In Deuteronomy 12:30 Yah’s people are warned not to be snared into worshiping Him the way pagan nations worship their gods. Yet we were snared anyway! The Roman Catholic Church’s blatant disregard for Yah’s warning is apparent in its embrace of pagan pageantry and 1500-years of supremacy that have merged Christian doctrine with pagan practices. It is the Roman church that gave us Sunday worship, Christmas, Lent, Easter, patron saints, haloes, steeples, and, in AD 496, Saint Valentine’s Day. That’s when Pope Gelasius renamed two highly sexualized Roman festivals, Lupercalia and Juno Februata, Saint Valentine’s Day in an attempt to whitewash sexual license.
Assisted by Vestal Virgins, Luperci priests sacrificed goats and dogs, conducting their purification rites in the same cave a she-wolf was said to have nursed Rome’s founders, Romulus and Remus. Clad in loincloths and smeared with blood, Luperci priests romped about Rome, flogging naked young women. Their whips, made from the skins of sacrificed animals to guarantee fertility, were called februa, from which we get the word February.
Juno Februata (the goddess of sexual fever).
Every February 14th, names of teenage girls written on paper billets were placed in a jar. Teenage boys drew a girl’s name and then, in modern vernacular, ‘hooked up’ to celebrate throughout Rome with erotic games. Disregarding Yah’s instructions in Deuteronomy 12:30, the Roman Catholic Church simply decided to Christianize the pagan festivals. Instead of a sexual lottery, boys and girls were now to draw names of saints they were supposed to emulate. A ‘cleaned-up’ version of the original practice was instituted. The young men would send young ladies romantic messages containing St. Valentine’s name which we see today in the tradition of sending Valentine cards.
Cupid that winged child-like archer traditionally found on Valentine cards, though sometimes happy, was more often cruel. His name comes from the Latin verb cupere, meaning “to desire.” In Rome, Cupid was known as the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of beauty and love. In Greece, as the son of the goddess, Aphrodite, he is called Eros, from which we get the word erotic. For fun, Cupid would shoot invisible gold tipped arrows at unsuspecting men and women to drive them crazy with passion and then laugh at their misery. Cupid was said to have impregnated both goddesses and mortals.
Why did the Church adopt pagan rituals?
The Roman Church asserted a right to disregard God’s warning in Deuteronomy 12:30 and elsewhere, to “redeem” pagan practices and symbols, and assign them new meaning. This attempt to clean-up abominable practices is based on an interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19, in which Yeshua told Peter he would give him the keys to the kingdom. Whatever Peter, who is claimed to be the first Pope, ‘bound on earth would be bound in heaven and whatever he loosed would be loosed.’ Based on their faulty interpretation of this one scripture, Constantine and later Roman Church fathers felt it their prerogative to change God’s laws whenever it suited them. And they did, time and time again.
Their mistranslation of Matthew 16:19 as “whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” gave birth to many unscriptural changes. In the Literal Translation this verse is correctly rendered, as: “Whatever you bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven. And whatever you loose on the earth shall be, having been loosed in Heaven.”
This translation is consistent with the Greek “estai dedemenon” and “estai lelumenon,” which are in the periphrastic “future” not “past” perfect tense. Literally, the phrases mean: “shall be, having been bound,” and “shall be, having been loosed.” In other words, all instruction originates with the Father in heaven, and Peter was commissioned to uphold that standard!
When correctly translated, the passage is consistent with God’s warning not to add to or take away from his Word, and is in perfect harmony with Yeshua’s instructions on how we should pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
When Yeshua told Peter he was giving him the keys to the Kingdom, he reminded him that authority came from heaven. He expected that Peter would instruct the body of believers like he did; in full accordance with his Father’s instructions, just like Moses before him. Yeshua never intended that Peter or anyone else, including the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church, would assume an authority above that established in heaven.
To his credit, in 1969, Pope Paul VI removed Saint Valentine from the Church’s calendar. But, as it is with most bad ideas, it would have been so much better had the Roman Catholic Church never tried to Christianize this pagan holiday in the first place. Instead of removing it permanently from our culture, it has grown! Today, Valentine’s Day is still all about sex! Just listen to the commercials. And it grosses sales in billions!
Throughout scripture God warns his people to have nothing to do with pagan ways. Syncretism–the combination of different forms of belief or practices–is never God’s way.
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