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Lent, Good Friday and Easter
by R. F. Becker
(NOTE: Mr. Becker is a protestant and writes from that perspective. We must admit, however, that the warning he sounds against participation in Roman paganism is, if anything, even more appropriate for Baptists than for protestants. Mr. Becker exhibits more spiritual discernment than the majority of those who would today profess themselves "Baptists." He would seem closer to practicing "the faith once delivered unto the saints" than those modern "Baptists" who join Rome in her abominations.)
"Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen." (Jeremiah 10:2)
"Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken" (Jer. 51:7).
"Come out of her, my people, that ye may not have fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities" (Rev. 18:4, 5).
God has recorded much in His Word of the wicked idolatry of ancient Babylon. Her sins became a dreadful and lasting curse to all nations. And man's history since those days has been affected and polluted by them.
God has also revealed by His Spirit that "Babylon the Great" of Rev. 17 is in very essence that selfsame Babylon of old. And that woman, which the Apostle John saw, with her name on her forehead, arrayed in purple and scarlet and gold, and drunken with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus has long ago been identified as the Roman Catholic Church.
Now the ancient idolatry of Babylon has been the root of nearly every heathen religion. But in every known form of idolatry there has been more or less deviation from the original Chaldee worship. Only in the Roman Catholic Church has the paganism of Babylon of old remained pure.
To realize that this same idolatry of Belshazzar's day is still influencing our lives should make every true believer shudder.
But the thought of Christians joining hand in hand with pagans in supporting and enjoying Babylon's idolatry, now revived in the Roman Catholic Church, ought to make every soul that loves Christ's Name and Blood, shrink in holy horror.
For He who liveth forever and ever has decreed in the verses above that whoever partakes of Babylon's sins shall suffer in Babylon's judgments (Rev. 18:4).
Now that particular part of Rome's Babylonish idolatry about which I wish to speak very plainly is her festivals. For it is in these celebrations and observances that Rome not only so sadly deludes her own superstitious slaves, but she also causes many weak Christians to err and sin grievously against Christ.
Now just a few words to the Protestant Church members:
There are three kinds of people in the professing Church of God. First there are those few who are truly godly, and can always be depended upon to be valiant for Truth. Then there are those professors whose hearts we have great reason to fear are not right before God. These are sure, under whatever test they may be found to turn up on the side of those who oppose the things of the Holy Spirit.
This tract is for neither of these. To the godly saint it is needless. To the empty professor it would he useless.
But there is one more type of person in the Protestant Church, and it is to them especially I address this tract.
It is to the many weak and carnal believers who have unwittingly kept Rome's festivals in their own churches, neither realizing the origin nor the idolatrous nature of them, that I appeal. It is to the weak Christians in pulpit and pew, who would fain please everybody and offend nobody, who forget that they should please God first of all, that I write, hoping this may be a help to them.
This type of believer, though he does seem to have saving faith, yet is a disappointment to the godly. There is something weak about the way these take up with men's traditions. They often appear to be trying to walk as close to the broad road as they can without really being on it. And they are very ingenious in discovering reasons for what they do; reasons which cannot be found in Scripture; reasons which appeal to the flesh.
This weak believer within our Protestant church seems to feel he is under obligation to be present or have a part in his church's celebrations of Babylonish festivals. Having never been taught the truth, he does not realize that in these observances his own church is only aping Rome, and that Christmas and Lent and Easter are pagan to the very core. They never once think that God does not look lightly on idolatry, as many suppose, and they are breaking willfully the greatest of all commandments, to which God's dreadful threatening is attached (Ex. 20:5).
One of the great evils of the early churches of Ephesus and Pergamos was the false teachings of the Nicolaitanes. These declared that it was no sin to engage in idolatry. They also denied that the Father created the universe, yet they still professed to be Christians (Rev. 2:6, 15).
In Smith's Dictionary of the Bible we read: "This sect, like the false prophet of Pethor, united brave words with evil deeds. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts they brought the impurities of those feasts unto the Christian church. All this was done as a part of a system supported by a doctrine accompanied by the boast of prophetic illumination."
Is not this what we see in our churches today at Christmas and Easter?
One of the greatest of all abominations to God is false worship. Romanism is the extreme ultra-development of Satanic subtlety in worship. For she is very Babylon in idolatry under the disguise and name of Christ!
Christian! How then can you take part in her sins? How can you keep the feasts of paganism and join its unholy corruption to the Wonderful Name of Christ?
Now, there may be some who read this who will be disposed to utterly condemn what is written in this tract. Let them consider here the words of the great Dr. Paley: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information; which is proof against all argument, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is 'CONTEMPT prior to EXAMINATION'."
However I am sure that every honest soul will be inclined to search himself and try his ways as he reads on, and if he is guilty of observing paganism will become sorrowful and say to Christ in tears "Is it I?" (Mark 14:19). Only the unsound and unreal resent searching.
The religious festivals of Rome are legion. Our 1950 calendar is crowded with them. And the jubilee year of Pius XII will bring more. Space prohibits dealing with them all here. Let us look only at Christmas, Lent, Good Friday and Easter. And as we look at these Romish festivals that people love so well, let us remember the words of our Saviour: "This people honoreth me with their lips but their heart is FAR from me" (Mark 7:6).
In another booklet, "The Truth About Christmas," I have shown how our Romish Christmas is only a combination of the Catholic "Mass" and the name of Christ. So it will be sufficient to state here that this annual festive season was held in the month Thebeth (our December) in Babylon, long before the birth of Christ, in honor of the birth of Tammuz (Ez. 8:14), the son of Semeramis, the Chaldean queen of heaven. As the Satanic "mystery of iniquity," spoken of by Paul (in II Thess. 2:7) developed in the early church during the third and fourth centuries, the idolatries of this pagan festival were incorporated into the Roman Catholic system, in pretense of honoring Christ's birth.
Let us begin our study of Lent by asking, as many will, If this observance of abstinence is wrong, how did it become so universal? How did it come to occupy so large a space on our calendar?
Why, the Roman Catholic Church put it there during the sixth century! She "borrowed" the 40 days called "Lent" from the worshippers of the Babylonian queen of heaven.
Let not my reader suppose that Lent is observed only in the Roman Church and our anemic Protestant churches today.
In Layard's "Nineveh and Babylon," page 93, we learn that Lent is observed by the Yezidis, devil-worshippers of Koordistan. They inherited this heathen fast fashion from their early Babylonian masters.
In Humboldt's "Mexican Researches," volume 1, page 404, we find how the pagan Mexicans kept a Lent. "Three days after the vernal equinox began a solemn fast of forty days in honor of the sun."
In Landseer's "Sabean Researches," page 112, we are informed how an Egyptian Lent of 40 days was held expressly in honor of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god. So we can see Rome is by no means original in observing her pagan Lent.
Just as on December 25 a great celebration and feast was held in Babylon in honor of the birth of Tammuz so in that same country the 40 days' fast was observed as an important preliminary of the great feast held in commemoration of the death and resurrection of the same idol! And this same Lent was observed in Babylon by alternate weeping and rejoicing, just as Rome today has her poor blind subjects keep holy-weeks by alternate days of joy and sorrow.
Lent was first observed in Assyria and Palestine in the month of June. In Egypt it was the month of May when it was kept. When it finally migrated to Britain this pagan fast was observed in April. It seems to be a most flexible fast suitable for any type of pagan idolatry. For I notice that in 1950 the Roman Lent begins in February!
Rome's method of enveloping Babylon's Lent and incorporating it into her ritual should he noticed. About the year 525, Rome, pursuing her usual policy of absorbing the pagan observances and in order to gain nominal adherents to the church, engineered a new religious merger. Under the shrewd management of the Abbot Dionysus the Little, the pagan Lent was established as a church observance. And so the Church, now controlled from Rome, and fast sinking into every form of corruption, added yet this evil of a "sacred fast" to her list of idolatries. In his manipulations to fit a 40-day Lent into the calendar this same Dionysus caused the approximate date of Christ's birth to be changed four years later than the truth. This change of calendar brought in the grossest corruption and rankest superstition in connection with the abstinence of Lent. It was only the beginning of another form of Roman evil.
An early Christian of Marseilles, writing in the fifth century, said: "It ought to be known that the observance of the 40 days' fast had no existence so long as the primitive church remained pure."
Rome has modernized and streamlined her Lent to fit the present. And the lukewarm so-called Protestants have followed her, as is their habit. In their observance of Lent they only prove how the virus of Jesuit paganism has numbed their sense of sin. Well could our Lord say of the professing Protestants who observe Lent: "Ye do dishonor me" (John 8:49).
Perhaps it is needless to remark about the ordinary individual's observance of Lent. It does not even deserve comment. The world's fast is no fast at all, say nothing of a "sacred fast." One gives up chocolate bars. Another does not eat butter. Another smokes one cigarette per day instead of ten or twenty. Still another refrains from drinking only one glass of beer or wine or whiskey per day!
So sunk in sin is man that by these Romish pagan denials of the flesh, he supposes he is placing himself in God's favor.
Christian, can you take part in such a mockery of God as Lent, which not only brings ignominy upon the name of Christ, but helps to ruin the souls of thousands and thousands? Remember one more fact. The Rome that put Lent on our calendar is that same scarlet woman that has shed the blood of millions of the martyrs of Jesus, and has sent billions of her own slaves out into eternal night believing the LIE. Can you take Rome's bloody hand in yours and join her in observing a pagan season she has stolen from Babylon of old?
What is a fast that brings honor to Christ Listen to Isaiah:
"Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high . . . Is not THIS the last that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? . . . Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the GLORY of the Lord shall be thy rereward" (Isa. 58:4-8).
Here is another Popish holy-day that has caused many weak believers to sin. But we find no authority for its observance in the Bible. Whence all this annual ado and false concern by the ungodly who care naught for a heart cleansed from sin? And why are so many Christians moved into observing Rome's religious delusion? The answer is not hard to detect. "Good Friday" celebrations appeal to the flesh and the emotions. It is NOT the Crucifixion of Christ that interests people in the passion plays and services. It is the Pope's holy-day with its pomp and ceremony, thrilling the senses, that attracts those who are ignorant of Scripture. Jesus said: "Blessed are they that have NOT seen yet have believed."
And is it not sad how Rome's pagan ritual has permeated nearly the whole lump of professing Christendom? No wonder Jeremiah the prophet once said to apostate idolatrous Israel: "Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this"' (Jer. 9:9).
Any thoughtful student unbiased by tradition or men's imagination will have no difficulty in understanding that our Lord Jesus Christ did not die on a Friday. Proof of this fact is in the following verses:
"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be THREE DAYS and THREE NIGIITS in the heart of the earth'' (Matt. 12:40).
"And He began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and AFTER THREE DAYS rise again" (Mark 8:31).
"Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, AFTER THREE DAYS I will rise again" (Matt. 27:63).
"And that He was buried, and that He rose again the THIRD DAY according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:4).
In John 11:9, we read: "Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?" Here our Lord teaches that twelve hours make a day. Therefore in His reckoning a day and a night are exactly 24 hours.
In the Jewish order of time the night preceded the day (Gen. 1:5; Mark 15:33). The night began at 6 o'clock in the evening, ending at 6 o'clock in the morning, when the day began.
Now, from the Scriptures quoted, we conclude one important fact. Christ was in the tomb after His death and before His resurrection three days and three nights, which make 72 hours--no less.
In each of the four Gospel records we read of Mary of Magdala and others coming to the sepulchre to anoint the body of Jesus. If we carefully consider them all, one fact stands out beyond any question. That is, when they came to the grave, Jesus was gone. In Matt. 28 we have the record of the angel rolling away the stone. But this was not to liberate the Lord of Glory. It was only to show the world that He was gone. Sometime before the women witnessed the tomb unsealing our Saviour had come forth from the dead. The angel said: "He is risen, He is not here."
We know that haste was made by those who put Christ in the tomb of Joseph in order to have him buried before the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, which began at 6 o'clock in the evening. And we read in John 19:31 "for that Sabbath was an high day." Now this Sabbath was the Passover Sabbath and did not come on Saturday. The weekly Sabbath or seventh day or Saturday was not called a "high day." But sometimes special feasts among the Jews were called Sabbaths or "high days" even if they did not fall on Saturday. Thus we learn from John 19:31 that Jesus was buried by His sorrowing followers the EVENING before the HIGH DAY Sabbath.
Now Christ could never have been buried on a Friday evening or He would not have risen until Monday evening to fulfill Matt. 12:40 and the others we quoted.
He could not have been entombed on a Thursday evening or He would not have risen until the evening of the first day of the week, or Sunday.
And He could not have risen early Sunday morning either because three days and three nights before that or 72 hours would have been Thursday MORNING, and we know He was buried in the evening.
'Therefore we have only one deduction left if we abide carefully by the Scriptures. Our Lord must have risen at the very end of the THIRD day or about 6 o'clock in the evening. He arose at the end of the weekly Sabbath. He was in the tomb we know during the High Day Passover Sabbath. He was gone when the women came to His grave very early on the first day of the week.
Thus the Crucifixion of the Son of God as recorded in the Bible must have taken place on--Wednesday.
So we find that the very root of all "Good Friday" observances is based on untruth. It is only another Romish invention designed for her profit, which weans men from truth and turns them to fables.
What about the name "Easter?" Like its Mother Babylon the Great (Rev. 17.5) Easter has its name on its forehead. It is not a Christian name. It came from idolatrous Chaldea. Easter is nothing but the name 'Astarte" or "Ishtar," one of the many names of the Babylonian goddess, Semeramis.
As to the name "Easter" being in the King James version of our Bible, we find that the same Greek word which is rendered "Easter" in Acts 12:4 is "Passover" in all other places in the New Testament. In all revised versions the word in Acts 12:4 is "Passover.'' Even in the Catholic Douay Bible the word is "Pasch" meaning "Passover."
In Babylonish worship, Semeramis, the queen of heaven, as Astarte, was symbolized by a dove or the "Mediatrix'' without whose intercession none could ever be born anew. In our day the same pagan blasphemy is taught to Roman Catholics, only the Chaldee Astarte has become "Mary Mediatrix, the Mother of God!" And how little do Catholics themselves realize that in their Easter ceremonies, the madonna they worship as being without sin is only a Roman copy of the Chaldean queen of heaven from wicked Babylon of old!
In the Apostolic days of the true Church the believers remembered the death and resurrection of Christ every day. In Acts 20:7 this remembrance feast of breaking bread and drinking of wine was held on the first day of the week. This remembrance of Christ was kept in obedience to the words of Jesus Himself in Luke 22:18, 19 and Paul's admonition of I Cor. 11:23 to 26. Such was the love of those who had accompanied our Saviour in His ministry, and had seen the end of the Lord (James 5:11) that while they lived, the worshippers in the infant Church allowed no idolatry to corrupt the true honoring of Christ. It was only as the anti-Christ "mystery of iniquity" that Paul spoke of in II Thess. 2 began to slowly unfold itself, that the outlawed pagan observances appeared in the true Church.
Among the early Christians we find no trace of an annual observance of the resurrection of Christ. The festival we read of in church history of the third and fourth centuries was not called "Easter." It was called "Pasch" or "Passover" because it took place at the time of the Jewish feast of that name. It was altogether different than the Roman Catholic Easter in our churches today.
This feast was not of Apostolic origin, yet it was not idolatrous nor was it preceded by a Lent. Until the end of the second century this feast was observed on March 23rd.
Even in Rome itself this "Pasch" festival very slowly took on the form of an idolatrous observance. There seems to be no mention of the word Easter in the annual feast until around 450 A. D. Then the Roman Church in its gradual development of the apostasy, gave the Christian "Pasch" the name of the Babylonian goddess "Astarte." In 519 A. D. it was decreed in the Council of Aurelia that Lent should be kept before "Easter." So the name "Easter" must have been used first to replace the name "Astarte" or "Ishtar" under Rome's manipulation sometime between 450 A. D. and 519 A. D.
And is it not very significant to the thoughtful reader that in the selfsame era--in the year 476--about the time the word "Easter" was first used by the Roman Church, there was also inaugurated in that same Church, the long and evil reign of the "man of sin," the "son of perdition," the "dark ages" of the papal anti-Christ?
It was not until the end of the sixth century, however, that paganism, now rapidly taking on great proportions in the Roman Church, forced the observance of Easter into the calendar.
In Britain this replacing of the Christian Passover with Lent and the worship of Astarte as Easter, met at first with great resistance, since there was a full month difference in the time of the two observances. Only after violence and bloodshed did the papal power cause the worship of Astarte, now called Easter, to displace and then eclipse that which was formerly done to honor Jesus Christ.
Now a few words about the customs of Easter. The hot cross buns as well as the dyed eggs figured in the Chaldean rites of Babylon's worship. Buns were known to have been used in worship of the goddess Easter in the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens. The ancient Druids of the British Isles used eggs in their heathen worship. In the mysteries of Bacchus, celebrated in ancient Athens, one part of their pagan ceremony was to consecrate an egg! In Hindoo paganism eggs of a golden color are used in their celebrations. The Shinto worshipping Japanese have sacred eggs of brazen hue. In China at this hour painted eggs are used in idolatrous festivals. Eggs were used in religious rites of the Egyptians and hung in their heathen temples for mystic purposes.
Before we pass on we ought to consider how an egg became an emblem of our Easter. Many are the tales from the pens of heathen writers but one from Babylon will suffice. Listen to Hyginus, keeper of the Palatine library in Rome in the days of Augustus. He said: "An egg of wondrous size fell down from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank. The doves settled upon it and hatched it and out came Venus, who was afterwards called the Syrian goddess Astarte!"
So much for the ancient Easter eggs. But now in the twentieth century our educated, cultured and refined generation of pagans have improved upon the egg idolatry of Babylon. We have progressed since then! So before our very eyes religious, professing church-going parents brazenly deceive their own little children into believing that rabbits lay colored eggs in beautiful baskets for Easter!
What a dreadful judgment awaits a nation of people, who in the clear light of the blessed Gospel, can annually perpetuate such high handed idolatrous evil.
"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people'' (Prov. 14:34).
"A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jer. 5:30, 31).
This is a day of shallow thinking and shallow profession. And the stream of so-called Christians which is polluted by Rome's festivals is very wide. So well have her doctrines of falsehood developed that most refuse to believe that this leaven from Babylon exists in our midst. But the naked fact remains; Protestants have been so thoroughly drugged by Rome's doctrines and festivals we hardly know our right hand from the left.
Now since the Roman Catholic Church is indeed Babylon the Great of Rev. 17 and her "Virgin Mary" is none other than the Chaldean "Mediatrix," or queen of heaven, how utterly should everyone who loves Christ forsake her festivals, and how forcibly should we condemn them! Jesus Christ preached against false prophets. So did Paul and Peter and John and many others of Christ's own faithful ones, down through the generations till now. Then whence this hush! hush! hands off! policy in so many pulpits today? Why is the True and Living church frightened into silence about these things by the false church? Why do so many pastors in places of responsibility stand so helplessly by while Rome makes of us a generation of pagans with her idolatries?
What shall I say more of this Easter problem? And what shall I say of you who profess the Name of Christ who follow Rome to her shrines of Christmas and Easter? Can you church people, after knowing the way of salvation and righteousness willfully and shamelessly embrace Babylon's idols and fondle her wicked paganism further?
And you timid pastors, why do you fear to warn your flocks against the idolatries of the mother of harlots? Why do you hold out one hand to Rome's heathen festivals while holding the open Bible in the other?
What would Christ say of you? What would the Christian martyrs say--what would the faithful reformers say--what would the Puritan fathers of our country say, if they could be here and see you allowing the faith they fought for and died for to be sacrificed upon the altars of Babylon the Great by their own Protestant heirs, now stupefied by the pomp and glitter of Rome?
The spirit of God said long ago, "Come out of her, My people, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:4).
But weak Christians and lukewarm churches have not come out of Babylon's festivals. Rather they have invited them into the midst of their holy places. They have kept them there. They have loved them well. They have fondled them and embraced them to their bosoms.
Hence, according to God's promise, we have Rome's festival plague upon us. She is daily pouring out her vials of blasphemy around us. Daily a flood of iniquity from the great dragon flows forth. And if the blood-bought Church does not repent of her idolatrous folly, and come out of her sins, who can tell what hour we shall see the hand of the mother of abominations of the earth destroy our church and nation?
"Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the Lord" (Jer. 50:14).
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