Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Closing Out 2014

Joseph Herrin (12-30-2014)

This blog posting is the 91st for the year. That number is down somewhat from previous years. Yet, the number of posts seems significant. I am reminded of Psalm 91. It is a Psalm of Yahweh’s deliverance and protection in troublous times. Following is a portion of this Psalm.

Psalms 91:1-10
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to Yahweh, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!" For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes, and see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made Yahweh, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.

As we enter into the year 2015 it is necessary to have made Yahweh, the Most High God, our refuge and strength. The media is filled with reports of plagues, pestilence, terrorists, wars, economic instability, civil unrest, strife among humanity, and environmental calamities. There has never been a time in history when it has been more necessary to walk closely to God, sheltered under His protecting wings. If you are not confident in your standing with God, being filled with the assurance of His watchfulness over your life, do not delay in addressing these issues.

A saying that I often utter when speaking to others is “You never know what a day will bring.” If this be true, it is all the more certain that “We never know what another year will bring.” At the end of each year as I have looked back over the events and experiences of the closing year, I am amazed at all that has transpired in the world at large and in my life. Much of what occurs is unanticipated. Hindsight is much better than foresight.

In 2014 I completed the book titled Yahweh’s Book. I also wrote the book Foundations. This latter book was a marathon work. I posted the first chapter in February and did not complete the last chapter until September. It ended up being one of the longest books I have written, a total of 346 pages in my word processor. This year also saw two significant series posted, these being Double Jeopardy - Deception and Bondage of the Bride of Christ, and the series titled Deception. In fact, during the year 2014 I posted quite a number of writings that addressed the subject of deception. This seems both necessary and appropriate as the character of the days we live in grow ever darker.

An older brother in the Lord who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks back. In it he wrote:

I have just bound Volume Seventeen of your Parables Blogs, each one being a large tome. This year, speaking from memory, the ones that hit me regarding world events, were, 'Christian Faith Dies in the Land of Illusion,' 'Tony Palmer and the Covenant of Blood,' and 'The Cross Stands while the World Turns.'

I too was impressed with the poignant details of the story about the young woman named Christian Faith who died of heart failure, evidently frightened to death, while her family was visiting a local horror theme park. To a significant degree the days which lie ahead for America and the nations will evoke a response of horror. In prophesying of the character of the last days before His return, Yahshua stated:

Luke 21:25-26
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and on the earth; distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth...

Brothers and sisters, listening to the preaching coming from the pulpits of prosperity will not prepare any man, woman, or child to be able to stand and overcome in the coming days. Attending the local rock and roll church with its choreographed worship services will not impart to you the faith to prevail when all things are shaken. It is only by surrendering one’s life to follow Christ down an afflicted path of His choosing while looking to God to guide, save, provide, and strengthen them, that a believer will be equipped to not only endure, but to triumph. Now is the time to have your faith exercised, tried, tested, and strengthened. Now is the time to be contending with the lion and the bear, for Goliath is coming. If you do not manifest faith in a time of peace, how will you do so in a time of great calamity and distress?

Jeremiah 12:5
If you're worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm, what's going to happen when troubles break loose
like the Jordan in flood?
(The Message Bible)

The story of Christian Faith dying of fright as her heart failed her is a parable and a warning to the body of Christ. I do not doubt that Yahweh chose the time this event occurred with specific intent. The hour is near at hand for the citizens of the world to experience many horrifying and frightening experiences. The Faith of many Christians is weak. The hearts of many who profess belief in Christ are not strong enough to endure the shocks and surprises that will suddenly confront them. Many Christians will be like the seed that fell on stony ground.

Matthew 13:20-21
“And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”

If I were to choose some blog posts from this past year that I found particularly significant and timely relating to world events, I would also include Late Bloomers and the Fall of America, and the follow-up to that post which is titled America on Deathwatch. Even as the once proud ocean liner the SS United States lies moldering in its berth along the wharves of Philadelphia, languishing as no savior has come forth to restore the ship to her former glory, facing imminent threat of being sold for scrap, America too is at a critical point in her history.

SS United States

Revealing the incredible blindness of mankind, even as the United States has been gutted, her glory stripped away, her powerful engines removed, and rot and decay are steadily accomplishing their work of destruction, the band plays on. Many Americans continue to spend, play, and make plans for the future, as if the good days will continue forever unabated. The death knell is sounding even now for the nation, yet a charade goes on. Politicians, the media, and a compliant citizenry all pretend that America’s house is sound, that the economy is strong and improving, that liberty and prosperity continue to define the nation and its people.

The facade of a glorious America is being propped up by the printing of trillions of dollars of fiat paper currency which has no more value than the paper and ink with which it is printed. The “full faith and credit” of the American government lends an artificial air of substance to the U.S. dollar. Great will be the collapse when the masquerade is revealed to be the deception it has been all along. Americans will be impoverished overnight. When the “almighty dollar,” the God in which many have trusted, is cast down never to rise again, those who have placed their faith and trust in something so insubstantial will be left without hope or recourse.

U.S. Treasury Department - In God We Trust

Sensing that these dire events are not some far off event, but could occur at any time, it does strike me as significant that there are 91 posts to the Parables Blog in 2014. The number 14 signifies transition. The Obama campaign promised “Change,” and “RUIN,” and the people of the nation blindly voted for the same. The transition coming to the nation will be from prosperity and peace to poverty and distress. It is indeed an hour in which the people of God need to have separated themselves from the pursuit of the world and all that is in it, and made Yahweh their life, their resting place, their refuge.

Closing out this year, I turned my attention to creating additional newsletters to add to the Parables Bookshelf series. These are newsletters that I mail out to men in prison. I originally created 88 newsletters, mainly consisting of the books I have written printed out in serial form. I had not added to the newsletters for several years. As a result, many of the men receiving the newsletters have gone through the entire series and have written to ask for more writings. Following is one recent letter that moved my heart as I empathized with this brother in Christ who is dwelling in the very dark spiritual environment of an American prison while hungering for something to lighten his days.

Hey Mr. Joseph,

I got your letter last night and I sure am let down, disappointed, and hate I won’t be getting any more Parables newsletters for a while!!

The Parables Bookshelf is like a close friend to me, a Helper, Counselor & Comforter to me Mr. Joseph. It gives me Peace and helps me thru the long, miserable days and nights in here. The Parables Bookshelf is like an Anchor for my heart & soul & spirit and mind. It helps me stay close & have a closer walk with Yahweh God & Yahshua Christ and gives me more Wisdom, Knowledge & Understanding. I sure am gonna miss the Parables Newsletter. I look for it at mail call every day like it’s Buried Treasure, so please Mr. Joseph, as soon as you have new Parables ready for mail send me the first copy. I’ll be waiting.

Mr. Joseph, I need more of your writings to read. I very much like & need your Teachings, your words and your wisdom, knowledge & understanding & I very much need and want to keep a closer walk and relationship with Yahweh God & Yahshua Christ that you help me with. So will you please sir, start sending me all & any of your other numerous writings? I have already got Dragon Flood & Push Back. Please send me all & any of your other work, cause I am in the hole, a one man cell lock-down cell, and I need lots of reading material. I have my Bible and have started on it for the 3rd time from beginning to end...

So please Mr. Joseph, send me reading materials ASAP. I put myself in the hole Mr. Joseph, cause these GA prisons are corrupt and no one seeks out for Yahweh or Yahshua or The Way... I am trying to walk with Yahweh and Yahshua in The Way and I don’t want to be around this evil, filth, and wickedness...

So please Mr. Joseph, start sending me as much of your writing as you can, and if you have any of Mr. Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Bible Devotions, Words, Works, Writings, materials, please send any and all of it also. I really do enjoy his words, wisdom, and Bible Devotions.

Thank you So Very Much Mr. Joseph. I’ll be looking for the Buried Treasure you send in the mail, so I can dig & dig thru it.

Your Friend,


Not too many years ago, the Father graciously allowed me to experience being cast into jail on two occasions so that I could understand the dark environment that these men must endure day after day. The lack of spiritually uplifting influences, and an abundance of idle time, lead to a great desperation in the hearts of those men who have been redeemed by the Lord. My heart was greatly moved when I received this letter from Michael. I at once put together several large packets of writings and mailed them out to him. At the same time, I have felt a growing impetus to get additional newsletters created for the approximately 80 men who have received the entire 88 newsletters in the Parables Bookshelf series.

I am happy to announce that I have now added the book Dragon Flood to the newsletters. This was a large book. It required 10 newsletters to contain all 20 of the chapters.

Newsletter - Interior Pages

I anticipate having approximately 150 newsletters total when I finish adding to the series. This will provide men in prison with approximately 3 years’ worth of material as I typically send each man one newsletter per week with each newsletter containing between 18-26 pages.

There is a significant amount of labor involved in creating additional newsletters. Much more is involved than copying and pasting chapters from my books into the newsletter template. Due to certain incompatibilities between my word processor (WordPerfect X6) and my desktop publishing software (Microsoft Publisher), the images will not copy and paste. Consequently, I have to load each image individually, size them, and format the text on the pages to insure that the layout is done professionally. I also have to create new material for each newsletter as the front and back pages are composed of an array of topical features, including a Scripture memory verse, famous quotations, a Parables Precept (a short, educational item of interest), and an introductory devotion on every front page.

Parables Bookshelf - Front and Back Page

I am eager to begin sending out the recently added newsletters to men in prison. Being able to send these newsletters freely to men in prison is one of the most rewarding things the Lord has directed me to do. The intense yearning for spiritual food, and deep appreciation expressed by these men for that which is sent to them, serve to reinforce the great need there is to provide spiritual light to men in prison. I am reminded of the words of Yahshua.

Matthew 25:36-40
“‘I was in prison, and you came to Me...’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You... in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

Spreading light to these men in prison has been made possible as Christians from all across the world have sent financial gifts which have enabled me to purchase a color laser printer, pay for toner, paper, and postage. Although I have a fairly capable color laser printer, the volume of material I print requires that I perform regular maintenance on the printer, and to periodically replace the printer. I am on my second color laser printer in the last three years, and it is about time to replace it again. The image drum is worn out, and the excess toner collection tray is soon to need replacing. It is about the same cost to purchase a whole new printer as it is to replace these components, and the print quality is markedly improved when a new printer is acquired.

With the addition of the newsletters I am creating at this time, I will be adding approximately 80 men to the weekly mailing list, for a total of between 110-120 men every week. The postage for each newsletter is 70 cents at current rates, resulting in a monthly postage cost of around $325.00. Toner, paper, and printer upkeep average out to approximately another $300.00 per month. The frequency with which I am able to send out newsletters is dependent upon the funds I have available. I am blessed to report that during the past two years I have not had to delay printing or mailing newsletters due to a lack of funds. As I look to increasing the number of newsletters mailed weekly in 2015, the volume will triple, and so will the expenses of printing and mailing the newsletters.

It has been a blessing to witness Yahweh’s provision being manifested week after week. The most common channel through which Yahweh has manifested His support has been through the free will gifts of brothers and sisters in Christ. I have even had one man in prison, and one elderly sister in Christ, who have repeatedly sent postage stamps which have been a great help in getting the newsletters mailed.

As I anticipate tripling the number of newsletters I will be mailing out, I am considering whether it would be best to have the newsletters printed at a local print shop. This would save wear and tear on my printer, and free me from having to purchase and stock consumables such as paper and toner. There are certain restrictions of carrying out this work from the interior of a bus/motorhome, space being one consideration. Time is also an issue. Doing the printing myself is labor intensive. Once the newsletters are printed, they have to be stapled, folded by hand, sealed with a “Bible Study” label, and postage affixed. I estimate the printing time alone, using my current Brother duplexing, color, laser printer will be approximately 4-5 hours for 120 newsletters. Bear in mind that I do not have any ministry staff. I am a “minister,” not a “ministry.”

I have at times stressed this fact with men in prison who have written to me. Much of the “Christian” material available to prisoners is produced by large church organizations or ministries. Consequently, I have men write to me at times, addressing their letters to “All the saints at Heart4God/Parables,” or something similar. It is not my intent to mislead anyone about the fact that Heart4God/Parables is entirely the work of one person. I use the name Heart4God/Parables on the newsletters since these are the names of my two websites and using a designation such as this has seemed to have opened the door for my material to gain entry into prisons more readily.

As an example of this, one man in prison asked me if I could send him some Bible study reference books such as a Bible dictionary and concordance. I mailed them to the man using my name and address on the outside of the box. Someone overseeing mail at the prison sent the box back to me without it ever being opened, refusing to deliver it. I then re-labeled the box with an official looking Heart4God/Parables mailing label, and an official cover letter inside the box with the information repeated, identifying the material as Bible study resources, and the material was promptly delivered.

On another note, one rite of passage that I am glad to meet with each new year, relates to my picture folder on my computer. I use a large number of images in my books, shorter writings, and various teaching material. After a while it becomes cumbersome to look through the folder trying to locate the specific image I am seeking. So, at the beginning of each new year I create a new picture folder using the year as the identifier. I have 1,149 images in my 2013 year folder, and 1,096 in my 2014 year folder. On Wednesday I can start again with a clean folder, and for a while at least, I will be able to find the images I have saved much easier.

In closing, I want to express my sincere thanks to all those who have supported me, and the work the Father has called me to, for this past year. I can truly say that I have lacked for nothing, and neither has the ministry been delayed due to any absence of concern and sharing by the body of Christ. I am deeply appreciative every time I hear from someone and they tell me they, or their family, regularly pray for me and the work I do. This is a debt of love that I will be glad to repay for many long ages to come. Those who contribute financially are also manifesting a spirit of compassion, concern for my life and the work the Lord has called me to, and are showing forth the generosity that is a characteristic of those whose lives have been transformed by the Spirit of Christ. I have been deeply blessed to be able to attend full-time to the labors of ministry to the body of Yahshua this past year, and look forward with anticipation to what the new year holds.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Joseph Herrin

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Joseph Herrin (12-21-2014)

Mary Ann and Landon

I have a couple of testimonies that have been sent in by readers relating to Christmas which I will share here in this blog. Before I do so, I want to share a video interview that my daughter’s close friend, Mary Ann, recently gave to a news station in North Carolina. Readers may remember that one year ago I posted a number of blogs relating to Mary Ann’s husband Marcus being shot by men who were robbing their home as they returned from visiting family over the Thanksgiving holiday. Marcus was shot in the back of the head as he was trying to flee in his car. He was in a coma for several weeks, and later succumbed to his injuries.

This has been a very difficult trial for Mary Ann, who was pregnant with her first child at the time these events occurred. Mary Ann and Marcus were married for about a year. Their son (Landon) was born a few months after Marcus died. Marcus was a volunteer fireman and there was a great outpouring of support when he was shot, and when he later passed away. Mary Ann moved back to Georgia to live with her family after these events. My daughter has been renting from Mary Ann’s parents for years, and lives on the same property, though Mary Ann’s parents are in the process of selling the property and will be moving soon. Consequently, Kristin has been very close to all that has transpired. I believe you will be blessed, as I was, at the news interview, and the remarkable attitude manifested by Mary Ann as she has chosen to forgive those who murdered her husband.

Incidentally, this story has been picked up nationally. The original interview was from a local news station in North Carolina. A reader sent me a link to the same story on a Fox News affiliate in Portland, Oregon nearly 3,000 miles away. I don’t know how many stations have picked up this story, but it truly gives glory to God.


Forsaking Christmas - Some Testimonies

Dagon/Santa Has Fallen

I Samuel 5:1-5
Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of Yahweh. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again. But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of Yahweh. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor all who enter Dagon's house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

Dear Bro. Joseph,

Following is a “Christmas” testimony.

At the time of this incident, I had already separated myself from Christmas – long before I understood its origin/history and meaning.

During the ‘90s I worked as a secretary to a man I’ll call Michael. He had been taught Bible by a fundamentalist Baptist preacher. He and I often talked “theology/doctrine" and prophecy.

But he would turn into a silly child at Christmas time.

One time, at the beginning of a Christmas season, we were discussing Christmas, and I teasingly said, “I hate Santa Claus.” Well, the banter was on!!

[As a sidebar, I should add that he always had to have the last word, whatever the subject. And I never argued with him – on any subject! Mostly because I knew I would lose. O:-) ]

The next morning when he came to work, he was carrying a big plastic bag. I was at my desk. He took out of the bag a big, plastic, three dimensional (like high bas relief) face of Santa. With a huge grin, he nailed and taped it to the wall outside his office door where “Santa” and I would face each other all day (all week??).

Later in the morning, all was quiet throughout the office when suddenly there was a crash in the area of my desk, which startled me. It was loud enough for Michael and others in our office to hear. I looked up, and “Santa” had fallen off the wall!!

I leaned forward and spoke loud enough for him to hear me and said, “Michael, Dagon has fallen!!” There was silence from Michael. He had nothing to say. (He knew the story in 1 Samuel about Dagon.)

I never touched "Dagon." Nobody picked up him all day. But the next morning he was gone, and I never saw him again, and the incident was never mentioned.

Our God reigns!!!

Grace and peace be multiplied to you!!

Christmas in Croatia
Hello Brother Herrin,

Last Christmas and Easter, were the first my husband and I did not celebrate, much in part to your writings. That was the first Christmas in 64 years (my age at the time) ] there was no tree in the household. My husband, who was raised Catholic (but no longer practices, except for the 'high HOLIDAYS' of Easter and Christmas like most 'Christians'!!!), acquiesced to my wishes about no longer commemorating either holiday, ergo being sans Christmas tree is now the norm and Easter is just another Sunday in spring. I know it was with great sadness in his heart that he relinquished his lighted Christmas tree as that was a big part of his Christmas tradition. But I could no longer be complicit in such a pagan practice after having my eyes opened.

I, too, was raised Catholic (attended Catholic grammar and high schools) but for some reason, my Catholic roots just never seemed to 'take.' My lowest grades during high school were consistently in 'religion' and for a Catholic high student, that is unheard of. But I feel there was always a bit of the 'truth seeker' in me inasmuch as I just couldn't accept most precepts and dogma I was being taught. There seemed to be an inner conflict with me and my religion. It took me many years to comprehend why. In fact I was about 60 when I finally came to the realization that my faith had nothing to do with religion. If I were asked today what religion I am, I would have to say I don't subscribe to any religious label as I consider myself to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and have no affiliation with any earthly 'church.' But I digress.

I reminded my husband this year that I would not be putting up a tree once again. Instead of trying to ineptly explain the 'why' to him in any great detail, I just sent him an email with the link to your earlier article on Christmas and Easter which explains very well the 'why.' Thank you so much for writing that article. (I would recommend any 'conflicted' reader in a similar situation to do likewise.)

Something (among many other things) really resonated with me in your article: 'What's The Big Deal About Christmas?' I will not quote it directly, but the essence of your comment was that if we can't sacrifice our flesh with regard to not celebrating Christmas, then how are we going to be ready to truly sacrifice our flesh, if and when the time comes to give up our life for Him? Martyrdom is not a one time occurrence; it is a daily occurrence inasmuch as we need to die to the flesh daily. This so hit a nerve in me. I live in Croatia (my husband's birthplace) and have for the past ten years. Although we are not exactly next door neighbors to Turkey, I can't help but feel the encroachment of the Muslim radicals as they are being given safe haven in Turkey while moving closer to our border daily and in the months/years to come. I don't see the practice of beheading as an 'abstract' the way most view it as being some ‘far off atrocity occurring in some far off land’ and most certainly not happening to them in their lifetime. I see it from a much more personal perspective due to my proximity to the practice. My husband does not share my opinion as he believes we are 'safe' since we are part of the EU and NATO and under their protection!!! (I need to clarify that he does not like the EU or NATO as he does realize the inherent evils in both but he doesn't exactly 'fit the pieces of the puzzle together' as I do from a spiritual perspective.) Now, that gives me very little comfort , indeed, as I don't put my security in the hands of mammon but only in Yeshua. The EU, as well as all governments, are the essence of evil as far as I am concerned and are only vehicles of Baal who comes to 'steal, kill and destroy.' Many, to my way of thinking, have been deceived in taking false comfort in such tools of Baal. In the end they will come to learn that governments and world organizations do not exist for the benefit of the people but only to do the work of Baal to 'steal, kill and destroy.'

Thankfully, I realize that I am not a citizen of this earth, but just a sojourner passing through on her way Home to the Father. I have lived in Croatia ten years now and still do not consider it to be 'home' nor do I consider the USA 'home' either having just returned last month from a two month visit to family and friends in Texas. Each visit back seems to take me further and further away from my true Home, in many respects. I don't like what is happening there, here and elsewhere. People, for the most part, are uninformed, misguided and uneducated as to what is transpiring right under their noses. Their trust is misplaced. They do not know who the true Savior is.

Well, Brother Herrin, I just wanted to tell you thanks for the great articles that are needed now, more so than ever, as I truly believe we are in the final stages of the end times. His people truly need to 'come out of Babylon' as time is short.


Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Forsaking Christmas - A Testimony

Joseph Herrin (12-18-2014)

Many of my most joyous experiences as a child involved the Christmas holiday season. It was a special time of year when people would put extra attention into making their homes beautiful. I remember as a child watching my father, staple gun in hand, hanging strings of colored Christmas lights from the eaves of our home. It was a magical moment when darkness would fall and the outdoor lights would be switched on. A large wreath would also be hung on the door.

Inside, my mother would make everything beautiful as she was in charge of the interior decorating. Each year my parents would take me, along with my siblings, to choose a live fir tree to bring into the home. I remember the metal base my father would screw onto the bottom of the tree. It held a small water reservoir so that the tree could continue to draw moisture and not dry out so quickly, dropping fir needles onto the carpeted floor.

Either my father or mother would hang a string of lights on the Christmas tree. After this was done, they would allow us children to hang ornamental bulbs, tinsel, and other decorations, from the tree branches. It was an unusual time of family cooperation on a project, something that rarely occurred at any other time of year.

I distinctly remember one year when I was young, somewhere around seven years of age, being enthralled by the beauty of the Christmas tree. It had just been set up that evening. When the lights were turned on I was enraptured by the beauty of it. I lay on my back and scooted up under the boughs of the tree and looked at the twinkling colored lights through the branches. I was concerned that my mother might tell me to come out from under the tree, but she did not do so. I lay there for a long time, feeling like I was in some type of fairy land. Everything was so beautiful.

Our family typically decorated for Christmas the week after Thanksgiving. This gave us at least three weeks of the year when our home was awash with the sights, sounds, and fragrances of the Christmas holiday. I still remember the Christmas albums my mother would play on our old console phonograph. I can still hear Bing Crosby singing Christmas songs, as well as Perry Como. I also distinctly remember our Little Drummer Boy album.

Bing Crosby

Perry Como

The Little Drummer Boy

The church community we were a part of would have various Christmas events during this season. Consequently, I had plenty of exposure to spiced apple cider, wassail, eggnog, Christmas cookies, fruitcake, and other holiday treats. Many years, we would make a trip from our home in Portland, Oregon up to Washington State close to the Canadian border to visit my mother’s relatives. I got to play with cousins I only saw once or twice a year.

Of course, the big event for a child is the opening of presents at Christmas. It was our family’s tradition to open gifts on Christmas Eve night. I suppose my two sisters and I (and later my younger brother) gave our parents so much grief about not wanting to wait until Christmas morning that they made it a tradition to give us our gifts the night before. This also allowed them to sleep in the next morning, as we would be occupied for many hours with our presents.

Many years, my parents would try to introduce some focus on the birth of Christ during our evening of gift giving as we gathered around the Christmas tree. I remember my father sitting us all down and reading to us the story of the birth of Christ from Luke’s Gospel. In truth, this is the only negative memory I have of Christmas. I remember how much I wanted my dad to finish reading the rather lengthy account from Luke so that we could begin opening presents. Here we were, young children sitting in the living room with the Christmas tree all alight and gifts piled underneath. Some of the gifts had been there for weeks as my sisters and I would shake boxes and try to peer through the wrapping paper in an attempt to discover what our parents had bought us. It was agonizing to be so close to having these new treasures in our hands, yet have to wait for my dad to read the account of the birth of Christ, the wise men, and the angels.

I share these childhood memories to note how utterly beguiling the Christmas holiday is. If Satan can get his hooks into us when we are children, it makes it all the more difficult to depart when we are adults. The saying is as true of Satan’s actions as it is of parents:

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Perhaps there is some devilish humor at work in the fact that many people have adopted the tradition of setting up a small train track under the Christmas tree. Children are literally being “trained” to embrace rites, symbols, and traditions that originate in idolatrous worship of false deities.

By the time I reached adulthood, I had thoroughly associated the Christmas holiday with thoughts of joy, excitement, pleasure, family gatherings, feasting, and beauty. I had grown up in churches that would erect a Christmas tree in the sanctuary, or decorate with poinsettias, garland, and wreaths, and hold Christmas plays where the children would act out the story of the birth of Christ. It all seemed so positive and innocent, as if God had blessed mankind with a special time of year when they could engage in celebratory activities that were pleasing to the flesh and soul of man, and do so without guilt. There is a Scripture passage that I find to most aptly describe my experiences of the Christmas holiday.

Exodus 32:5-6
“Tomorrow shall be a feast to Yahweh.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

If you don’t recognize the passage, I must inform you that this was no feast day that Yahweh ordained being spoken of here. These words are NOT in reference to Passover, Pentecost, or the Feast of Tabernacles. No! They are speaking of the Israelites’ feast they held before the golden calf when Moses was away up on the mountain of God receiving the tablets of the Law.

Ecclesiastes 1:9
That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun.

How cunning is the guile of Satan? He has repeated among the church of Christ the same error he led the Israelites of old to embrace under the old covenant. What is the difference between constructing a golden calf and proclaiming a feast in Yahweh’s honor, and erecting a Christmas tree and proclaiming a holiday in honor of Yahweh’s Son? Both events give mankind an opportunity to sate the flesh, revel in the delights and joys of this world, and to do so without guilt, even with a pretense of honoring God.

I do not want to stray by once again setting forth the evidence of the unclean origins of the Christmas holiday. If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to read the article titled What’s the Big Deal About Christmas. That post includes links to the various writings I have made available which provide the historical evidence of the origins of Christmas and Easter.

Sometime in my mid thirties I began encountering bits and pieces of information regarding the pagan origins of Christmas. For a few years I struggled with this subject as I could not comprehend how something that brought such joy and happiness to people, and which purported to be held in honor of the birth of Christ’s son, could be viewed as evil in God’s sight. I could not deny the historical origins of the Christmas holiday. This date, its attendant rites, symbols, and customs, were borrowed wholesale from idolatrous religions that existed during the first centuries of the church. The Roman Catholic church was known to engage in the practice of syncretism, the merging of idolatrous practices into Christianity in order to make the harlot of Rome acceptable to people of all religious persuasions.

For a few years I vacillated. One of the verses that I used to justify the continuance of my family’s participation in Christmas was Titus 1:15. “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.” I reasoned that since the focus of my family’s celebration was the birth of Christ, and we were not in any way intending to honor a false deity, that Christmas to us was pure for our intentions were pure. Surely God would see that we did not intend to worship anyone other than Him. It was the name of Christ that was being lifted up in our home. I even erected a sign in our yard, and wore a button that said “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

In hindsight, I see that this was no different than what the Israelites did in the wilderness. They erected a golden calf. It was the focus of their worship, even as the Christmas tree is at Christmas. What many people do not perceive in the account of the golden calf is that the Israelites proclaimed the golden calf to be a symbol of Yahweh. This fact is hidden due to the practice of popular Bible translations of replacing the name Yahweh with titles such as “Lord,” or “God.” Following is the passage as it appears in the NKJV Bible.

Exodus 32:2-6
And Aaron said to them, "Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!" So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord."

Notice Aaron said “This is your god, O Israel... Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” The actual word in the Hebrew text that is rendered as “the Lord” is Yahweh. It is referred to as the tetragrammaton, literally denoting a name of four letters - Yod Heh Vav Heh. The Israelites declared the golden calf to be a symbol of “Yahweh.” Golden calves were common in the idolatrous religion of Egypt from which they had just departed. They were also common in the land of Canaan to which they were heading. However, they were never sanctioned by Yahweh to be used as a symbol of Himself. He strictly forbid doing any such thing.

Deuteronomy 4:15-19
So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day Yahweh spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth. And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which Yahweh your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

As time passed, and I was brought to consider this subject further, I became increasingly uneasy about continuing to erect a Christmas tree, cook up a feast featuring Christmas ham, hold a celebration on the date of the Winter Solstice, or to participate in any of the myriad of events associated with the Christmas holiday. The verses that kept coming to mind were the following:

Ezekiel 44:23
“Moreover, [My priests] shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”

II Corinthians 6:14-18
For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me," says the Lord Almighty.

I was fully convinced that Yahweh wanted His people to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Despite some of the arguments of early church fathers such as Irenaeus and Tertullian to explain why December 25th was adopted as a date to celebrate the birth of Christ (one argues He was possibly born on this day, the other that He was conceived on this date), people are being disingenuous if they suggest that pagan practice had no influence on the adoption of this holiday. The apostles and church of the New Testament held no celebration of the birth of Christ. They certainly did not erect Christmas trees, serve Christmas ham, or burn the Yule log at this time of year. Biblical evidence points to a much higher probability of the Son of God being born at Passover or during the Feast of Tabernacles. These God ordained Feast days occur in the Spring and Fall, not at the Winter Solstice.

The apostle Paul wrote of a time when the church would fall into apostasy, exchanging the truth of God for lies. Can there be divinely approved worship of Yahweh and His Son without truth? I became persuaded that there could not. As a result, in November of 2001 I sent out a letter to every member of my family and my wife’s family, informing them that we would not be participating in Christmas celebrations anymore. The members of our families were a mixture of Christians and non-Christians. I had no illusions about any of them seeing things as I did. Nevertheless, because many of them would expect us to participate with them in Christmas festivities, the exchanging of gifts and Christmas cards, I found it necessary to declare very plainly to them the direction in which our family was heading. Following is the letter, I sent out to all family members. Although it is a little long, I recognize that others are considering how to communicate their convictions to family members. Some may find reading the letter helpful. If you do not wish to read it, I encourage you to skip down and pick up where the letter is concluded.
Dear Family Members,

As we enter into the midst of the holiday season, we desire to let you know of some changes we are making in our home this year. Our Heavenly Father continues to lead us into new truths that require obedience from us, and we are finding that many things that we could do in former years, without any violation of conscience, we are now not able to do.

I am sure you have noted that we are living in dark days where there is much rampant sin in our society. Homosexuality continues to gain greater protection from our government (there is even now a bill before congress to give homosexuals increased rights), pornography is spreading like wildfire across the Internet, increasingly sexually explicit programming is being aired on TV and in movies, abortion rights have given the girls and women of this nation the right to kill their children even up to the moment of birth, gang activity is at an epidemic proportion in our cities, drug abuse is a major problem that the war on drugs cannot seem to stem, and the list goes on and on.

In the midst of all this, America is experiencing terrorism on her own soil and many people of this nation have had their sense of security and peace shaken. Many are afraid to fly, ride on buses, or visit public venues that seem to be a likely target of terrorism. People are even afraid of what they might find in their mail boxes today. Throughout scriptures we find that the lowering of the hedge of protection around a nation occurs when a people allow sin to run unchecked in their midst. When a nation’s leaders give special protection to those who practice sin then judgment is a result, and the enemy is able to come in and create devastation.

The things I have mentioned to you are all physical sins which are very evident, but there are also spiritual sins that bring forth the judgment of God upon a people and a nation. One of these spiritual sins is showing honor to false deities, and this type of transgression is perhaps more grievous to God than the others mentioned. In fact, the very first commandment of the ten commandments states, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Recently, I have been saddened to see that the leaders of this nation have been violating this first commandment as well. After the events of September 11, the President and many other leaders and dignitaries gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. for a national prayer service. The President and many others bowed their heads reverently as a Muslim Cleric began the prayer service with a prayer to the false god Allah. Just this past Monday night, the President hosted an Iftar dinner for 53 Muslim leaders from various countries. To the Muslims, this is the month of Ramadan, their holiest month. For the whole month the Muslims eat nothing during the day and they have a special meal at night to break their fast, and this meal is called an Iftar meal.

It was noted in an Associated Press article that it was thought to be the first time that a Muslim Iftar dinner was hosted by an American President in the White House. During this dinner a Muslim Cleric gave a prayer to Allah asking Allah to make all those there “true believers.” It was recorded that the President, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, and other dignitaries shared in this event to a false god and that President Bush bowed his head reverently when the prayer to Allah was given.

These are serious matters before the true God, the Father of Jesus Christ. In a time when our nation and her leaders should be seeking to repent and find forgiveness before the one true God, they are instead bringing further judgment upon themselves and the nation. During this time, our family feels that the Father is calling us to a greater separation unto Him. He is calling us to do that which our nation’s leaders should do, that is to distance themselves from any association with false gods.

It may come as a surprise to some that there are a number of holidays that are routinely celebrated by Christians that have their origins in the worship of false deities. It was prophesied by both Jesus and the Apostle Paul that in the last days before Jesus returned that the church would turn aside from truth and they would embrace many myths and fables and false traditions. This has occurred and, as the Father reveals these false traditions to us, we are hearing His call to separate ourselves from them.

There is a scripture in Revelation that is written to those who have participated in these false traditions in the days we live in. The scripture is Revelation 18:4, “Come out of her, My people, lest you participate in her sins and partake of her plagues.” We have been hearing the call of God to come out of all that does not originate in Him that we might obtain His favor and escape the judgment to fall on those who walk in disobedience.

I am sure that it will surprise some to learn that the highest holy day of the church has its origins as a pagan celebration. The highest holy day for the church is Easter, and almost all churches celebrate it in some fashion. There is no command found in scripture to celebrate Easter, and the very name of the holiday is the name of a pagan goddess of fertility. In German the name is Eostre, and it is the same name as Ishtar, Astarte and Ashtoreth of other ancient cultures.

This goddess who bore many different names was a symbol of fertility, and she was worshiped on a special day at the beginning of spring in hopes that crops would be plentiful, animals would bear many young, and women would bear children. This is why we see images of fertility associated with this holiday. Eggs are a symbol of fertility, as are rabbits, baskets of grass and hats with flowers on them.

The church claims to be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on this day, but He was crucified on Passover, and He arose three days later, not on Easter. The Roman Emperor Constantine was largely responsible for this mixing of pagan and sacred events, and his error has been perpetuated until this day.

The same is true of the holiday Christmas. The Romans worshiped many false gods and they had many celebrations for them. Winter solstice, the day with the least sunlight of the year, was a key time for these holy days that were dedicated to false gods. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia at this time, which was a celebration of their god Saturn. There were also many other celebrations at this time, for Rome was a huge empire and its people celebrated many gods. The Syrians had a celebration at the same time called Sol Invictus (victory of the Sun). It was set at this time of year when the Sun appeared less than any other time, and it was celebrated in anticipation that the Sun would come forth victorious over darkness.

Constantine wanted to combine the worship of all deities together so he established Sol Invictus as the standard celebration for the Empire. Sol Invictus reached its climax on December 25th when the Roman calendar indicated this holiday: Dies Natalis Invicti Solis -- the Day of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun. Later Constantine changed this to be the day of the birth of the Son of God.

Jesus was not born on this date, however, nor do the scriptures even indicate that His birth date is to be celebrated. This holiday was simply a pagan celebration that Constantine determined would be merged with Christianity, even as he did with the fertility celebration to Easter. Nearly all of the symbols of Christmas, the colored lights, the decorated trees, wassailing, the exchanging of gifts, Santa Claus, candy canes, the Yule log, etc., are pagan in origin having no association with the Bible or the worship of Christ.

This mixing of the sacred and the pagan, the holy and the profane, is not pleasing to God. In the book written by the prophet Ezekiel, the following words are related to us:

Ezekiel 22:26
"Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean...”

The Father has revealed throughout the Bible that He is not pleased by the mixing of that which is holy and that which is profane. He was so adamant in revealing the knowledge that He hates mixture that He even forbid the Israelites from mixing two types of cloth together. How much more would He be displeased at mixing the worship of His Son with the worship of false deities, such as Saturn, the Sun, or a fertility goddess?

As the Father has given us light and understanding of these things, we feel that we must respond in obedience and separate ourselves from these practices. For this reason we will not be celebrating these holidays established by man, instead we will seek to remember the holy days established by God; Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Trumpets. All of these are recorded in scripture and their dates are given.

We are not judging any others who choose to still remember the dates of Christmas and Easter, or to participate in these celebrations. We must all walk in the light we are given, and we simply desire to share what we have received from the Holy Spirit as the manner in which we are to walk. We want to let you know of our decision that was arrived at after much prayer and consideration.

We acknowledge that many family members have taken these holidays as an opportunity to express their love for one another through the giving of gifts, and we have done so ourselves in years past. We will not be able to participate in the giving or receiving of “Christmas gifts” this year, and we hope that no one will take offense at this. We are simply seeking to be found pleasing to God by walking in a clear conscience before Him.

The Father has revealed nothing wrong in giving or receiving gifts, as it is an expression of love, and there were many gifts given from one person to another in scripture. The greatest gift we have ever received is the free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. However, this gift has no association with December 25th. We will continue to give and receive gifts on appropriate occasions, or simply as an act of love from one person to another.

As the days we are living in grow darker in many ways, we feel called to walk in a greater separation from the darkness. This is our heart and we hope you will understand and that you too will find a place of peace and security in the midst of troubled times.

In gratitude and sincerity,

Joseph, Tony, Kristin and Josiah
I sent a copy of this letter to my parents, my two sisters, my brother and their families, as well as my wife’s parents, her two brothers and their families. I did not receive a response from any of them.

I do not think it was coincidental that this break in our lives from the observance of Christmas occurred at a time when Yahweh was making many profound changes in our lives. In October of 1999 the Father directed me to leave my employment as a computer manager at a hospital complex and to follow Him wherever He would lead and to do whatever He asked of us to do. The next year and a half was particularly difficult as Yahweh stripped us of the many possessions we had accumulated until that time, including our home, furnishings, custom van, and many smaller items. For the next year after leaving my employer, we lived to a significant degree off of the proceeds from the sale of these worldly goods.

By the time November of 2001 rolled around, 14 months after I had left my employer, we were at a very vulnerable time. We had sold everything and were down to a bare minimum of possessions. Other than a china cabinet that my wife had stored with some friends, all we owned could be carried in our car. Our money was running out, as we were living off the proceeds of our very last yard sale. I had enough money to rent a hotel room for our family for two weeks, and I did not know what we would do next.

Those who have not yet experienced an abandoned walk with the Lord, may have trouble relating to the things I went through. Yahweh would not permit me to return to secular employment. I could easily have done so and removed myself from the stress, difficulties, and reproaches that came with following the Lord down the path we were walking. I knew the Father had other plans for us, however. I had a growing sense for some time that Yahweh would provide a motorhome for us and this would be our home for as long as He should choose.

Every year my wife’s parents had been in the practice of giving a generous financial gift to each of their children and their children’s spouses. The previous year they had given $4,000 to each child and each spouse, for a total of $8,000 per couple. They had traditionally given this gift on Christmas day as we were all gathered to celebrate and open gifts at their home.

In reality, this annual gift had very little to do with Christmas. My wife’s parents were not religious people. Christmas was simply a convenient time for them to give a blessing to their children. I sought earnestly to know what Yahweh’s will for us was in this matter. I felt led to separate my family from Christmas, yet I knew my wife’s parents would not consider giving a financial gift to their sons while neglecting to give a gift to their daughter. I sensed that Yahweh would have no disapproval of the gift as long as it was not associated directly with Christmas.

The first week of December opened with my family and I staying in a hotel room in Perry, Georgia. I had enough money to pay for two weeks, then we would be out on the street if Yahweh did not intervene. Of course, I considered how much benefit the annual gift from my in-laws would be if it was given in a timely fashion. If it were given at Christmas, this would present a problem for us in multiple ways. First, in the letter I had recently mailed out, I announced we would not be participating in any Christmas festivities. Second, the money I had on hand would not last us until Christmas.

I have found that Yahweh is committed to testing both the resolve of His people to walk in obedience to Him, and to test their faith. He was doing both in my life. As head of my family, I carried a great weight of concern for the welfare of my wife and children. I did not relish the thought of being homeless, cast out on the street with no provision. At the same time I felt constrained of the Father to wait upon Him. These were very difficult days for me.

On December 8th, 2001, a significant event occurred. My in-laws announced for the first time since my wife and I had been married that they would not be hosting a Christmas gathering in their home. They also decided to distribute their annual financial gifts to their children and their spouses early. They gave the same amount as they did the year before, $8,000 to each couple. However, they made one change. Instead of giving me a check for $4,000 and my wife a check for the same amount, they wrote a single check for $8,000 and put it in the name of my wife. They did this only with us, not with any other family members. I recognized it as a slight, and a rejection of me as their son-in-law.

My mother-in-law also did one other thing she had never done before. The checks had always been unadorned. They were certified checks from their bank. This year my mother-in-law had written in the “note” line on the front of the check the words “Merry Christmas.” In addition to this, she had placed two Christmas stickers on the face of the check. I recognized this as a rejection of the letter I had written regarding our decision to no longer participate in Christmas. I saw in this action a challenge, as if she were saying, “We will see how committed you are to your beliefs.”

I knew at once that I could not accept the money as it was given in this manner. The date was December 8th, and we had only enough money to stay one more week in the hotel. I had no other resources, and I did not know how we would get by without this money, but I sensed Yahweh was testing me in this matter. Would I place personal expedience and self-interest over obedience to Him? Or would I cast the welfare of myself and my family wholly over into Yahweh’s hands?

I could see no other choice than to refuse to accept the check if I were to maintain a good conscience before God. I spoke to my wife about the matter, and she fully understood. She too perceived the challenge and insult present in her mother’s actions. She volunteered to take the check back to her father and explain to him why we could not accept it. We had no guarantee that he would replace the check with another, for it was evident that both of my wife’s parents no longer regarded me with favor. They could very well say, “Take it or leave it.”

Yahweh tested us in this matter, and He also showed us great grace. My wife went to her father’s office at work and spoke to him. He volunteered to take the check back and to write her another one without any reference to Christmas, a date that was still 17 days off. This day proved to be a turning point in our experience. It marked the end of our period of stripping from our former life, and a time of new beginnings. Significantly, the number 8 denotes new beginnings and the check was written on December 8th and it was for $8,000. With this money we were able to purchase a 28 foot motor home the following week. The motorhome was advertised at $10,000, well out of our reach, but my daughter Kristin encouraged me to make an offer anyway. The woman selling it sold it to us for $6,300, well below what it was worth.

I wanted to share this testimony as an encouragement to others. We should not expect that our commitment to walk with God in holiness will be met with favor among those who are close to us. We will be tried, and our decision may be a costly one. Nevertheless, Yahweh will uphold those who seek to honor Him with their lives, especially when doing so leads to them facing some personal peril, reproach, or suffering.

If you have a testimony to share of your own experience of separating yourself from the Christmas holiday, and what has occurred among your family, friends, or other relationships as a result, I would like to share some of these stories in an upcoming blog post(s). Because this is a subject that is somewhat time sensitive, with Christmas day being only a week off, I would like to post these testimonies in the next week.

Some people have written to me already, sharing some of their personal experience relating to this subject. I believe these testimonies would be edifying for others to read, so if you have written to me, and would like to share the same information in a format suitable for posting to the Internet, please edit the information and submit it to me for consideration for online posting.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,

Joseph Herrin

P.S. I am not advocating that Christians must observe the Biblical Feast days. I believe they are at liberty to do so if they choose, but they are not under any compulsion in the matter.

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Joseph Herrin
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Considerations

Joseph Herrin (12-15-2014)

After posting the recent blog on the subject of the idolatrous origins of the Christmas holiday, I have had a number of responses. I thought it would be profitable to write something to post publicly to answer some of the common questions that arise whenever the subject of Christ’s disciples separating themselves from idolatrous practices is mentioned.

One of the issues that arises when I write on this subject relates to how a wife should act when her husband desires to observe Christmas and she is convicted that it is Yahweh’s will for her to no longer participate in the Christmas holiday. An associated issue, is whether a wife should insist that her children not participate in Christmas observances when her husband desires for them to do so.

This is a particularly troubling issue for women, as the Bible teaches that it is the will of Yahweh for women to obey and honor their husbands. Maintaining reverence for the headship of the husband is to be observed even when the man is walking in disobedience to the will of God. The apostle Peter addressed this subject in his first epistle to the churches.

I Peter 3:1-6
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

There are additional passages of Scripture that reveal it to be the will of Yahweh for women to submit to their husbands, and to refrain from any act of usurpation of  man’s God ordained authority.

I Timothy 2:11-15
Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

Ephesians 5:22-24
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Knowing it to be the will of God for wives to submit, and show reverence, to their husbands, many women become conflicted as they seek to balance honor for their husbands with a commitment to walk in truth and obedience before Yahshua. Should a woman place obedience to Christ and conformity to truth above obedience to her husband? Should she obey her husband, and consider herself absolved of responsibility for participating in idolatrous observances when her husband requests her to do so? These are issues many women wrestle with.

In the book Sarah’s Children, I pointed out that the woman is not absolved of responsibility and guilt when she willingly accedes to her husband’s requests to join with him in some immoral or unrighteous behavior. This truth is revealed in the book of Acts when we read the account of Ananias and Sapphira. Because this is a critical matter, I believe it is worthwhile to review this passage of Scripture in its entirety.

Acts 4:34-5:11
For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles' feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need. And Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means, Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. But a certain man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife's full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God." And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came upon all who heard of it. And the young men arose and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?" And she said, "Yes, that was the price." Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they shall carry you out as well." And she fell immediately at his feet, and breathed her last; and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things.

Sapphira Judged by God

We are told in this passage that Sapphira “agreed together” with her husband to join with him in an act of deception. If Yahweh absolves a woman of responsibility for acting in an immoral and unrighteous manner when her husband requests her to do so, then Sapphira would have been excused for her behavior. However, we find that God did not excuse her. The woman was declared guilty for joining with her husband in an unrighteous act. She suffered the same judgment that he did.

It is possible for a wife to maintain honor and reverence for her husband while refusing to join with him in actions her conscience convicts her to be wrong. There is a man I have known for many years who has an online website who teaches some very aberrant ideas on this subject. He has taken the position that a wife must always obey her husband, no matter what he asks her to do. He argues that God will hold the man guilty for the sin of his wife, and the wife will be declared innocent because she was under the authority of her husband.

In an effort to help this man perceive his error, I posed a couple of questions to him. These questions were not hypothetical. I have actually known of marriages where husbands asked their wives to do the things suggested. I wrote to this man and asked him whether he believed a woman should engage in group sex, or wife swapping, if her husband asked her to do so? I also asked him if a woman should have an abortion if her husband said he did not want anymore children and counseled her to have the child in her womb put to death. This man who presents himself as a teacher to the body of Christ shockingly told me that a wife must do WHATEVER her husband asks her to do, and God will not fault her for it since her husband commanded it.

Brothers and sisters, this is a gross distortion of the will of God. It is never Yahweh’s will for His sons or daughters to violate their conscience and willingly engage in unrighteous behavior when a person in a position of authority asks them to do so. We see this principle revealed in another passage as the disciples of Christ were commanded by the Jewish rulers to no longer preach in the name of Yahshua.

Acts 4:18-19
And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Yahshua. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge.”

It was actually quite common for Christ’s disciples to be brought to tests of whether they would obey man or God. In the next chapter of Acts we read the following.

Acts 5:29
But Peter and the apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men.”

In each instance, the disciples of Christ ended up suffering for their decision to honor God. It is to be noted that in none of these instances did Yahshua’s apostles resort to reviling, or threats against those who were commanding them to act in an unfaithful and disobedient manner before God. They maintained honor for those in authority, and meekly submitted to the consequences of their obedience.

Acts 5:41
So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

There will be occasions when a wife will be subjected to suffering when she chooses obedience to Yahweh over her husband’s command to violate her conscience. In such an instance, the wife should respond as Peter instructed her in the 3rd chapter of his first epistle. She should remain chaste and respectful, looking to God to correct her husband and to give her grace in the midst of suffering. Christ is set before the woman as the perfect example of one whose actions are pleasing to Yahweh. Peter’s instructions to wives follow immediately after the following words:

I Peter 2:18-3:1
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously... In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands...

Is not the example of Christ set forth as the pattern for wives as they relate to the authority of their husbands? They must choose obedience even as the Son of God always lived to do the will of His Father. With the meekness of a lamb they must accept the suffering that comes to them when their honor for Yahweh brings them into conflict with the authority of man.

I have had women write to me stating that they were entering into arguments with their husbands, and they were making demands of them. Some women have expressed that they told their husbands they did not want their children to participate in any of the Christmas activities, for they were persuaded that to do so was an act of idolatry. To my sisters in Christ, I say to you, such behavior is an act of usurpation. It neither shows honor for the authority of the husband, nor does it represent the quiet and gentle spirit that Peter stated finds favor in the eyes of Yahweh.

With much regret, I have to say to many of my sisters in Christ that they brought this conflict on themselves, for by their own testimony many women were Christians when they married a man who was not a disciple of Christ, or whom they knew was not deeply committed to honoring God with their life. The disobedience of these women is bearing consequences, not only in their life, but in the lives of their children. They must own up to their responsibility in this matter, confessing and repenting of their disobedience, while entreating the Father to show them and their children mercy. There is hope that Yahweh will do so, for a broken and contrite heart are pleasing in His sight. Nevertheless, the woman who has willfully disobeyed, following the course of her own soul in marrying a man who was not a deeply committed disciple of Christ, must not demand of Yahweh that He intervene. Yahweh gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud.

There are many sisters in the Lord, however, who came to faith in Christ after they were married. These ones have been awakened to the reality of the kingdom of God, and fervently desire to walk in a manner worthy of their Creator. These ones have a real struggle when their husbands do not share their new found faith. All such ones should seek to maintain reverence for the authority of their husbands, while entreating Yahweh to demonstrate mercy by revealing Himself to the husband and children. Oftentimes, it is the very obvious transformation of the wife from a self-willed woman who lives for her own interests and pleasures, to a godly woman of gentleness, humility, restraint, and honor, that convicts the husband of the reality and power of God to transform lives. When a woman becomes contentious, loud, argumentative, and demands her own way, she falls short of revealing to her husband that Christ is real and present in her life.

To state the matter practically, a wife can share her convictions with her husband, confessing that her conscience will not permit her to continue to participate in idolatrous practices, while communicating in a manner that reveals honor and respect for her husband. The woman should do what she is convinced is honoring to God, for whatever is not of faith is sin. At the same time, the wife should avoid words or actions which would exhibit an attitude of rebellion and an absence of honor toward her husband. It is in experiences such as this that the character of Christ is formed within the hearts of His people, and the cross and sufferings of Yahshua perform their work of transformation in the individual’s life.


Another subject I have had a number of people write to me about is whether Christians who are convicted that it is wrong to observe Christmas should also abstain from celebrating birthdays.

Beginning with Genesis chapter 5, we observe that both men and God were marking the age of individuals. The only way to keep up with a person's age is to know the day of their birth, and to mark its occurrence each year. In the genealogies of Seth's line, we find that the ages of the men when they first had sons, and their age when they died, are recorded in the Scriptures. The inclusion of this information reveals that noting a person’s age in years was not considered an evil practice in the eyes of God.

Genesis 5:3-5
When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

It was the Holy Spirit that inspired Moses to record the ages of the patriarchs, and there is no indication that observing one's age was an evil thing to do. Quite the opposite. Yahweh does all things by great design. He has set forth patterns through significant numbers, and many of these are related to a person's age when something important occurred in their life. Consider the following three examples.

Genesis 41:46
Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt.

II Samuel 5:4
David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.

Luke 3:23
And when He began His ministry, Yahshua Himself was about thirty years of age...

There is clearly divine significance to the fact that each of these men entered into the ministry appointed to them at the age of 30. A great many examples of Yahweh's divine design being present in the years of men could be cited. I will mention just a couple more.

Genesis 5:21-23
And Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.

Enoch walked this earth one year for every day of the year, then Yahweh took him.

Genesis 5:27
So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.

Methuselah lived longer than any man. He died in the year that the flood came upon the earth. The number 969 signifies (Judgment - Flesh - Judgment).

What we can observe in these things is that Yahweh keeps track of the years of a man's life, and the patriarchs, beginning with Adam, marked their years as well.

We must ask, however, whether there is any evidence that godly men observed the date of their birth in a special commemorative way, and whether Yahweh approved of these commemorative events.
There is some evidence that certain years of an individual’s life were marked with celebrations. Consider the following. Speaking of Isaac, the Holy Spirit informs us of the following.

Genesis 21:8
And the child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

Some Bible scholars teach that it was common for a child to be weaned anywhere between the ages of 2 - 5 years of age. Although I can only speculate that children were weaned on their birthdays when they reached a particular age, a good argument can be made for the practice. Yet, even if the child were weaned on a date that did not correspond with their day of birth, it must be acknowledged that this was a form of a “coming of age” celebration. It is therefore to be noted that on the day of Isaac’s weaning that Abraham made a great feast to celebrate the attainment of this landmark in the life of his son. There is no indication in the Scriptures that Yahweh disapproved of such celebrations.

Another celebration among ancient oriental people was observed when a son reached the age of adoption. The Jews have adoption celebrations to this date (they adopt their own children, rather than someone else’s). This coming of age observance is referred to as the Bar Mitzvah. It is typically observed when a young man reaches the age of 13. This was considered the time at which a male passed from his minority to his majority, from childhood to sonship. At this age the male heir would be examined to see whether he was considered mature and conformed to the image of his father so that he could be entrusted with responsibility and authority in the family business and the stewardship of the home. This event was marked with a celebration, as it is to this day.

From this evidence, I believe it is correct to say that Yahweh has no prohibition against marking rites of passage in a person’s life. He certainly keeps up with the years of His people, and it does not seem an evil thing if they do so as well. I see no prohibition in the Scriptures against observing the date of one’s birth with some form of commemorative event. Knowing how significant numbers are to Yahweh, I find myself unable to set forth any good argument against marking the passage of years in a person’s life.

As we move forward to the New Testament we see further examples of men and women keeping track of one another’s ages, even to using age as a criteria of qualification for certain privileges. Following is one example.

I Timothy 5:9
Let a widow be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old...

How is anyone to know what the age of a widow is if they have not been marking the passage of years?

The issue of observing Christmas with all of its attendant pagan symbols, rites, and customs is a very different matter than individuals observing the day of their birth. On the one hand, the Bible never declares what day Yahshua was born on. Very good arguments have been made suggesting He was born on one of the Feast days established by Yahweh, either Tabernacles or Passover. Neither of these Feasts fall anywhere close to the date of the Winter Solstice when Christmas is observed.

A disciple of Christ would do well to give consideration to the manner in which they observe their birthday. If we adopt the traditions of society, we are quite likely to unwittingly embrace practices of pagan origin. I think we should be thoughtful as we examine all that we do. We might ask, “Why are candles a feature at most birthday celebrations? What is the origin of making a wish, and blowing out the candles?” There are sources that link these traditions to pagan practices of long standing. Some websites suggest that this tradition is traceable back to a time when an augur, or soothsayer, was invited to attend birthday celebrations. This pagan prophet would look at the pattern left by the smoke ascending from the candles and would prophesy regarding what would befall the individual in the coming year.

At the same time, we should not condemn all ancient traditions as evil. Undoubtedly, those people who did not honor the God who Created all things were in the habit of holding feasts on special days even as Abraham held a feast when Isaac was weaned. It has been a tradition in my family for the person observing their birthday to choose a restaurant of their choice, and for our entire family to treat them to a special dinner there.

A related tradition is to give gifts on a birthday. As a father, I desire to give good gifts to my children. This desire has come from Yahweh, for I was created in His image. We are told that Yahweh takes pleasure in giving good gifts to His children.

James 1:17
Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights...

Ephesians 4:8
Therefore it says, "When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men."

I have often prayed as my daughter's birthday has approached, expressing to Yahweh a desire to give my daughter a good gift for her birthday. Since I have not been employed in the world, but have been dependent upon Yahweh for all provision for many years, I have found it needful to entreat Him to supply the means by which I might give a good gift to my daughter on her birthday. I have reminded Him how He takes delight in giving good gifts to us, and how He has declared it to be more blessed to give than to receive. With this as my basis for petition, I have asked Yahweh to supply me with the resources to give my daughter a good gift on her birthday.

Kristin with Guitar
(In this picture she is holding her first guitar which is a Yamaha)

I have seen the Father answer this prayer in extraordinary ways. My daughter Kristin participates in worship at her church, being one of the chief musicians. She plays the guitar, and also uses this talent to minister in prisons, at rescue missions, and battered women's shelters. When she was about 14 years old I helped her purchase a decent Yamaha guitar that cost a little more than $300. Kristin has been faithful to continue her playing, and to use this guitar in ministry for the Lord. I knew that she was wanting a better guitar, one that had a built in sound pick-up in it since she was playing before large groups and needing to plug in to sound systems. She had especially commented on how she liked the Taylor brand of guitars (no relationship to Taylor Swift). They are a higher quality guitar, and significantly more expensive than the Yamaha guitar she acquired a decade earlier.

Two years ago on her 25th birthday (she will be 27 this upcoming December 29th), I asked the Father if He might allow me to purchase for my daughter a nice quality instrument that would satisfy Kristin’s needs and meet the desire of her heart. It is unusual for me to have significant financial resources on hand as I tend to sow whatever money Yahweh gives me into ministry rather than holding it in a bank account. A decent Taylor guitar would cost more than $1,000, but I knew this was not a difficult amount for Yahweh to provide.

I made my petition known to the Father and soon afterwards I received significant financial resources through individual donations. With this money I was able to purchase a very nice Taylor guitar made of beautiful Hawaiian Koa wood. Just before my daughter's birthday a young man in Macon, which is relatively near at hand, advertised this guitar on Craigslist. He was asking $1400 for it, including a very nice hard case that retails for $300. The retail value of this instrument was in excess of $2,000. The young man had even done some upgrades to it such as adding gold tuning pegs to match the gold trim on the guitar. It is truly a beautiful instrument.

A couple days before my daughter’s birthday I took her to meet the young man, view the guitar, and try it out. Kristin loved it. An extra blessing occurred when we found out the young man was a music minister at his church, and the guitar had been used for worship of Yahweh. He was also willing to come down $200 on his asking price. I have rarely seen my daughter so excited about a gift before. She loves this guitar, and takes great delight in it. As a father it gave me great delight to give to her such a nice gift, one which she has continued to use in ministry in prisons, nursing homes, rescue missions, and various gatherings of God’s people.

As a son of God, I seek to be sensitive to the guidance of the Spirit of Christ. As I have walked with Him I seek to examine all of my ways, and to know what He approves, and what He disapproves. I have found that He is very willing to guide us when we come to Him with a sincere heart, wanting to know His mind and thoughts that we might honor Him. I hope these words have been helpful to those who read them.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063