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Christian greetings unto each of you visiting here today at the home of Mount Zion Deeper Life Fellowship on the world wide web. I want to personally welcome you here to our home site and to our services this week. I trust that the information here will be a blessing to you and yours. We are a Bible Believing congregation and ministry that takes the Bible and how we apply it to our lives seriously. You may even hear some say that Mount Zion in Conway is the home of what we call “Bible Based Christianity.” That is because we get our Christianity out of the Bible. So many today have forsaken the God of the Bible and His Word and way of living. We are striving to get back to the old paths wherein is the good way. I hope that you have that same desire today as you stroll through the pages of this website. If you are looking for the Truth and a group of believers to meet with for Bible study, worship and fellowship in person or online this site will be a great blessing to you.
If that describes you, then Mount Zion Deeper Life Fellowship just might be where the Lord wants you.
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Dale Collins, a modern day servant of Jesus Christ serving as Bishop of Mount Zion Deeper Life Fellowship with its Physical location in Conway Arkansas in the USA.
P.S. Please let us know when we can be of service to you or yours for prayer, Bible Studies, visitation or other Spiritual needs.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Christmas & Easter
11 Reasons Why Christians Shouldn’t Celebrate Pagan Holidays
By John Aziza
1) Christmas and Easter were celebrated by pagans long before they were celebrated by Christians Christmas: The ancient Romans celebrated Saturnalia on December 17, the birthday of their pagan deity Saturn and culminated their celebrations on December 25th, the birthday of Mithras (Sol Invictus, the “Unconquered Sun”). December 25th marked the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of when the sun cycled back upward in the sky. Easter: Easter has nothing to do with Passover or the resurrection of Christ. The name Easter is derived from the pagan deity of fertility known in various ancient cultures as Ishtar, Astarte, Ashtoreth, Astara, or Ostara. Easter deliberately coincides with the spring equinox. Emperor Constantine, a notable pagan and sun worshiper, set the date for Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. This means Easter may fall between March 22 and April 25. These dates are important to Pagans who have always celebrated the time of year when they saw the sun increasing in power, animals reproducing, and plant life reviving. Instead of worshiping the Almighty God of the universe, they exalted animal and human fertility, reproduction, and sexual immorality in His place. Page 2 of 8 The Roman Catholic Church is responsible for "Christianizing" these pagan holidays with new names and meanings in order to keep their pagan constituents happy. Note: Factual citations are provided below with full quotations from original sources.
2) We cannot find Christmas or Easter anywhere in the Bible Christmas: While the angels, shepherds, and wise men rejoiced at the birth of Jesus the Messiah and worshiped Him, they did not commemorate His birth year after year with an annual celebration in the manner of pagans (Is 9:6; Mat 2:10). Neither can we find any evidence that the Apostles wrote about this celebration or that the first century Church observed it. Easter: Christ's resurrection is observed in baptism. We fervently believe in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we celebrate and remember His resurrection by doing the two things the Bible commands regarding this subject—we preach the gospel, which is the record of His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor 15:1-11); and we baptize by immersion in water, which is a symbolic picture of His death, burial, and resurrection (Jon 3:23; Act 8:38-39; Rom 6:3-5; 1 Cor 15:29; Col 2:12; 1 Pet 3:21). Vatican Rome rejects baptism by immersion and has turned instead to paganism and superstition to come up with Lent, Good Friday, and Easter.
3) The customs surrounding these pagan celebrations give them away as evil Christmas: All of the traditions associated with Christmas such as gift giving, erecting the Christmas tree, burning the yule log, kissing under the mistletoe, a jolly plump man in a fur-lined red suit, sleighs and flying reindeer, and sun disk decorations all derive their origins from pagan winter festivals such as Saturnalia and Sol Invictus. They have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. The following points are worth considering before engaging in these “harmless” practices: Gift giving at the winter solstice was invented by pagans to celebrate the sun god. Borrowed from an online source (in blue) Santa Claus is a pagan mockery of God the Father with white hair, a grandfatherly image, eternal, lives in the North, unlimited resources, omniscient (all-knowing of children's behavior), omnipresent for a night, hears confessions, comes as a thief, blesses children, and distributes judgment for works…. Godly parents don't lie to their children about a Roman Catholic myth named Nicholas. Page 3 of 8 Christmas trees were long ago worshiped by ancient Israel and we find numerous mention of their pagan veneration: Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree… (Isa 57:5). For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not (Jer 10:3-4). Easter: Borrowed from an online source (in blue) What do rabbits and eggs have to do with Jesus Christ and His resurrection? Nothing! What about hot cross buns? Nothing! What about a sunrise service? Nothing! What about ham? Nothing! Encyclopedia International (1978) declares, "Many of the customs associated with Easter are derived from various spring fertility rites of the pagan religions which Christianity supplanted." The Catholic Encyclopedia declares, "A great many pagan customs celebrating the return of spring gravitated to Easter." Encyclopedia Britannica states, "Christianity ... incorporated in its celebrations of the great Christian feast day many of the heathen rites and customs of the spring festival." Compton's Encyclopedia (1978) declares, "Some Easter customs have come from this and other pre-Christian spring festivals." …….Good Friday is a joke! The assertion that Jesus died on Good Friday afternoon and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday morning is highly erroneous. If this is true, He could not have still been in the ground the three days and three nights that He prophesied and promised (Mat 12:38-40)? This common tradition only allows one day and two nights. If you count parts of Friday and Sunday as whole days, you still only have three days and two nights. The math does not work! There are only two nights! But if we follow the facts stated plainly in God’s Word then we realize that Jesus was buried Wednesday night and rose Saturday night, just as He had declared would be the proof of His identity. Here again is an obvious strike against keeping pagan holidays which only distort the plain truth of the Bible. Hot cross buns are a definite custom and tradition of Easter. Similar buns have been made in the spring for hundreds of years in areas where paganism flourished. According to the Bible this tradition was carried out in honor of the “queen of heaven”, also known as Ishtar or Ashtoreth (Easter): The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the Page 4 of 8 fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven… (Jer 7:18). Note: Factual citations are provided below with full quotations from original sources.
4) The Bible does not permit us to add or take away from God’s commandments What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it (Deut 12:32). If you doubt this, just do some research into Cain and his offering (Gen 4:3-4), Nadab and Abihu and self-styled worship (Lev 10:1), Moses striking a rock (Num 20:11), and David moving the Ark of the Covenant on a new ox cart (2 Sam 6:1-23). All five were judged severely for presumptuousness and improvising upon God’s dictates.
5) The Law clearly forbids using pagan customs in worship of Jehovah According to the Law, God condemns using pagan religious practices in His worship: … and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise (Deut 12:29). In the New Testament the same command is reiterated: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? (2 Co 6:14-16). Sadly, the church has ignored these clear prohibitions and has compromised with paganism for the sake of pragmatism. Pope Gregory wrote to Augustine in 597 A.D., "Do not destroy the temples of the English gods; change them to Christian churches. Do not forbid the harmless customs which have been associated with the old religions; consecrate them to Christian uses." Edward Gibbon wrote, in his history of Rome, "The most respectable bishops had persuaded themselves, that the ignorant rustics would more cheerfully renounce the superstitions of Paganism, if they found some resemblance, some compensation, in the bosom of Christianity. The religion of Constantine achieved, in less than a century, the final conquest of the Roman Empire: Page 5 of 8 but the victors themselves were insensibly subdued by the arts of their vanquished rivals." Philip Schaff wrote, "Not a few pagan habits crept into the church concealed by new names. This is conceded by the most earnest of the Fathers."
6) Historically, America and Britain outlawed pagan holidays From 1620-1659, Pilgrims and Puritans seeking to worship God in truth formally banned Christmas and Easter from their American colonies. Up until 1659, it was still a crime to observe Christmas in Boston punishable by a 5 shillings fine. The public schools in Boston were still open for classes on December 25th as late as 1870. For the two centuries following the Pilgrims, Christians in America called it "popish." It was also a crime to observe Christmas in England roughly during the same time period. English parliament under Oliver Cromwell outlawed it in 1644 and punished violators. Charles Spurgeon, the most popular Baptist minister in England, preached against it as late as 1871. Note: Factual citations are provided below with full quotations from original sources.
7) The LORD calls Jewish holy days a matter of liberty, but not pagan holidays Christmas is not a matter of liberty left up to our consciences and/or heart preferences. The LORD calls Jewish holy days matters of liberty, but not pagan holidays (Rom 14:6; Col 2:16).
8) Do this in remembrance of me The LORD teaches us to remember His death rather than His birth (Phil 3:10; 1 Cor 15:3). The LORD gave baptism and His supper to remember His death (Rom 6:3-5; I Co 11:26).
9) You can’t put Christ back into something He was never in to begin with
10) Jesus wasn’t born on or near Dec. 25 Jesus was not born in December. Historians estimate his birth to have occurred sometime in October. Several reasons exist to substantiate this view. (a) Shepherds did not stay in the fields during winter. (b) Taxation would not have been in the dead of winter, but rather shortly after harvest. (c) Careful calculation of the priest's courses excludes it. Page 6 of 8
11) Christians should not partake of spiritual harlotry (idolatry) Borrowed from an online source (in blue) Christmas has always been, is now, and ever shall be a pagan festival. It has grown over the centuries to become the enchanting, magical, merchant-driven insult to God that it now is. We are mesmerized by it. Hooked on it. Enslaved by it. In debt to it. Dennis Loewen adds, "Christmas is another example of how powerful the false living spirit of harlotry is. There is a spirit of Christmas. It is warm; it is wonderful; it is good...and it is not from God." Satan uses this pagan feast to steal glory from the Son of God for ignorant sun worship. The LORD condemns sun worship (Deut 4:19; 17:3; II Kgs 23:5; Job 31:26-28; Eze 8:16). Christmas is one of those "high places" that most of us seem unwilling to tear down, even knowing how God might feel about it. Our minds are made up. "I like Christmas," one young mother told me. The rest of her sentence was implied, "So I'm going to do it." We build manger scenes in our yards and erect glow-in-the-dark Santa Clauses next to them. Buddy at the checkout counter illustrated this mix very simply. He had a Santa Claus hat on his head and a W.W.J.D. (what would Jesus do?) band around his neck. Buddy, Jesus would not have worn that hat. After I told a dear old lady why I no longer do Christmas, she responded, "But I don't think of pagan gods when I look at my Christmas tree. I think of Jesus." That seemed reasonable to me. I asked God about it. He answered. "What would you think if you caught your wife in adultery, and she answered, 'But, honey, I was thinking of you the whole time'?" Question: What do you say when people greet you with merry Christmas or happy Easter during the holidays? Answer: Good question. I like to tell them that I celebrate the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ throughout the year and so I use this opportunity, not to raise controversy with people that don’t know Jesus, but rather to share the Gospel with them. New World Encyclopedia: “Christians began to celebrate Christ’s birthday on December 25, which was already an important pagan festival, in order to safely adapt to Roman customs while still honoring Jesus' birth. Page 7 of 8 This is how Christmas came to be celebrated on the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, and it was from the pagan holiday that many of the customs of Christmas had their roots. The celebrations of Saturnalia included the making and giving of small presents (saturnalia et sigillaricia). This holiday was observed over a series of days beginning on December 17 (the birthday of Saturn), and ending on December 25 (the birthday of Sol Invictus, the ‘Unconquered Sun’). The combined festivals resulted in an extended winter holiday season. Business was postponed and even slaves feasted. There was drinking, gambling and singing, and nudity was relatively common. It was the ‘best of days,’ according to the poet Catullus. The feast of Sol Invictus on December 25 was a sacred day in the religion of Mithraism, which was widespread in the Roman Empire. Its god, Mithras, was a solar deity of Persian origin, identified with the Sun. It displayed its unconquerability as ‘Sol Invictus’ when it began to rise higher in the sky following the Winter Solstice—hence December 25 was celebrated as the Sun's birthday. The Catholic Encyclopedia reads, "The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility." Encyclopedia International (1978) reads, "The Easter rabbit, legendary producer of Easter eggs, was also a symbol of fertility and new life." Encyclopedia Britannica reads, "The Easter hare came to Christianity from antiquity. The hare is associated with the moon in the legends of ancient Egypt and other peoples. Through the fact that the Egyptian word for hare, um, means also 'open' and 'period', the hare came to be associated with the idea of periodicity, both lunar and human, and with the beginning of new life in both the young man and young woman, and so a symbol of fertility and of the renewal of life." Regarding Easter eggs, Encyclopedia Britannica states, "The egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewal of life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of coloring and eating eggs during their spring festival." The New Book of Knowledge (1978) declares, "One of the best-known Easter symbols is the egg, which has symbolized renewed life since ancient days. The egg is said to be a symbol of life because in all living creatures life begins in the egg." Encyclopedia International (1978) states, "Eggs were a primitive symbol of fertility; but Christians saw in them a symbol of the tomb from which Christ rose, and continued the practice of coloring, giving, and eating them on Easter." The New Book of Knowledge (1978) declares, "The custom of a sunrise service on Easter Sunday can be traced to ancient spring festivals that celebrated the rising sun." The Oxford English Dictionary reads, "Easter. The name is derived from Eostre, the name of a goddess whose festival was celebrated at the vernal equinox; her name shows that she was originally the dawn-goddess." Compton's Encyclopedia reads, "Our name Easter comes from Eostre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess, originally of the dawn. In pagan times an annual spring festival was held in her honor." Academic American Encyclopedia reads, "According to the Venerable Bede, the name Easter derived from the pagan spring festival of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre." Page 8 of 8 Wikipedia: Astarte The goddess, the Queen of Heaven, whose worship Jeremiah so vehemently opposed, was the ancient fertility goddess Astarte. Astarte is the name of a goddess as known from Northwestern Semitic regions, cognate in name, origin and functions with the goddess Ishtar in Mesopotamian texts. Another transliteration is ‘Ashtart; other names for the goddess include Hebrew עשתרת)transliterated Ashtoreth), Ugaritic ‘ṯtrt (also ‘Aṯtart or ‘Athtart), Akkadian DAstar-tú (also Astartu) and Etruscan Uni-Astre (Pyrgi Tablets). Astarte was connected with fertility, sexuality, and war… Astarte was accepted by the Greeks under the name of Aphrodite... Asherah was worshipped in ancient Israel as the consort of El and in Judah as the consort of Yahweh and Queen of Heaven (the Hebrews baked small cakes for her festival): Wikipedia: On the mainland, seventeenth-century Puritan New England had laws forbidding the observance of Christmas. The Christian groups who broke with the Catholic Church and the Church of England deemphasized Christmas in the early colonial period.
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