by Christine Egbert
Syncretism is the combination of differing beliefs (especially religious) in which customs merge. Or as Dictionary.com states: it is “the attempted reconciliation or union of differing or opposing principles, practices or parties, as in philosophy or religion.” An article on syncretism in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica says this: “Syncretism’s most frequent use is in connection with the religious development of antiquity. It denotes the tendency, especially prominent from the 2nd to the 4th centuries of the Christian era, to simplify and unify the various pagan religions … Syncretism even went so far as to blend the deities of paganism with Christianity.”
WAS THE CHURCH BORN AT PENTECOST?
Pentecost is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Shavuot. “Church” is a mistranslation of ekklesia, a “called-out assembly or congregation.” How do we know? Three centuries before Yeshua’s birth the Hebrew Old Testament was translated by 72 Rabbis into the Greek, a translation known as the Septuagint, in which the Hebrew word “quahal” (a called-out congregation or an assembly) was translated into Greek as “ekklesia.”
The second problem with the misconception that this called-out congregation was born at Pentecost is that Shavuot commemorates God giving Israel the TORAH. During this God ordained Feast, Israel is to appear before Lord YHVH at the Temple in Jerusalem.
During the 1st century only Jews (Israelites from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and half of the Levites) lived in Judea. The majority of the northern 10 tribes, who Yeshua referred to as “lost sheep of the House of Israel” remained scattered in Gentile lands.
During the Shavuot spoken of in Acts 3, God poured out His Holy Spirit on Jews gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast, both Jews who lived in Judea and Jews who’d returned from the diaspora. It’s interesting to note that Acts 5:32 says that God gave His Holy Spirit to those who obeyed Him. This was the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit as prophesied by Joel. Nowhere in Scripture can you find any reference that says the church was born on Pentecost. Why? Because it’s a man-made Church doctrine.
The Holy Spirit was poured out on “those who obeyed Him” to “empower them”. They needed God’s power to follow the Messiah’s instructions, to spread the Good News of the Kingdom, and make new disciples. They were to start in Jerusalem then go to every part of the earth. They were to teach all mankind, to observe (obey) everything Yeshua had commanded them.
WHAT WERE THEY TO TEACH?
They were to teach people to keep Yeshua’s Father’s commandments, to heal the sick, to preach liberty to captives, and to cast out demons. I could go on, but I know you get my point.
Convert? Or Return?
“Therefore repent and “convert” so that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of YHVH. And He shall send Yeshua Messiah, who before was proclaimed to you, whom Heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things…”
Many translations (like the KJV) use the word convert. Convert promotes the false idea that followers of Yeshua converted to a new religion that became known as Christianity. The Greek word translated as “convert” is “met-an-o-eh’-o”, Strong’s G1994. It means to “return.” Return to Lord YHVH’s instructions, to His TORAH. Returning is a theme found throughout the Holy Scriptures. (Below are just a couple.)
Jer_15:19 Therefore thus says Adonai: “If you RETURN, I will restore you…
Jer_24:7 Then I will give them a heart to know Me—for I am Adonai—and they will be My people, and I will be their God. For they will RETURN to Me with their whole heart.
Changes mandated by Roman Emperor Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church during the 4th century were: Sunday-sabbath, Christmas, and Easter.
Rome criminalized the biblical 7th Day Sabbath and all of YHVH’s Feast Days. Those who shared fellowship with Yeshua’s Jewish disciples were excommunicated. Many were put to death. These Jewish believers were not shown the hospitality they had shown to Gentiles coming to faith three hundred years earlier in Judea (Acts 15).
“Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd, for we have received from our Savior a different way.” (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, Vol III Ch. XVIII). Only Constantine did not receive his “different way” from the Savior of Scripture. For the Savior of the Bible never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
When Lord Yahweh told Moses that the 7th day Sabbath and all His Feast Days were to be observed FOREVER, He meant it. And Yeshua meant it when He said that not one jot or tittle would pass from the TORAH until heaven and earth had passed away.
Constantine’s edict to change Lord YHVH’s Appointed times proves that he received his “different way” from “a different Savior.” Yah said, “Whatsoever I command you, observe and do it! Thou shall not add to nor diminish from it.” (Deu 12:32)
Isa_55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous one his thoughts, let him RETURN to Adonai, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
If the God who never changes hated something in the beginning, He still hates it today. And He will hate it tomorrow. If Yah expected those in covenant with Him to do something three thousand years ago, He still expects it today. And since this called-out congregation, which got mistranslated into English as Church, isn’t new, since it wasn’t born at Pentecost, since it is the very same “quahal” that was with Moses in the wilderness (Acts 7:38), then Yahweh still holds sole jurisdiction. His Torah still stands.
ONE GOD! ONE MESSIAH! ONE PEOPLE OF GOD!
There is One God, One Messiah, and One people of God. Gentiles come into covenant through faith, then cease being Gentiles. They become a part of the Commonwealth of Israel. They share in Israel’s Covenants. (Ephesians 2:12) Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, never started a new religion! Yeshua came ONLY to DO HIS FATHER’S WILL, and TO SPEAK HIS FATHER’S WORDS. Yeshua said that His doctrines are His Father’s.
So When Was This New Religion Born?
The new religion was Catholicism, which is a mutated mixture of paganism and biblical doctrines. Catholicism, in all of its various forms, including Protestantism, became a new religion commonly known as the Christian Church. But make no mistake, this hybrid system was not birthed at Shavuot in the book of Acts. It was born in the 4th Century through syncretism. Like fruit from the tree that was in the midst of the Garden, from which Adam and Eve were not to eat, its doctrines constitute a mixture of good and evil. That said, I have no problem calling myself a Christian in the true sense of the word, which means a follower of Christ, the Greek version of Messiah. I am careful, however, to explain that I am a “Pre-Constantinian” Christian. Why? Because I do not condone those unbiblical changes that were enacted during the 4th century in Rome.
Pictures of Israel’s Jewish Messiah wearing a halo, a pagan sun-god-disk, depict syncretism with sun-god worship. Lord YHVH warned His people, “Do not learn the way of the heathen!” (Jer 10:2) “Do not worship Me the way the nations worship their gods!” (Deu 12:4).
Followers of Messiah Yeshua should not celebrate Christmas and Easter! Why? The Roman Catholic Church proudly admits that many of their traditions were borrowed from pagan idol worship. Catholic Customs & Traditions, written by Greg Dues (a Catholic), presents an overview of the customs of Roman Catholicism. In his book he admits that Sunday worship “is an example of how culture and pagan traditions influenced Christian religious traditions. This title [Sun-day] comes from pre-Christian worship of the sun…” (pg. 22).
The choice of December 25th as the date to celebrate Yeshua’s birth is an adaptation of the December 25th birthday of their many sun-gods. After Constantine became the benefactor and protector of Christianity, pagan culture with its sun-god-symbolism was no longer threatening, so it could be freely absorbed by the church…with the Nativity date of December 25th already in place, the church did precisely that. (pg. 51 f).
“Most Christmas traditions associated with evergreens and trees are related to pre-Christian practices… Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples worshipped trees and decorated houses and barns with evergreens at the new year to scare away demons…” (pg. 56).
“The origin of Santa Clause is a deliberate mixture of a bishop-saint, Father Christmas, and the Norse mythological god Thor, an elderly, jolly (god of war), with white hair and a beard, living in the north land, who sailed the sky in a chariot pulled by goats, and as the god of fire, he was partial to chimneys and fireplaces…” (pg. 60-62). The Second Vatican Council, I must insert here, stated in the 1970s that no Roman Catholic bishop named Nicholas ever existed! Vatican II also confessed that the origin of this legend came from pagan traditions!
Catholic Lent came from the forty days of weeping for the sun-god Tammuz. The Catholic custom of giving milk and honey to the newly baptized is a “practice borrowed from the pagan mystery cults…” (pg. 90).
Easter eggs and Easter bunnies: “In ancient Egypt and Persia friends exchanged decorated eggs at the spring equinox… These eggs were a symbol of fertility… Rabbits are part of pre-Christian fertility symbolism because of their reputation to reproduce rapidly” (pg. 98f). The sun-goddess, Ishtar, from whose name we get the English word Easter, was said to have landed in the Euphrates in a giant egg on, you guessed it, Ishtar sun-god day.
In volume III, titled Caesar and Christ, in historian Will Durantin’s massive work, titled The Story of Civilization, the author shows that in the “new” church, which developed in the Roman Empire, Yeshua lost all Jewishness. “…the god Christ was assimilated into the religious and philosophical traditions of the Hellenistic mind. Now the Pagan world–even the anti-Semitic world–could accept him as their own.”
If you are a Christian who celebrates Christmas and Easter, you must ask yourself, “Who do I want to worship?” If you want to worship the God of Scripture, you must worship Him in Spirit and TRUTH. You are to worship Him the way He says we are to worship Him, not the way pagans have worshiped their gods.
But if YOU are the one actually sitting on the throne of your heart, if celebrating Christmas and Easter is really about what pleases YOU, then continue to do that which is right in your own eyes.
I will close with a quote from Roman Catholic, Cardinal Manning: “The Catholic Church is either the masterpiece of Satan or the Kingdom of the Son of God…” Now you–my readers–must decide!