Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
The Surprising Origin of CHRISTMAS!
Shocking as it may seem, Yeshua the Messiah nor any of his disciples or apostles EVER observed Christmas! The early Church never heard of the so-called "Christian" festival! So where did the observance of this holiday come from? What is its true origin? You will be stunned to know the TRUTH about the terrible PAGAN origin of this supposed "Christian" holiday, and to see what the Word of YEHOVAH God really says about it, and the revered "Christmas tree"!
Albert Einstein once said, "The Lord God is subtle, but He is not malicious." Satan the devil, on the other hand, is both subtle AND malicious!
In Revelation 12:9 we read of "that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who LEADS THE WHOLE WORLD ASTRAY." He deceives and deludes the entire earth and all its peoples into following HIS way, HIS path, HIS time-honored "customs," traditions, and religious practices!
One of the most subtle and universal of these practices and worldly customs, honored by the whole world, including millions who do not even profess to be religious at all, is the holiday of Christmas, celebrated on December 25th, supposedly in honor of the "birthday of Christ [the Messiah]"!
But if Christmas is really a Christian holiday, then why isn't it even mentioned ONCE in the entire Bible, especially the New Testament? Why are the apostles totally silent about observance of this day? Where did it really come from, and how and when did it enter the professing Church?
The PAGAN Origin of Christmas!
Alexander Hislop in his brilliant scholarly work The Two Babylons traces the origins and trappings of this worldly and bestial holiday back to its original lair. Hislop asserts:
"And first, as to the festival in honor of the birth of Christ, or Christmas. How comes it that that festival was connected with the 25th of December? There is not a word in the Scriptures about the precise day of His birth or the time of year when He was born. What is recorded there implies that at what time so ever His birth took place, it could not have been on the 25th of December. At the time that the angel announced His birth to the shepherds of Bethlehem, they were feeding their flocks by night in the open fields. Now...the climate of Palestine...the cold of the night, from December to February, is very piercing, and it was not the custom for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than about the end of October. It is in the last degree incredible, then, that the birth of Christ could have taken place at the end of December" (p. 91-92).
The truth is, Yeshua the Messiah was born nowhere near December 25. But December 25 was the "birthday" of the son-god, Mithra, a pagan deity whose religious influence was widespread in the Roman Empire during the first few centuries of the present era! Mithra was identified with the Semitic sun-god Shamash, and his worship spread from Asia to the west where he was worshipped as Deus Sol Invictus Mithras throughout the Roman Empire in the early centuries A.D.
Mithra was originally known as Mitra, an Indo-Iranian sun-god. He drives across the sky in a chariot of gold, the sun being his eye. He was also known and worshipped as Apollo-Mithras, and also as Perseus, the slayer of the bull. In ancient Babylonian iconography, there is a scene of Gilgamesh (Tammuz, supposed son of Nimrod) slaying a bull, indicating that the two deities are really the same. The worship of this deity was spread by Roman soldiers throughout the Empire.
Writes historian Jack Finegan:
"In the year 274 Aurelian declared the god -- now called Deus Sol Invictus -- the official deity of the Roman Empire; he built a splendid temple of the sun in Rome, and set the sun's birthday celebration on December 25, the date then accepted for the winter solstice (also in his solar character the birthday of Mithras). In the time of Constantine the cult of Deus Sol Invictus was still at its height, and the portrait of the sun-god was on the coins of Constantine. With his defeat of Licinius in A.D. 323 he became the uncontested ruler of the empire (323-337) and was free to openly accept Christianity....Likewise it must have been in this time and with the intent to transform the significance of an existing SACRED DATE that the BIRTHDAY OF JESUS, which had been in the East celebrated on January 6, WAS PLACED IN ROME ON DECEMBER 25, THE DATE OF THE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION OF SOL INVICTUS " (Finegan, Myth and Mystery, p. 211-212).
Alexander Hislop points out in his monumental work how a pagan celebration and holiday, a major feature of paganism, found its way stealthily into the professing Christian Church. He writes:
"Indeed, it is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties that the day of our Lord's birth cannot be determined, and that within the Christian Church NO SUCH FESTIVAL AS CHRISTMAS WAS EVER HEARD OF TILL THE THIRD CENTURY, and that not till the FOURTH CENTURY was far advanced did it gain much observance. How, then, did the Romish church fix on December 25th as Christmas-day? Why, thus: Long before the fourth century, and LONG BEFORE THE CHRISTIAN ERA ITSELF, A FESTIVAL WAS CELEBRATED AMONG THE HEATHEN, AT THAT PRECISE TIME OF THE YEAR, IN HONOR OF THE BIRTH OF THE SON OF THE BABYLONIAN QUEEN OF HEAVEN; and it may fairly be presumed that, IN ORDER TO CONCILIATE THE HEATHEN, AND TO SWELL THE NUMBER OF THE NOMINAL ADHERENTS TO CHRISTIANITY, THE SAME FESTIVAL WAS ADOPTED BY THE ROMAN CHURCH, giving it the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of Christians to MEET PAGANISM HALF-WAY was very early developed" (The Two Babylons, p. 92-93).
That's what happened! Apostatizing Christianity jumped in bed with paganism! The wicked apostate Church fornicated spiritually with the heathen, pagan religions of the world, and "ADOPTED" the date of December 25th as the "birth-day" of Yeshua the Messiah, who was born nowhere NEAR that time of year! This date was, however, the birthday of MITHRA, and SOL INVICTUS, "THE UNCONQUERABLE SUN" -- THE PAGAN SUN-GOD!
The Horrifying Apostasy
Alexander Hislop goes on, exposing this flagrant, wicked, perverse departure from the truth of YEHOVAH God and subtle, seditious inculcation of paganism into the fabric of Christianity, long since having abandoned the truth faith given to the apostles and the early Church! Notice:
"Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, THE APOSTASY WENT ON, TILL THE CHURCH, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A SMALL REMNANT, WAS SUBMERGED UNDER PAGAN SUPERSTITION. THAT CHRISTMAS WAS ORIGINALLY A PAGAN FESTIVAL, IS BEYOND ALL DOUBT. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian title for the queen of heaven, was born at this very time, 'about the time of the winter solstice.' The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves -- Yule-day -- proves at once its Pagan and Babylonian origin. 'Yule' is the Chaldee name for an 'infant' or 'little child'; and as the 25th of December was called by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors 'Yule-day,' or the 'Child's day,' and the night that preceded it 'Mother-night,' LONG BEFORE they came in contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character. FAR AND WIDE, IN THE REALMS OF PAGANISM, WAS THIS BIRTHDAY OBSERVED " (Hislop, p. 93-94).
In ancient Rome, the Feast of the winter solstice was called the Saturnalia. The Feast, as regulated by Caligula, lasted five days -- five libidinous, lubricious, licentious days of feasting, revelry, drunkenness, merry-making, fornicating, adultery, and profligate wickedness.
Slaves, given a temporary freedom, had all manner of relations with their masters, including sexual. The Saturnalia was celebrated in Rome just like the ancient Festival of Bacchus, also held in December, was celebrated in Babylon! Masters would for five days be "subject" to their slaves, one of whom would rule the house, clothed in a purple garment like a "king." The historian Berosus says that this person was called "Zoganes," which means, "Man of sport and wantonness," and was an exact parallel to the "Lord of Misrule" who was chosen in all Catholic countries to head up the Christmas revelries during the Dark Ages.
Kissing Under the Mistletoe
What about the custom of kissing a person standing under a mistletoe? The mistletoe bough is a Druidic superstition which also comes from Babylon. The mistletoe was regarded as a divine branch, with supernatural powers (only it could kill Balder in the Scandinavian legend), a branch that came from heaven and grew upon a tree that sprang out of the earth -- a type of the Messiah the "Branch." By the joining of the celestial "branch" to the earthly tree, the mistletoe became the symbol of Divine reconciliation to man, and the kiss being the well known symbol of pardon and reconciliation.
James Frazer, in The Golden Bough, quotes the Roman historian Pliny as follows:
"The Druids, for so they call their wizards, esteem nothing more sacred than the mistletoe and the tree on which it grows, provided only that the tree is an oak....For they believe that whatever grows on these trees is sent from heaven, and is a sign that the tree has been chosen by the god himself....They believe that a potion prepared from mistletoe will make barren animals to bring forth, and that the plant is a remedy against all poisons" (p. 285-286).
The mistletoe itself was very likely the "golden bough" of the ancients, as it was regarded as having magical virtues, and was not only the instrument of Balder's death but contained his life. In Welsh the mistletoe is known as the "tree of pure gold." These pagan traditions are still carried on today. At Christmas, people gather mistletoe from the forests. At York, in England, on the eve of Christmas day mistletoe was carried to the high altar of the cathedral, and universal liberty, pardon, and freedom was proclaimed, to all sorts of wicked and inferior people, and toward the four quarters of heaven (p. 367, The Golden Bough ).
The True Origin of The Christmas Tree
What about that symbol of Christmas, the "Christmas tree"? Where did the custom of cutting down a young tree, fastening it with nails to a stand, and putting it in one's home for celebration for Christmas, originate? Says historian Alexander Hislop, of this particular custom:
"The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in PAGAN ROME AN PAGAN EGYPT. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm tree denoting the Pagan Messiah as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith. The mother of Adonis, the Sun-God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a TREE, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as the 'Man the branch.' And this entirely accounts for putting the Yule Log into the fire on Christmas-eve, and the appearance of the Christmas tree the next morning" (p. 97).
What about the Christmas tree used in Rome? The fir tree, so commonly used among Germans, Europeans, and Americans, today? What is its significance?
Writes Alexander Hislop:
"The Christmas tree, as has been stated, was generally at Rome a different tree, even the fir; but the very same idea as was implied in the palm-tree was implied in the Christmas fir; for that covertly symbolized the new-born God as BAAL-BERITH, 'Lord of the Covenant,' and thus shadowed forth the perpetuity and everlasting nature of his power, now that after having fallen before his enemies, he has risen triumphant over them all. Therefore, the 25th of December, the day that was observed at Rome as the day when the victorious god appeared on earth, was held as the Natalis invicti solis, 'The birth-day of the Unconquerable Sun.' Now the Yule Log is the dead stock of Nimrod, deified as the sun-god, but cut down by his enemies; the Christmas tree is Nimrod redivivus -- the slain god come to life again" (ibid., p. 98).
There can be no doubt whatsoever that the Christmas tree is also utterly pagan in origin, and symbolizes a FALSE SAVIOR, a fraudulent Messiah, a Pagan imitation Redeemer -- Nimrod revivified as Gilgamesh or Tammuz!
It should be absolutely clear that Christmas is a pagan celebration, pagan to the core, and in every respect has pagan connotations, significances, and hidden meanings. Christmas celebration is one more example of what historian Will Durant meant when he wrote:
"Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it" (The Story of Civilization: Caesar and Christ, vol.3, p. 595).
Should we as true followers of the Messiah, therefore, celebrate Christmas? It is all right to take pagan customs, put them in a blender, combine them with the truth, whiz them up, and swallow the concoction thus created? What does the Word of YEHOVAH God say in answer to this question?
The Christmas Tree in Scripture!
Jeremiah the prophet wrote about 600 B.C., saying, "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 [heathen, pagans] 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 [the TREE] with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not" (Jer. 10:1-5).
Doesn't this sound just like the pagan Christmas tree? Notice! This is what pagans do EVERY YEAR, in connection with the winter solstice -- the "signs of the heavens." A small evergreen tree is cut down out of a forest, has a base nailed to it so it will stand upright, is taken to the person's home, and then decorated with ornaments of every kind. In ancient Egypt, it was the palm tree, as we read in verse 5: "They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not; they must needs be borne, because they cannot go" (Jer. 10:5).
But in Rome the tree commonly used was the fir tree. This custom is well nigh UNIVERSAL today, in the guise of "Christianity"! But its origin is clearly PAGAN!
YEHOVAH God Almighty condemns this kind of observance and worship! Nowhere is the custom of cutting down a tree, and decorating it, and singing carols around it, in the dead of winter, at the winter solstice, ever sanctioned, commanded, encouraged, or required by the God of Heaven or by His Word! The Bible nowhere encourages either Christians or Jews to partake of these pagan customs and heathen rites and ceremonies!
Rather, the Word of YEHOVAH God declares: "When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee...TAKE HEED to thyself, that thou be not SNARED BY FOLLOWING THEM [participating in their customs!]...and that thou inquire 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: for every ABOMINATION to the LORD which he hateth, have they done unto their gods....What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it " (Deut. 12:29-32).
YEHOVAH God thunders to His people: "Ye shall not add unto the words which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God..." (Deut. 4:2).
What about you? Are you going to follow false ministers back into paganism and the customs of the heathen? Are you going to COMPROMISE with the truth of YEHOVAH God and His divine Word? Are you going to follow along, and join right in with this wholesale APOSTASY which is developing so powerfully and strongly, all around us, today?
Yeshua the Messiah warned: "Ye shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free" (John 8:32). Pagan superstitions, customs, and practices are a SNARE -- a diabolical TRAP -- which Satan the devil, the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4), has set for you. Many, today, are stumbling into this trap -- falling into this cleverly disguised "pit." Their hope of salvation and eternal life is in serious DANGER!
What about you?
Yeshua the Messiah warns his people, "Behold, I come quickly: HOLD THAT FAST which thou hast, that no man TAKE THY CROWN " (Rev. 3:11). Is your crown of salvation tottering, tilting, in danger of being stolen, and taken from you?
The apostle Jude writes, about this same awesome danger facing YEHOVAH's people today: "Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you on the subject of our common salvation, but I am forced to write you an appeal to DEFEND THE FAITH which has once for all been committed to the saints; for certain persons have slipped in by stealth (their doom has been predicted long ago), impious creatures, who pervert the grace of our God into immorality and who disown our sole liege and Lord, Jesus Christ!" (Jude 3-4, Moffatt translation).
To some who do not really know or understand the truth, Christmas may not seem a major matter to be concerned with. "So what?" many have reasoned in the past. And in like manner, many are beginning to let the truth of YEHOVAH God slide out of their grasp, and slip out of their lives, as they begin to COMPROMISE with pagan practices, beliefs, and perverted doctrines! Paul warned of such, saying, "They profess to know God, but the deny him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, and useless for good work of any kind" (Titus 1:16, Moffatt). Where do you stand?
-- Edited By John D. Keyser.
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