The ark of the covenant was a spectacular and amazing piece of work created by the ancient Israelites as a physical representation of YHVH’s throne here on earth. It was a sacred piece that YHVH commanded to be transported only by the priests of Levi on their shoulders. Later in Israel’s history King David wanted to move the ark back to Jerusalem. Let’s examine the story at this point in the text…
They placed the ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart. So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the ark. Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals. But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it. And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.(2 Samuel 6:3-7 NAS unless specified)
Both David and Uzzah had good intentions. Uzzah wanted to keep the ark from harm. But really the offense came from transporting the ark their own way, not as YHVH commanded.
Many know that Christmas and Easter have pagan origins but feel it is okay to celebrate them because we do them unto God. Weren’t pagan and Christian practices combined to convert the pagans? What does YHVH say about this?
Upon researching these holidays and their symbols I found differences from various sources due to their ancient origin and spread through out cultures. One thing for certain though is that their origins are pagan. An entire book could be written on the various gods and traditions of the elements of each holiday. The serious Bible student knows December 25 is not even the correct day of the birth of the Messiah! This is an example of doing things our own way. Should we not be celebrating what the Bible does instruct us to observe, our Messiah’s death (The Passover), and what it represents? Some would say we don’t have to keep the Bible’s Festivals. But how dare we not keep Christmas or Easter! That’s just not Christian!
December 25th was observed far and wide among the ancient world. This day was "The birth-day of the unconquered Sun."
The largest pagan religious cult which fostered sun worship in the Greek and Roman worlds on December 25 was the cult of Mithraism. They called it "the Nativity of the Sun." Mithras, the sun-god, was supposed to have been born at this time, but so were Osiris, Horus, Tammuz, Hercules, Bacchus, Adonis, Jupiter -- all the pagan Messiahs! This fact alone would seem to indicate that all these pagan sun-gods and deities trace their roots back to the original sun-god of ancient Babylon -- Nimrod!
This popular winter festival became such an established custom that in pagan Rome and Greece, Egypt, and throughout Europe, the period of the winter solstice was a time of great revelry and festivity. In Rome it became known as the "Saturnalia," in honor of the god Saturn, "the hidden one."
The origins of pre-Messianic Easter festivals in pagan cultures are well-known in history. In the ancient world, some of the greatest female deities were the various incarnations of the great fertility goddesses known as Ishtar (Babylonian), Astarte (Phoenician), Atargatis (Philistine), Ashtoreth (Hebrew), Eastre(Anglo-Saxon), Ostara (German) and Aphrodite (Greek).
These goddesses are regarded as essentially the same deity due to the similarities of their names, mythologies, worship and festivals. These factors are what define a deity as its worship moves between cultures. The primary fertility festivals for these deities--and their associated male gods--were in the spring, a time of renewal and birth.
But you say "That is not what these holidays mean to me. We do these things unto the Lord. What’s the harm in that?."
And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.(Luke 16:15)
‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’(Mark 7:7)
I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.(Amos 5:21)
beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ "You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. "Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.(Deuteronomy 12:30-32)
‘Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.(Leviticus 20:23)
These verses clearly show that YHVH is very passionate about the way He is worshiped. He is a jealous God. He commands us to get rid of the monuments and paraphernalia of paganism.
Let us read where Jeremiah the prophet spoke out against doing things our own way. Does any of this sound familiar?
"For what purpose does frankincense come to Me from Sheba And the sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable And your sacrifices are not pleasing to Me."(Jeremiah 6:20)
Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. "They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter. "Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good."(Jeremiah 10:2-5)
We may have good intentions, but if we go against YHVH’s words, we will be like Job.
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.(Job 9:20 KJV)
What are we to do then?
I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her(Babylon), my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; (Revelation 18:4)
‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. ‘Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:16-21)
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.(Acts 10:35 KJV)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.(Romans 12:2)
So we are to serve YHVH by doing as His word instructs us, not the traditions of men or what seems right in our own eyes. (Proverbs 14:12,16:25) It is hypocritical to think that we can honor God with pagan symbols and practices.
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