Yahweh tells us not to pay attention to the movements of the sun, the moon or the stars, lest we become drawn to worship them, and serve them like the gentiles do.
19 And lest you lift up your eyes unto heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, even all the host of heaven, thou be drawn away and worship them, and serve them, which Yahweh your Elohim has allotted unto all the peoples under the whole heaven.
|(19) וּפֶן תִּשָּׂא עֵינֶיךָ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וְרָאִיתָ אֶת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְאֶת הַיָּרֵחַ וְאֶת הַכּוֹכָבִים כֹּל צְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם וְנִדַּחְתָּ וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתָ לָהֶם וַעֲבַדְתָּם | אֲשֶׁר חָלַק יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֹתָם לְכֹל הָעַמִּים תַּחַת כָּל הַשָּׁמָיִם|
Many believers understand how Deuteronomy 4:19 might prohibit Astrology, the Zodiac, and horoscopes. Fewer believers, however, understand how this verse might prohibit the observance of pagan festival days such as the vernal and autumnal (spring and fall) equinoxes, and the summer and winter solstices. Even fewer understand that Christmas and Easter are also prohibited by Deuteronomy 4:19, since these festival days are ultimately based on the Vernal Equinox (Easter), and on the Winter Solstice (Christmas). They often want to know, “We keep these days in honor of (Yeshua), so how can they be wrong?”
As we explain earlier in this study, and as we also explain in Nazarene Israel, Sunday, Christmas and Easter are all converted pagan sun-worship festivals. These festivals were not taught by Yeshua or practiced by His disciples, but slowly crept their way into the faith during a great ‘falling away’, and were only ‘sanctified’ by the Catholic Church hundreds of years later. Even though the Pope ‘sanctified’ these festivals, the Pope’s authority does not exceed that of Scripture; and the simple fact is that Yahweh never told us to keep these festivals. Instead, Yahweh tells us to keep His festivals: so why would anyone who believes in Yahweh keep Sunday, Christmas or Easter?
In different places, Yahweh tells us that He wants us to keep His festival days forever, in all of our generations.
Shemote (Exodus) 12:14
14 ‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to Yahweh. Throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.
Because the timing of Sunday, Christmas and Easter are not established according to Yahweh’s commands, but instead are established by observing the heavenly bodies, Deuteronomy 4:19 prohibits them. This can at first seem confusing: if a believer intends to honor Yahweh or Yeshua by keeping these festival days, then how is it homage to the sun, the moon and the stars to worship on these days?
Notice that when Aharon (Aaron) initiated the festival with the golden calf, he told the people that the festival was in honor of Yahweh.
Shemote (Exodus) 32:4-10
4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your elohim, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
5 So when Aharon saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aharon made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to Yahweh!”
6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
7 And Yahweh said to Moshe, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your elohim (g-d), O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’
9 And Yahweh said to Moshe, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!
10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
Even though Aharon said that “Tomorrow is a feast to Yahweh”, and even though all the people may have thought that they would be honoring Yahweh with this festival, the simple fact is that Yahweh was not pleased. Yahweh was so furious that the people had made their own festival days that He was prepared to wipe out the children of Israel, and start a new nation out of Moshe.
Yahweh commands us to labor six days in order to do all our work, but then to rest on His Sabbaths.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:3
3 ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a set-apart gathering. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of Yahweh in all your dwellings.
If we believe we are to take Yahweh’s Instructions dead seriously, then it becomes a very important question as to when or why we might choose to deviate from His Instructions, for it identifies our lusts. If we choose to set alternate days apart to Yahweh that are determined by observing the sun, the moon and the stars (rather than by following Yahweh’s words) then in Yahweh’s eyes we are serving the sun, the moon and the stars. This is because Yahweh’s words are not the reason we chose to set these alternate days apart. Therefore, by default it is only our desire to honor the sun, the moon and the stars that caused us to set those days apart.
In Yahweh’s mind, when our forefathers held a festival to the golden calf, they were worshipping the golden calf. This is because Yahweh did not command it. Because this festival did not come from Yahweh, it came only from our forefathers. Yahweh calls this evil.
In another sense, our forefathers were also serving and worshipping Aharon, because he is the one who established that particular day of worship. If we follow this train of logic out, we should be able to see that those who keep the Rabbinical Calendar effectively worship and serve the rabbis who originally created the Rabbinical Calendar; and the same is true for the Roman Gregorian ‘Christian’ Calendar.
If we truly desire to worship and serve Yahweh, then we need to keep only His festival days. If we keep other festival days that do not come from Yahweh, then obviously they come only from within our own hearts.
In Hebrew, the word ‘serve’ comes from the root word ‘Abad’ (or ‘Oved’) (עבד). This word means ‘to work’ or ‘to serve’ in any sense.
OT: 5647 `abad (aw-bad’); a primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication, to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.:
KJV – be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing self,), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper
In Scripture, to serve something is to venerate or even to pay attention to anything in any reverential context. That is, if we modify our behavior based on the motions of the heavenly bodies, then at least in Yahweh’s eyes, we are worshipping and serving them. Now let us stop to consider the size and scope of the ramifications.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Cor.) 13:12
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
The problem is that we limited humans do not always understand when we are venerating (or even paying attention to) something in a way that Yahweh considers reverential. We saw in the last chapter that Satan is so pleased that we would consider ourselves worthy of being celebrated, that He makes one’s own birthday the highest holy day on the Satanic Calendar.
The way Yahweh looks at things, anything that occupies our mental, emotional, physical or spiritual energies is something we serve. That is, if we spend time talking about Astrology instead of talking about Yahweh and Yeshua, then we are serving the sun, the moon and the stars. The same applies to money, gold, diamonds, football, basketball, pizza, home decorating, or even the latest Shakespeare festival. Anything that takes our focus off of Yahweh, and places it onto a thing of the material realm detracts from the service of Yahweh; and therefore it qualifies as service.
The question of what we spend our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical energies on is huge. It touches on the very heart of worship. Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us ask ourselves and be honest: are we spending our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical energies trying to become better servants of the Most High? Or are we doing something else with our time, our money and our energy?
Let us take a good, honest look at our living spaces through Yahweh’s eyes. What is the center of our house? Is Scripture truly the focus of our living room? Are Yahweh’s words really the focus of our family’s daily lives? Are Yahweh’s festivals the time we purchase things for ourselves, and rest? If not, then why not?
If we love Yahweh, and if we fear the Day of Judgment, then let us be honest with ourselves, and face into these issues, so that we can do something about them while it is still day. Because of His great love, our times of past ignorance Yahweh overlooks: but now He commands all men everywhere to repent.
30 Truly, these times of ignorance Elohim overlooked, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent,
31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Let us make no mistake: Yahweh is all-powerful, and He can bestow eternal life upon those who do not know of His festival days: that is up to Him. But what can we say for those who know His Instructions, and who know that His festival days are shadows of prophetic things still to come, but who do not keep or cherish them? If we know what is right, but choose not to do it, is it still reckoned to us for righteousness?
Ya’akov (James) 4:17
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
It is appointed for men to live and die but once, and then comes the Resurrection, and the Judgment. If Yahweh is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and if we know the times and the seasons He has set aside to meet with us, but yet we choose not to meet with Him on those days, will He be pleased?
The Creator’s Calendar is not as easy to keep as some of the other calendar systems of the world, because it asks us to wait on Yahweh, like a servant has to wait upon his master. But when the Creator of the Universe bestows a gift upon his servant, does the wise servant say, “No, I don’t want it”? Does the wise servant say, “It is too hard! Give me something easier”? But isn’t this what we see every day: the same sin our fathers committed in the Wilderness, desiring to go back to a system which, while corrupt and evil, was easier?
Bemidbar (Numbers) 14:1-4
1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.
2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moshe and Aharon, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!
3 Why has Yahweh brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”
4 So they said to one another,”Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”
When we read in Scripture about what our forefathers did in the Wilderness of Sinai, we often ask ourselves, “How could they do that? What were they thinking, with the Column of Fire and Cloud right there? Did they not recognize all of the miracles around them?”
Brothers and sisters, how many miracles are all around us every day that we fail to recognize? And when we do see them, do we remember them from day to day, and give glory to the Most High Elohim of the heavens?
Ivrim (Hebrews) 12:1-2
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Yeshua, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim.
When the Creator of the Universe gives us something, we need to seize it, prize it, and safeguard it with our lives. We need to recognize that its worth is more than life itself, for it comes from the One who has the power to save those who value and treasure it.
We can visit with Yahweh any time, as He is always there. However, seven special times a year, the King of the Universe makes an appointment for us to meet with Him, and He hopes to see us there. If we love Him, then what could be more important than going to meet with Him on those special times when He desires to meet with His bride?
Is there anything more important than going to be with our Beloved on the days that please Him most?