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September 26, 2001

Return to: Q/A

                          Pagan Christendom

The following is an exchange with a subscriber. Sorry that it is in
bits and pieces; some inserted from a couple of different exchanges.
But I think you can follow the topics and glean the Truth out of it all.
And then towards the bottom are things I've written to you-all that
this person hasn't read yet. So, when you suddenly think that it seems
like I'm no longer talking to the subscriber, that's because that is,
indeed, the case. And there was more that I answered privately that is
not included here. It doesn't 'flow' very well, because it addresses a
bunch of nooks and crannies here and there.

INTRODUCTION:

We have just spent over a month considering the world-religion and
everything that is called "Christian", but which is not part of
Christ's "Church". When we begin to see Truth, and then also understand
the muck we have been sloshing around in, it becomes rather unnerving.
When John saw "Mystery Babylon" it says that he "marveled with great
amazement" (Rev17:6)  Why was he so amazed? Perhaps, for the same
reasons that any faithful Believer should shudder when Truth comes
flooding in: all those things we assumed were part of Christ's Church,
only to realize that all this time it has been part of satan's
paganism. We have grown up with it, being taught that it is "the
Church". And if we reject it, it is tantamount to declaring that we are
not Christians. All these 'things' have been ingrained into us as being
part of [C]hristianity's essence.

And so, when somebody like that "hateful/judgmental" prophet from VW
comes along, exposing all these traditional underpinnings we have stood
upon all these years, it is hard to accept.  To reject any one of them
would be like proclaiming that the sun doesn't warm our planet, or that
water isn't wet. To reject what we come to realize as actually being of
pagan origins, is 'pagan' in and of itself (to traditional thought).
It boggles the mind. John was "amazed".

I suspect the following subscriber questions/comments come out of that
same struggle to reconcile Scripture vs. tradition. Can it 'really' be
so? While this exchange was in direct response to the Portion
"[c]hristians shall fall", we'll let this exchange serve as a
sort-of 'summary' to what we have considered over the past month:


READER COMMENTS:
-1) where is "church membership/attendance" scripturally&&what (if
anything) is required& I see Paul talking about proper order when
'church' meets, and Ancient Israel mandated to observe Feast Days,  but
nothing much more about anything except weekly synagogue, or annual?
temple pilgrimages&.(where are all of the 'requirements' for
membership, attendance, participation etc. which have been used to
guilt trip the 'faithful' for all of these years)

VW ANSWERS:
Scripture doesn't teach "membership" and all that stuff. The only
'rituals' in Scripture are to Israel in the O.T. The N.T. doesn't give
'anything' for the Church, other than Baptism and Lord's Supper.
Otherwise, there is nothing given regarding 'liturgy' or 'order of
service'.

It does give "reading, exhortation and doctrine" (1Tm4:13) And it does 
speak of "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs"  (Eph5:19, Col3:16) And 
the purpose of such singing is for "teaching and admonishing one 
another" in the  "Word of Christ"...which, in effect, takes us back to
"exhortation and doctrine".  But none of this is given in the form of
any kind of liturgy.


READER COMMENTS:
-2) What (if any) denomination/ non-d churches are left which are not
tainted by the Roman influence&(or the other extreme-Rock & Roll.)

VW ANSWERS:
I don't know of any. Even many home fellowships, or little groups that
think they are being separate, try to maintain some of Rome's trappings
by having their little mini-altar... the special 'elevated' spot for
the pastor/priest to stand and officiate.


READER COMMENTS:
-3) Best set of worship instructions I find would be: Worship in spirit
and in truth,  and Paul with several instructions about orderly,
translator for tongues,  hymns, psalms and spiritual songs& What other
major instructions are we given ?&

VW ANSWERS:
Other than what I gave above, about Scripture/Doctrine... none.


READER COMMENTS:
-4)  On another subject,  we are not to worry if meat butchered in idol
worship;  and  all things are lawful although not necessarily good
(Paul)  &..If one were to stretch this concept slightly, would one who
worships in a church using old pagan lore (such as described in
PORTIONS) but with a proper heart towards God not be acceptable??

VW ANSWERS:
We answered this in the August commentary "Power of Mythology" and its
follow-up Q/A.

Here's one excerpt...

"Thus, when we (Believers) come to understand what we have been doing
all these years that is of pagan origins, we eradicate them out of our
lives and worship. But what about those things we don't yet know about?
As we come to certain realizations, it might be easy to become fearful
and think, "If all 'these' are bad...what 'else' is there??"

In the series on the "Seven Churches" (in the Library) we noticed how
Thyatira was related to the church of Rome (Rev2:18-23) and God's
judgments against her. And then it says to Christ's Believers, "Now to
you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this
doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will
put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come."
(vs24-25)"

This is why this Portion you are reacting to, actually follows a whole
month of series since August. All these things have been leading up to
the recent Ephesians and Portions mailings. While the most recent push
began with the Sept article...it really began with the August
commentary on Mythology.


READER COMMENTS:
-6)  If God is in ultimate charge,  do you not have to consider the
possibility that what the enemy meant for evil in shaping the church,
Jesus didn't turn to use for good in the shaping of His Church

VW ANSWERS:
No! No! No! It is not the enemy's church! What the enemy "shaped" is
NOT Christ's Church. It is what was compiled for political reasons,
just like Jeroboam did (and this is documented in history), to imitate
what was real. But was compiled from pagan roots. It took what Rome
already had, in pagan form, and attached the label "Christian" to it
all. It is -exactly- what Jeroboam did, when he made the calves. The
pagans worshipped calves. Aaron made the golden calf when Moses was up
in the mountain...and God judged those who had done so. God's worship
must be in God's way. "See that you make all things according to the
pattern shown to you on the mountain." (Heb8:5, Ex25:9,40, Num8:4)

In my recent working on Lamentations and Ezekiel, here's a couple
reminders... things that so many resist. But God judged Israel for it.
And yet the "church" does it, and thinks they are obeying God. But in
addition to everything else, God judged Israel because... "for she has
seen the nations enter her sanctuary, whom You commanded that they
should not enter into Your congregation." (Lam1:10) "..it had a wall
all around, five hundred cubits long and five hundred wide, to separate
the holy areas from the common." (Eze42:20 nkjv) "When you brought in
foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in
My sanctuary to defile it; My house; and when you offered My food, the
fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your
abominations.  And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you
have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.  Thus says the
Lord Jehovah: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in
flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among
the children of Israel." (Eze44:7-9 nkjv)


READER COMMENTS:
(I guess however that supposes a positive answer to "is the apostate
church still the "My Church" of which Christ spoke)   Further
evidence of His favor would have to be the growth of; say the
Protestant reformers'  denominations

VW ANSWERS:
These were merely the Jehorams and Jehus. If you read of many of the
reformers, they were also political rulers, and engaged in military
campaigns of political conflict against Rome. They had a few little
key doctrines which distinguished them. But overall, they were still
in the pagan "calves" of Rome. And they also persecuted the underground
Church and Jews.


READER COMMENTS:
& Has not the Holy Spirit been shaping and fostering the growth of
the Church over 2000 years of history and growth&.Yes there have been
some unprecedented evil departures,  but overall???  Are  we to
abandon  the entire organized church?  I can see the apostate liberal
church,  but surely there is still life and the Holy Spirit in some
of the  other branches&&&.Even in the midst of some apostate and
otherwise churches,  I feel the Holy Spirit has found and worked
in/on&through me&.

VW ANSWERS:
Here, we get to the question that has been addressed on a few
occasions. Is it possible for a person to be "in" these
organizations, and also be a "Christian"?

Please see:
Library -> Seven Churches -> Pergamos


READER COMMENTS:
The place I am going with this is that yes worship has changed and been
changed over the centuries, (as it did in Ancient Israel, migrating
from tabernacle to Temple to Synagogue/Temple combination of Jesus
day.)   Jesus is recorded to have attended synagogue as well as temple
worship apparently willingly&but with a corrupt clergy class in charge.
Thus my question is why are we being so hard on the cChurch today for
having evolved.  Don't get me wrong,  I'm not advocating the idolatry
of the Marians,  but I can't see leaving all of the organized Cchurch
(spelling it wrong does get to be a pain, doesn't it ) for this
reasoning.


VW ANSWER:
However, what Jesus 'attended' had its roots in the O.T. Mosaic Law.
Things might have varied...but they varied -from- the O.T.  Moses
instituted some things. David added to them. By Jesus' time, things had
changed further...but their basic root was the O.T.

But what we have today, began with Constantine and Roman paganism,
having descended from all the various eastern religions which God
judged Israel for imitating, which originated with Nimrod. What we have
today is 'rooted' in the Isis/Ashtoreth/Diana-SUN traditions, and was
varied from its paganism by adding Christian -LABELS- to the paganism.
Ancient Isis was renamed "Mary". Isis' child, Horus (ancient Egyptian
god of the sun), is called Jesus. Their round wafer to the sun (look at
one of those wafers, and see the 'flames' around the edge) is called
"communion". But the actual 'root' rituals are paganism to Isis and
Horus...as modified by the time Rome embraced it.  God was continually
chiding and condemning Israel for lusting after Egypt. But that which
is called "church" today has Egypt as its 'root'. So, is God's wrath
against the "church" today any less than it was to Israel back then?


READER QUESTIONS:
I did not mean them to be two separate churches,  only one  and if that
is Jesus' Church,  do you not allow that if the gates of hell will not
prevail against it that He would not prevent the enemy's meddling from
causing the entire body to become unacceptable?

VW ANSWER:

The "body" (of which we speak) cannot "BECOME" unacceptable, because it
never was acceptable to begin with, from which to fall.  It never was
-CHRIST'S- body. Jesus says, "I -NEVER- knew you". (Mt7:23) He doesn't
say, "I knew you once, but now you are fallen".  It -NEVER- WAS
Christ's body.  It has been -the- "gates of hell".  It has been the
very entity which has attacked True Believers down through history.


READER COMMENTS:
-7) I know that sin is sin is sin,  but I have always put the Idol
worship the Mary crowd in an entirely different universe than the
unintentional and relatively obscure use of symbology  which no
longer retains much if any meaning to anyone who doesn't have a
degree in research&.It seems to me that God resisted the splinter
religion of the Northern Kingdom,  but that Jesus has blessed and
nurtured and rewarded the various branches of His Church at some of
their better times&..in contrast to Northern Israel, which never got
anything but evil&..

VW ANSWERS:
Is what people call "blessing", truly "God's" blessing, however? Were
all those famous people -really- Believers? The more I have come to
understand what they call "revival" today, and then have read
accounts of the "great revivals" of yester-year, I have come to
realize that those revivals were no different than today's. They were
variations of charismania with its demonic manifestations of being
"slain" and all that goes with it.

If the book was more available (it's out of print now), perhaps people
would be more aware that, while Rome's factions of catholicism and
protestantism were squabbling with each other, there was an underground
"Church" that existed separate from those two entities.  The book is
called, "The Reformers and their Stepchildren" (by Verduin) Yes,
catholicism had the name "Christ" they carried about.  So did the
protestants. But by their very name, they were protesting...Rome. But
out of protestantism came the erroneous doctrines of "Sola Fide" and
"Once saved-always saved" (falsely call "Eternal Security").  While
they were certainly different from the adulation of Mary, penances,
pergatory, and all that stuff, holding to those two doctrines does not
get a person any nearer to Heaven than catholicism does. They 'seem'
more Scriptural. But in that 'seeming', they are actually more deadly
against True Salvation, because with Scripture twisted the way they do 
to come up with those doctrines, a person 'thinks' they are now saved.  
But they reject Repentance. And once they have recited their little 
ritual prayers, they also assume they are now saved...from-now-on...
forever and ever, nothing else now matters.  Those doctrines came
directly out of the Reformation. They are not Scriptural doctrines. And
to answer one of your questions...you asked if there are "any".
Typically, today's christendom holds either to the catholic bent, or
the protestant bent. Even the very staunchest of the conservative,
fundamental, independent churches typically hold to these 
latter-mentioned 'protestant' doctrines from the Reformation.

So...they may be "branches"...but they are NOT of -CHRIST's-
"Church". They are branches of Rome... from Egypt... from Babel/Nimrod.


READER COMMENTS:
I'm sorry to sound like I'm afraid I sound, (I'm not itching for a
fight or argument )  but I've got to find grounded answers before I
can buy into some of your Portions from last night&.

VW ANSWERS:
No... your asking of these questions is different from when many
others ask them. When we have been soooo ingrained with these
traditions, it is well-nigh impossible for us to realize that what we
have grown up with is rotten. -That- is the clever deception of the
whole thing. It is all SOOOO CLOSE to Truth. But that is why most of
those who, in those churches, were chanting "Lord, Lord" will be
rejected when they think it's time to waltz on in through the Pearly
Gates.

Most of them, even many who acknowledge the need for Repentance,
haven't nary a clue as to what Repentance truly is. They have not met
Jesus Christ. They have not truly faced their own sinful hearts in His
presence, nor heard His (still small) voice in their hearts,
illuminating their sin into full recognition, and then experiencing His
cleansing. And due to the teachings of all these "branches", they have
been lulled into the sense that they don't need it. Just do a couple of
rituals their particular "branch" dictates, recite some words, and then
they are given some Scripture verses to persuade them that, now that
they have said these ritual words, they are now assured of Heaven. And
they are told that these ritual words are the same thing as what
Scripture teaches as the means to get to Heaven.

And most people don't even get that far. They go to that building, and
sit before that elevated altar every week, and do their 'bit', and get
'assimilated' into the 'fellowship' because we are not to "forsake the
assembling" of ourselves (Heb10:25). And this, being the same
pilgrimage-type concept the pagans "work" to achieve their holiness,
they don't give it another thought. They now belong to that "branch",
where it meets, in that building, and listen to their pastor/priest
recite rituals over them. So now, they go home -feeling- 'holy',
because they -went- "to church" ("church", being the 'building' where
they meet). If the 'church' is (allegedly) "Christian", and they are
members, that means they are also "Christian".  Catholicism puts a
little wafer in the mouth, recites vain repetitions, and receives
paternal absolutions. Protestants go forward and "repeat after me",
join the church and faithfully attend every time the doors are
open...and yes, they recite their vain repetitions. What's the -real-
substantive/spiritual difference? There is none.

They -go- "-to- church".

But the True Believer -is- "-The- Church".


READER COMMENTS:
Aside    "Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, you are our
gods"   Hosea 14:3

Now the question is how much (of the cChurch)  is the work of our
hands, and how much is Sacred???

VW ANSWERS:

Yes... that is the question, isn't it!  One reason, aside from some
generic observations, we have never observed a detailed list of
'everything', like we have about things like charismania, etc. Just
like Israel (northern kingdom) had things that -looked- "like the feast
at Jerusalem", it is likely that there are some things of christendom
that are "like the original N.T. Church". But since the N.T. doesn't
list any "liturgy", we don't even -really- know for sure exactly 'how'
they did things like baptism and Lord's Supper. The accounts speak of
how the early Believers recognized how the bread was broken, as Jesus
had done it (Lk24:35); which, since it makes a point of them
recognizing how Jesus had done it, apparently it must have been
different from the Passover rituals, since He was instituting a "New
Covenant in [His] blood" (Lk22:20).  But I've never seen an
"instruction manual" or "video" to describe it. And since the Roman
'tradition' actually celebrates the worship to the sun god, what they
do at their altars is not reliable, and is most likely in error. It is
NOT our Lord's "New Covenant". It is pagan.

Speaking of 'sun' worship... I'm sure many readers will get riled up at 
this, like they do at X-mass time when I observe the total pagan nature 
of the tree with its lights. It has been 'most precious' to 
"Christians" throughout the years... the "Easter Sunrise Service". The 
"[c]hurch" celebrates it as a most sacred "Easter" service. 'Not going 
to rehash here the pagan-ness of "Easter", to the queen of heaven, 
Isis, Ashtoreth, Isthar, Eostre, etc. We have done that in the past, We 
celebrate the fulfillment of Passover/Firstfruits of Christ's Death and 
Resurrection.

And so, in addition to the pagan "easter", why does the [c]hurch
celebrate "SUNRISE"?? What does God say about it?

"So He brought me into the inner court of the house of Jehovah; and
behold, at the door of the temple of Jehovah, between the porch and the
altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of
Jehovah and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the 
sun toward the east. And He said to me, Have you seen this, O son of 
man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the 
abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with 
violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger..." 
(Ezek8:16-17)  The [c]hurch today engages in the very same thing which
aroused God's "anger" against Israel!!

Where we, today, have "N" (north) as our compass reference point, and 
maps always have "N" being at the "top"; from my going through Ezekiel 
recently, looking up translational differences between "left" and 
"north", I have come to realize that the ancients used the "east" as 
their reference point. In the same way we "face north" and the "west" 
is on our "left", for them, perhaps due to the prevalence of sun 
worship (?), they faced "east", and "north" was on their "left". In 
many of the pagan religions, the virgin would go out at the sunrise, 
naked, and worship before the rising sun. (Many New Agers do this 
today, too, as they worship Isis -even, by name. They even have bumper 
stickers to her, "Isis") Their worship of their "easter" ancestors
(Isis, Ishtar, Ashtoreth, etc), the female symbol of fertility, was
also related directly to the worship of the rising sun.  Why would we
suppose that the Madonna and eucharist 'wafer' are two of the most
precious icons of Rome? Because it is pagan. They are Isis and the
rising sun.

[Please see also: Tammuz & Ishtar]
[and also at another website: "Anti-Semitism, Catholicism and Passover?"]

And yet, [c]hristians celebrate their 'high-point' of the year with
their "Easter Sunrise Service"!!  I use the word "their" because, while
I partook in it years ago, now that I know the truth, I don't anymore.
God was "angry" with Israel for doing this.

So, we revisit the questions asked in the past. As we learn of the
pagan essence of easter, X-mass, sun-wafer, and Rome's associated
'altar' by which people "go up by steps" (Ex20:26)... a Believer is
going to reject those things which obviously came from that background.
But as we learn 'these' things, we wonder, "If, after all these years
of ignorance, I am only just now finding out about these, what -else- 
must there be that I don't know about?" And... what about all those 
"blessings" and spiritual growth I have received from the Lord while 
engaging in those symbolisms? Would God have blessed me so much, if I 
was engaging in (what I have now come to understand as being) paganism?  
If He blessed me, those things must actually be "OK"..??

First of all, worship of God is "in spirit and in truth" (Jn4:24), not
ritual of "this mountain vs Jerusalem" (vs20).  If we are "in
ignorance", just as meat is meat, whether it was offered in sacrifice
or not, since "an idol is nothing in the world" (1Cor8:4), and "the
earth is the Lord's and all its fullness" (1Cor10:26), God knows each
individual heart.  (Ps44:21) Our worship is not ritual, but a "broken
spirit, a broken and contrite heart..." (Ps51:17)

We have also noted in the past that many of these pagan religions quote
the Scriptures. Wherever God's Word goes forth, "..It shall not return
to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper 
in the thing for which I sent it" (Is55:11) in the individual heart.

And in the very context of what we are talking about, to the church of
Thyatira, Jesus addresses the True Believers ([C]hristians) who find 
themselves within Jezebel's system, but are not fully knowledgable of 
everything...

"Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have
this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I
will put on you no other burden.  But hold fast what you have till I 
come." (Rev2:24-25)

When we know the paganism and have identified who "her" is, we "come 
out of -her- My people". (Rev18:4) We "come out from among them" and
separate ourselves. (2Cor6:17) That which we don't know, what we do
have, we "hold fast". Remember that Jesus said that the wheat and tares
would be growing up together. (Mt13:30) And in the end He will command
the reapers to burn the tares, and gather the wheat into His barn.

Yes, I'm sure that you whom the Lord has led to this ministry are now
in a quandry. Many of you didn't know these things before. And in the
innocence of your hearts you ended up where you are presently wherever
you fellowship.  But after the Lord led you here (to this ministry),
now you know. If the Lord doesn't yet come in the next days/weeks, now
that you know, you will find yourselves evaluating the places you
worship; whether or not they are places were you can continue... or
perhaps, need to proclaim a witness by coming out of them.

As I shared with one subscriber recently, who was questioning this very
thing, what I say here is not something I haven't experienced myself.
One continues on, wanting to "not forsaking the assembling" with other
Believers. (Heb10:25)  I would go from congregation to congregation, as
I moved from college to various places I lived. I was never in a group
very long, but what they would discover the Lord's hand upon me and
rope me into service with music, teaching, preaching. (The Lord's Holy
Spirit has been on my life for service ever since my youth) But
eventually, in practically every place, 'something' would come up.
Something which became evident when compared to Scripture. Since I was
"holding fast" to God's Word, the differences resulted in my leaving.
To be sure, they would have convincing-seeming arguments and twists of
the Scriptures as to why "all of them" were right, and why "lone" me
was wrong. And yes, on a couple of those occasions, I became rather
depressed and discouraged. You see, I was light-years away from the 
realization that I now know... that they were NOT SAVED. They were 
[c]hristians from the [c]hurch.  But during that time I would even play 
organ for hire in Catholic churches for weddings, and sing "Ave Maria" 
at funerals. I went along with the prevailing views that charismania 
was merely a "different EMPHASIS" regarding the Holy Spirit. And of 
course, the Lord had not yet confirmed in my heart the Truth of the 
Rapture coming 'prior' to the 70th week 7-year period. I did as many do 
today...  listened to the opinions of various famous/educated people.

So, when I proclaim from God's Word as I do now, as He commissioned me 
over seven years ago, to say, "thus says Jehovah" (Ezek3:27), before I 
ever proclaim something, I have -already- "practiced what I preach".  
I've been where many of you are now. But I have also practiced God's
proclamation to "come out of her, My people". (Rev18:4)  Many of you on
this e-list have already "come out". That's one reason the Lord led you
to this ministry. We are a fellowship of kindred spirits, in obedience
to the Lord. There are many of you who are not yet convinced. You read
what is mailed, but the Lord hasn't brought it to your heart yet. Well,
until He does, and/or you are ready to heed, at least be sure to "hold
fast" what you do have. Or, you are afraid to step out. Oh yes, to be
sure, there will be reprisals from those you presently think are
"brothers and sisters". They will either heap upon you personal
slander, or they will slither their tongues at you with "smooth words
and flattering speech" (Rom16:18)  But (and sorry if this comes out 
sounding harsh. In these days we don't have the time/luxury for "feel
good") look it up, timidity is not part of the path to Heaven. (Rev21:8)

"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and of
love and of a sound mind." (2Tm1:7)

Amen!
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