I have been reading many posts on Christmas lately, all of them on the PRO Christmas side. I want to make it very clear that I have no animosity towards anyone who celebrates Christmas. Infact, I allow my children to receive gifts from family members as not to be rude. We go to my grandmothers house a few weeks before Christmas for a family gathering every year. Sadly because this is the only time my family ever attempts to get together, so I dont want to miss it ;-( I am sending out "Happy Holiday" cards this year to family and customers. We enjoy the lights in the neighborhood. I dont have a problem with Christmas, but I dont like that it has Jesus name attached to it. I know gasp, blasphemy! There have been a few posts going around about pagan things, how much is to much LOL and what is just enough...huh?
For example street signs apparently are pagan....who knew? This was used as a defense in celebrating Christmas in Jesus name. Now I cant see how this even relates. There are things in this society that we as Christians have to abide by. Many would agree that taxation is just legal theft of Americans and their money. Yet we pay it because its the law. We stop at stop signs because it is the law. I could go on and on but you get my point. Now how stopping at a pagan stop sign and attaching a false birthday to our Beloved Messiah are the same...I am confused?
For those who would like to know the origins of our beloved christian holidays please read the letter below written by a dear friend of mine. I know that many already know these things, you can skip reading the letter ;-) and have a truly Merry Christmas...I really mean that, I pray that your Christmas be filled with all things good, that your family gathers together and that you rejoice. For those who would like to read on, the letter is below.
Basically, all false religions and their traditions can be traced back to the tower of Babel and Nimrod (Gen. 10). Nimrod was the grandson of Noah's son Ham. Scripture says he was a "mighty hunter before YHWH (the LORD)". The Hebrew word for 'before' is the same word used in the second command which tells us to have no other elohim (gods) 'before' him. It is related to the Hebrew word for 'face' and the context in modern American English could accurately be stated 'in his face'. In other words, the second command could be understood to say "no other elohim in my face" and Nimrod could be described as a "mighty hunter in YHWH's face." Please understand that this is my best explanation of the Hebrew meaning of the word. I don't know that you can find that anywhere else, but if you study the Hebrew there, you'll see what I mean.
Nimrod's name comes from the Hebrew word meaning 'to rebel' or 'we will revolt'. Nimrod's wife's name was Simarinmas, and was later Sammur-amat (gift of the sea), and the scriptural land of Shinar was named for her. After Nimrod's death, Simarinmas claimed to be miraculously pregnant and gave birth to a son who she named Damu. In scripture, it is the name 'Tammuz'. These three people were set up as gods, even during their lifetime, and their legends were scattered throughout the world when YHWH confused the language s and scattered the people at the tower of Babel.
An entire book or even volumes could be written on the influence of Nimrod and his family on today's religions, but to simplify as much as possible, we'll just hit the high points and show how it relates to us today. Basically, Nimrod is (and even set himself up as) the sun god. The sun god) has been known by many names in many different cultures. In scripture, one of his names is Ba'al and there are other mentions of the ba'als, which are false gods, some of which were known as sun gods. Throughout history, his birthday has been celebrated on what we know of as December 25, just days after the winter solstice, since that is when the days start getting longer and the sun has been acknowledged to have been born.
In the first few centuries AD, one of the most popular sun god figures was the Iranian sun god, Mithras. His birthday was celebrated December 25, his day was Sunday (the first day of the week being named for the sun), one of his symbols was a cross (as it had been in previous generations and cultures of sun worshippers), and he was to have returned to the heavens at the time of the spring equinox. He was referred to by his worshippers as 'lord Mithras', hence, sunday was referred to by pagans as 'the lord's day'.
Because of the Jewish provocation of the Romans, Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD and the Jews came under severe persecution. At that time, anyone resembling a Jew was in danger, and since the earliest followers of Y'shua followed all of the commands of scripture, including sabbath, feasts and other scriptural practices, they were persecuted, as well. However, there was another group of followers who mingled following of Y'shua with the more pagan elements of the day, including the worship of Mithras and Krishna (another sun god). Many of the stories of these two false gods are identical to many of the new testament accounts of Y'shua. So it was not difficult for the religions to merge.
By the forth century, persecution had extended from the Jews and devout followers of Y'shua and the scriptures to the other churches that mingled scripture with pagan practices. The Roman empire was weakening and a commander by the name of Constantine claimed to have a vision that he would conquer in the sign of the cross. In spite of the persecutions, Christianity was spreading and it's followers increasing in number. Constantine followed up the vision by marching his army through a river to baptize them and had crosses put on their armor. He then claimed to have converted to Christianity However, there are several problems with this claim.
The cross at that time had been a symbol of sun worship for over a thousand years, baptism was practiced by the followers of Mithras, converting to Christianity was a good political move, and in his life after this time, he continued to worship the sun god and in later years, even had himself coined on money as the sun god and had a giant statue of himself as the sun god erected. He became Emperor Constantine to the relief of the Christians because since 'converting' to Christianity, he had the persecutions of Christians stopped. However, he continued with the persecutions of the Jews and anyone else who appeared to be Jewish by following the same practices from scripture that the Jews had been practicing. This included the Nazarenes, those who continued to follow the teachings of Y'shua and his apostles, which included remembering the sabbath, keeping the feasts and not wavering from the teachings of the old testament scriptures.
In 321AD, he declared Sunday, "the venerable day of the sun" to be the day that Christians would rest and worship. In 325AD, he declared December 25 to be Christmas, an immovable feast that would celebrate the birth of Christ. December 25 had already been celebrated as the birth of Mithras and was in the season of Saturnalia, which was a pagan agricultural celebration. It is named after Saturn and is where the name 'Saturday' comes from. (Actually, all of our days and most of our months are named after false gods. But that's another trail.) Later, at the Council of Laodicea, in 363AD, a law was enacted that forbade Christians from resting on the sabbath and practicing the other scriptural feasts and commands that they (the state and the church, which were basically one by then) declared to be "judaizing" (which is a word coined by the early church 'fathers' and in no way comes from scripture).
We can't really talk about where Christmas comes from without finishing the story and learning about Simarinmas and Tammuz. Tammuz is actually mentioned in scripture in Ezekiel 8:14-15, where the practice of 'weeping for Tammuz' is called an abomination by YHWH. Weeping for Tammuz is a 40 day period of mourning that stems from the story that Tammuz was killed by a wild boar. It was traditionally practiced the 40 days before the spring equinox and is the origination of today's Lent. That is also why ham is traditionally eaten at Easter (and from a similar account of the killing of the god Adonis, is eaten at Christmas). Easter comes from 'Ishtar', the pagan fertility goddess that can be traced back to Semarinmas. She is also mentioned in scripture as Asherah, Astheroth, and the 'queen of heaven'. Her high day of celebration was traditionally celebrated the first Sunday after the spring equinox. At Constantine's council of Nicea in 325AD, Easter was declared as the Christian 'passover' and the date was set, to get away from the scriptural celebration of passover that was still being celebrated on the 14th day of the first Hebrew month, in order to distance Christianity from anything considered to be 'Jewish'
It's fairly easy to find where all of the pagan traditions of Christmas and Easter (and other pagan celebrations) originate. Most encyclopedias have information concerning the tree, ornaments, wreaths, yule logs, gift giving, etc., and the eggs and hot cross buns and other traditions for Easter. I won't get into all that here. But even if we forget about all that (because many Christians have already forsaken those things, anyway) and just stick to the actual origination of the feasts themselves, we can easily see why scripture forbids our participation in them. There is nothing about them that even resembles the Almighty or His Son, in a true sense, but there is alot to them that can easily confuse people when they are mixed with the true worship that YHWH desires. And that's the way that Satan likes to deceive, by mixing truth with error and getting YHWH's people off track.
But we need to remember where all of this originates, the tower of Babel, where YHWH confused the languages. In both testaments of scripture, YHWH calls His people out of Babylon. It's not just talking about a literal place 'Babel' means 'confusion' and Babylon has always represented false worship. YHWH is calling His people back to the true form of worship that He set for them in His covenant. He gives us specific times and ways in which to worship Him. Anything else is potentially an abomination.
During the time Y'shua and the apostles walked the earth, there was no such thing as Christmas, Easter, or Sunday as a regular day of worship. These things all came about as infiltrations from pagan Babylonian sun worship and were instituted as law in the forth century. And during the same period of time, the state church of Rome actually outlawed the observance of the scriptural instructions of YHWH's sabbath and feasts, that were instructed to be kept throughout all of the generations of Israel. That includes us, as we are grafted into Israel and into the promises.
Christmas was outlawed by many of the early settlers of America because of it's pagan roots. It was not celebrated widely until the influx of Catholic immigrants during the potato famine in Ireland.
In 1836, Alabama became the first state to recognize Christmas and it was made a federal holiday in 1870.
If we want to look to scripture and get an idea of what YHWH loves and hates, we can go to the account of Gideon and see what YHWH tells him to do with his father's idols. The word translated 'the groves' in the KJV is the Hebrew word 'asherah'.
Jdg 3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.
Jdg 6:25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
So, YHWH instructed Gideon to destroy the images to Ba'al and Asherah. He calls us to do the same. Understand that these are Gideon's father's idols, not his own. This is important to remember as Jeremiah tells us:
Jer 16:19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
We are not to blame for the sins and practices of our fathers. But we are called to turn away from them and back to Him and His ways. Now look at what Elijah says concerning the Ba'als and Asherahs:
1Ki 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
Will we be like the people and answer not a word? Or will we be like Gideon and Elijah, who completely demolish the Ba'als and Asherah's from our lives? Ba'al is the sun god and his birthday is December 25th, making the celebration of Christmas a mixture of Ba'al worship and worship of YHWH. Asherah (Ishtar) is the goddess of fertility and her day of celebration is what is known as 'Easter'. Celebrating Easter is a mixture of Asherah worship and worship of YHWH. How long will we halt between two opinions? If YHWH be Elohim (God) let's follow him, but if Ba'al, then let's follow him. As for our house, we will follow YHWH.