The other day someone was referring to the Magen David (Shield of David) and asking if it was really a pagan image. Yes, it was once used in ancient Egyptian and Babylonian paganism, and it is also believed that Solomon first used it after he had been lured into worshiping false gods by his many non-Jewish wives. Not only that, but there is no relationship to this image and King David, at all, either in the Bible or history. Does that mean everyone wearing one of these stars around their neck should destroy it? Should Israel change their flag?
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It seems to me that there are so many people, people wanting to know more about God, Yeshua, and the Bible, who are just beginning to realize that many of the images, words, and holidays that we celebrate today have a history which may not be in accordance with the Bible.
I’d like to voice my opinion on this, and hope that it will make sense to you.
Paganism has existed since men first started to create religions, and is composed of both religious and social activities, images, symbols and such.
It is ridiculous to think that any image or symbol we find in one culture or religion means the same for everyone, everywhere. In fact, there are a number of examples where what we see in one culture might have a totally different meaning in another culture.
Take the Swastika, for example: to the German people in the 1930s and 40s, it represented a new hope for a better future. However, today throughout the world it symbolizes the very essence of fascism and bigotry.
But did you know that to the Native Americans, some 3,000 years before the Nazi’s, that very same symbol represented creation, expansion, and spiritual connection?
So, you see, one person’s symbol of hatred is another person’s symbol of love. Maybe, at one time, many centuries ago, the Star of David might have been used in a pagan ritual; yet today it represents something totally different.
This sort of misdirected thinking is what really gets my goat: so many Christians gain just enough knowledge, without understanding, to be dangerous to themselves and others.
Aren’t those who accept Yeshua as their Messiah, do t’shuvah (turn from sin), and ask God for forgiveness born again? Our old selves are no more; what once was a sinful entity destined for damnation is now clean and holy. So, when it comes to holidays or symbols that have been reborn because they now mean something totally different than what they did in another time for another culture in a different religion, why is it that we do not grant those things the same forgiveness and rebirth that God has granted to us?
Christmas and Easter are rejected by so many Christians simply because they were once pagan holidays. But they weren’t! The pagan holidays had a different name and celebrated a pagan god, whereas Christmas and Easter were created to celebrate the Messiah of the one and only, true God: they have different names, different ceremonies, and represent different religions, so why are they considered to be the same thing?
The answer is solely based on the fact that they both happen to fall on the same day of the year.
Guilt by association is not guilt, it is coincidence, and to reject something that once was pagan but now is of the one true God (and his Messiah) is a wrongful association. And why do we do this? What does it really show? How knowledgeable someone is? How holy someone is because now they reject something that happens to be similar to something else that was in a totally different culture, religion, and to a totally different people?
The smart thing is to recognize what something is today, and not live in the past. If we do not accept what something symbolizes today, but instead only see what it was in the past, then how can we expect to be forgiven of our sins? Does God only see what we were before we accepted Yeshua? Does God not accept our prayers because we used to be sinners? Doesn’t Yeshua tell us if we do not forgive on Earth we will not be forgiven in heaven (Matthew 6:14)?
Isn’t accepting a holiday or an image or a symbol for what it means today the same as forgiving it’s past, since it now represents something holy instead of something pagan?
God said the past is to be the past and the present is what we must deal with (Ezekiel 18). That which used to represent something sinful but now represents something holy, is now holy. What was was, and what is, is.
Who knows what will happen in the future? Maybe, during the reign of the Anti-Christ, what is today the Holy Day of Yom Kippur will be redirected to the Son of Perdition, asking him for salvation! Will you still worship on that day?
If that ever happens (God forbid!), I can tell you right now that I will be eating three meals a day if that day of fasting is directed to anything other than Adonai!
So, what do we have? We have two opinions:
1. If something that we use in our worship of God today many centuries ago used to be something in a pagan religion, it should be totally rejected as still being pagan; or
2. If something that we use in our worship of God today many centuries ago used to be something in a pagan religion, we should forgive (ignore) its past because it is now a new creation.
It’s your choice: you can choose to celebrate whatever we know today to be dedicated to celebrating God and Messiah, or to reject celebrations and images dedicated to God and his Messiah because once, long ago, to a different people in a different religion, they meant something else.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to tell God that I rejected celebrating the Messiah because that day of the calendar once meant something else to a different people in a different time practicing a different religion.
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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!