When something's been on my mind for more than a week, and it won't let go, then I know I need to blog it. Bear with me here, ok?
The subject: Mixing the Holy with the profane. We're told in Scripture NOT to do it....and yet, every year, I see Believers (as well as chrischuns!) doing this exact thing. I've mentioned it before - and each time, I get defensively told that they are NOT mixing, they aren't following pagan practices - the excuses go on and on. I've even been quoted Paul - Col. 2:16-17 "So don't let anyone pass judgment on you in connection with eating and drinking, or in regard to a Jewish Festival or Rosh-Hodesh or Shabbat" (CJB...wait, this makes my point before I start - *JEWISH*. Let me see...) KJV: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day or of the new moon, or of the sabbath." Most folk see "holy day" and read it as "holiday"....Um, yeah....about that...
I have to give a quick History lesson here, because what Paul said there has been taken WAY out of context. After the destruction of the Temple, during the Babylonian Exile, the Levitical Priests kinda disappeared, and were replaced by Rabbis. To keep the Jewish people together, the Rabbis started instituting Traditions, which got later codified and written down in what is now known as the Talmud. (And most Jews claim that Talmud is "Oral Torah" and was given to Moses on the Mountain. No...not really. How do *I* know this? Because Talmud says that it's OK to deal with witches, as long as they're "good" ones, and it's perfectly normal to use spells and magical amulets to protect yourself, as long as they include verses from Torah. No, I'm not making it up, and NO, I don't study Talmud. But I read.....:sigh:)
Anyway. Rabbinical Tradition has become - and had become, by Paul's time! - at least equal in importance to Torah. But. There were a bunch of Jews that rejected the Rabbi's teachings - they were Torah-only, and thought that any Tradition should be avoided completely. (This is a quick nutshell.....there's lots of info out there, if you wanna look.)
So. In this passage, who is Paul talking to, and who is he talking about? Well, he's talking to Messianic Jews (to use a handy "box" - Jews that believed Jesus (Yeshua) WAS the promised Messiah), and about Believers that came from the Gentile world that weren't sure WHAT they were supposed to do - after all, didn't Yeshua set us Free from all the Law? (Nope...but I'm not talking about that here.) This verse is a lot like the one in Acts about kosher food - it doesn't mean what chrischuns want it to mean. (Hint: We are still supposed to eat Torah-kosher. No pork, no shellfish....it's not that hard, folks, to keep a Torah-ordained diet! (Except you do have to read labels. They sneak lard into all sorts of things!)) Anyway - in this passage Paul is talking specifically about JEWISH Festivals and Holy Days/holidays, NOT those of the Goyim.
What does that have to do with anything now? Simple. I see a LOT of Believers who think it's perfectly OK to take part in Halloween celebrations (and some of them justify it by saying "Oh, it's NOT Halloween! It's a Harvest Festival! See, it's OK for us to do the same things, because we AREN'T celebrating the pagan thing!"), and to have christmas trees etc during the Holiday Season ("it's not a christmas tree! It's a chrismon tree - see, we have doves to remind us of the Holy Spirit, and red ornaments to represent Christ's blood....it's all OK, because it's totally NOT pagan!") :sigh:
Look. Torah says NOT to mix the Holy and profane. Call it any name you want, justify it any way you want...but you ARE mixing. And....ask yourself "What would Jesus do?" (Yeah, I went there. :snicker: To make a point.)
Would Yeshua celebrate Hallowe'en?
Would Yeshua celebrate christmas?
The answer to both: No.
Halloween = All Hallow's Eve = a heavily christianized version of Samhain, a Celtic festival of the dead. The costumes? Were to represent the spirits - or to disguise one's form so that the spirits wouldn't recognize you and do you ill. Treak or treating? Started out as a way for households to donate food to get good luck.
Christmas = Christ's Mass = a heavily christianized version of many pagan winter solstice festivals. A lot of similarity with Mithras's birthday (the Roman god of the unconquerable sun). Pope Julius I chose Dec. 25 - which just so happened to be the same day of the Mithras celebration! - in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the festival of Saturnalia (in honor of Saturn, the agricultural god). The whole thing is full of pagan symbols and meanings and traditions. The tree? Evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands symbolized eternal life in the customs of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese and yes - even the Hebrews (and what does God say about asherah poles/trees?). Tree worship was common among early pagans and it survived their conversion to Christianity. I could go on, but I won't - I feel like I've made my point.
One more thing to think about: most of us that have left the church because of the lies taught as Truth didn't go quietly. Most of us were pretty vocal about it, in fact :blush:.....and let me tell you, the folks you left behind in the church are watching. Some of them may have thought about what you said, and may even have been tempted to start searching out the Truth for themselves...and then they saw you and your family all costumed out at a "harvest festival". Or they drove by your house and saw a tree set up in your window. What do you think that did? I'll tell you - it made them think you were more of a hypocrite then you said they were.
Yes, it's hard to give up fun traditions - I LOVE dressing up and have a closet full of SCA-garb that is SO MUCH FUN to wear! and I have 3 tubs full of ornaments that are all lovely and pretty and full of sentimental meaning....and yet, somehow, I've survived. I got rid of the tree right after I discovered Truth - yeah, it was hard, but I knew it had to be done! - and, look, I'm still here, no worse for wear.
And I *know* that I am not driving people away from Truth by my actions. I know that I can't force anybody to believe...but I CAN drive them away. It's my job to NOT do that - I don't want their refusal to consider Truth to be laid at my door, kwim?
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