Book: Occult Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which?

In the previous chapter, we learned that those who observe occult holidays claim to be worshiping the true God. They rationalize that He now accepts such worship. Yet, the Scriptures do not support these assertions. God says, “I am the LORD, I change not” (Mal. 3:6). And again, the New Testament declares: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, affirms that Christians cannot worship the true God with pagan, occult rituals and holidays. “But that which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not wish you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and the table of demons. Now do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” (I Cor. 10:20-22).

As we will see, the same pagan holidays that were celebrated by the apostate children of Israel and Judah thousands of years before Christ are the same days apostate Orthodox Christendom hallows today. Yet, God has commanded His people to not learn the way of the heathen: “Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD, ‘Do not learn the way of the heathen [occult practices and the worship of false gods], and do not be terrified at the signs of the heavens [as in astrology and witchcraft]; for the nations are terrified at them’ ” (Jer. 10:1-2).

Idol Worship at the Temple

In a vision, God told the prophet Ezekiel, “ ‘Son of man, lift up your eyes now to the way of the north.’ So I lifted up my eyes toward the way of the north, and behold, northward at the gate of the altar the image of jealousy was at the entrance [an image of Baal, the sun god]” (Ezek. 8:5). In addition to erecting an image of Baal at the north gate, the priests and leaders of ancient Judah secretly worshiped idols and committed other abominations in temple meeting rooms. “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see what they do; even the great abominations which the house of Israel is doing here, that I should go far off from My sanctuary? But turn again, and you shall see greater abominations.’ And He brought me to the opening of the [temple] court; and I looked, and behold, a hole in the wall. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, dig in the wall now.’ And I dug in the wall, and, behold, an opening. And he said to me. ‘Go in and see the evil abominations that they do here.’ And I went in and saw. And behold, every kind of creeping thing, and hateful beast, and all the idols of the house of Israel, were carved on the wall all around. And seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel [the Senate of Israel], and Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan [a priest], standing in front them, these were before them, and each man with his censor in his hand. And the sweet smelling cloud of incense was rising. And He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, each man in his room of idols? For they are saying, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the earth” ’ ” (verses 6-12).

“He also said to me, ‘You shall see greater abominations that they are committing.’ And He brought me to the opening of the gate of the LORD’S house, toward the north. And behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz” (verses 13-14).

The Worship of Tammuz: The son of Nimrod, Tammuz was the ancient false messiah who allegedly died and was resurrected each year. On the worship of and weeping for Tammuz, Frazer writes: “Nowhere, apparently, have these [magical] rites been more widely and solemnly celebrated than in the lands which border the Eastern Mediterranean. Under the names of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and Attis, the peoples of Egypt and Western Asia represented the yearly decay and revival of life, especially of vegetable life, which they personified as a god who annually died and rose again from the dead. In name and detail the rites varied from place to place: in substance they were the same. The supposed death and resurrection of this oriental deity, a god of many names but essentially [of] one nature, is now examined. We begin with Tammuz or Adonis.

“The worship of Adonis was practiced by the Semitic peoples of Babylon and Syria, and the Greeks borrowed it from them as early as the seventh century before Christ. The true name of the deity was Tammuz…. In the religious literature of Babylonia, Tammuz appears as the youthful spouse or lover of Ishtar, the great mother goddess, the embodiment of the reproductive energies of [Mother] nature…. [E]very year Tammuz was believed to die, passing away from the cheerful earth to the gloomy subterranean world, and every year his divine mistress journeyed in her quest for him … that the two might return together to the upper world, and that with their return all nature might revive.

“Laments for the departed Tammuz are contained in several Babylonian hymns…. His death appears to have been annually mourned, to the shrill music of flutes, by men and women about midsummer in the month named after him, the month Tammuz” (Frazer, The Golden Bough, pp. 378- 379, bracketed comments added).

Orthodox Christendom practices a similar ceremony in the spring of the year at Easter time. This ceremony begins on “Good Friday” evening with mourning for the crucified Jesus (as was done for Tammuz) and is continued through Saturday night. In some predominantly Roman Catholic countries, women beat themselves with whips and weep in an attempt to enter into the physical sufferings of Jesus. At the stroke of midnight, beginning Easter Sunday, the mourning is turned to joy with shouts, “He is risen! He is risen!” These familiar Good Friday and Easter rituals are clearly derived from pagan Babylonian practices.

The Worship of the Sun at the Temple of the Lord: In all the ceremonies and sacrifices that God commanded to be performed at the temple, the priests and Levites always faced toward the west, not the east. However, when the apostate Israelites and Jews worshiped the sun god Baal, they worshiped toward the east with their backs to the temple of God. Ezekiel recorded God’s own description: “And He said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man? You shall see greater abonimations than these.’ And He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and behold, at the opening of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east. And He said to me, ‘Have you seen, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they do the hateful things which they do here? For they have filled the land with violence and have turned to provoke Me to anger still more. And lo, they put the branch [a symbol of Tammuz, the son of the sun god, Nimrod] to their nose’ ” (Ezek. 8:15-17).

God’s Warnings Against Serving Other Gods
or Practicing Any Form of the Occult

Thousands of years ago, before God brought them into the Promised Land, He warned the Israelites not to follow the customs of the nations around them. “You shall not do according to all that we do here today, each doing whatever is right in his own eyes…. Take heed to yourself that you do not become ensnared by following them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not ask about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods [the customs of the heathen], that I may also do likewise?’ You shall not do so to the LORD your God, for every abomination to the LORD, which He hates, they have done to their gods; even their sons and their daughters they have burned in the fire to their gods. Whatsoever thing that I command you, be careful to do it. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it” (Deut. 12:8, 30-32).

God made no exceptions when He also commanded Moses to write, “If a prophet rises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder which he foretold to you comes to pass, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them,’ you shall not hearken to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death because he has spoken to turn you against the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slaves, to thrust you out of the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put the evil away from the midst of you.

“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is like your own soul, lures you secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods—which you have not known, you nor your fathers, that is, of the gods of the people who are around you, near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth—you shall not consent to him nor hearken to him” (Deut. 13:1-8).

In Leviticus, God specifically warned against becoming involved with the magic arts, and those known to be involved were to be put to death. “You shall not turn to those that have familiar spirits, nor seek after mediums to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God…. And the one [any person] who turns to mediums and to familiar spirits to go a whoring after them, I will even set My face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.... A man also or woman who has a familiar spirit or who is a medium shall surely be put to death. They shall stone them with stones. Their blood is upon them” (Lev. 19:31; 20:6, 27).

Both the Old and New Testament Scriptures uphold God’s ban on occult practices, which are named in the book of Deuteronomy. “When you come to the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or a fortuneteller, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one who seeks oracles from the dead. For all that do these things are an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations, the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations whom you shall possess hearkened to observers of times and to diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so” (Deut. 18:9-14).

The Scriptures do not make a distinction between using witchcraft or sorcery to achieve a “good” purpose or an evil purpose. Despite the intention, all such practices are inherently evil because they make an appeal to a forbidden source of power—Satan and the demons. The Church has the obligation to disfellowship the person or persons committing such sins (Matt. 18:15-17; I Cor. 5:4-13). Individuals themselves are obligated to separate from a congregation where the majority have accepted false doctrines— or where the worship of other gods or images, or other occult practices, are involved. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “If anyone teaches any different doctrine, and does not adhere to sound words, even those of our Lord Jesus Christ…. From such withdraw yourself” (I Tim. 6:3-5).

God Hates the Abominable Occult Holidays

God is a jealous God and will not give His glory to any other so-called god, nor to images: “I am the LORD; that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images” (Isa. 42:8). Therefore, it is impossible to worship God by the means of occult holidays and/or rituals. Yet, Israel and Judah repeatedly went into apostasy wherein they denied the true God and worshiped false gods.

As Jeremiah testified, they exchanged God’s seventh-day Sabbath and annual holy days for the practices of the other nations. But God proclaims that He hates those practices: “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them. Nor will I regard the peace offerings of your fat animals. Take the noise of your songs away from Me; for I will not hear the melody of your harps.... Have you offered sacrifices and offerings to Me forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? But now you have carried the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves” (Amos 5:21-26).

Again, Isaiah witnessed against the children of Israel because the priests, Levites and people practiced abominable rituals and sacrifices at the temple of God. Notice Isa. 1:10-12: “Hear the Word of the LORD, rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, people of Gomorrah. ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?’ says the LORD; ‘I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When you come to appear before Me, who has required this at your hand, to trample My courts? “ ‘Bring no more vain sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me— new moon and Sabbath [of Baal], the calling of assemblies; I cannot endure iniquity along with the solemn assembly! Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me; I am weary to bear them. And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; yea, when you make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood’ ” (verses 13-15).

Ancient Israel and Judah became so corrupt that they had the gall and hardheartedness to actually worship other gods at the temple of the true God in Jerusalem!

The prophet Jeremiah continually warned Israel that God’s judgment was coming because of these abominable idolatries. He constantly called them to repentance, to turn from their idolatry and obey the words of God in the Law and the words of God that Jeremiah was commanded to speak. “The Word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, ‘Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this Word, and say, “Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah, who enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place’ ” ’ ” (Jer. 7:1-3).

“ ‘Do not trust in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.” For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your hurt; then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever.

“ ‘Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know; and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it,says the LORD” (verses 4-11). In effect, by embracing these abominable heathen practices at the temple in the name of the Lord, the Jews made God to serve with their sins: “You have made Me serve with your sins; you have wearied Me with your iniquities” (Isa. 43:24).

Modern Christendom is doing the same today. In the name of Jesus Christ, ministers, priests and popes command the faithful to worship on occult holidays. They teach people to sin against God while claiming that God has sanctioned these abominable iniquities and lies. Yet, these are the same pagan occult days of worship that ancient Israel and Judah observed when they apostatized—falling away from the living God.

Finally, after much patience, God sent the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to execute His judgment against Jerusalem and the Jews for serving false gods—including the queen of heaven. In 585 BC, Jerusalem was burned and its temple destroyed.

The New Testament Supports the Old Testament in Its
Condemnation of Witchcraft and the Occult

The New Testament teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles confirm all the Old Testament commands and prohibitions against witchcraft and occult practices, which are an appeal to the power of Satan.

Just before Jesus Christ began His public ministry, He was tempted by Satan the devil for forty days and forty nights. Satan tried to induce Jesus to actually tempt God, and to use His God-given powers as if He were a magician. Satan even audaciously asked Jesus to worship him as God. Matthew wrote, “And when He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was famished. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” ’ Then the devil took Him to the holy city and set Him upon the edge of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, cast Yourself down; for it is written, “He shall give His angels charge concerning You, and they shall bear You up in their hands, lest You strike Your foot against a stone.” ’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again, it is written, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” ’ After that, the devil took Him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and said to Him, ‘All these things will I give You, if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Begone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve” ’ ” (Matt. 4:2-10).

All through His ministry, Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons from those who were possessed. “And Jesus went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every bodily ailment among the people. Then His fame went out into all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were sick, oppressed by various diseases and torments, and possessed by demons, and lunatics, and paralytics; and He healed them” (Matt. 4:23-24).

The demons knew that Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God—they even talked to Him. “And they were astonished at His doctrine; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Now in their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit; and it cried out, saying, ‘Ah! What have we to do with You, Jesus, the Nazarene? Have You come to destroy us? I know Who You are—the Holy One of God!’ But Jesus rebuked it, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him.’ And after throwing him into convulsions and crying out with a loud voice, the spirit came out of him” (Mark 1:22-26).

In one biblical account, a man who was possessed with multiple numbers of demons confronted Jesus. No human power had been able to control the man, but Jesus cast them all out. Luke wrote this account: “Then they sailed down to the country of the Gadarenes, which is across from Galilee. And when He went out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had been possessed by demons for a long time; and he was not wearing any clothes, and did not dwell in a house, but in the tombs. Now when he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down in front of Him, and said with a loud voice, ‘What do You have to do with me, Jesus, Son of God the Most High? I beseech You, do not torment me.’

“For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For many times it had seized him, and each time he was restrained, being bound with chains and fetters; but after breaking the bonds, he was driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked it, saying, ‘What is your name?’ And it said, ‘Legion,’ because many demons had entered into him. Then it begged Him that He would not command them to go away into the abyss [a prison for demons]. Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain, and they begged Him that He would allow them to enter into the swine; and He gave them permission. And the demons went out of the man and entered into the swine, and the whole herd rushed headlong down the steep slope into the lake and were drowned. Now when those who were feeding the swine saw what had taken place, they fled; and they went and reported it to the city and to the country. And those who heard went out to see what had taken place; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, clothed and of a sound mind, seated at Jesus’ feet. And they were afraid” (Luke 8: 26-35).

Jesus also gave power and authority to His apostles and disciples to cast out demons because they would encounter them when preaching the Gospel (Luke 10:10-20; Mark 16:17-18).

The Apostles Confront a Powerful Occult Leader in Samaria: The early New Testament Church was confronted with an occult adversary who was a powerful religious leader in Samaria. His name was Simon Magus (i.e., magician), a false prophet who bewitched his followers with sorcery. “But there was a certain man named Simon, who had from earlier times been practicing sorcery [witchcraft] in the city and astounding the nation of Samaria, proclaiming himself to be some great one. To him they had all given heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’ Now they were giving heed to him because he had for a long time bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip, who was preaching the gospel—the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ—they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:9-12).

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard of the situation they sent Peter and John down to Samaria. Simon Magus approached Peter and John and offered them money to buy the Holy Spirit. “Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give this authority to me also, so that on whomever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘May your money be destroyed with you because you thought that the gift of God might be purchased with money. You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this your wickedness, and beseech God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you; for I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness and the bondage of unrighteousness’ ” (verses 18-23).

History shows that Simon Magus never repented. Rather, he devised a counterfeit Gnostic religion—which has become the world’s greatest “Christian” religion with its headquarters in Rome. (See the entry on Simon Magus in The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics.)

The Apostle Paul and His Encounters with Occult Opposition: On Paul’s first evangelistic trip, he was confronted with a false prophet named Elymas Bar-Jesus: “And when they had gone through the island as far as Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer [a wizard], a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-jesus. He was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who called Barnabas and Saul to him, desiring to hear the Word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so was his name interpreted) withstood them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, being filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on him, and said, ‘O full of all guile and all craftiness, you son of the devil and enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the straight ways of the Lord? And now behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a season.’ And immediately a mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking someone to lead him by the hand” (Acts 13:6-11).

On another occasion, when Paul and those with him were evangelizing in the Grecian city of Philippi, they were confronted with a woman possessed with a divining spirit. “Now it came to pass that as we were going to prayer, a certain damsel who had a spirit of Python met us; and she brought her masters much gain by divining. She followed Paul and us and cried out, saying, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, and are preaching to us the way of salvation.’ Now she did this for many days. Then Paul, being grieved, turned to the spirit and said, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out the same hour” (Acts 16:16-18).

After Paul came to Athens, he witnessed to the philosophers and religious thinkers gathered at Mars’ hill, the center of pagan Greek religious and philosophical thought. The Greeks did not worship the true God and had never heard of Jesus Christ. They worshiped all the known gods and goddesses of their region, and they even had an altar dedicated to an unknown god.

“Then Paul stood in the center of Mars’ hill and said, ‘Men, Athenians, I perceive that in all things you are very reverent to deities [demons]; for as I was passing through and observing the objects of your veneration, I also found an altar on which was inscribed, “To an unknown God.” So then, He Whom you worship in ignorance is the one that I proclaim to you. He is the God Who made the world and all things that are in it. Being the Lord of heaven and earth, He does not dwell in temples made by hands; nor is He served by the hands of men, as though He needs anything, for He gives to all life and breath and all things. And He made of one blood all the nations of men to dwell upon all the face of the earth, having determined beforehand their appointed times and the boundaries of their dwelling; in order that they might seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after Him and might find Him; though truly, He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being; as some of the poets among you also have said, “For we are His offspring.” Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we should not think that the Godhead is like that which is made of gold, or silver, or stone—a graven thing of art devised by the imagination of man; for although God has indeed overlooked the times of this ignorance, He now commands all men everywhere to repent’ ” (Acts 17:22-30).

Paul evangelized and taught in Ephesus for over three years. In the city of Ephesus there was a great temple dedicated to the pagan goddess Diana. Devotees from all over the world came to worship there. When Paul preached in Ephesus, God performed great miracles by his hands and, as a result, thousands were converted from the pagan goddess religion. The new converts destroyed their demonic idols and burned their occult books in a public repudiation of Diana worship. They abandoned the goddess Diana and her great temple for the true God and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the true Savior of the world. The mass conversion of former worshipers of Diana was so vast that it had an enormous impact on the local economy, causing a depression in the idol- and book-making industries associated with the temple. A riot of newly unemployed craftsmen followed, and Paul had to escape to avoid being killed (Acts 19).

In all of the Gentile areas where Paul preached the gospel of the salvation of God through Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, he encountered pagan religions and idolatry. As in Ephesus, the believers in Galatia had previously worshipped false gods and idols as well as practiced witchcraft. Some time after their conversion, a number of them began to apostatize from the teachings of Jesus Christ that Paul had taught them and began reverting to pagan practices. Paul instructs them in his epistle: “[W]hen you did not know God, you were in bondage to those who are not gods by nature…. [Now] after having known God—rather, after having been known by God—how is it that you are turning again to the weak and impotent elements, to which you again desire to be in bondage? You are of your own selves observing [pagan] days, and months, and times and years. I am afraid for you, lest somehow I have labored among you in vain” (Gal. 4:8-11).

Although these verses are commonly interpreted to mean that the Galatians were observing God’s Sabbath and holy days (hatefully denounced as “Jewish” days), such an interpretation is incorrect. From what Paul wrote, it is clear that the Galatians were backsliding into their former paganism, observing occult religious days, months, times and years. In order to revert back to these observances, they were, in fact, forsaking the worship of the true God. (See Appendix D, “The Weekly Sabbath and Annual Feasts and Holy Days,” p. 293.)

In the same epistle, Paul writes that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft [hence, all pagan occult observances and practices], hatred, strifes, jealousies, indignations, contentions, divisions, sects, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such things as these; concerning which I am telling you beforehand, even as I have also said in the past, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

When Paul wrote to the Colossians, he urged them to stand fast in Jesus Christ and not be led away by vain philosophy and the worship of angels. “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, be walking in Him; being rooted and built up in Him, and being confirmed in the faith, exactly as you were taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone takes you captive through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the elements [elemental spirits or demons] of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power…. Do not allow anyone to defraud you of the prize by doing his will in self-abasement and the worship of angels, intruding into things that he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his own carnal mind” (Col. 2:6-10, 18).

Since the time of the apostles until today, Satan and his demons have continued their relentless attacks to subvert the gospel of Jesus Christ and the true Church of God through vain philosophies and the traditions of men. When Jesus instructed John to write the book of Revelation, He gave him stern and specific warnings for the seven churches of God that existed in Asia in the early centuries.

Jesus Christ’s Warnings to the Churches: Jesus’ warnings in letters to the seven churches of Revelation Two and Three are also prophetic admonitions for the Church today. These ominous warnings carry the authority of Jesus Christ, meaning that every true Christian must heed them. (To get the full impact of Christ’s personal messages to His Church, please read the letters in their entirety.)

A summary of Jesus’ warnings follows:

Ephesus: “Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works; for if you do not, I will come to you quickly; and I will remove your lampstand out of its place unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5).

Smyrna: “I know your works and tribulation and poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who declare themselves to be Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of the things that you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Rev. 2:9-10).

Pergamos: “I know your works and where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is; but you are holding fast My name, and did not deny My faith, even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you because you have there those who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. Moreover, you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent! For if you do not repent, I will come to you quickly, and will make war against them with the sword of My mouth” (Rev. 2:13-16).

Thyatira: “I have a few things against you, because you allow the woman Jezebel, [a teacher of the Canaanite religion] who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants into committing fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her fornication, but she did not repent. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their works. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He Who searches the reins and hearts; and I will give to each of you according to your works. But to you I say, and to the rest who are in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will not cast upon you any other burden” (Rev. 2:20-24).

Sardis: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, which are about to die. For I have not found your works complete before God. Therefore, remember what you have received and heard, and hold on to this, and repent. Now then, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you shall by no means know what hour I will come upon you” (Rev. 3:2-3).

Philadelphia: Of the seven churches, Philadelphia and Smyrna are the only two churches that remained faithful to Jesus Christ and were not seduced by satanic false doctrines. Smyrna resisted the synagogue of Satan and was commended by Jesus for being faithful in martyrdom. Philadelphia resisted the synagogue of Satan and was faithful in love, patience, endurance and doctrine. By loving God the Father and Jesus Christ, they faithfully preserved the truth of God and resisted all the satanic doctrinal assaults against them. Jesus commended them because they were faithful—and wherever the prophetic, end time Philadelphian church of God is today, they are still faithful.

“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no one has the power to shut it because you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who proclaim themselves to be Jews and are not, but do lie—behold, I will cause them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the time of temptation which is about to come upon the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. 3:8-10).

Laodicea: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you be either cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and are neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’; and you do not understand that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified by fire so that you may be rich; and white garments so that you may be clothed, and the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and to anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:15-19).

These are direct warnings from Jesus Christ, the Head of the true Church of God! All who profess His name must heed these warnings and repent of following Satan and his demons and their teachings—which have been cleverly sugar-coated, packaged, perfumed, gift wrapped and sold as though they had great value to apostate Christendom and its followers.

In the next chapter we will examine the origin of the most commonly accepted day of “Christian” worship—Sunday, the so-called, “Lord’s Day.”