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 2 PART THREE– Israel to Bernalillo (cont.) Particle – Hide and Seek We met a few volunteers from around the world: Alan from England, a communist who was cynical and rather bitter about religion; Linda, his girlfriend; Simon from England; Angela from England; Lynette from South Africa; Marcus from Switzerland, who was looking for acceptance and purpose; a girl from Australia; and a short young Irish fellow with a chip on his shoulder who indirectly challenged me to a fight - I didn't bite. Some volunteers seemed to be trying to find themselves while hiding from everyone else. Particle – A Closer Friend at Habonim Artur befriended me. He was originally from America (California?), and married Aharon’s daughter, Miriam, a sabra. He played guitar and urged me to join him with mine. He also took me to a private spot at the ancient ruins of a Crusader castle at Habonim where he would retire on occasion to be alone and meditate. It was a personal gesture to show his appreciation of our relationship. Particle – The Dead and the Living Marilyn and I paid Jerusalem a visit. Of the many places we went to see, the alleged tomb of the Lord was one. As we approached, the Lord spoke to Marilyn saying, “Why do you seek the Living among the dead?” Surely, why would we? We turned around and left. Particle – Not Giving a Fig In the old city of Jerusalem, I bought some fresh figs from an Arab vendor in his mid-twenties, choosing him because his price was marginally less than tha...
Page 10 PART THREE– Israel to Bernalillo (cont.) Particle – “You Have to Go” As I showered the next morning, the Lord spoke to me. He said, “Dave Cohen is a madman. You have to leave. He will be coming to kill you.” I was shocked at what I heard, but I believed it. I expected he would be back within days. I told Marilyn what I received, and I knew that while we needed to act immediately, there was no cause for panic or undue haste. We took immediate measures to pack what we had, put a topper on our truck, and notify our customers that we wouldn't be able to fulfill our moving commitments. We had a few disappointed, even angry, people. We had already purchased a Casa Rolla 13-foot collapsible Fiberglas trailer from Brazeaus, had a hitch fitted on the truck, and our furniture was sold. I called Don Puhach, the landlord, and told him we had to leave. We cleaned the suite, completed all our business matters, and headed to Art and Doreen's before we headed out of town. There were still customers to notify, so we gave the Beals their numbers, asking Art to call them and let them know the unwelcome news that we couldn't make it. Finally, we told the Beals that if they should hear from Paul or anyone else, get contact information so that we might get in touch. We weren't prepared to give anyone information on our whereabouts. Particle – Paul's Naïvety We had told Paul about the potential trouble from his father, but he didn't see it, even...
Page 13 PART ONE – Darkness to Light (cont.) Particle – Friends of Friends Not the Best of Friends Have you ever noticed how one will attract companions from different directions and bring them into his personal group of friends? Gerry McClintock was a personality who did that with those whom I personally would not have sought out as close friends. Dave Miller was such a rather awkward relation to me – he was Gerry's personal choice of friend and not mine. There was nothing particularly wrong with him; he had his weaknesses and strengths, as with all. I think I simply lacked empathy or closeness with him. In spite of this, we went into buying and living in a house together. It was a similar situation with Ed Korpan in junior high. He was the extroverted ringleader who attracted a variety of people. I would not have chosen Ken Dowson and Wayne Childs for personal friends, but Ed was our social common denominator. Outside of him, we had nothing to do with one another. But I had lots to do with Dave. Things could have been better, had I been a decent fellow, but I wasn't. Particle – No Mercy for the Distressed My former roommate, Rick Steinke, rented a room from us. I deeply regret getting after him to get a job when he was out of work, having no sympathy or patience while watching him sit and play guitar in his bedroom month after month, going drinking with his buddies, and falling behind on his rent. Rick, wherever you are, I apologize. (I owe many people apologies....