Valentine’s Day is here again, and I’m about to break my silence on the subject. Please read this article with an open mind and receptive heart. St. Valentine’s Day is the world’s “holiday of love.” Since the Bible states that God is love in I John 4:8, 16, does He approve of the celebration of this day? Does He want His people; Christians—partaking of the chocolate and cards, or any customs associated with this day? Here is yet again another subject that needs to be addressed in the Christian church today. It is high time for the church to awake out of sleep and begin to examine why we do what we do. For far too long, the church has blindly celebrated many things that have no biblical foundation for its practice. Like many of the world’s major holidays, St. Valentine’s Day is an annual observance with its roots entrenched firmly in pagan beliefs and customs. What would God think about Valentine’s Day?
In this article I will lay out the facts about Valentine’s Day and then you will conclude for yourself whether or not Christians should celebrate the day. Let me state from the onset that I am not in any way opposed to the giving and receiving of love, what I am about to share is the truth behind Valentine’s Day itself, the history behind it, and what it represents. God said in His word, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). As believers we must always be cognizant of the devices of the enemy, and how he always finds ways to hide lies with some truth. In this case, I will show you with facts, how the enemy has succeeded in getting the entire world to give him glory on Valentine’s Day.
The first question that must be answered is where Valentine’s Day originated. Has anyone ever thought or asked themselves who really is Valentine. Have you ever questioned what you are saying, when you say “Happy Valentine’s to someone you love. Let’s take a look together as we seek to answer those two questions. As innocent and harmless as St. Valentine’s Day may appear, its traditions and customs originate from two of the most sexually perverted pagan festivals of ancient history: Lupercalia and the feast day of Juno Februata. The ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, an annual three-day ritual believed to ward off evil spirits and increase fertility, was held on February 13 to 15. Celebrated on February 15, Lupercalia (known as the “festival of sexual license”) was held by the ancient Romans in honor of Lupercus, god of fertility and husbandry, protector of herds and crops, and a mighty hunter of wolves.
The Romans believed that Lupercus would protect Rome from roving bands of wolves, which devoured livestock and people. Assisted by Vestal Virgins, the Luperci (male priests) conducted purification rites by sacrificing goats and a dog in the Lupercal cave on Palatine Hill, where the Romans believed the twins Romulus and Remus had been sheltered and nursed by a she-wolf before they eventually founded Rome. Clothed in loincloths made from sacrificed goats and smeared in their blood, the Luperci would run about Rome, striking women with ‘februa,’ thongs made from skins of the sacrificed goats. The Luperci believed that the floggings purified women and guaranteed their fertility and ease of childbirth. The month February derives from februa and “means of purification.”
To the Romans, February was also sacred to Juno Februata, the goddess of febris (“fever”) of love, and of women and marriage. On February 14, billets (small pieces of paper, each of which had the name of a teen-aged girl written on it) were put into a container. Teenage boys would then choose one billet at random. The boy and the girl whose name was drawn would become a “couple,” joining in erotic games at feasts and parties celebrated throughout Rome. After the festival, they would remain sexual partners for the rest of the year. This custom was observed in the Roman Empire for centuries. In A.D. 494, Pope Gelasius renamed the festival of Juno Februata as the “Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary.” The date of its observance was later changed from February 14 to February 2, and then changed back to the 14. It is also known as Candlemas, the Presentation of the Lord; the Purification of the Blessed Virgin and the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
After Constantine had made the Roman church’s brand of Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire (A.D. 325), church leaders wanted to do away with the pagan festivals of the people. Lupercalia was high on their list. But the Roman citizens thought otherwise. It was not until A.D. 496 that the church at Rome was able to do anything about Lupercalia. Powerless to get rid of it, Pope Gelasius instead changed it from February 15 to the 14th and called it St. Valentine’s Day. It was named after one of that church’s saints, who, in A.D. 270, was executed by the emperor for his beliefs.
Such was their course of action with this festival of Lupercalia. While Pope Gelasius officially condemned the pagan Roman festival and banned its observance at the end of the fifth century, many of its accompanying practices quickly appeared in a newly established holiday added by him to the official church list of feast days in A.D. 496—St. Valentine’s Day. Soon, people were no longer looking to obtain fertility by being beaten with strips of animal skin called februa. Instead, they turned their focus to St. Valentine, the patron saint of “engaged couples and anyone wishing to marry” (Celebrations, pp. 48-49), whose actual identity is even murkier than what connection he bore to romance.
The church further continued Christianize Lupercalia. Instead of putting the names of girls into a box, the names of “saints” were drawn by both boys and girls. It was then each person’s duty to emulate the life of the saint whose name he or she had drawn. This was Rome’s vain attempt to “whitewash” a pagan observance by “Christianizing” it, which God has not given man the power or authority to do. Though the church at Rome had banned the sexual lottery, young men still practiced a much toned-down version, sending women whom they desired handwritten romantic messages containing St. Valentine’s name. Over the centuries, St. Valentine’s Day cards became popular, especially by the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These cards were painted with pictures of Cupid and hearts, and meticulously decorated with lace, silk or flowers.
St. Valentine & Cupid
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in early martyrologies under the date of 14 February. Valentine comes from the Latin Valentinus, which derives from valens—“to be strong, powerful, mighty.” The Bible describes a man with a similar title: “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord” (Gen. 10:8-9). He was said to have hunted with bow and arrow. As mentioned, the Romans celebrated Lupercalia to honor the hunter god Lupercus. To the Greeks, from whom the Romans had copied most of their mythology, Lupercus was known as Pan, the god of light. The Phoenicians worshipped the same deity as Baal, the sun god. Baal was one of many names or titles for Nimrod, a mighty hunter, especially of wolves. He was also the founder and first lord of Babel (Gen. 10:10-12). Defying God, Nimrod was the originator of the Babylonian Mystery Religion, whose mythologies have been copied by the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and a multitude of other ancient peoples. Under different names or titles—Pan, Lupercus, Saturn, Osiris—Nimrod is the strong man and hunter-warrior god of the ancients.
The title Baal means “lord” or “master,” and is mentioned throughout the Bible as the god of pagans. God warned His people not to worship or even tolerate the ways of Baal (Nimrod). In ancient Chaldean (the language of the Babylonians), ‘bal,’ which is similar to Baal, meant, “heart.” This is where the Valentine heart symbol originated. Now notice the name Cupid. It comes from the Latin verb cupere, meaning “to desire.” Cupid was the son of Venus, Roman goddess of beauty and love. Also known as Eros in ancient Greece, he was the son of Aphrodite. According to myth, he was responsible for impregnating numerous goddesses and mortals. Cupid was a child-like archer just as Nimrod was a skilled archer. Mythology describes Cupid as having both a cruel and happy personality. He would use his invisible arrows, tipped with gold, to strike unsuspecting men and women, causing them to fall madly in love. He did not do this for their benefit, but to drive them crazy with intense passion, to make their lives miserable, and to laugh at the results. Many of the gods of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Assyrians and others were modeled after one man—Nimrod. No one why it is a fact that hundreds, maybe thousands of teenage girls get pregnant every year. There is an evil sexual spirit behind this day that is hiding itself behind the theme of love. It is a spirit of lust that is sent to lure both the young and old into illicit sex that is contrary to the will of God.
What amounted to a renamed, refurbished Lupercalia then picked up steam, gradually adapting itself into the Valentine’s Day we know today, which included the added elements of Valentine cards and a half naked and sometimes naked Cupid, the Roman god of erotic love. Friendship and sending cards are wonderful things, and God is not opposed to romance at the right time in the right way. But does the pagan religious history of Valentine’s Day taint the modern practices? What does God have to say about observing pagan traditions, renamed or not? Here is what the word says, “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess…do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32)
Let us look at a few more verses from scripture. “Learn not the way of the heathen…For the customs of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:2-3). Also notice Christ’s words in Matthew 15:9: “…in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Concerning this pagan, satanic system, God commands true Christians, “Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4). Though the practices of Lupercalia have been repackaged and dressed up in the form of Valentine’s Day, these verses indicate they remain just as detestable as they have always been in our Creator’s eyes. Instead of pagan days and practices, our focus should be on the Holy Days God has given us in the Bible, which point us toward His amazing and incomparable plan for all of humanity.
When little boys and girls draw each other’s names in school and send Valentine cards and gifts to each other, declaring their “love,” they are learning the first stages of intimate relations that the Creator God designed specifically for emotionally mature adults. Instead of embracing the carefree innocence of youth, growing up without the headaches and heartaches of adulthood (finding a job, paying bills, marriage, raising a family, etc.), children today are taught to lust after each other. By the time they reach adulthood, virtually every shred of innocence, sincerity and moral decency has been stripped from them. This is why we live in a world where a teenage virgin is a rare find. Where what used to be called “shacking up” and “living in sin” is now simply “living together or roommates.” We are living in a time where sex is nothing more than meaningless physical recreation with no strings attached. It is a time where people change sex partners as much as they change clothes, and unmarried young men and women have had at least five sexual partners before reaching twenty-five.
Don’t be deceived by those who would tell you that Valentine’s Day is simply a celebration of love. Most pastors today will tell you that nothing is wrong with Valentine’s Day and that it is only a day to celebrate with your loved ones. They say this to you with very little to no knowledge about that which they speak. While love may be the message portrayed through Valentine’s Day, the history reveals ties to paganism. The last pastor I had this discussion with, he told me I was crazy and I’m overreacting about something that won’t send me to hell. The question of whether or not celebrating Valentine’s Day would send you to hell does not even arise in this discussion. That was a cheap way out of answering a direct question of what is the theological reference to the practice. It is unfortunate that the church at large has mastered the art of finding ways to Christianize and spiritualize things that God has no biblical basis. It’s like taking a pig, giving it a bath and then dressing it up with a pink dress and ribbon; it still doesn’t change what it is. In the same manner you can dress-up pagan practice with scripture and all the love in the world, its still paganism. There is no other religious group that is gullible as Christians. For example you would never find an practicing Jew or Muslim celebrating anything that is contrary to what their faith teaches. In fact, in certain Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, it is a crime to celebrate Valentine’s Day. On the contrary, Christians celebrate any and everything they can find a way to Christianize. It is nothing but a tragedy. We are not true to who we are and has lost our identity as the people of God. No longer are we the peculiar people (1 Pet. 2:9) the scripture says that we ought to be.
It is also unfortunate that the church has rejected its Judaic roots and has instead embraced pagan culture. Christians would turn their noses at Passover, Hanukkah, Sukkot, Purim, and the other Jewish Holy days, while at the same time welcomed the Easter bunny, St. Valentine, the Christmas tree, and even Halloween. Every Jewish Holy Day has biblical basis but not one of those Christian practices I just mentioned is biblical, yet we cling to it. Then we question why the power of God is not at work in the church anymore. No wonder why the church has lost its power with God. The church is tied up in pagan culture and has learned the ways of the world and has rejected the counsel of God. The church has allowed the world to set the standards for us to follow, rather than being the standard by which the world must live. Rather than the world showing us how to love, we are the people that ought to love better than anyone else can. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you will have love one for another” (John 13:34).
St. Valentine’s Day originates from the ancient paganism of this Satan-influenced world. It is designed to deceive mankind by appealing to fleshly, carnal desires—or, as the Bible calls them, the works of the flesh. A true Christian is focused on God’s soon-coming kingdom and the world to come—not on the fleshly cravings of this world. A true Christian must strive to “put off the old man” and actively imitate the perfect, righteous example of Jesus Christ. A Christian knows that he must actively come out of this world, out of its pagan-infested customs, practices and traditions. If you don’t believe everything you just read in this article, then don’t take my word for it. Go to history books, encyclopedias and then examine the Bible for yourself and allow God to speak to you.