Thank you for posting my reply, and for even spell checking it! I have some things to say to you italicized below. If you want to change your mind and share with others I give my permission to post this.
Pagan festival are NOT a shadow of things to come
I agree that Paul in this passage is primarily referring to the Jewish festivals. But my point is that this passage, which emphasizes the often unperceived symbolism of religious rites, coupled with Paul’s use of the pagan Altar to the Unknown God, can tell us something about how tiny shards of divine revelation can be extracted from a larger whole to reveal to people the truth about God.
Is it not possible that even pagan religions contain bits and pieces of the divine revelation, captured only in part, misunderstood, and often perverted? Paul presupposes this when he tells his listeners who the "Unknown God" is. He is aware that they have received a hint of the revelation, but that they are unaware of its fullness, so he reveals it to them.
If a Druid has some concept that there is such a thing as a "divine branch," it is more effective for a Christian to tell him who that "divine branch" really is than to simply burn his mistletoe and tell him he is going to hell for being a pagan.
All truth comes from the same source–whatever is true in any philosophy or religion must come from God, as He is the sole source of truth. In reinterpreting pagan symbols, the Christian takes what is true from these symbols and discards what is untrue.
The problem here, Skylar, is that you are not a Druid, or at least you are not claiming to be one. You are claiming to be a Christian, and we speak to you thusly. As a believer in Christ you are to have no association with heathen practices, nor continue in that which is “unknown” to them but declared to us, us being those who are called by His wonderful Name.
God gave clear instruction to Moses on purity of worship; even the high priests, the sons of Aaron were slain when offering strange fire to the Lord.
Yes, God gave clear instructions for worship in the Old Testament. Do you follow them? Do you worship according to the Old Testament law? I do not, because when Christ came and died and rose again, the law was fulfilled. The veil of the temple was rent. The dozens of rules for "pure" worship were replaced with the Gospel. In the New Testament, there is no law detailing precisely how to worship. There is Gospel and there are letters, and neither contains a code with a step by step blueprint for worship the way that Leviticus and Deuteronomy did. The letters contain observations as to how the early church worshipped, telling us some of their practices, but it does not lay out an exhaustive set of laws for worship in the manner of the Pentateuch. People who treat epistles like a law book do not understand basic distinctions between literary genres. This strange fire quotation has always been a favorite of those who wish to insist that all are going to hell who do not worship in precisely the same style as they worship (whether it be on this mountain or on that hill or in Jerusalem).
Again, you are confused. The ways of God have never changed. He is not worshipped in any old way even today. “For I am the Lord, I change not…” And Jesus Himself said He did not come to do away with the Law, of which not one jot or tittle would fall. The Law has not been done away with, any more than God Himself has! He is the embodiment of the Law. But you must know how to use the Law lawfully. This is a subject for another day.
Again, Jesus Christ, Who led the Israelites in the wilderness, is spoken of in this way, “…the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Paul wrote that ALL Scripture was good for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim 3:16). While you may say that I do not speak for God, what makes you think you do when you go against His words? He clearly warns not to learn the heathen’s ways. He even had the Israelites destroy those nations. These things were given to us for examples. But you are as the one who takes away from His words, for which you lose your part in the Book of Life. You also add to His words and thereby add plagues to yourself.
And your final deadly error is to say or think that because this is pointed out to you that it is spoken in condemnation. If you believe that then you also accuse our Lord and Saviour of doing the same, because He surely spoke the truth to the religious of His day which they hated to hear, much as you hate to hear what we say to you now.
God has a perfect right to condemn me. He is my Lord and he is my Judge. Before my own Master I will stand or fall. I have been condemned–but not for celebrating Christmas. And I have been redeemed, but not for renouncing Christmas. Were you God, I would not deny your prerogative to condemn me. But you are not God, and I think you speak rather for yourself than for Him.
The point I was making, which I alluded to the Scriptures for, is that God condemns no one. As for judging, yes, we judge you presently as He indeed does come in the flesh with a sword coming out of His mouth. But judgment is to save, not destroy. The Son of man has come to save. Skylar, you practice so much sophistry that sounds impressive but is in fact serving as the gates of hell, with yourself being your greatest victim. Repent.
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I am sorry that you do not desire to pursue the true Bread of Heaven. It is for your sake that we have spoken, not with enmity, nor condemnation, as you and Steve have supposed.
It is easy to write and post to have the honor and praise of men. It is quite another matter to seek the truth, to seek the praise of God Himself, at the cost of the favor of men. You are taking upon yourself His Name in vain, speaking things you are willingly ignorant of. You can’t do that and not pay a price. That commandment alone has the clause added, warning that the Lord will not hold one guiltless for taking upon herself His Name in vain. God has, in times past, winked at these things, but He no longer does so. I tell you this, not as a threat, or out of retaliation, or vindictiveness, but as a true warning, granted you by Him. Please do not take it for granted.
Your church pew you find comfortable, but it is to the cross where you must come. You must die, Skylar, you and your husband, if you are ever going to be a true witness unto Him, rather than honoring false gods and pagan deities, howbeit ignorantly, but most seriously, in His Name (Galatians 2:20; Romans 12: 1,2).
You are not dealing in philosophies, nor in games, nor in myths. These are life and death matters, to be soberly approached, with pious consciousness. Why do you think that the prophets were persecuted, Stephen stoned, John beheaded, 12 apostles martyred, one exiled, so many others throughout all history slain and severely persecuted? It wasn’t for preaching Christmas and hot chocolate, I can assure you (without necessity, I hope).
Jesus Christ didn’t die sipping cocktails on a beach, nor did He call His disciples to "boogie" or to take enjoyable strolls through flower gardens, or more pointedly, to go weekly to fancy buildings that house nothing more than social pleasures dressed in religious garb and language. But He did promise that when we took the narrow path, passing through the strait gate, hated by all men for His Name’s sake, suffering "without the city," "without the camp," that He would honor us with a 100 times what we lost. Matthew 10 (please read, for your sake) is every bit as applicable today as it was when written.
Years later, I have found Him to be faithful and true. There is a joy, a peace, a fulfilment, a victory to be experienced in this world that passes all understanding, and which only those who lay down their lives, for His sake, can have.
You would do well to avail yourself of the website I gave you, but at the same time, I know His words to be true when He said that no man (nor woman) can come unto the Son, unless the Father draws him (or her). I speak to you because it also is written that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And one cannot hear but by being spoken to. We sow with hope, in obedience, in joy, counting the sufferings as joy, loving not the world, nor the things of this world. John said that those who loved the world did not have the love of God in them:
1John 2:15: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jo 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Jo 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
Greetings, Skylar and Steve, in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Are you not aware, Skylar, that even as Jesus Christ is the Word of God, so you are what you speak? If I speak accurately, and truly address the real issue, I need to address those who speak and not only what they speak, even as Jesus did in every case. That is what His enemies hated about Him. He spoke to them and not only to what they were saying. To speak to what they were saying would have been pointless. They did not want that. You do not want that; you have said so. Yet, if you will repent, you will acknowledge yourself as falling short of God’s will, and you will begin to learn. Turn from your wicked ways, Skylar…and Steve.
Page 17 PART TWO – Pentecost to Israel (cont.) Particle – Learning My Father's Business On more than one occasion, Aunt Hazel tried to tone me down in my zeal to speak to my family about the Lord. I recall speaking to my sister Barbara on the phone from Aunt Hazel's home. Barbara foolishly and ignorantly accused me of reading a prepared script to her. Hazel felt I shouldn't have been saying anything to her. She was right, and she was wrong. I wasn't ready to sow or reap, and my sister wasn't ready to receive. I was preachy. It seems to me it would have been better to just share my life's experience, if anything at all, and leave it at that. Or perhaps I simply should have walked away. Yet, as I now see it, babies must burp, gurgle, soil their diapers, fail, be disappointed, and learn by trial and error. It is part of the process in all of His creation. These things are natural and necessary. I must therefore conclude that, as awkward as I was, and as foolish as it appeared, it was good that I spoke – all part of His plan. Sadly, Barb would pay a horrific price for her opposition in time to come. Particle – Battling and Baffling the Baha'i There was an arts instructor at the technical institute in Dauphin who did some ceramics. I decided to meet with him to seek out possible benefits for ARC Industries. He was an Egyptian and a member of the Baha'i religion. He invited me to his home, so Marilyn and I visited him and his wife. They soon brought forth their b...
Page 17 PART FIVE – Moon River to Harvest Haven (cont.) Particle – The Fox Reported to His Warren Bill Welton had stalled the transfer of our mutuals while they were losing money. There was no question in my mind he was deliberately uncooperative. I reported him to the Securities Commission, speaking to Lee Smyth. Did it do any good? The stocks industry makes a show of integrity and concern, does an “investigation,” and protects itself. It's the same as when one complains of a medical doctor's abuse to the self-governing medical association and gets nowhere. It is all a sham. I expected as much, but thought it wouldn't hurt to get his name on the books nonetheless. Who knows if there isn't a conscience out there somewhere? Besides, the wicked need to hear they're offending. Nevertheless, the Lord had them do all this evil successfully for my sake. Temporarily, they prosper, but the day of reckoning comes for all with perfect timing. It's never been otherwise. Perhaps Bill was facing problems in other ways. He had been with Nesbitt Thomson but a short time, then went to Midland, which was reported to be losing a lot of money, and I don't know where he went from there. Obviously, he wasn't a stable company man. A man on the run? Perhaps they didn't like his ways? Particle – A New Start It was a great relief when we were finally free of Bill Welton. Our funds had come down within a year from $350,000 to $250,000. I had been angry with Marilyn for pers...
Page 14 PART FOUR– Bernalillo to Moon River (cont.) Particle – Our Twenty-Third Marital Home Archie and Cathie moved out of Ashgrove, renting an acreage from Cam Peat on McNally Road. Marilyn and I found a home to rent at 5 Queens in West Lethbridge, owned by Eugene McNeely. This was Marilyn's and my twenty-third home together, and my fortieth home personally (the number forty represents a full term or generation). Here was another situation where people were trying to sell their home. Failing that, people often decide to rent to make the mortgage payments and have the property tended. It is also more saleable when occupied. Some owners try to make it look like they have no intention of selling, even promising renters they won't sell, but then list the home and sell it, leaving the renter to look for yet another place. This would be our final rental home. We had had enough of renting. Particle – Two Disturbing Financial Incidents At this time, two incidents disturbed me. One was that the rental papers hadn't been filled out properly by McNeely. We discovered that we were perfectly liable for an extra month's rent, with no way out of it. I was alarmed that I hadn't red the agreement more carefully, paying particular attention to the blanks filled in. It seemed like a fraudulent, manipulative move. However, Eugene had no intention of defrauding us, and he corrected the error. The other event occurring at the same time was also disturbing, given my weakness or faul...