Modern worship and its teachings over the centuries have gotten so far away from what is taught and practiced in the pages of the Bible that many fundamental doctrines have been entirely skewed, and most churchgoers do not even know it. We challenge you to take a look for yourself and compare what you think the Scriptures teach with what is clearly laid out in the Word and observed by the true worshiper. Prepare to be amazed, if not shocked.
I grew up in a large church denomination. I took for granted that its teachings were the same as the Bible’s until the day I was challenged to prove what I had been taught. I was stunned. I could not support from the Scriptures much of what I had believed all my life. I found one contradiction after another. Bewilderment led to frustration. The more I investigated the more incredulous I became.
Why didn’t I look into this before? The minister’s explanations for the many inconsistencies left me only more baffled. He could not give me any sound, Bible-supported answers to my many questions. Much of his validation came from calcified tradition and that was not acceptable, as even the Bible itself demands proof for teachings. I needed to know what the Scriptures said because they were my true guide, not ancient church doctrine. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved unto Elohim, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The Truths I Was Never Told
Acceptance of the facts I discovered would transform my basic understanding of the Word, opening my blind eyes and bringing me to proper worship. This quest for Bible-based knowledge was nothing less than exhilarating! The more I dug into the Word the more the Scriptures began to make sense. I was blown over by the harmony in the Word. Yahweh’s ordained worship is a continuum from Genesis through Revelation. By stripping away unsupported and erroneous doctrines and observances, I found that the more error I tossed out the more insight I was given. I would realize to my total shock that countless popular beliefs and teachings have no backing in the Scriptures!
Here is some of what I discovered:
- I had searched for answers as to why I was worshiping on the first day of the week when the Fourth Commandment clearly teaches that the seventh day is the Sabbath. I was told the day of worship was changed in the New Testament with the Savior’s resurrection on the first day of the week. My minister explained that although the seventh day is really the scriptural Sabbath, I must observe Sunday as the “Lord’s day.” Yet, I found no New Testament support for such a change and nothing about a change in the Sabbath because of a resurrection day.
Instead, I read that our Savior observed the seventh day Himself and so did His followers. His apostles, including Paul and Peter, James and John, continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath and met for worship on the seventh day of the week long after the Messiah was resurrected. If His resurrection permanently changed the day of worship, then why didn’t the apostles ever switch THEIR Sabbath worship over to Sunday? I wondered. To my surprise, I learned that the Savior’s resurrection was not on Sunday morning anyway, but had taken place just before sunset on Saturday—exactly three days and nights from the time He was laid in the tomb, just as He promised in Matthew 12:40 as the one signature proof of His Messiahship.
- Why did my church celebrate worldly holidays that were nowhere in the Bible, while ignoring the commanded annual Feast days repeatedly taught in Old and New testaments and celebrated all through the pages of Scripture? Who authorized these changes, I wondered. I could not get a satisfactory answer. The minister said, “Just accept it on faith,” and yet 1Thessalonians 5:21 told me to “prove all things” and hold fast to what is right. I could not accept what I could not support from the Bible.
- I also wanted to know why I had been taught that the Old Testament had no relevance today, even though it was the very Bible used by the Messiah, His disciples, and all the early New Testament believers. In fact, it was the only Bible they had because the New Testament had not yet been written or codified. That would not happen for decades. If the New Testament had changed the worship of the Old Testament, then my Savior and His immediate disciples all worshiped in error because they still honored Old Testament teachings. If the Old Testament was my Savior’s teaching text, why shouldn’t it be my Scriptures as well? Was I not to do exactly what the Messiah did and follow His teachings? Is He not my judge? (2Timothy 4:1)
- For some mystifying reason I was never told that my Heavenly Father has a personal name, Yahweh, and that He expected me to call Him by that Name and not by common, generic titles. Once the blinders came off my eyes I found hundreds of references to His Name in both Testaments, along with many clear admonishments that I was to honor and use His Name. I found the short form of the Father’s Name Yahweh (“Yah”) in many notable Bible names like IsaYah, JeremiYah, Yahel (Joel) and even in the word common term HalleluYah (which in Hebrew means “Praise Yah”). I had found the short form of His Name (Yah) in Psalm 68:4 of the King James Version. And even more astounding, His Name exists almost 7,000 times in the Hebrew text from which the the Old Testament is translated! Yet, no one in the church ever said a thing about it. In light of these facts I was stunned by the universal silence when it came to His revealed, personal Name.
- Also puzzling was the fact that the Savior was born of Hebrew parents, yet He is called by a Latinized-Greek name today. What was the Son’s original and true name, I wondered? I needed to find out and then begin calling Him by His legitimate Name, the only Name given for salvation, Acts 4:12. Once I learned the correct Name of the Savior, Yahshua, I had a new appreciation for His statement that He came in His Father’s Name (John 5:43), that the Father’s Name was in His own (Exodus 23:21), and that His Name reflected salvation. None of which had made any sense with the incorrect Greek name He is typically known by.
I spent years looking for answers to these and other basic questions. Surely somewhere people were faithful to the Word in all things and I needed to find them. The Messiah Yahshua had said that the gates of the grave would not prevail against the true Body of believers, meaning there would always be a remnant group carrying on the original faith and worship taught in the Bible, Matthew 16:18. It would not be a large, prominent denomination because the Messiah had said to His faithful, “Fear not LITTLE flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom,” Luke 12:32. He also taught that the way of truth was narrow and few would find it, Matthew 7:14. The universal blindness I saw in the world of faith now made sense. I realized that I had to walk in all the light I was being given. My newfound understanding was refreshing and exciting. Being blessed with this incredible knowledge, I soon realized that I was responsible to follow what I was learning. I was grateful that after much diligent study and effort I found the answers I had long searched for.
Life’s Instruction Manual Goes Unread
Millions like me have been led astray by man-made teachings lacking Scriptural support. Only a way of worship well-defined in the Scriptures is acceptable. The Bible is Yahweh’s manual for His creation. The 16th verse of 2Timothy 3 says that all Scripture is given by “inspiration,” meaning it is “Yahweh breathed.” The Scriptures we hold in our hands originated as the very breath of Yahweh’s mouth, revealing His own mind and nature as they were transmitted through the power of the Holy Spirit to the writer. If any belief, custom or tradition is not in the Bible then it is not authorized by Yahweh and therefore is not “Yahweh breathed.” It originates somewhere else.
No wonder that the Bereans in Acts 17:11 were praised as noble worshipers when they “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” These enlightened truth-seekers knew that that they had to confirm by Scripture whatever was taught them, or else their worship would be meaningless.
As Yahweh’s Word, the Scriptures are the authority for all doctrine. Man has not been given special permission to invent his own teachings or to follow beliefs outside the Bible. No church was granted the authority to deviate from the Word or add its own traditions. Yet, that is just what has been going on for 2,000 years through a vast assortment of dogmas that are nowhere supported in the Word. Almighty Yahweh punished ancient Israel repeatedly for turning away from Him and taking up the beliefs and customs of the pagans around them. He thundered, “Learn not the way of the heathen” in Jeremiah 10:2. To my shock I discovered that many church teachings began as compromises with heathen beliefs and practices. It is this unholy blending that is at the root of many major church doctrines today.
Immortality of Man?
A universal belief among the religious and the pagan alike is that man has an immortal soul. The concept of immortality didn’t come from Scripture, however, but from Greek philosophers like Plato and Socrates. It ultimately spawned from ancient gnostic and Babylonian beliefs. The Bible clearly says, “The soul that sins, it shall die”— not live forever lounging on wispy clouds in heavenly bliss, Ezekiel 18:4. Paul told Timothy that only the Father Yahweh has immortality (1Tim. 6:16). Immortality will be granted only to those found worthy at the resurrection (1Cor. 15:22-23). The propensity to live forever is not a built-in part of man’s soul. Nowhere in the Bible are the words “immortal” and “soul” found together in the text.
So where do the faithful spend eternity? Regardless of what is heard at funerals, the Bible nowhere promises a heavenly paradise to unbelievers or even to the righteous. The Messiah Yahshua plainly said no man has ascended to heaven, John 3:13, and He inspired John to write that the faithful at the resurrection will reign on earth, not in heaven, Revelation 5:10. The Apostle Peter said that not even King David has gone to heaven, Acts 2:34. The Apostle Paul taught that the saints and patriarchs of old are still dead, awaiting the resurrection and their reward, Hebrews 11:13, which will be a position of priest on earth.
Sacred Name Replaced with Generic Titles
Yahweh never gave anyone, not even the church, the authority to replace His Name with generic titles like God and Lord. First and foremost we must know Whom it is we worship. We are told to honor and call on His revealed Name Yahweh in such passages as Psalm 66:2, 4; Romans 9:17, and Hebrews 2:12. His Name Yahweh is found Almost 7,000 times in the Old Testament Hebrew manuscripts, but not once in 30 years did I ever hear His personal Name spoken in any church service, Bible study, or conversation with the minister. How incredible that the most important and holy Name in all the universe has been universally covered up and ignored—replaced by common labels.
Words communicate thoughts, names identify. And in Hebrew, names both distinguish as well as convey meaning. Deliberately concealing His Name and using substitutes is identity theft. It is a crime against the Heavenly Father that He said will not go unpunished. I learned that translators covertly suppressed His Name by exchanging it for titles in our English Bibles. But now some modern English versions have properly restored the sacred Name in the text, including our Restoration Study Bible.
How translators could hide Yahweh’s Name for thousands of year even when it is found 6,823 times in the ancient manuscripts was beyond explanation. That the most important Name in the universe had been hidden away from His own worshipers is reprehensible to Yahweh Almighty Himself. He thunders in Malachi 2:2, “If you will not hear, and if you will not lay [it] to heart, to give glory unto my name, says Yahweh of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay [it] to heart.”
From Sabbath to Sunday
Neither Yahweh nor His Son Yahshua ever authorized changing worship to the first day of the week. That change was finalized by the church Council of Nicaea two and a half centuries after the Apostles, without any Scriptural authority.
The Messiah Yahshua kept and taught the seventh-day Sabbath along with His disciples even after He was resurrected, Luke 13:10. He cautioned in His end-time prophecy about the days ahead of us to pray that you won’t need to flee on the Sabbath, Matthew 24:20. He considered the Sabbath consecrated and still in effect even in the last days of man’s rule. The Apostle Paul observed the proper Sabbath along with Jews and Gentiles long after the resurrection, Acts 13:42-44. Paul wrote in the New Testament that Sabbath rest is still in full force and effect for Yahweh’s people, Hebrews 4:9.
And most revealing of all is that the seventh-day Sabbath will continue to be observed on into the coming Kingdom, according to Isaiah 66:23.
If a Sabbath change were authorized in the Scriptures, it would have become effective immediately, as did other Levitical laws like animal sacrifices. But the switch from seventh-day worship to Sunday was gradual, proving the Sabbath was still legitimate.
The early faith resisted the move to change it, even as church fathers of the Roman church pushed for the switch. This fact alone should speak volumes about the lack of validity of Sunday worship. Justin Martyr, writing in the 2nd century in his Dialogue with Trypho (12:3), rejected the need to keep a literal seventh-day Sabbath, arguing instead that “the new law requires you to keep the Sabbath constantly.”
This is the same argument many use today, saying they keep every day a sabbath, which clearly violates the Fourth Commandment to “work six days and rest the seventh.” Besides, there was never such a “new law” given in the New Testament but only one made by man. Lutheran historian Augustus Neander states with candor, “The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance” (History of the Christian Religion and Church, vol. 1, page 186).
Augustine of Hippo followed the early patristic writers in spiritualizing away the Sabbath commandment, reducing it to an eschatological rest rather than observance of a literal day (Sabbath and Sunday in the Medieval Church in the West, Bauckham, R.J., 1982). Even in the fifth century the eastern Roman Empire was still carrying on Sabbath worship. Sozomen (Ecclesiastical History, book VII), referencing Socrates Scholasticus, wrote, “Assemblies are not held in all churches on the same time or manner. The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria.” The switchover to Sunday was not complete even by the early Middle Ages. The folks knew that the seventh-day Sabbath was a commandment, Leviticus 23:3.
Biblical Holidays Strangely Ignored
Today’s major worldly holidays observed by the church, like Christmas and Easter, are nonexistent in the Scriptures. Such man-made celebrations lack any command, requirement, or sanction in the Bible.
I soon saw that, other than the weekly Sabbath, the only observances commanded are seven annual appointed times (called moedim in the Hebrew) first given to Israel and also kept by the Savior, His disciples, the apostles, and others in the New Testament. His commanded Feasts will even be honored in the Kingdom as the centerpiece of Yahweh’s yearly calendar that will be administrated universe-wide in His holy realm. His appointed days are therefore still in effect and obligatory today.
Learning of the great design and purpose of these days, I asked myself, why am I not keeping them right now? If they were so important that the Savior Himself kept them and taught them to others, why are they neglected by nearly every modern church and denomination? The minister would sometimes talk about Pentecost, one of the Old Testament Feast days prominent in Acts 2, but we never did anything special to observe it, like properly treating it as a Sabbath as it should have been (Leviticus 23:21).
All the Bible’s commanded observances have been dropped or replaced. They are not hard to find, being listed in detail in Leviticus 23 and other places and observed by true believers in the New Testament, including the Savior. Yahweh even says, “These are my Feasts,” not just feasts for Israel or Judaism. Regardless of His clear commands, we never once honored them. They were never even mentioned.
Clearly, the statutes and laws of the Old Testament are still in effect, and will be the standard by which Yahweh will judge the lives of mankind, Revelation 20:12. He said that His laws are forever, and they were not nailed to a cross, Psalm 119:160. What were abolished were man-made laws and decrees, Colossians 2:14. Yahweh never likes it when man usurps His authority by creating his own worship.
King Solomon summed up his advice about living by what Yahweh commands in His Word in Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear Yahweh and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” The Messiah Yahshua in John 14:15 admonished, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” But we in the church never paid any attention to what He taught about obedience.
Another eye-opener was that so many church customs and practices came right out of ancient mystery religion. Their practices were absorbed to ease the transition for converts from foreign lands and non-Biblical religions to come into the church, regardless of Yahweh’s clear command to stay far away from rituals and practices of heathens, Jeremiah 10. The following are some of the more obvious heathen gifts bequeathed to and taken up in churchianity.
Historians do not shy from the fact that Christmas was an invention of the Roman church, designed to compete with the heathen Roman feast of Saturnalia, the biggest bash of the Roman year, which honored the deity Saturn at the winter solstice December 17-23. Before the 4th century, December 25th was best known as the birthday of the Persian hero and sun-god, Mithra. Mithraism arose in the Mediterranean world at the same time as Christianity, either imported from Iran or as a new religion that borrowed the name Mithra from the Persians.
The return of the Invincible Sun at the winter solstice has been celebrated by many cultures. Mithra bore remarkable similarity to the Biblical Messiah. The Mithraic feast was celebrated to commemorate his birth, just as Christmas was to Yahshua. Shepherds watched his miraculous birth and hurried to greet him with the first fruits of their flocks and their harvests. In time the cult of Mithra spread all over the Roman empire.
In 274 CE the Roman emperor Valerian declared December 25th the birthday of Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun. Great feasts were held and presents were exchanged – especially earthen figurines called sigillaria and candles, which became a symbol of the holiday and represented the return of the sun. People decorated their houses and themselves with greenery and garlands. Sunday was kept holy in honour of Mithra. December 25 was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun,
Even before this, the roots of Christmas had reached down thousands of years to Nimrod, founder of ancient, pagan Babylon. Forefather of Mithras, Nimrod began a counterfeit religion in the Book of Genesis that was to compete with the true Faith of the Bible. The Bible refers to it as the religion of Mystery Babylon — the mother of false religion that will be destroyed when the Savior Yahshua comes to set up His throne on earth, Revelation 18.
Babylon’s false worship is found universally today in nearly all religions, including Bible-professing ones. After Nimrod’s death Semiramis, Nimrod’s mother-wife, declared that Nimrod was a god. She claimed that she saw a full-grown evergreen tree spring out of the roots of a dead tree stump, symbolizing the springing forth of Nimrod brought back to life. On the anniversary of his rebirth (at the winter solstice, December 25), she proclaimed that Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts under it. (For an in-depth look at this subject read our booklet: December 25, Birthday of the Sun, which is also on our site at YRM.org .)
Easter – A Deity Gets Morphed
Historically, Easter is the celebration of the ancient queen of heaven, Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. Her beau was the Babylonian Tammuz (Greek Adonis). She is the same goddess worshiped throughout the Near East and Mediterranean worlds almost from the beginning of recorded history. She was variously known as Inanna, Innin, Astarte, Ashtar, the Greek Aphrodite, and the Roman Venus. “Her presence was thought to guarantee fertility, and in her absence the land, humans, and animals could not reproduce,” Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.
Only in one place is the word Easter found in the Bible −Acts 12:4 in the King James Version. It is a mistranslation of the Greek word Pasch or Passover. Throughout the years man has deviated from the original Passover observance and added rites and rituals from ancient mystery worship, which are quite evident in the modern Easter celebration.
Its nonexistence in any Biblical manuscripts shows that Easter was never a part of New Testament worship. This fact has not escaped even secular sources. The New Werner Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannicasays, “There is no trace of the cele-bration of Easter as a Christian festival in the New Testament or in the writings of the apostolic fathers,” vol. VII, p. 531.
Easter is a total repackaging and completely unauthorized replacement of the Passover. The Britannica adds this eye-opening statement: “The name Easter (German Ostern) like the names of the days of the week, is a survival from the old Teutonic mythology. According to Bede, it is derived from Eostre or Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, to whom the month answering to our April, and called Eostur-monath, was dedicated” (11th edition). (For an in-depth look at this subject see our booklet Easter—the Fertility of It All, or read it online at YRM.org.)
Three in One — It Doesn’t Add Up
Belief in a triune deity is timeworn, tracing back to ancient mystery worship. “Will anyone after this say that the Roman Catholic Church must still be called Christian, because it holds the doctrine of the Trinity? So did the pagan Babylonians, so did the Egyptians, so do the Hindoos at this hour, in the very sense in which Rome does” (The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop).
A belief few ever stop to question is, why is the Trinity doctrine tightly held by most of Christendom, even used as a test doctrine, when it is entirely missing from the Bible’s pages? Jay P. Green’s Classic Bible Dictionary says about the word Trinity, “This is not itself a Biblical term, but was a term coined by Tertullian to refer to this whole concept under one word.” The historian Will Durant adds this revealing explanation, “Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it… From Egypt came the ideas of a divine Trinity” (The Story of Civilization, vol. III).
If the Trinity were a pure Biblical teaching and key test doctrine, why did it take so long to develop into the form we find it today? Why the centuries-long debate, squabbling, contention and infighting over the notion of a three-in-one majesty? Shouldn’t a straightforward Bible teaching be clear and concise and easy to understand as are other teachings of Yahweh are? The whole concept of a Trinity emerged only after many centuries of heated disagreement and disputing: “The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies…By the end of the 4th century…the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Trinity”).
Yahshua the Messiah maintained that he was not co-equal with the Father, but was in subjection to His Father. In saying that, He affirmed that He was not Yahweh’s peer. In fact, He was His Son! “You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). One cannot be equal with another if the other is greater. Yahshua said that no man can come to Him unless the Father first draws him, John 6:44, revealing a supreme hierarchy that is not co-equal in authority.
The Apostle Paul clearly disputes equality among the Yahweh family in 1Timothy 6:16. Describing the Father he wrote, “Who only has immortality…” Only Yahweh the Father is innately immortal. His post-resurrection statement took into account the risen Messiah as well as the mortal, earthly Savior.
The nameless Holy Spirit is not another person but the very power of Yahweh by which He accomplishes His acts. In the Hebrew spirit is ruach, and in Greek, pneuma. Both words mean power like wind or breath. It was the inbreathing of this power that gave life to Adam and all life on the earth, Genesis 2:7. No mention is ever made to praying to or honoring the Holy Spirit. (For an in-depth look at this subject see our booklet, The Trinity – Fact or Fiction? or read it on our Website.)
The Missing Rapture Teaching
We are nowhere told in the inspired Word to expect to be snatched away to heaven to watch our unbelieving loved ones suffer unspeakably and die excruciating deaths during the worst-ever disasters and conflagration prophesied to engulf this planet. Like the word trinity, the word rapture never appears in the Scriptures.
Scripture confirms that Yahshua’s coming will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:29-31), at which time He will raise His chosen who have been obedient to His laws to meet Him in the clouds (1Thess. 4:17) and all will then go to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4). His resurrected chosen will reign on earth, not in heaven (Rev. 5:10, 20:6).
Today’s pre-tribulation rapture teaching was first popularized by John Nelson Darby in 1827 and was later put into the Scofield Reference Bible (1909). Until that time the notion of a rapture preceding the Second Coming of the Messiah was not church teaching.
The rapture doctrine is an attempt to avoid the inevitable trials prophesided to befall this planet. Man always wants to make the way broad and effortless. It is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 30:10: “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.”
The rapture teaching is completely foreign to Scripture and runs counter to many passages that show believers going through the coming tribulation. A key lesson in Scripture is that the Believer must overcome pain, trials, and tribulation to enter the Kingdom, not seek an escape from them. (For an in-depth look at this subject see our booklet, Are You Counting on a Coming Rapture? or read it online.)
The Borrowed Cross — An Ancient Symbol of Life
The Messiah’s death was not on a cross, as popularly believed, but on an upright pole with wrists nailed overhead. This is clear from the words translated “cross.” They are the Greek stauros andxulon, and specify a simple stake or pole without a crosspiece. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says, “Stauros denotes, primarily, an upright pole or stake.” John 3:14 tells us He was lifted up at His impalement in the same way Moses lifted up the serpent on a pole in Numbers 21:9.
The origins of the cross can be traced back to Egypt and even earlier to Babylon. In Egypt it was known as the “ankh” (key of the Nile). It was an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of life and sexual fertility and literally signifies “eternal life.” The sign of the cross was used as a sacred symbol in various forms by nonChristians. In Babylon the cross was used as a symbol of the heathen god Tammuz. Also, the symbol of the cross was used among Aryan civilization as a representation of mystical light of the pagan gods or sacred fire and even the sun, which gave life.
In the Encyclopaedia Britannica we read, “In the Egyptian churches the cross was a pagan symbol of life borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner” (11th edition, vol. 14, p. 273).
Again Alexander Hislop writes in The Two Babylons, “This Pagan symbol … the Tau, the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah … the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) and Egyptians – the true original form of the letter T the initial of the name of Tammuz … the Babylonian cross was the recognized emblem of Tammuz,” pp. 197-205.
History records that Constantine claims to have seen a vision of a bright cross of light emblazoned against the noonday sky and upon it the inscription: “In hoc signo vinces”—”In this sign conquer.” He allegedly saw it as a sign of victory in the battle against his rival Maxentius.
The Companion Bible notes, “Crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian Sun-god … It should be stated that Constantine was a Sun-god worshipper … The evidence is thus complete, that [Yahshua] was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed at any angle,” appendix 162.
Ubiquitous Steeples Trace to Egypt and Babylon
Church steeples originated thouands of years ago in Egyptian idolatry. Roman Emperor Constantine in his “Edict of Milan” in 313 C.E. made the Empire officially neutral with regard to religion. Paganism and Christianity could be practiced freely. The stage was set for the aggressive melding of beliefs. Pagan architecture, like the popular obelisk, was borrowed from Egypt. When Emperor Augustus conquered Egypt in 30 BCE he brought obelisks dedicated to the Pharaohs Rameses II and Psammetichus II from Heliopolis to Rome.
In heathen religion the obelisk was an ancient phallic symbol honoring and celebrating the regeneration of the sun god Ra (Egypt’s greatest deity). The peak or point of the obelisk was the first spot the sun’s rays hit when rising in the sky, which the pagans believed symbolized re-birth. Always eager to incorporate erotic motifs into their fertility worship, the phallic obelisk completes the metaphor for the pagans in their worship of sex and the propagation of life.
The ancient Romans became so strongly attached to the obelisk that there are now more than twice as many obelisks standing in Rome as remain in Egypt. One such granite obelisk is the second highest in Rome, having been brought from Egypt by Emperor Caligula in 37 CE. It originally stood in his circus on a spot to the south of the basilica. Pope Sixtus V moved it in 1586 to the center of St. Peter’s Square. It takes little imagination to see the clear connection between the obelisk and the common church steeple, a fact many historians have pointed out. It is a testimony to early Christianity’s susceptibility to pagan influence that we now see exemplified in church architecture in every continent on earth
The Roman Catholic Church, mother of the modern church, adopted an Egyptian obelisk and placed a cross on its peak, thus creating the first church steeple. It’s a fact that should send chills down the spines of churchgoers everywhere.
An original form of the obelisk was the Hebrew asherah in the Old Testament. The King James Bible translates the Hebrew term asherah as “groves.” Strongs Concordance defines it as No. 842, from Hebrew 833 (‘ashar), and includes what is upright, erect. The asherah was made of trees, often with all branches cut off and the top rounded. It is found in the scriptures 40 times, always referring to idol worship. The totem pole is a takeoff of the asherah.
The Companion Bible in Appendix 42 defines asherah in the following way: “It was an upright pillar connected with Baal-worship, and is associated with the goddess Ashtoreth, being the representation of the productive principle of life, and Baal being the representative of the generative principle. The image, which represents the Phoenician Ashtoreth of Paphos, as the sole object of worship in her temple, was an upright block of stone, anointed with oil, and covered with an embroidered cloth.”
Historian Ruth Andersson notes that when Christianity was gaining strength in its early years, priests and practitioners often adopted local traditions and religious symbols and beliefs as a way to convert non-Christians. “Phallic (male) imagery, as well as imagery of women represented by [female genitalia], is commonplace, both in pagan sites and in churches. Lots of people never notice!” But Yahweh notices and He won’t tolerate the injecting of heathen rites and symbols into His worship, which happened even in Israel.
Anciently Yahweh cleaned house of these abominations. In 2Kings 10:25-26 the Amplified Version says: “As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guards and to the officers, Go in and slay them; let none escape. And they smote them with the sword; and the guards or runners [before the king] and the officers threw their bodies out and went into the inner dwelling of the house of Baal. They brought out the pillars or obelisks of the house of Baal and burned them.”
In Deuteronomy 16:22 we find this warning: “Neither shall you set thee up a pillar; which Yahweh your Elohim hates.” Yahweh is adamant that His people be separate and not partake in the pagan practices of the heathens, including erecting towers and pillars pointing to the sun, vestiges of ancient fertility rites.
Can We Make Our Own Truth?
But does it actually matter if we choose our own path when it comes to worship? Don’t all routes ultimately lead to salvation anyway, as some reason? Maybe if I am an honest and decent person I don’t need to actually follow the Bible, some think. Yahshua will come anyway and just sweep me into His Kingdom.
If we can obtain salvation without the involvement of our Creator, then it doesn’t matter what He says. But of course we can’t. Yahweh Almighty alone decides whether we will be given the opportunity for life again once this life of ours is over, and He expects honor and obedience. Hebrews 5:9 says, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” In Revelation 14:12 we read of the chosen ones, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of Yahweh, and the faith of Yahshua.”
According to Proverbs 14:12, our own ideas could easily lead to a dead-end: “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Only one way is right and only one way will be rewarded — that is the way of true obedience to the Father in heaven in all things—a worship unmixed with error. Paul wrote, “There is one Master, one faith, one baptism,” 4:5. There are not many roads to truth. The true faith is not a smorgasbord of choosing what one likes and ignoring everything else. The truth comes as a package deal. You keep all of it or none of it. Lukewarm, half involvement won’t cut it.
Yahweh has set out a clear and well-defined way to salvation that rests on honoring Him and obeying His Word. If a teaching or a practice is not established by the Word, it is by definition bogus. Idolatry is anything devised by man that comes between us and the True Worship of Yahweh. Such worship overshadows and eventually replaces the Truth. It tells Yahweh that we, the mere created ones, have chosen to worship in a manner that WE think is best and acceptable.
The Apostle Paul compares this to a clump of clay telling the potter what to create of it. Yahweh calls it rebellion: “You will say then unto me, Why does he yet find fault? For who has resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who are you that replies against Elohim? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” (Rom. 9:19-21).
In order to follow the ways of truth one must be determined to eliminate what is not Scriptural and adhere only to what is found in the pages of the Book of Books. No doctrine coming from outside of the Scriptures is valid. The prophet Isaiah expressed this fact clearly, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them,” Isaiah 8:20. “The law” in this passage means the Old Testament, while “the testimony” is the New Testament.
Another prophet, Jeremiah, foretold that in the final days the error found in popular worship will be evident when “the Gentiles shall come unto you from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit” (16:19).
To add teachings and practices that are not in the written Word of Yahweh is explicitly forbidden: “For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, Yahweh shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book,” Revelation 22:18. Proverbs 30:5-6 warns against adding anything at all, “Every word of Yahweh is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add not unto his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.”
The sincere seeker of truth will accept nothing that he or she is told without proving it first, 1Thessalonians 5:21. Paul admonished in Ephesians 4:14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Being well-grounded in the Scriptures will help ensure that this does not happen to us.
Your Life’s Purpose
Our objective at Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry is to restore the salvation truths that were lost or neglected over millennia and to promote a solid and right understanding and practice of the Word. We are in training now to learn all we can about Yahweh and His will, and to put that knowledge into practice in our daily lives.
We use the Scriptures as our guide to life, just as the patriarchs and apostles did. They followed the precepts and laws of the Word every day. That is why Yahweh chose them over others. Abraham is known as the father of the faithful because “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws,” Genesis 26:5. The other patriarchs were also faithful to Yahweh not only in their religious lives, but also in their daily walk. He demands no less of His people today.
The ultimate purpose of our existence is not to lounge around for eternity in the mists of heaven admiring one another’s halos and showing off our wings. Yahweh is a dynamic, active Father who has incredible plans for His faithful. Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 2:9-10, “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Elohim has prepared for them that love him. But Yahweh has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of Elohim.”
His plan is to establish an everlasting Kingdom here on earth where Yahshua will first set up His own seat of government when He returns. He is seeking devout, sincere, and righteous believers whom He finds worthy to serve as priests to administer His ways in this coming Kingdom, Luke 20:35; 21:36; 2Thessalonians 1:5, 11.
He is calling out those now who prove faithful and learn of Him as they prepare for rulership. “That ye might walk worthy of the Master unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of Elohim,” Colossians 1:10. “And has made us unto our Elohim kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth,” Revelation 5:10. The goal of the True Worshiper is to be found worthy to reign in the Kingdom of Yahshua as a priest. He promised, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,” Revelation 3:21.
Preparing for such a huge responsibility takes much effort, learning, training, overcoming, and the proper spiritual conditioning. Yahweh has a special position for each of His faithful. It is critical that we learn all we can about Him and His teachings so that we will be found acceptable to administer them in His Kingdom soon coming to this earth. Following His teachings now shows Him your desire to serve Him for eternity.
Make your calling and election sure by following in the footstep training of His Son, our Savior and future King. Learn of His ways. Follow His teachings. Do what He did. Only then will you find acceptance in the eyes of your future Judge.