When Was Jesus Christ Really Born?
The Shocking Pagan
Origin of CHRISTMAS!
What is the TRUE ORIGIN of Christmas? Where
did it come from? Did you know Jesus Christ was born
nowhere NEAR December 25, but that was the “birth
day” of the sun-god, “Sol Invictus” or “Mithras”?
Did you know December 25 was the concluding day
of the pagan winter festival called the “Saturnalia”?
Where did “Santa Claus” come from? The “Christmas
Tree”? How did this pagan feast become connected with
“Christianity”? Here is an amazing “whale of a tale”!
William F. Dankenbring
Although the whole world celebrates Christmas as a “Christian” holiday, including millions of non-Christians, is Christmas really “Christian” at all? Consider this fact: Look high and low throughout the pages of the Bible, and you will find not ONE WORD of “Christmas” being celebrated by any of God’s people! It is not even mentioned once! Neither Christ nor any of His apostles ever observed this holiday, nor the New Testament Church!
Yet on the other hand the pagan, heathen world observed this day for thousands of years before Christ was even born!
Where did the mysterious rites and ceremonies that surround this day come from? What about the “Christmas tree” and the “Yule log” and the mistletoe and Holly wreaths? Are ANY of these customs truly “Christian” in origin? And what about fat and jolly old “Saint Nick” – or Santa Claus?
It’s high time we addressed these questions, and took a new look at “Christmas.” A church I was formerly a member of, which condemned Christmas observance as paganism, for almost sixty years, today has turned its back on its former beliefs, and encourages its members to observe this pagan mid-winter festival “in honor of Christ”! Many are doing so, heedless of the severe warnings in Scripture of what their eternal fate and destiny will be if they continue to embrace this ancient custom.
Is it wrong to celebrate “Christmas”? What is the truth about this popular and widespread holiday?
The Origin of Christmas
Before one gets carried away with Christmas worship, there are a few things you should know. Let’s take an honest and objective look at the origins of this holiday.
We read in Werner Keller’s book The Bible as History the following admission:
“December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in A.D. 324
for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian [A.D. 527-565] it
was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a
major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25 in ancient
day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in
Saturnalia, which had long since degenerated into a week of unbridled
carnival . . .” (p.331).
Doesn’t it seem rather strange that the so-called “Christian church” should choose a day to celebrate Christ’s birth which was identified as the day of the birth of the unconquered sun, the day of the winter solstice, the “shortest day of the year,” when the sunlit part of the days start becoming longer again? What does this have to do with Christ, anyway? Was Jesus Christ born anywhere near December 25? Keller goes on:
“Meteorologists as well as historians and astronomers have something of
importance to contribute to this question of fixing the date of the birth of
Jesus. According to St. Luke: ‘And there were in the same country shepherds
abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night’ (Luke 2:8).
have made exact recordings of the temperature at
spot in the southern highlands of
show over a period of three months that the incidence of frost is as follows:
December -- 2.8 degrees; January – 1.6 degrees; February – 0.1 degrees.
The first two months have also the greatest rainfall in the year: approximately
6 inches in December, and nearly 8 inches in January. According to all existing
information the climate of
2,000 years, consequently modern meteorological observations can be taken
as a basis.
Land no cattle would have been in the fields in that temperature. This fact
is born out by a remark in the Talmud to the effect that in that neighborhood
the flocks were put out to grass in March and brought in again at the beginning
of November. They remained out in the open for almost eight months.
“Around Christmas-time nowadays both animals and shepherds are under cover
As we explore the time for the birth of Christ, we find He was born nowhere near December 25, the very date the world has chosen to celebrate supposedly, His “birthday”!
But there is much more to the story than this. Let’s go on.
When Was Jesus Really BORN?
Millions of ostensible “Christians,” or “nominal” Christians, who think they are followers of the religion of Jesus Christ, have been deceived. Not only have they foolishly embraced erroneous “traditions” as if they were “Christian,” but they have been lied to, misled by preachers and ministers and priests, and have ASSUMED that they were worshipping Christ! Yet Jesus Christ Himself warned: “Howbeit IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, teaching for doctrines THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye HOLD THE TRADITION OF MEN . . .” (Mark 7:7-8).
The gospel of Matthew also records similar words spoken by Christ. Notice! “Ye HYPOCRITES, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 'This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouths, and honoreth me with their lips; but THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. But IN VAIN do they WORSHIP me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of MEN” (Matt.15:7-9).
Let’s look into this matter honestly. Let’s examine the evidence, seeking the truth. When was Jesus Christ born, anyway? Was it anywhere NEAR December 25? And if not, then why believe a lie, and practice and perform a lie?
The birth of Christ 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 names of the different courses of priests that served at the Temple are given in I Chronicles 24:1-19. “Abia” or “Abijah” was the EIGHTH course. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, each one of these courses served at the Temple for one week, the first course serving the first week of Nisan, in the spring (compare I Chron.27:1-2), and then each course in its own order. All the priests served during the annual festivals (Passover in spring, Pentecost, and then Tabernacles in the fall). After six months, the order would be repeated, thus each “course” would serve two weeks during a year.
Let's notice the chronology of events. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, served in the Temple twice a year, with his course, the course of Abijah (Luke 1:5-7), which was the eighth course (I Chron.24:7-19). There were 24 courses in all. Each course served for one week, in succession (except for weeks when annual Festivals fell, when all priests served together). Josephus tells us:
“But David being desirous of ordaining his son king of all the people, called together
their rulers to Jerusalem, with the priests and the Levites; and having first numbered the
Levites . . . He divided them also into courses; and when he had separated the priests
from them, he found of these priests twenty-four courses . . . and he ordained that one
course should minister to God eight days, from Sabbath to Sabbath. And thus were the
courses distributed by lot . . . and that course which came up first, was written down first,
and accordingly the second, and so on to the twenty-fourth; and this partition hath
remained to this day” (Antiquities, VII, xiv, 7).
The course of Abijah, then, would have served the eighth week in the rotation. The eighth week from Nisan 1, leaving out the week of Passover, when all the priests served, would have been IYAR 27 to SIVAN 5, the day just before Pentecost, which generally fell on Sivan 6. The eighth week in the fall rotation would have been CHESHVAN 26 to KISLEV 2.
If Zacharias received his angelic message during his first rotation, then, after serving a week in the Temple, Zacharias would have remained another week in Jerusalem, because of the Feast of Shavuot. Then, he would have returned home shortly after this, and his wife then would have conceived. This would have been about June. If we add nine months to this date, the normal time for the gestation of a human baby in the womb, John the Baptist would have been born about February-March, not long before the Passover. But if Zacharias had been serving during his SECOND rotation, in Cheshvan-Kislev, he would have returned home immediately after the service, in early Kislev. Then John the Baptist's birth would have been around August.
Jesus was conceived about six months after John (Luke 1:24-31, especially verse 26). This would suggest that Jesus Christ was conceived either about Kislev in the winter, or Sivan in the spring. Nine months from Kislev (approximately December) would place His birth about the August-September. Nine months from Sivan would place His birth in SHEVAT (corresponding to February!).
The first course began serving the first week in Nisan. After six months, the order of courses would be repeated, beginning the first week in Tishri. Thus Zacharias served approximately the first week in June, and six months later, the first week in December. Shortly after he served his assigned duties, his wife conceived (Luke 1:5-13, 23-24). Nine months later John was born. So if we add 9 months to these dates, we find that John was either born in around February, or August-September.
Jesus Christ was born six months after John (Luke 1:26, 36). Thus Christ could have been born either around August-September, or around February! – just the opposite from John! Was Christ born around February, or September? How can we know?
Crucial Events Surrounding Christ's Birth
We know that when Christ was born, He was born in a manger in Bethlehem. Shepherds, told by an angel of His birth, visited Him and found Him “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12-17). Eight days later Mary and Joseph had Him circumcised, according to the commandment (Luke 2:21). Mary then fulfilled the days of her purification – which culminated 40 days after His birth (Luke 2:22-24; compare Lev.12:2-8). Joseph and Mary were obviously poor, for the offering they offered at this time was a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons (Luke 2:24; Lev.12:8).
Sometime not too long after His birth, the wise men visited Him, and gave Him gifts (Matt.2:1-11). When they arrived, they found him as a “young child” (Matt.2:9, 11). He was no longer a swaddling baby, but now a “young child.” The Greek word translated “young child” is paidiske and means “an infant or by extension, a half grown boy or girl.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon shows it can refer to a young infant recently born, a more advanced child, or even a mature child or partly grown children. The chronology of Christ's birth, however, shows the family of Joseph was no longer in a manger when the wise men visited them – for we read, “when they were come into the house, they saw the young child” (Matt.2:11).
Their visit could have been around 30 days after His birth, or sometime before the time of His being taken to the Temple, 40 days after His birth! Immediately after this visit, and the Temple visit, Joseph was warned to take the child and Mary, and to “flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child, to destroy him” (Matt.2:13).
“When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son” (Matt.2:13-15).
Meanwhile, sickly, old Herod, seeing the wise men had ignored his command to return to him after they found the child, became enraged, and had every child in Bethlehem killed up to two years of age, “according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men” (v.16).
Shepherds Sometimes in the Fields in Winter
What does this chronology of events tell us of the birth of Christ? For years, many of us have assumed and believed that Christ was born in the autumn of the year. The major proof offered for this was that shepherds were abiding in the fields when He was born, and several ancient authorities tell us that shepherds did not abide in the fields during the winter time. This of course ruled out a “Christmas” birth! Since there were shepherds abiding in the fields by night when He was born (Luke 2:8), we assumed that this ruled out any birth from the months of November through February. This seemed conclusive evidence for a fall birth. However, now we see evidence for His birth being in February. Could that really be possible, since shepherds generally did not pasture their flocks in the fields during the months from November to February?
Supporting this view is a comment by Werner Keller in The Bible As History, who quotes a remark in the Jewish Talmud which says in effect that “in that neighborhood the flocks were put out to grass in March and brought in again at the beginning of November. They remained out in the open for almost eight months” (p.332). However, there were exceptions to this rule!
Herod died shortly before Passover in B.C.4. Before his death, he had hundreds of infants slain in Bethlehem. During the last few months of his life, he was desperately ill, and abode at a hot springs near the Dead Sea, and otherwise in Jericho, just north of the Dead Sea – not at Jerusalem. Furthermore, when the wise men visited him, he was still at Jerusalem (Matt.2:1-3). He was troubled by what the wise men told him, “and all Jerusalem with him” (v.3). This was before he went to the Dead Sea region; this visit, therefore, occurred sometime before March, yet after the birth of Christ. These events would push the birth of Christ back to about the middle of February.
Could Christ have been born in February?
The “fact” that shepherds did not abide in the fields during the winter months turns out to be more fiction than true fact. It is an overstatement. There was an important exception. Alfred Edersheim in The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah, points out this fascinating fact:
“At the outset it must be admitted, that absolute certainty is impossible as
to the exact date of Christ’s Nativity – the precise year even, and still more
the month and the day. But in regard to the year, we possess such data as
to invest it with such probability, as almost to amount to certainty.
“1. The first and most certain date is that of the death of Herod the Great.
Our Lord was born before the death of Herod, and, as we judge from the Gospel-
history, very shortly before that event. Now the year of Herod’s death has been
ascertained with, we may say, absolute certainty, as shortly before the Passover
of the year 750 A.U.C., which corresponds to about the 12th of April of the year
4 before Christ, according to our common reckoning. More particularly, shortly
before the death of Herod there was a lunar eclipse (Josh. Ant. xvii. 6. 4), which
it is astronomically ascertained, occurred on the night from the 12th to the 13th
of March of the year 4 before Christ. Thus the death of Herod must have taken
place between the 12th of March and the 12th of April – or say, about the end
of March (comp. Ant. xvii. 8. 1). Again, the Gospel history necessitates an
interval of, at the least, seven or eight weeks before that date for the birth of
Christ (we have to insert the purification of the Virgin -- at the earliest six weeks
after the Birth – the Visit of the Magi, and the murder of the children at Beth-
lehem, and, at any rate, some days more before the death of Herod)” (p.704).
My own calculations, using the principles of mathematics devised to ascertain ancient dates of the Jewish calendar, indicates that Passover eve (Nisan 14) during the year 4 B.C. would have been April 11. Edersheim says Passover day (Nisan 15) was April 12th. We are in complete agreement!
If Passover occurred around April 12 that year, and Herod died a few days before that event, the murder of the children at Bethlehem could have occurred in the first week or ten days of April. The flight of Joseph and Mary to Egypt could have occurred during the last week of March. The 40 days of purification could have been from about February 15 to March 26. Thus according to this scenario, Christ could have been born in mid-February, 4 B.C.
But what about the shepherds “abiding in the fields”? Edersheim discusses this issue, as well. He informs us:
“And yet Jewish tradition may here prove both illustrative and helpful. That the
Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, was a settled conviction. Equally so, was the
belief , that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, ‘the tower of the flock.’ This
Migdal Eder was not the watchtower for the ordinary flocks which pastured on the
barren sheepground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town, on the road to
Jerusalem. A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion, that the flocks, which
pastured there, were destined for Temple-sacrifices, and, accordingly, that the
shepherds, who watched over them, were not ordinary shepherds. The latter were
under the ban of Rabbinism, on account of their necessary isolation from religious
ordinances, and their manner of life, which rendered strict legal observance unlikely,
if not absolutely impossible. The same Mishnaic passage also leads us to infer, THAT
THESE FLOCKS LAY OUT ALL THE YEAR ROUND, since they are spoken of as
IN THE FIELDS THIRTY DAYS BEFORE THE PASSOVER – THAT IS, IN THE
MONTH OF FEBRUARY, when in Palestine the average rainfall is nearly greatest.
Thus, Jewish tradition in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the
Messiah from that Migdal Eder, where shepherds watched the Temple-flocks ALL
THE YEAR ROUND. Of the deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence,
it is needless to speak” (Edersheim, p.186-187).
For 40 years, I assumed that shepherds did not abide in the fields around Jerusalem or Bethlehem during the winter months, from October-November till March-April. Many have over the years insisted on this being one of the strong proofs that Christ could not have been born in the month of December.
Well, Christ was not born in December. But that does not mean He could not very well have been born in FEBRUARY, 4 B.C.!!!
Throughout the ages, rabbinical sages and scholars have written about a certain type of “star” – a tri-planetary conjunction – that they said would appear in the constellation of Pisces near the time of the birth of the Messiah – just before the time of His coming.
Dr. Alfred Edersheim, a famous Bible scholar of the nineteenth century, points out that there is one illustrative Jewish statement which, “though not astrological, is of the greatest importance, although it seems to have been overlooked.” In his book The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Edersheim mentions the well known Jewish commentator Abarbanel, or Abrabanel, who writes of the importance of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces, in his Commentary on the book of Daniel.
“In his Commentary on Daniel, that Rabbi laid it down, that the conjunction of
Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces betokened not only the most
important events, but referred especially to Israel (for which he gives five mystic
reasons). He further argues that, as that conjunction had taken place three years
before the birth of Moses, which heralded the first deliverance of Israel, so it would
also precede the birth of the Messiah, and the final deliverance of Israel” (p.211).
Edersheim points out that one of the smaller Midrashim, called the “Messiah Haggadah” (Aggadoth Mashiach) begins as follows:
“A star shall come out of Jacob. There is a Boraita in the name of the Rabbis:
The heptad in which the Son of David cometh – in the first year there shall
not be sufficient nourishment; in the second year the arrows of famine are
launched; in the third, a great famine; in the fourth, neither famine nor plenty;
in the fifth, great abundance, and the Star shall rise forth from the East, and this
is the Star of the Messiah. And it will shine from the East for fifteen days, and
if it be prolonged, it will be for the good of Israel; in the sixth, sayings (voices),
and announcements (hearings); in the seventh wars, and at the close of the seventh
Messiah is to be expected” (quoted by Edersheim, p.211-212).
This “heptad,” or period of “seven,” undoubtedly refers to the final “WEEK” of Daniel 9:24-27 – the final seven years leading up to the coming of the Messiah – the final seven years of this present age of misrule and misconduct. Notice that at the end of this “week” of seven years, the Messiah is to be “expected.”
Notice that the “star” of the Messiah is predicted to rise in the East, in the fifth year – that is, two or three years before His final coming!
Edersheim goes on to discuss three other ancient Jewish Midrashim, which are entitled “The Book of Elijah,” “Chapters about the Messiah,” and “The Mysteries of R. Simon, the son of Jochai” –
“— where we read that a Star in the East was to appear two years before the
birth of the Messiah. The statement is almost equally remarkable, whether it
represents a tradition previous to the birth of Jesus, or originated after that
event. But two years before the birth of Christ, which, as we have calculated,
took place in . . . [year] 5 before the Christian era, brings us to the year 747 A.U.C.,
or 7 [years] before Christ [B.C.], in which such a Star should appear in the East.
“Did such a Star, then, really appear in the East seven years before the Christian era?
Astronomically speaking, and without any reference to controversy, THERE CAN
BE NO DOUBT THAT THE MOST REMARKABLE CONJUNCTION OF PLANETS
-- THAT OF JUPITER AND SATURN in the constellation of Pisces, which occurs
ONCE IN 800 YEARS -- DID TAKE PLACE NO LESS THAN THREE TIMES in
the year 747 A.U.C., or TWO YEARS BEFORE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST (in
May, October, and December). This conjunction is admitted by all astronomers.
It was not only extraordinary, but presented the most brilliant spectacle in the
night sky, such as could not but attract the attention of all who watched the sidereal
heavens. . . . In the year following, that is, in 748 A.U.C., another planet, Mars,
joined this conjunction. The merit of first discovering these facts – of which it is
unnecessary here to present the literary history – belongs to the great Kepler . . .”
“Signs and Seasons”
In the book of Genesis, chapter one, God gives us a profound insight, if we are willing to believe it, as to the purpose behind His creation of the sun, moon, and stars. We read: “And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for SIGNS, and for seasons, and for days and years” (Gen.1:14).
What is the significance of a conjunction of the planets of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation of Pisces? The Hebrew name for the constellation of Pisces is Dagim, “the Fishes,” and is connected with “multitudes,” as in Genesis 48:26 where Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, “Let them grow into a multitude, in the midst of the earth.” The margin says, “Let them grow as fishes do increase.”
Says Bullinger of this marginal notation, “It refers to the fulfillment of Genesis 1:28, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ The multitude of Abraham’s seed is prominent in the pronouncement of the blessings, where God compares his future posterity to the stars of the sky, and the sand upon the seashore. ‘A very great multitude of fish,’ as in Ezek.47:9” (Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars, p.93). Thus the constellation of Pisces is connected with Israel, and the “seed” of Abraham. It also, therefore, is connected to that special “seed,” who was to be the Messiah.
As Paul wrote in the book of Galatians, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one. And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal.3:16). Therefore, Paul went on, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise” (v.29). Thus the constellation Pisces is directly connected, in every way, with the prophecy of the coming of the “seed of Abraham” – the Anointed One, the Messiah – Jesus Christ!
Jupiter is the “royal” planet, and is connected with the tribe of Judah, from which the royal Messiah was to descend. In the prophecy in Genesis, we read: “The sceptre [symbol of royal power and authority] shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [Shiloh – the Messiah] shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes” (Gen.49:9-11). Isaiah confirms that this Messianic king was to descend from David, of the tribe of Judah (Isaiah 11:1-10). Thus Jupiter is the Messianic planet.
Saturn, also, is a royal planet. Its very name means, however, “the hidden one.” And who is the true “hidden one”? The Messiah Himself! He was prophesied to be “hidden” from the purview of this world’s leaders (I Cor.2:7-8). During His ministry, Jesus “departed, and hid himself from them” (John 12:36). When Israel sins, God says, “I will hide my face from them” (Deut.31:17). He adds, “And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods” (Deut.31:18). Isaiah says, “I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him” (Isaiah 8:17). The prophet speaks of the Messiah, saying, “Verily thou art a God that hideth thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour” (Isa.45:15).
It should be apparent that when Jupiter, a Messianic planet, goes into conjunction with Saturn, a Messianic planet, in the sign of Pisces, a Messianic constellation, we have three signs of the Messiah meeting together in the heavens – and the number “three” is the number of “decision,” “the signature of God,” and “finality.”
Furthermore, the incredible fact that this sign appeared in the heavens three times in one year in 7 B.C. is even more testimony that something very established, certain, and with finality, was shortly to occur with vast Messianic implications!
No wonder the wise men – however many of them there were – who were students of astronomy, as well as ancient Hebrew prophecy, were startled, thrilled, excited, and decided to take a long, expensive, arduous journey, to Jerusalem, to inquire further about this expected Messianic king, whose portent they had seen in the heavens!
Heavenly Portent of the Messiah
Edersheim continues discussing the discovery of this conjunction by the great astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630 A.D.). Kepler discovered the three laws of planetary motion, which later formed an indispensable part of Sir Isaac Newton's discovery of the law of universal gravitation. Edersheim writes of Kepler, saying:
“Kepler, who was led to the discovery by observing a similar conjunction in 1603-4,
also noticed, that when the three planets came into conjunction, A NEW, EXTRA-
ORDINARY, BRILLIANT, and peculiarly coloured EVANESCENT STAR was visible
between Jupiter and Saturn, and he suggested that a similar star had appeared under
the same circumstances in the conjunction preceding the Nativity” (Life and Times of
Jesus the Messiah, p.213).
The fact that there was such a conjunction,which created a fleeting, temporary, “evanescent star” at that time, is certainly amazing!
But incredibly, there is even more proof that such a star really burst into temporary existence in the very year Christ was born, 4 B.C., and in the VERY MONTH!
This very “star” was seen and born witness to by the astronomical tables of the ancient Chinese. Says Alfred Edersheim:
“In the astronomical tables of the Chinese – to whose general trustworthiness
so high an authority as Humboldt bears testimony -- the appearance of an
evanescent star was noted. Pingre and others have designated it as a comet,
and calculated its first appearance IN FEBRUARY 750 A.U.C.[which is the
year 4 B.C.!!!], which is just the time when the Magi would, in all probability,
LEAVE JERUSALEM FOR BETHLEHEM, since this would have preceeded
the death of Herod, which took place in March 750.”
Edersheim adds this very important observation. Notice!
“Moreover, it has been astronomically ascertained, that such a sidereal apparition,
WOULD BE VISIBLE TO THOSE WHO LEFT JERUSALEM, and that it would
POINT -- almost seem to GO BEFORE -- in the direction of, and STAND OVER,
BETHLEHEM. Such, impartially stated, are the facts of the case – and here the
subject must, in the present state of our information, be left” (Edersheim, The Life
and Times of Jesus the Messiah, book II, page 213).
Take careful note: The wise men saw an evanescent star at its “rising,” or appearance, in the east, two and three years before the birth of Christ, in 7 B.C. and 6 B.C. They then arranged to go to Jerusalem, to find out from the Jewish authorities more information about the birth of the “king of the Jews,” which they believed the heavenly sign predicted. Then, after being informed that an ancient Biblical prophecy foretold His birth in Bethlehem, they left the presence of Herod and the Jewish authorities, to go to Bethlehem, in search of the newborn king. At this time they saw another sidereal apparition in the heavens! Matthew tells us:
“When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the STAR which they had seen
in the east, WENT BEFORE THEM, till it came and stood over where the young child
was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matt.2:9-10).
How incredible! This very “evanescent star” – which the Magi saw over Bethlehem, about four miles south of Jerusalem – was also witnessed and verified by Chinese astronomers in China -- thousands of miles to the east – in the very month of February, 4 B.C. – the very month in which we have shown Jesus Christ was most likely born!
Franklyn M. Brantley, in his book The Christmas Sky, commented on Moses, the Exodus, the constellation Pisces, and the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Brantley writes:
“Records of the planets tell us that there were three planets in the evening skies of
the fall . . . and that these planets moved closer together as the months went by. The
three planets were Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Saturn, in the constellation of Pisces,
the fish . . . The magi knew about the planets. They were astrologers, the astronomers
of that time and place. They studied the planets, and they knew of their positions and
their motions. They also knew that these three planets were in a constellation where
centuries earlier, according to Jewish scholars, planets had appeared around the time
of the birth of Moses. Moses was the prophet who led the Israelites out of Egypt to
the eastern borders of the Promised Land. Pisces was therefore considered the
constellation of the Jews. The appearance of the planets in Pisces may have been
a SIGN to the Magi that an event of great importance was occurring in the land of
the Jews. The Star of Bethlehem might have been these THREE PLANETS that had
moved close together. . .” (Franklyn M.Brantley and Stephen Foster, The Christmas
Sky, New York: Harper Collins, 1960, 1996, p.43-44).
Who WAS Born on December 25?
If Jesus Christ was not born on December 25, who was? In other words, whose birthday is the whole “Christian world” really celebrating on December 25, though they call it the birth of “Christ”? And why do many NON-Christians also observe and celebrate on this day? What is the real mystery behind this day?
Or, to put it another way, what “Christ” are they talking about? The word “Christ,” remember, is merely the translation of the Greek word Christos, which literally means “Anointed one” – it comes from the Hebrew word Moshiach, from whence we get the word “Messiah.” So what “anointed one” was born on December 25?
Let us take out our magnifying glass, and like Sherlock Holmes, do some careful detective work, and see if we can solve the mystery – the puzzle of why the whole world observes the birthday of Jesus Christ on a day on which He was not even remotely born!
Wrote Ralph Woodrow in Babylon Mystery Religion, December 25 “was the very day and season on which the pagans for centuries had celebrated the birth of the Sun-god!” He goes on, “In pagan days, this birth of the sun-god was especially popular among that branch of the ‘Mysteries’ known as Mithraism. . . . And not only was Mithra, the sun-god of Mithraism, said to be born at this time of the year, but Osiris, Horus, Hercules, Bacchus, Adonis, Jupiter, Tammuz, and other sun-gods were also supposedly born at what is today called the ‘Christmas’ season – the winter solstice!” (page 163).
Says Woodrow, “Now the fact that the various sun-gods that were worshiped in different countries were all believed to be born at the same season (in the old fables), would seem to indicate that they were but different forms (under different names) of the original son of the sun-god, Tammuz, of Babylon, the land from which sun-worship originally spread” (ibid.).
Woodrow asserts, “In Babylon, the birthday of Tammuz was celebrated at the time of the winter solstice with great feasts, revelry, and drunkenness – the same way many celebrate it today! The ancient celebration spread and became so much an established custom that ‘in pagan Rome and Greece, in the days of the Teutonic barbarians, in the remote times of ancient Egyptian civilization, in the infancy of the race East and West and North and South, the period of the winter solstice was ever a period of rejoicing and festivity.’”
“When this mid-winter festival came to Rome, it was known as the Saturnalia – Saturn being but another name of Nimrod or Tammuz as ‘the hidden god.’ This feast was the most vile, immoral feast that ever disgraced pagan Rome. It was a season of license, drunkenness, and debauchery where all restraints of law were laid aside. And it was from this very feast at Rome that that the merry-making of this season passed into the Roman Catholic Church and on down to our present civilization!” (p.163-164).
In the book History of Rome, by Michael Grant, we read this startling revelation:
“Yet there was also another pagan belief during this same epoch, that much more
nearly competed with Christ for the control of the Western world. This was the
cult of the Sun, which was revered by millions of the inhabitants of the Roman
Empire, and its religion for a time even became the state worship. . . .
“In Rome, the divinity of the Sun came very early on; and then, centuries afterwards,
in the superb dome of Hadrian’s Pantheon, the central opening, surrounded by star-
like rosettes, represented the solar orb. . . . Before long, the emperor Aurelian
established a massive temple of the Unconquerable Sun as the central and focal point
of the entire religious system of the state (274). The birthday of the god was to be
on DECEMBER 25, AND THIS, TRANSFORMED INTO CHRISTMAS DAY, WAS
ONE OF THE HERITAGES THAT CHRISTIANITY OWED TO HIS CULT”
(p.391-392, emphasis mine).
Notice! Christianity took over the birthday of the sun god, the cult of the sun, and transformed it into CHRISTMAS DAY, the “birthday” of Jesus Christ! It was in reality the birth day of the pagan sun god, worshipped by millions throughout the Roman Empire!
We read more about this novel and profound “plot” to turn paganism into “Christianity” in a book by historian Jack Finegan, Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World. Finegan writes:
“. . . But the worship of the sun-god continued widely throughout the empire, and
under Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) the cult was restored to its former high estate. 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 (naturalis solis invicti) 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
. . . . 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 celebrated in the East on January 6 . . . was placed in Rome ON
DECEMBER 25, THE DATE OF THE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION OF SOL
INVICTUS. This date appears in a list of dates probably compiled in A.D. 336
and published in the Roman city calendar, edited by Filocalus, for the year 354”
(Finegan, p.211-212, emphasis mine).
Are we beginning to get the picture? This was in the fourth century AFTER Christ! At this time, the Church moved to incorporate the birthday of the sun god into the so-called “Christian” calendar, and converted his “birth day” into the birth day of CHRIST Himself! That which was distinctly and definitely pagan now was “baptized,” and by some act of “magic” was transformed into something "Christian"!
At least, to the observer, it appeared to be “Christian.” It was now called “Christian.” But in truth, it still had a beating, throbbing, pounding pagan heart!
The Influence of Constantine
When Constantine became Emperor of Rome, he nominally at least became a "Christian." But being the head of a far-flung political Empire, he was concerned about the unity and coherence and stability of his Empire. As a sagacious politician, he sought to reconcile and blend and mesh pagan practices with “Christian” beliefs, to merge paganism with the Roman church. Constantine promulgated the “Edict of Toleration” in A.D. 313. He became emperor in A.D. 323, and “then Christianity was enthroned” (Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, The Story of the Christian Church, p.74). From this time, for the next two hundred years, all persecutions of Christians of the Roman church, and its adherents, ceased. The sword of persecution was “not merely sheathed; it was buried” (ibid., p.75).
But Jesse Hurlbut laments the results of Constantine’s making Christianity the state religion, free from all persecution. From that time, he points out, the church became totally subverted by politics and self-seeking opportunists.
“. . . the establishment of Christianity as the state religion became a CURSE.
“Everybody sought membership in the church, and nearly everybody was received.
Both good and bad, sincere seekers after God and hypocritical seekers after gain,
rushed into the communion. Ambitious, worldly, unscrupulous men sought office
in the church for social and political influence. . . .
“The services of worship increased in splendor, but were less spiritual and hearty
than those of former times. The forms and ceremonies of PAGANISM GRADUALLY
CREPT INTO THE WORSHIP. Some of the OLD HEATHEN FEASTS BECAME
CHURCH FESTIVALS WITH CHANGE OF NAME AND OF WORSHIP”
(Hurlbut, The Story of the Christian Church, p.79, emphasis mine).
How did it happen? Obviously, something strange and weird was going on!
Will Durant, renowned historian, in his massive work The Story of Civilization, wrote in volume III, entitled Caesar and Christ, that in the new “church” that developed in the Roman Empire, the Jewishness of Jesus was lost or rejected, and replaced with Greek philosophy and thought; the “Law” of the Scriptures and the Jews was rejected, and, he writes,
“. . . the god Christ was assimilated to the religious and philosophical traditions
of the Hellenistic mind. Now the PAGAN WORLD -- even the anti-Semitic world –
could accept him as its own.
“CHRISTIANITY DID NOT DESTROY PAGANISM; IT ADOPTED IT. The
Greek mind, dying, came to a transmigrated life in the theology and liturgy of the
Church . . . the Greek mysteries passed down into the impressive mystery of the
Mass. Other PAGAN cultures contributed to the syncrestic result. From Egypt
came the idea of a divine trinity . . . from Egypt the adoration of the Mother and
Child . . . From Phrygia came the worship of the Great Mother . . . The Mithraic
ritual so closely resembled the eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass that Christian
fathers charged the Devil with inventing these similarities to mislead frail minds.
Christianity was the last great creation of the ancient PAGAN world” (p.595).
These historical observations ought to make us sit up and take notice! The “Christianity” that we see around us in the world today is but a “spin-off” of this ancient syncretism – blending and merging of PAGANISM into the professed Church of Jesus Christ, which had lapsed into political apostasy, profligacy and impurity. The descendants of the once chaste and pure virgin of Christ, the New Testament Church, had seemingly become, for all intends and purposes, the religious WHORE of Babylon – a bejeweled and bedecked and bedeviled slut and trollop, a “soiled dove,” a “shady lady,” a spiritual PROSTITUTE!
“Paganism” was not defeated by the Church. It invaded the church, infiltrated it, and seduced it from within! The professing Christian Church became the “new face of paganism”! Only the “names” were changed, to deceive the innocent. And in some cases – as in “Easter” Sunday – they were even so bold as to keep the old pagan names in place!
H. G. Wells, in his Outline of History, discusses the transformation of the teachings of Christ into the pagan worship of the heathen, calling itself “Christian.” He notes:
“The observance of the Jewish Sabbath, again, TRANSFERRED TO THE
MITHRAIC SUN-DAY, is an important feature of many Christian cults . . .
He [Jesus] did not say a word about the worship of his mother Mary in the
guise of ISIS, THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN. Much that is most characteristically
` Christian [so-called] in worship and usage, he ignored. Skeptical writers
have had the temerity to deny that Jesus can be called a Christian at all”
(p.445, emphasis mine).
How did this happen? How did Mithraism, with its December 25 worship, and Sun-day worship, contribute these prominent “holidays” to the established “Christian” Church? How did paganism overtake, overcome, and subdue, the original teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ, and His apostles, and replace Biblical holy days with pagan “holy days”? Should all true Christians be concerned about this historic truth – this reality? Does it really matter?
What should these facts mean to us, today, who seek to obey God, and follow the Christ of the Bible, who seek to be TRUE followers of the Word of GOD?
Sir James Frazer, in his opus book The Golden Bough, discusses how the pagan celebration of the birth of the sun-god on December 25 weaved its way into the professing Roman Catholic “Chrisitian” Church. Frazer points out that the contest for supremacy between the early Christians and the worshipers of Mithra was hanging in the balance in the early centuries of the church. Both religions were fighting for the hearts and minds of men. Frazer asserts that “there can be no doubt that the Mithraic religion proved a formidable rival to Christianity.”
“Indeed the issue of the conflict between the two faiths appears for a time to have
hung in the balance. An instructive relic of the long struggle is preserved in our
festival of Christmas, which the Church seems to have borrowed directly from its
heathen rival. In the Julian calendar the twenty-fifth of December was reckoned
the winter solstice, and it was regarded as the Nativity of the Sun, because the
day begins to lengthen and the power of the sun to increase from that turning-
point of the year. The ritual of the nativity, as it appears to have been celebrated
in Syria and Egypt, was remarkable. The celebrants retired into certain inner
shrines, from which at midnight they issued with a loud cry, ‘The Virgin has
brought forth! The light is waxing!’ The Egyptians even represented the new-born
sun by the image of an infant which on his birthday, the winter solstice, they
brought forth and exhibited to his worshippers. No doubt the Virgin who thus
conceived and bore a son on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental
goddess whom the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly
Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of Astarte. Now Mithra was regularly
identified by his worshippers with the Sun, the Unconquered Sun, as they
called him; hence his nativity also fell on the twenty-fifth of December. The
Gospels say nothing as to the day of Christ’s birth, and accordingly the early
Church did not celebrate it. In time, however, the Christians of Egypt came to
regard the sixth of January as the date of the Nativity, and the custom of commem-
orating the birth of the Saviour on that day gradually spread until by the fourth
century it was universally established in the East. But at the end of the third
or the beginning of the fourth century the Western Church, which had never
recognized the sixth of January as the day of the Nativity, adopted the twenty-
fifth of December as the true date, and in time its decision was accepted also
by the Eastern Church. At Antioch the change was not introduced till about the
year 375 A.D.” (The Golden Bough, page 416).
What were the real motives for the church leaders to incorporate Christmas into the church’s calendar of festivals? States Frazer, again:
“What considerations led the ecclesiastical authorities to institute the
festival of Christmas? The motives for the innovation are stated with
great frankness by a Syrian writer, himself a Christian. ‘The reason,’ he
tells us, ‘why the fathers transferred the celebration of the sixth of January
to the twenty-fifth of December was this. It was a custom of the heathen
to celebrate on the same twenty-fifth of December the birthday of the Sun,
at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities
and festivities the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors
of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival,
they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized
on that day and the festival of the Epiphany on the sixth of January. Accord-
ingly, along with this custom, the practice has prevailed of kindling fires till
the sixth.’ The heathen origin of Christmas is plainly hinted at, if not tacitly
admitted, by Augustine when he exhorts his Christian brethren not to
celebrate that solemn day like the heathen on account of the sun, but on
account of him who made the sun. In like manner Leo the Great rebuked
the pestilent belief that Christmas was solemnized because of the birth of the
new sun, as it was called, and not because of the nativity of Christ.”
Notice that the “heathen origin” of Christmas was even hinted at by Augustine, the Roman Catholic savant who had a great role in establishing Catholic doctrine and theology in the early centuries of the Church.
Frazer concludes, “Thus it appears that the Christian Church chose to celebrate the birth- day of its Founder on the twenty-fifth of December in order to transfer the devotion of the heathen from the Sun to him who was called the Sun of Righteousness” (p.417).
Their motive had nothing to do with TRUTH! It merely religious “politics” and the struggle for supremacy in the Roman world! This was the established “modus operandi” of the Roman Catholic Church.
“Taken altogether, the coincidences of the Christian with the heathen festivals
are too close and too numerous to be accidental. They mark the compromise
which the Church in the hour of its triumph was compelled to make with its
vanquished yet still dangerous rivals. The inflexible Protestantism of the
primitive missionaries, with their fiery denunciations of heathendom, had been
exchanged for the supple policy, the easy tolerance, the comprehensive charity
of shrewd ecclesiastics, who clearly perceived that if Christianity was to conquer
the world it could do so only by relaxing the too rigid principles of its Founder,
by widening a little the narrow gate which leads to salvation” (page 419).
The Seduction of the Church
Admits the Worldbook Encyclopedia, “The exact date of Christ’s birth is not known. The early Christians did NOT celebrate His birth, because they considered the celebration of anyone's birth to be a pagan custom. The first mention of the observance of Christ's birthday appears about A.D. 200. For many years, several dates were used. December 25 was first mentioned in 336” (article "Christmas").
This common reference work acknowledges, “For many years, people observed Christmas as a religious festival only. But they GRADUALLY ADOPTED MORE AND MORE CUSTOMS UNRELATED TO THE CHURCH. Most of the customs originated in cultures that existed before Christianity. . . . In 1643, the Puritans, who regarded such celebrations as pagan, outlawed the observance of Christmas in England.” Colonists in New England followed the English laws and also outlawed Christmas. But immigrants to the New World brought Christmas customs from many lands and the old festivities were soon restored.
All of the popular customs and traditions surrounding Christmas actually were celebrated at pagan mid-winter festivals thousands of years before Christ was born. Admits this same encyclopedia, “The custom of burning the Yule log began with the ancient Scandinavians, who once a year burned a huge log in honor of their god Thor. After the Scandinavians became Christians [sic], they made the Yule log an important part of their Christmas ceremonies.”
Where Did the Christmas Tree Come From?
One of the most pervasive customs of Christmas, today, is the bringing home and decorating of a “Christmas tree.” Where did this custom come from? Coffin in The Book of Christmas Folklore tells us:
“Most people have heard that the Christmas tree originates in the tannenbaum and is
some sort of vestige of Teutonic vegetation worship. THIS IS PARTIALLY TRUE.
However, the custom of using pine and other evergreens ceremonially was well
established at the ROMAN SATURNALIA, even earlier in Egypt” (p.209).
Writes Alexander Hislop in The Two Babylons,
“The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan
Rome and 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 the putting of the Yule Log into the fire on Christmas Eve, and
the appearance of the Christmas tree the next morning” (page 97).
Tree worship was very common among the ancients. Says Festivals, Holy Days, and Saints' Days,
“The Christmas tree . . . recapitulates the idea of tree worship. . . gilded nuts and
balls symbolizing the sun . . . all the festivities of the [heathen] winter solstice have
been absorbed into Christmas Day . . . the use of holly and mistletoe to the Druidic
ceremonies; the Christmas tree to the honours paid to Odin’s sacred fir . . .” (p.236).
In Christmas Folklore, we read:
“This idea of decorating homes on holidays is both worldwide and age-old. . . So
the Saturnalian laurel, the Teutonic holly, the Celtic mistletoe, and the Mexican
poinsettia have all attached themselves to this polyglot ceremony . . .
“Many of the plants used at Christmas are SYMBOLS OF FERTILITY. Certainly
any evergreen (fir, yew, laurel) with its ability to return verdure in the barrens months
is appropriate, but by far the most interesting are the holly, the ivy, and the mistletoe.
Holly, with its pricking leaves, white flowers, and red berries symbolizes the male
reproductive urge. In fact, in the English carols . . . the holly is the male and the ivy
is the female. This use of the plants was most likely BORROWED by the Christians
along with other customs of the ROMAN SATURNALIA” (p.22-23).
Ivy, holly’s mate, in ancient Grecian rites took its name from the girl who danced with such abandon and joy before Dionysius that she fell dead at his feet. The pagan god, moved by her dance, turned her into the ivy that she might entwine whatever is near. Dionysius, of course, was the Greek version of the god of wine and revelry, another form of Bacchus, Tammuz, or Nimrod!
Mistletoe, since the earliest of times, has been regarded as mysterious and sacred, the symbol of the sun, bestower of life, an aphrodisiac, and protector against disease and poison. The plant was especially sacred to the Celtic Druids who offered it in prayer to the gods. The mistletoe was referred to by pagans as the “golden bough.” The two great holidays when the pagans gathered mistletoe were Midsummer Day, the summer solstice, and December 25, the winter solstice. It was supposed to posses the power of revealing treasures in the earth, and was formed into a “divining rod.” It was also looked upon as the “seat of life” of the sacred oak, and as an emanation of the sun’s fire. Kissing under the mistletoe is a survival of Saturnalian sexual licentiousness and bawdy immoral behavior, which was commonplace at the Saturnalia.
What about Dear Old “Santa Claus”?
Even Santa Claus has a not-so-benign origin! This fat and jolly elf can be traced back to another ancient pagan Norse legend! Admits the Worldbook Encyclopedia,
“Some of Santa Claus's characteristics date back many centuries. For example, the
belief that Santa enters the house through the chimney developed from an old Norse
legend. The Norse believed that the goddess Hertha appeared in the fireplace and
brought good luck to the home.”
Although most people assume that the original “Santa Claus” was a bishop by the name of St. Nicholas of Asia Minor of the fourth century, this is not really true. Although some of this bishop's deeds later came to be associated with “St. Nick,” the original “Nicholas” was once again Nimrod, the “mighty one against the Lord.” The word “Nicholas” means “mighty one, powerful.” Traditions of a “god” who gave gifts under an evergreen tree antecede the Asian Minor bishop by thousands of years! Among the Scandinavians it was the god Odin or Woden who left special gifts during the Yuletide season under the evergreen tree, his sacred tree!
Tony van Renterghem writes in When Santa Was a Shaman: The Ancient Origins of Santa Claus & the Christmas Tree:
“In newly Christianized areas where the pagan Celtic and Germanic cults remained
strong, legends of the god Wodan were blended with those of various Christian saints;
Saint Nicholas was one of these. There were Christian areas where Saint Nicholas
ruled alone; in other locations, he was assisted by the pagan Dark Helper (the slave he
had inherited from the pagan god Wodan). In other remote areas . . . ancient pockets
of the Olde Religion controlled traditions. Here the Dark Helper ruled alone, sometimes
in a most confusing manner, using the cover name of Saint Nicholas or ‘Klaus’ without
in any way changing his threatening, Herne/Pan, fur-clad appearance. (This was the
figure later used by the artist Nast as the model for the early American Santa Claus”
The Catholic Saint Nicholas also had a confusing past. Says van Renterghem, “He was a compilation of two separate saints (one from Myra in Asia Minor, the other from Pinora), both of whom were – as the Church nowadays admits – nothing more than Christianized water deities (possibly related to the Greco-Roman god Poseidon/Neptune)” (ibid.). In the 1970s, the Second Vatican Council formally stated that no Roman Catholic bishop by the name of Nicholas had ever existed! Vatican II further confessed that the legends attributed to this "saint" had no Christian origin, and probably came from pagan traditions!
Says van Renterghem, further:
“By absorbing such PAGAN FEASTS AND TRADITIONS, the Christian Church
could subtly bring in its own theology: in this case, establishing the good Saint Nicholas,
bringer of love and gifts, while grudgingly allowing the presence of the Olde Religion’s
Herne/Pan, but only as a slave to Saint Nicholas. Thus, in parts of Europe, the Church
turned Herne into Saint Nicholas’ captive, chained Dark Helper; none other than Satan,
the Dark One, symbolic of all evil. . . .
“In Holland and several other European countries, the Saint Nicholas figure is still
highly esteemed. He appears as a tall, dignified, bearded, white-haired old man, dressed
as a Catholic bishop, complete with cloak, mytre, and pastoral staff, a seemingly genuine
Catholic saint, but with a bizarre, quite unsaintly habit of riding through the skies on a
white horse, followed by his Dark Helper. It seems that our Catholic saint inherited some
of these customs from the pagan god Wodan, who had also been a BEARDED, WHITE-
HAIRED OLD MAN, also dressed in a hat and cloak, carried a staff (or spear), rode a
white horse, and dragged along the same dark slave/helper on a chain” (p.97).
So much for old "Santa Claus"! This mythological figure, also, is pagan to the core!
The Dutch “Sinterklaas” brings gifts to good children, while bad children are harrassed by the “Dark Helper,” called Zwarte Pier, or “Black Pete,” who brandishes a broom-like rod. Like Santa Claus, Sinterklaas also had the habit of entering homes through the chimney! His helper, “Black Pete,” is today, still horned, fur-clad, scary, and less than kind to children. Although portrayed as the slave helper of Saint Nicholas, the two are, in many villages, blended into one character, who often has the name Nikolaas or Klaus. Thus “Santa Claus” is blended with, and is none other than, that old enemy of mankind, Satan the devil!
“In Germany, Saint Nicholas’ Dark Helper is a swarthy, horned, frightening little man,
always brandishing the besom [broom]. He is known by many names: Knecht Ruprecht
(servant Ruprecht), or in Bavaria, Pelz Nickel, meaning ‘fur-clad Nick.’ In Tyrol, the
picture is even clearer; there the Dark Helper is Kllaubau, a scarier version of the British
Herne the Hunter, a chained, furry, black-faced horned creature” (p.103-105).
Who was this Odin, or Woden, the original “Santa Claus”? He was the chief god of Norse mythology, a fierce fighter who carried a spear as his special weapon. He was renown as a mighty hunter, and for his magical powers. This same author declares, further, of the connection between Odin/Wodan and Saint Nicholas:
“Wodan/Odin: The Germanic/Nordic sun god; man's friend, the mysterious Schimmel
rider. Dragging his dark and devilish slave Eckhart along on a chain, he rides through the
stormy skies. He leads the Wild Hunt, eluding, and finally subjugating, the powers of evil. He also wears a broad-brimmed hat, a wide mantel, holds his spear, and rides through the skies (replace his hat with a bishop’s mytre and the spear with a crozier, and we have the Dutch Saint Nicholas)” (p.111).
In other words, Odin was another name for Nimrod, who, the Bible says, was “the mighty hunter before [the Hebrew word for “before” also means “against”] the LORD” (Genesis 10:9). Nimrod's reputation as a mighty hunter was widespread.
Says Alexander Hislop, “The Wodan or Odin of Scandinavia can be proved to be the Adon of Babylon” (The Two Babylons, p.133-134). Nimrod, Adon, or Adonis, of Babylon was the great “war-god.” Odin was the same. Nimrod, in the character of Bacchus, was the god of wine. Odin was said to partake of no other food but wine. The name of one of Odin’s sons, Balder, indicates the meaning of Odin’s own name. Balder is a form of the Chaldee Baal-zer, “The seed of Baal.” The Hebrew “z” in the later Chaldee frequently became a “d.” Baal and Adon both signify “Lord.” Since Balder is the “son of Baal,” as well as the “son of Adon,” or “Odin,” then Baal, Adon, and Odin must be the same person – representative of Nimrod, the first human to be deified and proclaimed by the pagans as a “god” after the Deluge!
“Santa Claus,” then, is not so innocent and cherubic a figure after all! Why do parents take their young children, sit them on “Santa’s lap,” and insist on teaching them Santa Claus myths? The word “Santa,” rearranged, spells “S-A-T-A-N,” and “Claus” is reminiscent of “Claws” – in other words, “SATAN’S CLAWS”!
Do you want Satan, the arch-enemy of mankind, to get his “claws” into your children, by teaching them Santa Claus myths, and taking them to “Christmas parties,” with “Santa Claus” dandling them on his lap, “Ho Ho Ho-ing” to them, hearing their requests as if he were a god, and handing out “gifts” to them? By doing so, you are subtly teaching your children to worship Satan the devil, the great impostor!
The True Origin of “Christmas”
It is indeed strange that a day never mentioned or sanctioned in the Bible should become the chief so-called “Christian” holiday of the entire year – a day never celebrated by Jesus Christ, or His apostles, or the early New Testament Church of God!
What is the actual origin of the celebration of December 25? A careful look at the word “Christmas” itself ought to tell us something. Notice! It itself is a mixture. Though it includes the name of Christ, it also mentions the “mass.” Where did the “mass” – with its rituals, elaborate ceremony, pagan prayers for the dead, transubstantiation rites, etc. – come from?
Alexander Hislop in his remarkable book The Two Babylons, points out that the “mass” is something that definitely goes back to ancient PAGAN customs and rites! He declares in plain and clear language:
“Therefore we find the women of Judah represented as simply ‘burning incense,
pouring out drink-offerings, and offering CAKES to the queen of heaven’ (Jer.
44:19). The cakes were the ‘unbloody sacrifice’ she required. . . . In the FOURTH
CENTURY, when the queen of heaven, under the name of Mary, was beginning
to be worshipped in the Christian Church, this ‘unbloody sacrifice’ also was
brought in. Epiphanius states that the practice of offering and eating it began among
women of Arabia; and at that time it was well known to have been ADOPTED
FROM THE PAGANS. The very shape of the unbloody sacrifice of Rome may
indicate when it came. It is a small thin, round wafer; and on its roundness the
Church of Rome lays so much stress . . . . The importance, however, which Rome
attaches to the roundness of the wafer, must have a reason; and that reason will be
found, if we look at the altars of EGYPT. ‘The thin, round cake,’ says Wilkinson,
‘occurs on all altars.’ Almost every jot or tittle in the Egyptian worship had a
symbolical meaning. The round disk, so frequent in the sacred emblems of Egypt,
symbolized the sun” (The Two Babylons, p.159-160).
The “sun-god” in ancient Egypt was Osiris. The round disk of the Egyptian “mass” symbolized the sun, and was an offering symbolizing the sun-god. He was considered the life and nourishment of the souls of men!
The “Christ-mass” therefore is nothing more than a spin-off of the old pagan “mysteries.” It is the celebration of the birth of the “sun-god” himself, the False Messiah, the False “Saviour” of the world, and the “mass” itself also represents the offering or “cakes” made to the queen of heaven, the “Mother” of the pagan Saviour, the “Queen of heaven.” Again, "Christ-mass" is proved to be PAGAN to the core!
It is a fact that December 25 was celebrated for thousands of years before the birth of Christ as the birth day of an ancient pagan god – THE SUN GOD! Alexander Hislop points out the truth in these shocking words – at least, they ought to be shocking to anybody with a clear, undefiled, and conscientious mind:
“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 the 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
honour 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 of Christianity, the SAME FESTIVAL WAS ADOPTED
by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part
of Christians to MEET PAGANISM HALF-WAY was very early developed. . . .
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” (p.93).
Hislop goes on,
“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” (pp.93-94).
December 25th was observed far and wide among the ancient world. This day was “The birth-day of the unconquered Sun.” The Yule log represented the dead stock of the slain Nimrod, arch-apostate rebel against the Lord after the flood (see Genesis 10:8-10), and the Christmas-tree was supposedly Nimrod reborn – the slain god come to life again!
In Europe, the Saxons offered a boar in sacrifice to the sun, to propitiate the queen of heaven on Christmas day. The boar, in pagan mythology, was supposed to have slain the false pagan Messiah. The boar was also a major article of the feast of Saturn at Rome. The boar’s head is still a standing dish in England at Christmas dinner. Says Hislop: “There can be no doubt, then, that the Pagan festival at the winter solstice – in other words, Christmas – was held in honor of the birth of the Babylonian Messiah” (p.102).
The largest pagan religious cult which fostered sun worship in the Greek and Roman worlds on December 25 was the cult of Mithraism. They called it “the Nativity of the Sun.” Mithras, the sun-god, was supposed to have been born at this time, but so were Osiris, Horus, Tammuz, Hercules, Bacchus, Adonis, Jupiter – all the pagan Messiahs! This fact alone would seem to indicate that all these pagan sun-gods and deities trace their roots back to the original sun-god of ancient Babylon – Nimrod!
This popular winter festival became such an established custom that in pagan Rome and Greece, Egypt, and throughout Europe, the period of the winter solstice was a time of great revelry and festivity. In Rome it became known as the “Saturnalia,” in honor of the god Saturn, “the hidden one.” Saturn was another name for Nimrod, who late in his apostasy went into hiding from Shem, the son of Noah. The “feast of Saturn,” Hislop adds, “lasted five days; loose reins were given to drunkenness and revelry, slaves had a temporary emancipation, and used all manner of freedoms with their masters. This was precisely the way in which, according to Berosus, the drunken festival of the month Thebeth, answering to our December, in other words, the festival of Bacchus, was celebrated in Babylon” (p.96-97).
Writes T. G. Crippen in Christmas and Christmas Lore,
“Now in December and the beginning of January there were several festivals which
were intimately associated with the daily life of the Roman people. First, from the
17th to the 21st December, was the Saturnalia, the great Roman holiday . . . One
might call it the Feast of Topsy-turveydom; when slaves were allowed for a few days
to enjoy the semblance of freedom, were waited upon by their masters, and chose
from amongst themselves a mock king to preside over their revels. Next, on the 22nd,
came Sigillaria, the Feast of Dolls, when a fair was held, and dolls and other toys,
mostly of earthenware, were given to children. Then, on 25th, came Brumalia, other-
wise Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, when the days
began to lengthen after the solstice. . . . It is believed to have been instituted . . . by
the emperor Aurelian, in honour of Mithras, the Persian sun-god . . .” (p.8-9).
Clearly, the pagan customs of Christmas had nothing remotely to do with Christ, or the Word of God, the Scriptures. Clearly, they had nothing to offer to the Church of God, as they were the very antithesis of true Christianity! Yet, somehow, this ancient pagan festival wormed its way into the established “Christian” Church and became its most prominent holiday of the year! What a monstrous abomination!
The Catholic Church took the excitement which surrounded the Roman Saturnalia, with its excesses, delights, debauchery, and wantonness, and called them the celebration of the birth of the Son of God, Jesus. Most people today still think of December 25 as the birth day of Jesus, even though this is definitely not the case.
This pagan “bash” was transformed by the Catholic Church into the festivities of Christmas, in honor of the Madonna and Child. Thus the pagan Semiramis (Egyptian Isis) and Tammuz (Horus) were “transformed,” by sleight of hand, by the “magicians” of the Roman Church, into Mary and Jesus. In this manner, the pagan practices of the past centuries became outwardly “Christian” in name and character! For almost 300 years after the time of Jesus, the Church showed no concern for the date of Christ's birth. The apostles and leaders of the New Testament Church never bothered to find out when Jesus was born, as the date was not important to them. It was not until the fourth century that Christmas began to be observed by the Roman Catholic Church. Says the Encyclopedia Americana:
“Christmas – 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 the birth of the Saviour 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.”
That is how an ancient PAGAN CUSTOM became engrafted upon the unsuspected Christian world! But should true followers of Christ, the Messiah, participate in ANCIENT PAGAN CUSTOMS? Should true Christians celebrate “Christmas”?
The Puritans, who were Christians attempting to reform the Church during the 1600's, did not believe Christmas should be observed. This “baptism” of pagan rites and festivals by the Roman Catholic and the vast majority of the Protestant Churches, was totally rejected by the Puritans. One of them, William Prynne, during the time of king Charles I, wrote:
“Our Christmas lords of Misrule, together with dancing, masques, mummeries,
stage-players, and such other Christmas disorders, now in use with Christians,
were derived from these Roman Saturnalia and Bacchanalian festivals; which
should cause all pious Christians eternally to abominate them” (The Book of
Christmas Folklore, p.8).
Because of his attitude toward Christmas and pagan rituals still observed by the professing Christian Church, William Prynne was placed in a pillory and his ears were cut off.
Should Christians Observe “Christmas”?
Should Christians today celebrate this ancient festival? Many today may think it is all right, but the opinions of men are not our standard or authority. What does the Word of God itself say about this matter? It is a very serious question. Is it all right in the sight of God for men to take pagan customs and traditions, and to observe them, calling them “Christian”? Is it all right to merge and combine PAGAN practices with the truth of God?
According to the prophet Malachi, God does not change (Mal.3:6). His laws and commandments are eternal (Psa.111:7-8). Does God say it is all right to observe the traditions and customs of the pagans?
God commanded ancient Israel, “I am the Lord your God. You must NOT DO AS THEY DO IN EGYPT, where you used to live, and you must NOT DO AS THEY DO IN THE LAND OF CANAAN, where I am bringing you. DO NOT FOLLOW THEIR PRACTICES. You must obey my laws, and be careful to follow my decrees” (Lev.18:2-4).
God hates idolatry! He detests it with vehement passion. He tells us, “. . . Be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.’ YOU must NOT WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD IN THEIR WAY, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of DETESTABLE THINGS the LORD HATES” (Deut.12:29-31).
Because of pagan idolatrous practices, God cast the Canaanites out of the Promised Land. They were worshippers of Baal, or Nimrod, Tammuz, the sun god, the pagan Messiah, the god of wine and revelry. They worshipped the evergreen tree, and used it as a symbol of their god. They observed December 25, in worship of the waning sun, and their sun-god divinity. This whole religious system stemmed from ancient Babylon, the fount of all heresy and apostasy.
Their sensuality and gross lasciviousness was particularly displayed during the mid-winter festival, called the Saturnalia in Rome, with gift-giving, drunkenness, and sexual licentiousness. God says of such Bacchanalial rites,
“Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations
that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled,
so I punished it for its sin, and the land VOMITED out its inhabitants. . . Anyone
who does any of these DETESTABLE THINGS – such persons must be cut off from
their people. Keep my requirements and do NOT follow ANY OF THE DETEST-
ABLE CUSTOMS that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves
with them. I am the Lord your God” (Lev.18:24-30).
Even such idolatrous items as the “Christmas tree” are condemned in the Word of God! Jeremiah the prophet wrote,
“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 [such as
the waning sun at the winter solstice!]. For the CUSTOMS of the people are
VAIN [empty, useless, worthless]: for one CUTTETH A TREE out of the
FOREST, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They DECK
IT WITH SILVER AND WITH GOLD; they fasten it with nails and with
hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not:
they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for
they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good” (Jer.10:1-5).
Truly, the whole world has been deceived by Satan the devil and his clever masquerades and machinations (Rev.12:9). God Almighty thunders: “Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye POLLUTED after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye WHOREDOM after the manner of THEIR ABOMINATIONS? . . . ye POLLUTE yourselves with all your IDOLS, even unto this day . . . . But as for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD: Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but POLLUTE YE MY HOLY NAME NO MORE with your gifts, and with your idols” (Ezek.20:30-39).
The very name “Christmas,” combining the holy name of Christ with the pagan mass, POLLUTES and PROFANES God’s holy name! The celebration of these ancient pagan festivals, calling them “Christian,” is an abomination in the sight of God! Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will KNOW THE TRUTH, and the truth will set you FREE” – free from the shackles of error, superstition, mythology, and pagan deception! (John 8:32, NIV).
Christmas is pagan. There is no doubt about it. To observe it is to compromise with paganism – disobedience to God. The question is: What are you going to do about it?