Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris McNeely] Spiritual wickedness has been unleashed upon America, and a line has been crossed and the nation is changing before our eyes, and you need to make the connection to God and to understand why this matters and what you should do.
There's a scene from the Scriptures that tells one of the most poignant stories that one could ever see. It is a story of the prophet Ezekiel hovering in a vision over the Jerusalem temple, and in this vision he sees the glory of God leave the temple. It's a stunning moment in the history of Israel, God's guiding presence is leaving the city, the temple, and the people with whom He had a covenant and a very special relationship. The city of Jerusalem and the temple where God's presence resided since the days of Solomon, the angel left, a dramatic finale to a long story that we read about in the Bible in the history of this great nation.
How did it happen that God left His people? What led up to that moment where Ezekiel saw the glory of God leave? It was the result of years of rejection by this nation Israel who had made a special covenant with God, their sins, their rebellion against that relationship and against that covenant led to that moment. Now God has sent and pleaded with Israel through His prophets, repent, come back to the relationship, they even likened it to a marriage relationship with one of those prophets. And He said, come back, be faithful, but they did not listen, and as a result, God left. Literally that's what happened.
Now this is a very interesting story because Ezekiel is in a vision and he himself had already been taken captive to the land of Babylon, and when we go back a little further in that story before he sees the glory of God leaving the temple, there's something else that takes place that helps us to understand this. He's taken in a vision to Jerusalem and he finds himself deposited right into the center of the temple structure and all of what was going on there, but it was a different temple than what he had remembered when he lived in Jerusalem and was around it.
God took him down and He showed him a hole in the wall, and through that hole Ezekiel looked and he saw that there was a door, and he went through that door. This is told beginning in chapter eight of Ezekiel in what he saw. He saw things in that temple that are very interesting. He saw things that we see today in the religious celebration that we see every year when we watch people observe Easter.
Let me tell you how familiar what Ezekiel saw is with what we might see today. Many people know that Easter and other religious holidays have a pre-Christian origins. That's not a secret, you can find that in any encyclopedia, at any place online is all out there. But here in the Book of Ezekiel we find evidence for that and we see some of the origins of it. One of the things that he sees is what we will look at and understand is a typical sunrise service.
Scripture says there in Ezekiel 8, Ezekiel says that, "God brought me into the inner court "of the house of the Lord." And he went into this large and he said, "Behold at the entrance to the temple the Lord, "between the porch and the altar, were about 25 men." This is what Ezekiel said he saw. Those 25 men had their backs to the temple and their faces were toward the east. It says, "Worshiping the sun toward the east." He sees a sunrise service. Their backs to the temple show that they have their back toward God as they're watching the sun come up.
Now every year on Easter Sunday in all parts of the world you will see people go out at sunrise on Easter Sunday morning to a service to watch the sun come up if it's a cloudless morning, and a service that they have thinking that they are worshiping at the very time of Christ's resurrection. They're actually wrong. Christ was not resurrected on Sunday morning, He was actually was resurrected the evening before. That might seem shocking to some, and if it is just hold on for a moment because I'm going to come back and make you an offer and show you something that will help explain it even further, but it's the truth.
Now here Ezekiel as he was watching this take place, he saw people turning their back on the temple, on God, and in effect bowing down before the sun in a sunrise worship something that they were never supposed to be doing in that place at all. There was something else that Ezekiel saw in addition to the sunrise service. He was taken into another part of the temple and there were a group of women weeping for Tammuz, weeping for Tammuz, this is in chapter eight of Ezekiel.
Now, who is this Tammuz? Tammuz was a Babylonian god of the pastures and of the flocks, of things that grew. Depending upon the story and the recounting of it he was the either the husband or the brother of another goddess named Ishtar, another name for her was Asherah, and she was a goddess of fertility. Tammuz her brother or her husband depending on the story you might hear, Tammuz would die every year in the autumn, when the vegetation withered, when everything fell from the trees, harvest was over, and his departure through that death into the underworld brought about a change. His recovery by the morning Ishtar was part of the story as well because in the springtime Tammuz would return to the upper world, the fertilized upper world just as everything was coming back to life. Now, the Babylonians thought that Tammuz was mystically revived from death in the spring by the crying and the anguish of this Ishtar. So these women that Ezekiel saw crying for Tammuz were mimicking what the story told about Ishtar doing this. Ezekiel's vision shows the details of idolatrous worship occurring in the temple where God had dwelt through the Spirit.
Remember at the beginning I was telling you that God's presence, His spirit was lifted up off of the temple and even off of the city, God had been there, God's presence was among those people, but Israel had traded the worship of the one true God for the worship of idols of all the nations around. And Tammuz was but just one of the many false gods worshiped at Babylon and other places. And this myth of Tammuz and the way weeping of worshipers is really nothing, but a clever counterfeit of what was to come with the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Son of God sent as the sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
Here long before Christ ever came and walked this earth was a counterfeit story in this pagan myth. The Bible tells us that Christ was the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. All of this was in place before God created man in His image. The foundation of eternity was laid, the sacrifice of the Son of God was there in place as part of the purpose of God for all mankind. Satan the devil who deceived the world counterfeited this perfect sacrifice of Christ ages before Christ ever walked the earth as God in the flesh. And God had told His people don't have anything to do with these myths, this type of false worship, and yet they did. This deception with Tammuz was adopted by Israel.
You know what they did? It was an unheard of act. God says this in another location in Scripture when He's pleading with them, He says, "This has never happened before, "you trade a worship of the true God for a lie." That's what they did, and they began to worship idols. And you know, in the Scripture we're told that when one worships idols, false gods and images, it's the same as worshiping demons. Spiritual wickedness had been unleashed upon Israel by what they did and a line had been crossed, and God came to a point where He removed His presence and His blessing. The nation was finally crumbling, beginning to disappear.
Now what's this mean for us today? What's the lesson that we need to make? This is ancient history, but is there a lesson for us? There is. You know, we look at America today, and we look at our world conditions and we wonder what is happening. I hear that question all the time as I listen to people who are the expert class discussing things that are going on, I ask it, you ask it as well. What is happening? We see moral, social, and spiritual confusion reigning in so many different places. The familiar world that we have been a part of has been turned upside down. We've watched for months as a pandemic has reordered the global structures of our world and continues to do so. The rule of law in many places, especially in America in certain of its cities has broken down. We look at the moral social structures that are being changed, we see that God's created order of male and female, created in the image of God is being dismantled. These colors designating male and female by some teaching prevalent today, that's wrong, that's wrong. The angel of death is visited upon babies as they are ripped from the womb of their mothers and evil reigns as many good people like you, like so many wonder why, what's going on? What has happened?
It is time and this is what I want to do with this program and what we're discussing here today, it is time to make a connection of all of this to the false worship of our religious holidays of Easter and Christmas and others, and it's time to really have a frank talk regarding that.
Do you keep Easter? Do you understand what's behind Easter? You may think that you do, but the truth is shocking. As I said earlier, a lot of people know these things are pagan, they have their origins, but the truth is really important, is shocking. Here's another question. Does Easter please God by what we do and what we adopt? Easter contains detestable things like what Ezekiel saw in the temple when God took him there, women worshiping Tammuz and bowing down to the east and worshiping the sun. Those rights, those activities drive away the presence of God just like they did during the time of Ezekiel. And we'll talk about what this means ultimately to God and to us and what is taking place in our country and our world at this time.
The booklet that we are offering on our program today, the study guide "Holidays and Holy Days: "Does It Really Matter Which Days We Observe? It's a fascinating booklet that will take you into the study of all that we're talking about here. Some might say it really doesn't matter what we do as long as we honor God, and if that's what you have felt, you really should discover what God says about this common approach because it does matter to our eternal life. The free copy of this booklet is yours by going to beyondtoday.tv, or calling the number that is listed on your screen. We hope that you'll do it now before the end of this program.
So what I've shown initially here at this point is that Easter is actually riddled with idolatry. Let's look at a few of the details of this common practice and the traditions of Easter that we know about, let's look at what is right up front. Easter eggs. Easter eggs, pretty, colorful. I remember when I was a child before my mother taught me a few things differently, but she didn't know any better at the time, but we'd have our Easter egg hunts. And I remember the dying of the eggs and all of that, then it was just a fun thing to do, but looking at it you see that in traditional folk religion the egg is a very powerful symbol of fertility and purity and rebirth. It's used in magical rituals, it promotes fertility, can restore virility as well in people, help people to even look into the future, know about whether they can bring good weather or encourage the growth of crops. Eggs and the worship of them encourage the growth of cattle and even protecting children against misfortune and the dreaded evil eye. All over the world it represents fertility and resurrection, but it has nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ.
Rabbits. Here's the nice looking Easter bunny, warm, fuzzy, it's a replacement for the hare that was a symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt. You know, it's no secret that rabbits are very prolific. They have multiple babies several times a year, their gestation takes only about a month, but contrary to God's instruction, these symbols, eggs, rabbits, they credit divine powers to the creation instead of the Creator God. That's what's the problem, it's a direct contradiction of Scripture. Sunrise service. A worshiping of the sun as the giver of life.
Now, how did all this get started? Christ didn't teach this, His disciples didn't teach, the church that Christ began didn't do it. Christ taught His disciples by His example and they kept the biblical festivals. They kept what was called Passover, they kept what is called the days of unleavened bread, the early church, and apostles, and disciples kept those days. Did you know that the church Christ founded kept the service of the memorial to Jesus Christ? They took the bread and the wine, the symbols of His blood and body, and they remembered that supreme sacrifice for your sins and mine. Christ said to do this in remembrance of Him, and the church focused on Christ as the bread of life, the means by which one would inherit eternal life, and they did this because Jesus told them to do it and He expects us to do the same thing. They didn't keep a sunrise service, they didn't have eggs and rabbits, nothing that we see today as a part of Easter.
What really happened was that as the church went on and during the period of the Roman empire, there was a great deal of persecution and it increased as groups were choosing to disassociate themselves from any appearance of the original faith once delivered. Biblical teaching was forbidden, these measures that influence many early Christians to abandon the biblical Sabbath and festivals and to turn to Sunday as a day of veneration of the sun, and they kept the first day of the week instead of the seventh day Sabbath and began to bring in these festivals, these holidays from all of these ancient pagan ways.
When you put the story together we see this observance of Easter is a curious mixture of ancient mythological practice. Easter actually obscures and discredits Christ Messiah-ship and His resurrection. It destroys the relationship with the true God, and those who worship God must do that in spirit and in truth. You simply cannot worship God with false imagery worship taken from ancient idolatry, you must know that it is an insult to God. Easter hides God's purpose for our life. Christ told us to keep an annual memorial to His death, a redeeming sacrifice, which pictures our relationship with the Father and Christ. That's what He wants us to do.
The true meaning of the resurrection of Christ and of His role today is so important. Christ was resurrected after three days and nights in the grave, we have that hope of eternal life by that resurrection. Why is that important? Why does it matter in today's world? Because things have changed recently, something awful has been unleashed, free speech is under attack, religious liberty is under fire and there's an all out attack upon the family through abortion, gender reassignment, and other matters. And there was a connection between these moral and social revolutions and the worship that we do.
God is not pleased, and there is such a thing as the judgment of God. Have we crossed the line? Are we seeing God's presence leaving? Are we approaching a time of judgment upon the nations? I'm going to show you what is happening and what Easter and all of this means and has to do with our present troubles, I'm also going to show you what it is that we can do.
The booklet "Holidays or Holy Days: "Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?" goes into all of this material. The study guide has the details to go deeper into it. There's even a timeline in here showing Christ was in the grave for three days and three nights and helps you to understand that particular truth as well. You could begin reading it by going online to beyondtoday.tv, or call the number on your screen.
I opened with Ezekiel's vision of God's judgment, Israel had abandoned God, they turned their back on Him, they brought in myths and idols and empty worship. Their land and their life was polluted by those actions, it had corrupted the heart of the people. They'd crossed a line and a point in their life and God was sifting their hearts and His judgment was moving swiftly upon them. What do we need to learn from this? What does it mean for America, for Canada, for Australia, for the English speaking nations?
Let me describe two events that have recently occurred, one you're going to know about quite well, the other you haven't heard about. In the fall of 2020, tens of thousands of people went to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to pray for America. The National Mall is America's kind of a civic shrine to democracy and the American Republic. Is anchored by the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, and on the day that these people gathered, tens of thousands. Preachers preached and people prayed for America. Unfortunately it had little impact where there were calls for repentance, God's name was invoked, but there was no lasting change, but it was a peaceful gathering.
Three months later, another crowd gathered on the mall. Unfortunately, that crowd led to an attack on the Capitol. Windows were smashed, a mob invaded the building, senators, congress, people ran from their chambers. Five people died and the nation was shocked by what happened but something else had happened a few days earlier. Three days earlier on January 3rd, something else happened. It is largely ignored and quickly forgotten in the dramatic events of January 6th.
On January 3rd, the Congress was brought together, a prayer was delivered by one of the representatives, Emanuel Cleaver an ordained minister and he said, "May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon us "and give us peace, peace in our families, "and dare I ask O Lord, even peace in this chamber." What he said was so far was so good, but when he concluded, he said, "We ask it in the name of the monotheistic god Brahma "and god known by many names by many different faiths." Amen, he said, and awoman. The awoman comment brought a lot of attention, didn't mean anything in one sense, but it was what he had said before that, the Brahma, calling upon Brahma, calling upon that chief Hindu creator deity.
His calling on God known by many names includes any other God from any other form of belief. This Congressman invoked the name of a pagan deity in Congress. It was a desecrating sacrilege against the God of Abraham, the God of the Bible, the God invoked by the founding fathers. It is the God of Abraham, the God of the Bible who was intended in our national model, in God we trust, that's the same God meant in the Pledge of Allegiance where we say one nation under God. That God blessed this nation in spite of never fully obeying the laws of God. God placed His blessing on this nation because He promised to Abraham that these blessings would go to a people in this age, but sin is reaping its fruit. America's crossed the line, God's long overlooked this.
The Scriptures says that God will not be mocked, there will be consequences. Pagan gods cannot be lumped in with the true God as though they were equal. The Apostle Paul talked about this in one of his famous passages by saying that if you sacrifice to demons and not to God you're having fellowship with demons. You cannot partake of the Lord's Table and the table of demons.
To be clear, a false God was invoked in the chamber of the US House of Representatives on that day, and most have missed what happened there. A pagan deity was invoked in the house chamber and something awful and demonic was unleashed. Remember what I said in Ezekiel 11 we're told there, God's presence left the temple. Is God's presence, His blessing leaving the nations who have held the Abrahamic blessings in this age?
Ezekiel would write in another part of his prophecy that Israel went into captivity, ceased to be a nation because of idolatry and breaking God's Sabbaths. God's festivals and His Sabbath are keys to a true worship of the true God, not a false God. So what does it mean for you? What's it mean for me? What is it that we have learned about this? It means that God commands us to repent, to change. He has set a time to judge the world. Are we seeing judgment begin?
It's an important matter to understand the importance of God's festivals because they create right worship, right relationships, a right heart with God among His people. That's why this topic of the holy days or the holidays does it really matter is so important. It's a question frankly that is time for many to come to grips with and to understand.
Does it matter which days we observe? This booklet, the study guide will help you to understand exactly what we're talking about here, and why we should not keep the traditional holidays that we think honor God, they don't. It does matter to a people that God is worshiped in spirit and in truth. So I hope that you will go online to beyondtoday.tv and download our booklet and begin reading it, or to call the number on your screen and order your free copy.
We're at a moment, we are at a unique period, not only in the story of America, but in that of the world. To be honest, to be blunt, spiritual wickedness has been unleashed upon America and a line has been crossed, and the nation is changing before our eyes, and you need to make the connection to God and to understand why this matters and what you should do. This is your time to save yourself from the judgment that is coming upon this generation. It does matter to God and to you.
[Announcer] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today's program, "Holidays or Holy Days: "Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?" Does it matter how we worship God? Does it really make a difference which days we keep? What's so bad about Easter and other holidays? Our free study aid "Holidays or Holy Days: "Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?" reveals the fascinating truth about the origins of man-made holidays such as Easter and Christmas. Most people are shocked to discover that many popular holidays are steeped in pagan traditions, they're also surprised to learn there are specific days God commands Christians to keep. God's holy days are filled with rich meaning and reveal His amazing plan for mankind, yet today's popular holidays often leave people feeling empty and unfulfilled. Order now, call toll free 1-888-886-8632, or write to the address shown on your screen.
You can understand the all important differences between God's holy days and man's holidays. When you order this free study aid, we'll also send you a complimentary one year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine. Six times a year you'll read about current world events in the light of Bible prophecy as well as practical knowledge to improve your marriage and family. Call today to receive your free booklet "Holidays or Holy Days: "Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?" and your free one year subscription to "Beyond Today" magazine, 1-888-886-8632, or go online to beyondtoday.tv.