“Sacred cows make the best hamburger.” Mark Twain’s quote has been a favorite since discovering the real meaning behind the Golden Calf of America. Please refer to the article I wrote two days ago “North Pole Going South?” http://wp.me/p158HG-kH and “Where Christmas Comes From Part 2” http://wp.me/p158HG-2m articles. Or should I say since discovering the real meaning behind the Golden Calf of the Church in America? After all, wasn’t it God’s people worshiping the Golden Calf?
Rather than discouraging the people’s idolatrous hearts, Aaron’s demand for the people’s gold seemed to gratify their superstition. Their readiness to part with the wealth of their ears showed the extravagance with which they were willing to shower upon their affection for this form of worship. “With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction” (Hosea 8:4). The Israelites seemed more ready, willing, and able to invest in their own invented form of worship; than abide by the worship God designed, and still desires. The big question that needs to be addressed by our royal switch in polarity: For Christians, does our own readiness to part with our hard-earned money in our extravagant indulgence of Christmas please God or not?
In this vein I’d like to share a profound, disquieting God-given dream. I actually had the dream twice; one repeating and being a continuation of the other. In these dreams I was casually out with another man. We were holding hands while walking and as we sat across from one another at the dinner table. It was a seemingly innocent thing; but when my husband found out about it, he was extremely hurt. I got upset trying to justify the encounter – after all many people are into porn or an actual affair. I had only causally flirted. Evidence of the “innocent affair” was produced by a check written out to support a worthy cause that the other man had told me about. I didn’t understand how this could be evidence against me.
After mediating upon my God-given dreams to receive their interpretation, I understood that it was related to writing my book: SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up. The other man represents a god other than the One True God. My husband, in this context, is Yeshua. The “innocent affair” is Christmas, where the Church has casually held hands with another god in both walking with the god of this world and dining at his table. The evidence of my “innocent affair” was a check written to a worthy charitable cause. The Church is to walk as Jesus walked. We are to have no other gods in preference/before Him. Obviously, the act of giving to charity was not bad in itself. In fact, my charitable giving seemed to justify my unfaithful, casual affair, for I had buried the incident in my subconscious until confronted. It was that the Spirit of Christmas (not the Spirit of the Living God) had presented me with the charitable opportunity; and it caused me to give of my finances according to Christmas, not my Beloved. Indeed, hindsight showed that I had mainly given to charitable causes when the other man (i.e. god) offered the opportunity.To my shame, I tried to deny the “innocent affair;” but when first confronted by my Heavenly Husband, I had not only felt guilty, seeing merely a glimpse of my affair (before I tried to deny and justify myself), I also momentarily saw His hurt and withdrawal.
The fabulous, glorious Bridal Company will operate in the Lord’s perfect will, not merely His permissive will. “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4) not only applies to the literal 144,000 Hebrew servants of the Most High God; but additionally to the overcomers redeemed among men, who make up the Lamb’s wife (Revelation 21). We mustn’t forget that the basic law of the Temple is holiness, and the New Jerusalem is a holy city filled with His holy people who are the tabernacle of God (Revelation 21:2-3:10).
Christian giving should be a daily practice instead of a yearly ritual. Ideally, great organizations, like the Salvation Army, should not have to wait until December to get the bulk of their support. In Fort Collins, we have an “Adopt-A-Family” program where churches endeavor to take care of those in need during the Christmas season. At one point, working as the Community Action Coordinator for the Fort Collins Church Network, I talked to Hal, the founder and organizer of this ministry, about the possibility of expanding the “Adopt-A-Family” program to be a year-round ministry, which was his heart too. He told me that many people only want to give during the holiday season. The fact is that Christmas is the season when giving is most on the Church’s radar screen. We need to analyze whether our sacrificial giving with goodwill to all men makes the holiday associated with Five Golden Rings propitious.
My heart grieves over this yearly Christian ritual of giving! Not all Christians are culpable, but many are. It’s not supposed to be the practice of people operating in God’s Kingdom ways, and it keeps His Bridal Company from fully entering into the reality of Matthew 25:34-40 NASB:
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for Me.’”
The yearly giving ritual at Christmastime is like when the Catholic Church used to pay indulgences to absolve them of their sins. This was one of the issues Martin Luther had that caused him to nail those 95 thesis to the door in Wittenberg.
Does Aaron’s proclamation “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord” ring as our Christian proclamations for Christmas? Since the feast to honor Jesus’ birth is just a re-adaptation of the age-old Babylonian worship of the mother and child, we need to examine this lamb of Christmas that we have been offering as worship to the King. Every feast to the Lord is meant to be dedicated to Him. To dedicate something means to set it apart for a definite use or to devote to the worship of a divine being. Yet, this festival, which Aaron and God’s people dedicated to Jehovah, was not only offensive to Him; but it also invoked His judgment. They set aside the Golden Calf for “sacred use” to commemorate their being brought out of Egypt. It was to serve as an intermediary, like Moses, in leading them to the Promise Land. Harmless it seemed. They believed they were genuinely devoting themselves to worshipping the God of Israel. But God is neither fooled nor mocked.
The Lord saw into the heart of the matter, the people had corrupted themselves with crass idolatry. “If we had turned away from worshiping our God, and were worshipping idols, would God not know it? Yes, He knows the secrets of every heart” (Psalm 44:20-21TLB). God’s people believed that they were worshiping the big “E” Elohim (the Most High God), but the Lord saw the motives of their hearts and said that they had worshiped little “e” elohim (gods/demons) instead. They had turned aside quickly out of the way for which God commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, worshipped it, sacrificed to it, and said, “This is your god, O Israel that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:7-8).
Aaron and the people were so strongly and grossly sensual, they did not imagine that this image was itself a god nor did they plan to terminate their adoration. They made the Golden Calf a representation of the True God, whom they intended to worship in and through this image. Remember when you regard Christmas being the golden calf of America that His thoughts are not like ours, nor are His ways like ours (Isaiah 55:8). The more I contemplate the manger scenes at Christmas time, the more I see that it is indeed a “golden” commemoration of Christ’s birth.
The truth and beauty that Christ came as a babe in a manger does not give us license for it to be set aside for a particular purpose with the literal graven image of Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes funneling worship. This concept also applied to the Golden Calf. The truth and beauty of God bringing His people out of Egypt and taking them to the Promise Land did not justify the creation and worship of the Golden Calf. It seemed that the Israelites forgot that the Lord had already instituted a festival for His family called Passover for these exact same purposes; and He set it as a permanent or eternal ordinance (Exodus 12:14). Will we follow history in choosing to party with the world, or will we choose to party at the wedding feast of the Lamb with the King of Kings?
Christians say Christmas only represents a truth in God’s Word and that the Baby Jesus is merely a representation of the Most High, whom we intend to worship in and through this image not the image itself. As with the Golden Calf, it is not a sufficient plea that we do not worship the image, but God through the image. A feast said to be a feast to Jehovah is not necessarily as we say. God will be the Judge.
The Lord’s people were eager to celebrate the feast of the Golden Calf just as we have been with Christmas. “They rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:6NKJV). Had they offered these sacrifices to Jehovah without the intervention of an image, the sacrifices may have been accepted. “An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen, In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you” (Exodus 20:24NKJV). However, having set up an image before them as a symbol of God’s Presence and in their emulation of the idolatrous worship of Egypt, they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:23NASB).
According to the ancient rites of worship, the people offered sacrifice(s) to this new made deity, and they feasted on the sacrifice.” Likewise, Christians make sacrifices to celebrate Christmas in style. We eagerly rise early on Christmas morning to celebrate this festival memorializing Christ’s birth. We feast on the sacrifices we have made in giving gifts to one another in honor of Jesus’ birth.
Having at the expense of their gold earrings made their god, God’s people endeavored at the expense of their beasts to make their golden god propitious. The Israelites thought their God-ordained sacrifices would make the Lord favorably disposed toward their benevolent gestures. Christians believe that our generous giving to worthy charitable causes at Christmastime in fulfillment of God-given directives is evidence that Jesus is pleased, and favorably disposed, to our celebration of His birth. The propitious end the Israelites accomplished was neither advantageous, nor prosperous as they had hoped; but it did portend a future event whose sacrifices are also atrocities in His eyes. When the folly of the Golden Calf is spoken about in 1 Corinthians 10:7, it says, “they sat down to eat and drink.” They consumed what was sacrificed, then “rose up to play.” What do we do on Christmas morn? We consume the gifts given to us in the honor of our Savior and we rise up to play with them usually for the rest of the day. The Israelites rose up to play the fool – to play the wanton. Don’t the believers in Jesus Christ of Nazareth do that too?
The definition for “wanton” is: hard to control; undisciplined; unruly; playfully mean and cruel; mischievous; lustful; sensual; having no foundation or provocation; being without check or limitation; and extravagant.
“When Moses saw that the people were out of control,” he called for “whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” (Exodus 32:25-26). Lacking self-control and extravagance were fruits of the celebrants of the Golden Calf, as it is evident today at Christmastime too. I’m all for abundance and giving generously. Just ask anyone who’s been to one of my tea parties! In fact, giving gifts is one of my love languages, but we don’t have to look too deep to find that all of the definitions for the word “wanton” above fit perfectly with the fruits of the Christmas season. Let’s take a glance at the above definition of wanton in regards to Christmas.
“Undisciplined, unruly and being without check or limitations” is evident in children and adults alike. The Roman practice of “The Feast of Fools” owes its nature to the Saturnalia. See “Where Christmas Comes From Part 2” http://wp.me/p158HG-2m .“The Feast of Fools” continued in its various forms well into the seventeenth century. A similar celebration existed in England since the Middle Ages called “The Lord of Misrule,” where the master becomes the servant and the servant switches places with their master. Please refer to “Yuletide Tradition – Kids in Charge” article http://wp.me/p158HG-3A . In Chapter 3 of SANTA-TIZING, I speak about how “The Lord of Misrule” practice originated in Babylon. It manifests today in the family giving their children rule of the house during the Christmas season.
A good friend told me that she has to rectify her children’s expectations and attitudes when school starts up again after New Year’s Day. My family has had to make this correction as well. Only in 2004, six years after my family began to lay down Christmas, was the Lord of Misrule or lawlessness shown to me as the root of my child’s rebellious conduct during the holiday season. Of course, we also gave over our authority as masters of the household too.
In 2005, we saw no trace of lawlessness (rebellion or defiance) in my son from mid-December to January 1. I believe that this switching of master-servant roles phenomenon is pervasive in America being more the rule than the exception during the holiday season. We just haven’t equated it to the ancient licentious practice of the Feast of Fools or the Lord of Misrule.
The “sensual and lustful” connotations to Christmas are as ancient as this pagan holiday itself. Gluttony, sexual immorality, and greed need no explanation; they are as obvious during Christmas as Rudolf’s Red Nose. Please see “Wassailing Revival” article http://wp.me/p158HG-i4 .
The wanton definition of “mischievous” exemplifies Santa and his elves if one looks close enough beyond the spell of innocence. Personally, I love a little mischievous streak, in our playful kitty and lambs especially. But to teach that Santa Claus is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful – he knows everyone who is naughty or nice – is actually a callous joke. Some people may tell me to lighten up. It’s only fun! But to sow deceit and innocent white lies for the purpose of having fun is being “playfully mean and cruel” to our kids. God’s Kingdom doesn’t make room for lies whether they are little white ones or big black ones. American Christians have not realized that we are sowing unbelief in the fabric of our children’s souls instead of God’s Kingdom.
Copyright Dec. 23, 2012 – Author: Robin Main.
The information in this article and more details can be found in Chapter 6 “The Golden Calf” in my book: SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up (available on amazon http://www.amazon.com/SANTA-TIZING-Whats-wrong-Christmas-clean/dp/1607911159/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353692179&sr=1-1&keywords=SANTA_TIZING).