I had an interesting discussion with two men who came to my door recently. The younger of the two said that he was an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I said, "That's interesting; I'm an elder of the Worldwide Church of God." And he said that was interesting.
We discussed why he kept Sunday as a day of worship.
"Well, Joseph Smith was given a commission by God to change the day of worship," he said.
"I think the Encyclopaedia Britannica and other reference books say that the day of worship was changed. from Saturday to Sunday by Constantine in A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicaea," I said. He agreed.
"You know, God rested on the seventh day of the week," I continued. "Why do we take it upon ourselves to rest or to observe a different day from that on which God rested?
We continued standing there, discussing things pertaining to the Sabbath and God's Holy Days. When I told this young man that God condemns worshipping the way pagans did, he made an interesting comment.
"I don't think it makes a bit of difference to God," he said, looking me squarely in the eyes.
I looked him right back in the eyes and said, "I think it does, and I'm going to prove it to you. God says:
"Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God.
"When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land.
"Take heed to thyself, that thou be not snared [trapped]... after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise."
We are being trapped when we say it doesn't make any difference. It makes a big difference to God. He says:
"Thou shalt not do so [as the pagans did] unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: Thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."
Beginning in Isaiah 1:13: "Bring no more vain oblations; incense [a symbol of prayers ascending up to God's throne] is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity..." Now the two words it is are in italics, and it should be that way in your Bible. Iniquity means your solemn assembly. Your solemn feast days. Because verse 14 says, "Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them."
I told this young man that Christmas observance is not condoned in the Bible.
Next I quoted Mark 7:7-9:
"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."
There is no biblical passage suggesting we celebrate Christmas, I told them. And the young elder admitted that these were traditions of men.
Man has added these celebrations, and he tries to condone their observance through the teaching of God. Christ had something to say about that. Read it in Revelation 22:18-19.
It does make a great difference to God whether we observe the Lord's Sabbaths and keep his Holy Days. God has given signs between Him and His people. He has sent certain signs to separate His people from the world. They are found in Ezekiel 20:10-12, 19:
"Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them."
The Sabbaths are a sign that points to the true God and His people.
"I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God" (verse 19).
Who will you obey? God Almighty, who gave us laws and statutes and commandments that are good, or Nimrod the pagan, author of Christmas and Sunday worship? It makes all the difference in the world to God.