How Do We Worship God

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Worship is an act of reverence and adoration with a sense of awe. A worshipper is an humble servant of the one being worshipped. Does it really matter how we worship God? God told the Israelites how not to worship Him in Deuteronomy.

When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Deuteronomy 12:29-32

The Israelites were attracted to the religions and rituals of their neighboring nations. Time and time again, they were found worshipping pagan gods and practicing pagan methods of worship. Time and time again, they were punished for their obstinacy.

Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth. He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east: and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a Loud voice, yet will I not hear them. Ezekiel 8:12-18

Why will He not hear them? Speaking of the nation of Israel under King Solomon, I Kings 11:33 says,

Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

Like people today, the ancient Israelites worshipped a diversity of gods with various beliefs, traditions, and rituals. As mentioned in the previous texts, two of their favorite deities were the god, Tammuz, and the goddess, Ashtoreth. These two were known throughout the ancient world by various names. Tammuz was also known as Dumuzzi, Baal, Osiris, and Adonis. Ashtoreth was known as Astarte, Astar, Ishtar, Isis, and Aphrodite. Today we would call her mother earth or mother nature. These religions were all concerned with nature.

Life, for people of the ancient world, depended on the continuity and predictability of the cycles of nature. Modern man takes for granted the control these powers hold over our survival. We live by the paycheck and trust that the super center will supply whatever we need. The ancients were farmers and hunters totally reliant on the whims of nature. Therefore, their gods and their religions evolved out of their dependence on the powers of nature.

The god, Tammuz, and the goddess, Ishtar, are depicted as the personification of the powers of nature. Their myth is told in relation to the changing of the seasons. Tammuz was the sun god and the god of vegetation. He brought life to the plant world in spring and summer. In the fall of the year, around the end of October, Tammuz would die. Ezekiel 8:14 states,“there sat women weeping for Tammuz.” Plants and vegetation died. Leaves fell from the trees as if they were dead. Ishtar was the moon goddess and goddess of fertility. Soon after the death of Tammuz, Ishtar descended into the underworld to search for Tammuz, her lost lover. Having found him, they would return together in spring, and life would be renewed. Ezekiel 8:16 says,“about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.”

The ancients held religious holy days or holidays to commemorate these events. They lamented the death of Tammuz in the fall of the year. The trappings of our modern Halloween evolved from ancient rituals deploring the death of Tammuz.
His return was anticipated in the dead of winter. They chose the winter solstice, near the end of December, for this holiday. From this point, the days gradually become longer until spring finally arrives. Anything that remained green year round was brought indoors to adorn the temples and homes, a reminder that life would return in spring.

The long winter was climaxed by a celebration of spring. Ishtar had found her lost lover. The people faced the east and worshipped Tammuz, the sun god, as he was resurrected over the eastern horizon.
God called these practices abomination. Yet, to this day, we continue to practice these same holidays with many of the same traditions and symbols. We have symbols of death on Halloween, the greenery of Christmas with baubles decorating evergreens to symbolize fruit, and symbols of fertility on Easter. Rabbits, being prolific breeders, and eggs were common fertility symbols.

Easter has not evolved far from Ishtar, the virgin mother goddess of Babylon. Our word, for the direction east, comes from Easter. Many churches today have sunrise service on Easter Sunday. The congregation gathers outdoors, facing the east, to watch the sunrise.

There are many stories in the Bible recounting the idolatry of the Israelites. Has Christianity followed in their footsteps? Deuteronomy 12:30-31 says, “How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God.” How did Christianity come to adopt the trappings and traditions of pagan nature worship?

Easter always falls on Sunday, or the day of the sun god. For Easter Sunday, we might as well say Ishtar Sun Day. For the resurrection of the Son of God, we might as well say the resurrection of the sun god. For the virgin mother of the Son of God, we might as well say the virgin mother goddess.

The Bible never commands us to worship God by any of these methods. On the contrary, it forbids us! All of these things predated the birth of Christ by thousands of years. These pagan rituals have been practiced annually and perpetually since the days when the earth began to be repopulated after the flood. Rather than converting pagans to Christ, Christianity became perverted by paganism. The people were allowed to keep their religious traditions. They replaced the names of their gods with the name of Christ.

For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Psalm 96:4-5

…, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. I Corinthians 8:4-6

There is one unfortunate misuse of the word Easter in the King James Bible located in Acts 12:4. The Greek word, pascha, from which Easter was translated, was rendered passover in every other instance. The Passover is the holy day which Jesus and His twelve disciples were celebrating at the last supper. It is the only holiday that Jesus commanded us to celebrate in remembrance of Him.

And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof; until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took of the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. Luke 22:15-20

From that day on, when they celebrated the passover, they were to remember that Jesus is the passover lamb. Not being Jewish, I have never personally observed passover. I remember him daily. Symbolic rituals do not impress God. If you want to impress God, give Him your life. How do you worship God? Worship Him with your Life.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23-24

The Origin of Christmas

The Christian church began to veer off course in the very first century after it’s birth. Jesus warned us that this would happen and the apostles Paul and Peter reported the beginnings of it in some of their epistles.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Matthew 24:4-5

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. I Corinthians 1:10

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-9

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. II Peter 2:1

Prior to Constantine the Great, martyrdom and persecution were the order of the day for Christians in the Roman world. Those who were not killed or imprisoned were forced into hiding. Only those who had capitulated to the will of the state would be tolerated and assimilated into Roman society.

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