The Holiday Paradox

by Richard Billingsley
9/23/2015 (updated 6/2/2018)

As we approach the end of this age, God is moving within the body of Christ to purify His Bride and prepare her for the great and wonderful day of its glorification in the Rapture.  Through many years and generations, He has slowly been bringing the restoration of His plan to our understanding, and we are now becoming mature enough to see the completion of that plan in The Final Restoration and what we must do to prepare ourselves for that day. 

Throughout the Bible says that before the day of the Lord before Jesus can return, there must be a Final Restoration of all things (Acts 3:21).  A restoration that turns the heart of the sons to their fathers and the heart of fathers to their sons before God strikes the land with a curse of judgment.  Jesus warned us about this several times, Peter warned us about it, Paul warned us about it, and John warned us about it in the book of Revelation.  There are a desire and prayer in the body for an awakening in the world, but before the glory can manifest the final restoration must be revealed.  A revelation of God’s heart for His people, to bring them into perfect alignment with His will and word so the outpouring of His glory can be without limit.  But is the Church ready to live for God at that level?  Are the children ready to let go of the old and embrace all that God has for them?  Are the children willing to let go of their “Traditions of Men” and cling ONLY to the ways of their father so that the father can turn to the children to pour out His glory?  If we are the people of God, should it not be our greatest desire to do the things that please God?  Our heart’s desire should be to seek first God’s ways of doing things and bring those things into our lives.  If it is not part of God’s love for us or connected to the ways of this world, our desire should be to throw off those traditions and pursue the ways God has given us (Matt 6:33, Col 3:1-5). 

This love requires a change in lifestyle.  A change in the way we live before God.  It must take place in our hearts toward God and the way He wants us to live.  It is more than repentance; it is returning to the heart of Him who created us.  This turning means more than a restoration between fathers and children.  It is a deep heartfelt drive and desire to live according to Gods precepts.  The fathers and sons here are more than a literal interpretation.  It is speaking of turning the heart of the Old Testament (the fathers) to the heart of the New Testament (the children) and restoring the heart of the New Testament to the heart of the Old Testament.  It is about turning the heart of the Jews (the fathers) to the heart of the children (the Christians) and turning the heart of the children (the Christians) to the fathers (the Jews).  And this turning is going to come only through the sincere prayers of the children, not for an outpouring of glory, but for the revelation of the Final Restoration in the hearts and lives of His children so that God can release His glory and Jesus can return.  This revelation is not just hearing about The Final Restoration.  It is not just saying “amen” to The Final Restoration.  It is changing our hearts and our lives in LOVE to line up with our Father’s heart and our willingness to change our ways to align with His way of doing things.  We have lived in His LOVE as the children of God, it is now time for us to stand up, and throw off childish indulgences and take on the full responsibilities as mature sons and daughters of God. 

For those who are coming to understand the truth of this revelation, there has been noticeable disruption, discussion, and debate about certain holidays and if we as Christians should cling to these traditions.  The challenge is that these traditions are so strong within the Church that many Christians are not even interested in learning what the scriptures have to say about these things and claim there is nothing wrong with doing these things.  Most Christians today could care less about these things, but they are showing their ignorance of the word of God, His Holiness and His desire for His people to be holy before Him regarding these topics.  God in no way is attempting to remove the joy we have during these holidays, In fact, He wants to make things even better, with more joy and more blessing than we have ever experienced before.  He wants us to enjoy this holiday season.  He wants us to enjoy it His way, which is much better than the world’s way.  But to experience that joy we must let go of the things in this world because the very thing we think we are enjoying is what is blocking the blessings of God in our lives.  I have already mentioned some of these issues, their origins and how they were adopted into the traditions of the Church’s history in the teaching: “The Final Restoration.” This teaching is a companion to that teaching and focuses specifically on these issues. 

It should be crystal clear that these things have nothing to do with placing ourselves under the demand of the law.  They have everything to do with our heart toward God and just how much we LOVE Him.  We are not under the demanding law, but we are under Grace, which should lead us into the LOVE of Jesus Christ and that LOVE should draw us to become more like Him.  That LOVE empowers us to be imitators of Christ, and in that LOVE we will seek to be holy even as He is holy and in doing that we fulfill the law of God in our own lives just as Christ also became the fulfillment of the law when He died on the cross.  Christ did not abolish the law; he fulfilled the law and removed the “curse” caused by the law.  What Christ did in Himself was to pay the penalty of the law through His shed blood, in the same way as the blood sacrifices of the Old Covenant covered their sins.  But the perfection of Christ as a sacrifice paid the price so there is no further need for annual sacrifices and we are covered once and for all by the blood of Christ.  Therefore, because of His LOVE for us, we bow our knee in submission to Him and give ourselves to the father in LOVE and desire to be holy before him by doing the things that please Him.  Because we LOVE Him, we want to be like Him, and we follow Him through the examples given to us within scriptures.  Not to obey for the sake of being found sinless in ourselves, but by being made righteous through His blood, we do so to please Him in thanksgiving for what He has done for us.  Because of these things, it is important to be aware that there is nothing in these holidays that we as Christians should fear.  There is also nothing in these holidays that should attract us either, as the root of both holidays is firmly established in the world and not the ways of God.  As God has called us to separate ourselves from the ways of this world our heart’s desire to do those things that please Him. 

There is one important point I want you to be aware.  Of those whom I have heard attempting to build a justification that there is nothing wrong with Christians celebrating “Christmas” with a Christmas Tree or “Easter” with its eggs and Easter Bunnies, the most obvious error I have seen is that none of them ever used any scriptural evidence to support their point of view.  All their arguments are built upon man’s reasoning and historical point of view and have nothing regarding scriptural guidance on what God has to say about these things in the Bible.  There may be some who try to use scripture to support such a perspective, but I would question the context of those scriptures about how we use them.  They will attempt to pull imagery out of the Bible talking about the Tree of Life and the cross being a tree, but this is taking scripture out of context to justify carnal desires, not lifting God in the context of the scriptures.  I say this because throughout the Bible God has always called us to be a holy people and to separate ourselves from the things in this world and to be focused only on Him.  To worship Him the way He wants to be worshiped through His chosen feasts and celebrations, and not corrupting them with the traditions of this world.  It also says that if we love the things of this world the love of the Father is not in us and we have created a point of division between ourselves and God, building a barrier to His blessings.  This verse is not saying that God does not love those individuals, it means those individuals have not placed their love for God first place in their hearts.  If God were in first place in their lives, they would seek to fulfill the commandments of God in their lives (James 4:4-10, 1 John 2:15-17, Romans 12:2).  Those who see nothing wrong with doing these things have no idea why they think this way, not knowing the history or the scriptures concerning these things and they are not looking at this issue from God’s perspective.  They are looking at this from a carnal perspective and is rooted in the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life (John 2:16).  This attitude couldn’t be further from the truth we find in the Bible and reflects more of 1 John 2:15 that they love the things of this world more than the love of the Father and the desire to please Him.

Have you become offended by what I have said so far? 

Then don’t stop reading, because you are challenging your “Traditions of men” and are about to discover that there is strong scriptural evidence for these things in the Bible. 

The Christmas Paradox

For those who have not read the teaching, “The Final Restoration,” let me go back and highlight several important points in that teaching.  The origins of the Christian faith took a very dramatic shift in the fourth century when Constantine, the Emperor of Rome supposedly had a vision of a cross in the sky and was told he should conquer through this symbol, which is what he did.  What is considered by many to be his conversion to Christianity, but it was through him that the introduction of pagan practices, found entrance into and quickly became a stronghold in the church, which happened after the Constantine signed a proclamation declaring that ALL the citizens of Rome would become Christian at the beginning of a certain day.  Because there was no true conversion of these people, they brought with them all the beliefs and practices of their pagan religions and created a NEW Christian church based not upon the Bible, but upon the lusts of their flesh and their desire to control the people.  This new church bowed to the demands of the pagan beliefs rather than obeying the commandments of the Bible. 

Up until this point, Christians of the early church celebrated the same holidays and festivals of the Jews and suffered for it, because it was not part of the ways of the world.  This new Christian church responded by the expulsion of anything having to do with the Jews which included all the Festivals of the Lord and the renaming Festivals like the Passover (the Day of Resurrection) to Easter.  It also moved the celebration of Christ’s birth from the Festival of Tabernacles in September to December 25 renaming it as Christmas, which was the birthday of many of their pagan gods. 

Long before Abraham received the promised land, which would later become known as Israel, many other tribes and kingdoms inhabited that land, and it was the wicked practices of those kingdoms which caused God to give it over to the Jews for their kingdom.  Among those kingdoms existed one pagan deity known as Asherah who would be equivalent to the nature worshipers of today.  They exalted the things of nature over man to the point that they would decorate trees as places of worship and their followers would bring gifts and place them under the tree and then enjoy a time of celebration, which often included prostitution and orgies.  When it was not practical to have a green tree, a pole would erected for the same purpose.  Over time these practices evolved to the point where these trees moved to the yards and houses of the followers.  These same practices came into this New Christian church.  But what does the Bible have to say about this?  For a clear understanding of what this scripture says here is the same verse from three different translations. 

Deu 16:21-22 (NKJV)
“You shall not plant for yourself any tree, as a wooden image, near the altar which you build for yourself to the Lord your God.  22 You shall not set up a sacred pillar, which the Lord your God hates. 

Deu 16:21-22 (ESV)
“You shall not plant any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the Lord your God that you shall make.  22 And you shall not set up a pillar, which the Lord your God hates. 

Deu 16:21-22 (BBE)
Let no holy tree of any sort be planted by the altar of the Lord your God which you will make.  22 You are not to put up stone pillars, for they are hated by the Lord your God. 

Other scriptures echo this commandment throughout the Bible.  One has but to look for them.  The word “holy” here means to set something apart for a special purpose.  When someone takes a tree, sets it up in their house and decorates it, they are in fact making it holy.  Then to make sure Jesus isn’t forgotten they set up a Nativity or manger scene nearby or even under the tree.  Does that sound anything like the verses we just read?  Man hasn’t changed since the fall, but God knows what we are going to do and gives us plenty of instruction on how we should worship in His word.  Here is another scripture in light of the above. 

Deu 21:23 KJV
His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. 

and repeated in

Gal 3:13 KJV
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

A tree is a tree is a tree until it is set apart for a special purpose, then it becomes holy.  From these scriptures, we can clearly pick up on the fact that God has a very intense hatred of trees when used as holy objects.  So, when we bring our focus back to our present-day Christmas tree with a tiny manger scene, near or under the tree.  Both the tree and the manger scene have been set apart for a special reason.  Regardless of what we think, they are both holy.  But holy unto whom?  Our present carnal thinking is that the tree is there to give honor to God.  But the scriptures tell us God hates those holy or sanctified trees.  But we can’t stop there. 

There is another aspect working here that is also very important, and that is the glory of these things.  The word “glory” means something that has weight, in presence, influence, importance, and value.  The more glory something has, the more we value it.  The more God values it.  So, consider this.  Our Christmas tree is 5′ tall, decorated and very pretty.  The Nativity is 5″ tall, simple and is sitting under the Christmas tree.  Both of these items are holy, but which of these two items has the greater glory? 

Now when we take something that is both holy and has glory we have, regardless of our intentions, created a place of worship, we have created an altar in our home or lives.  Christ was crucified on a tree and cursed by that tree, which was set aside (made holy) for that purpose.  God cursed the tree so that the sacrifice of Jesus’ death would receive more glory in His shed blood and He cursed the Asherah tree because He is not willing to share His glory with a false god.  Therefore, in setting up a Christmas tree thinking we are setting it up to honor God, we have instead degraded God and Christ through the tree and instead exalting Asherah over Christ by giving her more honor, glory, and presence in our house as a place of worship than we do the Nativity.  Given this little bit of insight into what God thinks about trees and his altars, what do you think His opinion would be regarding setting up a Christmas tree?  If you value or look forward to setting up your Christmas tree each year what value of honor and glory are you giving it over your consecration and dedication to following Jesus Christ? 

Some may think things have changed in the Church and its okay.  But the Bible says that God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  So how can God go against His word and accept a Christmas tree after it is cursed?  And how can we who are children of God desire such things when we LOVE God and want to please Him?  Until now we have done these things out of ignorance, we were deceived and didn’t know any better.  But now that The Final Restoration has come we must become mature sons and daughters doing the things of God and not cling to the things of this world. 

However, we can’t stop there, because there is much more we have to learn.  When Constantine, the Emperor of Rome issued the edict that all the citizen of the Roman Empire were now Christians the process of transformation of Christianity began, which was more pagan than Christian.  During this process the Jews became outcasts as the Anti-Semitism accused them of killing Jesus, ignoring the fact that it was the Romans who carried out the crucifixion and rejecting anything having to do with Judaism, even though that was the origin of Christianity.  Before this time the Christians and Jews celebrated all the Festivals of the Lord together, but this new Christianity wanted nothing to do with anything connected to the Jews and rejected the Festivals God established for his children. 

Instead of embracing the LOVE of Christ and teachings of God, this new Christianity took pagan traditions and renamed them with Christian terms while keeping the pagan ideology intact.  Resulting in the celebration of Jesus’ birth moved to December 25th, which was the birthday of the Roman god Saturn (in Greek Mythology Cronus) and renamed it Christmas and the Asherah tree renamed a Christmas Tree.  Now if we understand by scriptures that God is a jealous God and is not willing to share His glory with anyone else, do you think He would cause Jesus to be born on the same day as one of these pagan gods?  I don’t think so.  If there were ever one day in all of human history that God would never allow Christ to be born on, it would be December 25th.  Because doing so, He would be sharing His glory with every other pagan god who has declared that day as their birthday.  These things were clearly labeled as sin in the Bible but became acceptable in this new Christian church. 

According to the Bible, when Jesus was born, shepherds were out in the fields that night guarding their sheep when the angel appeared and told them of Jesus’ birth that night (Luke 2:8-18).  If Jesus had been born on December 25th, the shepherds would not be out in the fields in the cold of winter.  No, Jesus’ birth happened while it was still warm enough for the shepherds to be out in hills at night.  When God established the Festivals of the Lord, they were designed to be a rehearsal for something that would happen in the future according to God’s timing.  The birth of Jesus was very important, and hidden in that event is in the Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot), which happens around the time of September, not December. 

The church fathers of this new religion cared very little what the Bible had to say.  In fact, the Bible has chained it to the pulpit and forbade the common man to read it, just so the church could gain the power to control the lives of the people.  They created a religion that looked like Christianity on the outside but was full of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, which subjugated its people rather than lead them in the truth of the word of God.  They had a form of godliness but denied the power of God, and it was this transformation that took the church and the world into what we call the Dark Ages. 

Even while all these things were going on God has always had a remnant who clung to the truth of His teaching and lived in faith and love in holiness before the Lord.  Then about 1000 years later a monk in Germany named Martin Luther received revelation within the word that stood against the traditions of the church.  What he started began a reformation (restoration) of the truth.  This reformation which began is still going on, and God is continuing to bring to our restoration, a clearer understanding of His word even up until the Final Restoration mentioned in Acts 3:21, which will open the door for His return. 

Throughout all these restorations the Lord has brought us to the place of receiving His grace through faith through which we receive our salvation, and that stirs within us the LOVE of Christ to cleanse ourselves of those things which are not of God, to become truly holy even as He is holy.  We pursue these things not because we must, but because we want to because we LOVE Him and want to be just like Him.  Which brings us to search through the scriptures to gain an understanding of the nature of God and the desire to cleanse ourselves of anything that defiles us because of the traditions of men and that includes the Christmas tree and Christmas day. 

So, what does God’s word say about this?  There are many scriptures in the Bible teaching us not to do these things, but they can all be wrapped up in one verse.

Deut.  12:2-4 (NLT)
“When you drive out the nations that live there, you must destroy all the places where they worship their gods—high on the mountains, up on the hills, and under every green tree.  3 Break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars.  Burn their Asherah poles and cut down their carved idolsCompletely erase the names of their gods! 4 “Do not worship the Lord your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. 

Wow! Did you see that?  God just told us to erase the “names” of those gods completely and never worship the way they did.  No memory, no hint, no glimmer of anything that would reflect those pagan deities.  We were commanded to erase everything connected to Easter and Christmas, which is a form of the Asherah pole.  But are we willing to obey the commandments of the Lord or are our traditions more important? 

There are a lot of people who are arguing and claiming that we need to put “Christ” back in Christmas.  Unfortunately, they don’t know the scriptures, the history or origin of these holidays.  We are free people in Christ and if one wants to enjoy this time of the year, then go ahead.  But don’t attribute any part of this holiday as Christian.  Jesus Christ has nothing to do with the Christmas of this world. 

Christmas is not, nor ever has been a true “Christian” holiday. 

I’ll talk more about this later, but here is an alternative to the Christmas tree.  To the best of our knowledge Jesus was born sometime around the time of the Festival of Tabernacles.  God has always been precisely on time in relation to special events happening during His festivals.  It should be expected that Jesus’ birth would happen during Sukkot and probably on either the first day or the last day of Sukkot.  For Christians this is the true time to celebrate His birthday.  Therefore, instead of setting up a Christmas tree, set up a Tabernacle with a Nativity and put your presents before baby Jesus.  You will be worshiping and honoring Christ, teaching your children about Jesus and leaving Asherah, her trees and the world out of it.  If you want, leave the tabernacle up until the New Year and enjoy the holiday season.  Not just Christmas, but the Festival of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot) and even Hanukkah.  As Christians we should consider Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot as our holidays because we are of the family of God.  Therefore, we do the things of God, the way God established them, not the world and God has given us several festivals to celebrate as our holidays.  We should cling to those with our hearts focused on God.  The other holidays can be enjoyed; enjoy the music, the singing, the parties, the shows and the movies and wish people a Merry Christmas, just keep the Christmas tree, its related frills, and December 25th out of the picture in your family because we celebrate God’s way not the world’s way.  Our focus and heart is on Jesus and His birth, not the tree of a pagan goddess.  The joy of this season doesn’t change, but our focus does.  We leave behind the paganism of this world and its day of focus and center our focus on the true birth of Jesus in Sukkot.  The Christians Christmas is Sukkot and the true celebration of Jesus’ birth as God ordained it and established it in His word. 

The Easter Paradox

How would you feel if every year on your birthday everybody told you “Happy Birthday, Kelly,” when you’re a guy named Jack?  That is how we are treating Jesus on the day of His Resurrection when we say: “Happy Easter.” The paradox here is if there are any valid reasons to celebrate this holiday.  Is it an acceptable practice before God and Jesus to call the Resurrection of Christ, “Easter?” Let’s look at the history, reasoning, and scriptures about these things? 

We have already seen how these traditions were transformed into traditions of the Church until they are now blindly accepted.  But these are not just any traditions, these are “Traditions of Men,” because no one can find any scripture to support their existence, while at the same time numerous scriptures exist commanding us not to do them. 

For those who find no problem in doing these things they often take symbolism out of the scriptures and out of context to justify their point of view.  What they are trying to do is sidestep or dodge the bullet of the commandments of God to justify something that would satisfy their desire to enjoy the lusts of this world, instead of simply doing those things God asks us to do in His word.  One of the reasons they use is to say there has never been a direct associated with the pagan deity “Easter,” but came from the month of EASTRE.  What they fail to realize is that all the names of all the months and all the names of the days of the week originated from pagan deities.  Easter was at the time of the spring festival which was a time to plant the crops and carry out mating of their animals.  The goddess Easter or Eastre (however, one wants to spell it) dates back to Babylon.  Among those stories is one where Easter descended to earth in a giant egg and when she emerged transformed a bird into an egg laying rabbit.  She is known as the goddess of fertility and abundance.  She is celebrated and worshiped in the spring in hopes for abundant crops and healthy reproduction of their livestock.  Some of these celebrations were extremely wicked, including such things as public orgies and priests impregnating temple virgins who would birth in December.  They would sacrifice those babies on Easter and eggs would be dipped in their blood and given as gifts to the worshipers. 

Before the proclamation by Constantine, the Church celebrated the Festival of the Passover and Resurrection near the same time as the Spring Festival of Easter.  After the proclamation, this new church did not want anything to do with the Festival of Passover because it was a Jewish.  They refused to recognize the rich revelation found in the Passover that reveals the sacrifice that Christ made for our salvation.  Instead, they pushed it out of the way and proclaimed that Easter was the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. 

The second claim of those who see no problem with Easter as a day of celebration of Christ’s resurrection claim that Christianity overpowered or defeated this pagan holiday and reformed it as a Christian holiday for Christ and it now represents the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.  But did this happen?  If this were true why is there nothing in this holiday festival other than the words that “it represents Christ’s resurrection?” Everywhere one goes we see Easter Bunnies (a symbol of abundance) and Easter Eggs (a symbol of fertility).  There is nothing in these things that truly represent the resurrection of Christ. 

It is both sad and funny at the same time, but the worship of the goddess Easter is still very much alive in every aspect of our culture today.  We no longer worship her with idols of gold and silver, today we celebrate and worship her with chocolate bunnies and candy eggs and bring our offerings to her in Easter baskets. 

We have replaced the cross of Christ with a bunny and an egg.  If Easter truly were a Christian holiday, we would be celebrating with chocolate lambs and candy crosses.  For these things would at least bring to our minds the sacrifice of Christ.  Bunnies and eggs do nothing to promote Christ’s sacrifice because there is nothing in them of Christ and that is why the world loves them.  Easter has the same pattern of carnal thinking mentioned above in “The Christmas Paradox.”  Read ‘The Final Restoration‘ to learn more about that subject.  It wasn’t the Christians who had victory over the goddess Easter; it was the goddess Easter who won the victory over the minds of the Christians and has kept them in darkness to this day. 

Another claim from those who accept these things believe that these names may have had some connection to pagan worship, but Christians have changed their meaning.  When we talk about church on Sunday, we don’t worry about the fact that Sunday was the day of worship of the sun god.  So, why should we be concerned over the use of the word Easter?  Again, these opinions err not knowing the Bible or the nature of God.  We may have to live in this world, but we are not supposed to take part in it.  We are to have nothing to do with the things of this world, and that includes using their words to represent Christian celebrations.  Remember Deut 12:2-4 above and what it said.  That still applies today.  We are not supposed to conquer pagan religions and adopt them into our lives; we are to wipe them out, where there is no memory of them.  What has happened instead is these pagan practices have wiped out our understanding of how God would like us to worship and replaced them with pagan traditions.  All the days of the week and the months derive their origins from pagan gods.  But God never gave names to any of the days of the weeks or months.  He always referred to them as the 1st day or 7th days of the week, or the 1st or last month of the year.  It was the Jews when they were in rebellion to God that the Jewish months received the names of pagan gods.  All of these excuses in an attempt to accept and consider the use of Easter as part of Christian celebration have nothing to do with God’s Word as to how we should live. 

The Call to Holiness

If we belong to God, then we are to be like God and pursue His way of doing things, not create excuses or opinions of how or why we have adopted the ways of the world.  What is important is not what the meaning of these words may mean to us today, but what does the Word of God say about these things.  Those who speak from man’s perspective are giving “Man’s” point of view, not God’s point of view. 

Now for those who are scoffing and still living in the “that’s under the law” deception, please listen! Christ’s death was to free us from the judgment of sin and death that is in the “curse” of the law that required sacrifices every year.  When Jesus died for us, he did not remove the law; He gave himself as a perfect sacrifice to fulfill the demands of the law, paying the required price in his perfection and through that destroyed the “curse” of the law.  He provided a more excellent way for us to keep the law, by living in His LOVE.  When we truly LOVE Christ, we are motivated to live our lives the way He wants us to.  Not to think we are so free that we can make up our ideology about how Christians conquered something in this world and claimed it as our own so we could carry on the same carnal celebrations in the same manners as the pagans we conquered.  What form of insanity is that?  There is nothing in the Bible that teaches that form of ideology.  Instead, it warns us that if we do love the things of this world, we will be judged and suffer in the world.  That is not what we want.  God destroyed the Jews as an example to us not to do those things, but many Christians have yet to learn that lesson.  Can we think that we are any better than they are when we do the same things they did and it as an example of God’s jealousy for those whom He loves? 

Mat 22:37-40 (NLT)
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  ‘ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.  39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  ‘ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

God is the same yesterday, today and forever; Deut.  12:2-4 and Deut 16:21-22 is as valid today as it was when He gave it. 

Always remember this.  When the world accepts something, it should sound the alarm to the Christian’s that there IS something wrong with it.  The fact that the world loves the holidays of Easter and Christmas should be enough for Christians to realize that they have been duped or deceived into believing a lie.  When someone tries to set up a Nativity in a public place, there are screams and cry’s to remove it.  When someone sets up a Christmas tree, no one cares.  Why?  It is because Christmas belongs to the world, not Christians.  Just try to get the world to embrace the holiday of the Festival of Passover.  It will never happen because it points to Jesus, something the world hates.  The holidays of Easter and Christmas don’t point to Jesus; they point to the Easter bunny and Santa Clause giving gifts.  That’s what the world sees, and that is what the world loves.  Trying to put Christ into Christmas is a waste of time, and it is not something that is important to God.  He wants us to LOVE Him and do the things that please Him, and that means celebrating His festivals. 

Just because we have lost the connection with the meaning and origin of something is no excuse to say there is nothing wrong with it, because our carnal nature will deceive us and is at enmity with God.  We must look only to what God says about these things in His word.  The carnal nature of man has a sinister habit of taking minor truths and twisting them creating enormous traditions out of them.  These become “Traditions of Men,” because they lack the power of God to enable freedom.  These “Traditions of Men” act like insidious little creatures that burrow deep into our heart and soul to hide from being discovered, but at the same time, they exert a strong influence over our lives.  They feed on our faith making us weak and unable to resist their influence and if they are ever exposed they release a poison of strong emotional and sometimes violent reaction.  To protect their existence and hiding place, they try to redirect our attention to other things.  Always be watchful for such things, because if we ever allow a belief that corrupts the Word of God to take hold in our lives, we have set that belief as a master in our lives and have become slaves to that belief.  (Rom 6:16)

What most do not realize is that in the Bible the patterns of worship are set and proven throughout history.  When someone lifted up in celebration or when we bow down before someone or something connected to that person or deity are worshiping.  Additionally, Satan is a very legalistic individual and claims every act of idolatry as his own and smiles with delight when he can get Christians to do it.  When we use the name “Easter” out of context to represent the resurrection of Jesus, Satan lifts his finger and says, “Point of order, God.  Easter is one of my deities per original definitions of deity, and I claim that worship as mine.” And because it is a legal precedent and claim, God must give it to him.  Doing these things does not have to be an act of our will.  Most of us do these things because we don’t understand spiritual principles.  Therefore:

Every time we say “Happy Easter,” we are worshiping Easter. 
Every time we celebrate with an “Easter Service” we are worshiping Easter. 
Every time we enjoy a chocolate bunny or candy egg as part of an “Easter” celebration we are worshiping Easter. 
Every time we go on an “Easter” egg hunt we are worshiping Easter. 
Every time we fill our home or church with “Easter” eggs or “Easter” bunnies we are worshiping Easter. 
Doing anything like an “Easter celebration” is worshiping Easter, not Jesus. 

Every time we set up a Christmas tree we are worshiping “Asherah.”
Every time we decorate a Christmas tree we are worshiping “Asherah.”
Every time we bend over to put a present under a Christmas tree we are worshiping “Asherah.”
Every time we gather around the Christmas tree to exchange those gifts we are worshiping “Asherah.”

Don’t believe me.  Study the history of how pagans conducted worship and celebrations.  They are still doing it today, and the world is embracing these same things.  The Bible has some of it, but to understand it one must study other sources also.  We may be singing songs to God and hear a sermon about the price Jesus paid in giving His life.   But when it is under the banner of “Easter,” a portion is that worship goes to Easter, and blocks the blessing God wants to pour out into our lives.  God is not going to share his glory with anyone, especially a pagan god.  Therefore, we miss out on God’s blessings.

My prayer now is that those “Traditions of Men” are broken, and you are feeling lighter because the burden of those traditions is lifting out of your life.

As we prepare for the return of Christ to take us we must cast off these Traditions of Men and renew our minds to be holy and separated for the Lord so when He does come; we are without spot or blemish.  I cannot stress the importance of this enough.  The last days are going to be full of such corruption of the word of God, but those prepared will be holy before God and display the glory of God.  Those who ignore these things and indulge the passions of the flesh will regret these things and suffer loss. 

God titled the book: Tell Them to Prepare – The Final Restoration for these reasons.  The Lord called me to bring The Final Restoration, and it is not something I do with pleasure, but obedience.  I know a lot of Christians enjoy these things, but at the same time, the Lord has restored our understanding of His word to the point that most mature Christians understand the danger that allowing even the smallest opening for Satan can block the power of God flowing in our lives.  God wants His Glory flowing through us in these last days leading up to the Rapture so that we can display the full power of Christ in our lives, but if we play with things like this we are leaving that door open and allowing our garments to become spotted and wrinkled.  And if we ignore that, then we may find ourselves left behind. 

I am sure someone reading this is thinking about Colossians 2:16, 17

Colossians 2:16, 17
16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.  17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come.  And Christ himself is that reality. 

Saying that we should not allow anyone to condemn us in how we celebrate our holy days.  Well, that is not exactly what that verse is saying, but it is true we should not allow condemnation into our lives.  But don’t stop reading because Paul continues this discussion saying (through chapter 3) that we have died with Christ and have been set free from the rules of this world and Col 3:5 says not to worship the things in this world. 

Colossians 3:1-5
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.  3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.  4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.  5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.  Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires.  Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world

That washes away all those carnal justifications that we think it’s okay.  Since God raised us to new life with Christ; we are to set our sights on heavenly things and leave the things of this world behind.  So, while there is no condemnation, we are also not to cling to the Idolatrous practices in this world.  God has given us a way to celebrate in His kingdom.  We should be craving to celebrate the way God has given us. 

The True Celebration

The early Christians celebrated the same Festivals of Lord that the Jews did.  They followed the commandments of God to honor Him the way He desires.  And in doing that discovered an abundance of blessing and revelation that pointed to Jesus our Messiah.  They were partaking of the importance of what Christ did for us in His sacrifice and resurrection.  It should be the goal of every Christian and their families to at the very least partake in the Passover Seder meal each year.  This meal has many wonderful experiences and insights that everyone in the family should participate.  At best we should be celebrating all the Festivals and leaving behind the worldly things of Christmas and Easter. 

Those who try to justify the acceptance of Easter, attempt to use children claiming that the kids enjoy it and that may be true, but it does nothing to teach them about Christ.  The Festival of Passover includes children to both enjoy and learn.  At the beginning of the Festival, the father is to pick a young lamb and bring it into the house for the entire week.  During that week the children play with and fall in love with the lamb, but at the end of that week the lamb is killed and roasted over the fire.  It may break the children’s hearts, but it teaches them the love and sacrifice that Christ has for them.  It is then during the Seder meal that they learn why the Lamb of God gave his life with many wonderful symbolic examples. 

Some may claim that we as Christians have Communion and that is correct, and I am among those who believe that Christians should partake of Communion every day as an important part of our daily life with Christ.  But what many do not realize is that the Communion came out of the Seder meal and that there are four cups of communion.  And each one has a very important purpose and meaning to our Christian life, with the fourth cup representing the return of Christ.  Do you remember when Christ said that He would not drink it again until His return?  (Matt.  26:29, Mark 14:25, Luke 22:18).  Christians have been robbed, losing some of the most wonderful and precious celebrations of Christ because we have allowed the world to trick us into worshiping a tree and a bunny and letting go of the Festivals of the Lord.  Nowhere in the Bible does God ever call these the Festivals of the Jews, they are always called Festivals of the Lord.  The Festivals are for ALL His children, not just the Jews and when He returns every nation will celebrate His Festivals, and those who restore these festivals in the church and family now will receive a special blessing.  The Festivals are the greatest celebrations that the Christians can partake in because it contains many blessings that we have missed out on, In fact, Christians celebrating the Festivals is part of the Christians making the Jews jealous, because we celebrate these Festivals with understanding and they do it out of duty not understanding what they are doing. 

As I have mentioned previously, instead of a Christmas tree, wreaths, etc., Christians should set up a Tabernacle with a Nativity during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and place your gifts before the baby Jesus.  Then if they want to, leave it up until the end of the year.  But avoid if possible a Christmas tree as that is something that has been cursed by God (Deut 16:21).  However, don’t feel condemned because others want a Christmas tree, because they have not come to the understanding you have learned.  Doing this may not be possible, and if it is necessary to set up a Christmas tree, this is how to do it.  Setup the Tabernacle and Nativity on one side of the room and the Christmas tree on the other side of the room.  Do your best to make the Tabernacle and manger more prominent than the Christmas tree (IE.  at least as large as the tree, if not larger).  Encourage everyone to place their gifts at the manger as we are worshiping Jesus, not Asherah.  Over time those attitudes toward the Christmas tree will fade, and the Tabernacle will become more popular.  Churches should do the same thing if they feel it is necessary but should again stress the importance of the Tabernacle and Nativity over the Christmas tree and if possible keep it in the background, but above everything else avoid putting the Christmas tree next to the Nativity (see Deut 16:21-22 above).  Enjoy the holiday season, all of them but don’t focus on just Christmas or December 25th.  I would also avoid giving gifts out on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.  The best time for distributing gifts is the last day of Sukkot, but if that is not practical for families that don’t fully understand, do it during Hanukkah.  These holidays focus on the miracles of God, not the birth of some pagan god or goddess. 

As for Easter, forget about any reference, relationship or items that have any connection with the word “Easter.” Instead, focus this time of the year experiencing as much of the Festival of Passover as you can.  At the very least try to experience a Seder meal and include the children.  Children will learn and adopt these things faster than adults. 

Before Jesus Christ can return, there must be a Final Restoration of all things, and this includes how we worship.  The heart of the fathers must turn to the children, and the heart of the children must turn to the fathers.  What this means is that both the old and new testament must come back into unity with each other.  Both the Jews and the Christians.  As the time of Christ’s return draws near those of us who want the most out of our relationship with Jesus must seek the holiness of the Lord in our life.  We must cast off the things of this world and cling to the things of God that are found in His word only.  We must turn our back on the things of this world while it celebrates its Christmas and Easter and focuses our celebration on Jesus and the blessings we gain through the Festivals of the Lord.  Regardless of how we feel about it, the last days is going to bring sharp division between peoples.  There will be a division between the ways of this world and the ways of God, and there will be a division within the Church between those who want to worship God as the world does and those who want to worship God the way God wants us in His word.  It is a decision every Christian is going to have to make, and it is a decision that will decide if we join Jesus in the Rapture or are left behind as the story in Matthew 25:1-13 and echoed in many other scriptures as well.  The ten were all virgins, meaning they were all saved.  But five were foolish and unprepared when their master came and was left behind because of that decision and when they cried out it was too late as the door was locked. 

Pray always and while you pray, pray that God would bring the revelation of ” The Final Restoration” into the Church to purify it, which will open the door for the outpouring of the glory of God and God’s LOVE in these last days, celebrating the way God asked us to celebrate.  For it is this Final Restoration that will open the door for Jesus to return. 

Live in God’s Love!

Richard Billingsley

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