For a couple of years now, I have been openly imploring Christians to give up religious holidays. There are many reasons, many Biblical reasons, why Christians should give up on celebrating these days but one of the biggest reasons has to do with idolatry and the symbols attached to these days. We all know that we are not to make any graven images of any heavenly thing and we know that God says that it is a wicked nation that desires a sign from God. Using the BlueLetterBible, the word sign in Matthew 16:4 is defined:
a sign, mark, token
1. that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known
2. a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature
of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen
1. of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by 2. which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God's
a sign, mark, token
So sign can be defined as a token, by which a thing (in this case, God) is distinguished from others and is known. Graven images and signs are tied together in a couple of ways. They're tied together as representing lack of faith in a spiritual, and unable to be physically seen, God which leads to idolatry.
But having known these things for the last couple of years, it didn't fully dawn on me until recently the reason why avoiding signs and symbols is of so much importance to God. I contend that one reason why God is adamant that we avoid signs, tokens, and graven images is because Satan is the king of of all these things. All one has to do to find evidence of this is look on TV, in advertising, on the radio, in literature, etc. Where God has given us language, even the Word of God, inspired through language not symbols, Satan is actively perverting language, simplifying and stupefying it and taking us back to antiquated systems of symbols for our communication. Think I'm wrong? Then I ask you to sit back when you have a lot of time and watch the below video from beginning to end; all five hours of it. Don't let the title scare you away. This is a five hour visual walk through evidence that proves just how thorough Satan has been with using symbolism to indoctrinate even God's people. (Warning: some images are graphic.)
If, after sitting through five hours of evidence that Satan's domain is the domain of symbolism, you're not convinced of this, then I have nothing left to say to you on the matter. But if you're beginning to see where I'm coming from, then please read on.
You see, God intentionally confused language in order to stop the abominations being devised by man at the Tower of Babel and to force men to scatter into smaller groups so it would be more difficult for them to get together and commit such heinous sin. Words are very important to God. They promote clarity and effective communication. But since the the time when the languages were confused, Satan has been looking for a way to, once again, unite the entire world in evil, regardless of language. And symbolism is the way he's getting the job done. Is it any wonder that the way God does things, through clear words and the Word, is the completely opposite of the way Satan does it, which is through shady and esoteric signs and symbols? Are you beginning to see why it is that I am so opposed to things like Xmess trees, Easter bunnies and eggs, holly, evergreen, and yes, even crosses? It is a wicked nation that seeks after a sign.
Once we start taking things and making them represent Christ, we begin to disobey His commands and we begin to take our eyes off of the real thing...Christ...and we invite Satan's tricks and gimmicks into our lives through imagery. When, in scripture, did God command us to use a cross as a symbol of our faith? When did He ever allow any sign to be used in place of our real faith? When has it ever been acceptable to God to put on outer appearances and feign faith through them, rather than humbling ourselves, preferring we not be recognized by our outer appearances, but rather by the Christ that shines through us?
We know that God has used symbols, most notably Moses' serpent. But when He does use them, He makes it clear all the details of the symbol; what it is, what it is to be used for, what to do with that symbol, and the duration of its use. As in the case of Moses' serpent, it was created for a one-time use for specific people, as a message of their sinfulness, and was used to heal them physically and to offer them a spiritual lesson. At some point, the serpent became an idol used for worship and King Hezekiah had to destroy it. Doesn't this sound familiar to many things we see in Christianity today? Something that was intended to be a one-time use becomes an idol used in worship? But we have taken it a step further and have come up with our own idols that never even had any Biblical origins, and we prop them up in our homes and in our sanctuaries as though we're somehow honoring God by disobeying His very clear commands to avoid idols.
We Christians have gotten so used to creating our own traditions and rituals that we have forgotten that we are supposed to be doing what God says. How many times, back in the day when He used to take immediate action for disobedience, did God strike people dead for it? Yes, praise God, we live under Grace today. But Grace is not a reason for us to make up our own ways of worshiping God. We must worship Him as He tells us to, not as we choose to. That requirement has not changed and, if scripture is any indication (and it is), it never will change.
Call me a legalist if you'd like. But I think if you're quick to use that term, then you should look up its definition and decide if it really applies to this teaching. Besides, it doesn't matter to me if it is legalism; when God has revealed (not just to me, but to anyone who is awake and paying attention) the severity of Satan's use of symbols and how quickly we wicked humans will pick up on, personalize, use, and share symbols, why would I take a chance with them? I have the Word of God, I have Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit living inside of me, why do I need some external symbol of the God who is right beside me every moment of my life? Do we really need to slap symbols of Christ's execution method all over our churches in order for people to know that it's a building used to worship the One True God? Is not our worship there symbol enough?
And that brings me to the song The Old Rugged Cross. My lips will never sing in worship to Christ's execution symbol! I will not cherish the old rugged cross, I will cherish the one who defeated it! Yes, I know we are called to "take up our cross and follow Christ", but is there one person reading this article who thinks that the statement is literal? Since I think we can all agree that it is not a literal statement, there should be no objection to my refusal to sing a song in admiration to an inanimate object, especially one that no longer holds upon it the savior that now lives in me! But that's a story to be expanded upon in another blog post.
Dear reader, I embarked upon this study, really, against my own will. I, too, am weak when it comes to my idols and symbols. Up until last week, I had a valued bust of Thomas Jefferson in my home. I had been trying, for many months, to convince myself that it's not a "graven image" especially since I didn't worship that bust. And I was sure that the bust was perfectly ok to have in my home. But Christ wasn't having it. He began leading me towards the study of freemasonry and as I dove deeper into that topic, I began to realize that no person who was as high up in freemasonry as was Thomas Jefferson (and most of our other founding fathers) deserves a place of honor in my home. This was a hard lesson to learn because for a very long time I looked to Thomas Jefferson as one of my most favored historical figures. So getting rid of a bust, that I purchased at Thomas Jefferson's home, was something I just couldn't make myself do. So God had to destroy my respect for the man before I could get rid of the image of the man. You see what becoming a respecter of men does to us? When we begin to revere other men, it opens us up to Satan's lies and tricks, which will lead us away from the worship of God alone and into idolatry, with other men as our idols. God's ways is to not be respecters of men. Sure, we can have respect for men, and we should. But we are not to place the respect of any one man, or any group of men, above our respect for all other men. When we start to do that, we start to become blind to their faults and weaknesses and we, again, become prey to Satan's tricks. Satan will use any man's weakness to steer him away from Christ.
So, my friends, I hold firm to my stance concerning idols. And idols don't just come in graven form. They also come in the form of traditions we hold to and men we revere. We need to do away with them, all of them. Otherwise, we set ourselves up to be used by Satan, rather than God.
Please prayerfully consider this teaching. Don't trust anything I have to say, but trust God and seek His face on the matter. Are there idols in your life that you need to turn from? Stay close to God, desire for His truths and Him alone to be your symbol and guide, and He will surely rid you of all your idols, as He's been doing with mine, one by one.
Do you know, if you were to die today, whether or not you'll go to be with Christ after you die? Are you 100% and completely assured of your salvation? If not, please take the time to read this salvation message today. There is nothing more important than giving your life to Christ and securing your place in eternity. I pray the Holy Spirit leads you to a personal relationship with Christ today, and I pray that you follow where the Holy Spirit leads you.