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Please Be My Valentine
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     Sweethearts trading heart-shaped cards. Chubby, cuddly cupids carrying bows and arrows. They have nothing to do with celebrating love. Or do they?
     In the month of February, candy makers unload tons of heart-shaped boxes full of candy. This candy is then purchased by individuals for the people they love. Millions of innocent school children are indoctrinated to exchange Valentine cards with each other. Florists consider February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day, as one of their best business days. All who celebrate this ritual have love in their hearts. Is this simply a harmless, innocent ritual? Yahweh surely doesn’t mind, does He? Let’s explore this!
     It will probably surprise you, but Valentine’s Day, though relatively unimportant, is not an innocent secular holiday. Far from secular, the origin of Valentine’s Day comes from the same source as many other non-Biblical, pre-Christian observances, such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, and Halloween. It can be traced directly to earliest pagan history.
     The “universal church,” as she did with all these other observances, selected a popular pagan holiday, adopted it, and dressed it up with a “Christian name.” Paganism was Christianity’s name for the official religion of the Roman Empire, which involved worshipping an array of deities and occasionally participating in orgiastic festivals. In an attempt to give Christians an alternative to those festivals (and to take their minds off the revelry they were missing out on) the church sometimes created holidays to coincide with the pagan calendar.
     What was it originally? The original name for Valentine’s Day was the holiday called Lupercalia. It was celebrated thousands of years before there were ever such people known as Christians or saints.
     Lupercalia was a holiday celebrated by ancient Romans on the ides of February (February 15). The celebration honored the deities Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome.
     According to the myth, Romulus and Remus were suckled by wolves at a cave on the Palatine Hill, in the city of Rome. The Romans appropriately named this cave the Lupercal, and used it as the center of Lupercalia ceremonies.
     Luperci (priests of Lupercus), dressed in goat-skins for the ceremony, sacrificed goats and a dog, smeared themselves with sacrificial blood, and would run around the hill carrying a goatskin thong called a februa (“means of purification”). Women in the city placed themselves in positions around the hill so that the priests could strike them with the februa. This was thought to assure the women of fertility and easy childbirth.
     In another part of the ceremony, priests would pair up the young men and women in the city by writing down the names of the girls and collecting them in a box. Boys, then, individually drew girls’ names from the box, and became paired with them until the following Lupercalia.
     During the festival, the pairs of children danced and played together. The girl assigned to each young man in that manner would be his sexual companion during the coming year. Often, they might fall in love and later marry.
A Change Is Made
     In an effort to do away with the pagan festival, Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the lottery. Instead of the names of young women, the box would contain the names of saints. Both men and women were allowed to draw from the box, and the game was to emulate the ways of the saint they drew during the rest of the year.
     Although the lottery for women had been banned from the church, the mid-February holiday in commemoration of St. Valentine was still used by Roman men to seek the affection of women. It became tradition for the men to give the ones they admired handwritten messages of affection containing Valentine’s name. This may have been the festival that was later named after the former saint—Valentine’s Day.
     One of the legends about Valentine’s Day says that a Roman Emperor, Claudius the Second, had forbidden his men to marry. He wanted them to be heartless and fearless soldiers free of wives and girlfriends. Claudius apparently decreed that no marriages should be celebrated and that all engagements be broken off immediately. But one of the Christian priests didn’t obey the Emperor’s edict. This priest (whose name was Father Valentine) secretly performed marriages in and around the city of Rome. Found out not too long later, Valentine was imprisoned where he languished and died. Legend has it devoted friends buried him in the church of St. Praxedes on the fourteenth of February, 270 AD.
     Father Valentine was a kind and wise person who had a lot of friends. They begged the Emperor to free him and sent flowers to jailed Valentine. Many experts think that these were the first letters and flowers sent on Valentine’s Day.
     Another story says that Valentine was an early Christian in the time when Rome was unfriendly to this upstart religion. For helping some Christian martyrs he was seized, dragged before the prefect of Rome and cast into jail. There he was said to have fallen in love with, and cured the keeper’s daughter, Julia, of blindness. When the news of this miracle spread, Rome’s leaders gave orders that Valentine should be beheaded. The morning of his execution, he is said to have sent Julia a farewell message signed, “From your Valentine.”
     These are nice stories! However, they are examples of the ongoing efforts of the religious leaders of the Christian church to appease their members and new converts through syncretism. According to the dictionary, syncretism is “a combination, reconciliation or coalescence of varying, often mutually opposed beliefs, principles of practices into the new conglomerate whole typically marked by internal inconsistencies.”
     This is a form of compromise that allows one to side-step a difficult issue. This is a way to avoid taking a stand for your beliefs and having to defend the basis of that belief.
     Most people today could remember the story of St. Valentine, but Lupercalia and associated deities of classified mythology are forgotten. We rarely study them or see any significance in our lives. The St. Valentine story motif has the elements of a good story: love, honor, courage, and sacrifice. But let’s go deeper into the significance of Lupercalia and the mythology behind this.
     Ancient pagan fertility rituals have come down to our present time almost intact. The only difference in the ancient pagan rituals and their modern counterparts is the fact that their names have changed in order to veneer them with Christian respectability.
     Lupus is the Latin word for wolf. The wolf is the symbol for valor. Valorentine was a common Roman name, which Roman parents often gave to their children in honor of the famous man who was first called valiant: Valentine, in antiquity, Lupercus, The Hunter.
     The Romans identified Lupercus with Faunus, a deity of nature. The Greeks called this deity of nature— Pan. Pan, the chief of the satyrs, presiding over rural occupations, was patron of fisherman, hunters and shepherds.
     Faun was the Roman mythological name. It corresponded with the satyrs of mythology. They had pointed ears, short horns and a tail.
     Pan was an Arcadian deity of light and, as evil, was equivalent to the Sun deity: Baal, also spelled B-A-L or B-E-L. Baal is any of the numerous local deities among Semitic peoples, typifying the productive forces of nature and worshipped with orgiastic rites. Baal simply meant lord.
     Baal, which is mentioned often in the Holy Scriptures, was a title of Nimrod, the hunter who was against Yahweh. We read in the King James version Genesis 10:9,
     He was a mighty hunter before Yahweh: wherefore it is said, even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before Yahweh.
     The hunter, Nimrod, it is said, pursued wolves in the Apennine Mountains of Italy, and acquired the title of Lupercus-wolf hunter or hunter of valor. Remember: valens means to be strong, powerful, mighty. Valens is a Latin word and is the root for valiant.
     Nimrod not only was strong, powerful and mighty in a political sense, but he was also strong, powerful, and mighty in a sexual sense. The worship of the pagan people was centered on sexual activity to insure fertility.
     Nimrod, Baal-Lord-Sun God of the ancients, is the basis for all mythology worldwide. His exploits and those of his wife, Semiramis, and their foundation of the Satan-centered system of mythology, are explained in great detail in the excellent book titled “The Two Babylons,” written by Alexander Hislop.
     If you study the origin and symbols of Valentine’s Day, they are not simple and meaningless. They refer you to a pagan ruler, Nimrod, who rebelled against Yahweh. Perhaps to continue recognizing these holidays, we are giving support to that rebellion by Nimrod. Nimrod was not the first to rebel, however. The first was Satan. We do not wish to associate ourselves in any way to that great rebel.
Christianity Embraces Pagan Customs
     It is a documented fact that pagan customs were grafted into Christian religion. Although Christianity swept the world in a relatively short time as histories of great religions go, the early missionaries faced an uphill task. The pagans were reluctant to give up their false deities and ancient practices. So, missionaries, unable to convert them easily to an entirely new code of worship, did the next best thing. They took the pagan festivals as they were and gradually grafted the observances of the new faith onto these festivals and the rites and customs surrounding them.
     Yes, the Christian missionaries took each of these pagan festivals and veneered them with Christian respectability by changing their names. That is why, today, we have Christmas rather than Saturnalia, Easter rather than the Festival of the Goddess of the Dawn, and Valentine’s Day rather than the Lupercalia.
     Even though Christian missionaries took the pagan festivals as they were and gradually grafted the observance of the new faith onto their festivals, with their rites and customs, they are still abominations in the sight of Yahweh.
     In fact, Yahweh has given us a direct command not to serve Him in the way that the pagans served their deities! In Deuteronomy 12:29-32, we read:
     When Yahweh thy Elohim shall cut off the Nations from before thee, whether thou goest to possess them and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before this; and that thou inquire not after their deities, saying, How did these nations serve their deities? Even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto Yahweh thy Elohim; for every abomination to Yahweh, which He hateth, have they done unto their deities; for even their sons and daughters they have burnt in the fire to their deities. What thing sover I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
     Does Yahweh have something to say about religious leaders who took the pagan festivals as they were and gradually grafted the observances of the new faith into these festivals and the customs and the rites surrounding them? Yes, He does. Let’s look at what 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says:
     For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of the Messiah. And no marvel; for Satan is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
     Although these ancient fertility rituals have come down to us through Satan’s ministers in forms of beauty, we are still creating, maintaining and renewing fertility to the same ancient pagan deities that Yahweh says are an abomination to Him. As described earlier, we are using new terms and stories, but they all have the same roots. The roots are found in the Old Testament Scripture. Yahweh was concerned with them and still is today.
Its Roots
     Valentine’s Day has its roots in pagan fertility celebrations. They were not acceptable in their original forms and even if we are using a “modern” approach, we are still practicing pagan celebrations which honor the pagan deities. Do not fool yourself. We are not honoring Yahweh in any way by associating ourselves with this type of holiday.
     It is a Scriptural fact that we cannot serve Yahweh while serving in this world’s style of pagan worship. Let’s see what 1 Corinthians 10:20-22 says:
     But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to Yahweh; and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of Yahweh, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of Yahweh’s table, and the table of devils. Do we provoke Yahweh to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
     In other words, we can’t have it both ways. We have to choose whom we serve. In Romans 6:16, we are emphatically told that we are servants to whom we obey:
     Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Serve Yahweh, Not Man
     If we obey Yahweh by practicing every Word that proceeds from His mouth without adding to His Word or taking from His Word, we are servants of Yahweh. However, if we follow after the servants or ministers of Satan, who are deceived into grafting pagan customs into Christianity, then we are servants of Satan.
     Servants of Satan! Now that is the truth without veneer or syncretic manipulation. That is a frank description of whom we obey when we acknowledge and honor Valentine’s Day. It seems harsh and certainly not politically correct, but truth feels that way sometimes.
     Yahweh warns us to come out of this pagan system. If we choose not to do this, we have made our choice and will be identified with it. Consider what Revelation 18:4 has to say:
     And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
     Now that we have identified this world’s holidays as the wrong ones to be associated with, what does Yahweh prefer?
Yahweh’s Feasts
     Yahweh established seven annual Sabbaths in addition to the weekly, seventh-day Sabbath and the Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee Year. These seven annual Sabbaths He set according to the harvest of crops throughout the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The annual Sabbaths or Feast Days are found in Leviticus 23 and form the foundation of Yahweh’s calendar. Israel was an agrarian society, and the grain harvests are symbolic of Yahweh’s harvest of human souls—the spiritual harvest.
     The annual Feasts or Holy Days are as follows: the first day and last day of Unleavened Bread (the 15th and 21st of the first Scriptural month), Pentecost or Day of Firstfruits (50 days from the weekly Sabbath of Unleavened Bread), Feast of Trumpets (first day of the seventh Scriptural month), Day of Atonement (tenth day of the seventh Scriptural month), Feast of Tabernacles (15th day of the seventh Scriptural month), and the Last Great Day (22nd day of the seventh Scriptural month).
     The first annual Sabbath follows the Passover and occurs on the fifteenth day of Yahweh’s first month of the year. It is known as the First Day of the seven days of Unleavened Bread. The second annual Sabbath is the twenty-first day of the Scriptural first month and is the seventh and final day of Unleavened Bread.
     Passover and Unleavened Bread take place in the spring, in the beginning of the Scriptural year, in our March or April.
     Pentecost, meaning to count fifty, is the third annual Sabbath and must be counted to determine when it is observed. Known as the “Feast of Weeks” or Shavuoth in Hebrew, Pentecost is a one-day celebration that comes 50 days after the weekly Sabbath during Unleavened Bread.
     The four remaining annual Sabbaths occur in the seventh Scriptural month in the fall of the year, September or October.
     Trumpets is the fourth annual Sabbath and falls on the new moon day or first day of the seventh
Scriptural month.
     The Day of Atonement falls on the tenth day of the seventh Scriptural month. It is a holy day of fasting.
     The sixth annual Sabbath comes on the fifteenth day of the seventh Scriptural month and is the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The first day following the Feast of Tabernacles is Yahweh’s seventh annual Sabbath known as the Last Great Day.
     Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread have been fulfilled twice. The first occurred when the Israelites were slaves of the Egyptians. They were “passed over” and spared by the destroying angel because they had obediently smeared blood on the doorposts and lintels of their dwellings. In the New Testament, our Savior was our “Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7) Who was put to death on Passover day. He spoke of yet a later fulfillment of Passover when we will observe it with Him in His Kingdom, Luke 22:15-18.
     Pentecost or Feast of Weeks took place when the Covenant was made with Israel and His law was codified. It is a memorial of events at Mount Sinai. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost (Acts 2) to empower Yahweh’s people to keep Yahweh’s law.
     Prophecies connected to the four annual Sabbaths of the seventh Scriptural month have yet to be fulfilled.
     It is important that we understand the historical meaning of Yahweh’s Feast Days so we can comprehend the purpose He is working out on earth and how He is sanctifying His people.
     These special days are a shadow of things yet to come - a future prophecy of events yet to unfold. Paul writes for us:
     Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath Day, which are a shadow of things to come, Col. 2:16-17.
     They foreshadow future events meaning they are prophetic, Col. 2:17.
     Anyone who seeks to know prophecy must understand the annual Feast days thoroughly. The significant acts of man’s salvation happened at feast times.
     Understanding the Feasts means we understand Yahweh’s plan of salvation which necessitates that we obey Him and keep His feasts.
     He that says I know Him and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:4.
Prophecy Yet To Be Fulfilled
     The fall annual Sabbaths are entirely prophetic and await a future fulfillment. These show us a work that Yahweh will yet accomplish for His people. His Sabbaths are the sign He has given between Himself and His people by which we are sanctified.
     The Sabbaths were given to us so that we might better know Yahweh. They were not given as a meaningless burden to be thrown off and discarded at the Saviors’ impalement. They have great meaning and purpose behind them. They fit into Yahweh’s overall plan anciently, through our day and into the Kingdom.
     Yahweh’s feasts are not done away at the death and resurrection of the Messiah. The feasts were given to ancient Israel to keep; they were observed by the Savior and the Apostles, and are to be kept by us today.
     They are still in effect today and will be kept in the Kingdom, according to Isaiah 66:23, Zechariah 14:16-18, and others. If they were commanded for Israel, kept by the Savior and by the New Testament Assembly after His resurrection, and will be kept as statutes in the coming Kingdom, why would they be suspended now? Doesn’t it seem as if they are very significant?
     It is only by deliberate misinterpretation of Scripture that most of today’s ministers teach that these perpetual Sabbaths are done away.
Prove All Things
     How does it happen that we are unable to correctly discern what is true and what is false? How do we innocently accept a holiday like Valentine’s Day, which in fact has a history that leads you back to the deity of this world, Satan?
     Remember what we are told in Ephesians 6:12:
     For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worlds forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
     We learn more about the attributes of Satan in Ezekiel 28:12-13,
     You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of Yahweh; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz and the diamond.
     Satan’s demons are very intelligent and aware of reality. We find this in Mark 3:11.
     Whenever the unclean spirit saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of Yahweh.”
     In Ephesians 2:2, Satan is described as having a special power over us:
     In which you formerly walked according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
     Most people believe that this is Yahweh’s world or Yahshua’s world. But that is not true. This world was given to Satan to rule. He has twisted this world and despoiled it.
     These Scriptures confirm who the real ruler of this world is.
     Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out, John 12:31.
     I will not speak with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me, John 14:30.
     In whose care the mighty one of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Messiah Who is the image of Yahweh, 2 Corinthians 4:4.
     We know that we are of Yahweh, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one, 1 John 5:19.
     These Scriptures confirm that this whole world is under the influence of Satan and his demons, who are able to manipulate, deceive, and confuse at will. They construct history and culture to meet their needs. The symbolism of a valentine is just another example of their work.
     Look how cleverly Satan has manipulated the symbols of Cupid, the rose and love. Margaret Ickis in her book, The Book of Festival Holidays, sheds light on this.
     “Cupid was one of the gods of mythology, whose name in Latin means ‘desire.’ He is usually represented as a chubby, naked, winged boy with a quiver of arrows by which he transfixed the hearts of youths and maidens. His darts, some of which were poisonous at the tip, could pierce anywhere.
     “The rose, which speaks of love, is undoubtedly the most popular flower in the world. By rearranging the letters in the word ‘rose,’ we get Eros - the god of love. This may explain why it has always been called the flower of romance, the choice of lovers in every century.”
     The first criterion in this fertility hunt is erotic desire, which cupid and Eros represent! In mythology, it is said when Nimrod’s mother saw him as a young boy, she desired him. Nimrod became her cupid, her desired one and later her deity of valor - her hunter.
     What about the significance of “Arrows”? J.E. Cirlot offers this in his Dictionary of Symbols:
     “It was used to designate the sun’s rays. But, because of its shape, it has undeniable phallic significance, especially when it is shown in emblems balanced against the symbol of the ‘mystic center,’ feminine in character, such as the heart. The heart is pierced with an arrow of conjunction.”
The Heart
     Finally, the most predominant symbol of the fertility rite of Valentine’s Day is the heart. In our country, the heart symbol has the same meaning as love. Almost everywhere one looks you can see examples of this symbolic representation of love. The heart is also a popular design for costume jewelry, saying love without saying it.
     This symbol was also familiar in ancient Babylon where it symbolized the deity who was worshipped. This symbol did not come down to our day untainted and pure, despite what the world has been deceived to think.
     Let us read a very revealing and astounding excerpt from Halley’s Bible handbook. This will certainly put “the heart” of truth into proper context:
     “The Imperial Church of the 4th and 5th centuries had become an entirely different institution from the persecuted church of the first three centuries. In its ambition to rule it lost and forgot the spirit of [Messiah].
     “Worship, at first very simple, was developed into elaborate, stately, imposing ceremonies having all the outward splendor that had belonged to heathen temples.
     “Ministers became Priests. The term ‘priest’ was not applied to Christian ministers before A.D. 200. It was borrowed from the Jewish system, and from the example of heathen priesthood. Leo I (440-61) prohibited priests from marrying, and Celibacy of priests became a law of the Roman Church.
     “Conversion of the Barbarians. The Goths, Vandals, and Huns who overthrew the Roman Empire accepted Christianity; but to a large extent their conversion was nominal and thus furthered the Church with Pagan practices.”
     We are warned “learn not the way of the heathen,” Jeremiah 10:2.
-Elder Ralph Henrie (deceased)

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