The Signs Of Heaven
n an almost forgotten phrase found attached to another, frequently quoted portion of Scripture, we find the sentence used in the title of this writing. Most who are aware of Jeremiah's 10th chapter know the passage plainly tells the people of the LORD not to emulate the ways of the heathen, and the description of those "ways" we are to avoid, is focused on what is obviously the practice of obtaining and adorning what is now called a Christmas tree:
"…commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein….Forthe 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" (Leviticus 18:30, Jeremiah 10:3).
Although many religionists cite this passage as an inducement to refrain from the obvious pagan practices associated with theChristmas holy day (now called a "holiday"), most fail to understand what these ancient customs actually entailed. It is self evident the vast majority of errant "Christians," continue unabated in abominations such as these, undeterred by Scriptural admonitions. Such usually cite their alleged freedom in Christ to routinely ignore such things – thus we have no expectation of reaching that vast majority of apostates as God will certainly deal with their ongoing wickedness.
On the other side of the "grace" aisle, we see the Jewish Supremacist sects, espousing everything from the so calledSacred Name system, to what we refer to as the Two House Twist -- the lie which seeks to identify apostate world Christendom with the so called "lost tribes." These perpetually emphasize a more radical conformity to the laws of Moses, and calls to shun customs such as Christmas are usually accompanied by equally adamant urgings to keep the Old Testament feasts of Israel.
As both Spiritual factions continue in their dialectical collision, in an ongoing effort to create the infernal synthesis of the two, neither group articulates the true nature of these customs, nor do they even understand just why they were originally performed with such scrupulous regularity.
For example, very few truly realize just why the ancients widely observed the practice of annually dragging an evergreen tree into their homes, and decorating it with brightly shining ornaments – a practice that continues to this very day, as believers of every stripe hang miniature globes and inexpensive "icycles," which are coloured with the requisite silver and gold. Although some cap the construction with a plastic angel on the peak, most place a star on the top of the abomination.
The key is in the title of the present exposition, for the individual expression of the religious ceremony once associated with the "groves" in the Old Testament, is clearly designed to petition the deities to protect the home in which the tree was prominent. In other words, the annual observation of the ceremony involving placing a green tree in individual's homes, was the equivalent of placing a shrine or altar in the household as a way of appeasing the heavenly deities, who periodically returned to the earth to wreak havoc on those who were in disfavor.
Although many are aware the tree had a definitive association with the Babylonian deity Tammuz, most are still unaware the practice preceded the neo-Babylonian time of Ezekiel by many centuries. To be certain, in the word of the LORD delivered by the prophet Ezekiel, we encounter the apostate Israelite "women weeping for Tammuz," so the practice was present as the organized "mourning" for the premature demise of "Tammuz" was commemorated by the cutting down of the tree – which of course, kills the tree.
However, Jeremiah more succinctly links the ritual importation of the evergreen tree with the "signs of heaven" which terrified the ancient world. The prophet plainly tells us the Gentiles moved in fear and awe as they obeyed the doctrines which convinced them of the need to sacrifice an individual component of the ancient groves. However, the chosen of God were specifically told they were not to interact with the evergreen shrine, as it had no power to hurt or help them:
"They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go [they can't move]. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good" (Jeremiah 10:5).
As the LORD declared the tree to have no power at all, He was reproaching the tradition that the "heathen" believed they could petition the Spirits associated with the groves to do bring them good fortune, and to appease their periodic anger at man through the ceremonial practice. That is why the tree was associated with the "signs of heaven" which, as we shall see, absolutely terrified the inhabitants of the nations with a systematic periodicity.
"…be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed at them" (Jeremiah 10:3).
The truth of the nature of the beliefs of the nations which did not serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is complex with many permutations, but the actual facts concerning the ancient recurring cataclysms detailed in the Old Testament have been known for some time – and predictably, the answers are found in the Scriptures.
In the time of Jeremiah, the periodic ancient catastrophes associated with the heavens, which were preceded by astronomical signals in the stars, had not occurred for over a century. However, the memory of periodic devastations left an indelible imprint on all inhabitants of the earth.
The ancients, including the Israelites, all knew these recurring devastations were associated with the heavens, but each of the groups interpreted the data differently. The last major destruction had occurred in 701 BC when the angel of the LORD (literally the messenger of God) descended, and violently executed 185,000 men – the bulk of the Assyrian army which met their demise as they were encamped outside of Jerusalem.
In that setting, good King Hezekiah had petitioned the LORD for deliverance from the powerful army led by the King of Assyria, and God answered him through the prophet Isaiah, promising to destroy the enemy host:
"Behold, I will send a blast upon him….then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses" (Isaiah 37:7, 36).
Although this is routinely treated in a superficial fashion as just another miracle, this was but one of many ancient devastations, which were generated from the sky, all of which were accompanied by signs in the heavens. For instance, ancient Jewish commentaries tell us that Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, was told by his astrologers, that there was a timetable they had determined from the stars, which he must adhere to, or his mission to take Jerusalem would fail:
"With his vast army Sennacherib hastened onward, in accordance with the disclosure of the astrologers, who warned him that he would fail in his object of capturing Jerusalem, if he arrived there later than the day set by them" (Legends of the Jews, Louis Ginzburg, Volume IV, page 267).
The fact is, from the earliest times, the records of the nations (to say nothing of the Scriptures), show a periodic disaster occurred at consistently regular intervals, beginning with the great flood of Noah, and on through the Passover-Exodus series of upheavals. Joshua's longest day, in which the Bible plainly indicates the spin rate of the planet was affected to the degree the day was extended, was but one of these epic events.
There were many more, and some of the ancients came to realize there was a predictability concerning just when these things would occur, for the stargazers and the prophets ultimately determined that such catastrophes ultimately came down from the heavens, and occurred on the very same day with a cyclical precision.
Any reasonably intelligent person could answer the question, what would make water stand straight up, such as the parting of the Red Sea? What would provide enough power to actually affect the rotation of the planet in order to extend the day? The answer is obvious, that it must be another planetary body, functioning under the control of the LORD Himself, and these periodic destructions from on high were so overwhelmingly devastating, that the ancient heathen nations thought they could petition the heavenly "gods" through their rituals – pagan ceremonial practices of which things like the Tammuz tree were but a part.
The answer is staring us in the face, and many now know, these disasters (a word which literally means evil star) were associated with earlier, unstable orbits of several of the planets in our solar system, most notably the planet Mars, and every religion of the heathen nations is directly related to this ancient catastrophic era.
Thus, when the LORD Himself tells us not to follow the ways of the heathen, as they petitioned their gods through the ritualistic construction of heathen altars consisting of decorated evergreen trees, those "believers" who insist on perpetuating these abominations, claiming they are under grace, are only fooling themselves when they proclaim they are followers of the LORD Jesus Christ.
--- James Lloyd
A fascinating look at how the angelic host was associated with the planets in antiquity, and how the Gentile nations developed religious rituals associated with the recurring destructions seen in the Old Testament, are diagrammed in the Christian Mediaproduced DVD entitled ANGELS IN ORBIT featuring James Lloyd.