, long-haired, easy-to-point-out man modern pictures make Him appear to be.

Other than these conclusions, we have no more information about his actual physical countenance. In fact, anything else is a matter of speculation and uncertainty. The New Testament is likely silent on these points because it is more important to center attention on the message, rather than the messenger.

Idolatrous image of Christ

Still, there is a general “standardized appearance of Christ that is largely accepted today. The image of a fully-bearded Jesus with long hair did not become established until the 6th century in Eastern Christianity, and much later in the West. Earlier images were much more varied. Beliefs that certain images are historically authentic, or have acquired an authoritative status from church tradition, remain powerful in both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. The Shroud of Turin is now the best-known example, though the Image of Edessa and the Veil of Veronica were better known in medieval times.” (Wikipedia)

The modern depiction of Christ is wrong, of course, but that hasn’t deterred Christianity at large from  using that false image in an idolatrous way through pictures, on crosses, etc. But God wants us to think of Jesus Christ as He actually is today. The Bible states:

“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:14-15).

As the living Son of God, Jesus Christ’s face shines with fiery brilliance. His spirit body burns like molten brass. We could not look into His face and not be harmed by the experience. All false representations of Christ through crucifixes, pictures and statues fail miserably to represent Him as He truly is. They are wholly false and must be discarded if true Christians are to worship God in spirit and in truth.

February 3, 2011

What Is The Origin Of April Fool’s Day?

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April Fools’ Day — or All Fools’ Day, as it is also known is of ancient origin, although its exact origin is obscure. The custom of playing practical jokes on friends on a particular day or sending them on fools’ errands was practiced from earliest times.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: “What seems certain is that it [April Fools’ Day] is in some way or other a relic of those once universal festivities held at the vernal equinox, which, beginning on old New Year’s Day, the 25th of March, ended on the 1st of April. This view gains support from the fact that the exact counterpart of April-fooling is found to have been an immemorial custom in India. The festival of the spring equinox is there termed the feast of Huli, the last of which is the 31st of March, upon which the chief amusement is the befooling of people by sending them on fruitless errands.”

The practice of April-fooling long antedates Christianity, its roots buried in dimmest antiquity. Obviously, April Fools’ Day is of pagan origin!

Another source declares: “To find the practice so widely prevalent over the earth, and with so near a coincidence of day, seems to indicate that it has had a very early origin amongst mankind” (Book of Days, page 462).

Since the evidence is overwhelming that April Fools’ Day stems from ancient pagan custom and tradition, and since the Bible, the Word of God, nowhere teaches Christians to partake in observing such a day of mockery, foolishness, jesting and ridicule, and since God actually condemns foolish jesting in His Word (Ephesians 5:4), followers of Jesus Christ should have nothing to do with this custom.

God commands Christians, “Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jeremiah 10:2, Authorized Version). Regarding worldly customs inherited from heathenism, God declares: “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (II Corinthians 6:17).

 

March 8, 2010

Tarot Cards: Readings Into The Unknown!

natemarx.wordpress.com

With the advance of what is called the New Age Movement, there are many getting pulled into dangerous dark side activity. Many Christians have not read the Bible in its complete entirety and are thus not aware of the strict warnings that God has given about being involved in any form of occult activity. Most of these warnings go back in the Old Testament.

One of the greatest stories in the Bible is the story of Moses and God’s chosen people pulled from slavery out of Egypt, and their journey into the Promised Land. Before entry, they were given strict warnings and guidelines by God as to what they could do and could not do. One of those warnings was not to engage in the pagan practices of the people who were already inhabiting parts of the Promised Land. God knew these people were evil and had the horrible practice of sacrificing their own children to appease their gods. Some of these people were involved in heavy occult type activity. If practiced, any of these could easily lead Israel astray from the knowledge of the true God.

The warnings that God gave His people back then still apply to all of us in this day and age. The Bible says that God does not change, and this includes all of His ways and all of His warnings. The trouble is, most Christianity today is a shallow practice of lip service, rather than actions based on biblical commands.  (more…)

Witchcraft And Magic: Dangerous Paranormal Psychic Powers

Filed under: Occult Practices,Pagan Customs,Pagan Symbols — melchia @ 2:20 am

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Interest in witchcraft is a popular focus of current occult attention. Those involved in witchcraft today look upon it as a religion of magical techniques — intended to produce paranormal psychic powers resident in the human mind.

“Witch” comes from the Anglo-Saxon wicce. Wicce comes from the German root wic, “to turn or bend.” The original connotation of wicce is possibly “someone with the power to turn [change] things.”

Some say that Wicca [witchcraft] is really a method of enlarging your mind to develop ESP awareness. They state it doesn’t deny God and is meant to be used for helping others.

Such an alleged difference between so-called white versus black magic is one major distinction discussed in much of occult literature. White magic is supposed to be the use of magic for socially beneficent ends. Black magic is supposed to be the use of magic for malevolent ends. Most magicians basically view magic as a value-free “technology-of-the-supernatural” (or “supernormal”). They believe that their own motive really determines whether their use of magic is for good (white) or evil (black). Most contemporary witches stress that they perform only white magic.

What is the difference between white and black witchcraft?

Witchcraft focuses a great deal on ritualism — involving candles, magic circles and such like. But few witchcraft advocates today believe there is magic force in the ritual itself. Rather, they use props and a ritual as a means to focus what they feel are natural powers of the human mind. (more…)

The Origin Of Astrology

Astrology is by far the biggest area of popular occult attention. Probably two thirds of books printed on occultism deal with the subject of astrology.

In the 1950’s, only about 100 papers carried horoscope columns. Twenty years later, over 1200 daily newspapers regularly catered to the subject. Statistics claimed that about 10,000 full-time and 175,000 part-time astrologers in the U. S. served some 40,000,000 in their American audience. Another 40 million dabbled in it. Shops carried astrological recordings, calendars, ashtrays, hairstyles, sweat shirts, and thousands of merchandise items linked to the zodiac. Astrology pulp magazines sold millions of copies monthly.

The popular musical Hair with its hit song of Aquarius and its own well-publicized company astrologist gave special impetus to the movement. In 1969 the Dell Publishing Company alone had some 49 horoscope publications in print and sold over 8,000,000 copies of its annual astrological dope sheet.

Today, the number of astrological adherents has increased exponentially. It has been estimated that up to 1 billion people on earth today believe in or follow astrology to some extent. The practice has gained appeal through public endorsement by a wide variety of celebrities who range from Hollywood stars to members of the political and intellectual communities. (more…)

February 10, 2010

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

listverse.com

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…)

December 30, 2009

The Plain Truth About New Year's Eve!

askmatthewpotter.com

How did the celebration of New Year’s Eve begin? Why is the beginning of a year placed in the middle of a dead winter? And where did the many customs surrounding it originate?

Most people carelessly assume that celebrating New Year’s Eve is a Christian custom.  But did the practice of “waiting the old year out” really come from the Bible?  Is January 1 the true beginning of a new year? Who has the authority to determine when a new year begins?

New Year’s is one of the oldest and most universal of all pagan traditions! The custom of celebrating it has remained essentially unchanged for 4,000 years! “There is scarcely a people, ancient or modern, savage or civilized,” writes Theodor H. Gaster, in his definitive book “New Year”, “which has not observed it … in one form or another. Yet no other festival has been celebrated on so many different dates or in so many seemingly different ways.”

In ancient Babylon, New Year’s festivals were closely bound to the pagan feast called “Christmas” today. When and how did New Year’s celebrations originate? Who began the custom? (more…)

December 19, 2009

The Truth About Masonry

Filed under: Pagan Customs — melchia @ 9:04 am
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August 9, 2009

Guy Fawkes Day: No Biblical Basis As A Religious Holiday!

GuyFawkesBonfireIn Great Britain, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated every November 5.

This holiday has its origins in a religious conflict involving the banishment of Roman Catholic priests from England. In protest, several laymen plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament when King James I was to open the new session. Nearly 40 barrels of gunpowder were prepared and secreted in a cellar underneath the Houses of Parliament. Authorities discovered the plot and the conspirators were arrested and executed.

In the early 1700s, after firmly choosing Protestantism over Catholicism, the British nation began to celebrate the anniversary of the thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes — an apparent ringleader — had been chosen to set off the ill-fated explosion, hence the holiday became known as Guy Fawkes’ Day, and was celebrated by burning Fawkes in effigy. Later, fireworks were added to the festivities.

Children made human figures out of straw and sticks, and begged coins from passersby by asking, “Penny for the Guy?” They chanted rhymes like these:

“Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.”

A few old Fawkes’ Night rhymes were aimed at the far-off leader of the Catholic Church:

“A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.”

Guy Fawkes Day in England is reminiscent of Halloween celebrations. Marguerite Ickis tells us, “Guy Fawkes Day has many customs in common with a Halloween celebration in the United States” (Book of Festivals and Holidays World Over, page 120).

Young people in England observe this holiday somewhat like Americans observe Halloween. The Book of Days tells us:

“English juveniles still regard the 5th of November as one of the most joyous days of the year. The universal mode of observance through all parts of England is the dressing up of a scarecrow figure, in such cast-habiliments as can be procured (the headpiece, generally a paper cap painted and knotted with paper strips in imitation of ribbons), parading it in a chair through the streets and at nightfall burning it with great solemnity in a huge bonfire…. The procession visits the different houses in the neighborhood…. One invariable custom is always maintained — that of soliciting money from the passersby, in the formula, ‘Pray remember Guy!’ ‘Please to remember Guy!’ or ‘Please to remember the bonfire!’ [The common expression now is “Penny for the guy”]” (pages 549-550).

In times past, Guy Fawkes Day was celebrated by many of the adult generation. “In the old days the festival was celebrated heartily with bonfires and parades of masqueraders, who carried aloft ‘popes’ or ‘guys’ of straw” (Dorothy Gladys Spicer, The Book of Festivals, page 14).

But as Marguerite Ickis explains: “Today Guy Fawkes Day is mainly a holiday for children, who observe it by dressing up in funny costumes, having parades, lighting firecrackers and making straw dummies of Guy Fawkes” (Book of Festivals and Holidays World Over, page 120).

Like Halloween, Guy Fawkes Day has its religious overtones. The Book of Days informs us: “Till 1859, a special service for the 5th of November formed part of the ritual of the English Book of Common Prayer; but by special ordinance of the Queen in Council, this service… has been abolished” (page 549).

Guy Fawkes Day, like Halloween and many other days observed the world over, has no biblical basis as a religious holiday.

Source: The Good News, October/November 1985

July 27, 2009

Is The Wearing Of Rings Anti-Biblical?

Filed under: Marriage,Pagan Customs — melchia @ 12:32 am
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The wedding ring, that most famous and instantly recognizable symbol of the joining of a man and a woman as husband and wife in the institution of marriage, has a long history. Some state that this history is pagan, though the Bible does not support this theory.

Exodus 35 records that rings were included with the offering the Israelites gave for the building of the Tabernacle. There is not the slightest indication that God was displeased with their wearing rings.

The Bible records that God was with Joseph when he was sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph served God, and God caused him to find favor in the eyes of the Pharaoh. In Genesis 41:41-42, we find that Joseph accepted a ring from the Pharaoh. It is plain from the context that the ring was a symbol of the very high office which had been bestowed upon him. God was not displeased with this, and the next few chapters show that God continued to bless and guide Joseph.

In principle, the ring given to Joseph served much the same purpose as that of a wedding ring. A wedding ring is merely a symbol of the marriage vows that have been made.

One further example is the famous story of the prodigal son. Jesus used this parable to illustrate God the Father’s love toward a repentant sinner. The father, who pictured God, ordered a ring to be put on the son’s hand (Luke 15:22). This act would not have been canonized if it was anti-biblical.

All of the evidence is positive. The Bible nowhere criticizes the wearing of rings in general or wedding rings in particular.

July 26, 2009

Water Dowsing, Water Divining, Water Witching: Are They Biblical?

Water divining, also known as “water witching” and “water dowsing,” is practiced all over the world. It is the craft of seeking underground water by means of a divining rod, commonly a forked stick which is held by the twigs, one in each hand with the stock pointing outward or upward. Many first-time observers of the ancient art of dowsing have watched in mute fascination as a dowser walks over the ground, and the stick will suddenly twist in his hands and point downward, supposedly indicating the presence of underground water.

Although millions of people have come to accept dowsing as a unique ability or even a divine gift, few have examined this widespread and seemingly innocuous practice critically — with an eye to uncovering the real source behind its power. The fact that dowsing is also increasingly accepted in the church as a spiritual practice adds to the need for an evaluation of this technique.

Dowsers claim that they possess a natural sensitivity to alleged earth magnetism, water “radiations,” or some other natural phenomenon. They believe their dowsing stick or other device somehow “focuses” or otherwise identifies this energy so that one is able to find water or other substances or things that one is seeking — including oil, treasure, and lost persons or objects.

The fact that dowsing works is clearly its major defense. Dowsers think that if it works it must therefore be both a helpful and legitimate method: “What interests us about all dowsers is not the theories they develop but the results they obtain. It is these results which will attract more and more adepts [initiates] as well as less and less convinced adversaries.” (Otis Brickett, “The Gift of Healing,” The American Dowser, August 1979, 116. )

Hosea prophesied that divining rods would be used in our time. He wrote, “My people ask counsel at their stock and their staff declareth unto them” (Hos. 4:12). According to the “Critical and Experimental Commentary,” by Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown, “staff” here refers to a divining rod.

What is the origin of this practice? How did it come to be used so extensively in our western, so-called Christian nations? In his book titled “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science,” Martin Gardner admits:

“The employment of various shaped rods for divination purposes goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians …. In the Middle Ages, it was associated with the power of Satan, although many churchmen made use of divination rods. The forked twig, for finding minerals, apparently did not appear until the fifteenth century when it was used by German prospectors in the Harz Mining region. When German miners were imported to England in the century following, they brought the practice with them. It was in England that the use of the twig was transferred from minerals to the search for water.”

Water witching is outright divination — a practice of ancient paganism! God absolutely forbids and condemns it. He says, “Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone … that useth divination” (Deut. 18:9-10). And God adds, “I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people” (Lev. 20:6).

We cannot practice divination and still be Christian! It is high time that we look into the Bible and begin to live by every word of God! We must quit trusting in the superstitions of ancient heathenism.

There are a few guidelines which can help one find a source of water. A Christian should first ask God in prayer to aid him in locating the right place to drill. Then he should analyze the lay of the land and drill in the most suitable area. Asking the advice of an experienced well driller — one who does not consult “witchers” — should also be helpful.

July 2, 2009

Should A Minister Be Addressed By The Title "Reverend?"

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anunveiledface.wordpress.com

When we look into the Bible, we find the word “Reverend” refers ONLY TO GOD — not once is it applied to man. In Psalm 111:9 we read: “He (God) hath commanded his covenant for ever: HOLY AND REVEREND IS HIS NAME.”  God alone has a NAME worthy of REVERENCE. No man, including any minister, has a name worthy of such respect or worship.

You will not find a single place in the New Testament where Peter, Paul, John, James or any other ministers were ever called “reverend.” The use of religious titles, such as “Reverend,” began when the great apostasy set in at the close of the first century. Ministers put themselves “IN THE PLACE OF CHRIST.” Hence they took upon themselves the attributes and titles of divinity. God’s true ministers (in His one true Church) throughout the ages have never done so.

Notice the instruction of Jesus Christ in Matt. 23:8-11: “But you [Christ’s disciples], do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Our Savior commands that those He calls to serve the brethren of the church should not take upon themselves titles that arrogate God and Christ’s own titles and positions, such as “Teacher” and “Father.” Instead, as servants and brothers, ministers should live and work in humility as servants of God.

However, it is proper for ministers to be called, “Elder,” “Pastor” “Evangelist,” etc., for these are titles used in the New Testament. See Matthew 23:8-10.

June 21, 2009

Week Days and Months: Are They Named After Pagan Deities?

Scripture reveals the names and order of Biblical months, however, none of the customary names of months and names of days found in the Gregorian calendar can be found anywhere in the Bible.  On the contrary, a little research shows us that the name of the months and days in the Gregorian calendar are names of pagan sun gods and goddesses.

According to the Encyclopedia International article “Week,” the days of the week are named after the ruling luminary — the days were names for the sun, the moon, and the five visible planets, are represented in the modern Gregorian Calendar week and all are associated with pagan deities.

The names of the days of the week and their meanings are as follows:

Sunday became the first day of the week.

  • Latin: translates from dies solis, or “Day of the Sun”.
  • Roman myth, Apollo was the god of the sun and of healing, so sick people prayed to him. Each day he drove his chariot of fiery horses across the sky to give light to the world.
  • Greek Mythology; Helios was the god of the Sun.
  • Saxon: sunnandaeg – god of the heat and light ball in the sky.

Monday is the second day of the week. Named after the Moon.

  • Roman Myth: Luna, or Diana was goddess of the moon. Diana’s twin brother Apollo was the god of the sun.
  • Saxon: mona – god of the light ball in the night sky, and tide maker.
  • Latin: dies lunae, or “Day of the Moon”.

Tuesday is the third day of the week, named after the planet Mars, in honor of the god Mars.

  • Latin: dies martis or “Day of Mars”. This day is named for the day of Tiw, or Tiu, and old Teutonic (Anglo-Saxon) deity. They also called it Tiw’s day.” So Tuesday” comes from the name of this Saxon god.
  • Roman Myth: Tiu identifies with Tyr, which was the Norse god of war and sky and translated to Mar’s day.
  • Mars: named in honour of the God of War, father of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.
  • French: word for Tuesday is Mardi, as in Mardi Gras.

Wednesday is the fourth day of the week and named after the planet Mercury, and later named in honor of the Teutonic god Wedn or Woden.

  • Latin: dies Mercuii, or “Day of Mercury.
  • Old English: spells the word as “Odin” and refers to the planetary god of Roman mythology.
  • Mercury: “the cunning God”, was the god of travelers. He had a winged hat and sandals, so he could fly and carried a staff with two snakes winding round it.

Thursday is the fifth day of the week and corresponds to the planet Jupiter. Later named in honor of the Teutonic god Thor.

  • Latin: dies Jovis, or the day of Jove
  • Norse god: The “Day of Thor”, “the Thunder god”

Jove compares to the Roman planetary god Jupiter, and the Greek god Zeus.

Friday is the sixth day of the week.

  • Norse goddess: Frigg, or Frigga, names that day. Frigg was the wife of Wodin, or Odin, and the goddess of marriage.
  • Latin: dies Veneris, or the day of Venus who was the goddess of love.

Saturday correspond to the planet Saturn, in honor of the Roman god Saturn.

  • Latin: dies Saturni, or the “Day of Saturn”.
  • Roman: The Romans had a mid-winter festival in honor of Saturn, called the Saturnalia. It lasted seven days, and there was much merrymaking. Public business was suspended and schools were closed. Parents gave toys to their children and there was a public banquet.
  • Old father time: god of Time and agriculture and his weapon was a scythe. He ruled the gods before Jupiter.

Sources: Falk, Michael (1999). “Astronomical Names for the Days of the Week”, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, 93:12

Astronomical

Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Luminary & symbol Sun Sun Moon Moon Mars Mars Mercury Mercury Jupiter Jupiter Venus Venus Saturn Saturn
Latin dies solis dies lunea dies martis dies mercurĭi dies jovis deis venĕris dies saturni
Italian domenica (1) lunedì martedì mercoledì giovedì venerdì sabato (2)
Spanish domingo (1) lunes martes miércoles jueves viernes sábado (2)
French dimanche (1) lundi mardi mercredi jeudi vendredi samedi (2)
Welsh dydd Sul dydd Llun dydd Mawrth dydd Mercher dydd Iau dydd Gwener dydd Sadwrn
Old High German sunnuntag mānetag zeistag
Ziu’s day
wodenstag
Woden’s day
donerestag
Donar’s day
friatag
Freia’s day
sambaztag (2)
German Sonntag Montag Dienstag Mittwoch (3) Donnerstag Freitag Samstag (2) or Sonnabend (“sun’s eve”)
Dutch zondag maandag dinsdag woensdag donderdag vrijdag zaterdag
Old Norse sunnundagr
Sunna’s day
mánandagr tysdagr
Tyr’s day
óðensdagr
Odin’s day
þorsdagr
Thor’s day
friádagr
Freya’s day
laugardagr (5)
Swedish Söndag Mândag Tisdag Onsdag Torsdag Fredag Lördag (4)
Finnish sunnuntai maanantai tiistai keskiviikko (3) torstai perjantai lauantai (4)
Old English sunnandaeg
Sunne’s day
mónandaeg tiwesdaeg
Tiw’s day
wodnesdaeg
Woden’s day
þunresdaeg
Thunor’s day
frigesdaeg
Frige’s day
saeternesdaeg
English Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Luminary & symbol Sun Sun Moon Moon Mars Mars Mercury Mercury Jupiter Jupiter Venus Venus Saturn Saturn
Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Source for graph.

But how did this planetary week come to be so commonly used in the professing Christian world? Hutton Webster, in his book “Rest Days,” provides the answer: “The early Christians had at first adopted the Jewish seven-day week with its NUMBERED weekdays, but by the close of the third century A.D. this began to give way to the planetary week …. The use of planetary names by Christians attests the growing influence of astrological speculations introduced by converts from paganism …. Thus, gradually a PAGAN INSTITUTION was engrafted on Christianity.” (Emphasis added. See pages
220-221).

This planetary week with its days named after pagan deities is not of God. God Almighty DID CREATE the week with seven days. But He merely numbered the days one through seven (Gen. 1; 2:1-3). The only day He named was the seventh day. He called that day “Sabbath” (Ex. 16:22-26; 20:8-11).

The names of the worldly months and their meanings are as follows:

Month                                                        From the Latin:

JANUARY                                                  Januarius, in honor of the Roman god Janus.
FEBRUARY                                                Februarius, in honor of the Roman festival of general expiation and purification.
MARCH                                                        Martius, in honor of the Roman god Mars.
APRIL                                                          Aprilis, which was derived from APERIO, a Latin verb meaning to open. So called
because it is the month when the earth opens to produce new fruits.
MAY                                                             Maius, in honor of the Greek goddess Maia.
JUNE                                                            Junius, in honor of the Roman goddess Juno.
JULY                                                           Julius, in honor of Roman emperor Julius Caesar.
AUGUST                                                     Augustus, in honor of Roman emperor Augustus Caesar.

The rest of the months — September, October, November, December — are derived from the Latin words for the numerals 7, 8, 9, and 10. They were the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th months of the old Roman calendar.

Reincarnation: Myth Or Fact?

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Reincarnation is a concept which is common to many religious beliefs and spiritual practices. Those who believe in this theory teach that after death a person’s “soul” is reborn in a new body, which is sometimes referred to as the “transmigration of the soul” or metempsychosis.

The abundance of reincarnation myths around the world finds appeal in the idea that a fundamental part of themselves will live on after death, even though their bodies may decay.

The immortality of the soul doctrine (especially prevalent in the West) is basic to the belief in reincarnation. But, that doctrine is false! The classic inquiry “Who am I?” is being replaced by the puzzling question “Who was I?”. The Bible plainly shows that one’s soul is NOT immortal. Notice Genesis 3:19:

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust [not another body] shalt thou return.”

Also notice Ecclesiastes 3:19-20:

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast …. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”

Psalm 146:4 states that when a man dies “his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts
perish.”

We can further this concept for those who say the body is irrelevant to the concept of reincarnation by quoting Heb. 9:27, which states that  a man “is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. In other words, he is NOT reborn to die over and over again.

So if this belief is not biblical, how did it start?

What is reincarnation?

“Reincarnation, literally “to be made flesh again”, is a doctrine or metaphysical belief that some essential part of a living being (in some variations only human beings) survives death to be reborn in a new body. This essential part is often referred to as the spirit or soul, the “higher” or “true” self, “divine spark”, or “I”. According to such beliefs, a new personality is developed during each life in the physical world, but some part of the self remains constant throughout the successive lives.” [wikipedia]

Answers.com terms reincarnation as rebirth of the soul in another body. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia terms it as the doctrine of the rebirth of the soul in one or more existences. Oxford University Press expresses it as existence of a soul that is periodically reincarnated in a body. And Columbia Encyclopedia references it as occupation by the soul of a new body after the death of the earlier body.

The teaching of reincarnation (a religion of the east) is making heavy inroads into Western society today. However, it is important to understand that it is in no way a scientific or religious truth.

Reincarnation in Hindu art

Reincarnation in Hindu art

The concept of this belief can be stated as follows: after death, the human soul leaves the body and passes into either 1) a plant body, an animal body, another human body, or even an extra-terrestrial body.

Belief in reincarnation has ancient roots. This doctrine is a central tenet within the majority of Indian religious traditions, such as Hinduism (including Yoga, Vaishnavism, and Shaivism).

It also appears in Jainism and Sikhism, two faiths that grew out of Hinduism and are still practiced in India. Jainism shares with Hinduism a belief in many gods. Sikhism, a monotheistic religion, combines some elements of Islam with Hinduism.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all began in India, where the idea of rebirth first appears in texts dating from about 700 B.C. They share a belief in samsara—the wheel of birth and rebirth—and karma—the idea that an individual’s future incarnation depends on the way he or she lived. People who have done good deeds and led moral lives are reborn into higher social classes; those who have not are doomed to return as members of the lower classes or as animals. Only by achieving the highest state of spiritual development can a person escape samsara altogether. (Mythencyclopedia)

The idea was further entertained by some ancient Greek philosophers, the Egyptians and Greeks,  among the Celts and Druids, and in various “mystery religions” of the Near East. It spread somewhat among the Hebrews, before the time of Christ, and has survived among various Hasidic groups in the world today.

Many modern Neopagans also believe in it, as do some New Age movements, along with followers of Spiritism, practitioners of certain African traditions, and students of esoteric philosophies such as Kabbalah, and Gnostic and Esoteric Christianity. The Buddhist concept of Rebirth although often referred to as reincarnation differs significantly from the Hindu-based traditions and New Age movements in that there is no unchanging “soul” (or eternal self) to reincarnate.

People apart from ancient Israel had no concept of a personal God,  so  reincarnation took hold as a way of explaining many of the mysteries of this life. The perpetual state of karma (as a primitive form of retribution) supposedly helps to  “expiate’ the sins of previous incarnations.

Does the Bible mention reincarnation?

While the Bible does not mention the term reincarnation, it does condemn it in context in speaking of John the Baptist. In the Gospel of John, Christ is asked about a blind man: Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind? In other words, he must have done something wrong in a previous life, or he wouldn’t have been born with blindness. To which the Savior replied: Neither he nor his parents sinned…but that the works of God might be manifest in him (John 9:2-3r).Jesus Christ here clearly refuted the idea that the existence of evil can be explained by reincarnation. Why? Because reincarnation undercuts the gospel message in three ways.

  1. First, it assumes that God is impersonal and is therefore unknowable.
  2. Second, reincarnation denigrates the Atonement of Christ.
  3. Third, it denies the fact that Jesus physically resurrected from the dead.

You see, the law of karma is entirely incompatible with the teachings of the Bible. There is no mechanistic “wheel of re-birth” (as taught by Hindus, Buddhists, and their Western equivalents). Those who are now in the grave will NOT go to heaven, as “no one has gone up into Heaven, except He having come down out of Heaven, the Son of Man…., and neither will their consciousness leave the grave:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28-29)

Esoteric foolishness

Still, many tell of crackpot esoteric experiences which seems real to them, but they conveniently throw out the Scriptures to go with their own impressions and subjective opinions. Such people are attracted by superficial and grandiose nonsense about hallucinatory “memories” of previous lifetimes-often gained through “regressive hypnosis.” That might make for some exciting storytelling, and if good enough, maybe even land them an appearance on Oprah and guaranteed a few book sales. But it doesn’t make for good reality.

...according to the idea of reincarnation, if one is “saved” at all it is only after many lifetimes of working out the consequences of one’s sins. This is the cold and dreary legalism of the pagan religions which was totally abolished by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. (Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose): The Soul After Death)

The term “Christian” has been rendered nearly meaningless now with people of every bizarre belief and teaching claiming that their views can comport with Christianity. Ignoring the word of God and therefore avoiding being moved by the Spirit of God, such people circumvent the entire process of Christian growth. There is no spiritual maturity, because there is no growing where there is no knowing (II Pet. 3:18).

Christ told us that the way was narrow that leads to eternal life. Anyone who denies the clear teachings of Scripture about the afterlife denies Christ by his rejection of the Word of God.

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The real nature of man is something few understand. The teaching of the immortality of the  soul is simply un-biblical and cannot be substantiated by scripture. Those who try do so with limited understanding or false pretenses.

June 8, 2009

Do Nicolaitians Have A Connection To Santa Claus?

“Nicolaitan” means “a follower of Nicolas.” It comes from two Greek words — “nikos” and “laos”. “Nikos” means “conqueror” or “destroyer,” and “laos” means “people.” The original Nicolas was a conqueror or destroyer of the people! That was Nimrod — the original archrebel, who conquered the people and founded a man-made civilization within two centuries after the Flood!

While he was alive, Nimrod put himself in the place of God. When he died, his admirers continued to WORSHIP him as a divine hero. They called him “Baal,” a name found throughout the Old Testament, meaning “master” or “lord.”

Nimrod also had other names. One, commonly used throughout Asia Minor, was “Santa.” (See “Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary”). “Santa Claus” is but a shortened form of “Santa Nicholas” or “Saint Nicholas.”

Many unknowingly honor this Nicholas even in our day by by observing customs associated with December 25th. Christmas originally was the “Saturnalia” or birthday of Nimrod. Of course, these customs handed down from ancient paganism have been renamed and made to appear innocent and good!

Nicolaitans in modern times

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says:

  • nik-o-la’-i-tanz Nikolaitai: – The Sect: A sect or party of evil influence in early Christianity, especially in the 7 churches of Asia. Their doctrine was similar to that of Balaam, “who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication” (Re 2:14,15). Their practices were strongly condemned by John, who praised the church in Ephesus for “hating their works” (Re 2:6), and blamed the church in Pergamum for accepting in some measure their teaching (Re 2:15). Except that reference is probably made to their influence in the church at Thyatira also, where their leader was “the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess” (Re 2:20; compare 2:14), no further direct information regarding them is given in Scripture. The Nicolaitians were one of the heretical sects that plagued the churches at Ephesus and at Pergamum, and perhaps elsewhere.

Irenaeus identifies the Nicolaitans as a Gnostic sect:

“John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith (the deity of Christ), and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men, and a long time previously by those termed Nicolaitans, who are an offset of that “knowledge” falsely so called, that he might confound them, and persuade them that there is but one God, who made all things by His Word” (see Irenaeus Against Heresies iii 11.  1; ANF vol. 1, p. 426) There is also historical evidence of a Gnostic sect called Nitolaitans a century or so later.

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism: a belief that is based upon a recognition of the mercy of God as the ground of salvation. However, it goes astray in the mistake that man can freely partake in sin because the Law of God is no longer binding. It held the truth on the gratuitous reckoning of righteousness; but supposed that a mere intellectual “belief” in this truth had a saving power.

James 2:19 refutes this error:

“The devils also believe, and tremble”; reminding us that belief of and by itself is not enough for salvation, especially when held to the light of James 2:20, which says: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”

No one will argue that salvation is a free gift, based upon God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). but from there we have to go on and do something, as the very next verse admonishes us.  “We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).  The faith of God produces action; leading to a desire for holiness and obedience. (1 John 3:18, Titus 2:11-15, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Revelation 14:12)

There are certain religions  today which still teach the heretical doctrine of holding to the freedom of the flesh and sin, and teaching that the deeds of the flesh have no effect upon salvation. But is this biblical?

The Bible teaches that Christians are supposed to “die” to sin and the deeds of our “flesh”: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2)  “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:11-13)

Today, the doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made God’s law of no effect: that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned in the book of Revelation.  “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)

May 18, 2009

Does Eternal Punishing Differ From Eternal Punishment?

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Many people today preach about an eternal hell fire and eternal punishment. First, here’s the terse and brief summation of this popular belief, which I quote from the Encyclopedia Americana:

“… As generally understood, hell is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions…whither lost and condemned souls go after death to suffer indescribable torments and eternal punishment… Some have thought of it as the place created by the Deity, where He punishes with inconceivable severity, and through all eternity, the souls of those who through unbelief or through the worship of false gods have angered Him. It is the place of divine revenge, untempered, never ending.”

Now where, and how, did this popular belief about hell originate? The Encyclopedia Americana states further:

“The main features of hell as conceived by Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, Grecian and Christian theologians are essentially the same.” The Western religious leaders from Roman times through the Middle Ages borrowed the doctrine of eternal torture from the pagan philosophers. Certain writers of the Middle Ages had such tremendous influence on the Christian-professing world, that their writings and teachings came to be generally accepted and believed, until it became the doctrine of the Christian-professing world. Among these influential writers were Augustine and Dante Alighieri.”

An interesting book titled Dante, and His Inferno summs up the history of the Christian-professing doctrine of hell. This factual history is rather amazing! Dante lived A.D. 1265 to 1321. Dante, remember, wrote a tremendously popular book, titled Divine Comedy, in three parts – “Hell,” “Purgatory” and “Paradise.”

This from the aforementioned book of history:

“Of all poets of modern times, Dante Alighieri was, perhaps, the greatest educator. He possibly had a greater influence on the course of civilization than any other man since his day… He wrote, in incomprehensible verse, an imaginative and lurid account of a dismal hell – a long poem containing certain phrases which have caught the attention of the world, such as, ‘all hope abandon… ye, who enter here!’ This had a tremendous impression and influence on the popular Christian thought and teaching. His Inferno was based on Virgil and Plato.”

Dante is reported to have been so fascinated and enraptured by the ideas and philosophies of Plato and Virgil, pagan philosophers, that he believed they were divinely inspired.

Here is an article on Virgil, from the Americana: “VIRGIL, pagan Roman poet, 70-19 B.C. Belonged to the national school of pagan Roman thought, influenced by the Greek writers. Christians of the Middle Ages, including Dante, believed he had received some measure of divine inspiration.”

Plato was a pagan Greek philosopher, born in Athens, 427 B.C., a student of Socrates. He wrote the famous book Phaedo, on the immortality of the soul, and this book is the real origin of the modern belief in the immortality of the soul. In it, he acknowledges . .. three kinds of gods: superior, inferior, and intermediate.”

There is the general statement of the popular belief about hell, and where that belief came from – actually from the imaginations of pagans who DID NOT not God!

What about the billions of non-Christians?

Before we examine the common idea about hell to see whether it is true, consider one or two facts. On this earth are some 6,790,062,216 people (US Census Bureau). The most populous lands are China, India and other parts of Asia. In spite of missionaries from the West, actually more than half of air the people on this earth have never so much as heard the only name by which men may be saved – the name of Jesus Christ! Now is there some other way by which men may be saved? The Bible says there is not!

That means that thousands of millions of people on this earth have lived, and died, without ever having known anything about Christian salvation – without saving knowledge – never having heard the ONLY name by which men may be saved! Now think what that means! IF all unsaved go immediately to hell at death – the hell commonly believed in – then more than HALF of the people who have lived on this earth have been consigned there – and they are there, now, without ever having been given so much as a CHANCE to escape it!

Ask yourselves candidly, do you believe THAT is the plan by which an all-wise, all-merciful, loving GOD is working out his purpose here below?

Now what is the TRUTH?

We face this alternative: Either the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God, by which the Creator reveals the truth on the subject, or else we must fling up our hands and confess we just don’t know – we are ignorant on the question – because no one has ever come back from such an ever-burning hell to tell us about it, and science knows nothing about it. We must believe what the Bible says, or we can believe nothing, if we are rational and honest!

Source: The Plain Truth, a955, Herbert W Armstrong

So why does Math. 25:41 quote an everlasting fire?

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…”

The word translated “everlasting” in verse 41 is “aionion” in the Greek. This word comes from the root “aion,” which can mean “eternal” but often means “age.” In verse 41, the correct translation into English should be “age-lasting” fire.

During the Millennium — the “age” of Christ’s rule with the saints on the earth — the valley of Hinnom will be kept perpetually burning. The incorrigibly wicked, those who set their wills in persistent rebellion against God’s laws, will be thrown into that fire as a stern witness to the rest of the world (Isa. 66:24).

Gehenna was a place of destruction and death – not a place of living torture. Jesus was talking to Jews who understood all about this Gehenna or Valley of Hinnom. Utter destruction by fire was complete. Nothing was left, but ashes!  Every text in the Bible translated from this Greek word gehenna means complete destruction – not living torture – not eternal life in torment! The Bible says, in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is DEATH” – not eternal life in torture. The punishment revealed in the Bible is death – the cessation of life. Eternal life is the gift of God!

Then why have we been believing that punishment is eternal life in fire? And why have we been believing we already have eternal life and don’t need to come to God through Christ to receive it as His gift?

When Jesus spoke of being cast into “gehenna fire,” he was using this expression as an illustration of the “lake of fire.” This everlasting punishment spoken of in Matthew 25:46 is what the Bible elsewhere calls the “second death” (Rev. 20:14; 21:3). Death for all eternity is eternal punishMENT. The Bible nowhere teaches eternal punishING. The wicked will be burned up and will become ashes under the feet of the righteous (Mal. 4:3).

That fire will be much hotter than Dante’s imaginary hell!

April 23, 2009

Should True Christians Join Lodges Or Fraternal Orders?

Most lodges and fraternal based on the idea of the brotherhood of man and mutual cooperation among their members around the world. The idea is to make the world a better place in which to live. 

That is certainly a noble idea, but this question remains: Is there any hope of them attaining their goal? The hard truth is, the state of this world cannot be changed by the efforts of any lodge, club, or organization of human origin. Only God can change it. 

The idea of improving the world by human means is a misplaced one. Only Christ Himself, when He returns, will change the world and make it a happy place in which to live (Isa. 11:1-9). 

In addition, such lodges and fraternities embrace people of many religions, whether or not they are obeying God and His Word. Yet, God’s people are commanded not to be yoked together with unbelievers in such “brotherhoods” (II Cor. 6:14). 

Further, most of these groups will admit that many of their practices, ceremonies, and symbols originated in paganism. For further background information, I suggest consulting the article “Friendly Societies” in the eleventh edition of the “Encyclopaedia Britannica.” God’s Word, on the other hand, warns against adopting pagan ways of worship; please notice Deuteronomy 12:29-32, for example.

Bible Answer: Square Beards And Shaved Bald Spots!

What is the meaning of Leviticus 19:27 and 21:5. Do these passages imply that it is wrong to shave or cut one’s hair? 

Notice a more modern rendering of these verses in the “American Translation” by Goodspeed: “You must not shave around your temple, nor do away with the corners of your beard” (Lev. 19:27); and, “They must not shave part of their heads bald, nor shave off the corners of their beards, nor make incisions in their bodies” (Lev. 21:5).  

It was a ceremonial custom of the heathen to cut and trim their beards and hair into special shapes in honor of a particular pagan deity — the sun god. The ancient Egyptians had their dark locks cropped short or shaved with great nicety, so the hair which remained on the crown appeared in the form of a circle surrounding the head (the halo has been borrowed from this), while the beard was dressed in a square form. Alternatively, a round bald spot might be shaved on the head. 

It is this type of false worship the Bible forbids. Shaving ones beard and cutting ones hair for normal good grooming is something entirely different and not at all condemned in the Scriptures!

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