A Rose By Any Other Name

 

In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet declares to Romeo, “What's in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.” And so it is established that the nature of a person or thing is intrinsic to the person or thing and not a function of what we call it. Yet names are powerful and important. God renamed Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel to reflect what they actually were in the eyes of God.

 

But more often it seems names are changed to hide or obfuscate the nature of a person or  thing. For example, ACORN, Association of Community Organizationsfor Reform Now, became AHCOA, Affordable Housing Centers of America after a scandal was revealed. This organization is still doing the same thingas it did before and still using you money to do them.

 

Food stamps became SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after food stamps developed a bad reputation. And the associated food stamp coupons were replaced with an EBT, Electronic Benefit Transfer card, for pretty much the same reason.

 

Here’s one more for the record. Does anyone remember the ABCL? That was the American Birth Control League until 1943 when it became Planned Parenthood.

 

We could go on and on but there is no reason to belabor the point. But what does that have to do with Church and Bible and religion and with us? Actually it has a lot to do with those things. The Bible contains Ten Commandments that specifically forbid false testimony. Frequently when a name is changed it is for the precise purpose of giving a false testimony. And the history of the commonly accepted church is full of such false testimony given for the very purpose of deception. False testimony is given by those in leadership positions and parroted by those that follow. It works pretty much like this: One person lies and another person swears to the lie.

 

Some of the biggest most verifiable lies associated with misleading names pertain to the date of birth of Jesus and the date of his resurrection. I don’t intend to make the case rigorously but a little common sense should be enough to make you doubt the story that is told. Jesus was born in Bethlehem because of a census that was being done. No leader would call for a census in the middle of winter. And certainly shepherds would not be out in the cold fields with their sheep in the midst of winter. And it seems unlikely that the Magiwho were Wise Men would make their journey in the middle of winter! And to make matters worse the date itself was an important date to Pagans! Very strange. And the Name give is Christmas or Christ’s Mass. How many people go to Mass to clebrate the birth of Jesus? The protestant world mostly does not but they still keep the name!

 

Here is another example that makes you wonder if people really think about these things or if they even care. I’m talking about Easter. The name itself is the name of a Pagan Goddess. And what’s the deal with rabbits and eggs? Even the date it’s celebrated makes no sense. Jesus was resurrect after the third day of His death. Which was also the third day after Passover. So that would be the logical day to observe if you were going to observe it at all. But that is not the date of Easter. Here’s an idea that seems to be gaining popularity, since Easter is Pagan, let’s call it Resurrection Day! A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

 

Halloween is a classic example of renaming. Many churches are now having Harvest Festivals rather than Halloween parties. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

 

So how serious is renaming to misdirect or deceive? Let’s look at what the Bible says about that subject.

 

*   (Deu 18:9-10 NIV)  When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. {10} Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,

*   (Jer 10:2-5 NIV)  This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. {3} For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. {4} They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. {5} Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good."

*   (Jer 7:18 NIV)  The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger.

That last verse is particularly convicting. Many people refer to the mother of Jesus as the Mother of God and the “Queen of Heaven!” There is a prayer called the Hail Mary recited often by Catholics and some others. In part it says, “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” Praying to dead people, often while bowed before a statue, and refer to that dead person as the mother of God. Blasphemy! Queen of heaven is the name Pagans used for their Goddesses. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

*   (Jer 44:17-19 NIV)  We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. {18} But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine." {19} The women added, "When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes like her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?"

*   (Jer 44:25-27 NIV)  This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives have shown by your actions what you promised when you said, 'We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.' "Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows! {26} But hear the word of the LORD, all Jews living in Egypt: 'I swear by my great name,' says the LORD, 'that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, "As surely as the Sovereign LORD lives." {27} For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed.

 

So do we think we can evade God’s wrath by redefining words? Easter is Resurrection Day; Halloween is simply a harvest festival, God has a mother and she is the Queen of Heaven, and we say Christmas is not sun worship but Son worship. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

 

But these are only a few of many possible examples. We even have a word for misnaming things, euphemism. So a lie becomes a fib, abortion becomes pro choice, homosexuality is not a perversion but an alternate lifestyle. It goes on and on and on!

 

We are exhorted to speak truthfully, honestly and plainly.

*   (Mat 5:37 NIV)  Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

*   (James 5:12 NIV)  Above all, my brothers, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.

 Now that you know it do it!