YAHSHUA (JESUS) SAID:
“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding onto the traditions of men.” (Mark 7:8)
My main intention in producing this leaflet, is to expand the Christian (“Believer’s”) knowledge about the festival of Christmas, and to get them to consider if it is really a festival that honours the Son of God whom we claim to worship. I also hope that the reader will be able to use this leaflet as a basis for further study, in order to take a closer look at the customs, ritual and history of a festival that we accept as being appropriate, that perhaps is not.
The anniversary of the birth of Messiah (Christ) and its observance. The date of the birth of Messiah is not known. Celebrated by most Protestants and by Roman Catholics on December 25, by Eastern Orthodox churches on January 6, and by the Armenian Church on January 19. The first mention of its observance on December 25 is in the time of Constantine, c. A.D. 325. The word Christmas is formed of Christ plus Mass, meaning a religious service in commemoration of the birth of Messiah. It is not clear whether the early Believers (believers) thought of or observed Christmas, but once introduced, the observance spread throughout Christendom. Some Believer groups disapprove of the festival. (Q: Is there a command in the bible that shows Christmas is to be celebrated? Is Christmas shown to be celebrated at all in the bible? Notice that Yahshua’s disciples were not Greek and they called him Messiah or Yahshua).
The cult of Mithras, a Persian sun god, the worship of which reached Rome in or about A.D. 69. Based on the trials, sufferings, and exploits of Mithras, the cult appealed to soldiers. December 25 was the chief feast of Mithras, and in fixing on that date for Christmas, the early church sought to overlay both the Mithraic festival and the Saturnalia (see below). Christianity triumphed over Mithraism because of its written records of a historic Messiah, and its associated body of doctrine adapted for preaching, evangelism, and the needs of every day. Christianity, too, was universal, excluding neither woman, child, nor slave. It preached salvation by faith and demanded no stern ordeals. (Q: Should the worship of Messiah be confused and entangled with the worship of any other God or even a person mythical or otherwise?).
Sat-ur-na-li-a: [Saturnalis of Saturn] 1: the ancient Roman festival of Saturn, held about Dec. 17, with general feasting and revelry in celebration of the winter solstice (see below) 2: any period or occasion of unrestrained, often orgiastic, revelry. (1)
Sol-stice: [Sol] the sun + [sistere], to stare, to STAND. SUMMER/WINTER SOLSTICES.
This scripture forbids the worship of the sun, moon and stars etc, things that the Pagan Solstices are closely linked with: And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars–all the heavenly array–do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven (2).
(This scripture forbids divination, astrology, and human sacrifice, things that the Druids and heathens practice): Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. (3)
Q’s: Is Christmas an example of a ‘Believers’ festival that actually has links with pagan religion which God hates? Believers’ festivals are such because God has commanded them to be kept. If we as Believers join in celebrating a festival that God has not commanded, which the heathen use to promote practices which are contrary to the desire of God; aren’t we yoking ourselves with them to some degree by giving that festival a kind of legitimacy? Paul writes: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Messiah and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (4)
“These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (5)
BIBLE NOTES ON MARK CHAPTER 7 VERSE 8:
the commands of God . . . the traditions of men. Yahshua clearly contrasts the two. God’s commands are found in Scripture and are binding; the traditions of the elders (and our own traditions e.g. Christmas and Easter) – (v. 3) are not Biblical and therefore not authoritative or binding. Consider, the only ordinance Yahshua said we should keep in remembrance of him is ‘communion’. Also consider Yahshua’s words “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” – (based on John 8:58), and Colossians 1:15-20. When was Messiah actually ‘born’? Is any celebration of his birth really something that we can truly understand? (6)
THE ATTITUDES WE HAVE TOWARD FEASTING AND GIVING:
If giving presents is an act of love, Yahshua said: “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (7) The same could be said of feasts, for Yahshua said: “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (8)
Q’s: Why should it require a special season of the year to be generous to people? Is this tokenism? Is it possible that Christmas represents a kind of sincerity and good intention, which is actually not in keeping with the ideals and commands and spirit of the person (i.e. Yahshua Messiah) that Christmas is supposed to celebrate?
EXCESS, CHEATING AND HYPOCRISY:
The drunkenness and overeating that generally goes on at Christmas is perhaps symbolic of two things; the first being the drunkenness of spirit that permits conformity to false beliefs, the second being the desire to be filled with the pleasures of this world. One could argue that the food and drink that the heathen devour are symbolic of their union with Satan, in a similar manner that a Believer’s union with Messiah is represented by the communion of bread and wine. At Christmas the prices of goods go up, and in the hustle and bustle to buy, people can seem blind or indifferent to the fact that they are often being conned. Minds are focused on the next big consumer desire rather than on Messiah. People who are hard pressed all year perhaps get a few days of work with extra and/or early pay, perhaps given as an encouragement for them to join in with the tide of consumer excess and celebrate a festival with little scriptural validity that will profit them little. At seasons end they return to the same old routine, knowing nothing further of the true riches of godliness. Can this really be Messiah‘s desire for this Laodicean world? (9) Many will celebrate the birth of Messiah at Christmas and worship him as a ‘little babe’, but these same people do not regard so highly the teachings and lifestyle that Messiah taught as a man. The truth is that it is not the birth of Messiah alone that saves us, we have to follow his teaching (including baptism), and recognise and celebrate the power of his death and resurrection daily, to truly embrace the hope of eternal life.
BACKWARD AND PARTIAL THINKING
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul writes to a group of Believers who had made a break from Pagan religion (See Galatians 4:8-11). In this passage Paul is rebuking the Galatians for turning back to their old principles of pagan worship (noting we are in Messiah permanently, not just for a season). Could the same passage of scripture be applied today to Believers who mix pure Believer’s teachings as found in the bible, with symbols and practices from Pagan rites and festivals? What could the effects of this mixing and compromise be?.
1) Note 1 Peter 4:1-5, Ephesians 5:15-20, & Numbers chapter 25.
2) Deuteronomy 4:19.
3) Based on Deuteronomy 18:9-13. To review the conflict that exists between the worshipers of God, and those who worship created things see: Daniel Chapters 2-5, Isaiah chapter 47, note verse 13, & 59:5-8 – ‘vipers’, ‘egg’ – could this passage refer to the practices of the DRUIDS? Also see Romans 1:21-25.
4) 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, & note 1 Corinthians 10:18-22, 1 Timothy 4:7, & 2 Timothy 4:3&4.
5) Mark 7:6-9, & note Deuteronomy 4:2.
6) See Luke 22:14-23, note 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.
7) Matthew 5:46&47. Also see Revelation 11:1-14 note verse 10.
8) Luke chapter 14:12-14, & note Matthew 23:1-7.
9) Note Hosea 12:7&8, Amos 8:5, Ecclesiastes 5:11, and consider Revelation 3:14-22 and the concept of a ‘Laodicean world‘.
NOTE: All boxed excerpts are from: ‘Brewer’s Concise Phrase & Fable’. 16 ed. © 2000 Published by Cassell & Co, ISBN 0-304-35725-1
PAMPHLET VERSION: The Origins Of Christmas