Essential Oils, Pagan Practices, and the Torah
Many have an understanding that we are not to worship the Creator in the same way that other religions worship their gods. We completely agree with this; but then there is the question “where do we draw the line?” In other words, what can we do that “pagans” do? The answer is fairly simple, many things! This answer may likely drop some jaws and figuratively turn some heads.
Let us explain. Around the world there are many pagans who eat cheeseburgers; we can eat cheeseburgers. There are many “pagans” who watch television, we can watch television. There are "pagans" who drink wine; we can drink wine! There are even “pagans” who, get this, sing songs. You know what? We can sing songs too. So, you see, we aren’t limited in what we do as much as some may expect. It may seem that we are making fun, but in truth we are not. This is a serious topic that can cause many others to stumble or bring confusion. The key component in this topic, is that we are not to worship YHWH in the same way that “pagans” worship their god. The command we find in Deuteronomy does not tell us to not do anything that “pagans” do, but not worship YHWH in the ways they worship. For example, many children were sacrificed to Molech; YHWH does not want us sacrificing our children in His name and attributing it to Him. He is against this practice. Today, child sacrifice is far less common; but there are other practices we should avoid, many of which are covered in our 2-part teaching “Sunburned”. Another example would be decorating fir (cypress, evergreens, etc) trees with silver and gold, etc. and then attribute it unto the Creator. This is a practice related to “pagan” worship rituals to the goddess of fertility. We are not to worship YHWH by decorating a tree because that is what the “pagans” did/do.
Some may argue, but pagans sing songs of worship to their gods, so are you saying we cannot worship YHWH in song? No, we are not saying that, but we can certainly understand the concern. We see in Scripture that David worshiped Yah through both song and dance. This is an expression of love to the Creator. There are “pagan” rituals incorporating song and dance as well; those songs and dances we should not do. It may seem like we are splitting hairs here by making this differentiation, but the reality is the Adversary takes what is good and holy, twists it for his purpose, and then spreads it throughout the nations. Therefore, just because there is something the “pagans” do in their worship does not immediately make it a forbidden act or practice. These things are far more specific than a generality of people singing and dancing. We cannot take what is an unclean abomination (an act of worship to other gods) and do the same act unto YHWH and then call it “clean”. This is the heart of the command that we are given.
This may seem to be a simple and clear distinction, but at the same time it can be difficult to grasp, understand, and apply in our lives. For example, we know in Eastern medicinal practices that many natural elements are used such as essential oils or coconut oil. There are some who have a great zeal for YHWH, but do not believe they can use the healing properties of essential oils because they are found in Eastern medicine. Scripture does not prohibit the use of things Yah created with healing and other properties. The plants, oils, etc., are simply part of His creation designed with a purpose in mind. Frankincense is an oil that is very good for us and has a wide variety of medicinal applications. We even see the Creator using frankincense in Scripture and in perfumes for Him. Not using frankincense because it is used in Eastern medicine would mean avoiding a “God-given” medicine because someone else uses it. The use of frankincense to boost one’s immune system is perfectly acceptable in the Torah. The same holds true for any of the essential oils or other natural remedies such as coconut oil. What would not be acceptable would be if a “pagan” anointed themselves with frankincense, then did a chant, and worshipped their god. We would not want to use frankincense to do a chant and worship YHWH with it. Using it for its immune-boosting properties is not the same thing as worshiping a god.
It is our understanding that the medicinal and health benefits in the use of essential oils, coconut oil, teas, etc. is perfectly acceptable to heal our bodies and keep them healthy. We are not using them to worship the YHWH in the same way a “pagan” religion may. Does this make sense? While man and the Adversary may use what Yah created and twist it into something it was never intended to be, it does not make the “ingredient” inherently evil or bad. Another example would be the stars. In the book of Genesis we are told to use the sun, moon, and stars to tell the seasons and appointed times. However, astrology also exists today and is used in the worship of other gods. This is an example of the Adversary taking what was created by Yah for the good and holy use of obedience to him, and twisting it into worship of another false god. Are we to disobey our Creator in using the sun, moon, and stars, because another religion is using the same elements (sun, moon, and stars) to worship their false gods? Of course not, we would then be disobeying Torah. Man’s sinful nature and heart will always go against the Creator and strives to use things for its own purpose.
Something good can be used for evil, but it does then make that thing itself evil; but the practice or ritual in which it is used is what is perverted and corrupt. Owning a knife is not a bad thing; using the knife to defend oneself or clean a deer killed for food is not evil. A person using a knife to commit murder is an evil act using a knife. The knife is not good or bad, it is just a knife. It is the intent and action using the knife in the way it was used that is bad. Is this starting to make some sense and bring some clarity to the issue?
This topic may lead many to again question practices such as those that take place during the Christmas and Easter holiday seasons. After all, it sounds like we may have just said that what matters is our intent, “what it means to me”. Please understand, this is not what we are saying. “What it means to me” is not an excuse and is of little importance. The better question or statement to be made is “what it means to Yahweh”. There is nothing wrong with honoring the Creator and thanking Him for His salvation, however, we should not be showing that honor and thankfulness doing the same (or very similar) practices that “pagans” do to show their love, worship, and honor of their gods. We are not to “Christianize” or “claim back for Christ” any “pagan” practice. We cannot make what is unclean, clean. We are to honor and obey the Creator in the ways He wants to be honored, obeyed, and worshipped; in spirit and in truth. The ways of the world are not truth, but a perversion of the truth; therefore we should not strive to worship YHWH in that way.
Many elements used in “pagan” rituals or practices may not be bad, in and of themselves; but we are not to use those same elements in the same way to worship the Creator. The elements themselves, be it essential oils or singing and dancing, are not bad, it’s their use that can pervert the situation. Again, let us be clear, using things such as essential oils to bring healing to our bodies because of their natural properties is not the same as using those things to worship the Creator. Just because a “pagan” may sing and dance, or eat a cheeseburger, does not make it evil or forbidden. It is when those things are done in a specific way to honor or worship their god that we are not to do them as they do them. Eating raw meat and drinking the blood in a “pagan” ritual is not the same thing as cooking a steak for dinner.
We hope that this has brought some clarity to the situation. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org .