It is increasingly apparent that more and more Seventh-day Adventist churches, rather than being not of this world, are becoming more tolerate of pagan festivals as recently reported in Adventist Today. Easter celebrations are now becoming a long standing tradition at many major S. D. A. educational institutions that hold their annual events each year vying to out preform the prior year. It seems that the Bible teaching on these things is almost wholly lost out of their consciences. However, by the grace of God their are still voices of protest against these abominable practices as evidenced by the first comment on the Adventist Today article which is worth repeating. Below this brave comment we will post some relevant passages from the original Shepherd’s Rod message which call forth an urgent appeal to turn and reform from such practices lest we suffer the wrath of a just and offended God whom we profess to serve and obey.
So are there positive comments Christians can make about the undeniable pagan origins of Easter?
Easter is not a celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ as many nowadays presuppose. Jesus died during the celebration of the Passover and not Easter which is a pagan spring festival. This has nothing to do with the death and resurecction of Jesus Christ. The pagan goddess Ishtar (Ashtoreth/Astarte) formed a central part of sun worship, Sunday sacredness and virgin worship. There is no biblical basis for Christians to celebrate or observe these pagan cultic festivals and thereby follow catholic tradition. Worshippers of the mother goddess Ishtar presented her with two fertility symbols – guess what? Rabbits and Eggs! It undeniably has its roots in paganism with the Ishtar and Tammuz legend being central to it.
I have always held the opinion that it is not proper (even disrespectful) for someone to play the part of Jesus in a movie or play.” — Trevor Hamilton
Quoting 2 Cor. 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” We, as Seventh-day Adventists, would do no wrong to heaven nor injustice to ourselves if we would take an account of our Christian experience so that we may be able to tell where we are headed for. We, as a people, have been honored by heaven with a special message for the world in this generation. We call this message the “Third Angel’s Message” which is a combination of the first, second, and third angel’s messages of Rev. 14:6-12. The substance of the message we bear may be classified into five subjects: (1) the time of the end; (2) the judgment (day of atonement, since 1844); (3) the second coming of Christ in this generation; (4) the restoration of the true Sabbath; (5) calling God’s people out from Babylon (idolatry) which we define to be Sunday, Easter, and Christmas keeping, etc. Because they have refused to acknowledge and renounce the practice of these so-called Christian institutions or festivals is the chief cause of the downfall of Babylon. The call is to depart from these pagan practices to the true worship of Jehovah.” — Shepherd’s Rod book, Vol. 1, pp. 185, 186
The Name Of Blasphemy
“And upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” That is, resistance of known truth, expression of defiant impiety and irreverence towards God, or things held sacred — mocking God’s personality and authority. The prophet Isaiah, looking forward to this time of wholesale deception, headed by so-called spiritual guides, says: “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” (Isa. 4:1.)
It is an admitted fact among Bible students that churches are symbolized by “women.” Pure woman — pure church, as in Jeremiah 6:2, Revelation 12:1; vile woman — corrupt church, as in Revelation 17:4,5. Isaiah says, there are “seven” women. The number comprises these same churches. They say, “We will eat our own bread.” That is, they want to have their own way; they care not for God’s way (Word). “We will wear our own apparel”, that is, they want their own plans in preference to God’s plans or His righteousness. Thereby, they clothed themselves with self-righteousness. Their aim is to be called by the one man’s name; that is, by the name of Christ (Christians) to take away their reproach. People have come to suppose they can do most anything under the guise of Christianity and get away with it. God will let them continue their course until they, like Belshazzar, have passed the boundary line of divine grace, and then He will call them to account.
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:4.) The question may be asked, How can professed Christians worship the dragon? The answer is easy, and the worship of the dragon can be clearly seen. The present system of worship by so-called Christian institutions is unquestionably pagan. Sunday, Christmas, and Easter keeping, etc., originated in ancient Babylon, from the old pagan religion in honor of the sun god. Christians, in modern times, assume to honor the most High God with pagan customs calling them “Christian Doctrines.” Protestantism has taken a grip on these pagan festivals as a leech on a human body. As the sluggard sucks the blood unaware that his satisfaction brings him to destruction, just so with protestants and their pagan commemoratives, even daring to call them by the name of Christ. Blasphemy indeed! Every student of ancient history knows this to be true; likewise every Bible student knows these so-called Christian festivals are unbiblical as well as unchristian. If these institutions were Christian, or Biblical, they would certainly have been spoken of in the Bible. But since they are not found in the Word of God, Christians had better leave them alone lest they be found worshiping the dragon.” – Shepherd’s Rod book, Vol. 1, pp. 98, 99
According to the type, we must look for a proclamation some time after 1798 A.D. that would brand the so-called Christian churches as being Babylon and their worship false. This is just what happened. Immediately after 1844 A.D. the second angel’s message of Revelation 14:8 was proclaimed, saying: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Therefore, it is evident that light shining through the types is the only medium that can explain these prophetic mysteries in the Word of God. With the proclamation of the fall of Babylon, it was announced that the so-called Christian festivals, such as Sunday keeping, Christmas, and Easter, also baptism by sprinkling, and other false doctrines were unbiblical and of pagan origin. But as ancient Babylon failed to renounce the pagan system of worship, and adopt the worship of the only true God, just so, present day Christendom has refused to reform or turn from these practices. The true mediatorial work of the heavenly sanctuary, jointly with the Seventh-day Sabbath as it was then taught, is also unheeded! ” – Shepherd’s Rod book, Vol. 2, pp. 273, 274
Though birthday gifts in honor of the newly born are in accord with the most generous and noble impulses of mankind, the practice of giving gifts to one another on birth anniversaries, is like the kindred practice of exchanging yuletide gifts, a convention which engenders pride, extravagance, hardship, dissatisfaction, jealousy, sorrow, and a host of related evils. Being obligatory, birthday gifts, just as with Christmas gifts, are in the last analysis not gifts at all, but merely formal exchanges which, in most cases, are useless, extravagant, and harmful. The follower of Christ who wholeheartedly cherishes His counsels, will eschew this baleful custom and habit, whether the occasion be Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or whatever. He will, in short, shun bestowing any but
If you wish to give a love gift, not a time gift, let it be something useful, never a luxury or a vanity, and not beyond your means; let it be prompted by an unselfish and generous spirit rather than by compulsion of pride, custom, or recompense. Let it, in fine, be a genuine love gift in honor of the receiver, not in honor of a time which not only suggests a recompense but even demands it. Christians should be givers, not traders!” — Tract No. 13, p. 8