By Medford Caudill
 Goshen, Indiana
Ezekiel 8:13-18  "He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. {14} Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. {15} 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. {16} And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. {17} Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. {18} Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them."
    I have always hesitated to preach an annual anti-Easter or anti-Christmas sermon near the day of those celebrations. I have always thought that you ought to teach about those things before the day comes so that people will be informed enough not to get caught up in them when they do come around. It is hard enough to get people to quit Christmas, but it is especially difficult  to do so after they have the lights on the house, the tree up, and the presents stacked under the tree.
    Tearing down Christmas, Easter and Halloween is not a difficult thing to do in our commercially driven, tolerant society that looks for something everyone can have fun with and make money on. Thus, Christmas in our day has more to do with Santa Claus and toys than with any religious significance. Easter is driven more by candy than anything else.  Halloween is a boon for the makers of horror films. Christmas, Easter, and Halloween all have their beginnings in religious rites but not the Christian religion. All are the products of the Babylonian Mystery Religion. All three seek to perpetuate practices which have nothing to do with the birth or resurrection of Christ but have everything to do with the worship of Baal, Tammuz, or the Sun-God. We observe an Easter sun rise service here in Ezekiel.
    Notice firstly, that this was done in the Temple. “And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and behold at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar.” (vs. 16)
    God’s people should know better. It is one thing for people who have no claim on the Bible to do these things, another for those who say they have studied the scriptures. “And we know that the son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” ( I John 5:20,21)
    Satan delights in defying God in God’s place. We are surprised and amazed that these Jews would worship false gods in the temple. We should be just as surprised and amazed at those who carry on these same practices in the Lord’s churches today.
    Notice, secondly, that these men in this heathen act of worship turned, “their backs toward the temple of the Lord.” John Gill says; “for the sanctuary was built to the west, that in their worship the Jews might not look to the east, as the Gentiles did; wherefore these men that they might imitate the Gentiles in their idolatry, turned their backs to the most holy place; which is an aggravation of their impiety; casting the utmost contempt on God, his worship, and the place of it.”
    In doing this they turned their backs upon God. They turned their back upon the one who had protected them, provided for them and delivered them. They turned their backs upon the one for whom the temple had been built.
    Thirdly, we notice that this was a light thing to the Jews. (Vs.17) ”Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here?”
    The biggest argument in favor of keeping these yearly festivals is simply put, “what difference does it make?” What difference does it make if I dye some eggs and pass out some candy?  What difference does it make if  we have a solemn good-Friday service or a sunrise service on Easter morning?
    If you say it makes no difference, then why abstain from anything? If there is no proper way to worship God then anything is acceptable. You wind up in the end with the “seeker friendly” churches that we have today. You replace hymns with rock and roll music. You replace preaching with lectures, movies and plays. You replace Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes with tee shirts and shorts. After all, what difference does it make?
    It does not matter what pleases us but rather what provokes God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6)
    When He says “before me” in that first commandment it does not mean just above me. After all, some might worship God as the supreme God but have other littler gods that they worship also. Before me means “in my sight.” God sees all things. He sees every act of idolatry even those that have a Christian label put on them.
    If you want to please God then keep away from Easter, Christmas, and Halloween. Instead worship him in His way, in His church.

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