Arhive pe categorii: Holidays

THE TRUE MEANING OF EASTER

THE TRUE MEANING OF EASTER

 by Pugh Curtis

            Easter is one of the biggest celebrations in Christendom. This day, it is claimed, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But we have questions. Did God anywhere in the Bible command us to keep this annual day? Do we have God’s instructions as to how it is to be observed? Did the apostles observe such a celebration? Just when was this day first celebrated and by whom? Who decided that the day is to be observed in churches?

The word “Easter” appears only once in our King James Bibles. If you have a complete KJV Bible check the marginal note. It proves that the original word is “pascha” or “Passover.” This Greek word is found 29 times in the Bible. In 28 of those times it is rightly translated “Passover” and refers to the Jewish annual feast that commemorated the passing over of the death angel. Why did the King James translators use a different word? They were following the rules for translation commanded them by King James. They were to keep the old church words passed down from their mother church. Some of these words they kept were “church,” “cross,” “baptize,” “bishop,” “presbytery,” etc. The fact is, God never mentioned the word “Easter” in His Bible. It was the translators who substituted that word for their own reasons – not for any sound principle of translation.

The name “Easter” actually comes from the name “Ishtar” who was an ancient fertility goddess worshiped by the Gentile neighbors of the Jews. Ever wonder what bunnies, baby chicks and eggs have to do with the resurrection of Christ? Absolutely nothing! But they are fertility symbols associated with this ancient idolatry.

Consider this Bible principle: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey…?” (Romans 6:16). Simple, is it not? We are the servants of whom we obey! Since the Bible has not told us to observe this pagan day and since we have no apostolic example of any first century Christians observing it, it is an innovation – something newly brought in. Applied to Easter, this principle means that if we observe this celebration we are not obeying God. We must be obeying someone else. It is the Pope and  his religious organization that ordered the observance of this day. So if you observe Easter, you are obeying the Pope.

Just as you know what pleases you better than anyone else, so it is with God. Do those who observe Easter think that they know better what will please God better than He does? If He had wanted His children to observe the day, would He not have told us to keep it and just how He wanted it kept? Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,” (John 4:24). Truth matters! God cannot be worshiped with pagan lies! “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry,” (1 Corinthians 10:14).

LENT, EASTER AND HOT CROSS BUNS Curtis Pugh Poteau, Oklahoma

LENT, EASTER AND HOT CROSS BUNS

Curtis Pugh

Poteau, Oklahoma

Roman Catholics, Protestants and even some modern Baptists are all involved in celebrating or observing Lent and Easter. That the fast of Lent is not only unknown in the Bible, but was not a practice of the apostles is admitted in the Catholic Encyclopedia. It says, “We may then fairly conclude that Irenaus about the year 190 knew nothing of any Easter fast of forty days.” That being the case there is nothing in the Bible that tells or encourages you to observe any of the pagan observances of Lent and Easter. Not only is there no encouragement for you to do these things, to do so is to observe both hypocritical and pagan practices. There are, actually, words from the Lord Jesus against Ash Wednesday practices. It is common practice to have ashes put on the forehead on Ash Wednesday as a sign of fasting. The Lord said, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” Wearing ashes on one’s forehead is most certainly appearing unto men to fast. It is a pagan sign of fasting – with no Bible basis. The Lord said, “Wash thy face!”

Did you know that in the early days of European settlement in North America most people did not celebrate either Lent or Easter? Why? Because everyone knew that Easter (named for the pagan goddess “Ishtar”) was pagan. Easter is nothing more than a pagan, fertility cult observance. (The King James translators incorporated the pagan word “Easter” one time in their work, but the Greek word there is actually the word for “passover” – a God-given Jewish observance, not a pagan one.) That Easter and all that goes with it is pagan is why eggs and bunnies are incorporated into its observance: they are fertility symbols. Consider what this author wrote for children: “When the Puritans came to North America, they regarded the celebration of Easter—and the celebration of Christmas—with suspicion. They knew that pagans had celebrated the return of spring long before [professing Roman Catholic] Christians celebrated Easter… for the first two hundred years of European life in North America, only a few states, mostly in the South, paid much attention to Easter.” (Easter Parade: Welcome Sweet Spring Time!, by Steve Englehart, p. 4 [brackets added]) “Easter first became an American tradition in the 1870s,” (ibid. p. 5).

The Catholic Encyclopedia admits what Baptists have always said: neither the Bible command nor did the apostles ever celebrate, observe or instruct anyone to celebrate “Easter” each year. Instead the Baptists have always maintained that we gather on the First Day because that was the day Christ was found to be resurrected: so we have a weekly celebration. The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Further, there seems much to suggest that the Church in the Apostolic Age designed to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ, not by an annual, but by a weekly celebration…” That is what healthy Baptists have been doing ever since the days of the apostles. The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that it was not until the fourth century that some began to observe the forty day fast we know today as Lent.

If you want to know the truth about Lent, Easter and hot cross buns, do a little research. Find out about Nimrod (great-great-grandson of Noah) and Semiramis. Find out about Tammuz, the supposedly virgin-born son of Semiramis (who was also called Ashteroth or Ishtar – “Easter”). Find out about the Babylonian mystery religion – the fertility cult – established back then. The Old Testament condemned this idolatrous worship. Here is what was revealed to the prophet, Ezekiel: “He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose,” (Ezekiel 8:13-17). This “weeping for Tammuz” is the source of the fast of Lent incorporated by the Catholics to please their “pagan” converts.

Semiramis was called “the queen of heaven” and is mentioned twice in connection with the “hot cross buns” baked as a part of her worship. Jeremiah 7:17-18 says, “Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” Again in Jeremiah 44:16-17 the Jewish women blatantly tell God’s man that they are going to do as they please. There it is written: “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.”

We are confident that if you will do independent investigation you will come to the conclusion that Lent, and Easter (as well as hot cross buns) are all pagan. (The “cross” is pagan, too, but research that for yourself!) The Jewish women in Jeremiah chapter forty-four plainly told God’s man that they were blessed by their idols and were going to continue their idolatrous worship. They refused to obey the Word of God as spoken by God’s man Jeremiah. This preacher does not dare compare himself with Jeremiah. So he fully expects all sorts of people to continue with their idolatrous observances: if they would not listen to Jeremiah, they will not listen to this preacher. But God sees and God remembers. Either do as God pleases or do as you please. You are free, but you will be required to give an answer to God one day.

Christmas and Romans 14:5-6a

Christmas and Romans 14:5-6a

by Joe Garnett

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it

Romans 14:5-6a

Proponents of Christmas often appeal to these verses1 to defend their celebration2 of this pagan holy day. At first glance this scripture appears to support their position. But the Bible student should look closer, determining the context and whether this passage can have application to the syncretistic festival of Christmas.

Most commentators teach that Romans 14 deals with Christian liberty. It does, by way of interpretation, only narrowly. By way of interpretation merely two problems are covered, that of whether or not to eat certain meats and whether or not to observe certain days. With regard to Christmas, it is needful that we deal only with the observing of days.

The disputes in this passage take place not because there are simply differences of opinions. The disputes arise because some in the church are weak (immature) and others are strong (mature). This is important to keep in mind because in time one should expect the problem to be solved by the immature becoming mature. (Of course we understand that there might be others coming into the church continually with the same problem, thus protracting the dilemma for some time).

The goal of Biblical instruction is to make the saint a mature person in Jesus Christ (Col. 1:28). Thus in regard to this passage, we need to understand that if all the believers in the church had reached a certain degree of maturity, the problem would not have existed. The solution that Paul gives should be considered a temporary solution for these weak brothers and not a permanent one. (No one would disagree that Christians should always respect and love each other). We should expect these who are now weak to one day become strong as they reside under proper instruction.

The specific problem in verses 5-6a concerns the keeping of days. It appears that the majority of commentators understand the problem to arise from young Jewish converts to the Christian faith. These converts feel obligated to continue to observe Jewish holy days. This should not surprise us for these were proper days for them to observe prior to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have not at this time received the understanding that it is no longer necessary for them to observe these days under the new covenant. We find them in a transition period in which they are confused. If they were to not observe these days they would feel that they were not being obedient to God. They don’t have a grasp on the glorious truth that the work of the Lord Jesus Christ is complete and the days that they observe are only shadows of His fullness (Col. 2:17).

To summarize, I make these observations:

  • The dispute involves different understandings between weak and strong brothers in Christ.
  • The weak feel that they must observe the Jewish holy days as they were previously commanded to do.
  • The strong understand the completed work of Jesus Christ and the new covenant make these days obsolete.
  • These different understandings cause dissension.
  • The only possible solution at this time is for both groups to accept one another in love.
  • In time we should expect the weak to become mature after they have been instructed in the truth and come to an understanding of what Jesus Christ has accomplished.

This is believed to be the interpretation of this passage or its proper understanding. Thus we must expect anyone making application from this passage to keep this understanding in mind at all times.

This is the question which now comes before us: Is the Christian observance of Christmas protected by way of application in this passage? To determine this let us consider the circumstances involved in both cases and see if there are any likenesses.

Situation addressed in Romans 14

Situation of present day X-mass celebrants

The young Jewish believers observed a day.

Those who celebrate Christmas are celebrating a season and a festival. Although they claim to celebrate a day, their actions betray them. Long before the day arrives they will be putting up trees, shopping for presents (not for Jesus), building and placing creches, decorating with lights and other objects (many of occultic background), planning and going to parties and endlessly talking about these activities.

The Jewish converts were keeping days that they were previously obligated to observe. 

The Christmas celebration has never been sanctified by scripture. It is built upon the lie, which is acknowledged by most everyone, that Jesus Christ was born on December 25. Rather than having support from the word of God, it is man made religion which is condemned by Jesus (Matt. 15:9).

When the weak Jewish convert kept a day, there were disciplines that he performed. For instance, if he felt he needed to keep the sabbath, he had instruction from the scripture with regard to his activity (Deut. 5:12-14).

The celebrants of Christmas adhere to no spiritual disciplines. If they were to spend the day in the scripture with fasting and prayer they could at least be commended. However, the day will be spent by most in a festive atmosphere, eating, exchanging gifts and doing whatever they choose to do. These are the same „spiritual disciplines” that the pagans have done as this Babylonian festival evolved.

The observances of these young Jewish believers did not take place in the church. The day that the weak brother regarded, he regarded it unto the Lord. The observance that he performed he rendered without the presence of those who did not wish to take part in the observance. For certain observances he most likely went to the synagogue. The strong brother was not required to endure the observances of the weak.

The Christmas celebration takes place within the church as well as in the world. In most churches the celebration generally consumes the month of December with decorations in the church building, parties, programs and some emphasis in all the services. If there is one who does not desire to celebrate, he must choose between being absent or enduring the festival. 

The weak Jewish brother could be expected in time to mature and be released in conscience from observing obsolete holy days.

The celebrant of Christmas expects to continue in a syncretistic fable originating from Babylonian mystery religion on a day when the now glorified Son of God was not born. 

Thus, this writer concludes that Romans 14 does not exonerate the practice of Christmas from scriptural condemnation. The day that the weak Jewish convert observed was a day formally warranted by scripture with designated disciplines. It was observed outside the church without involving the strong.

The weak brother could be expected in time to mature in conscience and no longer feel obligated to observe it.

In contrast, the „day” the Christmas celebrant celebrates is a pagan originated festival of unknown duration having no basis in scripture nor God-ordained disciplines. It is celebrated in the church and considered immutable. Thus we see that there is no relationship between the two „holy” days.

The scripture condemns such practices as Christmas. Jeremiah 10:2,3 tell us to „learn not the way of the heathen” and that „the customs of the people are vain.” In Matthew 15:9 Jesus explains that men worship Him in vain, „teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” In Colossians 2:8 we are told to beware lest someone should spoil us „through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world.” I Timothy 1:4 instructs us to „neither give heed to fables … which minister questions.”

Jude 3 exhorts us to „earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” The „faith” is the body of truth contained in the scripture. Matthew 28:20 reveals that what is to be taught and observed are „all things whatsoever I (Jesus) have commanded you.” Titus 2:1 commands us to „speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.”

Christmas is a deceitful Babylonian fable with assorted heathen traditions added through the centuries. You cannot mix it with Christianity and call it „worship in spirit and truth” any more than you can mix skunk manure with honey and call it a feast.

Christmas is not part of the faith for which we are to contend. It is not that which the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to observe. It is not sound doctrine. Christians should abhor it for the demonically inspired Babylonian myth that it is.

 

1Another verse often used by the proponent of Christmas is Colossians 2:16, „Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” They interpret this to mean that they can eat and drink what they want and celebrate any day they wish. However the context shows that evil men were demanding that the Christians keep certain laws. Paul instructs them that they do not have to adhere to these commands and that they shouldn’t. His instruction is not that they can keep a certain day, but that they are not obligated to do so by those who would make them.

 

2Celebrate has become a memorialized word in current Christianity. One celebrates Jesus, the Lord’s supper, Christmas, etc. The common biblical term iskeep with the idea of observe or do. I’m not sure whether these words should be interchangeable. The 1966 College Edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary makes some distinction. „Celebrate implies the marking of an occasion or event, especially a joyous one, with ceremony or festivity. Observe and the less formal keep suggest the respectful marking of a day or occasion in the prescribed or appropriate manner.” There may likely be other distinctions that have become clouded as our language degenerates. However, I have not done the homework to know for sure. But for the purposes of this paper, observe will be used to refer to the day found in scripture and celebrate will be used when referring to the festival of Christmas.

 

Leaving Christmas

Why I Don’t Celebrate Christmas A personal testimony Raul Enyedi

 

Why I Don’t Celebrate Christmas

A personal testimony

Raul Enyedi

I, too, as many others Christians, have been saddened and upset by the increasing secularization of the winter holidays, which, by every year that’s passing by, become more superficial, losing more and more of their traditional values.  The commercial seem to swallow up these values and use them only to increase profit.  I, too, as many others, once had a nostalgia and a longing for the old times when traditions were respected, when the Christmas day had such an emotional charge, more than any other day of the year.  I was among the voices that cried out: “Let’s bring Christ back into Christmas!”

I wanted Christ to be back into the center of the holiday and to receive once again the worship he received from the shepherds and the wise men.  And I was even one of those who insisted that Christmas was not about Santa, but about Christ.  The carols I was singing talked only about Christ.  I wanted, from all my heart, a truly Christian Christmas.  But I knew that in order to have that, I had to do everything according to the Scriptures and eliminate all that was contrary to it.  And so it was that I began my study, to find what the Bible really does say about Christmas.  Very early I found that the New Testament does not contain any commandment to observe the birth of Christ.  This was a bit odd, since in the Old Testament, when the Lord gave the Law to Israel, He gave them specific and detailed commandments to observe certain feasts or celebrations.

Not only have I found no specific commandment in the New Testament about observing the birth of Christ, but I found no exact date of his birth either.  After all my inquiry, I was able to find only an approximate period, sometime late September or early October.  There was no way Christ’s birth could take place at the end of December, because the shepherds did not keep their flocks out on the fields during this month (see Luke 2:8), and a census would have been impossible at that time, too, for the traveling conditions in Israel were very difficult in the midst of the rainy season (Luke 2:1-3).

My next discovery troubled me even more.  The Bible says nothing about the Christmas carols, the tree, the exchange of gifts, the special church programs and the preparing of rich tables in honor of the birth of the Savior.  There is no commandment and no example in the Bible for anything that we do at Christmas.  I asked myself, how can I have a Christian, scriptural Christmas when nothing that I do is found in the Bible?  How did we, Christians, come to observe a holiday not commanded by the Bible?  Why did we choose an obviously wrong date and customs that resemble with nothing in the Scripture?  And if everything that pertains to Christmas, things that I assumed to be Christian, do not come from the New Testament, where did they come from?  Oh, how great a surprise was the answer to the latter question…

All the encyclopedias I read showed me that the origin of the holiday is not biblical but pagan.  And they told me all the books about myths and history of religions.  The Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic sources openly confessed the pagan origins of Christmas.  And so I learned that the ancient pagan nations had a great festival dedicated to the birth of the sun god, which had different names, according to the different languages.  The Egyptians called him Osiris, the Babylonians Tammuz, the Persians Mythra and the Romans Saturn, and gave him the title Sol Invictis, the Unconquered Sun.  It was the same god everywhere, only the names differed.  All these pagan nations celebrated the birth of the sun god in the winter time, just after the solstice (December 21st), because that’s when the day starts increasing again.  The romans celebrated the Saturnalia during this time, the holiday dedicated to Saturn.  During this time, there was an excess of eating, drinking and all sorts of orgies, a merry time for pagans.  And December 25th was the climax of pagan “spirituality.”  The Christmas carols are also directly connected to this pagan holiday.  The Romans called them calendae.  Groups of people went from house to house, wishing luck, happiness and fertility to their hosts.  The Christmas tree is also an ancient pagan symbol.  And so is the Christmas exchange of gifts, which the pagan Romans called sigillaria, during which the children were given gifts of small figurines of clay or wax.

How did we Christians come to observe a holiday not commanded by the Bible: a holiday pagan to its very core?  History tells us that Christians decided to celebrate Christmas after they began to depart from the Scriptures and started giving their own laws and rules.  After the time of Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire from AD 306 to 337, when Christianity became the official religion of the Empire, making a lethal compromise with the State, multitudes of pagans were “Christened,” while still devoted to their own gods.  Not being able to separate them from their idols, the Church decided to keep the pagan date and customs, but give them Christian names.  John Chrysostom (AD 347-407), among many others, associated the pagan holiday with the name of Christ.  Says he: But they call it the ‘Birthday of the Unconquered.  Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord…?  Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.”  Such was the way in which the Christenized pagans were kept satisfied.  For it did not matter to them by what name their god was called, as long as they could keep their pagan worship customs.  They did not worship Jesus Christ, but they worshiped the sun god, whom they could also call Jesus Christ.

Upon finding these troubling things, I started asking others why we keep this holiday, why at a pagan date with pagan customs, hoping to find some light in their answers.  When I asked: “Why do we observe Christmas?,” I received many answers, some even childish.  I will only mention the answers that made me think and ponder.

1. It is a good thing to set a day or two apart to remember that Jesus was born to bring salvation to mankind.  I was not satisfied by this answer, because I asked myself: who decides what is good for me as a Christian?  God or men?  I believe that God, my Father, knows better than anyone what is good and what is bad for me.  He is a good Father, and wants the best for me.  And he told me in the Scriptures what is good.  Now, if the Bible does not tell me that we need to have a holiday honoring the birth of the Lord, this means that I do not need such a holiday for my spiritual welfare.  I ask all those who tell me that it is good to have such a holiday: Do you think that God hid or refused to reveal something good for us?  If Christmas is something good, and God did not tell us about it, it means that He hid something good for us.  This monstrous idea is nothing but the same seed of doubt planted by Satan in Eve’s heart, suggesting to her that God does not want our good completely, but keeps something good from us.  If Christmas would be good or necessary, our Lord and His apostles would definitely have taught us to observe it.  Apostle Paul told the elders of the church in Ephesus: “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you… For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:20, 27).  But Paul does not teach anything about Christmas. Why is that?  Because Christmas is not profitable to us.  To deny this is to deny the apostle’s sincerity, and even worse, God’s sincerity.

2. “We need a special day to remember Christ’s birth.  It does not matter what day, and December 25th is just as good as any other day.”  I can’t help but wonder then, if we are so honest in our desire to pay our homage to the birth of our Savior, why didn’t we choose a date that is closer to the time when He was born (end of September, beginning of October)?  Why was December 25th chosen, from all the days of the year, knowing that it is the most pagan of all?  Is it just a coincidence?  I don’t think so!

3. “What is not explicitly and implicitly forbidden in the Scriptures, is allowed.  The Bible neither approves nor disapproves of such a holiday, therefore it is up to us.”  Could we possibly understand the silence of the Scripture as being permissive in such a case?  Or rather its silence is the strongest argument against observing the holiday?  Let us remember that all the Christmas customs that we have today also existed in the time of Christ and the apostles: Not with the Christians, however, but with the pagans!!!  The date, the celebration of the birth, the carols, the tree, the gifts, the rich tables and many other details related to the feast existed in the time our Lord walked on this earth.  Did He identify Himself with any of these?  Did He commission His apostles to go to the pagans and teach them that He is the Unconquered Sun celebrated by them: that the Christmas tree represents Him?  The answer is an obvious and absolute NO!  All the analogies between Christ and this holiday were made much later, by “Christians” who thought that they can change and improve the Bible and who were looking for excuses for their desertion from the boundaries of the Scripture!

The feast of the Nativity cannot be dissociated from its pagan origin.  The Christian’s stubborn persistence in celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25th, with carols, Christmas tree, gifts, a special service at the church and a festive table at home – just as the pagans celebrated their god – prove that we identified ourselves with the paganism and borrowed from it in our worship to the true God.  And in this respect, the Scripture is not silent at all, but repeatedly condemns the association of true with false worship, and teaches a complete separation from idols and their worship.  The identification with paganism, the borrowing of pagan gods or pagan models of worship is expressly condemned in the Bible, both in the Old and in the New Testament.

The Orthodox and the CatholicChurches openly admit their lack of concern in the fact that the holiday and its customs are pagan in origin, because they say these were made Christian and purified by the sanctifying power of the Church.  In their opinion, the Church has sanctifying power, which could be extended even upon paganism, which, once “christened,” can serve God.  This claim is false, unbiblical and illogical.  It is rejected by anyone who believes Sola Scriptura (The Scriptures as the final authority for all we believe and practice)!  No one faithful to the Scriptures can allow for the arrogance of such a claim.   How can we answer then to the fact that we try to dress up a pagan holiday in Christian clothes, changing only the name of the person adored?  The association with paganism in worship is not at all part of those things which the Bible neither approves nor condemns, but leave to us.  The Bible says: “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols… Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:16-17).  This is totally true for Christmas!

4. “It is good to take advantage of the fact that the lost world is thinking about Christ and His birth in this time of year and preach Christ to them.”  But what kind of Christ do these people have and desire?  Isn’t it strange that the world hates Christ but loves Christmas?  Why is that?  Because they do not worship Christ!  They really worship the sun god which they have become accustomed to call Jesus Christ, and whom they called by lots of names before the fifth century.  But the world is not willing to accept the true Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth!  Our identification with them in this holiday does not help us to show them the true Jesus Christ, but rather it strengthens their conviction that we worship the same god as them, the one they falsely call Jesus.

5. “We should not judge anyone that observes Christmas, because ‘One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.  Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it’” (Romans 14:5-6).  The attempt to justify the adoption of a pagan holiday with this text is childish and it shows that people love this holiday so much that they will twist the Holy Scripture in order to excuse Christmas.  The text in Romans 14 does not speak about pagan holidays, but about the Old Testament feasts, which were commanded by the Lord to Israel.

6. Finally, when those whom I have asked admitted that there is no biblical foundation for Christmas, they usually asked in return: “But what is wrong with celebrating the birth of the Lord, because we worship the true Jesus, and it is Him we adore in our carols?  Even though the customs are pagan in origin, we changed them so that now Christ is in the center of the holiday.”  I asked myself the same thing.  When I ran out of arguments, this was the last question thrown in the battle, the last line of defense for Christmas.  My heart was desperately trying to hold fast to the feast, while upon my mind were working the convincing arguments of Scripture, logic and common sense.  And this is the conclusion I reached:

Observing this holiday is wrong and harmful because:

  1. It means to go beyond the Scriptures, to deny their authority, to doubt that God revealed in it everything that is good for me.  It means rejecting the Sola Scriptura!
  2. It identifies me with the lost world and not vice versa.  The nature of Christianity is such that when it is combined with paganism, the latter will never become Christian, but Christianity will always end up being pagan.
  3. The true worship is “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).  The false worship is in the flesh and in error.  Is the Christmas worship “in truth,” when we sing and say and preach that Christ was born on December 25th, when we know He was not?  We lie in everything we do or say that associates the birth of Jesus Christ, directly or indirectly, with Christmas.  The Christ of the Bible was not born on December 25th!  Will God accept our worship if it is not in the truth, but is founded on a pagan lie?

I eventually surrendered to these arguments: they overwhelmed me.  More than 10 years have passed since I quit celebrating Christmas.  Some call me fanatic and narrow minded.  Others doubt that I am a good Christian or a Christian at all because I don’t observe Christmas.  However, I felt like I was set free.  I did not miss any spiritual blessing since I don’t believe in Christmas any more.  Quite the contrary.  Serving God far from paganism, in freedom and within the boundaries of the Scripture is a far better experience than trying to serve Him as men see fit.

Christmas is a pagan holiday.  Everything done at Christmas time is rooted in paganism.  Paganism is drastically condemned by the Bible and pagan worship is an abomination before the Lord.  But men want to keep it, thinking that they can get something good for us and pleasing to God from this pagan holiday.  They judge me for not observing Christmas and for testifying against it.  But judge for yourself whether it is right before God to obey men rather than God!

THE TRUE MEANING OF EASTER by Pastor Greg Wilson

THE TRUE MEANING OF EASTER
by Pastor Greg Wilson
As a Bible-believing Christian, I stake my all upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without it I would be, as the apostle notes: „of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19). I cannot understand why some make claim to Christianity, and yet deny the very cornerstone of the Christian faith; i.e., the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For Christ and His resurrection I have everything, and to it, I owe everything. But for the pagan festival of Easter, I have nothing but contempt!
One need not be a scholar or spend countless hours in research to ascertain that this holiday is a thoroughly pagan ritual. It has no connection to Biblical Christianity. A true child of God ought not observe it in any positive way. Until this century, no Baptist, and many protestants would have nothing to do with it. Baptists, and some protestants were persecuted for their refusal to join in its festivities.
Under the definition for Easter in Webster’s Dictionary (College Edition) one finds: „originally the name of pagan vernal festival . . . Eastre, dawn goddess.” Further reading in an encyclopedia, or most books on the holidays will identify this Eastre with the pagan goddess known variously as Eostre, Ishtar, Semeramis, and Astarte. This is the same Babylonian „Queen of Heaven,” whose worship is condemned in the Word of God (see Jeremiah Chapters 7 and 44).
The trappings of the modern Easter, and its associated days are all pagan in origin. Lent is not found in the Bible as a Christian holiday. It is rather borrowed from the 40 days of mourning for Tammuz, the lover/ husband/son of Astarte. God’s Word condemns its observance in Ezekiel 8:14.
There is absolutely no Biblical authority for such days as Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, or Maundy Thursday. „Good Friday” is the most bizarre of them all. Any grade school child can see that the Lord could not have died and been buried late Friday, spent three days and three nights in the tomb (Matt. 12:40) and risen again Sunday morning!
The word Easter is mentioned but once in the Authorized (KJV) Version of Scripture (Acts 12:4). There it is being observed by the pagan King Herod not by any Christian.
Some who know the pagan origin of Easter seek to justify its observance by calling it „Resurrection Sunday” rather than by its proper heathen name. This, however, only succeeds in dishonoring all the other Sundays of the year.
Truthfully, for the Christian, every Sunday should be resurrection Sunday! The impact of the resurrection alone can adequately explain why the disciples, who had observed a Saturday Sabbath all their lives, began meeting for worship on the First Day of the week, as we see them doing in Scripture.
Dear Christian, heed God’s admonition found in Jeremiah 10:2: „Learn not the way of the heathen . . .”

Easter and Good Friday Steve Flinchum

Easter and Good Friday
Steve Flinchum
According to Jewish reckoning, each day began at sundown the day before. „The evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5), and it is logical that all other days following would come in the same order. (Note also the command of God, Lev. 23:32, Ed.) The day began at 6:00 PM, was measured in „watches” until 6:00 AM, and then was measured in „hours” until 6:00 PM. Passover began on the fourteenth day, with the preparation day when the lamb was slain, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the fifteenth of the first month of the religious calendar (Exodus 12; Leviticus 23) and continued for seven days. The Feast of the Firstfruits was on the day after the first weekly sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Passover and Feast of the Firstfruits were both connected with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and sometimes, as in Luke 22:1, Passover referred to the entire eight day observance.
Luke 22:7 says, „Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.” Remember that this is in the evening of what we today would think of as the day before (the evening of Wednesday, Nisan 14th, what we would call 6:00 Tuesday evening). This same evening, Jesus said, „With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16). The „passover” would not be killed until 3:00 in the afternoon (this same day), Wednesday.
Later on this same day, in the morning, „Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgement: and it was early: and they themselves went not into the judgement hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover” (John 18:28). They were more interested in ceremonial purity than justice. There Jesus was questioned by Pilate, scourged, smitten, spat upon, mocked, and dressed in a crown of thorns and a purple robe. „And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!” (John 9:14). Daytime was measured from sunrise at 6:00 AM, the first hour, until sunset at 6:00 PM, the twelfth hour. The time then („about the sixth hour”) would be about noon. Mark 15:33 tells us that „there was darkness over the whole land” from „the sixth hour” „until the ninth hour.” At the „ninth hour,” 3:00 PM, „Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Mark 15:37-38).
The veil was rent in two by God simultaneously with the death of Jesus.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(Hebrews 10:19-23)
According to Jewish law, the body had to be buried before night (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). It was of course late in the day and as John tells us, „there laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand” (John 19:42).
Luke says, „And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on” (Luke 23:54). Friday was commonly referred to as „the preparation,” but „the preparation” was also used to refer to the day before a special feast, and in that case the reference to the sabbath would refer to the feast itself, rather than the seventh day of the week.
John points out, „for that sabbath day was an high day” (John 19:31). Notice how Matthew avoids using the term „sabbath” in Matthew 27:62. He says, „Now the next day, that followed the day of preparation” (and crucifixion), „the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate.” These Jewish leaders would more likely have met with Pilate on a Thursday or Friday than on the seventh day of the week. This is further clarified by John when telling of the events of the day of the crucifixion in John 19:14. This verse says, „And it was the preparation of the passover. . . .”
According to Luke 23:55-56, the women that followed Joseph of Arimathaea, when he placed Jesus’ body in the sepulchre, „and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid,” then „returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” With the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15) only minutes away, it is not likely that those women prepared the spices and ointments until Friday, Nisan 16, and as Luke 23:56 says, they „rested the sabbath day” [Saturday, the weekly sabbath] „according to the commandment.”
When telling of the resurrection, Matthew says, in Matthew 28:1, „In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week. . .” (underlining added). The wording there strongly indicates that the resurrection took place in the end of the seventh day of the week (6:00 PM), NOT at the rising of the sun on the first day of the week. William Tyndale translated it, „The sabbath day at even which dawneth the morrow after the sabbath.”
Mark 16 describes the situation „when the sabbath was past” (verse 1), „And very early in the morning the first day of the week . . . at the rising of the sun” (verse 2). At that time, „Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome” had already been there. The resurrection had already taken place. It is easy to confuse „they” spoken of in verse 2, who came „at the rising of the sun” with the two Marys mentioned in verse 1, who had already been there hours before and left. Verses 8, 9, and 10 show clearly that „they” in verse 2 are people other than the two Marys. Verse 8 says that „they [those of verse 2] went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.” Verse 10 informs us that Mary Magdalene „went and told them that had been with him.” Mary told some people about the resurrection, but „they,” of verse 2, didn’t say „any thing to any man.”
With the first day of the week, „the Lord’s day,” being ordained to honor Jesus’ completed work, as the anti-type of the seventh day sabbath commemorating the completion of creation, it should be no surprise that Jesus rose in the end of the seventh day of the week, toward the first day of the week.
To teach a Friday evening death and Sunday sunrise resurrection is to be deceived and/or deceitful. There is no honest way of fitting „three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40) into thirty-six hours.
„They that passed by” made fun of Jesus for His claim to destroy the temple and build it „in three days” (Matthew 27:40 and Mark 15:29). In Matthew 27:63, the chief priests and Pharisees said, „that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.” In Mark 14:57-58, some that „bare false witness against him” said they heard him say „within three days.”
More important is Jesus’ own words. In John 2:19, Jesus said, „Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Verse 21 says, „But he spake of the temple of his body.” In Luke 24:46, Jesus said, „Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” In Mark 8:31, Jesus was teaching that he must „be killed, and after three days rise again.” In Matthew 12:40, Jesus says, „For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Some may say, „Well, what difference does it make?” First of all, to read that Jesus said „three days and three nights,” but participate in the proclamation that Jesus was only in the grave for thirty-six hours, is to dispute the very words of Jesus.
Any worship activity that infers, suggests, or endorses a Friday crucifixion is NOT worship „in truth,” whether ignorantly or knowingly, and that is a fact that condemns the entire „Good Friday”/”Easter Sunday” celebration.
To aid in the propagation or approval of the thirty-six hour Friday until Sunday myth is to be guilty of the perversion of the gospel. In I Corinthians 15, Paul claims to declare „the gospel” (verse 1), which he defines as „how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen . . .” (underlining added). Notice that „the third day” is not optional, but is part of the definition given. Notice also, that „according to the scriptures” is included also, and stated twice. „The scriptures” that the death, burial, and resurrection must be „according to” is what we know as the Old Testament. There is a multitude of prophecies and types of Christ and of the gospel throughout the Old Testament „scriptures.” As already mentioned, Jesus referred to the „three days and three nights” of Jonah. When Jesus was walking with the two on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:27 says:
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
And later, verses 44-46 of the same chapter say:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.
Most Bible scholars will agree that Abraham’s son Isaac is a type of Christ. Study Genesis 22. Notice that in verse 2, God spoke of Isaac as „thine only son,” even though Isaac was not the only son Abraham had. Abraham understood, because he knew that it was through Isaac that God was to keep His promise to him. In case we didn’t catch the hint of „thine only son” in verse 2, it is repeated in verse 12, and to be sure, God said it a third time in verse 16. In verse 2, God told Abraham to offer Isaac for a burnt offering. Imagine yourself in Abraham’s place. If God gave such an order and you were totally surrendered to obey God, it would seem as if the child were already dead. Hebrews 11:19 tells us that by faith Abraham offered up Isaac, „Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Notice in verse 4 of Genesis 22 that it was „on the third day,” after God informed Abraham of the requirement, that Isaac was given back to Abraham from the dead.
Romans 4:21-25 says:
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform.
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Jesus, our Passover, died at the same time of day, and on the same day of the year, that the Passover lamb had been slain since the exodus from Egypt.
Read about „Noah’s ark” in Genesis 8:4, which says:
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
Looking at the calendar previously exhibited, notice that what was the „seventh month” in Noah’s days became, at God’s command in Exodus 12:2, the first month. The ark that saved Noah from the flood rested upon the mountains of Ararat on the same day of the year that Jesus rose from the grave.
All these things happened exactly when God intended. In Matthew 26:2, Jesus said, „. . . after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” Many wanted Him crucified, but it was not man’s design that it would happen when it did. Matthew 26:3-5 says:
Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
Who was in control? Is God sovereign? Remember, as was shown in the previous chapter, from Romans 1:21, that the idolatry and false doctrine of the holidays developed „Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God.” When God is not glorified as the totally sovereign God that He is (the condition necessary to believe that God would plan on „three days and three nights,” but have to settle for thirty-six hours), occasion is given for vain imaginations and the darkening of foolish hearts.
Someone may ask, „Are we not to celebrate the resurrection?” Yes, we most definitely are, every „Lord’s day,” every „first day” of the week. No other day should ever compete with, or detract from it! And, it should be celebrated by worshipping „in spirit and in truth!”
The Waldenses recognized these truths, as is evident in their treatise called „Antichrist,” which is dated 1220 A.D. That treatise may be found in History of the Ancient Christians by Jean Paul Perrin, on pages 242-259, and says:
. . . The first work of antichrist is, to take away the truth, and change it into falsehood, error, and heresy. The second work of antichrist is, to cover falsehood over with a semblance of truth, and to assert and maintain lies by the name of faith and graces, and to dispense falsehood intermingled with spiritual things. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The errors and impurities of antichrist, forbidden by the Lord, are these, viz. a various and endless idolatry, against the express command of God and Christ. Divine worship offered not to the Creator, but to the creature, visible and invisible, corporal and spiritual, rational and sensible, natural and artificial, under the name of Christ, or saints, male and female, and to relics and authorities. Unto which creatures they offer the service or worship of faith, and hope, works, prayers, pilgrimages, and alms, oblations, and sacrifices of great price. And those creatures, they serve, honour, and adore several ways, by songs and hymns, speeches, and solemnities, and celebrations of masses, vespers fitted unto the same, by certain hours, vigils, feast-days, thereby to obtain grace, which is essentially in God alone, and meritoriously in Christ, and is to be obtained by faith alone through the Holy Spirit.
And indeed there is nothing else that causeth idolatry, but the false opinions of grace, truth, authority, invocation, intercession, which this antichrist hath deprived God of, to attribute the same to these ceremonies, authorities, the works of a man’s own hands, to saints, and to purgatory. And this iniquity of antichrist is directly against the first article of faith, and against the first commandment of the law.
The inquisitor, AEneas Sylvius, who wrote a history of Bohemia said of the Waldenses, that:
Their third class of errors is as follows. They contemn all ecclesiastical customs which they do not read of in the gospel, such as the observation of Candlemas, Palm-Sunday, the reconciliation of penitents, and the adoration of the cross on Good-Friday. They despise the feast of Easter, and all other festivals of Christ and the saints, and say that one day is as good as another, working upon holy-days, where they can do it without being taken notice of.
(The History of the Christian Church by William Jones, volume II, pages 34-35)
On page 500 of volume I, Jones says, of the Paterines in the eleventh century, that, „They called [the adoration of] the cross the mark of the beast.” The inquisitor AEneas Sylvius, quoted above, who came to be Pope Pius II, and in his words, „had an exact knowledge of the Waldenses,” and attended many of their trials and executions, wrote in his History of Bohemia, in the fourteenth century, that:
They abhor the holy cross, because of Christ’s suffering thereon. Their aversion seems to have been taken from the sermons of those who maintained, that the cross being taken away from Christ, returned of itself. They say, that the wood of the cross is no more than other wood: they do not arm themselves with the sign of the cross. They set no value upon the sepulchre of our Lord, nor of the saints; Matth. „Woe to you, Pharisees, for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets.”
(The Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont by Peter Allix, page 255.)
Those sincere Christians recognized the fact that the use of a cross as furniture or decoration is idolatry, relic worship, making a graven image. The Waldenses believed, as Jonas Aurelianensis wrote in the year 820, that, „they ought not to worship Images, nor so much as have them in their Churches” (The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont by Samuel Morland, bookI, chapter III).
Let us consider the origin and history of the cross as a symbol. The Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) says:
The cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament from the dawn of man’s civilization. Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world. India, Syria, Persia, and Egypt have all yielded numberless examples, while numerous instances, dating from the later Stone age to Christian times, have been found in nearly every part of Europe. The use of the cross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times and among non-Christian peoples may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship. Two of the most frequent forms of pre-Christian cross are the tau cross, so named from its resemblance to the Greek capital letter T, and the swastika or fylfot also called „Gammodion” or crux gammata, owing to its form being that of four Greek capital letters gamma placed together. The tau cross with a handle ( crux ansata) often occurs in Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures as a symbol of divinity. The swastika has a very wide range of distribution and is found on all kinds of objects. It was used as a religious emblem in India and China many centuries before the Christian era, and is met with on prehistoric monuments from various parts of Europe, Asia and America. It is, in fact, a device of such common occurrence on objects of pre-Christian origin that it is hardly necessary to specify individual instances. The cross, as a device in different forms and often enclosed in a circle, is of frequent occurrence on coins and medals of pre-Christian date in France and elsewhere. Indeed, objects marked with pre-Christian crosses are to be seen in every important museum.
Early Christian Crosses.-The death of Christ on a cross necessarily conferred a new significance on the figure, which had hitherto been associated with a conception of religion not merely non-Christian, but in essence often directly opposed to it. It was not, however, till the time of Constantine that the cross was publicly used as the symbol of the Christian religion.
On pages 197 and 198 of The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop wrote:
The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes, was honoured with the same honours. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians–the true original form of the letter T–the initial of the name of Tammuz–which, in Hebrew, radically the same as ancient Chaldee, as found on coins, was formed as in No. 1 of the accompanying woodcut (Fig. 43); and in Etrurian and Coptic, as in Nos. 2 and 3. That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, [Tertullian, De Proescript. Hoeret. cap.40, vol.ii. p.54, and Note. The language of Tertullian implies that those who were initiated by baptism in the Mysteries were marked on the forehead in the same way, as his Christian country-men in Africa, who had begun by this time to be marked in baptism with the sign of the cross.] and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol. To identify Tammuz with the sun it was joined sometimes to the circle of the sun, as in No. 4; sometimes it was inserted in the circle, as in No. 5. [Stephen’s Central America, vol.ii. p.344, Plate 2.] Whether the Maltese cross, which the Romish bishops append to their names as a symbol of their episcopal dignity, is the letter T, may be doubtful; but there seems no reason to doubt that that Maltese cross is an express symbol of the sun; for Layard found it as a sacred symbol in Nineveh in such a connection as led him to identify it with the sun. [Layard’s Nineveh and Babylon, p.211; Nineveh and its Remains, vol.ii, p.446.] The mystic Tau, as the symbol of the great divinity, was called „the sign of life;” it was used as an amulet over the heart; [Wilkinson, vol.i. p.365, Plate.] it was marked on the official garments of the priests, as on the official garments of the priests of Rome; it was borne by kings in their hand, as a token of their dignity or divinely-conferred authority. The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now. [Pere Lafitan, Moeurs des Sauvages Ameriquains, vol.i. p.442.]
On page 199, Hislop says:
There is hardly a Pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. The cross was worshipped by the Pagan Celts long before the incarnation and death of Christ. [Crabb’s Mythology, p.163.] „It is a fact,” says Maurice, „not less remarkable than well-attested, that the Druids in their groves were accustomed to select the most stately and beautiful tree as an emblem of the Deity they adored, and having cut the side branches, they affixed two of the largest of them to the highest part of the trunk, in such a manner that those branches extended on each side like the arms of a man, and, together with the body, presented the appearance of a HUGE CROSS, and on the bark, in several places, was also inscribed the letter Thau.” [Maurice’s Indian Antiquities, vol.vi.p.49.] It was worshipped in Mexico for ages before the Roman Catholic missionaries set foot there, large stone crosses being erected, probably to the „god of rain.” [Prescott’s Conquest of Mexico, vol.i.p.242.] The cross thus widely worshipped, or regarded as a sacred emblem, was the un-equivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head-band covered with crosses. . .
The chapter quoted from, above, by Hislop, closes with this footnote:
If the above remarks be well founded, surely it cannot be right that this sign of the Cross, or emblem of Tammuz, should be used in Christian baptism. At the period of the Revolution, a Royal Commission, appointed to inquire into the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England, numbering among its members eight or ten bishops, strongly recommended that the use of the cross, as tending to superstition, should be laid aside. If such a recommendation was given then, and that by such authority as members of the Church of England must respect, how much ought that recommendation to be enforced by the new light which Providence has cast on the subject!
In consideration of these facts, we must conclude that such a symbol or image has NO place in a Christian life, and definitely does not belong in our „meeting-houses.” There is not a hint in the entire Bible that can honestly be considered as teaching, endorsing, or giving permission to use, make, or have a cross as an image or symbol. If all the above evidence could be discredited, there would still be no wrong done in avoiding the displaying of a cross. But, if these things be true, the use of the symbol is dishonoring our Lord and Saviour, who died on a cross, and is to express an alliance with religious systems that are totally opposite to true Christianity! And, what about bringing in a crowd of children and leading them to pledge their allegiance to a flag with a big red cross on it, and „to the Saviour for whose kingdom it stands”?
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
(Matthew 18:6)
It is to be noticed that people will disobey and disregard the clear and plain teachings of the Bible, but eagerly accept a practice that is not taught in the Bible. Many excuse themselves from doing the „little things that the Bible only mentions once,” but go „whole hog” after pagan practices.
Remember what the Waldenses taught about antichrist. Remember that about the year 1040, the Paterines „called [the adoration of] the cross the mark of the beast.” What if it turns out that the symbol of a cross is literally used in „the mark of the beast”? What effect might our teachings and practice have on those who will be left to face that day?

Lent, Good Friday and Easter by R. F. Becker

Lent, Good Friday and Easter
by R. F. Becker

(NOTE: Mr. Becker is a protestant and writes from that perspective. We must admit, however, that the warning he sounds against participation in Roman paganism is, if anything, even more appropriate for Baptists than for protestants. Mr. Becker exhibits more spiritual discernment than the majority of those who would today profess themselves „Baptists.” He would seem closer to practicing „the faith once delivered unto the saints” than those modern „Baptists” who join Rome in her abominations.)

„Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen.” (Jeremiah 10:2)
„Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken” (Jer. 51:7).
„Come out of her, my people, that ye may not have fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Rev. 18:4, 5).

God has recorded much in His Word of the wicked idolatry of ancient Babylon. Her sins became a dreadful and lasting curse to all nations. And man’s history since those days has been affected and polluted by them.

God has also revealed by His Spirit that „Babylon the Great” of Rev. 17 is in very essence that selfsame Babylon of old. And that woman, which the Apostle John saw, with her name on her forehead, arrayed in purple and scarlet and gold, and drunken with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus has long ago been identified as the Roman Catholic Church.

Now the ancient idolatry of Babylon has been the root of nearly every heathen religion. But in every known form of idolatry there has been more or less deviation from the original Chaldee worship. Only in the Roman Catholic Church has the paganism of Babylon of old remained pure. To realize that this same idolatry of Belshazzar’s day is still influencing our lives should make every true believer shudder.

But the thought of Christians joining hand in hand with pagans in supporting and enjoying Babylon’s idolatry, now revived in the Roman Catholic Church, ought to make every soul that loves Christ’s Name and Blood, shrink in holy horror. For He who liveth forever and ever has decreed in the verses above that whoever partakes of Babylon’s sins shall suffer in Babylon’s judgments (Rev. 18:4).

Now that particular part of Rome’s Babylonish idolatry about which I wish to speak very plainly is her festivals. For it is in these celebrations and observances that Rome not only so sadly deludes her own superstitious slaves, but she also causes many weak Christians to err and sin grievously against Christ.

Now just a few words to the Protestant Church members:

There are three kinds of people in the professing Church of God. First there are those few who are truly godly, and can always be depended upon to be valiant for Truth. Then there are those professors whose hearts we have great reason to fear are not right before God. These are sure, under whatever test they may be found to turn up on the side of those who oppose the things of the Holy Spirit. This tract is for neither of these. To the godly saint it is needless. To the empty professor it would he useless.

But there is one more type of person in the Protestant Church, and it is to them especially I address this tract.

It is to the many weak and carnal believers who have unwittingly kept Rome’s festivals in their own churches, neither realizing the origin nor the idolatrous nature of them, that I appeal. It is to the weak Christians in pulpit and pew, who would fain please everybody and offend nobody, who forget that they should please God first of all, that I write, hoping this may be a help to them.

This type of believer, though he does seem to have saving faith, yet is a disappointment to the godly. There is something weak about the way these take up with men’s traditions. They often appear to be trying to walk as close to the broad road as they can without really being on it. And they are very ingenious in discovering reasons for what they do; reasons which cannot be found in Scripture; reasons which appeal to the flesh.

This weak believer within our Protestant church seems to feel he is under obligation to be present or have a part in his church’s celebrations of Babylonish festivals. Having never been taught the truth, he does not realize that in these observances his own church is only aping Rome, and that Christmas and Lent and Easter are pagan to the very core. They never once think that God does not look lightly on idolatry, as many suppose, and they are breaking willfully the greatest of all commandments, to which God’s dreadful threatening is attached (Ex. 20:5).

One of the great evils of the early churches of Ephesus and Pergamos was the false teachings of the Nicolaitanes. These declared that it was no sin to engage in idolatry. They also denied that the Father created the universe, yet they still professed to be Christians (Rev. 2:6, 15).

In Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible we read: „This sect, like the false prophet of Pethor, united brave words with evil deeds. Mingling themselves in the orgies of idolatrous feasts they brought the impurities of those feasts unto the Christian church. All this was done as a part of a system supported by a doctrine accompanied by the boast of prophetic illumination.”

Is not this what we see in our churches today at Christmas and Easter? One of the greatest of all abominations to God is false worship. Romanism is the extreme ultra-development of Satanic subtlety in worship. For she is very Babylon in idolatry under the disguise and name of Christ! Christian! How then can you take part in her sins? How can you keep the feasts of paganism and join its unholy corruption to the Wonderful Name of Christ?

Now, there may be some who read this who will be disposed to utterly condemn what is written in this tract. Let them consider here the words of the great Dr. Paley: „There is a principle which is a bar against all information; which is proof against all argument, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is ‘CONTEMPT prior to EXAMINATION’.”

However I am sure that every honest soul will be inclined to search himself and try his ways as he reads on, and if he is guilty of observing paganism will become sorrowful and say to Christ in tears „Is it I?” (Mark 14:19). Only the unsound and unreal resent searching.

The religious festivals of Rome are legion. Our 1950 calendar is crowded with them. And the jubilee year of Pius XII will bring more. Space prohibits dealing with them all here. Let us look only at Christmas, Lent, Good Friday and Easter. And as we look at these Romish festivals that people love so well, let us remember the words of our Saviour: „This people honoreth me with their lips but their heart is FAR from me” (Mark 7:6).

CHRISTMAS

In another booklet, „The Truth About Christmas,” I have shown how our Romish Christmas is only a combination of the Catholic „Mass” and the name of Christ. So it will be sufficient to state here that this annual festive season was held in the month Thebeth (our December) in Babylon, long before the birth of Christ, in honor of the birth of Tammuz (Ez. 8:14), the son of Semeramis, the Chaldean queen of heaven. As the Satanic „mystery of iniquity,” spoken of by Paul (in II Thess. 2:7) developed in the early church during the third and fourth centuries, the idolatries of this pagan festival were incorporated into the Roman Catholic system, in pretense of honoring Christ’s birth.

LENT

Let us begin our study of Lent by asking, as many will, If this observance of abstinence is wrong, how did it become so universal? How did it come to occupy so large a space on our calendar?

Why, the Roman Catholic Church put it there during the sixth century! She „borrowed” the 40 days called „Lent” from the worshippers of the Babylonian queen of heaven.

Let not my reader suppose that Lent is observed only in the Roman Church and our anemic Protestant churches today.

In Layard’s „Nineveh and Babylon,” page 93, we learn that Lent is observed by the Yezidis, devil-worshippers of Koordistan. They inherited this heathen fast fashion from their early Babylonian masters.

In Humboldt’s „Mexican Researches,” volume 1, page 404, we find how the pagan Mexicans kept a Lent. „Three days after the vernal equinox began a solemn Lent, Good Friday and Easter fast of forty days in honor of the sun.”

In Landseer’s „Sabean Researches,” page 112, we are informed how an Egyptian Lent of 40 days was held expressly in honor of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god. So we can see Rome is by no means original in observing her pagan Lent.

Just as on December 25 a great celebration and feast was held in Babylon in honor of the birth of Tammuz so in that same country the 40 days’ fast was observed as an important preliminary of the great feast held in commemoration of the death and resurrection of the same idol! And this same Lent was observed in Babylon by alternate weeping and rejoicing, just as Rome today has her poor blind subjects keep holy-weeks by alternate days of joy and sorrow. Lent was first observed in Assyria and Palestine in the month of June. In Egypt it was the month of May when it was kept. When it finally migrated to Britain this pagan fast was observed in April. It seems to be a most flexible fast suitable for
any type of pagan idolatry. For I notice that in 1950 the Roman Lent begins in February!

Rome’s method of enveloping Babylon’s Lent and incorporating it into her ritual should he noticed. About the year 525, Rome, pursuing her usual policy of absorbing the pagan observances and in order to gain nominal adherents to the church, engineered a new religious merger. Under the shrewd management of the Abbot Dionysus the Little, the pagan Lent was established as a church observance. And so the Church, now controlled from Rome, and fast sinking into every form of corruption, added yet this evil of a „sacred fast” to her list of idolatries. In his manipulations to fit a 40-day Lent into the calendar this same Dionysus caused the approximate date of Christ’s birth to be changed four years later than the truth. This change of calendar brought in the grossest corruption and
rankest superstition in connection with the abstinence of Lent. It was only the beginning of another form of Roman evil.

An early Christian of Marseilles, writing in the fifth century, said: „It ought to be known that the observance of the 40 days’ fast had no existence so long as the primitive church remained pure.”

Rome has modernized and streamlined her Lent to fit the present. And the Lent, Good Friday and Easter lukewarm so-called Protestants have followed her, as is their habit. In theirobservance of Lent they only prove how the virus of Jesuit paganism has numbedtheir sense of sin. Well could our Lord say of the professing Protestants whoobserve Lent: „Ye do dishonor me” (John 8:49). Perhaps it is needless to remark about the ordinary individual’s observance of Lent. It does not even deserve comment. The world’s fast is no fast at all, say nothing of a „sacred fast.” One gives up chocolate bars. Another does not eat butter. Another smokes one cigarette per day instead of ten or twenty. Still
another refrains from drinking only one glass of beer or wine or whiskey per day! So sunk in sin is man that by these Romish pagan denials of the flesh, he supposes he is placing himself in God’s favor.

Christian, can you take part in such a mockery of God as Lent, which not only brings ignominy upon the name of Christ, but helps to ruin the souls of thousands and thousands? Remember one more fact. The Rome that put Lent on our calendar is that same scarlet woman that has shed the blood of millions of the martyrs of Jesus, and has sent billions of her own slaves out into eternal night believing the LIE. Can you take Rome’s bloody hand in yours and join her in observing a pagan season she has stolen from Babylon of old? What is a fast that brings honor to Christ Listen to Isaiah:

„Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high . . . Is not THIS the last that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? . . . Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the GLORY of the Lord shall be thy rereward” (Isa. 58:4-8).

GOOD FRIDAY

Here is another Popish holy-day that has caused many weak believers to sin. But we find no authority for its observance in the Bible. Whence all this annual ado and false concern by the ungodly who care naught for a heart cleansed from sin? And why are so many Christians moved into observing Rome’s religious delusion? The answer is not hard to detect. „Good Friday” celebrations appeal to the flesh and the emotions. It is NOT the Crucifixion of Christ that interests people in the passion plays and services. It is the Pope’s holy-day with its pomp and ceremony, thrilling the senses, that attracts those who are ignorant of Scripture. Jesus said: „Blessed are they that have NOT seen yet have believed.” And is it not sad how Rome’s pagan ritual has permeated nearly the whole lump of professing Christendom? No wonder Jeremiah the prophet once said to apostate idolatrous Israel: „Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this”‘ (Jer. 9:9).
Any thoughtful student unbiased by tradition or men’s imagination will have no difficulty in understanding that our Lord Jesus Christ did not die on a Friday. Proof of this fact is in the following verses:
„For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be THREE DAYS and THREE NIGIITS in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).

„And He began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and AFTER THREE DAYS rise again” (Mark 8:31).

„Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, AFTER THREE DAYS I will rise again” (Matt. 27:63).

„And that He was buried, and that He rose again the THIRD DAY according to
the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:4).

In John 11:9, we read: „Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?” Here our Lord teaches that twelve hours make a day. Therefore in His reckoning a day and a night are exactly 24 hours.

In the Jewish order of time the night preceded the day (Gen. 1:5; Mark 15:33). The night began at 6 o’clock in the evening, ending at 6 o’clock in the morning, when the day began.

Now, from the Scriptures quoted, we conclude one important fact. Christ was in the tomb after His death and before His resurrection three days and three nights, which make 72 hours–no less.

In each of the four Gospel records we read of Mary of Magdala and others coming to the sepulchre to anoint the body of Jesus. If we carefully consider them all, one fact stands out beyond any question. That is, when they came to the grave, Jesus was gone. In Matt. 28 we have the record of the angel rolling away the stone. But this was not to liberate the Lord of Glory. It was only to show the world that He was gone. Sometime before the women witnessed the tomb unsealing our Saviour had come forth from the dead. The angel said: „He is risen, He is not here.”

We know that haste was made by those who put Christ in the tomb of Joseph in order to have him buried before the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, which began at 6 o’clock in the evening. And we read in John 19:31 „for that Sabbath was an high day.” Now this Sabbath was the Passover Sabbath and did not come on Saturday. The weekly Sabbath or seventh day or Saturday was not called a „high day.” But sometimes special feasts among the Jews were called Sabbaths or „high days” even if they did not fall on Saturday. Thus we learn from John 19:31 that Jesus was buried by His sorrowing followers the EVENING before the HIGH DAY Sabbath.

Now Christ could never have been buried on a Friday evening or He would not have risen until Monday evening to fulfill Matt. 12:40 and the others we quoted. He could not have been entombed on a Thursday evening or He would not have risen until the evening of the first day of the week, or Sunday. And He could not have risen early Sunday morning either because three days and three nights before that or 72 hours would have been Thursday MORNING, and we know He was buried in the evening.

‘Therefore we have only one deduction left if we abide carefully by the Scriptures. Our Lord must have risen at the very end of the THIRD day or about 6 o’clock in the evening. He arose at the end of the weekly Sabbath. He was in the tomb we know during the High Day Passover Sabbath. He was gone when the women came to His grave very early on the first day of the week. Thus the Crucifixion of the Son of God as recorded in the Bible must have taken place on–Wednesday.

So we find that the very root of all „Good Friday” observances is based on untruth. It is only another Romish invention designed for her profit, which weans men from truth and turns them to fables.

EASTER

What is Easter? One of Rome’s most valuable pagan observances, transplanted from Babylon, in pretense of remembering Christ’s resurrection, yet in reality a festival of a Chaldean goddess. And here again the feeble Protestants and the blaspheming Modernists have aped the Mother of harlots in bringing Babylon’s ritual into their churches. And this mustard seed of Romish planting has verily filled the whole earth with its branches.

What about the name „Easter?” Like its Mother Babylon the Great (Rev. 17.5) Easter has its name on its forehead. It is not a Christian name. It came from idolatrous Chaldea. Easter is nothing but the name ‘Astarte” or „Ishtar,” one of the many names of the Babylonian goddess, Semeramis. As to the name „Easter” being in the King James version of our Bible, we find that the same Greek word which is rendered „Easter” in Acts 12:4 is „Passover” in all other places in the New Testament. In all revised versions the word in Acts 12:4 is „Passover.” Even in the Catholic Douay Bible the word is „Pasch” meaning „Passover.”

In Babylonish worship, Semeramis, the queen of heaven, as Astarte, was symbolized by a dove or the „Mediatrix” without whose intercession none could ever be born anew. In our day the same pagan blasphemy is taught to Roman Catholics, only the Chaldee Astarte has become „Mary Mediatrix, the Mother of God!” And how little do Catholics themselves realize that in their Easter ceremonies, the madonna they worship as being without sin is only a Roman copy of the Chaldean queen of heaven from wicked Babylon of old!

In the Apostolic days of the true Church the believers remembered the death and resurrection of Christ every day. In Acts 20:7 this remembrance feast of breaking bread and drinking of wine was held on the first day of the week. This remembrance of Christ was kept in obedience to the words of Jesus Himself in Luke 22:18, 19 and Paul’s admonition of I Cor. 11:23 to 26. Such was the love of those who had accompanied our Saviour in His ministry, and had seen the end of the Lord (James 5:11) that while they lived, the worshippers in the infant Church allowed no idolatry to corrupt the true honoring of Christ. It was only as the anti-Christ „mystery of iniquity” that Paul spoke of in II Thess. 2 began to slowly unfold itself, that the outlawed pagan observances appeared in the true Church. Among the early Christians we find no trace of an annual observance of the resurrection of Christ. The festival we read of in church history of the third and fourth centuries was not called „Easter.” It was called „Pasch” or „Passover” because it took place at the time of the Jewish feast of that name. It was altogether different than the Roman Catholic Easter in our churches today. This feast was not of Apostolic origin, yet it was not idolatrous nor was it preceded by a Lent. Until the end of the second century this feast was observed on March 23rd.

Even in Rome itself this „Pasch” festival very slowly took on the form of an idolatrous observance. There seems to be no mention of the word Easter in the annual feast until around 450 A. D. Then the Roman Church in its gradual development of the apostasy, gave the Christian „Pasch” the name of the
Babylonian goddess „Astarte.” In 519 A. D. it was decreed in the Council of Aurelia that Lent should be kept before „Easter.” So the name „Easter” must have been used first to replace the name „Astarte” or „Ishtar” under Rome’s manipulation sometime between 450 A. D. and 519 A. D.

And is it not very significant to the thoughtful reader that in the selfsame era—in the year 476–about the time the word „Easter” was first used by the Roman Church, there was also inaugurated in that same Church, the long and evil reign of the „man of sin,” the „son of perdition,” the „dark ages” of the papal anti-Christ?

It was not until the end of the sixth century, however, that paganism, now rapidly taking on great proportions in the Roman Church, forced the observance of Easter into the calendar.

In Britain this replacing of the Christian Passover with Lent and the worship of Astarte as Easter, met at first with great resistance, since there was a full month difference in the time of the two observances. Only after violence and bloodshed did the papal power cause the worship of Astarte, now called Easter, to displace and then eclipse that which was formerly done to honor Jesus Christ.

Now a few words about the customs of Easter. The hot cross buns as well as the dyed eggs figured in the Chaldean rites of Babylon’s worship. Buns were known to have been used in worship of the goddess Easter in the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens. The ancient Druids of the British Isles used eggs in their heathen worship. In the mysteries of Bacchus, celebrated in ancient Athens, one part of their pagan ceremony was to consecrate an egg! In Hindoo paganism eggs of a golden color are used in their celebrations. The Shinto worshipping Japanese have sacred eggs of brazen hue. In China at this hour painted eggs are used in idolatrous festivals. Eggs were used in religious rites of the Egyptians and hung in their heathen temples for mystic purposes.

Before we pass on we ought to consider how an egg became an emblem of our Easter. Many are the tales from the pens of heathen writers but one from Babylon will suffice. Listen to Hyginus, keeper of the Palatine library in Rome in the days of Augustus. He said: „An egg of wondrous size fell down from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank. The doves settled upon it and hatched it and out came Venus, who was afterwards called the Syrian goddess Astarte!”

So much for the ancient Easter eggs. But now in the twentieth century our educated, cultured and refined generation of pagans have improved upon the egg idolatry of Babylon. We have progressed since then! So before our very eyes religious, professing church-going parents brazenly deceive their own little children into believing that rabbits lay colored eggs in beautiful baskets for Easter!

What a dreadful judgment awaits a nation of people, who in the clear light of the blessed Gospel, can annually perpetuate such high handed idolatrous evil.

„Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
„A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jer. 5:30, 31).

This is a day of shallow thinking and shallow profession. And the stream of so-called Christians which is polluted by Rome’s festivals is very wide. So well have her doctrines of falsehood developed that most refuse to believe that this leaven from Babylon exists in our midst. But the naked fact remains; Protestants have been so thoroughly drugged by Rome’s doctrines and festivals we hardly know our right hand from the left.

Now since the Roman Catholic Church is indeed Babylon the Great of Rev. 17 and her „Virgin Mary” is none other than the Chaldean „Mediatrix,” or queen of heaven, how utterly should everyone who loves Christ forsake her festivals, and how forcibly should we condemn them! Jesus Christ preached against false prophets. So did Paul and Peter and John and many others of Christ’s own faithful ones, down through the generations till now. Then whence this hush! hush! Hands off! policy in so many pulpits today? Why is the True and Living church frightened into silence about these things by the false church? Why do so many pastors in places of responsibility stand so helplessly by while Rome makes of us a generation of pagans with her idolatries?

What shall I say more of this Easter problem? And what shall I say of you who profess the Name of Christ who follow Rome to her shrines of Christmas and Easter? Can you church people, after knowing the way of salvation and righteousness willfully and shamelessly embrace Babylon’s idols and fondle her wicked paganism further?

And you timid pastors, why do you fear to warn your flocks against the idolatries of the mother of harlots? Why do you hold out one hand to Rome’s heathen festivals while holding the open Bible in the other?

What would Christ say of you? What would the Christian martyrs say—what would the faithful reformers say–what would the Puritan fathers of our country say, if they could be here and see you allowing the faith they fought for and died for to be sacrificed upon the altars of Babylon the Great by their own Protestant heirs, now stupefied by the pomp and glitter of Rome?

The spirit of God said long ago, „Come out of her, My people, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4). But weak Christians and lukewarm churches have not come out of Babylon’s festivals. Rather they have invited them into the midst of their holy places. They have kept them there. They have loved them well. They have fondled them and
embraced them to their bosoms.

Hence, according to God’s promise, we have Rome’s festival plague upon us. She is daily pouring out her vials of blasphemy around us. Daily a flood of iniquity from the great dragon flows forth. And if the blood-bought Church does not repent of her idolatrous folly, and come out of her sins, who can tell what hour we shall see the hand of the mother of abominations of the earth destroy our church and nation?

„Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the Lord” (Jer. 50:14).

What Is Easter? E. G. Cook

What Is Easter?
E. G. Cook
Former Pastor – Philadelphia Baptist Church
Birmingham , Alabama
(Now In Glory)
I would like to beg your indulgence for a few minutes while we study the subject of Easter together. And I pray we may do this studying with an open mind. After all that is the only way we will ever learn anything. So long as I do not want to learn about that particular thing you cannot teach me one single thing about it, no matter how badly I need to know it.
So, with that in mind, I believe you will agree with me that Easter is probably the greatest festival of the whole religious world. It is supposed to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a movable feast, that is, it does not always fall on the same date.The Council at Nicaea held in 325 A.D. by the apostate churches who had just recently been married to the Roman state decided that Easter should be celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox which is March 21st. I will have to admit that I do not know what the moon had to do with my Lord’s resurrection. As a result of this decision by the Council at Nicaea, Easter may fall on any date from March 22nd to April 25th.

The name „Easter” comes from Eostre the name of a Teutonic goddess of spring. She was a pagan goddess, but when this old religious world wanted another religious festival, they just anglicized the name of this pagan goddess of spring, and they had Easter. The Catholic Church has, through the centuries, followed the practice of giving pagan observances Christian names. And by doing that she made it possible for pagans to go right on with their pagan worship and still be good Catholics. They just called the pagan worship by a Christian name, but it was still pagan worship just the same. And though Easter is supposed to commemorate our ‘Lords resurrection, it sometimes falls on a day that is more than three weeks before the actual date of the resurrection. In the light of Scriptures like Luke 23:54, John 19:14, 31 and I Corinthians 5:7 we know that our Lord was crucified on the day of the Passover. And according to Leviticus 23:5 the Passover fell on the 14th day of their first month, Abib which is April 14th on our calendar. Then according to Matthew 20:19, Mark 9:31; 10:34 and Luke 1 8:33, 24:7 He rose again in the third day. I believe a third grade school child should be able to tell you that the 17th day of April is the third day after April 14th. If I wanted to celebrate my Lord’s resurrection just one time a year, I most certainly would do it on April 1 7th, because that is the date on which He rose. I was born in April, and I have never celebrated my birthday in March.

Still Easter fell on March 26th in 1967, some three weeks before April 1 7th. And in spite of that the Catholic Church, and a lot of even Baptist Churches told their people that this is the day our Lord rose from the dead. In 1968 Easter fell on April 14th. In 1969 it was April 6th, and in 1970 it was March 29th, but still most of you were told that this is the day our Lord rose from the dead. This year this heathen feast falls on April 1 9th, but still that is two days after the date our Lord rose. How gullible can some of our Lord’s saints be in order to be popular? I am so thankful that my Lord has delivered me from the heathenism theCatholic Church has crammed down the throats of so many of our dear Lord’s saints. But for the amazing grace of God I would be worshipping all that junk myself. Really and truly dear Christian friend, is there just one thing connected with Easter that makes any sense? There are so many abominable things in the eyes of Almighty God that are connected with Easter.

There is Lent that so many Baptists are observing at this time, March 14th. Then there is Ash Wednesday, Passion Sunday, Passion week, Palm Sunday, Holy week and Good Friday. And even though our Lord’s entire earthly ministry lay in between His forty days fasting in the wilderness and His resurrection, still we are told that the forty days Lenten season is in commemoration of His forty days fasting. Some three and a half years elapsed between His fasting and His resurrection, but if you notice, Lent ends at the very hour Easter begins. There is no time lapse at all between them. This should arouse the curiosity of all thinking people. And I believe that if you become curious enough to look into the matter for yourself, you will find that Lent really commemorates an altogether different forty days.

Soon after the Flood Nimrod, Abraham’s great grandson, and his followers founded a false religious system known as Babylonian Mysticism. According to tradition Nimrod’s wife Semiramis was the first queen of heaven. She, according to this tradition, had a son named Tammuz who was according to this tradition, killed by a wild boar, and after forty days came back to life. Lent and Easter really commemorate these forty days, and this resurrection. When you come to see that the Catholic Church is nothing in the world but christianized Babylonian Mysticism, that is, that it is nothing but that old false religious system with a Christian name, you should have no trouble in seeing where they get all their feast days, and other evil practices.

And then when we come to the day called Good Friday, may I ask you a simple question in all sincerity, and in all humility? In the clear teaching of the precious Word of God, when we say that our Lord was crucified on Friday, do we not accuse Him of outright lying? We may do it unintentionally through ignorance, but do we not do it just the same? In Matthew 12:40 our Lord said, „As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The word ‘whale’ here comes from KETOS which means a great fish, see Jonah 1:17. Now we either believe Matthew 12:40 or we do not believe it. There is no middle ground. And I beg of you to notice that this Scripture says absolutely nothing about a little tiny part of a day. It is the Catholic Church that does that. We know from Scriptures like Matthew 27:57-60, and John 19:38-42 our Lord was buried late in the evening, at the end of the day. So we cannot be honest with the Scriptures and count that day as one of the three days He was to spend in the heart of the earth.

I am going to say something now that may startle some one. But if I do not prove my statement by the Word of God, just forget it. No one should believe what any preacher or teacher says unless he proves it by the Scriptures. I contend, and declare that Christ was not crucified on Friday, and neither did He rise on Sunday morning. Even the great magician Houdini could not find three days and three nights between Friday evening late and Sunday morning early. And neither can the pope of Rome find them there either. They are just not there. So if you believe Matthew 12:40, you simply cannot believe that Christ was crucified on Friday. And if you believe Christ was crucified on Friday, you might as well forget about Matthew 12:40. They are diametrically opposed to each other.

You will recall that I said Christ did not rise on Sunday morning. Someone may be saying I should read Matthew 28:1-2. I am aware of the earthquake that occurred that Sunday morning when the angel rolled the stone from the mouth of the tomb. According to Luke 24:2 and John 20:1 this took place before daylight that morning. But you and I both know the angel did not have to roll that stone from the mouth of the tomb in order to let the Lord of glory out, but rather to let the disciples in. Since He could come into the room where the disciples were with the door shut, He could also come out of that tomb with the stone still over its mouth. Now if we are ready to admit that Christ was buried at the end of day, and that He was in the grave three days and three nights, or 72 hours, I believe we will be forced to admit that He was buried at the end of the day on Wednesday, and that He rose at the same time of the day on Saturday. In that way He was in the heart of the earth Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And He was there Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night. Is there really anything other than the teaching of the Catholic Curch that would hinder you from believing that?

I know someone is saying, yes, but the Bible says the next day after the crucifixion was the
sabbath day. This, to, is where the Catholic Church has misled the people. Certainly the Bible teaches that the next day after our Lord was crucified was a sabbath day. In John 19:31 John tells us that this sabbath was a high day, that is, it was a special sabbath. It was not just the common seventh day sabbath. We have already seen that our Lord was crucified on the day of the Passover. In I Corinthians 5:7b we read, „for even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us”. Now if we turn to Exodus 12:1 6 we will find that a special sabbath fell on the next day after the Passover. Here we are told that the people were not to do anything on this day except to eat. This is the high sabbath that fell on the day following our Lord’s crucifixion. There is no reason under Heaven for us to believe that the sabbath mentioned in John 19:31 was Saturday.

Yes, I am aware that you can find the word „Easter in your Bible. But the word „Easter” in Acts 12:4 comes from the Greek word PASCHA which means Passover. But the Episcopalian translators of the King James version, the scared Catholics that they were, loved their Easter so much that they just had to put it in the Bible somewhere. So they just mistranslated this word PASCHA in order to do it. Your pastor knows this to be true, or at least he should know it. Ask him why he still leads the church in the observance of all the heathen days. His answer just might amuse you. In Galatians 4:10-11, Paul says „Ye observe days, and months, and times (seasons], and years. I am afraid of you, least I have bestowed upon you labor in vain”. Paul is saying that he is afraid that his labor among them has been in vain because that after he has labored among them they are still observing those old days, months, seasons, etc.

But let us remember, Paul had never heard of Christmas, Easter, Good Friday and a lot of other abominable days and seasons you and I have had crammed down our throats by the Catholic Church in our day. What would he say to the Baptist Churches of our land and country today if he were writing a letter to them? May we come to see that all this heathenism dishonors our dear Lord, and keeps our minds off His precious Word.

Easter

Easter
The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown, even in the Edda (Simrock, Mythol., 362); Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron; Old High German, ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn; German, Ostern. April was called easter-monadh. The plural eâstron is used, because the feast lasts seven days. Like the French plural Pâques, it is a translation from the Latin Festa Paschalia, the entire octave of Easter. The Greek term for Easter, pascha, has nothing in common with the verb paschein, „to suffer,” although by the later symbolic writers it was connected with it; it is the Aramaic form of the Hebrew word pesach (transitus, passover). The Greeks called Easter the pascha anastasimon; Good Friday the pascha staurosimon. The respective terms used by the Latins are Pascha resurrectionis and Pascha crucifixionis. In the Roman and Monastic Breviaries the feast bears the title Dominica Resurrectionis; in the Mozarbic Breviary, In Lætatione Diei Pasch Resurrectionis; in the Ambrosian Breviary, In Die Sancto Paschæ. The Romance languages have adopted the Hebrew-Greek term: Latin, Pascha; Italian, Pasqua; Spanish, Pascua; French, <I<P&ACIRC;QUES.Also some Celtic and Teutonic nations use it: Scottish, Pask; Dutch, Paschen; Danish, Paaske; Swedish, Pask; even in the German provinces of the Lower Rhine the people call the feast Paisken not Ostern. The word is, principally in Spain and Italy, identified with the word „solemnity” and extended to other feasts, e.g. Sp., Pascua florida, Palm Sunday; Pascua de Pentecostes, Pentecost; Pascua de la Natividad, Christmas; Pascua de Epifania, Epiphany. In some parts of France also First Communion is called Pâques, whatever time of the year administered.
THE FEAST
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year. The order of Sundays from Septuagesima to the last Sunday after Pentecost, the feast of the Ascension, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and all other movable feasts, from that of the Prayer of Jesus in the Garden (Tuesday after Septuagesima) to the feast of the Sacred Heart (Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi), depend upon the Easter date. Commemorating the slaying of the true Lamb of God and the Resurrection of Christ, the corner-stone upon which faith is built, it is also the oldest feast of the Christian Church, as old as Christianity, the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments. That the Apostolic Fathers do not mention it and that we first hear of it principally through the controversy of the Quartodecimans are purely accidental. The connection between the Jewish Passover and the Christian feast of Easter is real and ideal. Real, since Christ died on the first Jewish Easter Day; ideal, like the relation between type and reality, because Christ’s death and Resurrection had its figures and types in the Old Law, particularly in the paschal lamb, which was eaten towards evening of the 14th of Nisan. In fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration; the liturgy (Exsultet) sings of the passing of Israel through the Red Sea, the paschal lamb, the column of fire, etc. Apart, however, from the Jewish feast, the Christians would have celebrated the anniversary of the death and the Resurrection of Christ. But for such a feast it was necessary to know the exact calendar date of Christ’s death. To know this day was very simple for the Jews; it was the day after the 14th of the first month, the 15th of Nisan of their calendar. But in other countries of the vast Roman Empire there were other systems of chronology. The Romans from 45 B.C. had used the reformed Julian calendar; there were also the Egyptian and the Syro-Macedonian calendar. The foundation of the Jewish calendar was the lunar year of 354 days, whilst the other systems depended on the solar year. In consequence the first days of the Jewish months and years did not coincide with any fixed days of the Roman solar year. Every fourth year of the Jewish system had an intercalary month. Since this month was inserted, not according to some scientific method or some definite rule, but arbitrarily, by command of the Sanhedrin, a distant Jewish date can never with certainty be transposed into the corresponding Julian or Gregorian date (Ideler, Chronologie, I, 570 sq.). The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast. Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar. Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method, and commemorated the death of Christ on the 15th of Nisan and His Resurrection on the 17th of Nisan, no matter on what day of the week they fell. For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip.
In the rest of the empire another consideration predominated. Every Sunday of the year was a commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, which had occurred on a Sunday. Because the Sunday after 14 Nisan was the historical day of the Resurrection, at Rome this Sunday became the Christian feast of Easter. Easter was celebrated in Rome and Alexandria on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, and the Roman Church claimed for this observance the authority of Sts. Peter and Paul. The spring equinox in Rome fell on 25 March; in Alexandria on 21 March. At Antioch Easter was kept on the Sunday after the Jewish Passover. (See EASTER CONTROVERSY.) In Gaul a number of bishops, wishing to escape the difficulties of the paschal computation, seem to have assigned Easter to a fixed date of the Roman calendar, celebrating the death of Christ on 25 March, His Resurrection on 27 March (Marinus Dumiensis in P.L., LXXII, 47-51), since already in the third century 25 March was considered the day of the Crucifixion (Computus Pseudocyprianus, ed. Lersch, Chronologie, II, 61). This practice was of short duration. Many calendars in the Middle Ages contain these same dates (25 March, 27 March) for purely historical, not liturgical, reasons (Grotenfend, Zeitrechnung, II, 46, 60, 72, 106, 110, etc.). The Montanists in Asia Minor kept Easter on the Sunday after 6 April (Schmid, Osterfestberechnung in der abendlandischen Kirche). The First Council of Nicaea (325) decreed that the Roman practice should be observed throughout the Church. But even at Rome the Easter term was changed repeatedly. Those who continued to keep Easter with the Jews were called Quartodecimans (14 Nisan) and were excluded from the Church. The computus paschalis, the method of determining the date of Easter and the dependent feasts, was of old considered so important that Durandus (Rit. div. off., 8, c.i.) declares a priest unworthy of the name who does not know the computus paschalis. The movable character of Easter (22 March to 25 April) gives rise to inconveniences, especially in modern times. For decades scientists and other people have worked in vain for a simplification of the computus, assigning Easter to the first Sunday in April or to the Sunday nearest the 7th of April. Some even wish to put every Sunday to a certain date of the month, e.g. beginning with New Year’s always on a Sunday, etc. [See L. Günther, „Zeitschrift Weltall” (1903); Sandhage and P. Dueren in „Pastor bonus” (Trier, 1906); C. Tondini, „L’Italia e la questione del Calendario” (Florence, 1905).]
THE EASTER OFFICE AND MASS
The first Vespers of Easter are connected now with the Mass of Holy Saturday, because that Mass was formerly celebrated in the evening (see HOLY SATURDAY); they consist of only one psalm (cxvi) and the Magnificat. The Matins have only one Nocturn; the Office is short, because the clergy were busy with catechumens, the reconciliation of sinners, and the distribution of alms, which were given plentifully by the rich on Easter Day. This peculiarity of reciting only one Nocturn was extended by some churches from the octave of Easter to the entire paschal time, and soon to all the feasts of the Apostles and similar high feasts of the entire ecclesiastical year. This observance is found in the German Breviaries far up into the nineteenth century („Brev. Monaster.”, 1830; Baumer, „Breview”, 312). The octave of Easter ceases with None of Saturday and on Sunday the three Nocturns with the eighteen psalms of the ordinary Sunday Office are recited. Many churches, however, during the Middle Ages and later (Brev. Monaster., 1830), on Low Sunday (Dominica in Albis) repeated the short Nocturn of Easter Week. Before the usus Romanae Curiae (Baumer, 301). was spread by the Franciscans over the entire Church the eighteen (or twenty-four) psalms of the regular Sunday Matins were, three by three, distributed over the Matins of Easter Week (Bäumer, 301). This observance is still one of the peculiarities of the Carmelite Breviary. The simplified Breviary of the Roman Cria (twelfth century) established the custom of repeating Psalms i, ii, iii, every day of the octave. From the ninth to the thirteenth century in most dioceses, during the entire Easter Week the two precepts of hearing Mass and of abstaining from servile work were observed (Kellner, Heortologie, 17); later on this law was limited to two days (Monday and Tuesday), and since the end of the eighteenth century, to Monday only. In the United States even Monday is no holiday of obligation. The first three days of Easter Week are doubles of the first class, the other days semi-doubles. During this week, in the Roman Office, through immemorial custom the hymns are omitted, or rather were never inserted. The ancient ecclesiastical Office contained no hymns, and out of respect for the great solemnity of Easter and the ancient jubilus „Haec Dies”, the Roman Church did not touch the old Easter Office by introducing hymns. Therefore to the present day the Office of Easter consists only of psalms, antiphons, and the great lessons of Matins. Only the „Victimae Paschali” was adopted in most of the churches and religious orders in the Second Vespers. The Mozarabic and Ambrosian Offices use the Ambrosian hymn „Hic est dies versus Dei” in Lauds and Vespers, the Monastic Breviary, „Ad coenam Agni providi” at Vespers, „Chorus novae Jerusalem” at Matins, and „Aurora lucis rutilat” at Lauds. The Monastic Breviary has also three Nocturns on Easter Day. Besides the hymns the chapter is omitted and the Little Hours have no antiphons; the place of the hymns, chapters, and little responses is taken by the jubilus, „Haec Dies quam fecit Dominus, exultemus et laetemur in ea”. The Masses of Easter Week have a sequence of dramatic character, „Victimae paschali”, which was composed by Wipo, a Burgundian priest at the courts of Conrad II and Henry III. The present Preface is abridged from the longer Preface of the Gregorian Sacramentary. The „Communicantes” and „Hanc igitur” contain references to the solemn baptism of Easter eve. To the „Benedicamus Domino” of Lauds and Vespers and to the „Ite Missa est” of the Mass two alleluias are added during the entire octave. Every day of the octave has a special Mass; an old MS. Spanish missal of 855 contains three Masses for Easter Sunday; the Gallican missals have two Masses for every day of the week, one of which was celebrated at four in the morning, preceded by a procession (Migne, La Liturgie Catholique, Paris, 1863, p. 952). In the Gelasian Sacramentary every day of Easter Week has its own Preface (Probst, Sacramentarien, p. 226).
To have a correct idea of the Easter celebration and its Masses, we must remember that it was intimately connected with the solemn rite of baptism. The preparatory liturgical acts commenced on the eve and were continued during the night. When the number of persons to be baptized was great, the sacramental ceremonies and the Easter celebration were united. This connection was severed at a time when, the discipline having changed, even the recollection of the old traditions was lost. The greater part of the ceremonies was transferred to the morning hours of Holy Saturday. This change, however, did not produce a new liturgical creation adapted to the new order of things. The old baptismal ceremonies were left untouched and have now, apparently, no other reason for preservation than their antiquity. The gap left in the liturgical services after the solemnities of the night had been transferred to the morning of Holy Saturday was filled in France, Germany, and in some other countries by a twofold new ceremony, which, however, was never adopted in Rome.
First, there was the commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ. At midnight, before Matins, the clergy in silence entered the dark church and removed the cross from the sepulchre to the high altar. Then the candles were lit, the doors opened, and a solemn procession was held with the cross through the church, the cloister, or cemetery. Whilst the procession moved from the altar to the door, the beautiful old antiphon, „Cum Rex gloriae”, was sung, the first part softly (humili ac depressâ voce), to symbolize the sadness of the souls in limbo; from Advenisti desiderabilis the singers raised their voices in jubilation whilst the acolytes rang small bells which they carried. The full text of this antiphon, which has disappeared from the liturgy, follows:
Cum rex gloriae Christus infernum debellaturus intraret, et chorus angelicus ante faciem ejus protas principum tolli praeciperet, sanctorum populus, qui tenebatur in morte captivus, voce lacrimabili clamabat dicens: Advenisti desiderabilis, quem expectabamus in tenebris, ut educered hac nocte vinculatos de claustris. Te nostra vocabant suspiria, te large requirebant lamenta, tu factus est spes desperatis, magna consolatio in tormentis. Alleluja.
When the procession returned, in many churches the „Attollite portas” (Ps. xxiii) was sung at the door, in order to symbolize the victorious entry of Christ into limbo and hell. After the procession Matins were sung. In later centuries the Blessed Sacrament took the place of the cross in the procession. This ceremony is, with the approval of the Holy See, still held in Germany on the eve of Easter with simpler ceremonies, in the form of a popular devotion.
Second, the visitation of the Sepulchre. After the third lesson of the Nocturn two clerics, representing the holy women, went to the empty sepulchre where another cleric (angel) announced to them that the Saviour was risen. The two then brought the message to the choir, whereupon two priests, impersonating Peter and John, ran to the tomb and, finding it empty, shoed to the people the linen in which the body had been wrapped. Then the choir sang the „Te Deum” and the „Victimae paschali”. In some churches, e.g. at Rouen, the apparition of Christ to Mary Magdalen was also represented. Out of this solemn ceremony, which dates back to the tenth century, grew the numerous Easter plays. (Nord-Amerikanisches Pastoralblatt, Oct., 1907, p. 149, has a long article on these two ceremonies.) The Easter plays in the beginning used only the words of the Gospels and the „Victimae paschali”; in the course of development they became regular dramas, in Latin or vernacular verses, which contained the negotiation between the vender of unguents and the three women, the dialogue between Pilate and the Jews asking for soldiers to guard the Sepulchre, the contest of Peter and John running to the tomb, the risen Saviour appearing to Magdalen, and the descent of Christ into hell. Towards the end of the Middle Ages the tone of these plays became worldly, and they were filled with long burlesque speeches of salve-dealers, Jews, soldiers, and demons (Creizenach, Gesch, des neuen Dramas, Halle, 1893).
The procession combined with the solemn Second Vespers of Easter Sunday is very old. There was great variety in the manner of solemnizing these Vespers. The service commenced with the nine Kyrie Eleisons, sung as in the Easter Mass, even sometimes with the corresponding trope lux et origo boni. After the third psalm the whole choir went in procession to the baptismal chapel, where the fourth psalm, the „Victimae paschali”, and the Magnificat were sung: thence the procession moved to the great cross at the entrance to the sanctuary (choir), and from there, after the fifth psalm and the Magnificat were sung, to the empty sepulchre, where the services were concluded. The Carmelites and a number of French dioceses, e.g. Paris, Lyons, Besancon, Chartres, Laval, have, with the permission of the Holy See, retained these solemn Easter Vespers since the re-introduction of the Roman Breviary. But they are celebrated differently in every diocese, very much modernized in some churches. At Lyons the Magnificat is sung three times. In Cologne and Trier the solemn Vespers of Easter were abolished in the nineteenth century (Nord-Amerikanisches Pastoralblatt, April, 1908, p. 50). Whilst the Latin Rite admits only commemorations in Lauds, Mass, and Vespers from Wednesday in Easter Week and excludes any commemoration on the first three days of the week, the Greek and Russian Churches transfer the occurring Offices (canons) of the saints from Matins to Complin during the entire octave, even on Easter Sunday. After the Anti-pascha (Low Sunday), the canons and other canticles of Easter are continued in the entire Office up to Ascension Day, and the canons of the saints take only the second place in Matins. Also the Greeks and Russians have a solemn procession at midnight, before Matins, during which they sing at the door of the church Ps. lxvii, repeating after each verse the Easter antiphon. When the procession leaves, the church is dark; when it returns, hundreds of candles and coloured lamps are lit to represent the splendour of Christ’s Resurrection. After Lauds all those who are present give each other the Easter kiss, not excluding even the beggar. One says: „Christ is risen”; the other answers: „He is truly risen”; and these words are the Russians’ greeting during Easter time. A similar custom had, through the influence of the Byzantine court, been adopted at Rome for a time. The greeting was: Surrexit Dominus vere; R. Et apparuit Simoni. (Maximilianus, Princ. Sax., Praelect. de liturg. Orient., I, 114; Martene, De antiq. Eccl. rit., c. xxv, 5.) The Armenian Church during the entire time from Easter to Pentecost celebrates the Resurrection alone to the exclusion of all feasts of the saints. On Easter Monday they keep All Souls’ Day, the Saturday of the same week the Decollation of St. John, the third Sunday after Easter the founding of the first Christian Church on Sion and of the Church in general, the fifth Sunday the Apparition of the Holy Cross at Jerusalem, then on Thursday the Ascension of Christ, and the Sunday after the feast of the great Vision of St. Gregory. From Easter to Ascension the Armenians never fast or do they abstain from meat (C. Tondini de Quaranghi, Calendrier de la Nation Arménienne). In the Mozarabic Rite of Spain, after the Pater Noster on Easter Day and during the week the priest intones the particula „Regnum” and sings „Vicit Leo de Tribu Juda radix David Alleluja”. The people answer: „Qui sedes super Cherubim radix David. Alleluja”. This is sung three times (Missale Mozarab.). In some cities of Spain before sunrise two processions leave the principal church; one with the image of Mary covered by a black veil; another with the Blessed Sacrament. The processions move on in silence until they meet at a predetermined place; then the veil is removed from the image of Mary and the clergy with the people sing the „regina Coeli” (Guéranger, Kirchenjarh, VII, 166). For the sanctuary at Emmaus in the Holy Land the Holy See has approved a special feast on Easter Monday, „Solemnitas manifestationis D.N.I. Chr. Resurg., Titul. Eccles. dupl. I Cl.”, with proper Mass and Office (Cal. Rom. Seraph. in Terrae S. Custodia, 1907).
PECULIAR CUSTOMS OF EASTER TIME
1. Risus Paschalis
This strange custom originated in Bavaria in the fifteenth century. The priest inserted in his sermon funny stories which would cause his hearers to laugh (Ostermärlein), e.g. a description of how the devil tries to keep the doors of hell locked against the descending Christ. Then the speaker would draw the moral from the story. This Easter laughter, giving rise to grave abuses of the word of God, was prohibited by Clement X (1670-1676) and in the eighteenth century by Maximilian III and the bishops of Bavaria (Wagner, De Risu Paschali, Königsberg, 1705; Linsemeier, Predigt in Deutschland, Munich, 1886).
2. Easter Eggs
Because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, coloured red to symbolize the Easter joy. This custom is found not only in the Latin but also in the Oriental Churches. The symbolic meaning of a new creation of mankind by Jesus risen from the dead was probably an invention of later times. The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring. Easter eggs, the children are told, come from Rome with the bells which on Thursday go to Rome and return Saturday morning. The sponsors in some countries give Easter eggs to their god-children. Coloured eggs are used by children at Easter in a sort of game which consists in testing the strength of the shells (Kraus, Real-Encyklop die, s. v. Ei). Both coloured and uncoloured eggs are used in some parts of the United States for this game, known as „egg-picking”. Another practice is the „egg-rolling” by children on Easter Monday on the lawn of the White House in Washington.
3. The Easter Rabbit
The Easter Rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility (Simrock, Mythologie, 551).
4. Handball
In France handball playing was one of the Easter amusements, found also in Germany (Simrock, op. cit., 575). The ball may represent the sun, which is believed to take three leaps in rising on Easter morning. Bishops, priests, and monks, after the strict discipline of Lent, used to play ball during Easter week (Beleth, Expl. Div. off., 120). This was called libertas Decembrica, because formerly in December, the masters used to play ball with their servants, maids, and shepherds. The ball game was connected with a dance, in which even bishops and abbots took part. At Auxerre, Besancon, etc. the dance was performed in church to the strains of the „Victimae paschali”. In England, also, the game of ball was a favourite Easter sport in which the municipal corporation engaged with due parade and dignity. And at Bury St. Edmunds, within recent years, the game was kept up with great spirit by twelve old women. After the game and the dance a banquet was given, during which a homily on the feast was read. All these customs disappeared for obvious reasons (Kirchenlex., IV, 1414).
5. Men and women
On Easter Monday the women had a right to strike their husbands, on Tuesday the men struck their wives, as in December the servants scolded their masters. Husbands and wives did this „ut ostendant sese mutuo debere corrigere, ne illo tempore alter ab altero thori debitum exigat” (Beleth, I, c. cxx; Durandus, I, c. vi, 86). In the northern parts of England the men parade the streets on Easter Sunday and claim the privilege of lifting every woman three times from the ground, receiving in payment a kiss or a silver sixpence. The same is done by the women to the men on the next day. In the Neumark (Germany) on Easter Day the men servants whip the maid servants with switches; on Monday the maids whip the men. They secure their release with Easter eggs. These customs are probably of pre-Christian origin (Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Das festliche Jahr, 118).
6. The Easter Fire
The Easter Fire is lit on the top of mountains (Easter mountain, Osterberg) and must be kindled from new fire, drawn from wood by friction (nodfyr); this is a custom of pagan origin in vogue all over Europe, signifying the victory of spring over winter. The bishops issued severe edicts against the sacrilegious Easter fires (Conc. Germanicum, a. 742, c.v.; Council of Lestines, a. 743, n. 15), but did not succeed in abolishing them everywhere. The Church adopted the observance into the Easter ceremonies, referring it to the fiery column in the desert and to the Resurrection of Christ; the new fire on Holy Saturday is drawn from flint, symbolizing the Resurrection of the Light of the World from the tomb closed by a stone (Missale Rom.). In some places a figure was thrown into the Easter fire, symbolizing winter, but to the Christians on the Rhine, in Tyrol and Bohemia, Judas the traitor (Reinsberg-Düringfeld, Das festliche Jahr, 112 sq.).
7. Processions and awakenings
At Puy in France, from time immemorial to the tenth century, it was customary, when at the first psalm of Matins a canon was absent from the choir, for some of the canons and vicars, taking with them the processional cross and the holy water, to go to the house of the absentee, sing the „Haec Dies”, sprinkle him with water, if he was still in bed, and lead him to the church. In punishment he had to give a breakfast to his conductors. A similar custom is found in the fifteenth century at Nantes and Angers, where it was prohibited by the diocesan synods in 1431 and 1448. In some parts of Germany parents and children try to surprise each other in bed on Easter morning to apply the health-giving switches (Freyde, Ostern in deutscher Sage, Sitte und Dichtung, 1893).
8. Blessing of food
In both the Oriental and Latin Churches, it is customary to have those victuals which were prohibited during Lent blessed by the priests before eating them on Easter Day, especially meat, eggs, butter, and cheese (Ritualbucher, Paderborn, 1904; Maximilianus, Liturg. or., 117). Those who ate before the food was blessed, according to popular belief, were punished by God, sometimes instantaneously (Migne, Liturgie, s.v. P&aicrc;ques).
9. House blessings
On the eve of Easter the homes are blessed (Rit. Rom., tit. 8, c. iv) in memory of the passing of the angel in Egypt and the signing of the door-posts with the blood of the paschal lamb. The parish priest visits the houses of his parish; the papal apartments are also blessed on this day. The room, however, in which the pope is found by the visiting cardinal is blessed by the pontiff himself (Moroni, Dizionariq, s.v. Pasqua).
10. Sports and celebrations
The Greeks and Russians after their long, severe Lent make Easter a day of popular sports. At Constantinople the cemetery of Pera is the noisy rendezvous of the Greeks; there are music, dances, and all the pleasures of an Oriental popular resort; the same custom prevails in the cities of Russia. In Russia anyone can enter the belfries on Easter and ring the bells, a privilege of which many persons avail themselves.
DUCHESNE, Orig. du Culte Chret. (Paris, 1889); KELLNER, Heortologie (Freiburg im Br., 1906); PROBST, Die altesten romischen Sacramentarien und Ordines (Munster, 1892); GUERANGER, Das Kirchenjahr, Ger. tr. (Mainz, 1878), V, 7; KRAUS, Real-Encyk.; BERNARD, Cours de Liturgie Romaine; HAMPSON, Calendarium Medii AEvi (London, 1857); Kirchenlex., IX, cols. 1121-41; NILLES, Calendarium utriusque Ecclesiae (Innsbruck, 1897); MIGNE, La Liturgie Catholique (Paris, 1863); BINTERIM, Denkwurdigkeiten (Mainz, 1837); GROTEFEND, Zeitrechnung (Hanover, 1891-1898); LERSCH, Einleitung in die Chronologie (Freiburg, 1899); BACH, Die Osterberechnung (Freiburg, 1907); SCHWARTZ, Christliche und judische Ostertafeln (Berlin, 1905); Suntne Latini Quartodecimani? (Prague, 1906); DUCHESNE, La question de la Paque du Concile de Nicee in Revue des quest. histor. (1880), 5 sq.; KRUSCH, Studien zur christlish- mittelalterlichen Chronologie (Leipzig, 1880); ROCK, The Church of Our Fathers (London, 1905), IV; ALBERS, Festtage des Herrn und seiner Heiligen (Paderborn, 1890).
FREDERICK G. HOLWECK
Transcribed by John Wagner and Michael T. Barrett

Comments on Christmas by Charles H. Spurgeon

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Comments on
Christmas
by Charles H. Spurgeon
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„We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First because we do not believe in any mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be sung in Latin or in English: Secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Savior’s birth, although there in no possibility of discovering when it occurred. It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the Church celebrated the birth of our Lord; and it was not till long after the western Church had set the example, that the eastern adopted it. Because the day in not known. Probably the fact is that the „holy” days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which our Savior was born it is the 25th of December. Regarding not the day, let us give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.
How absurd to think we could do it in the spirit of the world, with a Jack Frost clown, a deceptive worldly Santa Claus, and a mixed program of sacred truth with fun, deception and fiction. If it be possible to honor Christ in the giving of gifts, I cannot see how while the gift, giver, and recipient are all in the spirit of the world. The Catholics and high Church Episcopalians may have their Christmas one day in 365 but we have a Christ gift the entire year”. C. H. Spurgeon Dec. 24, 1871
„Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on. till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant was submerged under pagan superstition. That Christmas is a pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it in celebrated, prove its origin”.
„Those who follow the custom of observing Christmas, follow not the Bible, but pagan ceremonies”.
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Christmas Wreaths Wreaths

Christmas Wreaths
Wreaths

The wreaths were created in the same way the Christmas trees were created. For some it symbolizes the strength of life overcoming the forces of winter. Back in ancient Rome, people used decorative wreaths as a sign of victory. Some believe that this is where the hanging of wreaths on doors came from. Since these times, many wreaths have been made. Some are made for crafts, others for purely decoration, and yet others have more deeper meanings. Below are a couple examples.

Types of Wreaths Advent Wreaths

The origins of the Advent wreath are found in the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples who, during the cold December darkness of Eastern Europe, gathered wreaths of evergreen and lighted fires as signs of hope in a coming spring and renewed light. Christians kept these popular traditions alive, and by the 16th century Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany used these symbols to celebrate their Advent hope in Christ, the everlasting Light. From Germany the use of the Advent wreath spread to other parts of the Christian world. Traditionally, the wreath is made of four candles in a circle of evergreens with a fifth candle in the middle. Three candles are violet and the fourth is rose, but four white candles or four violet candles can also be used. Each day at home, the candles are lighted, perhaps before the evening meal– one candle the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th. A short prayer may accompany the lighting of each candle. The last candle is the middle candle. The lighting of this candle takes place on Christmas Eve. It represents Jesus Christ being born.

What is Christmas? By: E. G. Cook

What is Christmas?
By: E. G. Cook
In the light of God’s Word, how can anything with a Christian name be popular
with the world? In John 7:7 Jesus said the world hates Him and in John 15:19 He
said the world hates His people. But in spite of all that everybody loves
Christmas. The vilest sinner in town will run over you, if necessary in order to
celebrate his Christmas. If you have any doubts as to whether the world loves
Christmas or not, just go into one of our large department stores, or Ten Cent
stores, during the last few frantic hours of Christmas shopping and see if the
sinners don’t elbow you just as quickly, and tackle you just as hard as the saints
do.

As I meditated upon that question the thought came to me that if I would make a
feast everyone would love, I must give everyone what he wanted. If I wanted the
Orientals to come to my feast I would serve rice, if I wanted the Italians to be
there I would serve spaghetti, for the Russians I would be sure to serve plenty of
vodka. In other words, if I wanted everyone to come and enjoy my feast I must
give everyone what he wants. Then the thought came to me that maybe that is just
what has happened to Christmas. So I began to search the reference books to see
if that were true.

I had to go to the secular books because I was unable to find it in my Bible. It
was truly amazing what I found, and what you can find if you will only look for
it, concerning the most loved of all seasons of the year. According to the most
authentic sources available, and I will even throw in the Catholic reference works
because on this point they all agree, there never was a Christmas before the
middle of the fourth century, even in Rome. In Jerusalem, it was first observed in
the fifth century, and then we are told it caused rioting in the streets.

I searched through at least a dozen of the world’s leading reference works on the
subject and they all agree that no one knew the date of Christ’s birth, and some of
them say we cannot be sure as to the actual year in which He was born. But, in
order for the Catholic Church to have a big feast day, it was necessary for some
date to be set for His birthday. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia says that in
order for the shepherds to have been out that night with their flocks it would have
been necessary for His birth to have occurred sometime between March and
September. The Catholic Church, however, could not celebrate Christmas at that
time of the year as we shall see later. It must be in December whether there were
any shepherds and sheep out that night or not. It became really interesting when I
began searching for the reason why it must be in December.

First, however, let us consider some of the things which were put into Christmas
to make it so universally loved. In Babylon, that great heathen Chaldean city,
pagan religion reached its peak so far as ancient history was concerned. Here in
Babylon the queen of heaven and her son had their beginnings in the persons of
Semeramis and her son, Tammuz. When Belshazzar was slain (Daniel 5:30) and
the Chaldeans defeated by Dailus, the Mede, it seems the capital of the pagan
religious world was moved from Babylon to Pergamos. Later, at the death of
Attalus III, Phrygia was given to the Roman Empire in 133 B.C. The Babylonian
pagan worship was then removed to Rome where Semeramis and Tammuz
became Fortuna and Jupiter. This queen of heaven and her son became the very
heart of pagan, or idol worship throughout the world. They were called by
different names in different countries. In Egypt they were Isis and Osiris, in India
they were Isi and Iswara, in other parts of Asia they were Cybele and Plutus, but
they were all the same queen of heaven and her son. All of these were dumped
into Christmas under the new name of Mary and Jesus. This new name did not
affect the pagan people of the world too much, for no matter what you call a dish
of tender fried chicken it is still a very tasty dish.

I learned that the more religion the Catholic Church put into Christmas the more
popular it became. The world is a great lover of religion so long as the Christ of
Calvary and His shed blood are left out of it.

Now with all the ingredients in Christmas, it is time to look for the reason why
Christmas must be in December. Even back in ancient Babylon the birth of
Tammuz was celebrated in our December. The heathen sun worshipers
throughout the northern hemisphere all celebrated the rebirth of the sun at the
time of its turning back toward the North, that is about December 25. Tammuz,
Osiris, Iswara, Deoius, Plutus and Jupiter were all representatives of the sun in
their respective countries. These heathen people had been brought into the
Catholic Church, mainly through the efforts of Constantine the great. They were
still just as heathen as they were before they were incorporated into the Catholic
Church, and they were going to continue celebrating this great feast at this same
time. It did not matter too much what their god was called. It was still a
representative of their sacred god, the sun. But the time of their feast could not be
changed, because the sun starts on his return toward the North at only one time of
the year. Even old Satan, with the help of all his able efficient coworkers, could
not change that time. Therfore, Christmas had to be December 25, whether the
shepherds were out that night with their flocks or not.

As much as the head of the Catholic Church likes to boast of his God-like power
and authority, this was one time when he was completely helpless. He had
absolutely no choice in the matter. His problem was clear. If he wanted to make
good Catholics out of his host of heathens he must give their queen of heaven and
their god a Christian name. So Mary and Jesus had to be the name and December
25 had to be the date. Had Bishop Julian, I, been really and truly interested in
setting the real date of Christ’s birth the month of December would not have been
considered at all, because anyone who is at all familiar with the climatic
conditions which prevail in Palestine during the month of December would know
there were no shepherds and sheep out in the field at that time of the year.

With Christmas literally loaded down with the world’s religion it is easy to see
why the world loves Christmas, but we see people observing the feast who should
not be lured into the feast of the pagan gods. The Baptist themselves seem to be
trying to out-spend, out-shine and out-do the world in the world’s own feast. If
you ask why they are at this feast, some would unthinkingly say it is because
Mary and Jesus are in it. But that statement won’t stand when we turn the light of
God’s Word upon it. Jesus, himself, said the world hates Him, and He is not a liar.
So it is easy to see that if He were in Christmas that would completely ruin it for
the world. The world would care no more for Christmas than they do for the
church if Christ were really in it. If He could be put in it, I can just see Him
plaiting that whip again. When I see posters which read, „Let’s put Christ back in
Christmas,” I always think of the story of the boy from a backwoods family who
went away to college. Upon his return home he wanted to improve the family’s
grammer, so when his younger brother said pass the lasses, he said don’t say
lasses, say molasses. His brother retorted, how can I ask for mo’lasses when I ain’t
had no lasses? So how can we put Christ back in Christmas when He has never
been in it? Maybe we should let God tell us why we Baptist are so deeply in love
with Christmas. If we read Jeremiah 5:30-31 in our everday language it says, the
preachers preach false things and the priests run things their own way, and my
people love to have it so. The Baptist people run after false gods and false
religion connected with Christmas simply because they love it. Why do so many
preach false things concerning Christmas when they can find nothing in the Bible,
nor in authentic secular history to justify what they teach and preach?

With everybody, including the Baptist, partaking of Christmas, it was time to
give it that good old Christmas spirit. You know, that spirit that makes you feel
that it is perfectly all right for you to do things you could not afford to do at any
other time of the year. If the drunkard refused to drink on Christmas and the
harlot became virtuous for the day, we might be able to say this Christmas spirit
is the spirit of Christ. But it is an undeniable fact that untold thousands of people
drink at Christmas without any compunction of conscience who would not drink
at all any other time of the year. All manner of evil and Godprovoking things are
done at this season of the year because this is Christmas.

Do you believe it is the Spirit of Christ that causes thousands of people to line up
in the saloons of the land at Christmas time who would never go near them at any
other time? I know there are people who will say that is not the real Christmas
spirit, but I wonder if that is not just a weak effort on our part to try to justify our
participation in this ungodly thing called Christmas. Certainly it is not the Spirit
of Christ that gives us all that freedom at Christmas time, but rather it is the spirit
of Saturnalia. In ancient pagan Rome a week of feasting and merry-making was
observed in the latter part of December. During this feast everyone, even the
slaves, were permitted to do just as they pleased. Things like gambling, etc.,
which were prohibited at other times, were winked at during Saturnalia. This feast
was brought over from ancient pagan Rome by modern pagan Rome and dumped
into Christmas to give it that tangy flavor and make people look forward to it with
great anticipation.

As you recall, I stated in the beginning that I was unable to find Christmas in my
Bible, but after learning a little about this lovely season from other sources, I was
able to find quite a lot about it in my Bible. In Jeremiah 7:18 I found that even in
his day, some 600 years before Christ was born of the virgin Mary, the children
gathered wood, and the men kindled the fire, and women made cakes to the queen
of heaven, to provoke God to wrath. In Jeremiah 10:3-5 I learned that the customs
of the people in his day were vain because they went out in the woods with an ax,
cut down a tree, took a hammer and nails to fasten it upright, and then decorated
it with silver and gold. God said it was a vain custom, and vanity is one thing He
hates. I must confess that I have done the same thing many times except that I
used cheaper decorations. Christmas, like the groves in Israel, is so beautiful.
What could be more beautiful than a Christmas tree with all its decorations and
gifts? Surely nothing unless it were the original Christmas trees decorated with
silver and gold. But when I think of the beauty of Christmas, I am reminded of
the tabernacle. In Exodus 26 we read that all that the world saw was the skins of
animals, but on the inside it was overlaid with gold and had all manner of
beautiful curtains and hangings. The beauty of the tabernacle was hidden from the
world, but not so with Christmas. The beauty of Christmas is on the outside in
plain view of everyone, but on the inside are dead men’s bones. All manner of
drinking, debauchery and unclean living is covered over with the beautiful cloak
of Christmas. But in Revelation 17 and 18 we have a ghastly picture of the
Catholic Church, including her Christmas and fabulous Christmas trade, which
will cause all that weeping and wailing when it is finally cut off (Daniel 9:27),
and in Rev. 19:4 Christ says come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers
of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

It is not an easy thing to come out of her. No wants to be a kill-joy or an old
Scrooge. Many will say that Christmas has become a part of our American way of
life, and that is so true. It has become about as much a part of our way of life as
idolatry had in the Jew’s way of life in Israel and Judah, and if I remember
correctly it took the destruction of their country and the enslavement of the
Jewish people to tear them away from their idol gods.

If anyone has any evidence to justify our participation in Christmas, please let it
be known. I have searched in vain. I have heard about that one about it’s being
handed down to us by our fore-fathers, but it seems to me that would come under
the heading of commandments of men, and Jesus did not sound to complimentary
in Matthew 15:9 when He said, „In vain do they worship me, teaching for
doctrine the commandments of men.”

CHRISTMAS OR THE SATURNALIA? By Milburn Cockrell

CHRISTMAS OR THE SATURNALIA?
By Milburn Cockrell
There is no command to celebrate the birth of Christ in the Bible. There is not one word in the Bible about Jesus Christ being born on December 25. According to Holy Scriptures, the most likely date would be in September, as many scholars concede. No verse in the Bible commands us to exchange gifts among ourselves on December 25. The wise men did not exchange gifts among themselves, but they gave gifts to Christ (Matt. 2:11).
I heard some person ask, “Then why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25? Where did this custom come from?”
I will let history give the answer. The Christmas celebration came from a pagan festival of ancient Rome called the Saturnalia.
My first quote is from History of the World by John Clark Ridpath. This is the man who wrote W. A. Jarrell a letter in which he said: “I should not readily admit there was a Baptist church as far back as A. D. 100, though without doubt there were Baptists then, as all Christians were then Baptists” (See Baptist Church Perpetuity, p. 59).
“The great festival of FLORA was celebrated by the women. It was given when the wheat fields were in bloom, and was conducted with much beautiful display peculiar to the season of flowers. But the most elaborate of all the celebrations of Rome was that of SATURN, held at the winter solstice, and afterwards extended so as to include the twenty-fifth of December.
“Saturn was regarded by the Romans as the god of that primitive peace which once held sway in the world before the age of devastation and war. In that pacific era all men held the same rank and had their enjoyments in common. It was fitting, therefore, that in the festival of Saturn–though the world had forgotten the old-time goodness–all men should be regarded as restored for a brief season to their primitive equality. So the great and the humble, the rich and the poor, the young and the old, were all given the license of a common freedom, a common immunity. The festival was called the Saturnalia. Labor ceased, public business was at an end, the courts were closed, the schools had holiday. Tables, laden with bounties, were spread on every hand, and at these all classes for the nonce sat down together. The master and the slave for the day were equals. It was a time of gift-giving and innocent abandonment. In the public shops every variety of present from the simplest to the most costly could be found. Fathers, mothers, kinspeople, friends, all hurried thither to purchase, according to their fancy, what things soever seemed most tasteful and appropriate as presents. The fair of Rome exhibited in plentiful profusion every variety of articles brought from every quarter of the world. There were knickknacks for the children, ornaments for the ladies, little trophies of the toilet, ornamental tapers in wax, and, indeed, whatever the fancy or caprice of Rome could well imagine or create. It was a season of mirth and jollity; of feasting and hilarity; of games and sports.” (Vol. II, pp. 743-744).
Next I call attention to the World Book Encyclopedia which is found in many Christian homes in America:
“SATURNALIA, sat er NA lih ah, was the name of an ancient Roman festival. The feast was given in honor of Saturn, the Roman harvest god. The festival began on December 17 and lasted for seven days. On the first day, public religious ceremonies took place, and sacrifices were offered to Saturn. On the second day, many families offered their own sacrifices of a young pig.
“The Saturnalia festival was a gay occasion. Schools observed holidays and all public business was halted. Courts of law closed their doors, and no criminals could be punished. Families held gatherings and elaborate banquets. Even Roman slaves were free to attend the festival.
“The last days of the festival were given over to visiting and exchanging presents. Some of the gifts were little clay images. They were called sigillaria, from the Latin word sigilla, which means small images. The last days of the festival were also called the sigillaria” (Vol. 15, p. 7234, 1956 edition).
Some contend that the Saturnalia ended on December 24th, but Ridpath says it included December 25. Please don’t forget December 24 is Christmas Eve.
The Encyclopedia Britannica has a good article in it among which you will find the following information: “The streets were infected with a Mardi Gras madness. . .the seasonal greeting io Saturnalia was heard everywhere; presents were freely exchanged. . . .The influence of the Saturnalia upon the celebrations of Christmas and the New Year has been direct. . .” (Vol. 19, pp. 1084, 1971 edition).
Some sincere Christians will say, “But we have Christianized this day for Christ. It is no longer a pagan celebration to the Roman god Saturn.” How can you Christianize a pagan day? Can you reform the Devil? Can we use heathen customs in the worship of Jehovah? What does the Bible say about this practice? The answer is found in Deuteronomy 12:29-31: “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 thy self that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire 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. . .”
________________________________________
© Berea Baptist Church, Mantachie, Mississippi, U.S.A.

Christmas and the Scripture By Joe Garnett

Christmas and the Scripture
By Joe Garnett
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15).

Christians are to measure all things by the rule of scripture. Thus when we
consider Christmas we should not hesitate to test its authenticity by God’s word.
One who seeks to do this is immediately met with a quandary. Where do we find
this holy day in the Bible? What are our instructions with regard to this festival?
Where can we look for the authority for our involvement in the traditions intimate
with it? Are there commands of our Lord and the apostles concerning it, as there
are with the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper?

The scripture records the fact of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ in two of the
gospels. Other than these and the prophecies concerning it, there is no big
scriptural emphasis with regard to it. (Let it be understood that the incarnation
and the birth are not one and the same. The incarnation took place about nine
months prior to the birth). The one who would defend the festival of Christmas is
left with no biblical basis with respect to a date, instruction or authority for its
observance.

At this point the proponent of Christmas will often assert that the Bible in no
place commands us not to observe the holiday so we can do what we wish. The
opponent is chastened to show scripturally why he would deny the „liberty” of
others to do what they want to do. I believe those that bring pagan holidays,
feasts, myths, etc. into Christ’s Church are the ones that bear the burden of
scripturally defending their actions. However, there is biblical teaching that show
their error in participation of such religiosity.

Before proceeding further I wish to point out that Christmas is a „christianized”
pagan festival. It finds it origin in Babylonian mythology. The Roman festival of
Saturnalia was celebrated during the winter solstice. This festival was
incorporated into the evolving Roman Catholic religious system in its early days.
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There are those who will deny this, yet at the same time they cannot produce a
Biblical origin or even another historical one. It is not our purpose at this time to
deal with this aspect. The student is encouraged to read other sources. My first
suggestion would be The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, published by
Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, New Jersey.

The Lord Jesus Christ once rebuked the religious leaders of His day saying, „But
in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”
(Matt. 15:9). The sinful nature of men often leads them into pseudo worship of
God in their own way and with their own devices. They believe they can add to or
modify that which God has revealed and present to Him something better that
will please him. However, God prefers obedience to His word rather than our
„sacrifices.”

Consider some selected portions from Deuteronomy 12 in which God instructed
His people Israel:

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 (vs. 3)
Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man
whatsoever is right in his own eyes (vs. 8).
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add
thereto, nor diminish from it (vs. 32).

The Lord God instructed his people to destroy all the items of heathen worship.
They were not to be incorporated into the worship of the one true God. This
instruction is seen also in the following portions of scripture:
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: Thou shalt not
desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be
snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. Neither shalt
thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like
it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a
cursed thing (Deut. 7:25,26).

And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the
second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of
the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for
all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of
Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel (II Kings 23:4).
Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and
burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it
fifty thousand pieces of silver (Acts 19:19).

Thus we see that the accursed things were not to be saved and used in the service
of God or for other purposes. Proper disposal involved burning them with fire.
My belief is that these „cursed things” are identical with or related to what is
known today in the occult as „familiar objects.” These objects which come from
pagan and occult origins have evil spirits associated with them. For this reason
they have influence when anyone partakes of them in any fashion. Mature
Christians would never have a crystal ball, Ouija board or tarot cards in their
home. But they would have numerous other items associated with paganism.
These items have influence whether the item is there by ignorance or is known to
be occultic (even though the consequences of its presence is denied). I have seen
such items in various Christians homes, particularly at Christmas.

Let us turn our attention to verses 8 and 32 of Deuteronomy 12, cited above. We
understand that each man was not to do what he felt like doing. He was to
observe the command of the Lord, not adding to it or subtracting from it.
Nadab and Abihu did not understand this. There came a time when they „offered
strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not” (Lev. 10:1). The
result of their act was death by toasting when fire from the Lord consumed them.
Saul also missed this principle as demonstrated by two of his acts of rebellion.
First, he offered a burnt offering he was not to render (I Sam. 13:12). Secondly,
he was instructed to destroy the Amalakites and all that belonged to them.
However, he chose to spare „the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice
unto the Lord thy God” (I Sam. 15:15). How thoughtful of him. We might argue
that he was sincere. But sincerity is not the issue and the Lord desired obedience
and not a human initiated sacrifice using that which God had cursed.

Even David transgressed when he had the ark of God transported on a cart (II
Sam. 6:1-7). It was supposed to be carried using the rings and staves (Exo.
25:12-15). The Levites were to be the carriers (I Chron. 15:2, 13-15). After the
death of Uzzah David came to understand that „the Lord our God made a breach
upon us, for we sought him not after the due order” (I Chron. 15:13).
Don’t you think it is important that we refrain from doing what is right in our own
eyes and observe that which we are commanded, adding nothing and taking away
nothing? If you concur, you must understand that you cannot take a pagan holiday
cluttered with traditions and objects, incorporate it into biblical Christianity and
please God.

Having searched the scripture for Christmas, I believe that it is found most
prominently in the books of I & II Timothy and Titus. It is here that we are
instructed concerning fables (myths), vain babblings, oppositions of science
(knowledge) falsely so called, and foolish and unlearned questions.
Using these three books, I & II Timothy and Titus, let us take a ten point
true/false test concerning Christmas. Remember that Christmas has it origins in
Babylonian mythology, the early church did not acknowledge it, there is no date
given for Jesus’ birth and there are no commands or instructions for celebrating
such a festival. No cheating, you must look up the verses before answering.

QUESTIONS TRUE FALSE
I Tim. 1:4 – We are to give heed to Christmas, which ministers
many questions regarding the date of the birth of Christ, and the
traditions associated with it.
I Tim. 1:5 – Christmas is of faith unfeigned. It is genuine,
supported by the scripture.
I Tim. 1:10 – All that we practice with regard to Christmas is not
contrary to sound doctrine because the Bible is full of instructions
concerning it.
I Tim. 4:11 – Christmas is among the things that Paul told Timothy
(and others) to command and teach.
Christmas and the Scripture
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I Tim. 6:3 – When one promotes Christmas, he is teaching
according to the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ and
proper doctrine.
II Tim. 1:13 – When Timothy was told to hold fast to the form of
sound words which Paul taught, this included Christmas.
II Tim. 2:15 – One who rightly divides the word of truth finds that
Christmas is the greatest Christian holy day, worthy of musical
productions, parties, candlelight services, etc.
II Tim. 2:23 – Christmas never engenders strife among believers
because of its unquestionable biblical support.
II Tim. 4:4 – Some people have believed and incorporated fables
into the church, but certainly this is not the case with us and our
celebration of Christmas.
Titus 2:1 – Because we are committed only to sound doctrine, we
should talk about and do Christmas year round.
Christmas is a fable. It is pagan and extra-biblical. One involved with it is
busying himself about past traditions. It does not represent factual truth. It is
deceptive, pretending to be something it is not.

Don’t learn the way of the heathen for their customs are vain (Jer. 10:2,3). Don’t
be spoiled „…through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after
the rudiments of the world…” (Col. 2:8) Refuse profane and old wives fables (I
Tim 4:7). Shun profane and vain babblings (II Tim. 2:16). Avoid foolish and
unlearned questions (II Tim. 2:23).

Do worship God in truth (John 4:24). Glory only in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ (Gal. 6:14). „Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21).
Hold fast the form of sound words, that is, the words of Scripture (II Tim. 1:13).
Rightly divide the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15). Continue in the things which you
have learned and been assured of, that is, the truth of Holy Scripture (II Tim. 3:
14,15). Speak the things which become sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).

I call upon Christians to reject Christmas as well as other extra-biblical traditions
and pagan holidays. Earnestly contend NOT for this fable, but „for the faith
which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

Christmas and Romans 14:5-6a by Joe Garnett

Christmas and Romans 14:5-6a

by Joe Garnett
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One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it
Romans 14:5-6a
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Proponents of Christmas often appeal to these verses1 to defend their celebration2 of this pagan holy day. At first glance this scripture appears to support their position. But the Bible student should look closer, determining the context and whether this passage can have application to the syncretistic festival of Christmas.
Most commentators teach that Romans 14 deals with Christian liberty. It does, by way of interpretation, only narrowly. By way of interpretation merely two problems are covered, that of whether or not to eat certain meats and whether or not to observe certain days. With regard to Christmas, it is needful that we deal only with the observing of days.
The disputes in this passage take place not because there are simply differences of opinions. The disputes arise because some in the church are weak (immature) and others are strong (mature). This is important to keep in mind because in time one should expect the problem to be solved by the immature becoming mature. (Of course we understand that there might be others coming into the church continually with the same problem, thus protracting the dilemma for some time).
The goal of Biblical instruction is to make the saint a mature person in Jesus Christ (Col. 1:28). Thus in regard to this passage, we need to understand that if all the believers in the church had reached a certain degree of maturity, the problem would not have existed. The solution that Paul gives should be considered a temporary solution for these weak brothers and not a permanent one. (No one would disagree that Christians should always respect and love each other). We should expect these who are now weak to one day become strong as they reside under proper instruction.
The specific problem in verses 5-6a concerns the keeping of days. It appears that the majority of commentators understand the problem to arise from young Jewish converts to the Christian faith. These converts feel obligated to continue to observe Jewish holy days. This should not surprise us for these were proper days for them to observe prior to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have not at this time received the understanding that it is no longer necessary for them to observe these days under the new covenant. We find them in a transition period in which they are confused. If they were to not observe these days they would feel that they were not being obedient to God. They don’t have a grasp on the glorious truth that the work of the Lord Jesus Christ is complete and the days that they observe are only shadows of His fullness (Col. 2:17).
To summarize, I make these observations:
• The dispute involves different understandings between weak and strong brothers in Christ.
• The weak feel that they must observe the Jewish holy days as they were previously commanded to do.
• The strong understand the completed work of Jesus Christ and the new covenant make these days obsolete.
• These different understandings cause dissension.
• The only possible solution at this time is for both groups to accept one another in love.
• In time we should expect the weak to become mature after they have been instructed in the truth and come to an understanding of what Jesus Christ has accomplished.
This is believed to be the interpretation of this passage or its proper understanding. Thus we must expect anyone making application from this passage to keep this understanding in mind at all times.
This is the question which now comes before us: Is the Christian observance of Christmas protected by way of application in this passage? To determine this let us consider the circumstances involved in both cases and see if there are any likenesses.

Situation addressed in Romans 14 Situation of present day X-mass celebrants
The young Jewish believers observed a day. Those who celebrate Christmas are celebrating a season and a festival. Although they claim to celebrate a day, their actions betray them. Long before the day arrives they will be putting up trees, shopping for presents (not for Jesus), building and placing creches, decorating with lights and other objects (many of occultic background), planning and going to parties and endlessly talking about these activities.
The Jewish converts were keeping days that they were previously obligated to observe. The Christmas celebration has never been sanctified by scripture. It is built upon the lie, which is acknowledged by most everyone, that Jesus Christ was born on December 25. Rather than having support from the word of God, it is man made religion which is condemned by Jesus (Matt. 15:9).
When the weak Jewish convert kept a day, there were disciplines that he performed. For instance, if he felt he needed to keep the sabbath, he had instruction from the scripture with regard to his activity (Deut. 5:12-14). The celebrants of Christmas adhere to no spiritual disciplines. If they were to spend the day in the scripture with fasting and prayer they could at least be commended. However, the day will be spent by most in a festive atmosphere, eating, exchanging gifts and doing whatever they choose to do. These are the same „spiritual disciplines” that the pagans have done as this Babylonian festival evolved.
The observances of these young Jewish believers did not take place in the church. The day that the weak brother regarded, he regarded it unto the Lord. The observance that he performed he rendered without the presence of those who did not wish to take part in the observance. For certain observances he most likely went to the synagogue. The strong brother was not required to endure the observances of the weak. The Christmas celebration takes place within the church as well as in the world. In most churches the celebration generally consumes the month of December with decorations in the church building, parties, programs and some emphasis in all the services. If there is one who does not desire to celebrate, he must choose between being absent or enduring the festival.
The weak Jewish brother could be expected in time to mature and be released in conscience from observing obsolete holy days. The celebrant of Christmas expects to continue in a syncretistic fable originating from Babylonian mystery religion on a day when the now glorified Son of God was not born.
Thus, this writer concludes that Romans 14 does not exonerate the practice of Christmas from scriptural condemnation. The day that the weak Jewish convert observed was a day formally warranted by scripture with designated disciplines. It was observed outside the church without involving the strong.
The weak brother could be expected in time to mature in conscience and no longer feel obligated to observe it.
In contrast, the „day” the Christmas celebrant celebrates is a pagan originated festival of unknown duration having no basis in scripture nor God-ordained disciplines. It is celebrated in the church and considered immutable. Thus we see that there is no relationship between the two „holy” days.
The scripture condemns such practices as Christmas. Jeremiah 10:2,3 tell us to „learn not the way of the heathen” and that „the customs of the people are vain.” In Matthew 15:9 Jesus explains that men worship Him in vain, „teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” In Colossians 2:8 we are told to beware lest someone should spoil us „through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world.” I Timothy 1:4 instructs us to „neither give heed to fables … which minister questions.”
Jude 3 exhorts us to „earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” The „faith” is the body of truth contained in the scripture. Matthew 28:20 reveals that what is to be taught and observed are „all things whatsoever I (Jesus) have commanded you.” Titus 2:1 commands us to „speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.”
Christmas is a deceitful Babylonian fable with assorted heathen traditions added through the centuries. You cannot mix it with Christianity and call it „worship in spirit and truth” any more than you can mix skunk manure with honey and call it a feast.
Christmas is not part of the faith for which we are to contend. It is not that which the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to observe. It is not sound doctrine. Christians should abhor it for the demonically inspired Babylonian myth that it is.

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1Another verse often used by the proponent of Christmas is Colossians 2:16, „Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” They interpret this to mean that they can eat and drink what they want and celebrate any day they wish. However the context shows that evil men were demanding that the Christians keep certain laws. Paul instructs them that they do not have to adhere to these commands and that they shouldn’t. His instruction is not that they can keep a certain day, but that they are not obligated to do so by those who would make them.

2Celebrate has become a memorialized word in current Christianity. One celebrates Jesus, the Lord’s supper, Christmas, etc. The common biblical term is keep with the idea of observe or do. I’m not sure whether these words should be interchangeable. The 1966 College Edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary makes some distinction. „Celebrate implies the marking of an occasion or event, especially a joyous one, with ceremony or festivity. Observe and the less formal keep suggest the respectful marking of a day or occasion in the prescribed or appropriate manner.” There may likely be other distinctions that have become clouded as our language degenerates. However, I have not done the homework to know for sure. But for the purposes of this paper, observe will be used to refer to the day found in scripture and celebrate will be used when referring to the festival of Christmas.

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Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?

Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?
There is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for remembrance of the day of Christ’s birth as a day of special religious celebration. This is not to say that we shouldn’t remember Christ’s birth and its significance, but for religious commemorations or celebrations, we must have Biblical command or precedent! The fact of the matter is this – the early church did not celebrate Christ’s birth, but such celebration only came into the church with the „Christianization” of pagan rites as Catholicism was made the state religion by Constantine in the fourth century A.D. Since the Word of God does not support the tradition of Christmas, a Christian’s conscience ought not and must not be bound.

The following outline describes the origin of Christmas (with its associated pagan customs, symbols, and terminology), details the Scriptural support against celebrating Christmas, attempts to show that celebrating Christmas violates the spirit of every one of the ten commandments, attempts to demonstrate that celebrating Christmas does not fall in the realm of Christian liberty, and attempts to debunk eight of the major rationalizations Christians put forth for celebrating Christmas.

I. The Origin of Christmas

A. A Long Evolution – Christmas customs are an evolution from times long before the Christian period – a descent from seasonal, pagan, religious, and national practices, hedged about with legend and tradition. Their seasonal connections with the pagan feasts of the winter solstice relate them to ancient times, when many of the earth’s inhabitant’s were sun worshipers. As the superstitious pagans observed the sun gradually moving south in the heavens and the days growing shorter, they believed the sun was departing never to return. To encourage the sun’s return north (i.e., to give the winter sun god strength and to bring him back to life again), the sun gods were worshipped with elaborate rituals and ceremonies, including the building of great bonfires, decorating with great evergreen plants such as holly, ivy, and mistletoe, and making representations of summer birds as house decorations. The winter solstice, then, was the shortest day of the year, when the sun seemingly stood still in the southern sky. Observing the slowdown in the sun’s southward movement, and its stop, the heathen believed that their petitions to it had been successful. A time of unrestrained rejoicing broke out, with revelry, drinking, and gluttonous feasts. Then, when the pagans observed the sun moving again northward, and a week later were able to determine that the days were growing longer, a new year was proclaimed.

B. Not Among the Earliest Christian Festivals – Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. It was not celebrated, commemorated, or observed, neither by the apostles nor in the apostolic church – not for at least the first 300 years of church history! History reveals that about 440 A.D., the Church at Jerusalem commenced the celebration of Christmas, following the lead of Roman Catholicism (see I.C.). [It was sufficient for the early Christians that Jesus, their Lord and Savior, had been born. They praised God that Jesus Christ had, indeed, come in the flesh. The day and the time of His birth had no relevance to them, because Jesus was no longer physically on earth. He had returned to heaven. And it was the risen, exalted Christ whom they looked to, and that by faith – not a babe laid in a manger. Jesus Christ is no longer a baby; no longer the „Christ-child,” but the exalted Lord of all. And He does NOT somehow return to earth as a baby every year at Christmas-time – though this is the impression given even in certain hymns sung in Protestant services.]

C. The Role of Religion in Ancient Rome – Seemingly forgotten is the essential role religion played in the world of ancient Rome. But the Emperor Constantine understood. By giving official status to Christianity, he brought internal peace to the Empire. A brilliant military commander, he also had the genius to recognize that after declaring Christianity the „state” religion (Constantine forced all the pagans of his empire to be baptized into the Roman Church), there was need for true union between paganism and Christianity. The corrupt Roman Church was full of pagans now masquerading as Christians, all of which had to be pacified. What better way than to „Christianize” their pagan idolatries. Thus, the Babylonian mystery religions were introduced by Constantine beginning in 313 A.D. (and established a foothold with the holding of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.). The Constantine-led Roman Church was more than willing to adapt and adopt pagan practices in order to make Christianity palatable to the heathen. Constantine used religion as a political tool, totally devoid of any true spirituality:
• Pagan rituals and idols took on Christian names (e.g., Jesus Christ was presented as the Sun of Righteousness [Malachi 4:2] replacing the sun god, Sol Invictus ).
• Pagan holidays were reclassified as Christian holidays (holy-days).
• December 25th was the „Victory of the Sun-God” Festival in the pagan Babylonian world. In the ancient Roman Empire, the celebration can be traced back to the Roman festival Saturnalia, which honored Saturn, the harvest god, and Mithras, the god of light; both were celebrated during or shortly after the winter solstice (between the 17th and 23rd of December). To all ancient pagan civilizations, December 25th was the birthday of the gods – the time of year when the days began to lengthen and man was blessed with a „regeneration of nature.” Moreover, all of December 25th’s Babylonian and Roman festivals were characterized by 5-7 day celebration periods of unrestrained or orgiastic revelry and licentiousness.
December 25th was particularly important in the cult of Mithras, a popular deity in the Old Roman Empire. Robert Myers (a proponent for celebrating Christmas) in his book Celebrations says:
„Prior to the celebration of Christmas, December 25th in the Roman world was the Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. This feast, which took place just after the winter solstice of the Julian calendar, was in honor of the Sun God, Mithras, originally a Persian deity whose cult penetrated the Roman world in the first century B.C. … Besides the Mithraic influence, other pagan forces were at work. From the seventeenth of December until the twenty-third, Romans celebrated the ancient feast of the Saturnalia. … It was commemorative of the Golden Age of Saturn, the god of sowing and husbandry.”
In order to make Christianity palatable to the heathen, the Roman Church simply took Saturnalia, adopted it into Christianity, and then eventually many of the associated pagan symbols, forms, customs, and traditions were reinterpreted (i.e., „Christianized”) in ways „acceptable” to Christian faith and practice. (In fact, in 375 A.D., the Church of Rome under Pope Julius I merely announced that the birth date of Christ had been „discovered” to be December 25th, and was accepted as such by the „faithful.” The festival of Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithras could now be celebrated as the birthday of Christ!) The pagans flocked into the Catholic places of worship, because they were still able to worship their old gods, but merely under different names. It mattered not to them whether they worshiped the Egyptian goddess mother and her child under the old names (Isis and Horus), or under the names of the „Virgin Mary” and the „Christ-child.” Either way, it was the same old idol-religion (cf. 1 Thes. 1:8-10; 5:22 – Paul says to turn from idols, not rename them and Christianize them). Roman Catholicism’s Christmas Day is nothing but „baptized” paganism, having come along much too late to be part of „the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

D. „Christianization” of Pagan Customs, Symbols, and Terminology – Christianity had to undergo a transformation so that pagan Rome could „convert” without giving up its old beliefs and rituals. The actual effect was to paganize official Christianity. „‘A compound religion had been manufactured, of which … Christianity furnished the nomenclature, and Paganism the doctrines and rights.’ The idolatry of the Roman world, though deposed from its ancient pre-eminence, had by no means been demolished. Instead of this, its pagan nakedness had been covered with the garb of a deformed Christianity” (W.E. Vine). Pagan customs involving vestments, candles, incense, images, and processions were all incorporated into church worship and continue today.

The following customs and traditions associated with Xmas all have pagan/heathen origins. („Xmas” is the more preferable form for the day, since it at least leaves the name of our Savior out of the heathen observance.) Naturally, Christians would not keep these customs for such evil and perverse reasons, but the fact of their origins remain – „the customs of the people are vain” (Jer. 10:3), and should thereby be carefully considered by all who know and love the Lord:
1. The blasphemous „Christ’s Mass” shortened to „Christ-mas” – The Roman Catholic „Christ’s Mass” is a special mass performed in celebration of Christ’s birth. In this mass, Jesus is considered both the priest and the victim, represented by the Catholic priest who offers Him as a sacrifice each time the mass is performed. In offering this „sacrifice,” the priest believes he has the power to change the bread and the wine of the Communion into Jesus’ literal flesh and blood, requiring the people to worship these elements as they do God Himself. This is obviously a denial of the gospel, and thereby, a false gospel (a re-doing of the sacrifice for sin – Heb. 9:12, 24-26; 10:10,12,14). Yet, many who cry out all year long against the blasphemous Roman Catholic system, at year-end embrace Rome’s most blasphemous abomination of them all – Christmas!

2. Nativity Scenes (tainted with paganism) – Nearly every form of pagan worship descended from the Babylonian mysteries, which focus attention on the „mother-goddess” and the birth of her child. This was adapted to „Mary-Jesus” worship, which then easily accommodated the multitude of pagans „converted” to Christianity inside Constantine’s Roman Catholic Church. [If anyone were to erect statues (i.e., images) of Mary and Joseph by themselves, many within Protestant circles would cry „Idolatry!” But at Xmas time, an image of a little baby is placed with the images of Mary and Joseph, and it’s called a „nativity scene.” Somehow, the baby-idol „sanctifies” the scene, and it is no longer considered idolatry!] (cf. Exo. 20:4-5a; 32:1-5; 9-10a)

3. Christmas Tree – Evergreen trees, because of their ability to remain green through-out the winter season when most other forms of vegetation are dormant, have long symbolized immortality, fertility, sexual potency, and reproduction, and were often brought into homes and set up as idols.

The full mystical significance of the evergreen can only be understood when one considers the profound reverence the ancient pagans had for all natural phenomena – „To them, Nature was everywhere alive. Every fountain had its spirit, every mountain its deity, and every water, grove, and meadow, its supernatural association. The whispering of the trees … was the subtle speech of the gods who dwelt within” (W.M. Auld, Christmas Traditions). This is nothing but nature worship or Animism.

The custom of bringing the tree into the home and decorating it as is done today has legendarily been attributed to Martin Luther. In truth, the modern custom has been lost in obscurity, but almost every culture has some such tradition. For ages, evergreen trees would be brought into the house during the winter as magic symbols of luck and hope for a fruitful year to come, It may also be that the star with which many of today’s trees are topped did not originate as a representation of the star that the wise men followed, but rather a representation of the stars to which the ancient Chaldean astrologers looked for guidance.

The first decorating of an evergreen was done by pagans in honor of their god Adonis, who after being slain was brought to life by the serpent Aesculapius. The representation of the slain Adonis was a dead stump of a tree. Around this stump coiled the snake – Aesculapius, symbol of life restoring. From the roots of the dead tree, then comes forth another and different tree – an evergreen tree, symbolic to pagans of a god who cannot die! In Babylon, the evergreen tree came to represent the rebirth/reincarnation of Nimrod as his new son (Sun), Tammuz. In Egypt, this god was worshiped in a palm tree as Baal-Tamar. (Heathen people in the land of Canaan also adopted tree worship, calling it the Asherah – a tree with its branches cut off was carved into a phallic symbol.) The fir tree was worshiped in Rome as the same new-born god, named Baal-Berith, who was restored to life by the same serpent. A feast was held in honor of him on December 25th, observed as the day on which the god reappeared on earth – he had been killed, and was „reborn” on that day, victorious over death! It was called the „Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” Thus, the annual custom of erecting and decorating evergreen trees was brought down to us through the centuries by the pagan Roman Catholic Church – the paganism of Tammuz and Baal, or the worship of the sun, mingled with the worship of Aesculapius the serpent. Whether erected in private homes or in churches, decorated or not, the evergreen tree is a glaring symbol of this false god.

4. Christmas Wreaths – In pagan mythology, evergreen means eternal life and a never-dying existence. Made from evergreens, Christmas wreaths were most frequently round, which symbolized the sun (just as do halos in most religious art). Hence, the round Xmas wreaths stand for an eternal sun, a never-dying or self-renewing sun. In addition, the round form can also relate to the sign of the female, which stands for the regeneration of life. Because of these pagan associations, the Christian church was initially hostile towards the use of wreaths and other evergreen derivatives. But in the same way it Christianized other pagan traditions, the church soon found a way to confer its own symbolic meanings. For example, the sharp pointed leaves of the „male” holly came to represent Christ’s crown of thorns and the red berries His blood, while the „female” ivy symbolized immortality (Sulgrave Manor, „A Tudor Christmas,” p. 6). Such wreaths now not only adorn churches at Christmas time, but are also appearing during the Easter season.

5. Mistletoe – The use of the mistletoe plant (which is poisonous to both man and animals) can be traced back to the ancient Druids. (The Druids were pagan Celtic priests who were considered magicians and wizards.) It represented the false „messiah,” considered by the Druids to be a divine branch that had dropped from heaven and grew upon a tree on earth. This is an obvious corruption of God’s prophetic Word concerning Christ, „the Man the Branch,” coming from heaven. The mistletoe symbolized the reconciliation between God and man. And since a kiss is the well known symbol of reconciliation, that is how „kissing under the mistletoe” became a custom – both were tokens of reconciliation. The mistletoe, being a sacred plant and a symbol of fertility, was also believed to contain certain magical powers, having been brought to earth from heaven by a mistle thrush carrying it in its toes (hence the name). It was once known as the „plant of peace,” and in ancient Scandinavia, enemies were reconciled under it (yet another reason why people came to „kiss under the mistletoe”). It was supposed to bring „good luck” and fertility, and even to protect the house in which it hung from witchcraft.

A kiss is also something which is, at times, associated with lust. So the practice of „kissing under the mistletoe” also had roots in the orgiastic celebrations in connection with the Celtic Midsummer Eve ceremony. At the time the mistletoe was gathered, the men would kiss each other as a display of their homosexuality. (The custom was later broadened to include both men and women.) Kissing under the mistletoe is also reminiscent of the temple prostitution and sexual license prolificating during Roman Saturnalia.

6. Santa Claus – Santa Claus or „Father Christmas” is a corruption of the Dutch „Sant Nikolaas.” („Saint Nicholas” was the 4th century Catholic bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, who gave treats to children; he was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, „regarded as a special friend and protector of children.” The red suit comes from the fact that Catholic bishops and cardinals in Italy wear red.) Santa Claus was also known as „Kriss Kringle,” a corruption of the German „Christ Kindl „– Christ Child. This has to be one of the most subtle of Satan’s blasphemies, yet most Christians are unaware of it.

Originally, the Santa Claus concept came from the pagan Egyptian god, Bes, a rotund, gnome-like personage who was the patron of little children. Bes was said to live at the North Pole, working year-round to produce toys for children who had been good and obedient to their parents. In Dutch, he was called „Sinter Klaas.” Dutch settlers brought the custom to America. In Holland and other European countries, the original Santa Claus was actually a grim personage who traversed the countryside, determined to find out who really had been „naughty or nice.” Those who had been acting up were summarily switched. The association of Santa Claus with snow, raindeer, and the North Pole suggests Scandinavian or Norse traditions of the Yuletide season. [In Babylonia, also, the stag (raindeer) was a symbol of the mighty one, Nimrod. The symbolism of antlers worn on the head of a noble leader would demonstrate his prowess as a hunter, and thereby, influence people to follow him.]

Santa is the blasphemous substitute for God! He is routinely given supernatural powers and divine attributes which only GOD has. Think about it. He is made out to be omniscient – he knows when every child sleeps, awakes, has been bad or good, and knows exactly what every child wants (cf. Psa. 139:1-4). He is made out to be omnipresent – on one night of the year he visits all the „good” children in the world and leaves them gifts, seemingly being everywhere at the same time. He is also made out to be omnipotent – he has the power to give to each child exactly what each one wants. Moreover, Santa Claus is made out to be a sovereign judge – he answers to no one and no one has authority over him, and when he „comes to town,” he comes with a full bag of rewards for those whose behavior has been acceptable in his eyes.

Santa Claus has become one of the most popular and widely accepted and unopposed myths ever to be successfully interwoven into the fabric and framework of Christianity. It is a fact that Christ was born, and that truth should greatly rejoice the heart of every Christian. But the Santa Claus myth distorts the truth of Christ’s birth by subtly blending truth with the myth of Santa Claus. When Christian parents lie to their children about Santa Claus, they are taking the attention of their children away from God and causing them to focus on a fat man in a red suit with god-like qualities. All of this teaches the child to believe that, just like Santa, God can be pleased with „good works,” done in order to earn His favor. Also, they teach that no matter how bad the child has been, he will still be rewarded by God – just as Santa never failed to bring gifts. Even in homes of professing Christians, Santa Claus has clearly displaced Jesus in the awareness and affections of children, becoming the undisputed spirit, symbol, and centerpiece of Christmas.

7. Christmas Eve – „Yule” is a Chaldean word meaning „infant.” Long before the coming of Christianity, the heathen Anglo-Saxons called the 25th of December „Yule day” – in other words, „infant day” or „child’s day” – the day they celebrated the birth of the false „messiah”! The night before „Yule day” was called „Mother night.” Today it is called „Christmas Eve.” And it wasn’t called „Mother night” after Mary, the mother of our Lord – „Mother night” was observed centuries before Jesus was born. Semiramis (Nimrod’s wife) was the inspiration for „Mother night,” and „Child’s day” was the supposed birthday of her son (Tammuz), the sun-god!

8. Yule Log – The Yule log was considered by the ancient Celts a sacred log to be used in their religious festivals during the winter solstice; the fire provided promises of good luck and long life. Each year’s Yule log had to be selected in the forest on Christmas Eve by the family using it, and could not be bought, or the superstitions associated with it would not apply. In Babylonian paganism, the log placed in the fireplace represented the dead Nimrod, and the tree which appeared the next morning (which today is called the „Christmas tree”) was Nimrod alive again (reincarnated) in his new son (sun), Tammuz. (Still today in some places, the Yule log is placed in the fireplace on Christmas Eve, and the next morning there is a Christmas tree!)

Today’s Yule log tradition comes to us from Scandinavia, where the pagan sex-and-fertility god, Jule, was honored in a twelve-day celebration in December. A large, single log was kept with a fire against it for twelve days, and each day for twelve days a different sacrifice was offered. The period now counted as the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany was originally the twelve days of daily sacrifices offered to the Yule log. (What, then, are we really doing when we send „Yuletide greetings”? Are we really honoring Christ by sending greetings in the name of a Scandinavian fertility god? These are the same customs being practiced today as in ancient paganism! Only the names have changed.)

9. Candles – Candles were lit by the ancient Babylonians in honor of their god, and his altars had candles on them. And as is well known, candles are also a major part of the ritualism of Roman Catholicism, which adopted the custom from heathenism. Candles approached the Yule log in ritual importance. Like the Yule log, they had to be a gift, never a purchase, and were lighted and extinguished only by the head of the household. Such candles stood burning steadily in the middle of the table, never to be moved or snuffed, lest death follow. The Yule candle, wreathed in greenery, was to burn through Christmas night until the sun rose or the Christmas service began (Sulgrave Manor, „A Tudor Christmas,” p. 9). Obviously, candles should have no part in Christian worship, for nowhere in the New Testament is their use sanctioned.

10. Giving of Gifts – The tradition of exchanging gifts has nothing to do with a reenactment of the Magi giving gifts to Jesus, but has many superstitious, pagan origins instead. One prominent tradition was the Roman custom of exchanging food, trinkets, candles, or statutes of gods during the mid-winter Kalends (the first day of the month in the ancient Roman calendar). This custom was transferred to December 25th by the Roman Church in keeping with the Saturnalian festival and in celebration of the benevolent St. Nicholas. [Is it not the height of ridiculousness to claim that giving one another presents properly celebrates Jesus’ „birthday” (not that there is anything necessarily wrong in giving each other presents)? But what are we giving Him, if indeed we are specifically celebrating His incarnation?]

11. Christmas Goose – The „Christmas goose” and „Christmas cakes” were both used in the worship of the Babylonian „messiah.” The goose was considered to be sacred in many ancient lands, such as Rome, Asia Minor, India, and Chaldea. In Egypt, the goose was a symbol for a child, ready to die! In other words, a symbol of the pagan „messiah,” ready to give his life (supposedly) for the world. This is obviously a satanic mockery of the truth.

12. Christmas Ham – Hogs were slaughtered and the eating of the carcass was one of the central festivities of the Saturnalia. Each man would offer a pig as a sacrifice because superstition held that a boar had killed the sun deity Adonis. Hence, the tradition of the Christmas ham on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

13. Christmas Stocking – According to tradition, a poor widower of Myra, Turkey, had three daughters, for whom he could not provide a dowry. On Xmas-Eve, „Saint Nicholas” threw three bags of gold down the chimney, thereby saving the daughters from having to enter into prostitution. One bag rolled into a shoe, and the others fell into some stockings that had been hung to dry by the fire. Hence, the beginning of the tradition of the „Christmas stocking” or „boot.”

14. Christmas Cards – The first British Xmas card can be dated back to 1843. The first cards featured pictures of dead birds! Evidently, the popularity of hunting robin and wren on Christmas Day made the dead bird image an appropriate one for „holiday” cards. Often the text of the cards would also have a morbid tone. Later, the cards displayed dancing insects, playful children, pink-cheeked young women, and festively decorated Christmas trees. The first actual Xmas cards were really Valentine’s Day cards (with different messages) sent in December. Mass production of Xmas cards in the United States can be traced back to 1875. Initially, the manufacturers thought of Xmas cards as a sideline to their already successful business in playing cards. But the „tradition” of sending cards soon caught on, leading to a very profitable business by itself.

15. Christmas Carols – What do you suppose the reaction would be by a church’s leaders if its pastor were to propose that the following hymns be introduced into the church to commemorate the birth of Christ? After all, the tunes are quite lovely.
Hymn #1 – A hymn by a Unitarian (rejects the Trinity and full deity of Christ) minister that does not mention Jesus Christ and reflects the liberal social gospel the-ology of the 19th century.

Hymn #2 – A hymn by an American Episcopal priest, the fourth verse of which teaches Roman Catholic superstition about Christ coming to be born in people during the Advent season.

Hymn #3 – A song, the words by an Austrian Roman Catholic priest, the music by a Roman Catholic school teacher, containing the Roman Catholic superstition about halos emanating from holy people, with no gospel message.
Perhaps you would expect the church’s leaders to be very upset. It might surprise you to learn that they were upset when they suspected that the pastor might somehow prevent them from singing them. You see, those three hymns were already in the church’s hymnals! The pastor did not have to introduce them. The three theologically incorrect „Christmas carols” referred to above are It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Silent Night. (See the appendix for an evaluation of some of the most popular Xmas carols found in church hymnals today.)

E. European Xmas Traditions – In the early days of Christianity, as it moved north and west into Europe, many pagan celebrations were encountered. For example, in the late-6th century in England, the Angles and Saxons were found celebrating Yule. The Christian evangelists thought they would fail in any attempt to rival, suppress, or stamp out such long held customs, so they simply adopted popular dates for their own „special rituals and hallowed services.” In other words, it was easier to establish a festival celebrating the birth of Christ if it conveniently coincided with an existing popular feast day. In this way, the pagan peoples (albeit potential converts to Christianity), could continue with their usual celebrations at this time of year, but the reason for the merrymaking could be redefined and attributed to Christ’s birth rather than to any pagan rituals. As paganism eventually died out and Christianity became widespread, Christmas became increasingly more associated with its religious foundations than any others (Sulgrave Manor, „A Tudor Christmas,” p. 2).

It was left to the Puritans to denounce everything. For them, Christmas was rightfully part popish, part pagan, and was forbidden to be kept as a holiday or feast day. The attack began in 1644 when the Puritans controlled the Parliament; December 25th was changed to a Fast Day. By 1647, even the Fast Day was abolished as a relic of superstition, synonymous with the Church of Rome. No observation on December 25th was any longer permitted, but the day was to be observed as a normal market-day. Christmas was accurately depicted by such names as the Profane Man’s Ranting Day, the Superstitious Man’s Idol Day, the Papist’s Massing Day, the Old Heathen’s Feasting Day, the Multitude’s Idle Day, and Satan-that Adversary’s-Working Day. In those days, any Christmas celebrations would be broken up by troops, who would tear down decorations and arrest anyone holding a service. Some who celebrated it in Europe were also thrown into prison. Because of the riots that broke out following the banning of Christmas, the celebrations and revelry were restored in 1660 by King Charles II, a Catholic (Sulgrave Manor, „A Tudor Christmas,” p. 3).

F. American Xmas Traditions – America’s settlers (the „founding fathers” of so-called „Protestant America”) rightfully considered Christmas a „popish” holiday. In fact, it was only in the early 1800s that several founding members of the New York Historical Society „invented” Christmas. Before then, it was illegal in colonial Massachusetts to even take December 25th off work. Christmas was forbidden as „unseemly to ye spiritual welfare of ye community.” (It was banned in Massachusetts in 1659, and this law remained on the books for 22 years. In Boston, public schools stayed open on December 25th until as late as 1870!) It wasn’t until 1836 that any state declared Christmas a holiday (Alabama), and then there were no more state declarations until the Civil War. It was not until 1885 that all federal workers were given Christmas Day off. The so-called Xmas customs and traditions were later concocted more for commercial purposes than for religious.

Quoting from a 12/23/83 USA TODAY article about Christmas: „A broad element of English Christianity still considered Christmas celebration a pagan blasphemy. The Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Calvinists and other denominations brought this opposition to early New England and strong opposition to the holiday lasted in America until the middle of the 18th century.” Henry Ward Beecher, a Congregationalist, wrote in 1874 of his New England boyhood:
„To me Christmas is a foreign day, and I shall die so. When I was a boy I wondered what Christmas was. I knew there was such a time, because we had an Episcopal church in our town, and I saw them dressing it with evergreens, and wondered what they were taking the woods in the church for; but I got no satisfactory explanation. A little later I understood it was a Romish institution, kept by the Romish Church.”

II. Scriptural Support Against Celebrating Christmas – Unacceptable Worship

A. 2 Chron. 33:15-17 – The Israelites had kept the old pagan form (the high places of Baal), but had merely introduced the worship of God into that form – a refusal to let go of pagan worship forms (i.e., God was to be worshiped in the Temple, not on the high places). This was unacceptable worship because the right object of worship was mixed with wrong forms of worship; i.e., the mixing of godly worship with ungodly form. [Likewise, is not the celebration of Christmas the taking of a celebration established by pagans and for pagans, and then introducing the worship of Christ into that pagan form?]

B. Deut. 12:29-32 – God warned His people Israel to destroy all vestiges of pagan worship that they found in the „Promised Land.” Not only did God want to prevent His people from being enticed to worship false gods, but He specifically revealed that He did not want His people to worship Him in the same manner in which the heathen worshiped their gods. We know, therefore, that our Lord is displeased by practices which profess to honor Him, but which are copied from the tradition of false religions. The command here was to worship God only in His way, i.e., do only what God commands – not adding to God’s commands nor taking away from them. [Is not „putting Christ back into Christmas,” worshiping „the Lord your God their way”? Is there any command in the Bible to give special reverence to the Scriptural account of Christ’s birth more so than to any other Scripture, let alone even a suggestion to celebrate or commemorate His birth in any way whatsoever? God never intended for His people to be imitators of the pagan customs of the world, but has called us to be separate and set apart.]

C. Lev. 10:1,2 – Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire to the Lord. [Is not the celebration of Christmas, with all its pagan symbols and forms, a „strange fire” unto the Lord, and is not this form of worship contrary to what God commands?]

D. 1 Sam. 15:1-3, 7-9, 21-23 – Saul disobeyed God’s prophet in order to worship God in his way. [Is not the celebration of Christmas one of man’s ways of worshiping Christ? There is certainly no Biblical command to offer worship in this manner.]

E. 2 Sam. 6:2-7 – David attempts to transport the ark on a „new cart” instead of using the rings and poles as the Law required (Exo. 25:12-15). Additionally, the „transporters” of the ark were not even authorized to carry it (1 Chron. 15:2, 13-15); i.e., the ark was not only transported in the wrong way, but was transported by the wrong people! [Is not the celebration of Christmas the wrong way (pagan forms and tradition) with the wrong people (the heathen of the world join right in with the professing Christians)?]

F. 1 Ki. 12:26-33 – In order to unify the northern ten tribes of Israel, ungodly King Jeroboam set up pagan idols, not in place of God, but as new focal points for directing worship to God. He even instituted a new festival on a new day; i.e., a new religious holiday of his own choosing. Even though the true God of Israel was still to be the object of worship in the new religious holiday, both the holiday and the worship were not authorized by God nor accepted by Him (1 Ki. 13:1-3; 15:29,30). Why? Because the concocted mixture of error with truth constituted false religion! [Is not the celebration of Christmas a religious holiday of man’s own choosing, replete with pagan symbols and forms, all under the guise (by sincere Christians at least) of worshiping the one true God and Savior? But does not this worship form and system still constitute false religion, and thereby, make it unacceptable to God? And besides, where in the Bible do Christians have the right to add a new holy day to the so-called Christian calendar, any more than King Jeroboam had the right to add a new holy day to God’s theocratic calendar?]

G. 1 Cor. 8:4-13; Rom. 14:1-13; 1 Cor. 10:14,18-21 – These passages concerning Christian liberty are discussed in more detail under Roman numeral IV. [Christian liberty can best be defined Biblically as „the freedom to engage in practices not prohibited by the Scriptures or denying oneself what is permitted (i.e., a moral choice of self-discipline) in order to be a more effective witness for God.” So the question must first be answered, „Is Christmas permitted?”] Briefly, some claim that Paul is teaching that the participation in pagan forms condemns no one, and therefore, participation in Christmas and its forms, even though arising out of pagan idolatry, is inconsequential. However, Paul nowhere approves participation in acts of idolatry, of which the participation in the pagan forms of Christmas comes dangerously close to doing. Instead, Paul is speaking of the liberty to continue in Jewish days of worship/festival that had been previously ordained under the Jewish law. There is certainly no liberty to bring outside pagan forms into the church’s worship services. Likewise, there is no liberty to Christianize Babylonian/Roman pagan holy days as special days.

Christians in the first century churches had the liberty to observe Old Testament holy days and feasts (days that had previously been revealed by God) if they were so immature as to do so. The weaker brother, Paul wrote, was at that time not to be censured for continuing to attach some importance to the Old Testament holy days, as a clear knowledge of their abolition in Christ was not yet given to him (the weaker brother). But to observe a pagan holy day is something this passage does not sanction. They certainly did not have the liberty to regard Babylonian/Roman pagan holy days (days that were invented by the devil) as special days. Again, that would have been idolatry, worldliness, and perhaps even a form of Satan worship on their part. Therefore, how can the observance of Christmas Day, or any other Babylonian/Roman Catholic holy day, be a matter of Christian liberty?

Yet when some of us refuse to regard the pagan holy days as special days, we are the ones often referred to as the „weaker brother” in this matter! Are we opposed to such days because we are „weak in faith”? Faith would be defined as believing what the Word of God says about a matter and acting upon it. It was by faith that we stopped regarding pagan holy days as special days. Would we be more mature Christians if we would start regarding such days again? It would certainly be much easier on us and our families.

III. Christmas and Violation of the Ten Commandments (reverse order)

A. Do Not Covet – Children learn to covet the gifts of others, to drool over the Christmas catalog, to drag their parents endlessly through toy stores, all in the name of „the Christmas spirit.”
B. Do Not Bear False Witness – „Jesus is the reason for the season!” is the Christian battle cry to „put Christ back in Christmas,” when in actuality, there is not only no Biblical warrant for Christmas, but its roots are in pagan worship systems. Nevertheless, professing Christians lie to their children about Santa Claus, the supernatural, sorcerous false „god” of Christmas, whose „gospel” is one of works salvation along with unconditional acceptance and rewards. Parents lie to their children for years about the god-like character of Santa Claus, in effect asking them to trust in a false god and a lie, and then don’t understand why later in life their children won’t believe and trust in the true God, Jesus Christ.

C. Do Not Steal – Christmas spending patterns could never stand the test of Biblical stewardship; i.e., Christians, in celebrating Christmas, „steal” the Lord’s resources by ignoring their proper use; lavishly spend these resources on worthless and useless trinkets (in many cases); and withhold resources from those in need, while at the same time claiming to never have enough money to buy good Christian books, pay for home schooling, or buy Bible helps for their children. (Christians could also be helping the spiritually needy by buying and giving them tracts, books, etc.) We „steal” from our families what they need and what we owe them in order to buy gifts for those who don’t need them.

D. Do Not Commit Adultery – At this „special” time of the year, lustful thoughts are actually encouraged; e.g., teens are allowed to go to parties and stay out later, thereby having temptations put in front of them that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Christmas parties for adults also encourage evil thoughts through the use of the mistletoe, etc. (According to Matt. 5, such thoughts constitute adultery. At the very least, spiritual adultery is encouraged by the „season.”)

E. Do Not Murder – Envy and hate of my brother (which, according to Matt. 5, is equal to murder) because he has more than me or because he receives a larger Christmas bonus than me, is encouraged at Christmas time. We also tend to spiritually sacrifice our children to the „god of Christmas” via greed, selfishness, etc.

F. Honor Father & Mother – Christmas gift-giving is not an honor to parents; the term „exchanging” gifts (i.e., giving in expectation of a return) is a dead give-away of the mockery associated with this tradition.

G. Remember the Sabbath & Keep It Holy – Although we recognize that the Lord’s Day is not the „Christian Sabbath,” clearly the Lord’s Day is to be kept for worship and observed as such. Yet when Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or the day after Christ-mas falls on a Sunday, most churches adjust the Lord’s Day to accommodate Christ-mas, usually by cancelling the regularly scheduled Sunday evening service. Most of its members are too busy or too tired to attend services anyway.

H. Do Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain – „Christ” and „mass” are two words that are totally opposite from one another, and to connect the two is to blaspheme the name of Christ. By taking a pagan celebration, „Christianizing” it, and calling it a celebration of the birth of Christ, is most certainly taking the Lord’s name in vain. (A good example of the willingness of the professing church to profane the name of the Lord would be the title of a popular children’s Christmas concert production – The Divine Ornament. Imagine, identifying our Lord with a pagan ornament to hang on a pagan tree! What insult! What blasphemy!) In addition, some professing Christians use religion („Christ’s birthday”) as a cloak to cover the evils of covetousness, idolatry, greed, immorality, etc. – all excuses to give vent to evil lusts.

I. Do Not Make Yourself Any Carved Image – Nativity scenes, „pictures” of Christ, Christmas cards with „pictures” of Jesus, etc., all violate this command. God has given us His Word, not images, to teach us about Christ (1 Pe. 1:23; Dt. 4:12, 15-19).

J. Have No Other gods Before Me – The „god of Christmas” is idolatrous! Looking to the Christmas season for happiness, joy, and fulfillment, rather than through a pure, personal, and Biblical relationship with Jesus Christ, is idolatry.

IV. Is a Christian’s Decision to Celebrate Christmas a Part of Christian Liberty?

A. Romans 14:1-13 – This passage is speaking of Jews who were observing the Old Testament Jewish holy days/festivals and dietary laws even though they were now believers in Christ; but they were also judging their Gentile brothers-in-the-Lord who did not observe the Jewish customs. Likewise, the Gentile Christians were judging their Jewish brothers who were seemingly caught-up in ceremonial law. Paul was thusly saying, „To you Gentile Christians – leave the Jewish Christians alone, because they are not violating any Scriptural commands by their actions (i.e.,it’s a „disputable” matter [doubtful or gray area] and not a moral issue). To you Jewish Christians – it’s okay for you to observe the Jewish festivals and dietary laws because they were given by God in the Old Testament, and thereby, are considered to be previously approved worship forms, but don’t judge your Gentile brothers because there is no Biblical command for either of you to continue to observe these things.” (Actually, it wasn’t „okay” [see IV.C. below], but Paul allowed it as an act of an immature/weaker brother [see II.G. above].) If a moral issue is involved (i.e., a practice that is covered in Scripture), then this passage and its application to Christian liberty (i.e., the freedom to engage in practices not prohibited by Scripture) would obviously not apply. And as brought out earlier in this report, the celebration of Christmas appears to be such a moral issue, because its celebration is not only not from God, but is from ancient paganism itself!

B. 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 – The Gentile Christians, who had been raised in an idolatrous system, were having a problem with the their Jewish brothers who were eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. (Apparently, this was the only „healthy” meat available.) Similar to the Romans 14 passage above, Paul says that eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols is not a moral issue, and thereby, is not prohibited. However, Paul does not say that it is okay to go into the pagan temple itself; in fact, in other passages (1 Cor 10:14, 18-21), Paul specifically prohibits getting involved with the pagan feasts. In other words, it’s not a moral issue to partake in the byproducts of a pagan religious system (note, however, that there is no indication here that the Jewish Christians were using the „idol meat” as part of their worship), but it is not okay to partake in the religious system itself (because the corrupt character of the participants would be harmful for believers). Rather, we must be separate from the worldly system (2 Cor 6:14-7:1). Therefore, when items (byproducts) associated with a pagan religious system not only develop religious associations of their own, but have been integrated into what would otherwise be true Christian worship (as the celebration of Christmas has clearly become in our culture), then we should pull away from them so that there is no confusion over our allegiances.

C. Galatians 4:9-10; Colossians 2:16-17 – Both these passages of Scripture refer to the Jewish holy days under Old Testament law. If Christians were not even to observe the Old Testament holy days – days which did have divine sanction, for a time – they certainly don’t have the liberty to observe pagan holy days!

D. James 4:11 – James is saying that Christians may only judge a brother on matters determined in God’s Word (i.e., moral issues). If a matter is not covered in the Word, then these are matters of Christian liberty (á la Rom. 14:1-13 and 1 Cor 8:4-13), and he who judges in these areas of Christian liberty is, in effect, judging and condemning the Word of God as being an imperfect standard to which the judge, thereby, refuses to submit. On the other hand, since we have clear Scriptural precept that condemns the things that go on around December 25th in the name of Christ, the celebration of Christmas does not appear to be a matter of liberty, but one of moral conduct.

V. The Right Response

A. Quench Not the Holy Spirit (1 Thes 5:19-22) – Test all things against the Scripture and line-up beliefs and actions with what is true (i.e., do not treat with contempt the Word of God). If one is convinced that to celebrate Christmas is sin, then he and his family must not compromise with the world or the church by participating in any Christmas celebrations (Rom. 14:23).

B. Avoid Traps of the Devil:

1. Lack of Zeal – One who never considers why he does certain things, but he just does them because he always has or because his parents always have; one who acts on emotions rather than on facts.

2. Lack of Truth – One who does things for good reasons and right motives (i.e., plenty of zeal), but not in truth.

C. Realize that Christians Celebrating Christmas as the Day of Christ’s Birth Makes No More Sense than Adding Any of the Following Days as Special Days of Christian Celebration: – (Remember, the Bible’s focus on the birth of Christ is for the sole purpose of documenting his virgin birth, his incarnation, and the fulfillment of His prophetic Messiahship. Like the tongue-in-cheek suggestions below, one must also remember that there is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for the remembrance of the day of Christ’s birth as a day of special religious celebration.)

1. Baptism Celebration – Why not have three days of swimming parties in the summer in order to celebrate/symbolize Christ’s three days in the grave? We could even pick a time based upon our speculation of when John the Baptist baptized Jesus!

2. Ascension Celebration – Why not have one day set aside every year for hot-air balloon rides in order to celebrate Christ’s ascension to heaven?

3. Miracle Celebration – There is considerable Biblical focus on Jesus’ miracles (even more than on his birth), so why not have one day set aside every year to celebrate the first of Christ’s miracles? And since that was the turning of water into wine (Jn. 2), why not have „Christian” wine-tasting parties?!

D. Avoid the Rationalizations that:

1. „Christmas Provides a Festive Time to Share the Gospel” – One cannot take something condemned in God’s Word and „use it” to spread the Gospel; neither will God bless it to spread His Word. Unacceptable worship and the „mixing-in” of unholy/pagan forms is surely not the normal means through which God blesses the faithful. Satan works to blend together his system with God’s system, because when unacceptable worship (paganism) is blended with true worship (God’s truth), true worship is destroyed. In fact, any time one mixes pagan ideas and practices with the pure religion of Christ, it is condemned in Scripture as the heinous sin of idolatry! God has always detested taking those things dedicated to idols and using them to worship Him. [As a matter of fact, this „special time of the year” is probably more a hindrance to the receptiveness of the gospel message than a help. Much of the celebration observed by our contemporary society deludes people into assuming that God is pleased, when in reality, He is offended by false religion, pseudo-worship, and alien philosophies. The ecumenical spirit and a counterfeit „love” under the guise of „peace and goodwill among men,” more than likely dulls one’s sensitivity to his desperate need to repent of sin and be reconciled to a holy God.]

2. „Christmas is Merely the Honoring of Christ’s Birth” – Someone says, „I know Christmas is of pagan origin, but I still think it’s not wrong for a church to have a special time for honoring Christ’s birth.” But since when did Protestants believe that Christians have the right to add to the Bible? Is the church a legislative body? Are we to follow the Bible in our faith and practice, or the thinking of fallible men? If we have the right to add a special holy day to the Christian economy, then we can add 10,000 other things. Then we will be no better than the false cults and the Roman Catholics who follow heathen traditions! [Besides, celebrating Christ’s birth is a form of worship. But since Christmas is a lie, those who celebrate it are not worshiping in „spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24).]

3. „All I’m Doing is Putting Christ Back into Christmas” – The modern conservative cry to put Christ back into Christmas is absurd. As detailed earlier in this report, Jesus Christ was never in Christmas. It’s a lie to say He was. He has no part in a lie. When anyone takes the truth and mixes a lie with it, they no longer have the truth. They have changed the truth into a lie. Neither is it possible to take a lie and mix enough truth with it to change the lie into the truth. You still come out with a lie. One may say, „Well, I know it’s not the truth, but I’ll put Christ back in Christmas and glorify God in it then.” No, you won’t. Christ never was in Christmas. You cannot change a lie into the truth. It should in reality be called Baal-mass, Nimrod-mass, Tammuz-mass, Mithras-mass, or Mary-mass. Christ-mass is a lie. Why use a lie as a good time for a cardinal truth (the incarnation) of the Christian faith?

4. „I’m Using Christmas to Witness for Christ, Just Like the Apostle Paul Did” – Some say that all they are doing is taking the „truth” from Christmas (i.e., the incarnation of Christ) and „cultivating” it as the Apostle Paul did (Acts 17/Mars Hill), taking the opportunity of the season to witness to a lost world. This would be fine if these Christians were actually doing only as Paul did. Paul, in addressing the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, proclaimed to them that their „unknown god” to whom they had erected an altar, was none other than „the God who made the world and all the things therein.” Paul was not intimidated by the pagan surroundings and symbolisms, nor did he berate the Greeks for their error, but merely showed them the truth of the gospel of Christ.

But do Christians really use the „opportunity presented by the season” in the same way as Paul used the opportunity of the pagan altar? Do Christians personally stand in front of their hometown public displays of Xmas (Nativity scenes, etc.) and preach the gospel? To paraphrase Paul, do they say: „Men of Indianapolis, I see that in every way you are very religious; what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you”? Do they come out of the public schools where they have just attended their children’s Xmas programs and preach to the attendees about the true God who has been grossly misrepresented in the program they have just witnessed?

Hardly. Even to most of those who understand the true origin of Xmas, this „unique time of year” means inviting unbelievers into their homes to gather around the Xmas tree, to enjoy the beauty of the wreaths, absorb the heat from the Yule log, etc., reasoning that they are only using the pagan forms and the pagan festival season as an opportunity to witness. If Paul meant this in Acts 17, he would have met the people in the Athenian temple or in his or their homes, gathering around their idols that he had Christianized and was now using as a part of his worship. Most of the people who decorate their homes and churches with Xmas trees, holly wreaths, Nativity scenes, etc., all supposedly to be used as „opportunities” via „Xmas coffees,” neighborhood „grab bag” gift exchanges, Xmas concerts, etc., are thoroughly convinced that they’re doing God a service. And since they are not involved in the crass secular „commercialization” that the world revels in, but have instead „put Christ back in Xmas” (so to speak), they reason that all is Biblical and pleasing to God.

5. „It Doesn’t Mean Anything to Me” – Many Christians who routinely make a habit of picking-and-choosing which Biblical commands they will or will not obey, have likewise carried this practice over into a justification for celebrating Christmas. They claim, „but the Christmas tree, mistletoe, Santa Claus, etc., don’t mean anything pagan to me, so I’ll exercise my Christian liberty and partake in all of it.” Obviously, if one were to take such a cavalier approach to the physical world (i.e., „I can drink rat poison because I choose not to regard it as poison”), it would likely lead to a quick physical death. Why then do Christians think they can avoid spiritual harm by ignoring God’s spiritual warnings?

6. „The ‘Connection’ Has Been Broken” – There are those who clearly recognize the pagan nature of the various Christmas worship forms and practices. Nevertheless, many of these Christians claim that because of the long passage of time from their pagan inception to the present (6,000 years?), the „connection” to paganism has been sufficiently diminished to allow the adoption of these forms and practices into our Christian worship and celebration. While it may be true that most symbols have lost their original demonic meaning and significance in a modern society, it is strangely bizarre and ironic that Christendom seeks to commemorate Christ’s birth with the faded symbols of Satan. And even though some of God’s people may be naive and ignorant about the source of these things, surely God is not. Can such things please Him? And think about this – if it were possible to „disconnect” current practices from their pagan/occultic roots, why does Scripture not provide us any guidelines as to:
(a) how much time is necessary for the „neutralization”/disassociation process to occur; and
(b) which of the hundreds of ancient pagan rites would then be acceptable for adaptation into Christian worship (since some are obviously much more pagan/occultic than others)?
7. „There Are Hundreds of Other Items of Daily Life that Have a Pagan Origin” – It is said, „Such things as the wedding ring, certain clothing customs, the modern division of time into hours and minutes, the names of the days of the week, etc., all have pagan connections in their origins, so isn’t it a contradiction on your part to say that their meanings have sufficiently changed while Christmas’s meanings have not?” But we are not saying that their meanings have changed. The question is one of using things of pagan origin in our worship of Christ. So we would ask the question back, „Which of these pagan items do we focus on to celebrate the birth of Christ? Or which of these is ‘Christianized’ and brought into our weekly worship of, or our daily devotion to Christ, as you do with the pagan forms and traditions of Xmas?” The origin and meaning of a custom, tradition, or form does not take on significance unless it is somehow specifically incorporated into, or lined up with, our worship. As we have already detailed in the section on Christian liberty (Section IV.B.), these rings, clothing customs, etc. would be merely the byproducts of paganism, not paganism itself, and they have developed no religious connotations or associations of their own, as have the Xmas customs and traditions.

8. „Baptism (and Circumcision) Have Pagan Origins and God Still Gave Their Use in Scripture, So What’s Wrong With Using the Pagan Forms of Christmas?” – This argument is frequently made by pastors who say that to be consistent, those who would have us forbid the forms, symbols, and traditions of Christmas should also be calling for us to abandon believer’s baptism; i.e., shouldn’t the would-be banners of Christmas be saying, „Since the ancient mystery religions practiced forms of baptism, therefore baptism is a pagan custom and should be outlawed for the believer in Christ”? This is a strange argument for anyone to make, particularly a theologian (and, in our opinion, reveals a low view of Scriptural admonitions). If baptism were absent from the Bible, as using pagan forms and traditions to celebrate or commemorate Christ’s birthday are totally absent, there would then be no Biblical justification for baptism. But God has not commanded us to celebrate or commemorate Christ’s birth in any way. He has commanded us to baptize (Matt. 28:19).

E. Abstain From the Observance of Christmas – What, then, ought to be the Christian’s response to this and other pagan and Roman inventions? It cannot be denied that they are pagan pure and simple, from beginning to end. God gives us specific instructions in His Holy Word: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen … (Jer. 10:2). These words are perfectly clear. What rational options does a Bible believing Christian have?

VI. Conclusion

The very popularity of Christmas should cause the Christian to question it. Anyone and everyone can celebrate Christmas without question – outright pagans, nominal Christians, and even Buddhists and Hindus. If, in reality, December 25th were a date set by God to remember the birth of Jesus, there is no doubt that the world would have nothing to do with it. After all, God has commanded one day in seven – the Lord’s Day – to worship Him. Does the world observe it? Of course not. As expected, the world loves Christmas, but hates the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 15:18, 23-25). It shuns anything pertaining to true religion. Shouldn’t the Christian be just a little suspicious of a celebration in which the whole sinful world can join without qualms?

One way to test the Scripturalness of our practices is to reflect on what we would expect missionaries to teach new converts in a foreign culture. We assume that they would use the Bible as their guide book. If they could start new local churches without importing American culture encumbered with Roman Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, and crass commercialism, wouldn’t it be wonderful? Missionaries who have urged new converts to forsake all pagan superstitious relics have later been questioned about the apparent inconsistency of their own American Christmas customs. Nationals perceived them as idolatrous even though the missionaries were oblivious to that possibility!

When Christmas is exposed for what it really is, this angers people. It angers Protestant people! And there is reason why it does so. When the pagan celebration of Christmas is rooted up, and rejected, then what has become a Protestant tradition is, in effect, being rejected! And that is why people become angry. It began as a Roman Catholic holy day, and then it became a Protestant holy day. And if anyone dares show it up for what it really is, they face the wrath of the Protestant religious machine. And these days, that can be very ugly.

Christmas is a thoroughly pagan holiday – in its origin, in its trappings, and in all its traditions. Perhaps we should contemplate the words of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, delivered in a Lord’s Day sermon on December 24, 1871:
„We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because [it’s] not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. …

„It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, therefore superstition has fixed it; … Where is the method in the madness of the superstitious? Probably the fact is that the holy days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. … We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Saviour was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December. … regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”
And from Dr. H.A. Ironside’s Lectures on the Book of Revelation (1920: p. 301):
„It is a lamentable fact that Babylon’s principles and practices are rapidly but surely pervading the churches that escaped from Rome at the time of the Reformation. We may see evidences of it in the wide use of high-sounding ecclesiastical titles, once unknown in the reformed churches, in the revival of holy days and church feasts such as Lent, Good Friday, Easter, and Christ’s Mass, or, as it is generally written, Christmas. … some of these festivals … when they are turned into church festivals, they certainly come under the condemnation of Galatians 4:9-11, where the Holy Spirit warns against the observance of days and months and times and seasons. All of them, and many more that might be added, are Babylonish in their origin, and were at one time linked with the Ashtoreth and Tammuz mystery-worship. It is through Rome that they have come down to us; and we do well to remember that Babylon is a mother, with daughters who are likely to partake of their mother’s characteristics …”
And, finally, from Alexander Hislop’s 1916 classic, The Two Babylons: Or the Papal Worship:
„Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on, till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition. That Christmas is a Pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin.”
We can summarize by saying that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to commemorate the birth of our Lord, and God the Father evidently deemed it unwise to make the date known. Hence, it will always remain unknown and is not to be ceremoniously remembered and celebrated. (In fact, God has warned us about getting entangled with any special days [Gal. 4:10]). Notice though, that we are commanded to remember Him in His death (but no special day was specified for this either):
„Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; this DO in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:18,19; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
To commemorate His death is Scriptural. Any day of the year will do. To commemorate His birth is non-Scriptural, even extra-Scriptural (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:19), whether one chooses December 25th or any other day.
If God had desired us to remember Christ’s birthday, He could have left us the precise date. But if He had, He would have vindicated every astrologer in the past 2,000 years. In occult circles, the anniversary of a person’s birth is the most important metaphysical day of the year. The Bible recognizes no such significance. It is intriguing that there are only two birthday celebrations recorded in the entire Bible and they were both those of ungodly kings – and both resulted in an execution (Gen. 40:16-22 and Matt. 14:6-10/Mark 6:21-27)!

The Apostle Paul says: „But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross [not the manger] of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). By itself, we find no salvation in the birth of the Lord Jesus, for salvation was only made possible through His death (i.e., His shed blood) and resurrection. Our focus should be on the cross and our ascended Savior, not in a cradle.
Those who love Jesus should certainly rejoice that He was born and lived amongst us as a man. But if we truly want to glorify Him and bear testimony of who He is, we must stop marrying that blessed gift with the debauchery of paganism. If we want to honor His birth, let it be done as He would have done it: year-round unselfishly serving our fellow man as an unending act of love for our God. Let us put away all of the mixture of pagan customs and take up His mantle and His pure worship, and show the confused world that there is a difference.
________________________________________
BIBLIOGRAPHY/SOURCES
1. Assemblies of Yahweh. The Case Against Christmas. Sacred Name Broadcaster, Bethel, PA,23pp.

2. Becker, R.F. The Truth About Christmas. Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 36 pp.

3. Blanton, Raymond. The Christmas Lie. Highways & Hedges Tracts, Liberty, SC, 13 pp.

4. Buday, George. The History of the Christmas Card. Putman Pub., New York, 1954, 304pp.

5. Dager, Albert James. „The Origins of Christmas Traditions,” Media Spotlight Special Report Redmond, WA, 1985, 2 pp.

6. Dickey, D.J. & Shetler, Earl. „Should A Christian Celebrate Christmas?” Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Vernonia, OR, 10/89: three-part sermon series – each on a 90-minute audio cassette tape.

7. Dossey, Donald. Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun: Mythical Origins, Scientific Treatments & Superstitious „Cures.” Outcomes Unltd. Press, Asheville, NC, 1995 (paper ed.), 232pp.

8. Elwell, Walter A. (Ed.). Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1984, pp. 218-221.

9. Halff, Charles. The Truth About Christmas. The Christian-Jew Foundation, San Antonio, TX, 13 pp.

10. Halff, Charles. „Is Christmas a Jewish Holiday?” Message Of The Christian Jew. November-December 1993, pp. cover, 1,2 & 7.

11. Helgerson, John C. Considering the Christmas Issue. The Church of the Open Bible, Burlington, MA, 12/31/90, 12 pp.

12. Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons: Or The Papal Worship. Loizeaux Bros., Neptune, NJ, 1959:Second Edition, 330 pp.

13. Kohler, John. Our Baptist Heritage. Heritage Baptist Church, Salem, IN, Vol. 2, No. 3, 11/92, 8 pp.

14. McCurry, Robert. The God Man Has Made. Heritage Press, Sharpsburg, GA, 8pp.

15. Pink, A.W. Xmas . Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 6 pp.

16. Schneider, Michael. Is Christmas Christian? Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 15 pp.

17. Spurlin, Ed. Where Is The Christ In Christmas. Voice in the Wilderness, Milford, NH, 11/92, 8pp.

18. Spurgeon, C.H. „Joy Born At Bethlehem,” A Sermon: Delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, December 24th, 1871. Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, pp. 697-698.

19. Unknown. My Lord Has Not Told Me To Do It: The Christian and „Christmas. ” Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 4 pp.

20. Unknown. 10 Reasons Why Christmas Is Unscriptural. Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 8 pp.

21. (Vine, W.E.), Gospel Tract Publications. The Collected Writings of W.E. Vine, Volume 5. Glasgow, Scotland, 1986, pp. 436-439.

22. Willcock, Shaun. The Pagan Festivals of Christmas and Easter. Bible Based Ministries, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 1992, 76 pp.

23. Wilson, Greg. Let’s Keep Christ Out of Xmas. Landmark Independent Baptist Church, Homestead, FL, 4 pp.

Christmas or Christ-Mass

Christmas or Christ-Mass

For the vast majority of people the question is really no question at all. Is Christmas
Christian? „Of course it is! What could be more Christian than Christmas? Isn’t it Jesus’ birthday?”
For many others there has been an increasingly uncomfortableness with the celebration of
Christmas. There is an uneasy feeling that something is not quite right. And yet they keep telling
themselves, „Christmas is Jesus’ birthday – The world has corrupted Christmas, but undeneath
it’s still a wonderful holiday.” Yes, there is a sentimental appeal of the „holiday spirit.” There is a
certain charm about the season. No one with even a touch of sentimentality could escape a
twinge of nostalgia when there’s a feeling of „Christmas in the air.” What is the „true” meaning of
Christmas? Where did it come from? What does it stand for now? The real question is the nature
of the institution itself. We are so snowed under by a century of tradition and nostalgia that it’s
almost impossible for most people to look at the issue objectively. Look honestly at this institution
of Christmas and keep in mind that the Word of God is the only true and sufficient guide for the
child of God. Many say we need to put „Christ” back into „Christmas.” But Christ never wanted to
be part of a celebration of Christmas. The fact is that there is nothing Christian about Christmas,
either in its present observance or in its origin, Christmas is basically and essentially pagan. Who
is it that celebrates Christmas? The whole „civilized world” celebrates it. Millions who make no
profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who „despise and reject Him,” and millions more who
while claiming to be His followers, yet in works denying Him, join in the merry-making under the
pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Can we really believe that He whom the world
cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? „Thou shalt not
follow a multitude to do evil.” (Ex. 23:2). Whatever the world practices ought to be held in
suspicion by the believer in Christ, for „all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world,” (I John 2:16) „and we know
we are of God, and the world lieth in wickedness.” (I John 5:19). Sadly, too many Christians are
badly misled by men’s traditions and blind to the importance of receiving guidance only from
God’s Word, to take a godly stand against Christmas.
„Christmas” is a word which embodies an idea that is unknown in the Bible. To say that it
is biblical, is of private interpretation and the Bible is not for private interpretation. „Holy men
spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (II Pet 1:20,21). „All Scriptures is given by
inspiration of God.” (II Tim. 3:16). „Christmas” is excluded from all of Scripture. The apostle Paul
tells us „though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we
have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8). The Roman Catholic Church claims
authorship of choosing the name „Christ” to connect with their „mass.” The very idea of joining
Christ to the mass is an abomination. Christ came to earth to die once for sin, but according to
Roman Catholic teaching each mass is „a true sacrifice, in which the risen Christ becomes bodily
present on the altar as a victim who is offered anew by the church to God the Father as expiation
for the sins of men.” They re-crucify Christ at every celebration of the mass! Here we see that
Christ-mass is of human invention, therefore not scriptural nor spiritual. Christ-mass belongs to
that „other gospel,” for Paul knew nothing of linking Christ to a mass. And John makes clear the
consequences of adding to Scripture: „If any man add unto these things, God shall add unto him
the plagues that are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:18).
There is no indication in the New Testament that the early Christians observed Christ-
mass at all. It can be shown in church history that for over 300 years after the birth of Christ,
Christians knew nothing of celebrating Christ-mass. It was only as the church began to drift from
apostolic doctrine and practice into corruption that Christ-mass began. The source of most of the
basic forms of paganism in the ancient world can be traced back to the Babylonian „mysteries”. In
the Old Testament Babylon stands as the epitome of everything that is godless and perverse. The
greatest indignation suffered by God’s people for their sins is to be carried off into Babylonian
captivity, into the heart of the heathen world. In the New Testament „Babylon” becomes Rome.
The Roman Empire embodies the pagan beliefs and practices of ancient Babylon and is seen as
the arch-enemy of God’s people. In 313 A.D. the Roman Emperor Constantine claimed to become
a Christian and declared Christianity to be the offcial religion. His embracing of the Christian
Church proved detrimental to true Christianity. Constantine retained the traditional pagan titles,
and his coins still bear the figures and names of the old Roman gods. The church became „the
Roman Catholic Church” and its methods became compromise with paganism. Since then, the
Roman Catholic way of converting pagans to its style of worship has been to absorb them
gradually, along with their idolatrous observances. The church was content to swell in „converts”
by meeting paganism halfway. The Roman Catholic Church has continued the same approach
until this day. It can be seen particularly in Central and South America, were idols have simply
been replaced with statues of the saints. In the book of Revelation, the apostatizing church is
called „the great harlot” who is seated upon many waters, „with whom the kings of the earth have
committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her
fornication.” She was „a woman sitting on a scarlet colored beast full of names of blasphemy,
having seven heads and ten horns and the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colors, and
decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of
abominations and the filthiness of her fornication; and upon her forehead was a name writtern,
mystery Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” And John says
that she was „drunken with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” (Rev.
17:1-6). „Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not
of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4). The Roman Catholic Church did the very opposite. They
compromised with her and became contaminated with her corruption.
No one really knows the time of Christ’s birth and December 25th is a highly unlikely time.
However, at the time of the year that the days begin to lengthen again, the Babylonians celebrated
the victory of their Sun god. The Roman copy of this Babylonian custom was called Saturnalia, the
feast of the birth of Sol. For centuries it was an abomination to Christians. The celebration was an
orgy of pagan revelry. But the church, instead of standing firm against paganism, began to
compromise. It wanted to „help” weak young Christians who didn’t want to give up the fun and
merry-making surrounding the winter solstice. So the church said, „Go on with your fun and
celebration. Only now we’ll call it a celebration of the birth of the Son of God. Instead of losing
people to paganism, we’ll combine the two and gradually even win some of the pagans to profess
Christianity. Let’s not force men to choose between the two.” It was for this very reason that in
Calvin’s Geneva you could have been fined or imprisoned for celebrating Christ-mass. It was at
the request of the Westminster Assembly that the English Parliament in 1644 passed an act
forbidding the observance of Christ-mass, calling it a heathen holiday. The Westminster divines
said: „There is no day commanded in Scripture to be kept holy under the gospel but the Lord’s
day, which is the Christian sabbath. Festival-days vulgarly called ‘Holy-days;’ having no warrant in
the work of God, are not to be continued.” When the Puritans came to America they passed
similar laws. The early New Englanders worked steadily through December 25, 1620 in „studied
neglect” of the day. About 40 years later the General Court of Massachusetts decreed punishment
for those who kept the season: „…anyone who is found observing, by abstinence from labor,
feasting, or any other way, any such days as Christ-mass Day, shall pay for every such offense
five shillings.”
From ancient times trees have played an important role in pagan religion and were even
worshipped. Trees were used to ward off witches, evil spirits, and ghosts. In Egypt the palm tree
was prominent but in Rome it was the fir. Jeremiah warned the Old Testament people of God:
„Thus saith the Lord: ‘Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of the
heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one
cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with an ax. They deck it with
silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.” (Jer. 10:2- 4).
Even the nativity scene, which some regard as the most „Christian” symbol of Christ-mass,
originated in paganism. Nearly every recorded form of pagan worship which is decended from the
Babylonian „mysteries” focuses on a mother and the birth of her child. Different cultures used
different names, but the concept is the same. In Babylon it was the worship of the queen of
heaven and her son Tammuz, the sun god, who was thought to be the incarnation of the sun. The
birth of the sun god took place at the winter Solstice. „Yule” was the Babylonian name for child or
infant, and „Yule Day” was celebrated long before Christ’s birth. The next time you see a manger
scene on a Christ-mass card, and Mary and Jesus have a halo around their heads, know that this
Roman Catholic concept is borrowed from the Babylonian „mysteries.” And remember that God
forbids any to make for himself „any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:4).

Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to commemorate the birth of our Lord. God the Father evidently deemed it unwise to make the date known to us. Hence it will always remain unknown and is not to be remembered and celebrated. Paul says „Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” (II Cor. 5:16). Paul means that we are to know Christ spiritually and not according to the flesh, such as an infant, for this is of no value to us. But notice – we are commanded to remember His death, but no special day of the year is specified for
this. He said: „Take eat, this is my body which is broken for you, this DO in rememberance of me.”
(I Cor. 11:24). It is His death on the cross, His precious blood that paid for our sins, that we are
told to remember. And that is what the world tries to soft pedal. „The preaching of the cross is to
them that perish foolishness.” (I Cor. 1:18). To commemorate His death is scriptural. To
commerate his birth is non-scriptural, whether you choose any day or December 25th. We find no
salvation in the birth of our Lord; Salvation was only possible through His death. Our faith must be
in the cross, not in the birth. „God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ.” (Gal. 6:14).
By searching the Word of God, we find that the birth of Christ, the shepards, and the
wisemen have no connection to the day called Christ-mass. Christ-mass is a human invention, but
Christ came into the world to save sinners. It has no comparison. The wisemen from the Far East
came and gave their gifts to Jesus (or rather to His mother for Him), not to one another as is
being done today. This gift giving was not on His birthday, but a number of days afterwards. The
Christ-mass story is so greatly misconstrued and a mass of conglomeration has accumulated in
the minds of the people. Annually the Yuletide season is overflowed with literature and greeting
cards of untrue representations. We can observe pictures of Mary and Joseph in the stable and
three wisemen in their presence giving gifts. The Bible is silent as to how many wisemen there
actually were. Then we also see these Yuletide cards with the shepards out with their flocks and a
star in the distance. Again the Bible has nothing to mention of a star among the shepards.
The most notable birthday celebrations in the Bible are Pharoah’s and Herod’s.
Interestingly, they both are accompanied by murder! The most outstanding merry-making and gift-
sending part in the Bible is in Revelation 11: 10, where God’s two faithful witnesses are finally
slain and people rejoice and send gifts to each other because they no longer have to listen to
God’s message! Let the true Christian take his stand openly on the Lord’s side, by having nothing
to do with these festivities which are the inventions of modern Babylon. Oh, the parties and
revelries and debauchery that take place at this time of the year, supposedly in connection with
the birth of Jesus Christ. Drunkenness is more prevelant at this time than at any other. There are
more automobile accidents during the „holy-day season” than at any other time. All tied in with the
celebration of the Savior’s birth. „For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath
remembered her iniquities.” (Rev. 18:5). „Earnestly contend for the faith, which was once
delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3). „And have no fellowship with the unfruifful works of darkness,
but rather reprove them.” (Eph. 5:11).
But what about giving gifts? Isn’t that a nice way to remember the birth of our Lord?
Surely there is nothing un-Christian about giving to one another. But consider how perverted this
has become. ‘We spend money we don’t have to buy gifts people don’t need”. What a mockery
this has become. Could anyone seriously suggest that the merchandising we see in America
around December 25th is honoring to Jesus Christ, the One who lived a life of simplicity, humility
and self-denial, who condemned ostentation and self-indulgence, who taught us that „a man’s life
consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth?” (Luke 12:15). Yet people
who claim to be Christians spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on their Christ-masses.
At the same time they give little for the work of the gospel in our land or in the needy mission field.
Isn’t true Christian giving something that should take place the year round, out of a true heart of
love, and not from compulsion and with an expectation to receive in return? The greatest gift that
was ever given to the world was Jesus Christ Himself – NOT as a babe but as a sacrificed Lamb,
a crucified Savior in the redemptive work of salvation. This is by far the greater gift than his birth,
and the Lord God revealed a much greater concem in this redemption on the cross than as an
infant in a manger. The most essential part of our giving a gift is giving our all to Him in
consecration, holiness and service. How foolish and even embarrassing does our method of
giving look to the Lord Jesus? For instance, think of the inconsistency of us, giving Tom a gift
because it is Dick’s birthday. But that is the way we use Christ when this special pagan „holy-day”
comes. Think of the untold sum of the Lord’s money (See Haggai 2:8) that is being spent in
connection with the eating and over-eating of nuts and candies, roast turkey and dressing, and all
kinds of other goodies. Much of it results in headaches, stomach disorders and other ailments
which go with it. Gluttony is a sin. All this is outright heathendom and an insult to the Master. It has
no connection with the scriptural story of the Savior’s birth.
Some will argue for the „Keeping of Christ-mass” on the grounds of „giving the children a
good time.” But why do it under the cloak of honoring the Savior’s birth? Why is it necessary to
drag His holy name into what takes place at this season of carnal pleasure? Is this taking the little
ones with you out of Egypt, (See Ex. 10:8-10) a type of the world, or is it not plainly a mingling with
the present-day Egyptions in their „pleasures of sin for a season?” (Heb. 11:25). Scripture says,
„Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov.
22:6). Scripture commands God’s people to bring up their children „in the nurture and admonition
of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4). But, where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the children „a good
time?” Should we ever give the children „a good time” when we engage in anything upon which
we cannot fittingly ask the Lord’s blessing?
Or what about „Santa Claus?” Can anyone seriously deny that he represents the „real”
meaning of Christ-mass for the majority of Americans? What does he really stand for? Is he a
harmless, jolly, fat elf, or has he become an anti-christian symbol of greed, materialism,
selfishness – an expression of „something for nothing?” Parents who tell their children the Santa
Claus myth are endangering their credibility with their children. When they ask, „Can Santa Claus
really see through walls?” – what does one reply? Children need to know that they can trust
everything their parents tell them without question. How can they expect to teach children truths of
the gospel if parents confuse reality with myths? Everything the modern American pagan believes
about God is represented in Santa Claus. He is busily engaged in a nice, though rather
meaningless activity most of the year. He exists somewhere up north as a harmless, friendly old
man with a long white beard. He visits his people once a year, spending the other 364 days in
obscurity. A child may write to the North Pole, but the communication is strictly one way; Santa is
not involved with daily living. The way for a child to be acceptable in Santa’s sight is to be „good.”
Santa warns of the consequences of being „bad,” but his word really can’t be trusted. The child
knows he has not been perfect. Even though he feels a little anxiety, he remembers last year and
knows that no matter what Santa says or what the child does, in the end Santa will reward him.
Santa represents a god who threatens man with hell and judgment only to keep him in line in this
life, but who will accept all men in one way or another in the end. The Santa Claus myth builds an
un-biblical concept of God.

The world loves Christ-mass because Christ-mass promotes a sentimental picture of a baby in a
manger. Christ-mass keeps Jesus a baby. Jesus is misrepresented by Christ-mass. The Gospel
is misrepresented by Christ-mass. Christ-mass is the one time an ungodly person can safely be
religious. Most people like to do something religious every once in a while to ease their
consciences and convince themselves that they are really pretty good people after all. Christ-
mass affords them the perfect opportunity to do that. It’s perfectly safe for the most pagan person
to join in the Christmas spirit. You can have the Christ-mass spirit without having the Holy Spirit.
The very popularity of Christ-mass should cause the Christian to question it. Anyone and everyone
can celebrate Christ-mass without question. Outright pagans, nominal Christians, even Buddhists
join in the celebration. If in reality December 25th was a date set by God to remember the birth of
Jesus, you can be very sure that the world would have nothing to do with it. After all, God has
commanded the observance of one day in seven, a day when Christians celebrate the
resurrection of Christ, the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day – but does the world observe it? Of
course they do not. The world totally disregards it. In fact, most who call themselves Christian
don’t observe it the way the Bible commands it be observed! Shouldn’t the Christian be suspicious
of a celebration in which the whole sinful world can join without qualms? There are multitudes of
people who continually desecrate the Lord’s Day, but somehow have a great zeal about Christ-
mass.
Does any Christian imagine for a moment that when he shall stand before the Holy Lord,
that he will regret having lived „too strictly” on earth? Is there the slightest danger of His reproving
any of His own because they were „too extreme” in abstaining „from fleshly lusts, which war
against the soul?” (I Pet. 2:11). We may gain the good will and good word of the worldly
religionists today by our compromising on „little (?) points,” but shall we receive His smile of
approval on that Day? We should be more concerned about what He thinks, and less concerned
about what perishing mortals think. It is an easy thing to float with the tide of popular opinion; but it
takes much grace, diligently sought from God, to swim against it. Yet that is what the heir of
heaven is called on to do. We are to „be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2), to deny self,
take up the cross, and follow a rejected Christ. How sorely do we need to heed that word of the
Savior, „Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Rev.
3:11). Oh, that each of us may be able to truthfully say as with the Psalmist, „I have refrained my
feet from every evil way, that I might keep Thy Word.” (Ps. 119:101).

A MAN-MADE GOD By Milburn Cockrell

A MAN-MADE GOD
By Milburn Cockrell
„Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Ex. 20:3-5).
„Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I John 5:21).
The Holy Scriptures prohibit us from worshipping any man-made God. When you mention an idol most people think of a heathen bowing before some stone image in the jungle. But idolatry is putting any object in the place of God or before God. At this season I fear that many people are guilty of worshipping a man-made god, either knowingly or unknowingly. Santa Claus has become a God-substitute. Although people say they are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, it is a known fact that Santa Claus is mentioned more in most homes than Jesus Christ.
At this season of the year little children are told Santa Claus is coming to town. We see images of him with his white beard, dressed in a red suit, riding in his sleigh drawn by eight reindeer. Parents and grandparents say it would be wrong to rob little children of their belief in Santa Claus. The observant Christian can see that it is Santa Claus the myth, not Christ the reality, who is the center of attraction at this time of the year. Christmas could not survive without Santa Claus.
ORIGIN OF SANTA CLAUS
The origin of Santa Claus grew out of legends and superstitions of the ancient nations. The pagan German deities before the time of Christ were believed to come down the chimney to give rewards and punishments to people. They were gods of fire and solar gods, called hearth spirits. In China each year this fire god, dressed in a fiery red cap and jacket, traveled from the distant heavens to visit homes and distribute favors or punishments.
The image of Santa Claus in its more modern form began in the fourth century. A Roman Catholic bishop named Nicholas is said to have lived in what is now Turkey about 1,700 years ago. The World Book Encyclopedia says of St. Nicholas: „The beloved legend of Santa Claus, who brings gifts to all good children at Christmas time, is connected with Saint Nicholas, who was an actual person. . . .The stories about Saint Nicholas say that he lived during the A.D. 300’s. . . .One story is told that on three nights in a row he tossed bags of gold into the window of three girls who did not have the money for a dowry and so could not get married. This story may have started the custom of giving gifts at Christmas” (Vol. 12, p. 5680).
After Saint Nicholas died mothers told children that good Nicholas might visit them again at Christ’s mass. This idea supposed that this bishop had died and rose from the dead, for he could not have brought gifts after his death without rising from the dead. At first most European people celebrated December 6, the date of Saint Nicholas’ death, as a special holiday. As the years past the 6th of December gave place to December 25th. This is why Santa Claus is sometimes called even today Saint Nicholas. In Holland Christmas is still celebrated on December 6, the day of Saint Nicholas’ death.
Santa Claus has many different names in various countries of the world. Saint Nicholas in America is now called Santa Claus. The Dutch children shortened „Nicholas” to Claus,” and the Spanish influence in the Netherlands changed „Saint” to „Santa.” In Germany he is called Kris Kringle and in France Pere Noel (Father Christmas).
„In Holland St. Nicholas appeared, as he still does today, in the colorful regalia of a medieval bishop, including the red miter upon his head and the long cape draped from his shoulders. In America the miter and cape became the colorful cap and suit of our Santa Claus, both bright red and trimmed with fur. Instead of the serious mien of a bishop, he became a fat, jovial figure with white beard and ruddy nose and cheeks, a mixture of human and supernatural attributes” (Colliers Encyclopedia, Vol. 20, pp. 414-415).
Santa Claus in its modern form came from a poem in 1822 written by Clement C. Moore A Visit from St. Nicholas, which gives a picture of the saint as we know him today. But even this poem, which begins with the familiar line „`Twas the night before Christmas,” the name of Santa Claus does not appear. Thomas Nast, the cartoonist, gave the first picture of Santa Claus as he is imagined today in a cartoon, in 1863. Later his famous drawing Santa Claus and His Works, which appeared as a Christmas picture in Harper’s Weekly in 1866, showed Santa Claus in his workshop with his record of the good and bad deeds of all children. The drawing also showed the sleigh with reindeer, the pack of toys, the stockings hung at the fire-place, and the Christmas tree (See World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 15, pp. 7211-7212).
The modern Santa Claus myth originated with St. Nicholas, a Roman Catholic monk who is believed to have lived in the fourth century in what is now called Turkey about 1,700 years ago. After his death mothers told their children that though he was dead yet he lived again and would visit them on the night of the mass of Christ and give them gifts if they had been good. Although the name has changed sometimes from country to country, the myth is still being told unto this very day. In America Santa Claus is a mixture of human and supernatural attributes. In his sleigh drawn by eight reindeer he flies miraculously over the house tops of the world in one single night, leaving gifts to all.
SANTA CLAUS, AN ANTICHRIST
The average person would have us to believe that the Santa Claus myth is just clean, wholesome fun for little children. They say it is a thing to develop the imagination of children. But his is hardly the case. In truth Santa Claus is an antichrist, a God-substitute, a man-made god, a working of the spirit of iniquity. If you move the „n” in Santa” to the last „a” you have Satan.”
Consider the popular Christmas song that we hear at this time of the year:
You better watch out, you better not cry,
Better not pout, I’m telling you why–
Santa Claus is coming to town!

He’s making a list and checking it twice,
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice–
Santa Claus is coming to town!

He sees you when you’re sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake,
He knows if you’ve been bad or good–
So be good for goodness sake!

Oh! You better watch out, you better not cry,
Better not pout, I’m telling you why–
Santa Claus is coming to town!
If you will take the time to examine what is being said here about Santa Claus, you will see that he has the attributes of Jesus Christ. There is nothing in the universe like Christ. But Santa Claus is just as unique as Jesus Christ.
Christ is eternal (John 1:1-3). So is Santa Claus. He was never born and no one knows who his parents were. It would also seem that he has no end.
Christ is unchangeable (Heb. 13:8). Santa Claus has not aged in 1,700 years. He is no older now than when I was a little child. He still looks the same today as he did a hundred years ago.
Christ is omniscient (John 21:17). So is Santa Claus. The popular song says: „He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, He knows if you’ve been bad or good. . .” Santa Claus can see all over the world, and he knows the good or bad conduct of little children.
Christ is omnipotent (Matt. 28:18), but so is Santa Claus. At Christmas time Santa can do anything. Poor parents may live in the slums and not have a dime to their name, but Santa Claus can bring their children almost any present. Nothing is too hard for him.
Christ is omnipresent (Matt. 28:20), but so is St. Nick. He can be in every department store in the city, on TV, in the supermarkets, on the street corners, in churches, at Christmas parties–all at the same time. On Christmas Eve he leaves the North Pole and travels over the whole world, going down everybody’s chimney, leaving gifts in just one single night!
Christ is sovereign (John 5:21). So is Santa. Who has authority over him? In what court can he be tried? To whom is he responsible? He is over all.
Christ is good (Acts 10:38). So is Santa Claus. He is very good to children who have behaved very well. He is the giver of good gifts to all at Christmas time.
Christ is righteous (I John 2:1). But Christ has nothing on Santa Claus, for Santa has no moral imperfections. Has he ever done any wrong to any person? Has he ever confessed his sins?
Christ is just (I Peter 3:18), but so is Santa Claus his mythical substitute. „You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I’m telling you why–Santa Claus is coming to town.” Santa is coming in the character of a judge to examine the conduct of little children. He is a rewarder and punisher like Christ. Boys and girls must live to please him if they want their stockings filled.
Christ is forgiving (Mark 2:10), but so is the imaginary Santa Claus. Although children are not always good, Santa still fills their stockings with candy and puts them presents under the Christmas tree. So Santa is forgiving just like Christ! Most children learn that you do not have to be good to get your present each Christmas.
This should be enough to convince any person that Santa Claus is a substitute for Jesus Christ. Saint Nicholas died, but after he died mothers told their children that good Nicholas might visit them again at the mass of Christ. This would have meant that Saint Nicholas rose from the dead–an imitation of the resurrection of Christ. The Bible says that Christ will come again to reward His servants as to their being good or bad (II Cor. 5:9-11; Rev. 22:11). Santa comes every year to reward the good and bad–a cheap imitation of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
SANTA CLAUS HARMFUL TO CHILDREN
Santa Claus is a lie. There is no such person. It is to be seriously doubted that the man Saint Nicholas ever existed. The Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 16, p. 477) says that „his existence is not attested by any historical document, so nothing certain is known of his life.” There is not now, nor has there ever been, a man who lives at the North Pole and works all year to make toys to give to children on Christmas Eve. There is no such thing as a man who rides in a sleigh up in the sky which is pulled by eight reindeer. Reindeer might pull a sleigh on the ground, but never in the air.
How sad that little children fight with their playmates to prove there is a Santa Claus and that mother and father are telling the truth. The Santa Claus myth is a system of perpetual lying to little children. Their little bright eyes ask with all seriousness: „Is there really a Santa Claus? Can Santa’s reindeer really fly? Does Rudolph have a red nose?” When parents answer these trusting little hearts in the affirmative they are lending their personal authority to a big lie! The lie becomes a truth to the child.
Should a Christian lie? The Bible answer is plain. Exodus 20:16 says: „Thou shalt not bear false witness.” God says of His people in Isaiah 63:8: „Surely they are my people, children that will not lie. . .” How can parents who lie to their children about Santa Claus fit this description? Ephesians 4:25 commands us to put „away lying.”
Parents punish their children for lying to them about things, but then they turn around and lie to the children about Santa Claus. How inconsistent and foolish. No wonder there is a generation gap! No wonder children grow up to believe Christ is a myth. Such lies destroy the child’s faith in his parents. He finds out that Santa, a man with God-like attributes, is a fake. He then thinks that Santa is for little kids and Christ is for big kids!
Henry Work, M.D., a Bethesda, Maryland, child psychiatrist and former chairman of the department of child psychiatry of UCLA, made some interesting comments about the Santa Claus lie: „Is it smart to use the image of an all-seeing, all-knowing Santa Claus to influence a child’s behavior? You know the line–`You’d better be good or Santa won’t leave any presents under the tree!’ It’s often used as an effective, if harsh, way to bring an unruly youngster back into line at this time of the year. The answer to the question is no” (Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 1984, p. 45).
The Santa Claus lie destroys the child’s faith in his parents. It is quite a shock when he discovers his parents have been lying and laughing behind his back all these years. He was a fool for fighting to prove them right at school. Credibility is gone. Doubts and suspicions linger long in his mind. He begins to doubt what mom and dad have said about the Bible, God, morals, and his country! One little boy who had learned the truth about Santa Claus was heard to say to his classmate: „Now that I know that there is no Santa Claus I intend to check into this Jesus Christ thing also!”
This myth tends to teach children salvation by good works. The song says: „He’s making a list and checking it twice, Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.” This gives the impression to a child that the way of acceptance is being „nice.” This is not true. Salvation is in one trusting in the blood and righteousness of Christ. It is not any kind of good works performed by man. Santa Claus is just another form of Arminianism!
Santa Claus is preparing the way for the Antichrist. He is presently a Christ-substitute. The final Antichrist will be a man who will give gifts to all and solve all the problems of the world. He will promise to make every day one big Christmas for all (Rev. 11:9-10)! No wonder the world will gladly receive him and worship him!
Santa Claus is a false Christ. He should have no place in the homes and churches of real Christians. Don’t tell your children the Santa Claus lie. Tell them about Jesus Christ. Tell them to pay homage to the ever-living Christ born of a virgin, and forget the „visions of sugarplums” in your head! Tell them of how Christ shed His red blood for sinners, not about some fat man in a red suit who does not exist.
I wish to conclude this message by reading a letter that a young mother wrote to Santa Claus:

„Dear Santa Claus:
„You’ll probably be surprised to receive this letter from an adult. You may be even more surprised as you read it to find that the writer is neither a maiden aunt nor a disgruntled bachelor. I’m a young mother.
„It isn’t my intention, Santa, to hurt your feelings. You see, my family has paid tribute to you for many past Christmases: my husband and I when we were in our childhood; now our children who are 6, 4, and 2. They still care for you. How much they care has really proved a problem in recent years. It is threatening to happen again this holiday season.
„Our children worship you. They speak of you constantly. They watch diligently for your December 25 appearance. Can you tell us, Santa, what you have done to deserve this faithfulness from two generations? Can you promise any future consideration in exchange for past loyalties?
„During a family crisis, have you ever told us, „Lo, I am with you alway”? Were you ever with us during sorrow to comfort us with these words: „But your sorrow will be turned into joy”? And, Santa, there have been doubtful times. Where were you? We didn’t hear from you the calming message, „I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
„We have come to the conclusion that you have been even less than a friend should be. And we have been shortchanged. My three children have stood on a windy, cold mainstreet just to get a glimpse of your jolly face. They have written heartfelt yearly letters. They have gone to department stores to whisper in your ear. They have worked hard at being good in anticipation of your Christmas Eve visit. Yes, they’ve done all this–as their father and I did before them.
„But there’s going to be a change this Christmas. There isn’t going to be any Santa Claus worship in our home. We’ve decided to focus our attention and adoration on another Being–One who has stood by us the other 364 days this past year; One who has comforted us during the sorrowful and doubtful times–and yes, the times of crisis also.
Ít’s true that your name will probably be mentioned around our house, Santa. Old habits are hard to break abruptly. But Someone Else’s name will be mentioned much more often. The children will probably work just as hard at being good, but I hope they will do it for another inducement–one that will last the whole year long–to bring glory to Another’s name. That other One has given us so much more–and not just on Christmas Eve!
„You may call our family fickle, Santa, but we won’t mind. On this December 25, and all through the year, we want a Comforter, a Healer, a strengthening King. We don’t want a myth any longer.
„We’ve talked it over. This year we’ve decided to give tribute, honor, and worship to Someone who really deserves them–to the True Giver–Our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Farewell,
A Young Mother”