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The Legends of
Valentine's Day
     Few people who send cards or heart-shaped boxes of chocolates on February 14 realize that Valentine’s Day can be traced to ancient heathen customs. Concerning St. Valentine’s Day, the Encyclopedia Americana says it is a “Christian festival commemorating the martyrdom of a priest named Valentine by Emperor Claudius II on Feb. 14, 270 C.E. The acceptance of St. Valentine as a patron saint of lovers appears to have been accidentally associated with the notion that lads and lasses should choose lovers and exchange gifts according to the medieval European belief that birds began to mate on Feb 14.”
The Roman Legends
     There were two Valentines, one a priest and the other a bishop. They died on the same day, Feb 14, and in the same way, but three years apart. There is no way of knowing for which man the day received its name.
     A few legends are associated with Valentine, as Frank Staff relates in his book, The Valentine and Its Origin: "Emperor Claudius issued a decree forbidding people to marry because marriage kept men at home and the emperor wanted all men to be soldiers and to fight for Rome. Valentine ignored this decree and invited young lovers to come to him in secret to be united. These secret marriages were discovered and the emperor commanded Valentine to be thrown in prison and later executed."
     Another legend in the same book is a continuation of this story. After his imprisonment Valentine attempted to restore the sight of the keeper's daughter, whom he had befriended. A close friendship ensued and on the morning of his execution Valentine sent written assurances of affection to the keeper's daughter and signed them with the words, "Your Valentine."
     Whether these legends contain any truth is not known.
Once a Sacrificial Rite
     The historical explanation of the Valentine's Day celebration is given in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, by showing a "connection with the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia (on Feb. 15). In this festival the priest would sacrifice a goat and a dog and would cut thongs from their skins. Men dressed only in goatskins would run among the women, slapping them with the thong. The belief was that a slap from the thong would cure sterility and ease the pain of childbirth."
     In his Antiquities of Rome, Basil Kennett elaborates on the Britannica's account. "The most ancient order of priests were the Luperci, sacred to Pan, with Lupercalia as a feast of purification and the day of celebration was anciently called Februarca. A goat was sacrificed because the deity was supposed to have goat's feet. The dog was sacrificed because they were used to protect the flocks from wolves."
     Both words, Lupercalia and Luperci, derive from the same Latin word, Lupercus, meaning wolf.
     It appears that as Christianity spread, and to gain followers, the church gave names to these pagan festivals.
The Date Changes
     By the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "In 494 Pope Gelasius I changed the name of Lupercalia to the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mary and changed the day of celebration to Feb. 14 to coincide with the martyrdom of Valentine."
     This source says that before the Feast of Purification was changed to February 14, it had been celebrated on February 2. By Luke 2:22-34 and Leviticus 12:2-4, 40 days indicated the end of a mother's days of purification after giving birth to a male child. Counting back 40 days from February 2 one ends at December 25. Whose birthday is celebrated on December 25?
     On page 92 of the book, The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop says, "It is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties that the day of the Messiah's birth cannot be determined. Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, called Saturnalia, in honor of the birth of the son of the queen of the heaven."
     Hislop, on page 141 of his book, says that Semiramis was called the queen of heaven and her husband's name was Nimrod. Nimrod is called the son of his wife (Hislop, p. 305). Hence, Nimrod is the son of the queen Semiramis and his birth is actually the one celebrated on December 25, not the Messiah's.
Nimrod and Cupid—Alter Egos
     Semiramis was worshipped by the name of Venus and, by Roman mythology, Cupid is the son of Venus (The Two Babylons, p. 304).
     Of Cupid, the Encyclopedia Americana says, "In Roman art and literature, Cupid is a naked and winged infant, armed with a bow and arrows, which he shoots, sometimes indiscriminantly, to inspire love."
     The Nimrod of the Scriptures (Gen. 10:8-10) was a mighty hunter who defied Yahweh. Nimrod comes from the Hebrew "marad," meaning to rebel, and the weapons of a hunter at this time were bows and arrows.
     In Egyptian mythology Nimrod was worshiped under the name Osiris. The Two Babylons, on page
188, confirms that the heart was one of the sacred symbols of Osiris when he was born again as the infant divinity.
     The Chaldean word for heart is "bel" and Hislop explains (p. 190) that the worship of the "Sacred Heart" was the worship of the "Sacred Bel," the mighty one of Babylon, who died a martyr for idolatry. Hislop also associates Bel with Moloch (Molech), p. 103.
     Jeremiah 32:35 and related Scriptures tell us that the worship of Molech is an abomination to Yahweh. Thus, with Cupid as the mighty one of the heart, one can see why the shape of the heart plays such an important role in Valentine's Day.
Come Out of Babylon
     Even though the celebrating of Valentine's Day may seem innocent, by indulging in it one is conforming to practices of a pagan idolatry that originated in Babylon. Such worship Yahweh abhors.
     Both 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 and Deuteronomy 32:17 say in strong language that such practices are the same as worshiping demons and we are not to have fellowship with demons or partake of their practices. Yahweh tells His people in Revelation 18:4, "Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues."
     Accept this call which Yahweh makes. Eliminate from your life those practices tainted with the pagan worship of ancient Babylon. Follow Yahweh so that you may partake of the promises given to those who abide in Yahweh's truth.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer

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