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Biblical Prophecies, Part IV


A Note on the First Subdivision - The First Seven Weeks

The first subdivision, "7 weeks" ended 49 years after the beginning of the prophecy, which would place it about 408 BC. Was there anything that happened about this time? Well, in Nehemiah it states:

    NEHEMIAH 12:22 The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, were recorded chief of the fathers: also the priests, TO THE REIGN OF DARIUS THE PERSIAN.

"Darius the Persian" was, we believe, Darius II, (the son of Artaxerxes) whose reign came to an end in about 406 BC. The Biblical record of the priesthood closes during his reign. And we learn that by this time, the "restoration" of the government and the building of Jerusalem has been completed. Therefore, the first subdivision of the "70 weeks" - the first 49 years - comes to a close.

The prophets ceased at this time, as well. For the first 49 years, Israel was under the good graces of the Persian kings and were able to "build and restore Jerusalem". God arranged this to ensure that Israel would be able to complete its task. But with the closing years of Darius II, the Persian kingdom began to lose its strength and might. The Bible then remains silent as to the Jewish nation from this time until just prior to the birth of Christ.


There is one very important reason why it is important to understand this prophecy, especially today. There are many folks out there who have taken the last "week" or 7 years of this prophecy and placed it in the future. They explain that we still have either 3 1/2 years or 7 years before Christ returns, based on their interpretation of this prophecy. They tell of events which MUST come to pass which require either 3 1/2 years or 7 years BEFORE Christ can return. This causes many people to believe there is much more time still left before His return. But we see nothing in this prophecy that has not reached its fulfillment over 1,900 years ago.

There is a great danger in trying to predict exactly how the unfulfilled prophecies will be fulfilled because IF WE ARE WRONG, we are in grave danger of completely missing the entire event, not recognizing it when it occurs. There is grave danger in trying to predict events which MUST occur BEFORE the Lord comes, because if we believe certain things still have to happen, or certain time periods still have to pass before the second Advent, He may take us quite by surprise. People tend to procrastinate if they think they have plenty of time to get something done. How many of us are living our lives the way we would if we knew Christ would be here tomorrow? NOW is the hour of salvation- NOW is the time to live as if we expected Him any minute. After all, how many people will die tomorrow? or even today? Look at the terrible tragedy which occurred in Oklahoma City- for those people, there is no more time. When Christ returns, He says:

    REVELATION 22:11,12 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly;....

All decisions are final when we die. There is no second chance. Nor will there be a second chance for those alive when He returns.

Every person needs to consider carefully - have we fully dedicated our lives to Him, or do we just make a weak showing of it, thinking that when things start to get rough, we'll become more serious about the matter? If you think about ANYTHING in this newsletter, it needs to be this- what if you should die tomorrow? Are you ready for the Lord to come today? Because Christ, Himself, tells a very somber parable about those who are NOT ready- and the important thing to keep in mind here is that He is talking about THOSE WHO PROFESS TO BE BELIEVERS- He ISN'T talking about non-believers versus believers in this passage.

    MATTHEW 24:44,48-51,25:1-13  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh... But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Don't skip over the Scriptures - READ them, for only THEY have the power of life in them. The point Christ was making is quite evident. The virgins were ALL invited to the marriage. ALL of them EXPECTED to be there. These represent BELIEVERS,- those who profess to be Christians. Yet the "foolish virgins" figured they had plenty of time to get the extra oil that would be needed, just as the "foolish Christians" figure they have plenty of time to prepare for His coming. But just as the "foolish virgins," calling to the Lord for admittance when they found the door shut, were denied entrance, the "foolish Christians" will be met with horrifying words when they call out to the Lord:

    MATTHEW 7:22,23 ...Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity...

    MATTHEW 25:42-46 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? When shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

The average Christian who is experiencing a relatively good life, with a family he loves, doesn't want to face the reality that the time is almost at hand for all things to end, or change, when Christ returns. Therefore, the most popular ministries of the day are those that put many "time prophecies" between our present day and the coming of the Lord, making it appear that we can continue as we are for a number of years at the minimum. Does this reflect the general uncertainty of the events that will take place at the coming of the Lord?

One devoted Christian parent had become convinced that family life would be terminated at His coming; this thought had been presented to him by his pastor in reference to Christ's statement that there will be "no marriage in heaven" (Mat 22:30). This individual, naturally, was less than enthusiastic about an event which would disrupt a loving family relationship and therefore he verbalized his desire that Christ would delay His coming so he could enjoy his young family for a while. He was quite relieved after reading Isaiah 11:6-9.

While family life may be different in Heaven, on the "earth made new" it obviously will involve our young children, building houses and planting vineyards. (Isa 65:21-23). Only a misunderstanding of Scripture can make us reluctant to welcome our Lord. Those we love and we ourselves will finally be freed from the dangers and uncertainties of this mortal life. We are told that if we put family, positions of honor, or possessions in a higher "value status" than Christ (Mat 10:37, Mar 10:17, 21, 22) are not worthy of Him.

While we are to "occupy till I come" (and it is not appropriate that we should sell everything, dawn white robes and wait for Christ's coming on the highest hill top we can find), we should "watch and be ready" and "keep our lamps trimmed and burning". The Bible is full of "object lessons" of what to do and what not to do. Here is one that is appropriate for the subject under discussion:

    ACTS 24:25 And as he [Paul] reasoned of righteousness,... and judgment to come, Felix trembled and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee".

There is no record of Felix calling for Paul or any one else, and he most likely died a lost man, having passed up the best opportunity Divine love and mercy could give him. We can not postpone making things right with our God for any reason; that includes watching for some popular prophetic event to happen and then get "serious."



There is another reference to the Ark of the Covenant in the major prophecies- this time, in Revelation. We will examine this by reading the verse prior to its mention, to establish the time being referred to:

    REVELATION 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

This makes it clear that the time this refers to is just before Christ returns. Now, let's read the next verse:

    REVELATION 11:19 And THE TEMPLE OF GOD WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN, AND THERE WAS SEEN IN HIS TEMPLE THE ARK OF HIS TESTAMENT: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

The "Ark of His Testament" here referred to is NOT the one on earth, but the great original in Heaven. What does this mean? It means that just before Christ returns, His people are figuratively represented as having their attention directed to the true Ark in Heaven.

What is the significance of this "Ark"? Since everything Moses was directed to have made for the earthly tabernacle was made according to the design of those same things in Heaven, we know it represents the throne of God:

    HEBREWS 8:1  We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of THE THRONE OF THE MAJESTY IN THE HEAVENS; 2 A minister of THE SANCTUARY, and of the TRUE TABERNACLE, WHICH THE LORD PITCHED, and not man.... 5 Who serve unto the EXAMPLE AND SHADOW OF HEAVENLY THINGS, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, SEE, SAITH HE, THAT THOU MAKE ALL THINGS ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN SHEWED TO THEE IN THE MOUNT.

What is the importance of God's True Throne in Heaven at this particular time? Beneath His Throne lie the great originals of His Eternal Law, the Ten Commandments, just as the earthly Tables lie beneath His earthly throne, (the Mercy Seat), in the Ark of the Covenant. And it is at this time in earth's history, that many who call themselves "God's people" have decided that His Law is no longer binding upon them. And it is now that His TRUE followers bring to the attention of the world that His Law is the only true standard of righteousness.

    ISAIAH 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

The ONLY time God spoke directly to the people was when He spoke the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20):

    PSALMS 89:34 My covenant will I not break, NOR ALTER THE THING THAT IS GONE OUT OF MY LIPS.

Christ, too, said:

    MATTHEW 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

The Mark of the Beast and God's Law

This is probably the one question we are asked the most- what do we believe will be the mark of the beast? Many theories are out there regarding this, so how do we know what to look for? The good news is that when it arrives, God's people WILL recognize it. But yes, we do have an opinion as to what this will be.

First, we must go to the passage which speaks of this "mark" and learn as much as we can from this:

    REVELATION 13:11-18 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

This study cannot be comprehensive due to lack of space, so we will have to only study basics here. What we have learned is that a "beast" or power, arises which at first appears "lamblike" or docile. However, its true nature will be revealed when the time comes that it "speaks" as a "dragon", which ultimately represents Satan. Now, what could be construed as "speaking as a dragon"? Well, Satan is ruthless and forces himself on us. Christ, on the other hand, allows us freedom of choice. "Speaking as a dragon" is simply forcing man to actions which contradict God's law. This becomes apparent when we read of the "mark of the beast" which forces man to accept laws or dogmas. If man fails to accept this "law or dogma", he cannot buy or sell, and ultimately, he faces death (v 15).

For just a moment consider - some of the theories today about the mark of the beast include the idea that we receive computer chips implanted under our skin, or numbers in a large computer, etc. Back during WW2, many people and children received numbers tattooed on their skin, against their will. Was this something unforgivable by God? The reason this question is asked is because we soon learn in Revelation that only those who do NOT receive the mark of the beast are in Heaven.

    REVELATION 14:9,10 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

If such a law was passed that all mankind had to receive a computer chip or a number, do we believe that is cause to be lost? ONLY if by its acceptance we agree to comply with laws or dogma that contradict God's Law.

Mark of the Beast- In Forehead or Hand

This mark is said to be received on one of two places- either the forehead or the hand. This sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it? It should, because right after God, Himself, spoke the Ten Commandments, the people were instructed about these LAWS:

    DEUTERONOMY 6:7,8 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And THOU SHALT BIND THEM FOR A SIGN UPON THINE HAND, AND THEY SHALL BE AS FRONTLETS BETWEEN THINE EYES.

This command is again repeated in Deuteronomy 11:18.

In symbolic language, to "be a sign upon thine hand," implies the people are to comply with these laws through their actions. "Hand" signifies actions." They are to be as "frontlets between your eyes," or forehead. This implies "belief" and reverence for God's Laws. Not only are the people to comply with His Law, they are to acknowledge in their hearts that it is righteous.

The "mark of the beast" is said to be received "in their hands" or "in their foreheads." The implication is that this mark can be received in two ways. One, by active compliance with the "requirement" of this "mark" while not actually believing it to be right - this is receiving it "in the hand." Those who know that this "mark" is in violation of God's Law, but who accept it to avoid persecution, receive it "in their hand." Those who agree with it in their hearts and minds, even though it is a direct violation of God's Laws, receive it "in their forehead." Either way, they lose their eternal life.

    REVELATION 14:9,10 ...If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation;...

The "Identity" of the Mark of the Beast

It is our belief that the "mark of the beast" is the enforcement of a law which will be a direct violation of one of God's Laws. If this sounds farfetched, let's read about this "beast" whose "image" is formed which produces the "mark of the beast". This "beast" is first spoken of in Daniel:

    DANIEL 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and THINK TO CHANGE TIMES AND LAWS: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

This astounding "beast" thought himself of the authority to change "times and laws". Well, isn't that done every day in governments? Of course, it is. And Christ, Himself said to honor civil authority:

    MATTHEW 22:17-21 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

We are expected to obey civil laws UNLESS they contradict God's Laws. Therefore, this "beast" who thought himself powerful enough to change "times and laws" must be "someone" who thought he could change God's law.

Has this already happened? Yes, it certainly has. We won't state who this was, for it won't be much longer before this will be made quite clear to the entire world. We WILL say that this beast came into full power as a religious power with control over civil affairs in 538 AD. This same beast received the "deadly wound" in 1798.

    REVELATION 13:2-4 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw ONE OF HIS HEADS AS IT WERE WOUNDED TO DEATH; AND HIS DEADLY WOUND WAS HEALED and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

This same beast persecuted the true saints of God, trying to enforce his dogma on them. Paul told us that the end would not occur until this "beast" was revealed:

    2THESSALONIANS 2:3,4  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

This power is symbolically termed a "man" - a "man" who has the nerve to claim he IS God (and therefore has the power to forgive sins). He claims that his "house" is the "temple of God." (Remember, in John's day, church buildings were called "temples" - the congregation was called the "church." Therefore, the term "temple" in no way implies a Jewish temple.)  Every religious leader claims his "house" is the "house of God." Has such a "man" appeared on earth yet?

Certainly. This "man/beast" has been in existence for over 1,400 years. This "man/beast" has claimed the authority to change God's "times and laws," which "he" has done by "official decree." Today, many, many millions of people follow these "times and laws."

But when the time comes that civil authority "makes the image to the beast," or passes laws that agree with "his" version of God's "times and laws," then, those who accept this corrupted version, either by their actions alone, or their actions and belief, receive the mark of the beast. And it is at that time that we believe the Tables of Stone, written by God, Himself, will be brought forth for all the world to see. All mankind will see that God has NOT changed His Laws - WHY would He have allowed Christ to go through such agony if changing His Law was an option?

For hundreds of years, this false version of God's Law has been forced upon men. Many have lost their lives over it. To escape this persecution, many fled to the land which is depicted in Revelation as the lamblike beast with two horns. But, this "power" which once protected the religious freedom of men is said to "speak like a dragon," forming the "image to the beast" which made these changes in God's Laws. Finally, it is this lamblike beast which gives power to the "image." The "mark of the beast" is soon pronounced to be the law of the earth and those who do not accept this "law" cannot "buy nor sell."

This has already occurred on local levels in parts of the world. In the past, those who did not comply with the "beast" were hunted down. Those who turned them in to the authorities were at liberty to take their homes and their belongings. In fact, this was one of the tactics used to locate the "offenders." If the "offenders" did not recant their beliefs and conform to those of the "beast," they were ultimately put to death. Yes, this has already occurred and is fully documented in history books.

Will that happen again? Revelation says that those who refuse the "mark of the beast" will not be able to buy or sell. Yes, it will happen. Will these also suffer death? Maybe there will be a few martyrs- but Revelation speaks of those who are redeemed ALIVE from the earth when Christ returns; therefore, we KNOW that many escape death.


God's Mark also Received by His People

Ezekiel wrote of the same time, only he wrote of those who received GOD'S mark:

    EZEKIEL 9:4-6 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and SET A MARK UPON THE FOREHEADS OF THE MEN THAT SIGH AND THAT CRY FOR ALL THE ABOMINATIONS THAT BE DONE IN THE MIDST thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: SLAY UTTERLY OLD AND YOUNG, both maids, and little children, and women: but COME NOT NEAR ANY MAN UPON WHOM IS THE MARK; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

This was a vision given in symbolism. It hasn't occurred yet and can only be referring to the time when Christ returns for His saints. The wicked receive the "mark of the beast" while the righteous, rejecting this mark, receive "God's mark" or seal. And when the destruction begins, they are not harmed.

Receiving God's "mark," we believe, is the same event as the "sealing of the 144,000":

    REVELATION 7:1-3 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

The "sealing" of God's people occurs when the angels are told to hold back the final strife until God's people are sealed "in their foreheads." No one receives God's mark "in their hand."

Then, we learn that these, God's people, do NOT suffer martyrdom because they are redeemed alive:

    REVELATION 14:1-5 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.... And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. THESE WERE REDEEMED FROM AMONG MEN being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Are the 144,000 Literal Jews?

Revelation is written in prophetic language - some things are literally stated while others are presented in symbolism. God knew what He was doing in revealing these things to man in this manner. We are told that the Scriptures are ONLY understood with the aid of the Holy spirit:

    1CORINTHIANS 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Man also must be firmly grounded in the Scriptures, both of the Old Testament AND the New Testament, for they are ONE BOOK. The types and shadows of the Old Testament tell the story of the Redeemer and His taking away the sins of the world. The New Testament is Christ revealed. Those things which were hidden in types and shadows are clearly revealed.

So, who are the 144,000 who are said to be of the 12 tribes? First, we must take note of the NAMES of those tribes given in Revelation: Juda, Reuben, Gad, Aser, Nepthalim, Manasses, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph, and Benjamin. (See Rev. 7:5-8)

Did you note that Dan is missing, as well as Ephraim? Did you notice that Joseph is included as well as Manassas, one of his sons? It would seem logical that the inclusion of Joseph would cover all of the descendants of his sons. So why was Manasses included and Ephraim NOT included?

This list is NOT according to the original list of tribes. If we are to accept the premise that the 144,000 are literal Jews of descent of the tribes listed, then we are to understand that NO ONE from the tribe of Dan or Ephraim are to be included. This one, you will have to decide for yourself. This is a point that we don't believe to be necessary to understand. Therefore, we will not present our beliefs on the subject. The important things we MUST understand, which concern our salvation, are made clear.

God's Last Message to the Church

In the messages to the "seven churches" in Revelation, which represent the 7 conditions of the church from the time of its beginning with the apostles, until the time when Christ returns, the last message is given to God's people. And it is frightening:

    REVELATION 3:15-21 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I WILL SPEW THEE OUT OF MY MOUTH. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

This message is NOT given to the non-believer.  It is given to the CHURCH!; to those who claim to be God's people.  Does He say, "I'll see you shortly, when I come?"  No, He says we are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Is that true of US? US? We had all better give it a good deal of consideration because IF it IS true of us, we are in grave danger. Just as the remnant of fabric on the bolt is identical to the fabric at the beginning of the bolt, so God's true people will be of the same faith that was given by Christ and the apostles. Has that faith changed?

In the early days of the Christian church, after the time of the apostles, heathen practices crept into the church in an effort to make Christianity more popular with the large number of heathens. Down through the ages, these practices continued to remain, becoming deeply embedded in the minds of the faithful. For example, the word "Easter" never occurs in the original Greek text of the Bible. The word "Easter" was substituted for "Passover" in Acts 12:4. The word actually comes from the name of the goddess, Ishtar or Astarte (called Ashtaroth in the Bible). We recommend that you get the book, "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hislop and learn about some of the corrupt practices which crept in over the years.

But are these things really important? Does God really care how we worship Him? Just remember the description of those who receive God's mark in Ezekiel:

    EZEKIEL 9:4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men THAT SIGH AND THAT CRY FOR ALL THE ABOMINATIONS THAT BE DONE in the midst thereof.



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