EVALUATING THE BIRTHDAY MEMORIAL
An Avenue Toward The Discernment Of Truth
At one time or another, it’s likely that the person who wants to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God would eventually become acquainted with the question relating to keeping birthdays. It would be especially a natural consequence from a study of the Christian history in the United States. Many people know that most of those that first came to this country desired religious freedom. They hungered for a precious freedom to live by the precepts of the Bible. It was their understanding that such things as celebrating Christmas and birthdays were actually ungodly. They also went as far as to put bans on them. So we have the question of why are today’s values so different than theirs.
The purpose of the various subjects that are covered in this paper is
to lay a foundation that can help us understand these things:
This paper will use the problems with the birthday memorial as a means to grow in appreciation for the life-giving directions given in the word of God. I believe the understanding that we are in an absolute need of God’s instruction will be strongly reinforced. It will also be made clear that we can not grow in a more complete level of understanding without the help of the various forms of reference material that are available to us. There are valuable resources that are available, but it is a necessity that we exercise the Spirit of God that dwells in us to truly benefit from those resources. Is there any doubt that nothing could please God more than seeing the fruit of the discernment of truth becoming more and more abundant in the lives of his children?
Whether we like it or not God has directed us away from specific activities that we are “naturally” drawn to. Much of the world doesn’t see the harm in lying a little or even a lot for a “good” cause, or stealing “a little”. They simply can’t see the problem with it. But, there are actions whose consequences are less obvious than those of lying and stealing for which we have received instruction by God. Instruction can come in other forms than “thou shalt ······ ”. And if we desire to understand, appreciate and follow the interests of God, we would be sensitive to them. All of our actions, as a God-centered person, may be judged by the degree that our life is refined by the Word of God ····· by our sensitivity to following God. For example, we know that smoking abuses our body and we know that the Bible instructs us to take care of our body. So we don’t smoke even though there is no scripture that says “thou shalt not smoke”. Yet, we shall see that there is abundant information relating to God’s position concerning the birthday memorial.
This is an appropriate time to say something about our “human nature”. It is true that our human nature doggedly resists those ways that are not comfortable to our personal interests. There is no getting around the fact that it is the principal force in any person’s life prior to God’s calling. If mankind could know that our true nature makes it absolutely necessary to seek out God’s guidance --- if we could have that understanding --- we would be well on our way to solving most of life’s problems. But that’s not the way it is. This is the way it is: “MY thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord”;
First, we should consider a few of the pronouncements in God’s word relating to the nature of mankind.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and it is incurable, who can know it.” (Jay Green translation)
“the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be.”
“The way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.”
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth.”
“There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
What God has to say to us in 1 Peter 4:18, reveals the delicate nature of even the Spirit begotten person’s righteous ways.
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
WHY WE HAVE HUMAN NATURE
How more complete could God be in his evaluation of the natural man? Yet, this condition exists for a very good reason. What is so hard to accept is that it was God himself that made the reality of our human nature inevitable.
There are several verses in the 8th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans that reveal this reason and they need a close evaluation. They expose, in the most fundamental terms, why we are as we are and why we believe the things that we believe, that do not reflect the ways of God. Most Biblical scholars provide either significant mistranslations or pass by the heart of the verses altogether. They cannot face the hard fact that Paul so plainly states. Mankind in general cannot accept the significance of his statement concerning our nature. A lengthy paper would have to be written on the subject of Romans 8:20-23 to do it justice. I hope this abbreviated effort will shed some light on the truth of Paul’s words. These verses in Romans 8 lay bare the fact of why we are so apt to take on ways that are not taught or sanctioned by God. They provide us with the reason for our common condition.
KJV Romans 8: 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
We can say that the following facts are clearly discerned from these two verses.
The creature or creation may become a child of God
Adam, being God’s original human creation, was made subject to vanity [Strong’s G 3153: inutility (useless), from 3152: empty, profitless]. Adam’s nature was passed on to us as Romans 5:12 and other places shows us. (Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned)
Adam, or any of us, wouldn’t necessarily want it that way but we had nothing to say about it.
Being “subject to vanity” is equated to “bondage of corruption”.
There was a transcendent reason for it.
The fact that the creation was “subjected” to vanity is repeated to affirm its’ truthfulness.
The word “hope” literally means “earnest expectation”. God fully expects to create “children of God” through the process.
We will be delivered. Who else than Jesus Christ can deliver us from “the bondage of corruption” into “the glorious liberty of the children of God”?
I have not messed-with or twisted any of the words of these verses to create anything other than what it plainly says. There are three important words in the above verses that will be examined shortly. But the evidence continues in the following two verses.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Not only is carnal mankind suffering, but also the Spirit begotten sons of God are suffering from the condition of “this present evil world”, as Paul puts it in Galatians 1:4. This world is in a wretched condition. There has been trouble that may be described as “tribulation” since Adam and Eve followed after the vanity of Satan’s lying ways. And, it has come through the human nature, that God made possible, in mankind.
A POPULAR MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD “CORRUPTION”
One of the more popular ways to explain Romans 8:20-21 is to ascribe to the word “corruption” the definition that relates to the corruption or decomposition of the body at death, which is a type of vanity. The idea is, that when it comes time to have a spirit body it will be liberated into a glorious body. This understanding is a fraudulent or at best miss-guided interpretation that reduces the subject of these two verses to a simple description of our human “body” (having the nature to decompose at death) compared to our eternal spiritual “body”.
A major problem with that approach is that it is not the word used elsewhere to mean the decay of a body at death. That word was used six times in the book of Acts and has the Strongs # 1312 which literally means the decomposition of a body.
The Greek word translated “corruption” that was used in Rom 8:21 is Strongs # 5356 (phthora). That word is used eight other times in the New Testament and in every case it relates to an ethical sense (moral decay) or to an actual “destruction”. Both senses of the word are used in 2 Peter 2 :12.
12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
Interestingly enough Peter states in 2 Pet 2:19 the same elemental statement, using the same words as Paul in Romans 8, but in a way that clearly defines the meaning of the word corruption as used by Paul in Romans 8:21.
(2 Pet 2:19 KJV) While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
It should be noted that “phthora” (#5356) is taken from “phthiro” (#5351). That word is used eight times and in every case it is very easy to understand that it refers to either a destruction or a deficient moral condition. The following verse in 2 Corinthians being an example.
2 Cor 7:2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
Another thing to consider is that the word “creature” is translated “creation” in most other translations. Most of the time that this Greek word is used, it is referring to people ····· not God’s entire creation. Nine out of the thirteen times, including the two times in Rom 8:20 & 21, the word is used to directly reference people, not animal or plant life. It is the creature that will become a child of God.
In Romans 8:20 the word “vanity” is Strongs #3153: mataiotes, mat-ah-yot'-ace; from G3152; inutility; figuratively: transientness; morally: depravity: --vanity.
The word vanity, as it is used in the Bible, essentially means worthless, of no purpose and even includes that which is of a depraved nature.
It is very important to recognize that God did not originate the way of vanity within the human creation. Mankind’s creation did not include the actual manner of vanity. ---- It was made subject to it. ······ In other words there had to be an outside influence to draw man into a way that is called “vanity”. But God did make this fruitless path inevitable. As I said earlier, there is so much more to be said about this subject. The reason it had to be brought up is to show how easily we can be led astray. We were made subject to vanity; subject to that which has no value. We understand that the principal outside influence is Satan. We also know that he is an expert in mixing the good with the bad. And he is also an expert at making those things that have a negative effect look good. Eve is a testimony to that. Yet, all of this has been done for the glorious expectation that God has for us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 gives us an idea of what that glorious expectation is.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
THE VANITY OF CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS
Among the many consequences of having the nature that we do have is our acceptance of something as seemingly harmless as memorializing birthdays. And we have given that particular custom significant universal value. In all of our miserable human history there has not been any religion or belief that has demonstrated a capacity to produce a peaceful world. It is of the greatest importance to recognize that in all of the beliefs that have been tried by man, there is a common thread. That common denominator is the belief that there is a wellspring of “good” in man that has to be drawn from to reach the desired goal of peace and prosperity. Every one of this world’s notions, of what is good for mankind, will cater to that idea one way or another. They will honor it one way or another. And there is the perception that the personal birthday memorial works well to promote that “element of good” in us all. But if we knew ourselves as God knows us ········ we wouldn’t be so fast to celebrate ourselves as we do.
This leads to the subject of repentance. I believe that everyone would agree that the principal goal for the “Christian” churches is to lead people “to get saved” by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior. We all have need, but the churches preach that the most important need is ······ to get saved by simply accepting Jesus as your Savior. Is that not true? But is that God’s approach to satisfying our common human need? No, not at all. Repentance comes first. Repentance meaning literally: “changing the way we live”. Acts 2:38 makes it plain. Repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. Repentance comes first. And, first on the list of changes would be the way we follow ancient pagan ways. In other words, ways that are not God’s ways.
I believe that by the end of this discourse it will be shown that this world is wedded to practices that are essentially pagan in nature, practices that cater to the vanity that we have been made subject to. It will be shown that God’s way is not centered on the gratification of the individual. We do not need the birthday memorial, or God would have provided it for us ···· on the contrary, birthday keeping works against God’s values, the values that should be built up in us. Those values are our true need.
We can understand why the keeping of a birthday has such a strong appeal. We should also be able to understand, through God’s disapproval, how different our natural values are than God’s values.
Others have exhaustively written about many of the points being made in this paper. But, it’s now my turn to write about them in the hope that this will help provide a good direction to think on and to live in.
It is always interesting to learn about the origin of things. No matter what the subject is, we have a natural interest of how the things we do or say first came about. In the case of keeping birthdays, it’s not only interesting but vital to the spiritual growth that God has in mind for us all. The following are excerpts from some of those who have given their time and energy to write about things relating to the origins of birthdays.
David Peter Silverman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Egyptology and Associate Curator, Egyptian Section, University Museum, University of Pennsylvania
The Egyptians created a calendar at a very early stage, based on their observations of the movements of the Sun and the stars. They used their calendar for many purposes, including the recording of historical events and royal decrees and the scheduling of festivals and other activities. Perhaps representing one of the first attempts at making a calendar are the remnants of stone circles from around 8000 bc in the southwestern corner of modern Egypt. These stone circles may have been used to map the movement of the heavenly bodies. The Egyptians probably created a calendar because it was so important for their survival to know when the Nile’s flood would come. They divided each day into 24 hours, 12 for the daytime and 12 for the night. A period of ten days made up a week, and one month included three such weeks, or 30 days. A year comprised 12 months and was divided into three seasons of four months each. To the 360 days of the 12 months in a year, the Egyptians added 5 more days, which they referred to as the birthdays of several gods. Thus, an Egyptian year totaled 365 days, remarkably close to the 365¼ days it takes the Earth to go around the Sun. There was no concept of leap year (accounting for the extra ¼ day a year), so the calendar fell behind by one day every four years.
and Its Correlation to Judaism and Christianity
Copyright ©1997 by Soror I.D.D.
Thoth created the Epact (or the five superadded days) which he added to the 360 days of which the year formerly consisted, and these five days were observed by the ancient Egyptians as the birthdays of the gods Osiris, Aroueris, Isis, Typhon (Set) and Nephthys. Osiris was born on the first day and upon his entrance into the world a voice said, "The lord of all the earth is born."(i) Although Divine in origin, Osiris was held to be a man who lived and reigned as a king on earth and applied himself toward the civilization of Egypt. He created both a body of laws to regulate conduct and instructions in the reverence and worship of the gods. He traveled the land and inspired people to utilize this discipline, and this was accomplished not by force but through the strength of reason.
Originally, the Egyptians considered him a man who had lived, suffered cruel mutilation and death, and then triumphed over death to attain everlasting life. He was treacherously murdered by his brother Set and after his death, Isis, by the use of magical formula, succeeded in raising him to life again. Because of this, Osiris became a symbol of resurrection and immortality. The ancient Egyptians believed that what Osiris did, they could also do and what the gods did for Osiris, they could also do for them. As the gods brought about his resurrection, so they might also bring about theirs and because of this, they made him the intercessor, judge, and hope of both the living and the dead.
Linda Rannells Lewis; “Birthdays”
"Birthdays have been celebrated for thousands of years. In early civilizations, where the development of a calendar made an organized reckoning of birth dates possible, the horoscopes of ruling monarchs, their successors and rivals had to be cast with care and birthday omens meticulously examined, for the prospects of the mighty would affect the prospects of the entire society. By the time of Ptolemy V this practice was well established: 'Ptolemy, the ever living, the beloved of Ptah, the son of the two Brother-gods, was born on the fifth day of the month DIOS, and this day was, in consequence, the beginning of great prosperity and happiness of all living men and women"
"Birthday celebrations, even at this early stage, were not strictly reserved for the great rulers. Society adapts for its communal use those practices of the elite which it admires and can afford. In the fifth century before Christ, the Greek historian Herodotus, describing the festivals of the Persians, wrote: IT IS THEIR CUSTOM TO HONOR THEIR BIRTHDAY ABOVE ALL OTHER DAYS: and on this day they furnish their table in a more plentiful manner than at other times. The rich then produce an ox, a horse, a camel, and an ass, roasted whole in an oven; but the poor produce smaller cattle.
Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend
Among people with well developed sense of time, BIRTHDAYS mark the transition from one stage of being to another. Because any change is dangerous, BIRTHDAYS are the times when good and evil spirits and influences have the opportunity to attack the celebrants who at these times are in peril....The presence of friends and the expression of good wishes help to protect the celebrant against the unknown pervasive peril. Ceremonies and games at BIRTHDAYS frequently are a SYMBOLIC wiping out of the past and starting anew. The American child who at his BIRTHDAY blows out all the candles on his cake with one puff is eager to demonstrate his prowess, but the secret wish he makes will be granted only if all the candles can be extinguished at once. Trials of strength and skill on birthdays are demonstrations of progress....
© 1996 - 2004 Celebrate Express, Inc.
Evidence of birthday observances dates back before the rise of Christianity. In pagan cultures, people feared evil spirits - especially on their birthdays. It was a common belief that evil spirits were more dangerous to a person when he or she experienced a change in their daily life, such as turning a year older. As a result, birthdays were merry occasions celebrated with family and friends, who surrounded the person of honor with laughter and joy in order to protect them from evil. Instead of gifts, most guests brought positive thoughts and happy wishes for the upcoming year. However, if well-wishers did bring gifts, it was considered an especially good influence for the birthday person.Eventually, birthday celebrations became a tradition around the world with young and old, rich or poor. Although birthday customs are quite similar in some countries today, not everyone celebrates in the same way. Different people have incorporated their own rituals into the birthday celebration, based on spiritual beliefs and ancient cultural traditions. While you may find some of them odd, or even humorous, each one is unique.
I believe this is enough evidence of the history of the birthday celebration to show where it came from and, in part, how it came into our present day popular culture. Within the “EGYPTIAN RELIGION” excerpt, there is ample evidence that their beliefs were inspired by Satan. The various correlations to Jesus, so long before Jesus came to this earth, attest to that. Satan had an understanding of Christ’s mission at the time of the formation of the Egyptian religion. He used it to pervert man’s thinking in the way of salvation, as he uses every avenue to take us away from the ways of God. Since Jesus came to become our savior, Satan has refined his deceptive way to more closely fit the New Testament historical reality. We have to be all the more diligent in being aware of how the fruit of our thoughts and actions might reflect Satan’s influence. Remember Jesus’ warning in Mathew 24.
Mat 24: 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Then there is this to consider. The seemingly innocuous practice of keeping birthdays laid the groundwork for accepting the spectrum of lies surrounding the Christmas celebration. The thought was promoted that there could be no question that Jesus would be “pleased” with his birthday being memorialized ············ no matter how completely it represents the work of “human” fabrication and invention. That fabrication is naturally in conflict with the Spirit of God, the Word of God and the work of God. The introduction of the birthday celebration into the customs of the nations was a masterstroke on Satan’s behalf to thwart the values of God.
It is now very important to show that the birthday memorial celebration, by the time of Christ, was worldwide in scope. The Han Dynasty was the first time that greater China was controlled by a central government. The following shows the importance that the Chinese put on the birthday of their gods at that time
Taoist Culture Information Center
According to the Dates of Divine Birthdays in the Collections of Jade Box Records of Divine Birthdays of Deities1, there are many divine birthdays every month, and such "lofty festivals" total over fifty in a year. Except for the birthdays of Maitreya2, the Buddha, Avolokiteshvara3 and Dizang Bodhisatva4, which were absorbed from Buddhism, all the others are birthdays of Daoist deities. The following are the divine birthdays of deities listed in the book:
Besides, there are many ancestors of different sects, such as patriarch Lu Dongbing, patriarch Qiu Chuji, patriarch Perfect Sovereign Xu of Pure Brightness Sect, etc., whose birthdays are also celebrated.
Daoists think that merits double if offerings and scripture recitations are conducted on divine birthdays. Folk people often center around some temples and hold some activities as offering fairs and deity processions.
Among the divine birthdays, that of the Three Officials has the greatest influence. The Three Origin days refer to the Upper Origin on the 15th of the 1st month, the Middle Origin on the 15th of the 7th month, and the Lower Origin on the 15th of the 10th month. These dates, originally the days when the Three Officials examined the merits and sins of people, became their birthdays in legend and thus important festivals.
The Hong Kong Unofficial Travel Guide
Latern Festival existed for more than 2000 years. It also names "lantern's night". It was said that during Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), Taoism believed "three Yuan gods", including "Upper Yuan, the sky official", "Center Yuan, the earth official", and "Lower Yuan, the water official". Their birthdays were in the 15th day of first moon, seventh moon and tenth moon respectively.
It was told that the 15th day of first moon had already decided as the Lantern Festival from the reign of King Wen of Han Dynasty (206BC - 220AD). Later King Wu of Han Dynasty established Taichu Calendar. It further recognized the importance of the Lantern Festival. The duration of the Lantern Festival lengthened unceasingly along with the past dynasties. It was said that it lasted for only 3 days during Tang Dynasty (618-907). And it lengthened to 5 days during Song Dynasty (960-1279). It even lengthened to 10 days during Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), started from the 8th day and ended to the 17th day.
ISRAEL “GOD’S CHOSEN NATION” STANDS ALONE
The importance of this information lies in the fact that of all the nations of the world at the time of Christ, the evidence shows, it was only the nation of Israel that shunned the worldwide custom of memorializing a birthday. The Jews in Christ’s day knew that God’s law forbade the celebration of birthdays. Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century, states: “Nay, indeed, the law does not permit us to make festivals at the births of our children…” (Against Apion, book II, sec. 26)
The Jews (descendants of Israel) at the time of Jesus were close enough to the nature of the pagan ways that they could see the relationship between paganism and the birthday memorial. Today we have been removed from that true understanding (reality) through the deceptive designs that Satan has given the liberty to develop, in the last 2000 years. Romans chapter 11, clearly shows that only the elect will not be deceived.
Romans 11: 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
This statement holds true right up until today. It is only the elect or called of God who will understand and acknowledge truth.
Romans 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
The significance of this understanding was valued by the Christians of that day. Dr. John McCollister in the book “The Christian Book of Why” writes: “Christians of the first century did not celebrate the festival honoring the birth of Jesus for the same reason they honored no other birthday anniversary. It was the feeling at that time by all Christians that the celebration of all birthdays (even the Lord’s) was a custom of the pagans.”
Paul, himself, emphasized the value of the Jews in that they knew and obeyed the explicit aspects of the instructions of God.
Romans 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles (utterances) of God.
This advantage manifested itself in that it was only Israel (a nation created and cultivated by God) that rejected a principal tool of Satan to elevate the self-importance of mankind. And being a people of God, they knew the instruction of one of God’s prophets.
Jeremiah 10:1-3 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, LEARN NOT THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN, and be not dismayed at the signs of the heaven (astrology); for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the CUSTOMS OF THE PEOPLE ARE VAIN …
The nation of Israel was originally given the responsibility to be the example of the way to national and individual fulfillment through the understanding that God gave them.
Gen 18: 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Gen 22: 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Deut 4: 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
The Jews, of Jesus’ day, knowing that they were the sons of Abraham, really thought that they were fulfilling that responsibility. In part they were, as Romans 3:1 shows. But, in rejecting Jesus they revealed their lack of understanding of their true obligation. That fulfillment has fallen to the first fruit of God. They are the actual examples of right doing in this New Testament age. Doing what Israel of old, without God’s Spirit dwelling in them, could not do.
Now, there is a very distinct difference between the ways of paganism and the ways of righteousness (the nations vs. Israel). In paganism the religious practices or special occations cater to a physical gratification and promote self-interest or self-importance. This is in stark contrast to the way that we have been instructed to observe all of God special occasions. Those instructions ENTIRELY focus on God’s plan for humanity and on the precepts of God. A perfect example would be the instruction in regards to “The Days of Unleavened Bread” (which included the 1st and 2nd Annual Sabbaths). Given to us in the first book of Corinthians.
1 Cor 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
If we look at every one of the world’s holidays, they are designed to build up a sense of well being through the physical gratifications. Those gratifications are consistently woven into the world’s festivals. We look at them as being the natural way to give life special value. But, when we look at God’s instruction we will not find this type of preoccupation. The following is taken from a paper I did in regards to the statement made in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Getting right to the point, we shall see that we have to possess a way of life that is “spiritually” motivated. In other words, moved to action by the values and precepts that are held in our mind. In this present age it is principally the written word of God that provides our spiritual resource. That is coupled with the invisible help and guidance that is directly provided by God. It will become evident that those mental or spiritual values are NOT introduced, built up and established through the gratification of our senses. This would be a primary reason that God is kept invisible to us. We do not understand and appreciate God ··· his thoughts ··· and his ways through means that are physical in nature (an atheist can appreciate a stunning sunset). But, it is through that “spiritual” understanding that we may grow in the capacity to truly worship God. That understanding, as we shall see, also provides the alternative to living by ones own capacity, by ones five senses. Rather than the senses (or as the KJV puts it, “the flesh”) dictating the values that we live by, we live by God’s spiritual values ------ knowing that our needs (as they affect our senses), sooner or later, will be abundantly cared for, whether in this body or in our spiritual body.
And we know that our God has created us for a full and abundant life.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
We can be assured that this abundance does not come through the ways of Satan’s leadership. Paul speaks specifically about this in 2 Corinthians.
NIV 2Cor 1: 12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.
We have need and that need is made manifest through our five senses and satisfied through those senses. But Jesus teaches us that we should all be continuously aware of each other’s need and continuously giving ourselves to that satisfaction of need. Not through an artificial satiation of the senses. God has given us a COMPLETE way of life so then anything that is not of God is artificial and is a counterfeit. And a principal element in that way of life is given by Paul in Romans 12.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
What Paul asks of us is essentially a miracle for those who have the Spirit of God working in them. This is not too much to ask of us in the light that Paul calls it our reasonable service. I hope that we can see that the interests that are promoted through birthday celebrations do not work for the development of a spirit that continually desires to serve. It would be well to remember 2 Corinthians 10:5,17,18.
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
CALLED TO PERFECTION (BEING COMPLETE)
This all represents a level of perfection or completeness that we are not accustomed to in our thinking and probably not very comfortable with. Nevertheless, it is the goal that is set before us. And, by rejecting pagan memorials we have a springboard or avenue to a more spiritual sensitivity. By rejecting the ways of the world we become much more apt to be inspired by the ways of God. After leaving the ways that appeal to and promote our natural self-interest we are so much more free to consider the good in those ways that God directs us. As Jesus said “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Free from the bondage of corruption spoken of by Paul and Peter. This literally means that we would be free from being “subject to vanity”. Free from vanity ruling our life.
How much joy can we expect to find outside the encampment of God or influence of God? There is no doubt that the intention of those involved with a pagan inspired celebration is to bring joy and gladness. But when we compare the long-term fruit wrapped in those trappings of joy, we are brought to a true sense of reality. This is surely not to say that the joy of gift-giving is not good. We know that we receive gifts from God both spiritual and physical, but they are all in response to need we may have at a specific time in our life. We also may receive because of need that God himself has in our lives. And, there is no postponement or the use of some contrivance in God’s response to our need. ····· “Goodness” comes from the satisfaction of the elements of the all-encompassing nature of God given need. It can-not come through humanly prescribed celebrations that have no reflection of God’s interest for mankind.
It now seems appropriate to cite a very strong statement given to us in Proverbs. Prov. 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? … Lucifer, himself, became simplistic in his thinking and in that process became an adversary of God and became Satan. For whatever reason, he couldn’t believe that what God had in store for his future would be a blessing to him and would not take away from his unique position or personal well being. He did not evaluate or foresee how God’s plan and way into the future would be something to be greatly desired for all God’s creation. In other words Satan became “simple minded”. He became what might be described as “focused” on the realm of the present. He is “living for the moment”, all being fueled by an overriding spirit of self-interest. That statement in Proverbs 1 was not directed to Satan but to us. What does it mean when God tells us that we “love simplicity? Principally that we are following Satan’s example of not being interested in considering the long term results for a short term “fulfillment”. And our embrace of the birthday memorial is a prime example of our love for simplicity. God is expecting so much more from us than we are naturally able to be aware of. But, we can know one thing, his way will be the only way that we will be able to come to the true peace and the fulfillment of the eternal future that is being offered to us.
Does all this mean that all elements of pagan ways, (the nations ways), are unrighteous? No, not at all. To the degree that a nation’s ways coincide with the laws of God, that nation will prosper. The problem is that Satan has found his satisfaction in saturating the nations and even Israel, past and present, with ways that lead to pain and eventual destruction. We should expect, since Satan is this world’s god, that today’s societies have been and will be influenced by Satan’s insatiable desire to promote perversion, one way or another.
2 Cor 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
THE PAGAN VIEWPOINT
It is very interesting to consider the thinking of people who are carrying on with the fundamental spirituality of the nations (pagans) of the past. For many the results of 2,000 years of the various forms of Christianity, have been disappointing to say the least. They are quite naturally drawn to the more “pragmatic” forms of the ways of the nations. The following are excerpts of pagan writings. The first one from a paper called Modern Paganism, offered by the “PAGAN EDUCATIONAL NETWORK”.
Paganism today: Paganism is a collection of diverse contemporary religions rooted in or inspired by indigenous traditions worldwide. Pagan religions are characterized by Earth- centered spirituality, belief in the interconnection of all life, personal autonomy, polytheism, and immanent divinity. Pagans value diversity, good works, living lightly on the Earth, individual freedom, personal responsibility, community service, gender equity, and spiritual development.
Pagan religions may draw on ancient historical practices or be entirely new. In the case of the former, Pagans look to the beliefs, practices, gods, symbols, lands, music, and myths of a particular historical culture and adapt them for contemporary needs. Anachronistic elements, such as ritual violence, are rejected. Elements such as reverence for the natural world, honoring of the ancestors, and responsibility to the community are retained. Pagan religions which are not historically based take their inspiration from visionary, artistic, and libertarian traditions to create vibrant spiritual systems centered in Pagan values.
This emphasis on personal exploration and development creates a highly dynamic culture of diverse people who share values of intellectual and spiritual freedom. Rather than conform to a specific set of beliefs or practices, Pagans participate in a vibrant marketplace of ideas, where people contribute and take away what resonates most deeply with them. Community is created through regular gatherings and festivals, numerous publications, and an extensive Internet presence. While specific ethics are discussed at length within the Pagan community, the most common summation is "If it harms none, do what you will." This combines personal freedom with responsibility to the community.
Pagan religions are dynamic, changing systems based on timeless values of faith, freedom, justice, honesty, responsibility, creativity, caring, courage, and respect. Specific beliefs and practices vary as people adapt concepts to their particular needs. Pagans celebrate rituals to mark the Wheel of the Year, as well as life transitions such as marriage, moving, birth, or death.
Now, excerpts from “DO WHAT THOU WILT? NEOPAGAN MORALITY UNDER THE MICROSCOPE” This is taken from the “ravenfamily.org” website.
“An' it harm none, do what thou wilt”
The Wiccan Rede
"Do what thou will" shall be the Whole of the Law”
Alasteir Crowley, The Book of the Law
The fundamental difference between both the Rede and Crowley's Law when compared to Christian-Islamic-Jewish law is the absence of an external judge. They both state "Do what thou wilt," rather than "Do what I say."
Modern pagan practice (and I will include Thelemite magick in this broad category) is a path of personal responsibility first and foremost. You are the judge for your own actions. This new take on morality (in truth many thousands of years old) is quite startling; it frees you to act as you believe you should, but at the same time binds you to act in a manner you feel is just.
So what happens when you make a mistake, or worse, commit a crime? Magickal morality isn't without a means for redressing this balance - it's something Crowley called "Natural Law" (in accordance with the term used by High Magicians since Agrippa). Many modern Pagans call karma.
Just to clear this up before we go any further, I'm not talking about the Hindu and Buddhist version of karma (from which the term is borrowed) which keeps track of your good and bad deeds between lifetimes. In this article at least, I'm referring to Karma purely within one person's lifetime. Let's not get into a Glen Hoddle here.
The principle of karma is most simply expressed in the folky phrase, "What goes around, comes around." Do good stuff, and good stuff comes back to you. Do bad stuff, and you likewise get a negative return.
This common-sense approach conveniently disposes of some of the classical paradoxes that confound the morality of the External Judges. Haven't you ever had that awkward Sunday School moment when you ask the vicar why God is being so nasty, and he doesn't have an answer?
All of this sounds good to a lot of people. But, these same people have no understanding of their true nature. And they can not understand how the birthday celebration could be a problem, if they are all supposedly dedicated to the cause of not bringing harm to another. And, we could ask ourselves this important question. Are warnings against following pagan ways sufficient to dissuade us from following that course? How true are the statements “The way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walks to direct his steps”, and “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”? The answer to these questions very much lies in the example of the life of Job. Job was as close as a human could get to doing right without “knowing” God. But it was through his monumental trial that he came to understanding and repentance:
Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
The trial exposed an underlying attitude Job had. He eventually made some statements during that trial where he placed himself on a level with God. He was a god unto himself.
32:22 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
In all of his “righteousness”, Job was self serving. And, as you can very clearly see, the pagans make gods unto themselves. “Pagans participate in a vibrant marketplace of ideas, where people contribute and take away what resonates most deeply with them.” Job could not see his error. It took time and circumstance for it to be revealed. It is just this simple; if we go against the will of God at any time or for any reason we become a god unto ourselves. And, because of the power of our human nature, whose engine is our five senses and our response to them, we can fall far short of understanding the long-term results of our actions. God’s love for Job brought him to understanding and his love for us gave us the life and example of Job.
While Satan provides a degree of deception through modern “paganism” he gives us the end game through present day Satanism. This is taken from: The Satanic Bible, (air) Book of Lucifer – The Enlightenment, Avon Books, 1969 Ch XI p.96:
“Why not really be honest and if you are going to create a god in your image, why not create that god as yourself? Every man is a god if he chooses to recognize himself as one. So, the Satanist celebrates his own birthday as the most important holiday of the year. After all, aren’t you happier about the fact that you were born than you are about the birth of someone you have never even met? Or for that matter, aside from religious holidays, why pay higher tribute to the birthday of a president or to a date in history than we do to the day we were brought into this greatest of all worlds?
Despite the fact that some of us may not have been wanted, or at least were not particularly planned, we’re glad, even if no one else is, that we’re here! You should give yourself a pat on the back, buy yourself whatever you want, treat yourself like the king (or god) that you are, and generally celebrate your birthday with as much pomp and ceremony as possible."
WHY ARE BIRTHDAYS KEPT ?
Setting aside the thinking of the pagans and Satanists, what are some of the reasons the average person keeps birthdays today? I think first and foremost since the tradition is intended to bring joy and its popularity has spread to the whole world there is almost no opposition to it. We may think, “What is so wrong in bringing a little joy into our lives?” Another reason is we have a tendency to lack in our show of appreciation for one another on a daily basis. This special day provides an opportunity to make sure that appreciation is given. I believe another important reason is that most mothers want their children to feel secure and to be fulfilled in today’s society. This is perceived as at least one effectual way to “nurture” their children. Then of course, as one gets older, there is the sheer fun that can be generated by various means on that day. And lastly, it is one memorial the entire world can agree on to bring some joy into our troubled societies. All these reasons seem fairly decent to our natural way of thinking. So why then isn’t God impressed with our collective well-intentioned interest?
Some of the essentials of God’s reasoning have already been given. But there is something very specific that we can think about. We have to bear in mind how much more God desires for us and from us than we are naturally inclined to give to ourselves and give of ourselves. I count eight times in the New Testament that the instruction is given to love your neighbor as yourself! Yet we expend considerable resources on friends and family birthday celebrations. The point is that birthday memorials promote an unrealistic point of view of what God wants our relationship to be with one another. God asks us to have a selfless desire for the well being of the whole world. We know that our needs are all equal in the eyes of God. We are called to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are called to grow into the mind of God. ······· God has given us the framework that makes it possible for this miracle to happen. It just can’t come from self-indulging pagan ways.
The birthday celebration is not simply a common opportunity to be entertained, like going to sports events or the movies would be. It has been a vital element that conditions the mind from the earliest of opportunities. We can observe how our nation, in particular, has fallen victim to a life style that promotes the “self” at every turn. And there is no doubt that the early birthday parties had their part to play. Yet, for most people, there is a true fulfillment in having a part in bringing “good” into another person’s life. ······· If we didn’t have that as a part of our fundamental nature God would have absolutely nothing to build upon. But, we have this towering problem. We are simply not able to determine, to any appreciable degree, what is actually good for us. We do the best that our nature will allow us. But we can see the result that our best has produced. It’s enough to make one cry.
Is it an impossibility to raise spiritually healthy children in today’s society without having them take part in the social customs that daily bear upon them? Is it possible for the family to provide a separation from ungodly ways without the parents and children being considered freaks? Yes it is. But, I can’t see that happening without the miracle of God’s mind working in us. If our children could experience day by day our interest in them, they would be secure in our leadership. If we, on the terms that they could understand, patiently explain why we are striving to follow God’s instructions they would be receptive as God’s Spirit works with the family. They are able to learn the good in trying to have a sound diet, in having the right friends, having the practice of saving ··· etc, etc. By doing all of this our love for them will bear much good fruit. Also, as the family takes advantage of fulfilling real need for their neighbors and the community, to the best of their ability, the family becomes valued. I think the old adage “a friend in need is a friend indeed” applies quite well. How many of us can do this? I didn’t. But, after decades of learning through self-inflicted difficulties, I know how essential is God’s way and that through the power of God’s Spirit we can live in it. Considering the power of the “law” of our human nature (Rom. 7:23), I believe that we can conclude that our growth that reflects the righteousness of God, would be a direct result of God’s personal interest in our individual lives. In other words, our ability to sustain a capable life of right doing can only come to us from our creator God.
SOME BIBLICAL ARGUMENTS AGAINST CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS
In all likelihood, the greatest challenge facing the scientific community today is discovering what is commonly called, the “unified theory”. This is a single law that that can relate to both aspects of physical reality, the large and the very small. Immense effort is being expended to discover this “law”. But, how much more should we be interested in a “law” that shows us how to live together in peace!!! Paul calls that law in Romans 8:2 “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”. And in Romans 7:25 Paul says: “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God”….. We know what the essence of that law is: Luke 10: 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Therefore, the most important question facing all humanity is, how do we fulfill that law? How do we LOVE? We also know: 2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: It is the scriptures that show us how to love. It is now time to look at scriptures that actually relate to something as dominant, in our society, as the birthday memorial.
The first American colonists had bans on birthdays and Christmas. Was that because they were unrefined or spiritually underdeveloped in their thinking? No, not at all. One of the main reasons that they came here was for religious freedom. They knew the Word of God so well that in order to live by it they were willing to face an uncertain future in a new world. Another thing to consider is that people celebrate each other for no other reason than the fact that we were born. We were born because of the fulfillment of the command of God to Adam and Eve and then again to Noah to replenish the earth. We are here because God commanded it. We should then use our life to grow and celebrate (give thanks) for the reason that we are here ····· and not simply for the fact that we were born. We are here by God’s command!!!
Then there is this to consider:
1 Cor 3: 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
Again, we are here by Gods “command”. And we can surly praise God for what we may become because of him. Isn’t it then evidence of our foolishness to celebrate ourselves?
In Haggai 2:12-13 we are told that you can not make something holy by simply associating with that which is holy --- but associating with something unholy would make us unholy. That is quite a law. Everything that Paul said about us being made “subject to vanity” is a vindication of these words of Haggai. Since we are the temple, we have to be very careful to do those things that would keep God’s temple holy for everyone’s benefit. 2Cor 6:14-18
THE ISSUE OF THE CALENDAR
Since birthday memorials are wholly dependent on a calendar, some time has to be taken to look into the subject of the calendar. The following is taken from the : “Journal of Calendar Reform”, Sept. 1953, footnote pg. 128. “Our calendar is not Christian in origin. It descends directly from the Egyptians, who originated the 12 month year, 365 day system. A pagan Egyptian scientist, Sosigenes, suggested this plan to the pagan Emperor Julius Caesar, who directed that it go into effect throughout the Roman Empire in 45 B.C. As adopted it indicated its pagan origin by the names of the months-called after Janus, Maia, Juno, etc. The days were not named but numbered on a complicated system involving Ides, Nones, and Calends. It was not until 321 A.D. that the seven-day-week feature was added, when the Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity. Oddly enough for his weekdays he chose pagan names which are still used.”
This is obviously not the calendar that God gave to Adam and to Abraham and to his nation Israel. The basis for that calendar was given in Genesis 1:14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: I certainly don’t want to go into a study of the Biblical calendar at this time, but what is plain to see is that God did give his human creation a specific calendar to keep time by. And the Jews at the time of Christ were using God’s calendar. That calendar depended upon the sighting of the “new” moon to determine the beginning of a month. By this reckoning some months had 29 days and some had 30 days. Also by the reckoning of God’s calendar, about 37% of the time there were 13 months instead of 12 in a calendar year during a 19 year time cycle. These irregularities would affect about 5% of the people in their ability to regularly observe their particular birthday. While the Roman (Egyptian) calendar is perfectly designed to enable most every person to memorialize a birthday year by year, God’s calendar disregards the particular capability that makes it possible for most every one to be able to celebrate their birthday on a yearly basis. Another way of looking at it is that one out of 21 persons using God’s calendar could not regularly observe their birthday. Using our popular present day calendar only one out of one thousand four hundred and sixty one persons could not regularly keep their birthday (those born on February 29). Simply put, God’s calendar thwarts the universal use of the birthday memorial.
We all know that the saints of God, the first fruit, will be born again into an eternal spiritual life. It will happen at a very specific time as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 so vividly describes. What I find interesting is that those saints will all have the same spiritual birthday.
Now it should be noted the Bible is silent on the date of the birth of every single servant of God. This includes the notable ones, from Adam to Jesus. As far as Jesus is concerned, there are many details concerning his life and death, but the date of his birth is not disclosed. We are told to remember his death in 1 Corinthians 11:26, but nowhere are we told to celebrate His birth.
Speaking of notables, there are two prominent persons, one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament, whose birthdays are spoken of and in terms of a feast or party. On one birthday, Pharaoh hanged the chief baker and on the other Herod had John the Baptist beheaded.
In God’s sight, the actual time of a person’s birth is not important, as we read in Solomon’s writings. Ecclesiastes 7:1 states: A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. ······· Our death finishes what should be our lifelong development into becoming a child of God. As we have seen, the Christian life has to be a life of struggle and overcoming. How could it be any different, since we are called to work against the vanity of Satan’s ways at every step?
In 2 Timothy 4: 7 Paul expresses the confidence he had in the success of his struggle.
4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
In 1 Corinthians he writes of the result of the successful struggle maintained by the saints.
15: 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a “spiritual” body.
Since we are on the subject of our spiritual birthday I would like to enlarge on something relating to that birth into a spiritual body. The following is actually a very brief introduction that provides understanding to one of God’s Annual Holy Days. This resurrection or birth into a spirit body is spoken of in Mathew 24:31, in 1Thessalonians 4:16-17, and in Revelation 10:7.
Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
1 Thes 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Rev 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
There is no doubt that this is a hugely important and necessary event. But, it is not given the impetus that an event that shortly follows this spiritual birthday is given. The “shout”, made by Jesus in Thes. 4, is a shout of command (Thayer’s 2753 :to command, order). In other words commanding the saints to gather together. I can’t take the time now to show how the trumpet blast is also a specific call to gather together. This is an important event ······· but it doesn’t compare to the significance and the rejoicing that accompanies the marriage of the “bride” (resurrected saints) to Jesus Christ. In fact the tumult that accompanies that marriage is the greatest demonstration of rejoicing that is recorded in the entire Bible.
Revelation 19: 5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
6 And I heard as it were the “voice” of a great multitude, and as the “voice” of many waters, and as the “voice” of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
The marriage is what Paul and every other first fruit of God is looking forward to. Being born into a spirit body doesn’t begin to compare to the fulfillment of becoming a part of the “bride of Christ”. With all this in mind our birth into our physical body is put into its proper perspective.
Israel, as a nation, was given the responsibility to be a guide or example of righteousness to the rest of the nations. Without God’s Spirit dwelling in them they couldn’t help but fail. This was a lesson to prove to us all that we are in absolute need of the presence of the Spirit of God dwelling in us, if we are to fulfill the role of being the example of righteousness. Jesus Christ fulfilled it perfectly. The apostles followed in Jesus’ footsteps. The true disciples of Jesus carried on from there. The church (first fruit) will fulfill that responsibility as confirmed by Hebrew 12:22-23
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
But Thessalonians 2:3-8 shows us that as early as about 50 A.D., significant perversion of the truth was already in place.
2 Thes 2: 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
From the time of the writing of the letter to the Thessalonians, that iniquity steadily gained ground on many fronts. One of the resulting changes in thinking was an interest in keeping birthdays, and specifically Jesus’ birthday. There is no historical evidence that Jesus’ birthday was celebrated during the apostolic or early post-apostolic times. Although, by the 3rd century there was an intense desire to establish a birth date for Jesus. Hippolytus and others favored Jan. 2. Clement of Alexandria, May 20. According to Clement others favored Mar 28, and others Apr, 18 or19 ( Dec. 25 was slow in becoming popular). But as late as 245, Origen, in his eighth homily on Leviticus, repudiates as sinful the very idea of keeping a birthday memorial.
The following is from the Catholic Encyclopedia, under Christmas:
Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday.
Pagan practices didn’t become less offensive to God as the world entered the post-apostolic era. It is very important to remember Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. In fact, paganizing the Christianity of the apostles was the principal element in keeping the world in the bondage of futility. And, as a result, the “Christian” world glorified Christ’s birth within a culture of lies and deceit.
We can’t possibly think that God’s aversion to prescribing the birthday memorial for us would deny us some good thing. Consider, for the moment, the magnitude of instruction given first to Israel and then to the first fruit. It is all designed to build right doing (righteousness) in us all. All of that instruction is for our good, leading to an abundant life. And, all of it directs us away from “self importance”. The Apostle John revealed that spirit of humility that was an intrinsic part of his nature in John 13:23-25. John goes to considerable length not to draw attention to him-self. This is a far-reaching example for us. If our whole life is dependent on the work of the Father and the Son in us, how is it that we can find a reason for self-promotion through the birthday memorial? Not celebrating birthdays isn’t only something we do in obedience to God ······· it’s more a response to an understanding that taking away this potential building block of self importance and its associated levels of self service is something that is important to the sound formation of an eternal society.
How is it that we should be subject to this unique level of self-interest at the same time that we are trying to learn to become selfless? I believe by now we can see, without question, that the birthday memorial is a “tradition of men”. A tradition that works directly against that which God is working in us. Paul has something very specific to say about this in Colossians and in 2 Timothy.
Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Consider again the socially shared events referred to as “assemblies” that God has created for us. They are the seven Annual Feasts in addition to Passover. They all provide a means by which we are able to grow in the love of God. They all provide an opportunity to worship God in truth. And, at the same time they give us a detailed picture of how God will fulfill his work in the mankind he has created. On the other hand, the pagan memorials have been used for a rich development of self-interest and subjective or personal gratification.
ARE WE WHOLE HEARTED ?
. The bride of Christ has to be prepared in order to do the work that it will be given.
Rev. 19: 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
The bride or firstfruit will have to come to an understanding of the complete level of service that the bride, as Christ’ wife, is going to find fulfilling. The principal aspect of the nature of her relationship with her husband will be a heart-felt obedience. It is interesting to note that the instruction in the New Testament for husbands to love their wives, with an agape love, is repeated seven times. While the instruction for wives to love their husbands (with agape love) is never given. The instruction that is given is that ··· wives “obey” their husbands. It is obvious that the disciples had to grow in right thinking and doing to become the apostles of Christ. The first fruit, who will become the wife of Jesus Christ, has learned and is continuing to learn that understanding. An understanding that will help people of God grow out of the ways that seem so good to the carnal man. The responsibility that will be given to them will be enormous. In that future time of the millennial rule of Christ, the instruction of the wife of Jesus to the people of the world, will be complete, full of wisdom and understanding. Is that kind wisdom going to be given her in a flash ······· in a twinkling of an eye at her change (at the last trump)? No, we know better than that; “and his wife hath made herself ready”. The bride of Jesus will be well on her way with this capacity to serve by the time of her change to the spiritual realm.
This is our time to learn these things. But in order to do that we have to become a “living sacrifice”. But what essentially are we sacrificing? It’s our ego! Our self! Ways that we have held so dear that are not God’s ways. In doing that we may have a more complete ability to actually be of the mind to serve the God-given needs of others. We may be free from being in a bondage to our natural ways. This is what is meant in the eighth chapter of John.
8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
It would be good to review the first commandment of the ten commandments that God gave to mankind. Exodus 20:3 states in the KJV: thou shalt have no other God’s before me. But Jesus said in Mathew 22:37-38: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.
We were given, as has been shown, the nature to follow-after vanity. But, we have been clearly told, in the book of John, in particular, “how” we may love God.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
We have to ask; are the only commandments that Jesus is referring to limited explicitly to the ten commandments of God? Again we know better. The ten commandments are a “guide” to our relationship to God and mankind as Mathew 22:39 & 40 clearly shows us.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Among others, it was the “prophets” that warned us not to be involved with the ways of the nations (pagans) for reasons that are now obvious to us.
There are two things that would be good to remember. One of them is Isaiah 64: 6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Notice it is “our” righteousness, what we think is good or a good thing as a natural man, that doesn’t impress God. The other thing is 1 Peter 4:18 “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” The New American Standard Bible puts it this way ··· “And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and sinner?” God tested the Israelites of old and they, to put it mildly, fell short. We are also continuously tested by the inevitable personal contact with the ways of the nations. As a result, of these two statements, we should ask ourselves this fundamental question: How perfect or complete should we strive to be in our obedience to God?
Civilizations are generated through fundamental sound values and fall when those values are eroded. We are witnessing the disintegration of the fabric of our nation, a nation founded on the statutes of God. And, it’s leading to its actual destruction. All of this because of the people’s disobedience to the precepts of our God. Every one of the laws, statutes and ordinances are vital to our well-being. And, those precepts are so complete that they are profound in their ability to guide mankind into eternity. We should remember that our sensitivity and our appreciation for all righteous instruction have been given to us by the grace of God. And, it will always be that we can become more and more complete in them.
MORE AND MORE COMPLETE
Is our completeness in regards to specific commands only? We know that the “sermon on the mount” taught us otherwise. This birthday question that is being examined is essentially a spiritual consideration. In the time of the writing of the New Testament there was nothing about birthdays that required a statement that declares “thus saith the Lord”. So then if we are only emphasizing the use of the specifics of New Testament as a guide, it reveals a very distinct need to come into an awareness of God’s “spiritual” interests on the subject and then with a spirit of humility and thanks come into a oneness with all that which God has revealed.
Let’s consider for a moment some righteous aspects of the ways of the world. The pagan had essentially an intense interest in “mother earth” and they are now vitally interested in the well-being of what we call nature. The “capitalist” or business-person has been interested in making things available for people, most efficiently. The socialist has been primarily thinking of things in terms of the welfare of the people before other material considerations. The religions of the world have tried to make sense of our human condition and to incorporate ways to work within that condition. All of these individual associations, one way or another, incorporate an element of God’s interests and desires. The problem is that they are ALL incomplete in their thinking and lack understanding. “The way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.” But, the apostles of Jesus Christ became “complete” in knowing the mind of God and living in the way of God. And, they continuously instructed the church, who is to become the wife of Jesus, to also become “complete”. The KJV uses the word “perfect” in place of the word complete. The following are a few of the verses instructing us in this matter.
Mat 5: 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
2 Cor 13: 11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Col 1: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
2 Tim 3: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
1 Peter 5: 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you
Phil 3: 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
As mentioned before, it is our obedience that will bring us to a more and more complete relationship with God. It is certainly not blind obedience motivated by some personal fulfillment. It is the obedience to “truth” that leads us to God. When we think of being complete or perfect we can again be easily reminded of Job. If you remember, Job was complete in his determination to follow the ways of God and he simply couldn’t understand why he had to experience his mind-bending trial. He was eventually brought to an acceptance of the truth of his nature or what had been motivating him. This was not only done only for his personal benefit but also for truth’s sake. He was a dramatic example of how we may “believe” that we are doing those things that are not only acceptable to God but even valued by God. The truth is he was doing it all for a personal fulfillment. We have to learn the love of truth ··· which is the love of God. Job did learn the truth of the matter. And he repented of his way. That is exactly how God is helping us in our lives. He has given us evidence of truth and has made it possible to have a spirit to recognize truth, providing the way to be willingly and thankfully in obedience to it.
Now Paul, after living a life dedicated to obedience to God, said in 1 Cor 9: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. Paul had an on-going concern that something could cause him to leave his path of following after God, and become disobedient to the “direction” God has given to him and to us all. That concern was a type of fear of being a castaway. We know that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. But, through Paul we can know that the fear of the Lord will keep us on the strait and narrow. Our human self-serving nature will never leave us until our death and resurrection into a spiritual body. We have to respect that fact as Paul did and use every possible resource to guard against the destructive pull of our human nature. What then is our principal resource??? It is simply truth, in all of its manifestations. We are fulfilled through our obedience to it. And, we should remember that it is only God that leads us into truth in matters of the spirit.
Can we appreciate how and why we are made more complete by not participating in birthday celebrations? Why God has directed us away from that participation? As we can see it is very difficult to understand the depths of our human nature. We can recognize that we possess self-serving ways. But what we are not able to understand is the true depth and breadth of the loving, serving, nature of God and the way he employs it for our good. After God works with us for a while we can have a glimpse of it. That glimpse results in wisdom and understanding being imparted to us. So then, we are able to appreciate all the evidence that directs us, as complete Christians, away from the practice of birthdays, among other things, and away from recognizing them as good. Our need, as Christians, of being compassionate, honest and giving is made so much more complete if we through tender love direct others away from those things that works against their fulfillment as God’s creation. This is the essence of being complete.
A REVIEW OF GODS DIRECTION
The journey that we take in following the way that God directs will have consequences that will affect our lives. It is inevitable as we are to be “in the world but not of the world”. We know that all the ways of the nations can not be regarded in a negative light.
Romans 2: 13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
When God instructs us not to learn the way of the pagans, we can be certain that the ways to avoid will be defined one way or another. We also know that God is working with the first fruit to develop “spiritual” understanding. In other words, understanding things that are not readily apparent to our natural instincts. For we are, according to Paul, made subject to those things that are not profitable. I would like to quickly review the evidence that God has provided that teaches us to avoid celebrating birthdays:
God instructed his nation, which was given the responsibility to be a model to the other nations, not to follow after their ways.
Deut 12: 28 Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.
When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;
Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
Jeremiah 10:1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Birthday celebrations originated in Egypt by observing the birthdays of the gods.
Egypt developed a calendar that made it possible for the development of astrology. Astrology teaches that the position of the sun, moon and stars at the moment of one’s birth determines their future destiny. The calendar given by God to his people make it impossible for about 5% of the people to regularly observe their birthdays.
We are here, inhabiting this earth through a birth, because God commanded it.
We can’t make something holy or of value by a self engendered declaration.
The Bible does not mention the birth date of ANY of the servants of God.
The two birthdays that the Bible does mention are set in negative circumstances.
The birthday of Jesus is virtually hidden from us.
As late as 245 A.D. birthday keeping was considered as a sinful pagan practice by the church.
The first American colonists had bans on birthdays and Christmas.
The birthday memorial is a principal element of the faith of present day pagans. (God is the same yesterday today and forever. And Satan will never repent of his ways)
Pagans enthusiastically endorse birthdays. God not only condemns pagan observances but has put practical restraints on the keeping of birthdays.
The first fruit will have the same spiritual birthday that is not memorialized.
This is substantial evidence that we can use to provide a valid judgment concerning the birthday memorial. A good question would be; how many will have the interest or motivation to look for the power of the spirit that is revealed in this list of evidence, and look for our need for this Godly direction?
Many know that the worldwide conditions that actually relate to the end of the age are in place today. This situation represents the result of Satan’s pervasive influence through the ages. Using the selfish nature of mankind he has brought a degree of tribulation to every era of man’s existence. His fixed desire is to have it culminate in mankind’s self-destruction. We need to be continuously in remembrance of the fact that the social customs, that are in worldwide use, have been engineered by Satan. As far as the “Christian” community is concerned Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, All Saints Day (Halloween) all came out of the world of pagan practices. From God’s perspective they all project lying ways. As they should, for Satan is the “father of lies” and his business with mankind is rooted in deception. John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. Yet, Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day and Halloween all occur just once a year. Whereas, the birthday memorial celebrations have become absolutely pervasive in their worldwide use. It is safe to say that every hour of every day someone is involved in a birthday celebration. What a triumph for Satan and his ways ······ as temporary as it is.
The Pharisees provide us with a vital lesson. They felt secure in providing the do’s and don’ts for a comprehensive guide to a way of life that was pleasing in the sight of God. But, there was no provision for the development of a “spiritual” union with their Creator. And without the Spirit of God working in them they had to use their natural resources in order to provide for their sense of well-being. We should remember that our natural resources are self-serving. Being able to be, whole-heartedly, responsive to the spirit of the “law of God” is at the heart of the reason for our existence. The few fundamental directions that the law God provides, do away with the need of an unending list of specific mandates. The sermon on the mount clearly teaches us the transcendent power of the good that resides in that law, as it is also referred to as the “law of righteousness” and the “law of liberty”, the “royal law of love” and a “holy law”. It is through the Sprit of God dwelling in us that we can love that law as David did. That law is truth. It is also through the Sprit that we can appreciate all the ways that we are specifically directed in, by God. And it is through the Spirit that we can see the end of a matter in a way that God sees it.
One of the questions that I hear so often is; why does God so thoroughly hide himself from us? The religions, at least evangelistic Christianity, would say he doesn’t. People have been truly healed in the name of Jesus Christ. There have been other historically documented incidences that can only be explained as “miraculous”. God does not disregard those who have a measure of faith in him, even though they have a zeal for God that is not founded upon a subjection to the word of God. Don’t Paul’s words to Israel perfectly apply to today’s Christianity?
Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Nevertheless, God is very silent in communicating with us through our physical senses. Why is this so? God is working with those that he has called to the truth through the capacity of the mind to understand truth. Our development is primarily through a spiritual communication with God ··· something the “world” is not equipped to do.
It is an awesome privilege to be called, to be an example of a way of thinking and living that actually leads to peace and abundance. A result that the world strives for but can never attain. It is true that this way is built upon a foundation. Just as a building continuously bears down on and is dependent upon a foundation, we also are built upon and dependent on our spiritual foundation. That foundation can be nothing other than the Word of God and the example of the Apostles. It provides the direction that we should live our lives by. But the spiritual building that rises from that foundation should have understanding of the purpose of the foundation that God provided. We need to have the heart of God to be able to understand the true reason for all his precepts, all his directions and all of the examples that have been given to us. As his saints we are urged to have this heart and mind.
Col 4: 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Phil 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
As children of God, we can view the worldly interest of keeping birthdays as a continuous reminder that it is God who should be glorified. And, those celebrations can lead us to think about and have an earnest expectation for the ways that will give true fulfillment. It is so sad to see that the entire social structure of our nation has been reduced to nothing more than a “consuming engine”. The art of advertising, as a science, has been brought to near perfection to promote our nations whole way of life. And, of course the Christmas and birthday and Easter and Valentines and Halloween sales represent a principal pillar in supporting our economic structure. What would happen if all those sales, for all those companies, in today’s society, came to a complete stop? The answer to that question is vividly given in the book of Acts.
Acts 19: 23 And about that time there arose no small disturbance concerning the Way.
24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen;
25 these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business.
26 "And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all.
27 "And not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship should even be dethroned from her magnificence."
28 And when they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
This particular incident was peacefully resolved, but we can see that it would be absolutely intolerable for the economy of our nation to suspend all sales related to our nations pagan interests. Again, it should be remembered that all of this has produced a society that is immersed in self-interest. And, such a society is destined to fall.
When we consider the long-term results, all we have to do is go to the book of Revelation to see how our commercial system ends up. The system that God calls “Babylon The Great” is fundamentally a system of commerce. That is where the world’s wealth comes from and it is that wealth that energizes this world’s ego-centric ways.
Rev 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
I believe that we can safely say that the spirit of the saints, to a significant degree, is revealed through an aversion of participating in the pagan ways of the nation. The people of God would have a natural tendency to avoid ways that provide for personal gratification at the exclusion of God. We can also know that in the whole spectrum of right doing, God is going to hold us responsible. So then, how far should our patience or long suffering extend in doing God’s will? Hebrews 10: 36-39 gives us a good answer.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Christians are given very clear instructions relating to the “will of God” in their lives.
Rom 12: 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Look at what all is included in this verse! Don’t take on the ways of the world ······· (there isn’t anything more completely celebrated, by the world, than the birthday memorial). Literally take on a “new” mind (being the place where the Spirit of God lives). And it is that new mind that makes it possible to be able to “prove” what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”. ······· We are not only given the responsibility to know the perfect will of God, but we are to live in the will of God by being “transformed”.
1 John 2: 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
For the past six thousand years God has permitted the world to have a certain sense of stability under Satan’s rule. This has resulted in a false sense of security for the vast majority of it inhabitants in their personal ways and values. The end time events though will reveal Gods disgust with the world and its ways. The eyes of may will be opened to the awesome power and will of God. For many, that time of tribulation will be what it takes for them to be willing to learn the ways of God and understand that the fulfillment of Gods purpose and direction is unstoppable.
In all of this we know that it is the “Spirit of God”, dwelling in us, that makes it possible to know what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God and then live it. The first and great commandment instructs us to love God with all our heart. ······· It is impossible to love God with all our heart and at the same time reject the way of life that he has provided for us. Especially when we understand that all of the direction for the “way” that is given to us fulfills all of our true need.
When the average person observes someone dedicated to a life in obedience to the guidance of the God of the Bible, they simply see what may be called another religious person. But, the Father and the Son see it differently. They see a person that will be able to “lead” in a future time. A time when the world will have truth and peace for foundations to build upon. God wants us to learn to serve each other in completeness. And, the less we are trained to get the more we are able to fulfill the purpose that God has willed for our lives. It could be said, the whole of God’s work with us is to create in us a “spirit” (the permanent essence) that understands and desires to posses the loving nature of God. With that understanding and desire one would fully receive the words of God as true and good. Every word dedicated to our good. Every word given for the satisfaction of our God-given need.
I believe that this paper truthfully reflects the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Even though mankind has shown itself to have an enormous capacity to reject the ways of God, the power of God’s Spirit working in us can accomplish all those things that are pleasing to him. As for me, I pray that I will live more and more in harmony with the values and precepts that have been spoken of in this offering.