AND HISTORICAL BIBLICAL FACTS
Christmas is a very festive annual celebration that evokes strong emotional feelings, especially for children. Indeed, it is “the most wonderful time of the year”, as the song says. Christmas is steeped in strong traditions cherished by the majority of western civilization. But what is Christmas all about, why is it celebrated the way it is, and when it is, and by everyone, including non-Christians? How much about Christmas is factual and how much is myth?
The reason this is brought up is because, to Christians, Christmas is a significant religious celebration signifying the day of the birth of Jesus the Savior of mankind. As they say, “Jesus is the reason for the season”. To non-Christians, Christmas is merely a secular holiday that has been highly commercialized by merchants, the media and the entertainment industry because it is the time of year they capitalize on to make the most money.
The most obvious myths surrounding Christmas are the ones aimed at promoting children’s fantasies. These include: Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer, and of course Santa Claus, his flying sleigh and eight flying reindeer. Most of these mythical characters were created and presented in songs heard during this season. However, of particular concern for biblical facts is that the myth of Santa Claus, as currently promoted, is that it stems from a poem written by a Presbyterian minister entitled, The Night Before Christmas.
Why would an alleged Christian minister, who is supposed to present Jesus Christ to the world, generate such a fable that causes children to believe something so erroneous that could actually be considered to be antichrist in nature? Santa Claus has been given the divine qualities of God; “he knows if you’ve been bad or good”, etc.; and this fictitious character covers the whole world as though being omni-present; he is also given other supernatural qualities to fascinate children.
When children grow up having been taught to believe in such myths, how can we expect them to believe the truth about God our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus the Christ, when such divine qualities have been dismissed by them when they learn the truth about Santa Claus? What does it do to Christian children to be taught fables then to learn what they have been told by their parents is not true? Credibility in the divine and supernatural has been compromised. Would it not be better to teach children about Christ’s divine qualities and supernatural abilities instead of fables that will later be rejected as they mature?
Now having briefly dealt with the obvious myths about Christmas we need to investigate the traditions we have all come to accept regarding the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, which is celebrated by the church at this time. What is about to be covered will show that much of what we believe about Christmas is not fact, and what is about to be revealed will likely offend most Christians. The offense comes because people tend to be secure in their traditions. Any explanation of truth that refutes those traditions thus threatens their security, making them very uncomfortable. Therefore they would rather reject the truth in order to protect and hang on to their traditions.
In order to know the truth about the birth of Jesus, it is vital to be familiar with God’s ordained Holy Days, (holidays). Unfortunately, the church does not teach God’s divine appointed holidays, but instead has accepted holidays that man has created. This ignorance in the church, and held by most Christians, is the reason why myths have been so accepted, promoted and practiced in the church. Most of the mythical traditions were generated by ancient pagan rituals and accepted into the Roman Catholic Church in its efforts to influence and dominate people world-wide since its inception in the fourth century.
Let’s take a brief look at God’s Holidays; we need to know why they were established, what was accomplished in those days to require observation, and to understand that each is prophetically representative of what was, and is yet to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. It is most important to us to recognize that it is God the Father that ordained for the saints to be reverent of the Holy Feast days that He set up for Israel to observe. These holy feast days are Passover, Pentecost and the three-part Feast of Tabernacles which consisting of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles.
These days are very special to the church, not just as ancient ceremonies for Israelites to observe. These special observances are called in scripture “holy convocations” or special Sabbath days; these are Holy Sabbath days in addition to the weekly seventh day Sabbath; these are days that no one is to work, thus these are referred to as holidays, (a derivative of holy days).
Unfortunately, the church has adopted man’s secular holidays and ignores God’s ordained holidays. In so doing the church also ignores the prophetic significance of each of these special observances. What is most unfortunate is that the last of these holidays is especially significant to the church, yet we are ignorant of what it means. The church, even more than the Jews, should be celebrating this last annual holiday of the Feast of Tabernacles; this celebration is commanded to be observed forever – Zechariah 14:16-19.
Let’s do a simple review of the prophetic meaning that God established in each of the holy feast days: Passover is representative of Jesus becoming the sin sacrifice, the Lamb of God slain for the sins of all mankind; whose blood was shed to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. This celebration occurs in the spring on a date fixed by God – Lev. 23:5.
The church erroneously observes Easter as the resurrection of Christ, but this day was established by the Roman Catholic Church and is not the day of Christ’s resurrection. Likewise, Good Friday was not the day of His crucifixion as you don’t get three days and three nights in the grave from Friday sunset to Sunday sunrise. Scripture emphatically states that “as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so must Jesus be three days and three nights in the belly of the earth”.
So if you want to observe the proper day of the crucifixion and resurrection just look at what day the Jews celebrate Passover. It was the 24 hour period prior to Passover that Jesus was crucified, called the “Day of Preparation” the day when they killed the Passover Lamb. Jesus became God’s Passover Lamb and He had to be off the cross before Passover, which began at sunset, since Passover is the high holy Sabbath of the Jews. Then count three days and three nights from that day and you have the actual day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Passover is the prophetic celebration of Jesus becoming the sin and blood sacrifice for mankind, and this prophetic event has been completely fulfilled. Another significance to Passover is that this is the time of the birth of John the Baptist, the precursor to Jesus, born six months prior to the birth of Jesus.
Another myth commonly accepted in Christianity that was introduced by the Roman Catholic Church is a CROSS upon which Jesus was crucified. The word translated cross in every New Testament scripture is the from the Greek word stauros which means a stake, an upright pole and in no way refers to two pieces of wood or timber, one being mounted at a right angle to the other. The whole idea of the cross as is observed by the church today actually comes from pagan worship that originated in the Babylonian worship of the sun god and variations of symbols thus used.
The early church never considered the current form of cross as what Jesus was crucified on, they only knew it as pole. The traditional cross did not come into the church until after the 4th century at the behest of the Roman Catholic inclusion of many pagan practices and superstitions. Jesus’ agony on the stake or pole was even more excruciating than what would have been experienced on the traditional type of cross because his hands were nailed to the pole vertically above his head which stretched his body and chest cavity even more than could have been done on a literal cross.
Fifty days after Passover is the celebration Pentecost, when God gave something special to his people as a deposit of Himself. To the Jews it is when God gave His Ten Commandments through Moses – The Law. To the church it is when God sent The Holy Spirit to empower His people and marked the birth of the church of Jesus Christ. This prophetic event has also been completely fulfilled – Acts 2:38-39.
The next annual holiday of God is the Feast of Tabernacles and it consists of three parts. This celebration occurs in autumn, usually in late September or early October, (six months after Passover). This is the celebration whose prophetic significance is so great because it represents what the world has been waiting for. The first part of this celebration is called by the Jews, Rosh Hashanah, and marks the beginning of time or creation; it is now considered by Jews as their New Year, a time of new beginnings; it begins with the Feast of Trumpets.
Trumpets are used for three purposes: 1) to sound a call to alert of danger or an approaching enemy; 2) to call people to assemble, or 3) to herald the coming of the king.
It can be concluded from scripture and historical documents that this is also the time that Jesus was actually born, (more explanation later). The trumpet heralded the coming of the king of the Jews - Jesus. You must understand that Jesus was not born on December 25th, this is another date established by the Roman Catholic Church and is based solely on the ancient pagan celebrations of Saturnalia and the Winter Solstice, (this is a separate topic that I and others have written about and can provide more information if you want it).
In addition to the heralding of Jesus birth, the yet future prophetic sound of the last trumpet blast during this event announces the second coming of King Jesus for His saints at the end of this age. The church is anticipating a trumpet call, (1 Thessalonians 4:16); this trumpet call, which is the last in a series of trumpet blasts, is the one that summons the saints into the clouds to meet Jesus upon His return – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
The second phase of the Feast of Tabernacles is known as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is celebrated eight days after Trumpets (the birth of Jesus). Eight days after his birth he was brought to the temple for dedication to God. This is the day He was officially named JESUS, the Savoir, the one who makes atonement. The Atoner was dedicated and named on the Day of Atonement.
The Jews use this time to do serious soul searching, repenting, asking forgiveness and making things right with others. It obviously has to do with removing the consequences of sin and efforts of the Jews to restore righteousness. The prophetic future representation of this day is that it is the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ, the day the Book of Life is opened and those whose names are written in it are declared acquitted of their sins by the atoning blood of Jesus - Colossians 1:20-23 and Revelation 3:5.
This celebration occurs eight days after the last trumpet sounds. This prophetically also represents when we are gathered to Christ at that last trumpet, then once all are assembled we find ourselves standing before Christ, the true, righteous and just judge, to have Him declare before the Father that He shed His blood for each and every one that is found written in the Book of Life - Revelation 13:7-8. The Day of Atonement is prophetically yet to be fulfilled and is represented by the observation of this special holyday, which the church does not observe, as yet.
The last phase of this special time of year is the great celebration of joy, praise, rejoicing and happiness, the actual great Feast time of Tabernacles. Originally, the Jews would celebrate by leaving their normal place of abode and take up a temporary dwelling outside their houses in booths that were built on their flat rooftops. This occurs fifteen days after the Trumpets and lasts for another eight days of celebration.
On the eighth day is the Great Feast. This is also called the Feast of Ingathering which celebrates the final harvest, the catching up of the saints. The prophetic significance of this celebration is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the time when all has been accomplished and all the saints are present for the greatest celebration in all creation as we are joined with Jesus Christ as heirs to His throne and enter into His kingdom and the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. Now could there be any more of a reason for great Joy and rejoicing that is symbolized by this last of God’s holidays? Church, wake up and begin to observe God’s holidays more than giving place to man’s phony and corrupt holidays!
Now having given a very brief description of God’s Holy Days and their significance let’s look more closely at the birth of Jesus. As stated previously, Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, and not December 25th which is a pagan festival that the Roman church “Christianized” in order to allow pagans to embrace the Roman Catholic form of religion.
The Roman Catholic Church is a mutilated form of Christianity with many observances and practices that go contrary to Biblical truth; much of Catholicism is of the spirit of antichrist. For example: the virgin Mary is venerated and worshipped more than Christ. Mary is also considered to be the intercessor between man and God rather than Christ; and Catholics go to the priest to forgive sins rather than Christ, and in which priests are called reverend “Father”, a title which Jesus said belongs only to God the Father, (Matthew 23:9), and in which prayers are made to Mary, to statues, images or sanctioned saints, and there are many other superstitious practices that are observed. The Roman Catholic Church also set certain dates for religious observances that contradict God’s Holy days and conflict with Biblical record, (as previously stated).
The Reformation, begun by Martin Luther, recognized much of the error of the Catholic Church and inaugurated the Protestant Church. However, the separation from Romanism was not complete and many of the traditions and holidays established by the Roman church are still carried on today in the Protestant church which is why we still celebrate Christmas as we do. Christmas comes from the Catholic term - Mass for Christ, or Christ’s Mass, a purely Catholic contrivance. The name itself ought to cause any true Christian concern as to its source and origin.
Nowhere in the Bible is the celebration of Christmas suggested as an observance; in fact, the only observance Jesus said we are to remember is His sacrifice and atonement for our sins – the Lord’s supper or Communion” – Luke 22:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:24-26. The early church never celebrated Christmas, in fact it was not observed until created by the Roman Catholic Church after the fourth century.
Though out history, since before the time of Christ, the pagan celebration held at this time of year was filled with such drunken and immoral debauchery which the Reformation Christians abhorred and had the celebration outlawed; also by the pilgrims when they settled in America. The Christmas (evergreen) tree, the Yule log, mistletoe, holly and so many other traditions all have their origin in the pagan traditions practiced from ancient times in various cultures. The Christmas tree was unheard of until the past century as being part of the Christmas celebration – (can’t blame the Catholic Church for this one) – it came from Norse mythology and was introduced to the British royalty by a German (Prussian) prince who got it from the Scandinavians – why?....because it was pretty.
The lights used to decorate during this holiday season actually resulted from the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, also called the Festival of Lights. This celebration is significant to Christians also since it is mentioned in the Bible – John 10:22. Now what is significant about this celebration is that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit during this time; it is when the angel of the Lord appeared to the virgin Mary and made the announcement to her – Luke 2:26-38. The period of human gestation is 280 days, (from conception to birth), which places Jesus birth during the Feast of Tabernacles, 280 days after Hanukkah.
God, tabernacled in a human earthly body and was named Jesus, also called Emmanuel – “God with us”. Now according to Luke 2:1-5, Joseph had to go to his tribal home city for taxation, (actually it was for a census). The Roman governor took advantage of the Jewish Holy Days to set this time of census knowing all had to travel their hometown, (where their family birth registration is), during certain Jewish Feast days. The Feast of Tabernacles is a “pilgrimage” celebration like Passover when Jews journeyed to celebrate which is what brought Joseph and Mary back to his hometown. Jesus was born in a Succoth, a temporary dwelling during this time.
Jesus was not born in a barn or a stable as many Christmas songs, illustrations and stories say – this is another myth. Jews practiced extreme cleanliness, even ceremonial cleansing. A barn or stable is NOT a clean place, especially to give birth. The whole idea that Jesus was born in a stable is the result of one misunderstood verse about his birth: Luke 2:7 – “And she brought forth firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn”; because of all the people returning to their home town.
People have assumed that a manger refers to a stable or a barn where animals are kept – another myth. A manger is what his mother laid the baby Jesus in – it was his crib. Since a regular crib was not available, she used a manger. A manger is a feeding trough; it is what they used put hay in to keep it off the floor in order to keep the food clean for the animals to eat. Jews would not tolerate their animals eating off of the floor that they walk and relieve themselves on; so they made feeding troughs to keep the feed up off the floor and free of contamination. The manger was used as a crib for the baby and placed in the Succoth, the booth or tabernacle that they briefly stayed in.
The so-called Nativity scene that depicts a stable with animals and the wise men in attendance is also a myth. The wise men, or maggai as mentioned in Matthew 2, were not present at his birth and thus not part of the traditional nativity scene. Notice that they are not mentioned in the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2. They are mentioned in Matthew 2, but they arrived at a house where the young child was, (not a babe in a manger) – verse 11, “And when they were come into the HOUSE, they saw the YOUNG CHILD with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him…”.
Now lets consider these wise men or maggai as they were called, (maggai is actually a Babylonian name for the king’s counselors, wise men who were very educated and knowledgeable). Note that scripture does not say they went to Bethlehem as they were instructed – verse 5 and 8, but instead they followed the star which led them to the house where the young child was.
So many scholars say they don’t know who these wise men were or where they came from other than from the East. Yet the Bible clearly explains who they were and where they came from. You read about their forefathers in the book of Daniel. When Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, he took many of the Jews captive back to Babylon to become his servants. The young bright ones he set aside for special training as counselors – wise men, maggai. Of these were Daniel, and the three Hebrew children who were thrown into the fiery furnace. They were trained and educated young men who were specially treated for special use by the king – Daniel chapter 1.
After the seventy years of captivity was over the Israelites were permitted to return to Jerusalem, and many did. However not all returned; at least two generations of Jews were born in captivity and grew up and established homes, families and businesses in Babylon. Many of them remained. The wise men that sought out Jesus after his birth were descendants of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that remained in Babylon. That is why these knowledgeable men came out of the east, Babylon, and sought for the one born King of the Jews – they were Jews seeking their King.
Next consider the timing in which they came. The key to the time of their arrival in Jerusalem is based on the question Herod asked them about when the star first appeared. Their answer gave him the reason to kill every male child born in Bethlehem age two and under – verse 16. The wise men saw the star two years prior, and it took them time to research and come to their conclusion and then prepare and make the journey from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Another consideration as to when Jesus was born is the proximity of the shepherds to the City of Bethlehem – Luke 2:8-20. This requires an understanding of how sheep graze or feed. Sheep feed on grass and have a tendency to eat grass to the roots. This means that if sheep are left to graze in a single pasture they will destroy all the grass there. This is why shepherds have to lead their flocks; they have to lead them constantly to new pastures. This means that in the Spring the shepherds take their sheep from the winter fold (where they are fed stored hay on mangers) and lead them to the fresh green fields outside the city. As the sheep graze in a field, there comes a point that the shepherd recognizes the need to move on to the next pasture area. This pattern continues throughout the summer months from pasture to pasture. The shepherds lead their flocks in a circuit that goes out from the city in the Spring and returns back toward the city in the autumn months.
At the time of Jesus’ birth the shepherds were outside the city of Bethlehem on their returning circuit. This was likely nearing the final days of pasturing the sheep before placing them in the Winter fold; thus no mangers were in use at that time and so one was available to be used as Jesus’ crib. (During late December the sheep would be in the fold and all mangers would have been in use to feed the sheep.) The shepherds were near enough to the city to leave the sheep temporarily and come to see what the angels announced; then they returned to their fields of sheep. This is another proof that Jesus was born in Autumn, in the month of the Feast of Tabernacles – late September or early October. As you can now see, December 25th as the birth of Jesus is a myth!
So in light of what the Bible says, what God ordained and what history shows, how does this compare with how the church, and you, celebrate Christmas? Are you celebrating a traditional myth or the truth? IT is highly unlikely for the church to change its traditions, but what about you! Are you going worship a MYTH, or the TRUTH?
Remember what Jesus said in John 4:23-24: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. In the verse 22 Jesus said: Ye worship ye know not what: we (referring to Jesus and his disciples) know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
It appears that Christians are worshipping in error; (they know not what they worship, or how to worship in truth). Jesus here is telling us that we need to observe what the Jews observed concerning God’s Holy Days because they all tell the story of JESUS, THE VIRGIN BORN SON OF GOD THAT CAME TO TAKE AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD AS GOD’S SACRIFICIAL LAMB! It’s great that Christians acknowledge the birth of Jesus, but they do it during the wrong season, at the wrong time. Since God wants us to worship in Spirit an in TRUTH, let’s get it right and honor HIM TRUTHFULLY, as He intended!
Follow up with the Celebration of the Oil and Light that reveals that it was in December that the Word became flesh, as the Holy spirit formed the seed of God in the virgin Mary – the Annuciation of Gabriel likely occurred in December 5BC or 6 BC during the Celebration of Hanikkah, which is close to the 25th of December in some years.