Arhive pe categorii: Christmas

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.

 

Anunțuri

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!

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. . .”
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© Berea Baptist Church, Mantachie, Mississippi, U.S.A.

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