Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve] I was fooled the other day. I thought I had a bargain, but come to find out, when I opened the container, there was hardly anything in it. Now because of the size of the box, I ended up with a lot less than I thought I had. It actually cost me more than I realized.Are you an easy target for nice packaging? What about your religious beliefs? Deceptive packaging is what's wrong with the way many worship God today!Easter is the most important holiday for hundreds of millions of people around the world. But, is Easter's packaging costing you more than you realize?Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we pose the question: “How Christian is Easter?”[Announcer] Join our host, Steve Myers and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today ![Steve] All Christians want God to guide and lead them. But could you be misled?Now these probably look familiar - if you're like me, and like to play board games. Most of us can easily tell the difference between a fake and the genuine article, especially when it comes to play money. But did you know that there's a chance you could be carrying a worthless bill and not even know it? The U.S. Treasury says about 1 dollar in every 10,000 is a counterfeit. Forgery is one of the oldest crimes in history, but it doesn't just affect money.There's a much greater counterfeit today that's so successful, that most don't even realize they're deceived. It's religion. Jesus Himself warned about religious counterfeits saying: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.×)Deceptive religion and its wrong traditions have been foisted on the world by the greatest forger in the universe, Satan the devil. Now could even Easter be affected?On today's program, we'll examine three ways to answer the question: How Christian is Easter?Now to start with, we need to go back to the beginning - back to the Garden of Eden. And here's where we find our first point: Easter mixes good with evil.Now everyone would agree that God wanted to guide Adam and Eve. But Satan was in the business of deception right from the very beginning. He knew exactly how to make his counterfeit pass for the real thing.Now how did he do it? He lied. He said, if they ate of the forbidden fruit, “You will not surely die.” In fact he contradicted God. But, it wasn't all lies. He also said, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.×).Did you catch the deception? Part of it was true - the good and evil part. God had two trees in the garden - the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God wanted to lead them and for them to choose life. But when they chose the wrong tree, they chose a mixture; a blending, a combination of good and bad. You see that's Satan's sinful concoction.So right at the very foundation, our ancestors began by rejecting God's guidance and that tendency has continued right down to this day.Now think about it for a minute. That's what our world is like - it's filled with both truth and error, fact and fable, good and bad. So at times, it's even hard to tell the difference between the real thing and an evil counterpart. Why? Because they look alike - it seems good and right but the devil cleverly mixes right with wrong as though it were not evil. But if it was all evil, completely evil, everyone would see it for what it is. But he is so devious in his deception that it will hurt you.He kept Adam and Eve from God and he wants to keep you too, from having a great relationship with God. He's also affected Christianity and its holidays and wants to deceive everyone from understanding God's truth.Now unfortunately, most can't discern the real from the replica. God's true days of worship are priceless but the devil has made a forgery - a fraudulent, worthless copy of what is valuable and good.It's true with money. It's true in religion as well. Now is it possible that you've accepted a blend of religious ideas because even today, Satan uses his advanced counterfeiting techniques. He's constantly working to promote a religious mixture - a combination of good and evil that's contrary to the true God because he did not stop in the Garden of Eden.So as with Adam and Eve, God wants to lead you. He wants to guide you in truth and in love. He wants you to honor Him the way that He directs. So that includes observing the days and the ways that truly honor Him. Now do you know God's biblical Holy Days?That's why it's important for us to answer the question, “How Christian is Easter?” First, we've got to recognize that combination of truth and error.Now once you're on the outlook for the blending of right and wrong, it's time to take the next step to reject that imitation and that is: Easter is a counterfeit.Do you know where Easter celebrations originated? Now it may seem hard to believe, but they began hundreds of years before Christ!If you go to Genesis 10, the Bible tells how people gathered into cities and opposed God. Remember the story? They began to build a massive skyscraper called the Tower of Babel.Now once again, we find the devil at work. This time he inspired this kingdom of Babylon, and to help with that slick counterfeiting job, he used them. So finally, God had to confuse their language, and the people were scattered over the face of the earth (Genesis 11:9Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from there did the LORD scatter them abroad on the face of all the earth.×).Now the ancient historian, Herodotus witnessed what they took with them. What was it? Their mystery religious rituals. He wrote that Babylon was the prime source of evil from which all systems of idolatry and false worship flowed.So, would the world accept the substitute? Did it affect Christianity? Well, here's where it gets interesting:The Babylonian fertility gods were Tammuz and Ishtar. Ancient tribes of Europe worshipped a variation of that goddess of spring named Eastra. Do you realize that the word Easter is a variation of her name?Sir James Frazer writes: “Under the names of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and Attis, the peoples of Egypt and Western Asia represented the yearly decay and revival of life …which they personified as a god who annually died and rose again from the dead. In name and detail the rites varied from place to place: in substance they were the same” ( The Golden Bough, 1993, p. 325).You see history records that centuries before the death and resurrection of Christ, there were already ancient Easter celebrations - festivals honoring resurrection and worship of the rising sun long before Jesus. You see the world had already accepted the satanic substitute that Easter mixes good and evil and Easter is a counterfeit of how God intends us to worship.So, how does God want us to worship Him? We'd like to help you personally answer that question by offering you a special free publication that examines several religious counterfeits - including the common celebration of Easter. Our free study aid, Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? - it will help you with what you need to discover and that is the truth.With this helpful study guide, you'll be able to read your Bible with greater understanding. You'll find out who is the power behind man's traditions. And the importance and value of God's true days of worship.So go online to BeyondToday.tv where you can read or download Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? In North America, you can receive your free copy by calling: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or write us at the address on your screen to order your free booklet or go online to our website at BeyondToday.tv What is it that's keeping you from knowing the real Jesus Christ? Get your free study aid to help you understand why it matters and the powerful difference it will make in your life.Now we've been examining ways to answer the question: How Christian is Easter? First we realized the powerful influence of Satan as Easter mixes good with evil. And then we recognized throughout history that mankind has accepted a substitute holiday.But God tells us, “…What do right and wrong have in common? Can light and darkness be friends? How can Christ and Satan agree? …How can the temple of the true God and the statues of other gods agree? …‘So come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord'” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17 14 Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. ×, NIRV).You see God wants us to understand the difference because one thing counterfeiters rely on is ignorance. Take the euro for example. When the euro was first launched, just one year after the euro currency was distributed; guess what happened? Counterfeiting! Over ½ million fake euro notes had to be removed from circulation. In fact just a couple of years later, French police seized phony euro notes for a total worth around €1.8 million. Now can you image how you'd feel if someone pawned off a fake bill on you?You see, if you're unfamiliar with what the bill should look like, it's easier to be fooled. The US Secret Service has 20 Web pages under the title: “Know Your Money.” It tells us, “Those who fail to carefully examine the money they receive…are potential victims.”And you know, it's no different than counterfeit holidays and religion because it thrives on people's ignorance of the Bible. Now that's the third way to answer the question: How Christian is Easter?Easter is not biblical - God has other ways He directs us to worship.Do you know for yourself what the Word of God actually says or could you be fooled? Surprising as it may seem, most Christians don't attend church regularly and most don't read the Bible much. Now is that an exaggeration?Well near the end of 2012, LifeWay Research surveyed American churchgoers and they found that 90 percent of them “desire to please and honor Jesus” in all they do. Now that's wonderful. That's very good! But it also found that more than 80 percent don't read their Bibles daily! Now, that's an amazing disconnect. How can you honor God if you don't know and you haven't read what actually pleases Him? You see you can't use the counterfeit because it's worthless before God. So if you're unaware of what Jesus actually taught, you're easy prey for an empty imitation of religion.By not really understanding the Bible you could also be distracted. And of course that's another way counterfeiters rely on: diversion. When someone passes a phony bill, they try to focus the cashier on other things. They try to distract them hoping they don't check the money until it's way too late. And since many aren't on the lookout for counterfeit money, the lawbreaker can get away with it.You know most Christians; they're not on the outlook for the counterfeiter either. Most just want a church they like, so even cheap imitations can fool so many people. So it's good to ask yourself: “What's diverted my attention and made me vulnerable to miss the real Jesus?”You see manmade holidays deflect attention and they concentrate on less important issues. You see if you feel good about what you're doing, it doesn't make that much difference what you're taught. Some churches appeal to that. They appeal to your emotions by talking a lot about love and feelings.But let me tell you why that's dangerous: it can cause you to choose what you believe and what you practice based on how you feel, rather than on God's clear teaching in the Bible. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.×).That's the issue. The devil wants you to have religion but one that only resembles true worship. Understand this: Satan wants you to have a religion that actually worships him!But on the other hand, God wants you to become an expert at identifying the counterfeits! Don't fall for an imitation. Here's how you can begin: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.×, RSV).