Satan's Sabbaths: Christmas
Satan's Sabbaths: Christmas
What should a true disciple of Jesus think when it comes to "Christmas"? The majority opinion is that the holiday commemorates the most significant historical event of all time: the advent of God's son Jesus sent to bring salvation to the world. But where did the celebration come from, and what are the implications?
Various Sources on the Celebration
One has to be willfully ignorant to ignore the following facts:
- The Catholic Encyclopedia:“Early Christians did not observe birthdays, not even Christ’s birth. The Catholic theologian Origen, a.d. 185–232, acknowledged that ‘In the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate the birthday’.”
- The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge: “The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and 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 the Western brethren of idolatry and sun worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival.”
- Encyclopedia Americana, 1944 edition: “It was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth. … A feast was established in memory of this event [Christ’s birth] in the fourth century. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed” (emphasis added throughout).
- Edmond Stapfer, Palestine in the Time of Christ: “The sheep passed the whole summer in the fields. … In the month … which corresponds to the half of October and the half of November, the sheep were brought back into the fold and kept there through the winter.”
- Adam Clarke’s Commentary: “It was a custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the Passover [early spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain. 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, we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the 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…”
- Encyclopedia Britannica: “The reason why Christmas came to
be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably the
reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the
pagan Roman festival marking the ‘birthday of the unconquered sun’.”*
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition: "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church"; "The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt" (not Jerusalem); “Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas.”
- Encyclopedia Britannica: “In the Roman world, the Saturnalia (December 17-23) was a
time of merrymaking and exchange of gifts. December 25 was also regarded
as the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of
Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated
with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor.
To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when
the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe.
Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir
trees, and gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of
this festive season.”
- Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 12: “The interchange of presents between friends is alike characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows.” When the wise men presented gifts to Christ in Matthew 2:1-11, they were following an ancient Eastern custom of presenting gifts to a king when they came into his presence. They were not giving gifts to each other, as many do today, but to him (verse 11). Nor were they given on the day when he was born, since it took these wise men several days or even weeks to reach him.Adam Clarke’s Commentary states the following about verse 11: “The people of the East never approach the presence of kings and great personages without a present in their hands. The custom is often noticed in the Old Testament and still prevails in the East...”**
If you're an unbiased observer, it's easy to see that there's a conundrum. Beloved, early Christian writers admit that the earliest disciples didn't celebrate Christmas, let alone birthdays in general. We see well-known commentators explaining the impossibility of a December advent. We see that the adoption of such a feast day was much later than would be expected if it were a serious festival for Christians; and not only that, but we see the paganism that was kept when it was finally adopted. The Catholic Church admits that the earliest believers didn't celebrate the feast yet have continued to perpetuate the tradition despite that fact, and Protestants by in large choose to keep it rather than reform. If anyone wishes to dispute these facts of history, they're welcome to--but it would only expose their egregious ignorance and adherence to man's traditions. But there are solutions to the conundrum.
There are three solutions to this issue. 1) The most obvious solution to this issue is to repent and not celebrate this invention of the pagan Catholic Church or anything at all. Because there is no true, early historical precedent or command, it's safe to conclude that we don't have any obligation whatsoever to celebrate Messiah's first advent. 2) The second solution would be to simply replace this celebration with a more Christ-honoring, Biblically accurate celebration, if one insists on continuing to celebrate something. This will require a renewed and more accurate understanding of when Jesus might have been born. 3) The third solution would be to simply adopt the Creator's Feast Days given in Leviticus 23.
This section isn't going to present the Leviticus solution for the simple fact that anyone with interest can open to that place in the scriptures and learn of them. Instead, I'm going to outline what information we can glean from the Bible as it relates to when Jesus might actually have been born. By doing this, we not only offer a potential alternative and compromise for the people who desire to commemorate Jesus' birth, but we also lay the mainstream Christian myth to rest for good. There will be no justifiable reason to continue practicing paganism.
Solution 2: Consider Fall
None of this suggests that it's impossible to know when the true birth likely took place. There is reason to believe that Jesus was born in the Fall, not Winter. Let's try to see why.
First, we can get a rough calculation based on information we're given concerning Jesus' uncle Zacharias, aunt Elizabeth, and cousin John.
- Zacharias was serving according to his "priestly division," which was the eighth of twenty four divisions, "After the course of Abijah" (2 Chron 23:8; 2 Kings 11:5; Luke 1:5-8).
- Division 1: Jehoiarib -- "April" 8-15
- Division 2: Jedaiah -- "April" 15-22
- All Divisions: "April" 22-29 (unleavened bread was "April" 23-29)
- Division 7: Hakkoz -- "May" 27 - "June" 3
- Division 8: Abijah -- "June" 3-10
- All Divisions: "June" 10-17
- This means Zachariah would've served two consecutive weeks
- Luke 1:23,24 "And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived,..."
- We can assume that Elizabeth conceived sometime during the next couple of weeks ("June" 18 - "July" 1)
- 40 Weeks ("normal gestation period") later is sometime between "March" 25 and "April" 7, 4BC
- Luke 1:26 and 36: "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, name Nazareth...[to announce that Messiah would be born of Mary and Joseph]"*** and "...and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren [Elizabeth]."
- Sixth months after the approximate birth of John is the approximate birth of Messiah Jesus, Fall of 4 BC ("September" or "October")