Let me say at the outset that this message is not about icons and symbols used in worship by certain churches in Christianity, which other denominations consider as idolatrous. The objects used in such worship include statuettes and images of the Virgin Mary, of the saints, lighting of candles, and even the cross. I have my personal views about the use of such representations of God and saints, but presently my message is about objects that every Christian should avoid because keeping them in the home, even as merely decorative items, is a clear violation of God’s commandments.
At my elder son’s wedding, he received a fancy gift from one of his previous employers. A long, elaborately carved wooden mask. My son, in turn, gifted it to us, and we hung it up on the wall of our living room. It was merely a decorative item in our view. As the days passed, whenever I looked at it, I got a slightly uneasy feeling. And then, one day, it suddenly dawned on me. It was an African voodoo mask! I don’t know why this realization escaped me earlier (perhaps God allowed it so the incident could inspire me one day to write this message).
As soon as my eyes were opened to see the decorative piece for what it was, I took it off the wall, and gave it to a neighbor who didn’t have any problem with it . That was about seven years ago, and I hadn’t received as much discernment about such objects as I have today. Had I today’s understanding then, I would not have merely yanked it off the wall and given it away; I would have taken it outside my apartment and flung it down the garbage chute. I would not have considered gifting the accursed object even to a pagan neighbor.
You see, voodoo and all such black magic arts have their origin in one common source – Satan. The ministers of Satan use black magic to deceive the ignorant masses of pagans into committing terrible sins that they would otherwise not do. An example is child sacrifice. Voodoo has caused the death of innumerable infants throughout history. Even as recently as 2001, voodoo claimed the life of a 6-year African boy, whose torso was found in the Thames river in England. The body was without its legs, arms, and head and had been entirely drained of its blood – evidence of a voodoo ritual.
According to Dr Richard Hoskins, a leading expert on African religion, then based at Bath University, and who worked on the case, ‘the sacrifice of animals happens throughout sub-Saharan Africa and is used to empower people, often as a form of protection from the wrath of gods. Human sacrifice is believed to be the most ‘empowering’ form of sacrifice – and offering up a child is the most extreme form of all’. Daily Mail
That is why God hates everything that has some association with evil practices. And that is why I personally hate to keep a Christmas tree in my house. Now I am not at all saying that those Christians who keep such trees in their homes are committing sin. For them it is an innocent way to celebrate the birth of their Savior (although after decades of research I still can’t figure out the association between a conifer tree and baby Jesus). But the day will come sooner or later when the merciful Lord will open their eyes to how exactly he wants his people to honor the birth of his Son, and then nobody would be singing hymns to trees such as this famous carol:
‘O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer’s here,
But also when ’tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!’
But for me and for many other Christians around the world, a Christmas tree reminds us, not of the unchanging leaves, but of the horrible human sacrifices that were committed under the original tree from which the Christmas tree had its origin. More about this origin in a separate message on Christmas and other Christian holidays of pagan origin. But to summarize here, from various sources:
The earliest reference to Christmas being marked on December 25 comes from the second century after Jesus’ birth. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice – the return of the sun – and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect…By 529 AD, after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday. The Buffalo News, Nov. 22, 1984
The Roman Saturnalia was a festival that celebrated Saturn – the fire god. And fire gods have an insatiable appetite for child sacrifices. Here is a quote about the terrible practice associated with the worship of the fire god (known by various names such as Nimrod, Saturn, Kronos, Molech, and Baal), from ‘The Two Babylons’ by the late Rev Alexander Hislop, a Free Church of Scotland minister:
Now, this is in exact accordance with the character of the Great Head of the system of fire-worship. Nimrod, as the representative of the devouring fire to which human victims, and especially children, were offered in sacrifice, was regarded as the great child-devourer…he was, of course, the actual father of all the Babylonian gods; and, therefore, in that character he was afterwards universally regarded. As the Father of the gods, he was, as we have seen, called Kronos; and every one knows that the classical story of Kronos was just this, that, ‘he devoured his sons as soon as they were born.’ (Lempriere Classical Dictionary, ‘Saturn’)…This legend has a further and deeper meaning; but, as applied to Nimrod, or ‘The Horned One,’ it just refers to the fact, that, as the representative of Moloch or Baal, infants were the most acceptable offerings at his altar. We have ample and melancholy evidence on this subject from the records of antiquity. “The Phoenicians”, says Eusebius, “every year sacrificed their beloved and only-begotten children to Kronos or Saturn”.
For me, a Christmas tree is an accursed object to keep in my house. But for millions of other Christians, it is not, because they do not know yet. And God is not going to punish them for keeping something detestable in the house without knowing its sinister origins.
Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.” Jer 10:1-5
No Christian should keep an object that has any zodiac signs on it. Neither should they ever keep in their homes any book that espouses divination in the form of horoscope, astrology, numerology, and similar subjects. A Christian who, just for the sake of fun, only occasionally reads his horoscope in a magazine or newspaper just doesn’t understand how strongly God forbids such practice.
Where are all your astrologers, those stargazers who make predictions each month? Let them stand up and save you from what the future holds. But they are like straw burning in a fire; they cannot save themselves from the flame. You will get no help from them at all Is 47:13-14 NLT
No child of God should be deceived into using any article that comes wrapped as a medical device, such as gems for crystal healing, magnetic wristbands for pain relief, negative ion bracelets and necklaces for wellness, and other such objects. There is indeed power emanating out of these objects and users have felt their soothing effect. But it is a power that comes from a deceiving spirit. In the end, the person will be worse off than ever before.
No Bible believer should ever make any tattoo on his or her body. If you had tattooed before you came to Christ, God understands and you don’t have to worry about something you did in your pre-Christ days. But if there is some way you can get them removed, do all that is in your power to erase them from your body which Christ has redeemed with his own blood.
do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord. Lev 19:28 NLT
No true Christian should keep a dvd or novel, or music that is X-rated in even a portion of its contents.
I love hip hop. And Eminem was my favorite, and I think he is the most gifted of singers in this cadre of music. Now, in listening to hip hop, I focus on the melody, not the words. I had been enjoying Eminem’s music on radio and tv and I hadn’t yet bought any of his cassettes (yes, there were still cassette players around in Eminem’s heydays). So one day, I walked into a music store and got my first audio cassette of his hit songs. I switched my cassette player and started swaying my body to his rhythmic words. Suddenly I stopped. I heard something I hadn’t heard before, because I hadn’t been listening attentively until now. Eminem was rapping unmentionable obscenities in his platinum-winning song. I sadly went to the blasting player, ejected the cassette, walked to the trash bin, and dumped it there, determined never to buy another Eminem music in my life.
Don’t allow even a friend or neighbor to keep an accursed object in your house for even an hour. We had a loyal maid, whose husband annually went on pilgrimage to his god on a high mountain in south India. Every time he returned he would bring home to his family sweetmeats and drinks that had been offered to appease his deity. After the propitiation, the offerings could be taken back home. Once, the maid brought home to us a can of delicious syrup that her husband had brought with precious care from the mountaintop abode of his god. It was her way of showing her appreciation of us. We knew it was accursed stuff, but we didn’t have the heart to decline it outright in her face. So we took it and kept it on top or our fridge, intending to garbage it at the first opportunity.
Some hours later, a heard a scream from my sister who was visiting us from Canada. I rushed to her in the hallway. ‘A huge snake, a huge snake!’ she screamed. I saw the snake sliding down the hallway and heading towards the fridge on top of which I could see the can with an image of a squatting god on it. The snake slithered under the fridge and disappeared. I looked all around the fridge with a long rod in my hand. But the snake was nowhere. It just disappeared. I thought it might have somehow managed to slip inside the fridge through some crevice. So I asked the maid to call her husband, and together we took the fridge outside and dismantled it. But no son of a Serpente anywhere.
Now, this could be a mere coincidence, but a snake entering our house and heading straight for the image of its father on the fridge top was an unforgettably scary experience for me and my sister. As for the serpent’s mysterious disappearance, probably it might have managed to slip out of the house during the few seconds I went to get a rod to break its spine. But we determined, coincidence or not, that we were never going to let into our lives even for a moment any object that is a delight to the devil’s heart.
Don’t take a casual attitude about accursed objects, as some Israelites did, and suffered for it.
And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things Josh 6:18
There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you…And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. Josh 17:13-21
After reading his message, look around in your house and in your personal life. Is every object, small and big, around you a blessing from our Father in heaven, and a delight to him?
Perhaps the object might not be a tangible article in your home. Perhaps it’s something solid in your mind. Is there a little object somewhere in the recesses of your mind you are not sure how our God looks upon it? There is no room for the least doubt in such matters in a true Christian’s life. If you have any doubt, go on your knees and ascertain from God what he thinks about it. If you are fervent about pleasing him in every small and great area of your life, he will surely reveal his thoughts about it to you.
Even years after I had given my heart and mind to Christ, I would discover now and then some small area in my consciousness that I had been harboring within me ignorantly but which was, if not an accursed thing, an object that did not add to my glorifying God in my life. I would then, with Christ’s help, remove it absolutely from my life.
May God keep your life pure from everything that defiles, from everything that does not delight him to the utmost!