Sabbath Thought: Babylon and Me - By Dan Dowd
Here in the United States, we have entered the prime season for the Christian co-opted pagan religious celebrations – Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Religion is a primal need for mankind, and false religion (i.e. teaching in opposition to God’s Word) has persisted down through time. This is part of the legacy of Babylon – the false system that sought to replace God’s truth with a worship of false gods.
God tells His people in Revelation 18 to come out of Babylon, but where did that system come from? In Genesis 11 we are told of Nimrod (c.2200 BC) who held himself up as mankind’s protector, and encouraged men to trust him instead of God. Nimrod set himself up as a ruler of mankind in the post-Flood world, and he was based in the land of Shinar (Babylon – see Genesis 11). Rather than looking to God, mankind began to look to a physical savior.
The Babylon system promoted at the Tower of Babel predated the Flood. In Genesis 3:1-7 we are told that Adam and Eve chose of the Two Trees God placed in the Garden of Eden. What did those Trees represent? The Tree of Life represents access to God’s Holy Spirit which leads to eternal life. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents a rejection of God’s way of life. Satan enticed Adam and Eve to take of the Tree of Knowledge. The lie of Babylon – promoted by Satan from the beginning – is that man is god! In which case, what do gods do? Whatever they want – at least as Satan promotes it.
Satan is the one primarily responsible for the sin in the world, but mankind has accepted Satan’s way of life over God’s – being deceived (Jeremiah 17:9) into believing a lie. Satan lied when he told Adam and Eve that they would be god when they ate of the fruit. He lied when he said that they would not die. He lied when he told them that they could know good from evil apart from God. Satan wants mankind to follow his way of sin, so that mankind will die in sin, and therefore never be part of God’s family.
However, God desires for mankind to be in His family, but that can only be accomplished because we will have God’s nature and character. Satan’s lie was that mankind could be god without Godly attributes. Since the Garden of Eden, mankind (individually and collectively) has borne the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – murder, selfishness, anger, malice, envy and every other Satanic characteristic. To build on all of those attributes, Satan then promoted a false religion – a worship of self and what we determine is worthy of worship – that we are more important than the God who created all. Satan has been very successful at promoting this lie. Mankind as a whole has bought into the lie and essentially says, “I belong to the church of Me.” That is Babylon.
What should our actions to counter this attitude look like to God? We should be overcoming self, society and Satan (Revelation 2-3). We are to take on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). We are to become “slaves” to righteousness (Romans 6:18). We do these things by drawing near to God (Hebrews 10:22, James 4:8) and by not trusting our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). By doing these things, and by keeping God’s law (John 14:15), we have the right to the Tree of Life (Revelation 22:14).
How do we know if we are coming out of Babylon? The answer is in these questions: Do we stand out from the world? Do our actions, our values, and our thoughts put us at odds with what the world finds acceptable?
Not many people stop to consider that God never told Adam and Eve not to partake of the Tree of Life. God wants mankind to seek Him, to desire His way of life, to want what He wanted for them. The same is true for us today. God has granted us access to the Tree of Life. To have what God wants for us, we need to reject the lie of Satan that we are a god on our own. We need to come out of Babylon. DD
For the Youth - Bible Trivia:
1. Who said “I am slow of speech and slow of tongue”?
*Hint: Exodus 4:10
2. What does the Psalmist say is “A Lamp unto my feet and a light to my path”?
*Hint: Psalm 119:105
3. What future king of Israel first served as an armorbearer for King Saul?
* Hint: 1 Samuel 16:18-22
North Canton Announcements:
- Sabbath Service Time: (Nov 25th): 2:00 PM
- Next Sabbath: (Dec 2nd): 2:00 PM
- House Keeping: Just a reminder that we need to keep all food and snacks in the Café area of the meeting hall.
- Linda Ritter: Linda is scheduled for Heart Valve Replacement surgery on Friday, December 1st at the main Campus of the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. Please keep Linda in your prayers as she has been told that this is considered a High-Risk surgery for her situation. The procedure will be very extensive and will require a long-term recovery. As you can imagine, this is lot for both Linda and Dave to process. Your prayers for guidance, comfort, and a full and speedy recovery are greatly appreciated.
- Ladies Luncheon: To all our North Canton Ladies, Join us as we gather for a potluck luncheon. Please bring soup, salad, sandwiches, or dessert to share.
Date: Sunday, December 3rd, from 1PM-4PM.
Location: Stark District Library North Branch 189 25th St NW Canton, OH 44709
(Meeting room on lower level) Please contact Nissa Hall with any questions.
- Council of Elders (COE) Meetings: The next meetings are schedule to take place during the week of December 4-7. Your prayers for God’s guidance are appreciated.
- Winter Family Weekend: It is time to plan for Winter Family Weekend. Everything will be conveniently held at one location, under one roof! Please register at wfw.ucg.org.
Although the rooms at the main Hotel have all been reserved, UCG has secured a significantly discounted block of rooms at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton. The hotel offers a full-service restaurant as well as a Starbucks coffee shop. It is conveniently located just one mile from the Champion Mill facility. The room types of Double Queen beds or a King bed with a twin sleeper pull-out will both be available at the discounted rate of $104/night.
You can reserve your room at the Courtyard by Marriott by either: Calling 1-800-Marriott directly and speak with an agent, using the code UNITED CHURCH OF GOD - WINTER FAMILY WEEKEND 2023. Or using the direct booking link found at wfw.ucg.org.
Please take note: (1) If you have reserved rooms at Champion Mill for anyone NOT in your immediate "family group" or if you are not certain you will attend Winter Family Weekend, please call the hotel and release those additional rooms so that others who are committed to attend may have an opportunity to secure a room.
(2) Online registration is a must! It is critical for our planning purposes. So be sure to wfw.ucg.org and fully complete the registration page for EVERY individual who will attend and include their participation choices. As you know it takes the help of many individuals for a program such as Winter Family Weekend. Regardless of what congregation you are from, if you are willing to volunteer in a certain area or simply in general, please be sure to complete the volunteer section of the registration page. We will find a spot for you and appreciate your service to God and the brethren! Watch for further updates at wfw.ucg.org.
- Lewistown Lock-In Weekend: The Lewistown, PA congregation invites you to their annual lock-in weekend on December 2-3, 2023. Sabbath services will be held at the Beaver Fair Building (785 Snyder Ave, Beaver Springs, PA 17812). There will be a brunch from 11:00 AM to 12:30 AM followed by Sabbath services at 1:00 PM. After Sabbath Services (and a brief break) there will either be a Bible study or game for the youth, followed by a hot buffet-style meal.
The Lock-in activities will be at Middlecreek Area Community Center (MACC - 67 Elm St, Beaver Springs, PA 17812) starting at approximately 6:00 PM. The MACC has a snack room, basketball court, volleyball court, racquetball, fitness center, rock climbing wall, and a game room (ping pong, billiards) available. There will be organized volleyball and basketball games as well as tables for board games and cards (bring your own games).
Snacks will be available all night, and a hot breakfast will be served early Sunday morning before 8AM when the lock-in ends.
There are several areas available for sleeping at the MACC and at the fair building so bring a sleeping bag (especially drivers). We want everyone to enjoy the activity, but we also want everyone to return home safely. Anyone driving home Sunday needs to sleep Saturday night or stay at one of the local families houses Sunday afternoon to get sleep before driving.
Cost for the lock-in weekend is $20.00 per person or $40.00 per family. If you plan on attending, please contact Renita Brummett (Phone: 1-570-837-0134 – Email: email@example.com). Payments can be made after the sabbath at the gym.
Brethren in the area are making their homes available for anyone desiring to come into the area Friday evening, Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon/evening. If you would like to stay in a home vs sleep at the buildings please contact Renita.
If I’ve overlooked anything, Please let me know ASAP.