CSIRC has received reports from multiple security vendors regarding a new Valentine-themed spam campaign that tries to trick the user into installing malware. The following subject lines have been identified so far; “short and sweet”, “Me and You”, “In Your Arms”, and “With all my love.” A link is included in the message. The link directs the recipient to a web page displaying 12 heart images and inviting them to click on one. Doing so downloads a malicious program called “love.exe” or “you.exe” which turns the infected computer into a zombie and adds it to the Waledec botnet, which is believed to be run by the same folks responsible for the Storm botnet. So far the botnet is sending an average of 11,000 messages per hour.
Cybercriminals behind the Waledac worm, distributed last week in exploits related to the presidential inauguration, have modified their tactics and are now sending out Valentine’s Day-related malicious spam that is leading to the malware, Ryan Sherstobitoff, chief corporate evangelist at Panda Security, told SCMagazineUS.com Tuesday.
The spam arrives with the subject line: “love before Saint Valentine’s day.” The body contains a link for a malicious website. If the users follow the link, they are taken to a page with a picture of 12 different hearts, above which reads, “Guess, which one is for you.” If victims click, they will download the worm.
Ah, yes! Love is in the air! However, do be careful of those emails! Click on the wrong link, and you could download something onto your computer that makes your computer a spam machine!
I want to talk about another danger in regards to Valentine’s Day, however. Perhaps this is one you have never been made aware of. Is there a spiritual danger in relation to this holiday?
I guess Valentine’s Day isn’t what it used to be. In fact, there is even a web page called “Valentine’s Day – Not Like it Used To Be”.
For eight hundred years prior to the establishment of Valentine’s Day, the Romans had practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men’s rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The celebration featured a lottery in which young men would draw the names of teenage girls from a box. The girl assigned to each young man in that manner would be his sexual companion during the remaining year.
In an effort to do away with the pagan festival, Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the lottery. Instead of the names of young women, the box would contain the names of saints. Both men and women were allowed to draw from the box, and the game was to emulate the ways of the saint they drew during the rest of the year. Needless to say, many of the young Roman men were not too pleased with the rule changes.
Now, here is the question: Did Pope Gelasius “do away” with the holiday by replacing it with another? Think about that. Does God condone worshiping Him in the same manner that pagans do or did?
Cupid was the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. He is often associated with Valentine’s Day. This is just further proof that “St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition” (“The History of Valentine’s Day” at History.com).
Lupercalia, the ancient Roman festival, had other fertility rites associated with it.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification.
The boys then sliced the goat’s hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide [sic] strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year.
In spite of Wikipedia’s assertion that no connection between Lupercalia and Valentine’s Day has “been demonstrated” (“Valentine’s Day“), the preponderance of evidence says otherwise. The Catholic Church was in a habit of absorbing pagan festivals and turning them into “Christian” holidays. The same happened to Christmas and Easter, in fact.
What God Says
None of the festivals of Valentine’s Day, Christmas or Easter are in the Bible. They were Catholic adaptations of pagan festivals. In other words, Protestants are legitimizing the authority of the Catholic Church to change holidays every time they keep these festivals.
The fourth beast of Daniel’s vision was the Roman Empire. This has been verified by many scholars and by teachers in the COG. It would last until the return of Christ in some form, and it would try to change God’s laws and holy days. It is this power that will exercise control over the saints for 3 ½ years (a “time” is a year in Daniel’s prophecies).
Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
~ Da 7:23-24
In v 25, the NIV translates “times” to “set times”. The NASB says “he will intend to make alterations in times and in law”. Do you understand yet what is being changed? If not, then check out what the Amplified Bible says that this power will “think to change the time [of sacred feasts and holy days]”.
God is not pleased by changing His holy days for pagan holidays! What were His instructions to ancient Israel when they took over the Promised Land?
And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your 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 by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
Thou shalt not do so 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.
~ Dt 12:3-4, 29-32
God wants to be worshiped the way He says to do, not the way we feel like doing it! He is God, and He sets the rules. We are to obey.
Lee Lisman wrote an excellent article at BibleStudy.org titled “How does God celebrate Christmas? What are God’s Christmas Memories?” I highly recommend reading the entire article. Here is a section that should help to drive the point home:
God does have a memory, and it goes far beyond our own, for He “inhabits eternity” (Isaiah 57:15). We need to expand our universe into His. For example, if I were to tell my 9-year-old daughter that we’re going to choose December 7th to honor the Japanese, she might think that is wonderful. Should she announce this to her grandfather who fought in the Pacific during World War II, she would probably come back to me and ask what a day of infamy meant. Her universe would expand a little bit into Grandpa’s, and in deference to Grandpa’s feelings we would choose a different day to honor the Japanese. The same might be said for a little Japanese girl from Hiroshima wanting to honor Americans on August 6th.
To young children, World War II is like ancient history. Early events of this century are beyond the scope of their universe and memory. Event of that era are only read about or known in old black-and-white silent newsreels in which the people “walked kinda fast.”
…What if most of God’s memory about December 25th or certain other holidays included the sounds of chanting before idols, human orgies and later the sight of Christians being persecuted?
The wicked men who first selected these days to honor their gods or themselves and the Roman Christians who later accepted the same days for worshiping God were all real people. Their world was just as real to them as ours is to us. They had names, and so did those who died because they rejected the pagan world. Men may forget massacres and martyrdoms after a few generations, but God remembers. He still hears their voices under the altar crying out for justice (Revelation 6:9, 10).
So in the panorama of human history what might be God’s memory of “the holidays?” Again, since pagan festivals like the Saturnalia mean nothing to most people today, and historical names like Nimrod or Tammuz have no significance, I would like to tell a story. It’s about something that never happened, and it employs a time-culture switch with the ancient world only to drive home a point.