There is nothing wrong with enjoying the spring-time, or celebrating the beauties that God has given us. It is all to be received with thanksgiving (I Timothy 4:3). However, the difference between the Judeo-Christian world view and that of the mystery religions is that the “mysteries” believed that the god resided right in the processes of fertility. They believed that the elements of plant, animal and human reproduction were godlike!
The great mystery of the mystery religions was the worship of sex! Part of this mystery was involved in the mechanics of human reproduction itself. There is a doctrine in Witchcraft called the Hermetic Maxim: “As above, so below, but after a different manner.” This idea is the basis of much of magic and astrology. This means that human reproduction is a reflection of the larger universe…
In the thinking of these people, the god was “born” every year at the winter solstice (December 23, when the sun is farthest away). The sun god “impregnates” the earth on the summer solstice (June 22, when the sun is most powerful) and then begins to wane and die. Many European pagans believe the god dies around the time of the feast of Samhain or Halloween (October 31). Then the goddess gives birth to a new “baby god” on December 23 and the cycle begins anew. – William Schnoebelen, Masonry: Beyond the Light
Having been at a Masonic funeral, I can attest that their rites are obsessive in their references to “fertility.” I have to say, that Masonic funeral was one of the strangest, most spiritually unnerving things I have ever witnessed…
“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. 2 All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. 3 All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars (Isaiah 65:1-3 NLT).
“To a nation that did not call on My Name” speaks to all except Israel.
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? (Rom 11:11-15 ESV).
During the time of Jesus’ First Advent, Israel had outwardly rejected idolatry, but that evil spirit had returned, bringing other spirits worse than itself. Hence, Stephen, like Isaiah in this Passage, charged them with not only rejecting their Messiah but with being idolaters as well.
You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the Prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of Whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers, who have received the Law by the disposition of Angels, and have not kept it (Act 7:-51-53 KJV).
At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. 5 Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away (Isaiah 65:4-5 NLT).
Blasphemously, Israel’s initiation into pagan mystery rites was thought to confer on the initiated a “gnosis” and a “holiness” unattainable otherwise. So, the paganized Jew claimed to be more “pious” and “super-spiritual” than the true servants of Jehovah God! The LORD says this is utterly repugnant to Him. Such sin is like “stench in My nostrils” caused by an unholy fire that gives off “an acrid smell that never goes away.”
“Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them— 7 both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the Lord. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full! (Isaiah 65:6-7 NLT).
Practicing pagan mystery religious rites under the guise of “holiness” and “special gnosis” from God is not something to be trifled with.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:31 ESV).
“But I will not destroy them all,” says the Lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. 9 I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. 10 The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds (Isaiah 65:8-10 NLT).
The LORD will preserve a Remnant of Israel to be blessed in the eternal society under the Messiah. Paul references this Passage in his Epistle to the Romans:
And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay” (Rom 9:27-28 ESV).
Achor was the place near Jericho where Achan was put to death. Here it is proclaimed that God in His Grace will turn the valley of Achor, a scene of Divine Wrath, into a door of hope “for my people who have searched for me.”
Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day (Josh 7:24-26 NASB).
And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt (Hosea 2:15 ESV).
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ (Gal 3:16 ESV).
“But because the rest of you have forsaken the Lord and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny, 12 now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down before the executioner. For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes— and chose to do what you know I despise” (Isaiah 65:11-12 NLT).
The “god of Fate” or “fortune” has to do with the astrological charts which originated with Babylon. The Israelites furnished the sacrifices and drink offerings to these pagan gods of Mystery Babylon in order to secure “good fortune.” They did this in willful disobedience to the Word of God.
With Israel seeking help from demon spirits through pagan rites of worship and secret knowledge, they were forfeiting the help that God would give and actually making themselves enemies of God. She had opportunity to hear either from demonic spirits—the “god of fortune”—or Jehovah God, and chose to hear the “god of fortune,” while refusing to “answer” or “hear” Jehovah God.
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed. 14 My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair. 15 Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign Lord will destroy you and will call his true servants by another name. 16 All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days (Isaiah 65:13-16 NLT).
There is a small Remnant who will not choose the way of evil, and they will be sustained with spiritual food and “rejoice” and “sing for joy.”
“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. 18 Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more (Isaiah 65:17-19 NLT).
Jerusalem has been a place of “weeping and crying” as no other city in the world. Satan has contested God’s ownership of this city from the very beginning, but with the Second Coming of the LORD, all of this will be passed.
“No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! 21 In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. 22 Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. 23 They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed (Isaiah 65:20-23 NLT).
This is a description of the Kingdom Age. I will not pretend to understand exactly how this will all play out. But I rely on Scripture by Faith.
And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life, which bear twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:1-3 KJV).
I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Isaiah 65:24-25 NLT).
Once again, Paul references this Passage in his Epistle to the Romans:
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now (Rom 8:19-22 NKJV).