Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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Five Reasons Why The Sons Of
God Should Not Celebrate
By J. Preston Eby
Jesus was not born on December 25th!
The first time I ever made this statement to anyone I was viewed with a combination of doubt, incredulity, hostility and outright pity. Christ was not born on Christmas! How could anyone say such a thing!
In late December of each year, thousands of tourists flock into the small town of Bethlehem in the Judean Hills south of Jerusalem to participate in annual Christmas celebrations there. Some make the six mile journey from Jerusalem on foot. Upon arrival, they crowd with silent awe into the paved expanse of Manger Square in front of the revered Church of the Nativity, built over the traditional sight of Jesus' birth. Inevitably, some of these tourists arrive in Israel unprepared. They have not thoroughly studied their guidebooks. As they step off their plane, they receive a real shock! November through early March is "winter" in Israel! The weather gets cold, especially at night. often it rains—or even snows! Yet many arrive in Israel carrying luggage bulging with summer attire, reasoning that it is always hot and arid in the Middle East. So they hurriedly purchase coats and sweaters in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem for their pilgrimage down to Bethlehem. Nevertheless, most of those who stand in Manger Square on December 25 each year—prepared and unprepared alike—fail to perceive the message being proclaimed by the very weather around them!
All who study this subject know that Jesus was not born in December because it is very cold in Palestine in the winter time. Jesus was not even born in the winter season! When the Christ-child was born "there were in the same country shepherds ABIDING in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Lk. 2:8). This never could have occurred in Palestine in the month of December. Men, women, and children could not travel by mule or on foot in mid-winter to the city of their birth to be taxed (Lk. 2: 3). Joseph would not have taken Mary, great with child, on such a long journey in the winter time (Lk. 2: 5). The shepherds always brought their flocks from the mountain sides and fields and corralled them not later than October 15, to protect them from the cold rainy season that followed that date. The scriptures show plainly in the Song of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra lO:9,13 that winter was a cold rainy season not permitting people to be exposed out-of-doors for any long period of time.
It was the custom of that time for the Jews to send their sheep out to the fields in early spring and bring them home at the beginning of the first winter rain which began in mid-October.
Adam Clarke in his commentary writes on this: "During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As...the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November (begins in mid-October), we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer. And, as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. on this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a Chronological FACT...see the quotation from the Talmudists in Lightfoot."
Any encyclopedia, or other authority, will tell you that Christ was not born on December 25. The Catholic Encyclopedia frankly states this fact.
The exact date of Jesus' birth is entirely Unknown, as all authorities acknowledge. Hardly any of the early scholars really believed that Christ was born on December 25. In fact, there were all types of guesses by the men of the fourth and fifth centuries, and almost everyone disagreed with the others. See Smith's Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, Vol. 1,p. 358. But the people just couldn't give up celebrating the season. The truth is, no man knew—or knows—when Christ was born! The Gospels say nothing as to the day of His birth. This lack of reference is in itself significant. If God had wanted Christians to celebrate His birthday He surely would have told His people WHEN IT WAS! It is quite evident that if God had planned for us to observe and celebrate Christ's birthday, He would not have completely hidden the exact date!
While the scriptures nowhere reveal the exact date of Jesus' birth, they do indicate the season of the year. Jesus was born in the autumn. According to Lk. 1:2~26, Mary conceived Jesus in the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist. This means that Jesus was born fifteen months after the angel Gabriel appeared to Elizabeth's husband, Zechariah. According to Lk.1:5, Zechariah was a priest of the order of Abijah. Lk. 1:8 states that Gabriel appeared to Zechariah while he was serving as a priest. The order of Abijah served as priests during the second had of the fourth month. Fifteen months later would place the birth of Jesus in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. THAT would BE IN THE FALL of THE YEAR, IN EITHER LATE SEPTEMBER or EARLY October!
One fact is startlingly clear: Christ was not born on Christmas. Those who do not yet know this, or do not wish to know it, are either too firmly dedicated to tradition, no matter how pagan, or are too lazy to bother with simple research.
Nowhere in the scripture or by the spirit of revelation has God commanded us to commemorate the birthday of our Lord!
There is not one word in all the New Testament, or anywhere in the Bible, telling us to observe Christmas. The Christians of the first century, under the inspired teachings of Peter and Paul and the other apostles, never observed Christmas. Paul never observed Christmas. Peter never observed Christmas. John never observed Christmas. In fact—THERE WAS No CHRISTMAS—then! There is no Authority for its observance.
God our Father evidently deemed it unwise to even make the date of Christ's birth known. Hence it will always remain unknown and is not to be remembered or celebrated. There is a very important reason for this! Paul tells us in II Cor. 5 :16, "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more." The Amplified Bible renders the latter part of this verse thus: "No, even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now we have such knowledge of Him that we know Him no longer in terms of the flesh." Paul means that we are to know Christ SPIRITUALLY, in and by the SPIRIT, and not CARNALLY, not as a man, not according to the letter, not after the flesh, not as an infant...for those things are of No VALUE to us AS SPIRITUAL LIFE!
Those who in this last hour are walking in the deep dealings of God's Spirit, are being drawn away from all that is natural, carnal, fleshly, earthly, and external which we so long have considered to be "religious" and which we have faithfully performed thinking we were doing God's will. Jesus referred to such carnal practices when He cried out, "Ye hypocrites! well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men "(Mat. 15: 7-9). The simple fact is that any time we, like the Jews of old, do something to honor god—which God has not commanded and His Spirit is not IN—our worship of God in that thing is VAIN! All for nothing!
This is the hour when God is bringing His Spirit-led people into all His glorious and eternal REALITY! Most Christians are still living only in that which at best is a shadow and not reality. All traditions, ceremonies, rituals, symbols, etc., are merely Shadows of REALITY! God is now drawing a people into the fullness of sonship to Himself, and as we partake of Christ in reality by the Spirit, all religious observances which are merely external, ceremonial, fleshly practices are falling away. God is not interested at this point in our observance of external traditions. God is calling His elect to press forward into the fullness of Christ in the Spirit—into that deep spiritual union with Christ where our walk is experienced in INTERNAL SPIRITUAL REALITY, and where external carnal observances cannot add one whit to anything we have or are in Him. The apostle Paul draws the contrast between that which is carnal and that which is truly spiritual in Gal. 4: 3-7. He shows that Israel, with all their feast days, rituals and ceremonial observances were .'minors...kept like slaves under the rules of the Hebrew ritual and subject to the elementary teachings of a system of external observations and regulations" (Amplified Bible). He goes on to explain that God sent His Son, "born of a woman, born subject to the regulations of the Law, to purchase the freedom of those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us —to be recognized as God's sons." Paul continues, showing that Christ within is the REALITY: "And because you really are His sons, God has sent the Holy Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father! Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then...an heir...of God, through Christ."
Now notice PAUL'S concern in Gal. 4:9-11: "Now however that you have come to be acquainted with and understand and know the true God, or rather to be understood and known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly and worthless elementary things whose slaves you once more want to become? you observe (particular) DAYS, AND months, AND Seasons AND YEARS! I am alarmed about you lest I have labored among and over you in vain." Hear it! Why do those who have received the beautiful hope of sonship continue to dabble in and partake of the celebrating of Babylon's Religious holidays when the Spirit of Truth cries out against it! It is the surpassing wonder and glory of the reality of sonship to God that makes us free from any need for such elementary tokens of slavery! What can a shadow add to substance? What can a babe in a manger add to the glory and power of the Christ of God born in our own heart? Religious holidays are the "weak and beggarly elements of the world" as the King James version states it. And while we know that the particular religious holidays and celebrations referred to by Paul did not include Christmas (because Christmas was not yet "invented"), still the principle remains the same.
Both Gal. 4:9-11 and Col. 2:16 are absolute in their disapproval of all special religious holidays and celebrations. To THIS DAY god HAS not tolled US one jot To observe ANY SPECIAL DAYS. God has not spoken in the scripture, nor in these last days by prophecy, nor by visions, nor by tongues, nor by revelation, nor by angels from heaven, nor by any other means instructing us as His people to celebrate the birthday of His Son or any other DAY! Jesus said, "Remember Me." He never once said, "Remember My birthday." In the light of how much ado is made, how much time, energy, money, etc. is spent to enjoy the day, and honor the Christ-child, THIS IS A sobering Thought!
The observance of external religious traditions exists in the realm of that which is earthly and carnal. They draw men's minds and activities toward that which they represent only AT A GIVEN TIME EACH YEAR Then, most people forget about it the rest of the year! And fill their minds and activities with everything but God. Reality, on the other hand, brings Christ ALIVE IN THE HEART AT ALL TIMES—twenty-four hours of every day—and as we thus live in the SPI RIT and PRESENCE of God we need no day or festivity or celebration to make us REMEMBER HIM or to draw our minds and affections toward Him! God's true people must be directed toward that which is spiritual—the ABIDING LIFE of CHRIST—and not those things which are merely carnal crutches for spiritual minors. I do not hesitate to tell you that this is what the voice of the Spirit of God is speaking in this hour.
Christmas is aPagan, and not a Christian festival!
We have supposed Christmas to be the chief of the Christian holidays. Without asking questions, we have blindly assumed that its observance must be eithercommanded or at least condoned or accepted by God! We have supposed Jesus was born on December 25. We have supposed we exchange gifts because the wise men presented gifts to the Christ-child. We have supposed that the evergreen Christmas tree represented the spiritual eternal life of Christ.
But let's QUIT supposing and look into history and the Bible for FACTS!
Not to Jerusalem, or to Bethlehem, neither to Hebrew nor Christian scriptures do we go for the true story of Christmas. But we must hie away to Babylon, to the land of Shinar, to learn just when Christmas was started, by whom and why. Abundant evidence exists which proves Christmas utterly pagan in origin; as pagan as belief in Dagon, Vishnu, Baal, or Isis and Osiris.
In his well-documented book, Babylon MYSTERY Religion, Ralph Woodrow says, "Instead of this day (Dec. 25) being the time of our Saviour's birth, it was the very day and season on which the pagans for centuries had celebrated the birth of theSun-god! December 25th was the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol—one of the names of the sun-god. In pagan days, this birth of the sun-god was especially popular among that branch of the "mysteries" known as Mithraism. Concerning this we read: 'The largest pagan religious cult which fostered the celebration of December 25 as a holiday throughout the Roman and Greek worlds was the pagan sun worship—Mithraism. This winter festival was called THE NATIVITY—the nativity of the SUN.' And not only was Mithra, the sun-god of Mithraism, said to be born at this time of the year, but Osiris, Horus, Hercules, Bacchus, Adonis, Jupiter, Tammuz, and other sun-gods were also supposedly born at what is today called the 'Christmas' season—the winter solstice! Says a noted writer: 'The winter solstice was the time at which all the sun-gods from Osiris to Jupiter and Mithra had celebrated their birthdays, the celebration being adorned with the pine tree of Adonis, the holly of Saturn, and the mistletoe...tapers represented the kindling of the newborn sun-god's fire.' Now the fact that the various sungods that were worshipped in different countries were all believed to have been born at the same season (in the old fables), would seem to indicate that they were but different forms (under different names) of the original son of THE SUN-god, TAMMUZ, of Babylon, THE LAND From WHICH SUN-worship originally SPREAD. In Babylon, the birthday of Tammuz was celebrated at the time of the winter solstice with great feasts, revelry, and drunkenness—the same way many celebrate today! The ancient celebration spread and became so much an established custom that in pagan Rome and Greece, in the days of the Teutonic barbarians, in the remote times of ancient Egyptian civilization, in the infancy of the race, the period of the winter solstice was ever a period of rejoicing and festivity. When this mid-winter festival came to Rome, it was known as the Saturnalia—Saturn being but another name of Nimrod or Tammuz as The hidden god.' A study into this shows how far apostate Church leaders went in their effort to merge Christianity and paganism into one apostate religion—even to placing the birth of Christ on a date to harmonize with the pagan birthday celebration of the SUN-god ! "—end quote.
Historical records in encyclopedias, which are available in any city library, and are noted for their authenticity and reliability, give us these facts that Christmas is of heathen origin. It is traced back to sun worshippers and observed among the pagan nations. All these pagan festivals originated in heathendom.
The word "Christmas" means "Mass of Christ". or, as it later became shortened, "Christ-Mass", and finally "Christmas". It came to us as a Roman Catholic Mass. But where did they get it? Since it has come to us through the Roman Church, and has no authority but that of the Roman Catholic Church, let us examine the Catholic Encyclopedia, published by that denomination. Under the caption "Christmas" you will find: "Christmas wasnot among the earliest festivals of the Church...the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. " "Pagan customs centering around the January calendary gravitated to Christmas."
The Encyclopedia AMERICANA, 1969 edition, says:"CHRISTMAS. The name derives from the old English Chrites Maesse, or Christ's Mass, and the present spelling probably came into use about the sixteenth century. All Christian churches except the Armenian church observe the birth of Christ on December 25. This date was not set in the West until about the middle of the fourth century and in the East until about a century later. The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days began to lengthen, to celebrate the "rebirth of the sun". Northern European tribes celebrated their chief festival of Yule at the winter solstice to celebrate the rebirth of the sun (god) as a giver of light and warmth. The Roman Saturnalia (a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the renewed power of the sun) also took place at this time, and some Christian customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration. It is held by some scholars that the birth of Christ as 'Light of the World' was made analogous to the rebirth of
the sun in order to make Christianity more meaningful to pagan converts. Many early Christians decried the gaiety and festive spirit introduced into the Christmas celebration as a pagan survival, particularly of the Roman Saturnalia."
With Voyager satellites sending back astounding pictures of the planet Saturn, with its impressive rings of debris and its many moons, the planet Saturn has been much in the news of late. one of the greatest festivals of the pagan calendar was that of Saturn, originally celebrated near the end of December. The festival began, anciently, on the 1 9th, and extended for seven days, which would include the 25th and 26th of December! All classes of ancient Romans exchanged gifts during this celebration of the solstice of the sun, one of the more common forms of gifts being that of a clay doll. The dolls were especially given to children, and it was believed they represented the original sacrifices of human beings to the "infernal god". There was a tradition that human sacrifices were once offered to Saturn, and Greeks and Romans gave the name of "Cronus" and "Saturn" to a cruel Phoenician baal to whom children were sacrificed at Carthage! The Saturnalia was finally instituted by Romulus, the founder of Rome, under the name of "Brumalia," which meant "winter solstice". A solemn custom of kindling fires has prevailed in parts of Europe, with the "Yule log" a prominent feature, just as fireside dinners and the exchanging of gifts are still prominent features of modern American celebrations of "Christmas".
The Encyclopedia BRITANNICA, 1964 edition, says:"CHRISTMAS, on Dec. 25 is the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, is the most popular commemoration of the Church year. Its observance as the birthday of the Saviour is attended with secular customs often drawn from pagan sources; indeed, both Christmas and Epiphany, which falls twelve days later on January 6 are transformed pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, and so closely linked that their origins cannot be discussed separately. December 25 in Rome—this was the date of a pagan festival in Rome, chosen in A.D. 274 by the Emperor Aurelian as the birthday of the unconquered sun, which at the winter solstice begins again to show an increase of light. At some point before A.D. 336 the Church at Rome established the commemoration of the birthday of Christ...on this same date."
Concerning the origin of traditional Christmas customs, the Encyclopedia AMERICANA says: "The English adapted many older folk festivals to their Christmas. In the Middle Ages, English Christmases were times of great hilarity and good cheer, and vast banquets and pageantry celebrated the occasion. It was in this period that the idea of the Lord of Misrule reached its greatest expression. A common person or a servant of a great lord was chosen to rule with absolute authority during the Christmas season, and often his 'rule' resulted in uncontrolled frivolity. This tradition may have originated during the Saturnalia, when slaves became equals of their masters. Burning the Yule log was adapted to English custom from the ancient Scandinavian practice of kindling huge bonfires in honor of the winter solstice. The idea of using evergreens at Christmas time also came to England from pre-Christian European beliefs. Celtic and Teutonic tribes honored these plants at their winter solstice festivals as symbols of eternal life, and the Druids ascribed magical properties to the mistletoe in particular. The evergreen holly was worshipped as a promise of the sun's return. Some scholars hold that the evergreen tree, a symbol of life to the pagans, became a symbol of the Saviour and thus an integral part of the celebration of His birth."
The Encyclopedia BRITANNICA states: "The traditional customs connected with Christmas have been derived from several sources as a result of the coincidence of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ and the pagan agricultural and solar observance at mid-winter. In the Roman world the Saturnalia was a time of merry making and exchange of presents...the fact that Christmas was celebrated on the birthday of the unconquered sun (god) gave the season a solar background. To these solstitical observances were added the Germano-Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain, and central Europe. Yuletide brought its own tradition of feasting and mortuary customs...special food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, wassailing, gifts and greetings; ALL commemorated different aspects of the festive season. Evergreens, as symbols of survival, have a long association with Christmas festivities, probably dating from the eighth century when St. Boniface completed the Christianization of Germany and dedicated the fir tree to the Holy Child to replace the sacred oak of Odin. "
Now let us SEE! Among the ancient pagans the mistletoe was used at this festival of the winter solstice because it was considered sacred to the SUN,, because of its supposed miraculous healing power. The pagan custom of kissing under the mistletoe was an early step in the night of revelry and drunken debauchery—celebrating the death of the "old sun" and the birth of the New at the winter solstice. Holly berries were also considered sacred to the sun-god. The Yule log is in reality the "Sun log". Yet today, professing Christians—and even some professing sons of god— speak of the "sacred Yuletide season"! Even the lighting of fires and candles as a Christian ceremony is merely a continuation of the pagan custom, encouraging the waning sun-god as he reached the lowest place in the southern skies! The book, Answers To Questions, compiled by Frederick J. Haskins, found in public libraries, says: "The use of Christmas wreaths is believed by authorities to be traceable to the pagan customs of decorating buildings and places of worship at the feast which took place at the same time as Christmas. The Christmas tree is from Egypt, and its origin dates from a period long anterior to the Christian Era."
And so, when we examine the Facts, we are astonished to learn that the practice of observing Christmas is not, after all, a true Christian practice, but a PAGAN Custom! But if the Bible is silent about telling us to observe Christmas, it certainly is not silent in saying something about the heathen custom of decking out a tree—the same custom that HAS Become our CHRISTMAS TREE! This will come as a surprise to many. But here it is: "Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you,o house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of 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 the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not; they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid (do not fear, reverence) of them..." (Jer. 10: 1-5).
There is a perfect description of the Christmas tree, termed by God as "the way of the heathen...the custom of the people...VAIN." We are commanded not to learn that way or follow it! It is also viewed in this passage as idolatry. The fifth verse shows that these trees cannot speak, cannot walk, must be carried. "Be not afraid of them, for they (the trees) cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good." That is, they are not gods to be feared or reverenced. Some people mix-read this to make it say there is no harm in having a Christmas tree, but that is not what it plainly says! An old Babylonish fable went like this: Semiramis, the Queen of Heaven, the wife of Nimrod, worshipped as the embodiment of the Sun-god, and mother of Tammuz, the son of the Sun-god, claimed that overnight, on the night of the birth of Tammuz, an evergreen tree sprang up from a dead tree stump. The dead stump supposedly symbolized her dead husband Nimrod; the new evergreen tree was the symbol that Nimrod had come to life again in the person of Tammuz! This idea spread and developed so that the various nations all have had their legends about sacred trees! Among the Druids, the oak was sacred; among the Egyptians, it was the palm; and in Rome, it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia! Among the Scandinavians, the fir tree was sacred to their god Odin. The Scandinavian god Woden or Odin was believed to bestow special gifts at Yuletide to those who honored him by approaching his sacred FIR TREE. In at least ten Biblical references, the "green" tree is associated with idolatry and false worship. Now of course all trees are green at one time or another; obviously, then, the references to the green tree refer to a tree that is especially noted for being green—the evergreen or a tree of that family! It is significant to note the many times "green tree " is mentioned in the Bible in relation to heathen idol worship and heathen gods. When Israel came into Canaan, they were ordered to destroy the heathen alters, groves, and graven images (Deut. 7), and then, "Ye shall utterly destroy all the places wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree" (Deut. 12:2). Among the scores of places in the old Testament where Israel was warned against Baal worship, or "the ways of the heathen," nine of them specifically mention serving their gods, or worshipping under "green trees". In most cases other terrible abominations are listed as accompanying these heathen practices, such as we read in Isa. 5 7: 3-S: "But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore. Against whom do ye sport yourselves: Against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? Are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, enflaming yourselves with idols UNDER EVERY GREEN TREE, slaying the children (as sacrifices to the gods) in the valleys under the cliffs of the rocks?" Green trees were of Baal worship, originating in Babylon and Egypt. Idol worship under "green trees" is condemned in the following scripture passages: I Kings 14:22-23; II Kings 16:1-4; II Kings 17:9-l0; II Chron. 28:4; Isa. 57:3-5; Jer. 2:20; Jer. 3:6,13; Jer. 17:1-2; and Eze. 6:13.
How did this pagan custom of Christmas get into the so-called CHURCH? We have seen that all recognized historic authorities show that Christmas was not observed by Christians for the first two or three hundred years—a period longer than the entire history of the United States as a nation! It got into the Western or Roman Church by the fourth century A.D. It was not until the fifth century that the Roman Church ordered it to be celebrated as an official "Christian" festival!
The SCHAFF-HERZOG ENCYCLOPEDIA clearly explains how all this happened. In its article on CHRISTMAS: "The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence...the pagan festival with its riot and merry-making was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in manner. Christian preachers of the West and the near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ's birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun-worship for adopting AS CHRISTIAN this pagan festival." Remember, the Roman world had been pagan. Prior to the fourth century, Christians were few in number, though increasing, and were persecuted by the government and by pagans. But, with the advent of Constantine as Emperor, who made his profession of Christianity, in the fourth century, placing Christianity on an equal footing with paganism, people of the Roman world began to accept this now popular Christianity by the hundreds of thousands. But remember, these people had grown up in pagan customs, chief of which was this idolatrous festival of December 25th. It was a festival of merry making with its special SPIRIT. They Enjoyed it! They didn't want to give it up! And that is how "Christmas" got into our so-called Christianity! We may call it by another name but it's the same old pagan sun-worshipping festival still! You may call a cat an elephant, but the only change is in what you call it!
For "Christians" who still may say, "Well, it is just a harmless custom, what can it hurt—and besides it is fun," I shall only ask: How can performing the forbidden rituals of the heathen glorify Jesus Christ? The apostle Paul declared, "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice to devils, and not to God; and I would not that ye have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of devils" (I Cor. L0:20-21). The "Christmas tree" along with all the other customs surrounding Christmas is but the modern version of the pagan custom of offering gifts to idols; it is of "the cup of devils". It is not Christian.
The Spirit of God has commanded us not to observe the ways or customs of the heathen!
When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, God spoke to Moses saying, "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do My Judgments, and keep My statutes to walk therein: I am the Lord your God" (Lev. 18:2-4). We would do well to meditate deeply upon these solemn words of inspiration as we celebrate all the pagan customs of Christmas.
Later, God spoke to His people, saying, "But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is He that giveth thee the power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers...and it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish" (Deut. 8:18-2O). Someone will surely say, "But I am not walking after other gods or serving them. I am worshipping Jesus." But, precious friend of mine, as you stand there before your brightly decked tree on the morning of Dec. 25 to see what "Santa" has brought the kids—you are not worshipping Jesus—for it is all AN Abomination To JESUS! You are insulting Jesus, and, like it or not, you are "walking after other (pagan) gods, to serve them!"
If this does not register in your spirit, then consider the further plain and unmistakable admonition of the Lord in Deut. 12:29-32: "When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, how did these nations serve their gods? even so will l do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God; for every abomination to the Lord, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods...what thing soever I comrnand you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. " Did you hear that? "Enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God!" And yet, this is EXACTLY what the whole Christian world has done—from the third century down to this present time — in the MANNER in which the heathen Egyptians, and Babylonians, and Romans served their gods WE HAVE Chosen To SERVE THE lord our god! on the same day. With the same tree. The same mistletoe. The same holly wreath. The same Yule log. The same candles. The same feasting and gluttony. The same merry making and gift giving The same frivolity. Yes, in the way that the heathen served their pagan SUN god, we have tried to serve and honor the Son of God! Even though God never commanded us to. Even though God set road-blocks in our path to discourage us. We just added it on. But surely God is pleased with our sentimental Christmas programs! Is He? God says, "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it." God has, in fact, shown beyond question His terrible displeasure with the whole Christmas-mess. In all my thirty-five years of Christian ministry I have yet to witness a single soul truly converted to Christ through any Christmas program or celebration! I was actively involved in a number of these myself in my early years of ministry. Even then I knew the history of the origin of Christmas, but excused myself that it gave us a beautiful opportunity to "witness to the world" about Jesus. But God revealed His indignation against our carnal efforts by never, not even once, giving us a soul in response to our "testimony".
God has always dealt severely with those who knew to wholly follow the Lord and did it not. observing the ways of the heathen is no light thing which we can just do or not do according to the persuasion of our own mind. In I Kings 11:4-11 God judged king Solomon for this very thing. God rent the kingdom from him.
Little wonder that the apostle Paul, writing to the believers in Corinth, a city steeped in the ungodly pagan practices attending the worship of the god Venus, admonished them: "And what agreement bath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God bath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Cor. 6:16-18; 7:1).
This is not legalism. This is THE TRUTH for THE sons of god!
"The "Christmas Story" is a lie!
By this we do not mean that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem. We mean that the events and traditions surrounding Christmas as it is commonly known and proclaimed today are such a grossly mix-construed and untrue representation of the facts as to make one blush with shame!
The traditional view of Jesus' birth, with the loveliest manger imaginable on the face of the earth; sadly smiling shepherds leaning on their staffs; the Magi, gorgeously arrayed in obviously kingly robes with funny-looking crowns, opening up little gold boxes wherein are contained precious spices; a tiny baby nestled in the arms of a mother who stares sadly at Him with a halo around her head and a sweet, angelic smile curving her mouth; maybe naked little babies flitting through the heavens, and a bright star seen in the distance outside—all this is repeated endlessly in millions of Christmas cards, religious books and magazines, illustrated pages in Bibles, and on people's front yards, rooftops, in their driveways, along roadsides, and in displays in church buildings at Christmas time.
By searching the Word of God we find that the birth of Christ, the visit of the shepherds, and the journey of the wise men have no connection whatever with the day called Christmas. Little children are told that Jesus was born on the "First Christmas". Preachers proclaim this from the pulpit. Church sponsored Christmas programs declare this to audiences of millions of people, not to mention the rash of television "specials" which pipe the message into practically every home in America throughout the Christmas season. And yet, it is all a lie. When Jesus was born there was no CHRIST-MASS. When He died thirty-three years later there was still no Christmas. When all the original twelve apostles had died there was still no Christmas. Christmas came into existence in the fourth century A.D.—so, how could Jesus have been born on the first Christmas??? Further, the Christmas celebration falls on December 25 and Jesus was not born in December, soHow could He have been born on theist Christmas? It is a monstrous LIE, yet it is believed by millions of Christians and taught to little children as Truth!
It is often stated that Jesus was born in a manger. He was not. He was born in a stable and laid in a manger. It is said that the three wise men came and gave gifts to the Christ-child that night in the stable. They are oft times portrayed in pictures as being there at the same time with the shepherds. No way! According to Mat. 2:1-15 the wise men, on the same night they visited Jesus, were warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, and they departed into their own country another way. And on that same night the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child (not infant) and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him. So Joseph hurriedly arose and took the young child by night, and departed into Egypt. Now, if this event occurred on the night Christ was born in Bethlehem—we have a problem! For, you see, Luke records in his Gospel that when the days of Mary's purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him before the Lord. It was at that time that the old prophet Simeon prophesied concerning the child. forty DAYS WERE REQUIRED BY THE LAW of Moses for A woman’s Purification AFTER THE BIRTH of A MALE CHILD. Thus, Joseph and Mary and Jesus made an appearance in Jerusalem forty days after His birth in Bethlehem! If they were already in Egypt by that time it would have been impossible for them to be in Jerusalem. Furthermore, Luke informs us that as soon as the child had been blessed in the temple, "They returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth" (Lk. 2:39). Ah, the wise men did not visit Jesus on the night of His birth in Bethlehem! Nowhere does the Bible say that the wise men went to Bethlehem! Herod, of course, told them that the prophets predicted that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem of Judaea. And then we suppose that the wise men jumped up and hurried off to Bethlehem to present their gifts in the stable! What the scripture does say is simply this: "When they had heard the king (Herod), they departed; and, Lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him" (Mat. 2:9-11). By the time the wise men arrived Mary and Joseph had already left the stable and were dwelling in a house. And Jesus was no longer a baby, He was a young child. And, by this time Jesus was nearly two years old as you can plainly see in Mat. 2:11,16. The star appeared, certainly, on the night when the Christ was born, but two whole years had passed by the time the Magi completed their journey and found Mary and her child in Nazareth — not BETHLEHEM!
Then we also see these Christmas cards with the shepherds out with their flocks and a star in the distance. Again the Bible has nothing to mention of a star among the shepherds. Then again we see other scenes with snow to beautify the scenery when there was no snow and thousands of people are deceived by such false representations. People are confused because such cards and pictures are made for one purpose—to sell. Let the sons of God have nothing to do with it! Most people have never heard the true facts surrounding Christ's birth; and lodged in their minds is only a purely mythological tale which exists only in fantasy and erroneous religious tradition.
Through the year parents punish their children for telling falsehoods. Then, at Christmas time, they themselves tell their little children the "Santa Claus" lie! Is it any wonder that many of them, when they grow up and learn the truth, begin to believe God is a myth, too? one little fellow, sadly disillusioned about "Santa Claus", said to a playmate, "Yes, and I'm going to look into this Jesus Christ business too!" Is it CHRISTIAN to teach children myths and falsehoods? If you have not told your children the Santa Claus lie, then remember, it is just as big a lie to tell a child that "Jesus Christ was born on Christmas!"
"But," you say, "isn't exchanging gifts scriptural?" The answer is No! From the BIBLIOTHECA SACRA, Vol. 12, pages 153-155, we quote: "The interchanging of presents between friends is a like characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows."
The fact is, this custom fastened upon people of exchanging gifts with friends and neighbors and relatives at the Christmas season has not a single trace of Christianity in it! This does not celebrate Christ's birthday or honor it or Him. The partiality which is even exercised in the giving of gifts is another sign of failing to harmonize with scriptural principles. We do not object to the spirit of giving gifts, God forbid! But why wait until the traditional month of December when often times other seasons of the year would be more practical. A dear relative who insisted on continuing to send gifts to our house each Christmas long after we had ceased to reciprocate, when the subject came up one day, said, "Can't I continue to give to you just because I love you?" "Certainly," I replied, "but why do you love me only on December 25?" Also, generally the method of giving fails to reveal the true spirit of charity. The major method of giving is to give to those from whom we expect to receive again in return. This is entirely apart from the Spirit of God and all such already have their reward!
Consider this: Billions of dollars are spent for gifts every year because of one false doctrine. That false teaching is this: "The wise men gave gifts to Jesus, therefore we should give gifts." But do we give our gifts to Jesus? To His work? No. No. No! We give gifts worth billions of dollars to each other. The TRUTH is this: The wise men gave their gifts directly to Jesus, not to one another. And their gifts were not birthday gifts. It was two years after His birth when the wise men visited the young child (not a baby) in a house (not a stable) in Nazareth (not in Bethlehem). When a visitor came into the presence of a king he was supposed to bring a gift. That was a common custom in the far East. The wise men did not give any birthday gifts to Jesus at all! They inquired for the KING of THE JEWS and they gave Him royal gifts because He always was, is, and always will be a KING!
Some credit the activities of Christmas to a nebulous "spirit" which they call the "Christmas spirit," and many praise the workings of such a "spirit". But, do people suddenly change their beliefs and character? Do they suddenly all act like Christians and then cease to act as such after December 25th? But that isn't right either, is it? For most of their actions have nothing whatever to do with Christ! In fact, the "Christmas spirit" seems to cause almost all to behave in a manner that is totally out of harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Stores raise many prices, often pushing cheap and flimsy merchandise for "gifts," men exchange bottles or cases of whiskey, employers give "Christmas parties" with free liquor, often with tragic consequences in auto accidents, or with illicit sex liaisons. Tens of thousands of families, caught up in the "Christmas spirit," overspend, and lay an additional burden of debt upon themselves for months afterward. Are those things "Christian"? Is the "spirit" that inspires them the "Holy Spirit"? of course not. Then what is this festival which is called CHRISTMAS? The answer, which should be suspected by all true Christians as they watch both the secular and the religious world "celebrate," is that this festival called "Christmas" is not a Christian holiday at all, but is exactly that which it appears to be, a pagan debauchery whose origins are not, and can not be, in the Holy one of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, taught that "a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit" (Mat. 7:17-18). The aged apostle John wrote with the pen of inspiration and wisdom, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits (plural) whether they are of God" (I John 4: 1). This simply means that the Lord's people are not to believe everything that seems to have a "spirit" behind it to be originated by God. Jesus warned of deceptions that "if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Mat. 24:24). As the "spirit of Christmas" comes wafting out of the necks of millions of bottles; as millions of Americans tiredly shuffle through the required routine: taking their Christmas savings out of the bank, braving the jostling crowds looking for various gifts; packaging up perhaps dozens of cards to send to family, acquaintances and business prospects alike; as millions attend neighborhood parties, sneaking kisses under the mistletoe after frequent visits to the Tom and Jerry bowl, the nation inexorably heads toward that all-too-brief evening called "Christmas eve" followed by the nostalgia of "Christmas day" with the cuddly scene of little children in their pajamas gleefully giggling over what they find in their commercially-produced mesh "stockings" filled with candies and junk foods. It's a time of nostalgia; of childhood memories, of family gatherings, massive air travel, Christmas dinners and football games — an orgy of spending and gift-giving, followed by the inevitable letdown.
Some say that the Christmas spirit and the giving of gifts is a good thing. Instead it is a CRUEL PAGAN CUSTOM. Every year millions throw away their entire savings for useless Christmas presents. Many go into debt and spend the entire year paying for the stuff they gave to those who in turn gave to them. Exchanging and giving gifts to someone else does not celebrate Christ's birthday or honor Him in any way, shape, or form. In fact, Christmas spending is a dishonor to the Lord Jesus. It is a dishonor to the Lord's work and the Lord's people. Billions of dollars are spent on trinkets and non-essentials. When we think of the untold sum of the Lord's money that is being spent for such foolishness, in connection with all the over-eating of nuts and candies, feasting on roast turkey and ham and all kinds of rich dainties, much of it resulting in headaches and stomach disorders and other ailments that go along with gluttony, all this is outright heathendom and an insult to the Master and has absolutely no connection with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas is a time of high carnality and low spirituality. We know that the unregenerate do not worship Jesus. But they SURELY Do Enjoy CHRISTMAS! Why? Because of the decorations, feasts, gifts, parties, etc., all of which appeal to the natural man. THIS IS THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT in which the whole world is caught up! Is it the Lord's Spirit? Verily No! No one can dispute that—yet those who pay no attention to Christ or His Word all the rest of the year, those who fit the description of "the world," enter into the activities and rituals of "Christmas" with a frenzy that borders on a passion! How can this be so? How can the unbelievers be so stirred at this one time of the year to venerate a day proclaimed as the "very birthday" of Jesus Christ, when they ignore Him or blaspheme His holy name the rest of the year? It is high time for all who would be the SONS OF GOD to forsake the polluted house of the Harlot!
Christmas is a commercial season, sponsored and kept alive by the heaviest retail advertising campaigns of the year. You see a masqueraded "Santa Claus" in the stores. Ads keep us deluded and deceived about the "beautiful Christmas spirit". The newspapers, who sell these ads, print flowery editorials exalting and eulogizing the pagan season, and its "SPIRIT". A gullible people has become so innoculated, many take offense when told the TRUTH! But the "Christmas Spirit" is CREATED each year, not to honor Christ, but to SELL MERCHANDISE! Like all of Satan's delusions, it appears as an "angel of LIGHT". Materialism and commercialism so dominate this "season to be jolly" that there can surely be no soul so blind as not to see it. Although it is the season of giving—and everyone is propagandized to feel evil if they are not involved in the giving —the overtones, from the candy store on the corner to the department store that has everything and the mail-order-catalogue businesses, obviously put the stress on getting them more business during this time of year than any other comparable season. In fact, many commercial ventures rely on this season of the year for their survival. Whenever a question is asked after the twenty-fifth of December is past, it is generally, "What did you GET for Christmas?" Each vies with the other, determined to express the idea that he got more. But God is revealing to His elect sons in this hour that which is of God and that which is of the wicked one. God by His Spirit is bringing forth a people out of EVERY VESTIGE of Babylon.
One who has long espoused the truth elucidated in this writing once said, "over the years, I have gotten a few pieces of 'hate mall' from outraged mothers who accuse me of 'faking away Christmas' from their children!
Plaintive and wistful bits of nostalgic Americana would be included, such as what Christmas meant in the memories of these young mothers; recalling their childhood fantasies concerning Santa Claus, the big family dinners with grandparents present, the excitement of going to bed knowing the first thing they would do in the morning was rush to the mantle to see if their socks were filled with candy and toys; gathering around the Christmas tree to open gifts; or even such memories as sewing together strings of popcorn and other homemade Christmas decorations. To these few, I was the 'Scrooge of the famous Christmas play who 'stole Christmas'. IF it is our childhood recollections and the opinions of babes that really count, then I suppose all these arguments are valid. But if Almighty God, the Creator who gives us every breath of air we breath, thunders from His high heavens that these man-made pagan customs are an abomination in His sight, then perhaps His opinion should count! What about you? Does it make any difference in your life whether or not you please God, or whether you please your little children with lies, fables, fairy tales and paganism?"—end quote.
Brother Bill Britton so adequately expressed what the Spirit of God is saying to the elect, and what I feel constrained to admonish at the conclusion of this article. So here, we will simply quote his words: "No, we are not celebrating the Mass for Christ, or any other pagan Holy-day' or holiday. Keep Christ in Christmas? Certainly not! What for, I'd like to know? What fellowship has Christ with the liquor drinking crowd that celebrates the birth of the pagan sun-god? What does He have in common with the funny fat man with the red suit and white beard, the lies told to little children, the commercialized greed season? Enjoy school vacation, the time off from work, the visit with the folks...but keep Christ out of that pagan revelry celebrated by the world with its pomp and ceremony. Birthday of Jesus? He was not born in December. Keep Christ in your heart, in your life, every day of the year...but keep Him out of that riotous revelry known as Christ's Mass.
"I respect the deep affection and sentiment shown by sending out gifts and cards to friends. But forgive me if I don't seem to 'care enough to send the very best'. I do love you, and here it is past three A.M. with me still working trying to get this paper finished in time to get it into the mail before the Christmas rush. I want to bless you, to help and share with you. I don't have any reel 'hang-tips' about this holiday thing. But it is about time we get weaned away from Babylon's practices, and become a separated people. With a real testimony as to why we're separated" (Voice of the overcomer, Dec. 1970)—end quote.
To which I add a hearty "AMEN! "
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