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   We read of ancient Israel’s failure to keep the covenant with Yahweh and lament their fascination for paganism. Are there lessons we should learn from their Old Testament example?
  At times we are questioned about our frequent references to the Old Testament as we teach from the Bible. Some readers or listeners seem reluctant to study or even refer to the Old Testament. In fact, from time to time we are urged to be a “New Testament Assembly,” and teach primarily from the New Testament, and more or less ignore the Old Testament. “We look to the Savior and the lessons He and the Disciples taught in the New Testament to learn what we must do to be in the heavenly Kingdom,” is a frequent comment. Many are ignorant of the Old Testament lessons. The question arises, “Why do we have 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New?” Does that indicate we should spend much time in the Old?
  Many students of the Bible are unaware that the Savior and the Disciples relied upon and taught from the Old Testament because that was all they had. The New Testament had not yet been written. Clearly, salvation is found in the Old Testament for Paul told Timothy:
  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yahshua, 2 Timothy 3:15. (All Scriptures taken from the Authorized Version, unless otherwise noted)
  We cannot forget that the Old Testament makes up 2/3 of the Bible, and such a large portion, therefore, we cannot ignore or set aside. There are many lessons and much to learn in reading and studying the histories and roots of our faith found in the Old Testament. In fact, the Apostle Paul says the Old Testament is given us for our learning and spiritual growth, for the New was not yet written when Paul gave these words:
  All scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16.
  Paul goes on to say that we should learn the experiences of ancient Israel so that we do not fall into the same trap and follow their error:
  Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance.” We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Yahweh to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come, 1 Corinthians 10:6-11, Revised Standard Version.
  Why are we being warned not to pursue pagan practices as did ancient Israel? Did Israel really covet the things forbidden by Yahweh? Did He not provide Israel with the way they were to pursue and follow? Certainly, in our modern age we would not follow the error of ancient Israel and bring pagan images into our assembly buildings and places of worship, would we?
  Because of His promise to faithful Abraham, Yahweh chose Israel to be His special people.
  They were promised if they were obedient to Him, then blessings would flow from Yahweh. The rewards and blessings would make Israel a flagship for all nations to emulate. Israel was to be an example to show the power and majesty of Yahweh to those that obeyed Him.
Not only did Israel fail and fall into sin while yet enroute to the Promised Land, but once they arrived, their stubbornness prevailed. Israel was a dismal failure. Notice Isaiah’s words:
  Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken Yahweh, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward, Isaiah 1:4.
  It is apparent that Israel was unable to be obedient, lacking the willpower to follow Yahweh’s Torah. They were given the Levitical priesthood which functioned among them, and were protected and provided for, as they grew in number and power. The Tabernacle was constructed for their weekly gatherings and learning. Yet, their carnal mind sought the various pleasures and ways of the world as they forsook Yahweh. Israel still expected His blessings and the fulfillment of His promises in spite of their insubordination.
  Yahweh was quite aware that carnal mankind would habitually be seeking some new thing in their worship. It would get to the point much of the truth given to Moses would soon be forgotten and lost. Yahweh reluctantly allowed Israel to have kings as did the nations around them, even though He warned they would have to pay the price. The price became heavier under the despotic kings who were an evil example and untrustworthy.
  In fact, even the kings chosen of Yahweh proved they were but human, and more than half were poor examples of righteous leadership. A good example is their first king, Saul. He stood head and shoulders above the average man. He was humble and meek at first, but became arrogant and self-serving, even unlawfully disobeying Yahweh’s word (1 Sam. 15:23), to the point he was rejected as king.
  For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of YAHWEH, he hath also rejected thee from being king, 1 Samuel 15:23.
  Doing Yahweh’s will is as important now as it was then. But how does all this affect us today?

Yahshua’s Example
   Yahweh is working out a plan in which we will gladly learn of the ways of Yahweh before Yahshua returns to set up His kingdom.
  Upon coming down from experiencing the vision on the mount of the transfigured Yahshua (Matt. 17), the Disciples were moved by the promise of Israel’s being given their place of rulership. They asked about the prophecies of Eliyah’s coming prior to the Kingdom’s being established. Note the Savior’s response:
  “‘Eliyah truly shall first come and restore all things. But I say unto you that Eliyah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they pleased. Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer by them.’ Then the disciples understood that He spoke unto them of John the Baptist” (Matt. 17:11-13).
  Yahshua revealed that before He could return in His resplendent glory to rule, there would have to come another in the likeness and character or spirit of Eliyah. Yahshua had already proclaimed that John the Baptist had fulfilled the role for that day six chapters earlier:
  “For this is [he], of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee … And if ye will receive [it], this is Eliyah, which was for to come’” (Matt. 11:10, 14).
  Yahshua was stating the Eliyah message must first be given to the world so that Bible truth could be restored, only then could He return. Note that Yahshua spoke of a future coming of Eliyah in Matthew 17:11. John the Baptist was the Eliyah for that day, and his message was to prepare the people to accept Yahshua as the Messiah. This was mostly ignored by the Jews. John the Immerser had already been put to death (Matt. 14:10-12). Three chapters later Yahshua was looking down to our time and telling the world that before He returns, the restoration message must first be preached in the power and strength of Eliyah. The message is to restore Yahweh’s truth so a people could make themselves ready for the bridegroom (Rev. 19:7).
  The name Eliyah means “My Mighty One is YAH!” In other words, Yahshua proclaimed there were spiritual truths that need to be restored and proclaimed before He could return. One of the most neglected and ignored truths yet to be proclaimed is the Heavenly Father’s name, YAHWEH and the Savior’s,YAHSHUA. Pagan teachings and concepts must be put out of one’s mind so the pure worship of Yahweh can be practiced as a way of life. This is also prophesied in Acts 3:19-21:
  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of Yahweh; And he shall send Yahshua Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Elohim hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
  Eliyah appeared to be a fearless messenger for Yahweh. At times he felt he was the only one following Yahweh. But there were 7,000 more who had not bowed the knee to Baal,
  Yet I have left [Me] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him, 1 Kings 19:18.
  Take note of the words of Eliyah that have been recorded for us as he proclaimed Bible truth to his compromising, fellow Israelites:
And Eliyah came unto all the people and said, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If Yahweh [be] Elohim, follow Him; but if Baal, [then] follow him.” And the people answered him not a word, 1 Kings 18:21.
  The sense of “halt between two opinions” means Israel waffled back and forth in following Yahweh’s way of worship and then took up the pagan ways of Baal. They would straddle the fence in their worship, changing from worshipping Yahweh one time, and then turn to worship some pagan deity.

   They actually mixed pagan worship with that of Yahweh. That is, they blended true worship with the pagan worship of Baal. The blending of pagan worship with Yahweh’s true worship is known as “syncretism.” It is a blending or mixing of heathen worship, calling on pagan names, and following customs done purportedly to worship Him, but which Yahweh has not commanded and actually hates! They worshipped Yahweh in the same manner the pagans worshipped Baal, burning incense and calling on his name, giving the same offerings pagans dedicated to Baal. Yahweh hates syncretism.
  We read of some of the sordid activities ancient Israel followed, and shake our heads in disbelief. How could Israel turn to pagan worship when it was Yahweh who gave them manna and quail for 40 years and water in the desert; led them by a pillar of fire by night, and a cloudy pillar by day? But that did not satisfy them.
  Before crossing over the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, Moses rehearsed Israel’s goals and gave clear instructions for overcoming the heathen that occupied the land. The book of Deuteronomy was the second giving of the law to Israel after 40 years. Their wandering experience helped clarify what was expected of them.
  Up to now Israel had only their carnal, sinful flesh and attitude to overcome. Satan was always lurking about the camp. But under the guidance and care of Moses, the sinful temptations of the world and carnal flesh had not yet come upon them. They had experienced 40 years living under the Levitical priesthood, and were about to cross over the Jordan and come face to face with a pagan people at every turn. Now they would be directly tempted by the snares of heathen worship. Moses warned them of their coming trials:
  Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire 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 hates, have they done unto their deities; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their deities. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it, Deuteronomy 12:30-32.
  Before Israel ever crossed the Jordan river, the Adversary had already planted seven depraved nations in the Promised Land. These were the most vile of all people, and Israel was warned to have nothing to do with them but to eradicate them out of the land.
  They were not to follow any of their customs in worship or do anything the pagans did in worshipping their deities, for the ways of these nations were an abomination to Yahweh. They were a stumbling block for Israel. There was no cure, and surgery by the sword was the only solution.
  Certainly, we can read of Israel’s dismal history and learn their lesson that we should not follow sinful concepts and pagan practices of a heathen people. Clearly, these words caution us not to follow the customs or adopt the ways of pagan worshippers. We are to be an enlightened people and do not want to practice pagan rites of worship. Paul said we are not to follow the example of Israel. Certainly, we do not take up these pagan ways, do we?
  Let us take a look at some examples of the northern ten tribes of Israel (known as Ephraim) and learn why Yahweh would eventually uproot them out of the land. Note how they followed the heathen pattern of worship on high hills and set up heathen idols and groves. They blended Yahweh’s worship with foreign pagan customs which is syncretism:
  For [so] it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their Elohim, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other Elohim, and walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. And the children of Israel did secretly [those] things that [were] not right against Yahweh their Elohim, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: and there they burnt incense in all the high places, as [did] the heathen whom Yahweh carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke Yahweh to anger: for they served idols, whereof Yahweh had said unto them, “Ye shall not do this thing,” 2 Kings 17:7-12. This prompted the nation’s captivity to Assyria.
  Israel burned incense on the many high hills to pagan deities. Some of their worship was so base, they carried on their activities in secret and called it worship. Have you taken note that many towns and villages have churches on top of a hill or a town’s highest prominence? Some will actually admit they built their building atop a hill, and then topped it off with an even taller steeple. Evidence indicates the steeple is a relic from ancient pagan phallic symbols.
  Burning of incense is a type of prayer to Yahweh done in the Temple. So strong was the pagan influence among the Israelites, that many were turning to worship Molech and abandoning Yahweh.
  Even King Ahaz, of the line of King David, did that which was NOT right and followed the heathen customs of Israel’s kings. He sacrificed upon the high places, on the hills, and under green trees. This is nowhere commanded as worship to Yahweh. They built places of worship in all their cities. King Ahaz is said to have sacrificed his son through the fire to Molech, the grinning giant furnace where babies were thrown and burned alive. In our civilized society, we would never think of throwing a little, innocent, helpless baby into a fiery furnace:
  In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. Twenty years old [was] Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not [that which was] right in the sight of Yahweh his Elohim, like David his father. But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel. And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree, 2 Kings 16:1-4.
  We shake our heads in disbelief that anciently, parents would actually place the lives of their progeny in jeopardy of fire in their worship of heathen deities. But we in our cosmopolitan setting are not that far removed from doing the same thing. Our society is sacrificing a generation of babies each year to abortion. The miracle of birth, a new life coming into the world, is not a joyful time for the helpless infant. Pregnancy is looked upon as a curse by many sex-crazed hedonists. The majority of abortion deaths are legal and approved by our society. Are we any better than ancient Israel?

Polluting the Temple
   Jeremiah says the nation of Judah does not obey Yahweh, and refuses correction. Judah has brought pagan idols and worship into the Temple itself which is called by Yahweh’s name, polluting it with heathen abominations. Instead of worshipping the way Yahweh has mandated, Judah brings pagan idols into the very house which was built to Yahweh, the Creator of heaven and earth, and the One who dwelt in the Holy of Holies:
  But thou shalt say unto them, “This [is] a nation that obeys not the voice of Yahweh their Elohim, nor receives correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth. Cut off thine hair, [O Jerusalem], and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for Yahweh hath rejected and forsaken the generation of His wrath. “For the children of Judah have done evil in My sight,” saith Yahweh: “they have set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to pollute it,” Jeremiah 7:28-30.
  Does anyone bring abominable things into a place of worship which is considered to be set aside solely as a sanctuary for the worship of Yahweh? Certainly, we are not like ancient Israel. Do we bring things which are taken from pagan worship and boldly bring them into a building or place where we worship our Creator? Has anyone seen an evergreen tree in a church building around December 25? What’s an evergreen tree doing in a place of worship of the Creator of heaven and earth?
  Thus saith Yahweh, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not, Jeremiah 10:2-4.
  While Jeremiah may not have the exact example of green trees which are given a special place in Christian homes each December, there is a decided similarity to pagan worship. Usually there are presents under the tree, and at a given time the family and the children especially will open the gifts under the tree and rejoice and celebrate the day of the winter solstice before the tree. This day is now said to remember the birth of the Chr-st child. But articles appear every year in our newspapers and magazines attesting to the fact that He was not born anywhere near this time of December. News articles state Chr-stmas is right out of paganism, from the worship of the venerable sun!
  The date is actually the pagan celebration of the return of the sun following the winter solstice, known as the Saturnalia. Churchianity has baptized this pagan day and made it a sacred time to revel in just as did the pagans of the past. The set times for pagans to worship their deities is added to the church calendar and made a holy time. December 25 has nothing to do with Yahweh’s worship.
  There is no mistaking the green tree in the churches and homes this time of year is an abomination in Yahweh’s eyes. We are no better in our civilized, cosmopolitan society than wayward Israel. Human nature and the carnal mind of man has not changed. Humans have been vying with Yahweh since the forbidden fruit in the Garden. Paganism has been a problem down through history. Notice the history and background of the degenerate mind of man:
  “Emperor Theodosius (C.E 378-398), made Christianity the State Religion of the Roman Empire, and made Church Membership Compulsory. This was the worst Calamity that has ever befallen the Church. This Forced Conversion filled the Churches with Unregenerate People …
  “Worship, at first very simple, was developed into elaborate, stately, imposing ceremonies having all the outward splendor that had belonged to heathen temples… “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 this further filled the Church with Pagan practices.” (Excerpted from “Paganization of the Church,” Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 760)
  We are given the example of King Manasseh who reared up altars within the Temple, the very place that Yahweh said His name would dwell. The sacred place now polluted with pagan images and altars, worshipping heathen g-ds!
  For he (Manasseh) built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. Also he built altars in the house of Yahweh, whereof Yahweh had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.” And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of Yahweh. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke Him to anger, 2 Chronicles 33:3-6.
  Yahweh has clearly made known how He wants to be worshipped. The burning of incense is a type of prayer, and special offerings were to be presented by the priesthood, but these offerings by Manesseh were to Baal! Worship on the high places and on the rooftops was offered to pagan deities. A true believer would not take any custom of pagan worship and adapt it for the worship of Yahweh, would he? Neither would he bring those things of idolatry into Yahweh’s sanctuary.
  Jeremiah continues:
  And shalt say unto them, “Thus saith Yahweh of hosts; ‘Even so will I break this people and this city, as [one] breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury [them] in Tophet, till there be no place to bury. Thus will I do unto this place,’ saith Yahweh, ‘and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Tophet: and the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other Elohim,’” Jeremiah 19:11-13.
   Many Israelites took the examples of their kings and leaders who now worshipped heathen deities. Those in responsible positions carry much influence with the population such as Jezebel:
  And Eliyah said unto the prophets of Baal, “Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress [it] first; for ye [are] many; and call on the name of your elohim, but put no fire [under].” And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed [it], and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us.” But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, “Cry aloud: for he [is] a elohim; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked,” 1 Kings 18:25-27.

The Syncretism of Religions
   There seems to be a spirit of man to desire whatever new thing is under the sun, even in worship. Seemingly appearing as progress, the search for new concepts, new ideas, differing patterns, and at times, even the bizarre seems strangely appropriate.
  If Yahshua were among us today, would He point out that our society’s festival on the 25th of December is right out of paganism? After we read how Israel was punished for taking up pagan ways and customs, should we also have second thoughts about taking up customs of the heathen?
  While we may criticize the early Israelites for their fascination for pagan worship and their interest in seeking anything new thing as did the strangers in Paul’s time (Acts 17:21), people today are interested in the novel, the different, even the radical and are intrigued by it. They are interested in some new thing.
  Any new adaptations and changes to celebrate an old custom seems to add new life to the situation. For example, before the turn of the century, Halloween was mostly for the children. But merchants now admit, more costumes and masks are sold to adults than to children today. Why would a believer in the Bible enjoy wearing a mask to frighten others? Is not Halloween a time of ghosts, goblins, witches, black cats and jack-o-lanterns? Why would this be a time in which one wants to participate?
  Why teach children the concept of “trick-or-treat?” It is actually teaching young people to threaten potential victims with harm of some sort unless they are given a gift? Is it proper to teach a child “If you don’t give me a treat, I’ll pull a trick on you?” This is one way to teach extortion to children through Halloween, definitely a pagan celebration.
  “The celebration of ‘Christmas’ is freely admitted to be from pagan worship,” so read the headline of an article appearing in the Columbia Tribune, December 20, 2000. The piece went on to quote Anne Rudloff Stanton, a medievalist at the University of Missouri, “Finally, the images of today’s Santa is a product of Coca-Cola commercials in the 1930’s. And Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, was created for an ad campaign for the Montgomery Ward chain.” “Slowly Saint Nicholas evolved into the omni-scient observer of children’s behavior,” said David L. Brown, a Wisconsin theologian. “Good behavior was rewarded with gifts of Christmas and bad behavior with switches.”
  “The Santa character took on the white beard of the pagan god Odin … and the ability to enter houses down the chimney comes from an old Norse legend, and the tradition of leaving him cookies and milk came from a medieval German tale … and Odin’s eight-legged flying horse became eight reindeer,” according to an article in the Columbia Tribune. (Ibid.)
  Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their elohim, saying, “How did these nations serve their elohim? 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 elohim; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their elohim. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it, Deuteronomy 12:30-32.
  If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, “Let us go after other elohim, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;” thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for YAHWEH your Elohim proveth you, to know whether ye love YAHWEH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after YAHWEH your Elohim, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn [you] away from YAHWEH your Elohim, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which YAHWEH thy Elohim commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee, Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

   Then He brought me to the door of the gate of YAHWEH’S house which [was] toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said He unto me, “Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, [and] thou shalt see greater abominations than these.” And He brought me into the inner court of YAHWEH’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of YAHWEH, between the porch and the altar, [were] about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of YAHWEH, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east, Ezekiel 8:14-16.
  And Judah did evil in the sight of YAHWEH, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: [and] they did according to all the abominations of the nations which YAHWEH cast out before the children of Israel, 1 Kings 14:22-24.
  For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; until YAHWEH removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. And the king of Assyria brought [men] from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed [them] in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. And [so] it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, [that] they feared not YAHWEH: therefore YAHWEH sent lions among them, which slew [some] of them, 2 Kings 17:22-25.

Conclusion: Cleansing the Temple
   … And all the people stood to the covenant. And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of YAHWEH all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the grove from the house of YAHWEH, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped [it] small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that [were] by the house of YAHWEH, where the women wove hangings for the grove Molech, 2 Kings 23:1-10.
  Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted, 1 Corinthians 10:6.
  And Moses said, “Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of YAHWEH? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for YAHWEH is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites [are] there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from YAHWEH, therefore YAHWEH will not be with you. But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of YAHWEH, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah, Numbers 14:41-45.
  They feared [not] Yahweh, and served their own elohim, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not Yahweh, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which Yahweh commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;… Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner. So these nations feared [not] Yahweh, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day. (2 Kings 17:33-34, 40-41)
  That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of Elohim. For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of [you]: who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead, 1 Peter 4:2-5.

-Elder Don Mansager (deceased)

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