A CHRISTmas without CHRIST

2014-12-22 08:30

Regifting is a term to represent a form of repackaging a gift from an old partner and present it to your present partner as a birthday present - even though it wasn't his/her birthday. Pretending it's someone's birthday and giving them a gift that is obviously from a second hand emotion isn't exhibiting love or respect, is it? Well then why do you believe that you are showing Jesus love and respect when you do the exact same thing to Him by regifting paganism and pretending it's His birthday? Some argue “Christmas is no longer about Jesus Christ. We still go to church on Christmas to thank God for giving us His son Jesus Christ”, and I’d say “well it was NEVER about Him in the first place.”

Each year, millions of people around the world gather around as families, churches and communities to celebrate a widely and commonly known secular holiday called Christmas. This is a holiday celebrated by mostly Christians in honour of the day that their messiah (Jesus Christ) was born. To some (Agnostics, Jews, Atheists, many more) it is just holiday to spend with family and make a lekker braai if you are in South Africa or Kwanzaa in Black American Community. For some of us, it is just another day passing by with no direct meaning to what we believe in. Could it be that we have been corned into worshiping other gods than the God of the bible?

Slowly, and I hope not surely Christianity is becoming irrelevant in our society and it is always stealing from other traditions. As a result, it has become a laughing stock with no facts but lots of fictitious stories. No wonder the increasing, yet alarming rate of Atheism in our society. All thanks to Christians.

Stay with me as we unpack the real truths around Christmas, looking into the 10 questions you need to ask yourself before you wish someone a “Merry Christmas”.

  • Why do we have to observe Christmas if the early church (The Apostles) never observed the birth of Jesus Christ but His Resurrection?
  • If Jesus Christ NEVER commanded us to celebrate his birth but His Resurrection, why do we do it?
  • Why would God tell prophet Jeremiah to tell us NOT to follow heathenish traditions such as Christmas trees (Jeremiah 10:1-5)?
  • What’s the connection between Winter Solstice and the feast of Evil-Merodach on 25 December in Jeremiah 52:31?
  • If the feast of Tabernacles fell on September/October, why are they saying that Jesus was born in December?
  • If gifts were only given to Jesus in Bethlehem, why do we EXCHANGE gifts amongst ourselves?
  • What does Santa Claus and his funny dudes (Elves) have to do with Jesus Christ anyway?
  • What does family feasting have to do with Jesus' if we are celebrating his birth?
  • Why do we decorate our houses with angels and all those Christmas decorations if we are commanded not to do so in Exodus 20: 3-5?
  • Why does this holiday if being 'Christian' make us lose thousands of lives on the roads?

Throughout the years, I’ve debated with many Christian leaders in South Africa around this and other subjects such as Easter and Rapture whom up to now haven’t given concrete answers.

I guess I’ve always been inquisitive and I’ve never accepted or done things without understanding their meaning. I’ve always wanted to understand the historical background of why certain things exist and why they are widely accepted. That’s called thinking beyond the obvious. So let’s have a look at the history behind Christmas.

December 25th marks the celebration of the Persian god of light called Mithra and ancient god of agriculture called Saturn by Romans. To this end I find it hard to understand how this blends with Jesus Christ's birth which NEVER fell December but some time September/October. Luke 2:8 explains that when Christ was born, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This never happened in December. Both Ezra 10:9-13 and the Song of Solomon 2:11 show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night.

The birth of the Messiah is not known for certain, but we can know the approximate time of year when he was born! In the book of Luke we read that the father of John the Baptist was Zacharias, and he was a priest who served at the temple in Jerusalem. He was "of the course of Abia" (Luke 1:5). While serving at the temple, he was informed by an angel that his wife was to have a son, who was to be named "John." After this, Zacharias finished "the days of his ministration," and "departed to his own house" (v.23). "And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived..." (v. 24).

The pagan festival most closely associated with the new Christmas was the Roman Saturnalia, which honoured the god of the harvest, Saturn, on December 19 and was marked by seven days of riotous merrymaking and feasting. At the same time in northern Europe a similar winter festival known as Yule was celebrated in which giant logs, trimmed with greenery and ribbons, were burnt in honour of the gods and to encourage the sun to shine more brightly. Having incorporated these elements, the Christian Church subsequently added, in the Middle Ages, the Nativity crib and Christmas carols to its customs.

By this time lavish feasting was the highlight of the festivities with large quantities of food, including a decorated boar's head, ceremoniously consumed over eight or nine hours by rich and poor alike. All this came to an abrupt end in Britain at least when in 1652 the Puritans banned Christmas, a move followed in Massachusetts seven years later. Although Christmas returned to England in 1660 with Charles II and the Restoration, the rituals all but died out until revived in Victorian times.

Christmas as we know it today is thus a 19th-century invention. The decorated Christmas tree, common in German countries for centuries, was introduced to Britain by Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria. Carols were revived and many new ones written, often to traditional melodies. The custom of carol-singing, although with ancient origins, dates mainly from the 19th century. Christmas crackers were invented in the late 19th century by an enterprising English baker, Tom Smith, who, by 1900, was selling 13 million worldwide each year, and Christmas cards only became commonplace in the 1870s, although the first one was produced in London in 1846.

The familiar image of Santa Claus, complete with sleigh, reindeers, and sack of toys, is an American invention which first appeared in a drawing by Thomas Nast in Harper's Magazine in 1868, although the legend of Father Christmas is ancient and complex, being partly derived from St Nicholas and a jovial medieval figure, the “spirit of Christmas”. In Russia, he traditionally carries a pink piglet under his arm.

Today, Christmas is as much a secular festival as a religious one. It is a time of great commercial activity and for present-giving, family reunions and, in English-speaking countries, a “traditional” Christmas meal of turkey or goose, Christmas pudding, and mince pies. Midnight mass is celebrated in churches and cathedrals in the West. In many countries the custom of lighting the tree, singing carols around it, and opening presents is celebrated on December 24, Christmas Eve (Microsoft Encarta, 2008).

Many Christians insist on celebrating the man-made "holiday" of Christmas, even though many of them know that our Saviour was not born in December. Many have written to The Refiner's Fire with comments such as, "Who cares when He was born - we celebrate His birth in December!" Apparently they can't grasp the fact that God's commands override mankind's desire to concoct their own "holy days".

Now let’s look into the Biblical History just a bit, in attempt to understand Jesus Christ's birth.

YHWH (Yahweh/The Creator/God) arranged for His Son to be born in His timing - as revealed in His Mo'edim - Biblical Feasts/Appointed Times. Yeshua has so far fulfilled on the first FOUR of the SEVEN. Biblical Feasts and there are just three more to go!

One of the Feasts Yeshua (Jesus) fulfilled was His own birthday: The first day of Sukkot - the Feast of Tabernacles, which falls in the September/October time frame on our man-made Gregorian calendars - three months before "Christmas"! This makes Christmas a lie on many levels, especially the "Santa Claus" lie we tell our children. Most know that lying is a sin....

Please consider the five (5) facts below as observed by The Refiner's Fire (www.therefinersfire.org):

1. Shepherds do not "abide in the fields" in December with their sheep in Israel, not 2,000 years ago and not now. It is well known that shepherds stay in shelters starting in November, with the arrival of the rainy season.

2. If you know what the Star of Bethlehem is (Jupiter) then you know when the Nativity was. The Magi told Herod "the time the star appeared" and Herod killed infants two years and under in response. That means the Magi were tracking the "king's star" for two years, because Herod didn't stop from killing his own children and his favorite wife, per Josephus. In fact, Josephus says that Augustus Caesar himself remarked that he would rather be one of Herod's dogs than one of his children. The only "star of kings" that Magi would have known was Jupiter. "Magi" refers to Zoroastrian priests from either Babylon or Persia (Iran or Iraq), both of which are EAST of Israel and both tracked a triple conjunction of Jupiter (the king's planet) and Saturn(the saviour planet for the Jews) in Aries (the zodiac sing for Syria and Israel in their mythology). Zoroastrians had a myth that their version of Messiah, called "Saoshyant" in their scriptures, would be born "in the west, in a foreign land." When the triple conjunction, along with a comet and other things, all began in 7 BCE, they knew they had to grab the incense and go. Jupiter even went behind the sun and "died" - was invisible, for more than a year. It emerged triumphantly from behind the sun in mid 6 BCE and tracked west for 4 months, pausing over Bethlehem on Sept. 5 BCE

3. As if that isn't compelling enough, remember Luke tells us Zechariah, John the Baptist's father, served 15 months in the Temple before Messiah was born. Luke gives us the name of the course: Abijah (Luke 1:5). Guess what? We know when Abijah served during this time, and when we add 15 months it comes again to Sept, 5 BCE.

4. Likewise we can date the first census of Qurinius as well,as Romans counted folks every 14 years and people in Egypt like Josef and Mary were forced to return to their ANCESTRAL HOMES to pay the tax. This is verified in the Bible; it is not open to interpretation!

5. Luke and John synch on the same year for the beginning of Messiah's ministry: 27 BCE. How do we know that? Forty-six (46) years from the beginning of Herod's temple and the 15th year of Tiberius bring us to the same year. Coregencies were counted as part of Roman rule, so Tiberiusco-ruled with Augustus starting in 12 CE. Josephus says Herod began building the Temple in 19 BCE. Then Luke says Y'shua was "about 30" when he began his ministry. By this clock, he would be 30 years exactly and a few months. (No year zero (0) in the timeline so four (4) years to 1 BCE +26 to get to Rosh hashanna = 30).

There you have it, there's just no connection between the birth of Jesus Christ and the Pagan Custom 'Christmas'. I advise you to go through the pages of the bible to understand what God says about the birth of His Son. Before you say Ho Ho Ho of Santa Claus, consider the Ho-liness of God.

The unfortunate part that the level of ignorance in Christians is growing bigger by the day and as result, they're swimming in a pool of ignorance. Paul says "God overlooked people's ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him." Acts 17:30 (NLT).

One might say, but Abuti Rams does it matter if we celebrate it or not? Of course it does matter to God because James in his epistle says "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." (James 4:17 KJV). Therefore DO GOOD to avoid SIN!

Is your response like so many people, "Oh it doesn't matter. I don't use the Christmas tree to worship Scandinavian gods. I observe Christmas in order to show love to Jesus Christ."? Well let's read what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10. He writes: "...the things which [the nations], the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink [of] the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons."

We are forced by the Scripture to ask a hard question. You need to ask yourself this: How much are you willing to drink of the cup of the Lord's table and the cup of the table of demons and conclude that it doesn't matter to Christ?

I think if Christians were honest, what does the Bible have to say about it and is it fair to repackage something that isn't Christian to begin with? I think Christ said some amazing things about that when you think about repackaging - mentioning wiccans and witches and witchcraft, warlocks - all of these pagan traditions, can you package that and say I'm going to honour God with this?

I don't think people think of it in that sense and Christ addressed that over in the Mark 7:9. He said, "All too well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your tradition." And so is it fair? Can we really do that? I don't believe Christians can repackage something and call it Christian when it's not Christian to begin with.

It's really time for an honest discussion about this and for everyone who uses that idea as well. Is it okay to use pagan things to worship God or to worship and to honour Christ? Anyone who really understands the Bible understands that, Christ was the One, the God of the Old Testament, and in the Old Testament He told Israel to destroy any vestige of pagan culture that was there and not to adapt it, not to adopt it, not to use it in any way, shape, or form. Theologians really know this. Honest theologians should know this otherwise they're willingly ignorant.

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