Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Prison Ministry Time

Joseph Herrin (12-21-2016)

I have been answering my prison correspondence. I had let it pile up for some months. Some of the inmates did not know I had a stroke back in May. I finally felt like answering all my mail. I must have answered about 70 letters and I still have a few more to do.

I am not quite back to my full stamina at this time. I find that if I have been writing letters, or doing other things, that by 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon I have to call it quits. That is on top of a nap I take around noon. My mind will not allow me to go further. I have to call it a day and take on some less strenuous things for the remainder of the day. Also, my hand writing is not what it should be. I have to get my daughter to address all my envelopes for me.

I realize that my progress is better than many who have had strokes. Just yesterday I went on a walk without my cane. I have always used a cane to keep me balanced, and I was able to do without it yesterday. I didn’t go on as far of a walk as I am used to taking, but it was about 3/4ths of a mile. I didn’t want to overdo it. It has been raining a good bit here of late and I was having to wear my boots. My boots don’t have as tight of a fit on my feet and I am afraid that I will get a blister if I go too far.

Back to the subject of ministry, I am planning on expanding the prison newsletters again. I have a few weeks to go before I have some men run out of newsletters. It seems like a good time to expand them now. I should be able to add another years worth. It will take me longer to create them, but I have the time right now. I will also have to think about splitting the newsletters I print into two bunches. I could do one bunch one week and the remainder the next. This will still allow me to send out the newsletters to each man every other week.

The number of men on the list is about 270. That is almost double what it was a little over a year ago on August 31, 2015 when I wrote about it. I was sending the newsletters to 140 men at that time.

The Lord has been blessing the prison ministry tremendously. I thank Yahweh that He sent me to jail to learn about the men in need there. There are men to be ministered to everywhere. To those reading these words, I say “Keep your eyes opened.” Let the Spirit show you where to minister.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

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Joseph Herrin
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Montezuma, GA 31063

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christ or Messiah

Joseph Herrin (12-12-2016)

In my recent prisoner correspondence I received some excellent questions. I thought that in answering it I would write it up to share with my Internet readers as well. The specific question I will be providing an answer for in this blog is whether “Christ” is proper to call Yahshua by. Would it not be better to call Him “Messiah”?

I found an article online that addressed the question very well. I have left off some of the points that I believed contained some error, or would lead people into other topics. The article is posted along with the name of the man who labored to put it into print. The gentleman is a Lutheran pastor. The parts of his answer that I have included contain truth.


Many people in the Hebrew roots movement passionately reject the use of names such as "Christ" and "Jesus" and any word or practice that sounds to them as though it has a Greek rather than Hebrew origin. To them, anyone who uses any form of "Greek" name or practice must surely be wrapped up in worship of the sun god rather than of Yahweh and the Messiah of whom the Torah and prophets speak.

They offer a large variety of evidence to "prove" this, such as:

- Greeks, not followers of the Messiah, called him Christ(os) (Michael Rood, Jeremia Gordon)

- Greeks called all their gods christos, so Christ must not be used as a title for the Messiah (Michael Rood, Jeremia Gordon)

- Greeks, not Hebrews, first substituted the word "Lord" for "Yahweh"

- Zeus (a Greek god) was added to the name Yeshua to make the name "Jesus (Iesous in Greek); therefore following Jesus is the same as following the sun-god

- Greek name endings with sus, seus, and sous (which are phonetic pronunciations for Zeus) were attached by the Greeks to names and geographical areas as means to give honor to their supreme deity, Zeus." ( J. C. J. Melford, page 126)

- it is gross error to transliterate Yeshua as Iesous (Jesus), in part because the "J" sound of Jesus does not match the "Y" sound of the Hebrew Yeshua

- Dutch theologian named Desiderius Erasmus(1466-1536) in the year 1516 introduced the word "Lord" for Yahweh

- The "Name of blasphemy" christ' (Romans 5:6 KJV); was first introduced by the devil and "false apostle Paul" in his evil letter to The Romans

- all, or nearly all, of the New Testament was written in Hebrew or Aramaic, not Greek, so the authors could not have used the names Jesus or Christ

- the Vatican must be hiding original Hebrew or Aramaic texts of the New Testament which are older than any Greek texts

- Greek language and belief that practicing the Mosaic law is not mandatory or even beneficial to spiritual growth is a corruption

Some readers readily accept these kinds of claims uncritically, even though the claims often contradict each other. Who was at fault for introducing sun god worship into the church? Erasmus? The Roman Catholic church? Constantine? The council of Nicea? The false apostle Paul? Unidentified Greeks?

All these assertions have one thing in common- they do not identify actual evidence to back them up. For instance, they do not provide actual quotations from, and titles of, ancient sources such as historians of the first century. Radical claims such as these call for weighty, verifiable sources and evidence to back them up. But none is provided.

Here are verifiable facts that address these claims:


1. Hebrews, not Greeks, came up with the name Iesous and used it in place of "Yeshua." About 150 years BC devout Hebrew men translated the Old Testament into Greek. This isn't just speculation, You can check this out for yourself. The Greek translation was called the Septuagint (abbreviated as "LXX" because LXX is the Roman number for 70, which reflected the Hebrew belief that 70 men translated it). The simplest way to verify this is to visit You can have it print out Joshua 1:1 (or any other verse that mentions Joshua) with the English next to the OT Greek. It is obvious the Hebrews chose "Iesous" for "Joshua/Yeshua." That was Greek spelling that to them sounded most like the Hebrew "Yeshua," The Greek alphabet does not have either a "Y" or a "J," nor does it have a "sh" sound, so they could not have spelled it either "Yeshua" or "Jesus." You can also find "Septuagint" in Webster's dictionary (maybe not a pocket size, but the desk size will have it) because it is so important in understanding the Law and Prophets as well as the New Testament. The Hebrew world chose to use the word "Christ," not the Greeks This translation was widely in use among Hebrews in the first century, so many Jews called the Messiah "Christ." Both Hebrew and Gentile followers of Y'shua drew their faith vocabulary and thought from the bilingual Hebrew world, not from the Gentile Greek world.

2. The "ous" ending on "Jesus/Iesous" was not put there by sun god worshipers or by Greeks. The Hebrews first did it in the LXX, as noted above. They had to do this because of how the Greek language works. English is a word order language in which nouns and names are always spelled the same, and you understand what they mean by where they fall in the sentence. It makes a big difference whether you say "Jeff went to the store" or "The store went to Jeff."

Greek is not that way. Greek doesn't care what order the words are in. Instead, Greek changes how the names are spelled to help you understand what they mean. This is called "declining" words and giving the nouns "case." You can find definitions of these words in Webster, too. For instance, if the name "Jeff" was used in ancient (and modern) Greek, it would be spelled different ways depending on their use. A sentence would say "Jeffous (the subject of the sentence) sent Jeffov (the object of the sentence) to get the book of Jeffou ("Possessive"- Jeff's book)." You'll notice that "Jeff" always has an ending added to it. It has to have an ending, or the readers wouldn't understand the sentence, because word order means nothing.

The same thing happened with the name Yeshua/Joshua. Hebrews took the root of the name, "Yes" transliterated it to Greek letters "Ies" and added the case endings so that the name was spelled "Iesous," "Iesou" or "Iesov" depending on its use in the sentence. This wasn't an option. Greek speakers did this with every name and nouns, whether it was Simon, house, cow, table- whatever. The "ous" (or other word endings) weren't added because they indicated Greek gods. They were a natural part of talking Greek.

English does not decline nouns, except for the pronoun "he." We say, "He (nominative) drove him (accusative) to the store in his (genitive) car." It wouldn't make sense to us to instead say "He drove he to the store in he car," because you have to decline the word for it to make any sense. In the same way, Greek had to decline nouns in order for them to make any sense.

Adding "s" to the end of Christ (or Messiah) was necessary when the words were used by Greek speakers. Nouns in Greek (and some other languages, but not English) must be "declinable." That means that the last couple letters of the noun change with how they are used in the sentence. When "Christ" or "Messiah" is used as the subject, it is spelled with an "s" at the end (e.g.: Messias). When the noun is used as a genitive (as in "followers of Messiah") it is spelled with a "u" at the end (e.g.: Christou). English shortens it to the root, "Christ," because English doesn't decline nouns. Regardless of exactly how different languages spell it- as Messias, Messiah, Mashiyach, Christ, Christos, Y'shua, Yeshua, Jesus," etc, it is the same name or title. (Rood himself has used a variety of spellings of names for Messiah and YHWH, some not matching the spellings Gordon uses.)

3. "Zeus" was not added to "Yeshua" to make "Iesous." In fact, "Zeus" is spelled with a Z, and there is no Z in Iesous. The article by J. C. J. Melford, page 126 ... is just plain silly: "It is known that the Greek name endings with sus, seus, and sous (which are phonetic pronunciations for Zeus) were attached by the Greeks to names and geographical areas as means to give honour to their supreme deity, Zeus." The "s" ending was applied to dogs, roaches, houses, dog piles, rotten meat- literally all masculine nouns. Giving honor has absolutely nothing to do with this. Plus, names were actually spelled with "u" and "n" endings, too, depending on the case (as noted above). It is just grammar, not Zeus. But check this out for yourself by looking at any Greek grammar. What Melford says is just totally ignorant of the Greek language.

4. The Greeks never used the word "Christ" for their gods, or in any sacred context, or as any kind of title of honor at all. The verb form of the word meant "to rub lightly, spread." It was used for spreading oil after a bath, poison on arrows (both of these are found in Homer), whitewash, paint or cosmetics. The Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2 (from which this information is taken) adds, "It is anything but an expression of honor. Where it refers to people, it even tends towards the disrespectful" (pp. 334-335). For example, the compound word neochristos meant "newly whitewashed" (see Diodorus Siculus). The Greeks certainly did not choose to use the word for the Hebrew Messiah- nor did the Christians.

On the surface, it may seem odd to some people that such a "secular" word as christos would be used for anointing Messiah, which people see as a very spiritual use. But the noun Messiah, also has a verb form, messah. Some of the Prophets use the verb in everyday ways- to rub (messah) a shield with oil (Isaiah 21:5), to paint (messah) a house (Jeremiah 22:14), and apply oil (messah) to a body (Amos 6:6). You can verify that the verb massah is used in these verses by checking a Hebrew text or Strong's concordance. This shows that the verb form of Messiah is sometimes used in the same nonreligious ways that the verb form of christos was used by the Greeks. This made christos a good match for translators to use, since they were looking for a Greek root that had both verb and noun forms which were used in much the same ways as the Hebrew words. Messah was used more often to describe anointing kings, prophets and priests, but it was clearly used in both secular and religious ways.

5. The Hebrews, not Greek or Christians, chose to use the word "Christ(os)" and "Messiah" interchangeably. The Hebrews themselves translated the Old Testament into Greek in about 150 B.C. in what is called the Septuagint They say that the High Priest himself chose 72 elders from Judea who were experienced in the law, beliefs and customs of the Torah and were able to translate from Hebrew to Greek. This means they were fluent in both languages, and used both Messiah and Christos, Throughout the LXX, "Christ" is used for the Anointed One, such as in Psalm 2:2. You can check this for yourself by looking it up in the Septuagint online at or in a paper copy at a library.

The Apostle John himself used both words when he wrote, "(Andrew said,) we have found the Messiah, that is the Christ" (John 1:42), and "The woman said, 'I know that Messiah, called Christ, is coming" (John 4:24). John considered "Christ" and "Messiah" to be synonymous, and used Christ when speaking to Greek speakers, and Messiah when speaking to Hebrew speakers. (This article follows the Gospel's practice of using Messiah and Christ interchangeably, too.)

6. Hebrews roots proponents including Rood also condemn using the word "Lord" for YHWH (often spelled Yahweh). But the Hebrews, not Christians, introduced "Lord" (Greek- kurios) in the LXX just as they did "Christ." The LXX uses "Lord" (Greek- kurios) for YHWH and "God" for Elohim (eg: Genesis 3:14, Exodus 3:14).

7. The only ancient author to suggest that any part of the NT was authored in Aramaic or Hebrew is Papias, and he said only that Matthew was, not the rest of the NT. Some writers claim that many ancient authors claimed the NT was written in Aramaic, but that is entirely false. I challenge you to find the name, book title, and chapter of even one ancient author or church leader (other than Papias) that said so. They absolutely do not exist.

8. Many Hebrews of the first century B.C. who strictly observed the Torah spoke and wrote in Greek, not Hebrew. One example of this is the book of II Maccabees. Although this book is included in the Apocrypha found in Catholic Bibles, those books were written by Hebrews for Hebrews. II Maccabees records historical events which took place in Israel from 175 to 160 B.C. It is a condensation of a five volume history written by Jason of Cyrene, a strict observer of Torah written for other strict observers. It records how God's people faced torture and martyrdom rather than break the law of Moses. Yet, the book was authored in Greek, not Hebrew, and continued to be passed down to Hebrews in Greek. They considered it perfectly acceptable to strict observers of Torah to use the Greek language. The Greek Septuagint version of the Law and Prophets was used by Hebrews like these.

9. It is entirely imagination to speculate that the Vatican is hiding ancient Hebrew copies of the Gospels. No matter how logical it may seem to you, this is strictly fantasy until anyone produces a valid copy of such a thing. The fact is that we now have extremely early portions of the Gospels written in Greek, but absolutely none in Hebrew. The earliest portion is a copy of several verses of the Gospel of Matthew that dates to 60-62 A.D., which is within a few years of when Matthew authored his Gospel. Besides the physical evidence of the type of material and ink that was used, documents found with it pin down this very early date.

10. The book of Acts and the epistles were all written in Greek. Almost all the conversations in the book of Acts had to have taken place in Greek, not Hebrew. Think about it.

Luke, the author of Acts, was a Greek and he addressed it to another Greek, Theophilus (both names are Greek). Saul (Paul) and Luke accordingly used the Greek form Christos," because the vast majority of their hearers would have understood that, but would not have understood "Messiah," because they did not know Hebrew.

Acts 6 mentions the large body of Greek-speaking Hebrews in Jerusalem, the heart of Hebrew country (6:1). Phillip preached to the Samaritans, (who hated Hebrews, their language, religion and temple) and surely used Greek or Aramaic (Acts 8). The Gentile centurion Cornelius, some of his soldiers, and his whole household could not have understood Hebrew, yet understood Peter preaching- no doubt in Greek (Acts 10).

Paul, Barnabas and others taught the many Greeks who came to faith at Antioch (Acts 11,13). Paul persuaded the Roman proconsul on Cyprus, Sergius Paulus to believe (Acts 13:6-12). Many Gentiles at Iconium believed Paul, but he barely persuaded the crowds in Lystra (who spoke Lycaonian) not to sacrifice to them as gods (Acts 14). Acts never mentions a synagogue in most of the cities Paul visited. Paul could not have communicated in Hebrew to his own coworkers such as Timothy and Titus, who were raised as Greeks. In fact, most of Paul's coworkers had Greek names- Titus, Timothy, Apollos and Dionysius (names of Greek gods), Eutychus, the seven (Acts 6:6), the teachers at Antioch (Acts 13) and the long list of saints in Romans 16. Some names were Hebrew, such as Barnabas, which indicates that Luke wasn't trying to expunge everything Hebrew and replace everything with Greek- he was just factually reporting the prevalence of both Hebrew and especially Greek in the early church.

Paul spoke with the judges and jailer at Philippi, a Roman colony, though they surely did not know Hebrew. Paul's message to the Areopagus in Athens (Acts 17), and his defense when on trial before the Roman proconsul Gallio (Acts 18) were in Greek. The idolmakers in Ephesus (Acts 19) surely didn't riot in Hebrew. Paul spoke Greek to the Roman commander and centurion who arrested him in the temple (Acts 21:37, 22:25), as did Paul's nephew (23:19-21). Paul didn't need a translator. Paul made his own defense when on trial before Governors Felix (Acts 24) and Festus (Acts 25-26). Paul surely spoke Greek to the captain and everyone on the ship on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27) and to the superstitious islanders on Malta (Acts 28). Since Paul spoke Greek to them, he always had to use "Iesous Christos" with the Greek endings on the name in order to be understood.

11. An Aramaic NT did not have to exist in order for the Greek NT to transliterate "Yeshua" into "Iesous." As I mentioned above, Paul and others spoke to many groups of people in Greek, using the "declined" word forms in order to be understood. Luke was quoting him.

12. The New Testament sometimes uses a variety of spellings for names. The Greek form "Iesous" is used for Jesus in the NT, and is used for Joshua in the OT (you can check this in the Septuagint, as I mentioned above.) So every translator who sees "Iesous" in Hebrews has to guess by the context whether it refers to Jesus or Joshua, as in Hebrews 4. It's a fluke that people commonly translate the Iesous as either Joshua or Jesus. But it is not uncommon to have different spellings for the same name. For instance, Jude, Judah and Judas are all exactly the same name, and are spelled the same in Greek.. You can check this yourself by calling up Mat 1:2, 26:47 and Jude 1 in Greek at Matthew and Matthias are the same Greek name.

Why is the same Greek sometimes transliterated in different ways? It wouldn't have to be. Sometimes translators chop off the Greek "s" ending (like in Jude, Herod, etc) and other times leave it on (as in Judas, Jesus).

13. When people translate the Greek New Testament into English (and other languages), why don't the translators convert Greek forms of names like Iesous into Hebrew forms such as Yeshua? There are a few reasons for this. First, the Greek does not read Yeshua, it reads Iesous. Is it sound translation to write in sounds that don't actually exist in the Greek original? Second, in conversations recorded in the second half of the book of Acts, such as Paul's conversations in Ephesus, Philippi, etc, the speakers certainly used the Greek forms of the names (as noted above). To replace words that apostles actually said with Hebrew forms that they did not use is a stretch that translators think would be inappropriate or misleading.

We find the practice of abbreviating names in the Old Testament. The OT uses both YH and YHWH. The short version is most common in names like Jo-shua (Ya-shua; not Yahweh-shua/ Jehoweh-shua. It also appears in its simplest form in Psalm 68:4 "extol him by His name Yah." Elohim, another title for God, is also used in its shortened form, El, in the Law and the Prophets. People don't wonder what conspiratorial or occult meaning there is in the abbreviation YH or El, we know it is the name of the Lord, whether full length or shortened.

Some names have short and long forms, just as we do in English- Tom, Ths. and Thomas. We don't look for any mystical or occultic meaning if someone signs his name Tom or Ths. instead of Thomas. One example of a NT name in short and long form is Silvanus.. when he wrote the short form Silas, he wasn't trying to get across a deep or occultist meaning, he was just abbreviating it.

14. In most European languages a J has a Y sound, so "Jesus" sounds like "Yeshua." The "J" is pronounced like a Y in German, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Slavic, etc. When "Jesus" was first spelled with a J (which was at least as early as Luther's German Bible, 1520) probably every language in Europe that used a "J" pronounced it like a "Y." The hard "J" sound in English (as in "judge") is a fluke, not the norm. English is derived from European languages, and America is populated primarily by immigrants from Europe. After moving to America and beginning to learn English, it made sense to them to continue to spell "Jesus" as it had been for many centuries, rather than make up a foreign spelling with a Y that was unfamiliar to them, and which would lead to confusion. Many Bibles continued to be printed in Europe and used in both Europe and the Americas, just as today.

German, as one example, could not have used a "Y" because the German alphabet did not have a "Y." (At the end of the 20th century German began to use a Y, but only in a handful of foreign names and loan words such as Yates and yacht.) German, like Greek, declines nouns, so the spelling of "Jesus" changes with how it is used in a sentence - Jesus Christus (nominative), Jesu Christi (genitive), etc. If you know classical music and chorales (such as Bach), you may have recognized this already in songs such as "Jesu (pronounced "ya-su"), Joy of Man's Desiring."

15. Use of Greek language and concepts is a fulfillment, not a corruption, of the Messianic promise. Shortly after the Messiah commanded his followers to make disciples of all nations, the Lord himself miraculously set the pattern of how this should be done. On the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the disciples spoke of the Messiah to people who lived around the whole Mediterranean and middle eastern world. They were amazed that "each of us hears them in his own native language... we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues" (Acts 2:8, 11). Since they were visiting the Jerusalem temple to worship, they presumably knew at least some Hebrew. Nonetheless, the Lord miraculously caused them to hear the Gospel in their own languages, not in Hebrew.

Greek was used by the church because it was used around the world, in much the same way that English is used around the world today. The apostles wrote the Gospels and epistles in Greek because they knew people around the world could read them without needing it translated first. This tradition of putting God's Word into the languages of the people continues today, as parts of the New Testament have been translated into around 2,100 languages. God's desire was to bring the Gospel of forgiveness in the Messiah to all cultures, not to transform all culture into Hebrew culture.


Many of the false assertions found in Hebrew roots literature would not be promoted or believed if people had even the barest knowledge of Greek, ancient history, Hebrew use of the Septuagint, and modern languages. The problem is that people who are not knowledgeable about these things hear myths about "Christ" and other topics, get excited about these "new" and "little known" tidbits, and repeat them as fact without checking them out. Even worse, some continue to try to defend the myths after learning the facts we note above.

Many of them readily latch on to whatever radical theory they see, while making no serious effort to verify that "traditional" Christian teachings are, in fact, factual and true. Some people don't even make an effort to find the reason for the "traditional" view, because they don't want to find it. When I attended a Rood Awakening seminar, I was amazed at the attitude of most of the participants. When very radical and fantastic claims were made, most were thrilled about the new ideas, when they should have stepped back and judged them very carefully.

Many Hebrew roots followers also make the mistake of assuming that whatever they know about 21st century English must apply to Greek of 2,000 years ago. Speculation about hidden, occultic meanings behind IHS, about "Christ" being a title of Greek gods fall into this category. They think that because English does not decline nouns, then Greek must not either (in fact, they know so little about language, this does not even occur to them).

In the end, it is not an important issue whether people pronounce his name Y'shua Messiah or Jesus Christ, because He answers to either whether spoken in faith. As Scripture says, "without faith it is impossible to please God," not "without learning how to pronounce names in Hebrew and obeying the Mosaic Law it is impossible to please God."

Dr. John Juedes, Messiah Lutheran Church, Highland, CA

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Joseph Herrin (12-8-2016)

I took out one of the beds and installed a futon sofa today. I had been using the spare bed as a storage space. I thought it would serve better as a sofa. It is hard to imagine, but I had only one place to sit in my bus. That was at my desk. I found that I could sit somewhere else and not be tempted to browse the Internet. In the evenings I am too tired to write, and I don't want to squander my time by browsing the Internet. I prefer reading, but I found it to be difficult to sit at my desk and read a book.

I really like the location of the futon. You’ll note that there are three 2"x6" cut off and placed under each leg. Futon’s are notorious for being built low to the ground. At this height it is perfect to sit on the futon and prop my feet on the opposite bed.

Nicholas came over and helped me move the futon into the bus. I bought one that would fit perfectly in the space, but it was more than I could do to get it inside the bus’ doors. After we got it in place Nicholas put the legs on and we set it upon the blocks to test for height. Once we got it right we nailed the blocks onto one another and set the futon permanently in its place. The futon can be used for a bed if the need ever arises.

There is still plenty of storage space under the futon. Though the wheel wells are directly underneath it.

On another topic, I am going to have to get rid of Girlfriend.

She has been good dog. She has never met a stranger. She is friendly to everybody, even to children, but she has taken to terrorizing the neighbors small Shih Tzu when the neighbors Collie comes over. She has never been aggressive to the Shih Tzu before. She even backs away from it when it barks at her. She has known the neighbors dog for over a year.

The problem arises when another neighbor’s Collie comes over. Girlfriend likes the Collie and the two of them will go and terrorize the neighbors dog. It was totally unexpected. Girlfriend is so friendly that she gets along fine with the neighbors. She is also friendly to their dogs when she is not running with the Collie.

I can not picture Girlfriend on a leash. Champ is already on a leash and he would want to get near her. They would be tangled all the time. Champ is on a 100' runner and he has a 15' leader on the runner. I tried a wireless fence one time, but they don’t work very well with a metal framed bus. I have let Girlfriend run loose, and she hasn’t been any trouble to the neighbors until now.

If there are any takers for the dog I will be glad to hear from them. She would be good even with children. She is only aggressive with dogs who will embark on terrorizing other dogs with her. The Shih Tzu is temperamental. Girlfriend has been around it for over a year and it still barks at her every time it sees her. Girlfriend has been spayed and is about 3 years old.

On a last note, I have gotten a Frisbee goal to toss my Frisbees at. I was once quite good at Frisbee. Now I am barely able to throw them, though I have seen remarkable improvement since I have been using the goal.

I am only able to fly them about 20 feet with my right hand. I am getting my release time back with my right hand. A stroke causes your reflexes to be distorted on the side of the body that has been impacted. It is strange that my typing is coming back much faster than my release on the Frisbee. The Frisbee goal is intended to help me with my reflexes. I am usually at home by myself so I have looked at something that I could do alone. I have only had the goal about two weeks, but I am noticing a steady improvement in accuracy. The Frisbees aren’t normally all in the basket as pictured. That is a holding pattern. They are normally scattered on the ground, though not far from the basket and some inside it. I use a small Frisbee for my marker to show how far I am throwing them.

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Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

This post contains a selection of internet pieces written by different men to demonstrate why they have chosen to not celebrate Christmas. All of these men are professing believers, though they have approached this topic from a variety of perspectives. I hope to show you that it is possible to give up something for the sake of Christ that is idolatrous. May you be blessed with peace and understanding as you read.

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas
Charles Halff

What a Christian Jew has to say about Christmas...

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? Up until 25 years ago, I used to celebrate Christmas as much as - or even more than - any Gentile. You might think that is strange since I was born and raised in a Jewish home. But my family always had a Christmas tree every year because it was the popular thing to do. We had ornaments, mistletoe, holly wreaths, presents and everything else that goes along with the Christmas celebration.

You see, Jewish people celebrate Christmas today, not because of Christ's birthday, but because it is popular tradition and part of our present-day culture. It's as American as apple pie and hamburgers. And I observed Christmas for nearly 22 years of my life, until God opened my eyes to see the falseness of this pagan holiday.

It's not because I'm a Jew that I don't celebrate Christmas now. That has nothing to do with it. Let me tell you the real reasons why I no longer observe this pagan holiday.

Christmas Not a Bible Doctrine

In the first place, Christmas is not a Bible Doctrine. If our blessed Lord had wanted us to celebrate His birthday, He would have told us when to celebrate it and how to celebrate it. But Christ never told anyone to celebrate His birthday. Furthermore, we know from the Bible and from church history that the apostles and the early church never celebrated Christ's birthday.

The Bible is God's complete and final revelation to man, and it tells us everything we need to know for our spiritual lives (II Timothy 3:16). We don't have to go outside the Bible for anything. God's Word tells us how we're to worship, how we're to give money for the support of the Lord's work, how to evangelize the lost, how to observe the Lord's Supper and everything else pertaining to the Christian life. But not once in the Bible does God tell us to celebrate Christmas! We're told to remember the Lord's death, but nowhere are we told to celebrate His birth.

God's people are supposed to be Bible people. We are supposed to live by the teaching of the God's holy Word. So the very fact that Christmas is never mentioned in the Bible is sufficient reason for us not to have anything to do with it. But that's not all.

Christ Not born on December 25

The second reason I don't celebrate Christmas is that Christ was not born on December 25th. Notice:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." Luke 2:8

Don't miss the point: the shepherds WERE IN THE FIELDS taking care of their flocks on the night Jesus was born. As the shepherds were watching their sheep, the message came to them of the birth of Jesus.

It's a well known fact that December falls in the middle of the rainy season in Palestine, and the sheep were kept in the fold at that time of the year. The shepherds always corralled their flocks from October to April. They brought their sheep from the mountainsides and the fields no later than October 15th to protect them from the cold, rainy seasons that followed that date. So the birth of Christ could not have taken place at the end of December.

Secondly, Luke 2:1, 3 tells us that at the time of the birth of Jesus it was decreed that, "all the world would be taxed...And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city." This couldn't have taken place in the winter. Caesar Augustus, the ruler of Rome, would certainly not call for such a taxing in the depth of winter. Travel at this time of the year is extremely difficult; hence, it would be virtually impossible for everyone to comply with the decree if it had been given then. The Lord Himself testified to the rigors of traveling in winter, for He told the people to pray that their flight at the end of this age would not be in winter (Matthew 24:20).

No one knows the exact day when Jesus was born, but in all the probability He was born sometime during the first part of October. We can be reasonably sure of this because His earthly ministry lasted 3 1/2 years, and He was crucified on the 14th day of the month of Nisan, which corresponds to our April (John 19:31, Leviticus 23:5). If we go back 3 1/2 years to the time when Jesus was 30 years old - when He began His public ministry - we come to the month of October. This was probably the month when our blessed Lord was born into the world.

However, let's remember that it's not the date of Jesus' birth that's important. The important thing is that He was born and that He died for our sins. We're not worshipping a helpless infant lying in a manger. We are worshipping a risen and exalted Christ who has all power in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18).

Origin of Christmas

 Where do you suppose Christmas originated? Certainly not with God! Christmas started with the sun worshipers in the time of Nimrod, the man who supervised the building of the tower of Babel. And that's another reason why I don't celebrate Christmas.

Thousands of years before Jesus was born, heathens in every country observed December 25th as the birthday of a god who was called the sun-god. Semiramis, the widow of Nimrod, was his mother. She claimed to be the queen of heaven. And she had a son who was supposed to have been born on December 25th; his name was Tammuz.

According to all the heathen religions of that time, Tammuz had a miraculous birth; and for centuries his birthday was celebrated with feasts, revelry and drunken orgies. The heathen celebrated Tammuz' birthday according to the very example he set for them. He was the world's greatest lover of women, strong drink, dirty jokes and other sensual fun. It is said that he loved everybody and that everybody loved him. And it was on December 25th that all the pagan religions celebrated the birthday of Tammuz, the son-god.

This is all clearly brought out in Alexander Hislop's great book, "The Two Babylon's." Any reputable encyclopedia will also verify these facts.

It's plain to see, isn't it, that Christmas is a pagan holiday that came out of old pagan Babylon. As born-again believers, let's have nothing to do with it.

Christmas: A Catholic Holiday

The fourth reason I don't celebrate Christmas is because Christmas is a Catholic holiday. Why should I steal Christmas from the Catholics? They got it from the pagans, and I'm happy to let them keep it.

Notice what Encyclopedia Americana has to say about Christmas and Catholicism.

"Christmas – it was according to many authorities NOT celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian churches 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 (Roman Catholic) ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol. The holly, mistletoe, the yule log and the wassail bowl are of pre-Christian times. The Christmas tree has been traced back to the Romans. It went from Germany to Great Britain."

Encyclopedia Britannica has this to say about Christmas:

"Christmas (i.e., the Mass of Christ) was not among the earliest festivals of the church."

After Constantine became the Emperor of Rome, he forced all the pagans of his empire to be baptized into the Christian Church. Thus pagans far outnumbered true Christians.

Since the church worshiped the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, when the 25th of December rolled around and the pagans wanted to worship Tammuz, their sun-god, Constantine knew that he would have to do something. So he had the church combine the worship of Tammuz with the birthday of Christ, and a special mass was declared to keep everyone happy. Thus pagan worship was brought into the Christian church and called "Christ-mass."

Every time we say "Merry Christmas," we're actually mixing the precious and holy name of Christ with paganism. This is not right. God says in Ezekiel 20:39, "Pollute ye my holy name no more."

The World and Christmas

That brings me to the next reason why I don't celebrate Christmas. Christmas is of the world, and we're commanded, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." I John 2:15 The very fact that the world which hates Christ and His blood atonement for sin makes more fuss about Christmas than any other holiday proves to me that Christmas is not of God. If December 25th were truly the birthday of the blessed Son of God, the world would have nothing to do with it!

You don't have to be a Christian to celebrate Christmas. Even in non-Christian countries like Japan, Czeckoslovakia, Poland and Russia the people celebrate Christmas.

People throughout the world, who for the most part have no awareness of the Bible or Jesus Christ, eat up the Christmas celebration. To take Christmas from the world would be harder than taking candy from a child.

Let's face it, the world is married to the idol of Christmas. In fact, more people get drunk at Christmas than any other time of the year. There are more big parties and more selfish spending than any other season. Doesn't that prove that it's not of God?

The world loves Christmas, but it hates Christ.

Unscriptural Traditions

Another reason why I don't celebrate Christmas is that it's filled with unscriptural tradition. The exchanging of gifts, the Christmas tree, the singing of carols and Santa Claus are all pagan origin. These all crept into the church during or after the Fourth Century.

There are many unscriptural traditions that have cluttered up the story of the birth of our wonderful Saviour. For instance, many people believe that the wise men of East and the shepherds were together in Bethlehem at the time our Lord was born. But nothing could be further from the truth. The shepherds came to Bethlehem to see Jesus at His birth. The wise men came to Nazareth to see Jesus when He was almost two years old (Matthew 2:16).

Furthermore, the Bible says nothing about three wise men, nor does it say that they were kings. The fact is the Bible does not give their number at all but merely states that they were wise men.

Perhaps the worst part of the Christmas celebration is thousands of parents will teach their children the falsehood of Santa Claus. Children are taught that Santa Claus makes his home at the North Pole, and once each year he fills his sled with toys for the boys and girls who have been good throughout the year. If they are good, he brings them toys on Christmas Eve, and if they are bad, he passes them by.

Is it any wonder that many times when children grow up and learn the truth, they question whether Christ is also a myth?

The Bible says in Colossians 3:9, "Lie not one to another,". We are commanded in Ephesians 4:25 to put "away lying," and to "speak every truth with his neighbor."

Now I know that some of you loving mothers are saying, "Don't you think we should give the children a good time? They don't understand all the paganism behind Christmas."

Let me ask you a question, mother. Is it necessary to drag the holy name of our blessed Lord down to the low level of fleshly gratification and drunkenness to show the kiddies a good time? A thousand times, no! Let's teach our children the truth about Christmas. God's Word says that we should bring up children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Why should we dishonor the name of Christ in such a manner under the pretense of showing the children a good time? There are 364 more days in the year during which we can give gifts to our children.

Merrymaking and Exchanging Gifts

Without question, the most important part of Christmas for most people is buying and exchanging gifts. I don't celebrate Christmas because exchanging gifts has nothing to do with Christ's birthday.

Perhaps some of you are asking, "Didn't the wise men give gifts to Jesus?" They certainly did, but they didn't give them to one another. And their gifts were not birthday gifts because the wise men did not come to visit Jesus until He was nearly two years old (Matthew 2:16). The shepherds came to visit Jesus as His birth, but the wise men came to see Him nearly two years later.

Did you know that giving gifts to a king was common custom in the Far East? That's the reason why the wise men brought gifts to Jesus – because He was born to be King of the Jews. But they were not birthday gifts. So there is no connection between Christmas and the birthday of Jesus in this respect.

One final word before leaving the matter of exchanging gifts. Let me point out that even this is a part of Satan's antichrist program. The greatest Christmas celebration yet to come will be during the awful days of the tribulation. During the antichrist's reign all hell will be loose. The two witnesses who God shall send to the people of the earth will be killed when God is finished with them. Can you guess who will kill them? The antichrist will put them to death. Listen to God's Word:

"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." Revelation 11:7

It is under antichrist's reign that the last and greatest Christmas celebration shall take place. As a result of the death of these prophets of God, the world will be so delighted and thrilled that they will exchange gifts with one another. Here is what the Bible says,

"And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in the graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth." Revelation 11:9-10

What further proof do we need that Christmas celebration is not of God? Truly the Lord's people should not celebrate Christmas. It is anti-God, anti-Christ, Satanic, and unscriptural. The call of God is, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate...and touch not the unclean thing." II Corinthians 6:17. God's command to all His people is, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." Ephesians 5:11

Christmas Condemned by the Puritans

The pagan history of Christmas has been well known throughout history. In fact, at one time the celebration of this pagan custom was forbidden by law in England. In 1644, Parliament declared Christmas to be unlawful; and, consequently, it was abolished. The English Puritans looked upon the celebration of Christmas as the work of Satan

At one time in early American history, the observance of Christmas was illegal. A law was adopted in the general court of Massachusetts about 1650, which required that those who celebrated Christmas were to be punished. The statue read, "Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas, or in any other way...shall be subject to fine of 5 shillings." The law's preamble explained its purpose was "for preventing disorders...(by) observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries to the great dishonor of God and the offense of others." After the Mayflower pilgrims landed in 1620, the first December 25th was spent in labor and cutting down trees "in order to avoid any frivolity on the day sometimes called Christmas."

Opposition to the observance of Christmas continued just past the second half of the Nineteenth Century. An article in the December 26, 1855 edition of the New York Daily Times stated,

"The churches of the Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists were not open on December 25 except where some mission schools had a celebration. They do not accept the day as a holy one, but the Episcopalian, Catholic and German churches were all open. Inside they were decked with evergreens."

The Puritans knew the truth about Christmas and regarded it as a pagan holiday. It would be good if all believers followed their example.

What About the Christmas Tree?

Another reason why I don't observe Christmas is because the Christmas tree is condemned by the Bible. Notice: "Learn not the way of the heathen...For the customs of the people 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 with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it may not move. But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities." Jeremiah 10:2-4, 9

Here you have a perfect description of the Christmas tree, called by God "the way of the heathen." We are commanded not to learn that way or follow it! The Christmas tree is also viewed in this passage as idolatry. The fifth verse says that these tress cannot speak-cannot walk-must be carried. Some people misread this to make it say that there is no harm in having a Christmas tree, but that is not what it says at all. Rather, the Prophet Jeremiah tells us that it is vanity and foolishness and says, "Learn not the way of the heathen."

Some people will be up all night to work on an old dead tree. They'll trim it all up and stand off a little ways and admire their handiwork. Then many of them will sit up all night and look at that old Christmas tree.

I hope some of you preachers will get up in the middle of the night and throw out that old tree out of your house and out of your church right at Satan's head. I realize that some of you will just gnash your teeth and call me "narrow minded." Well, you can call me anything you want, but I'm just giving you the Word of God.

Did you know that the green tree is mentioned 14 times in the Bible, and in every instance it is likened with idolatry? There isn't one place in the Bible where God commends the use of the "green tree" in connection with true worship.

Perhaps you're wondering why people have a Christmas tree during the Christmas celebration. You can search the Bible through and through, but you won't find a reason for it there. The first decorating of any evergreen tree began with the heathen Greeks and their worship of their god Adonis, who allegedly was brought back to life by the serpent Aesculapius after having been slain. And each Christmas multitudes of people will secure an evergreen tree and dress it up with bright glitter, lights and tinsel, not realizing that they are following the tradition of a pagan festival in honor of a false god!

No doubt there are many sincere Christians who think that they are honoring Christ by having their Christmas tree when, in reality, they are dishonoring Him by having anything to do with a heathen festival that God hates.

As you read these lines perhaps you say, "I have my Christmas tree but I don't worship it, and consequently, I see nothing wrong with it." Let me remind you, however, that you don't determine what is right and what is wrong. God determines what's right and wrong. If the Christmas tree is not an idol to you, why are you so reluctant to give it up? What are you doing down on your knees when you place your gifts under it?

Observing Days Forbidden

Finally I don't celebrate Christmas because God's Word forbids the observance of any holy days in this dispensation of grace. Listen:

"Ye observe days, and month, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." Galations 4:10-11

This tells us that the observance of days is a sign of weakness, childishness and lack of development. There are no special holy days for members of the body of Christ. The Lord wants us to worship Him the same 365 days a year.

We're not worshiping a dead Christ or a helpless infant lying in a manger, but we're worshiping a real living Christ who lives all year round.

Sometimes well-meaning people will make the statement, "Let's put the Christ back into Christmas." This sounds very good on the surface...but beloved, how can you put Christ back into something when He was never there?

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the famous English preacher of the last century, said,

"We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas...we find no scriptural word whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, it's observance is a superstition, because (it's) not of divine authority...probably the fact is that the 'holy days' (were) arranged to fit in with the heathen absurd to think we could do it in the spirit of the world, with a Jack Frost clown, a deceptive worldly Santa Claus, and a mixed program of sacred truth with fun, deception, and faction."

While the world celebrates Christmas with its gift swapping and wild parties, what should be our attitude? God's Word makes it plain that we should have nothing to do with this pagan holiday. Let's not associate the birth of the holy Son of God with the pagan traditions of men. Let us heed God's command; "Be ye separate, O my people." II Corinthians 6:17

The Curious Origins of a Popular Holiday

Already the decorations are going up, the parties are being planned, the presents are being bought. Soon people around the world will again be celebrating Christmas.

More than any other religious holiday, Christmas is associated with the name of Christ. The word Christmas is short for “Christ’s mass,” instituted by the Catholic Church and continued by many Protestant churches.

Yet, curiously, the Bible records nothing about the apostles or early Church observing Christmas. History shows that it wasn’t celebrated until hundreds of years after Jesus Christ lived on earth, and long after the apostles had passed from the scene.

Even more curious are the surprising circumstances under which Christmas came to be observed, and the many aspects of today’s Christmas celebrations—including the date, Dec. 25—that have nothing to do with Jesus’ birth, but do have a lot to do with ancient pre-Christian religions.

What does history show us about the origins of the world’s most popular holiday? It’s quite an eye-opening story!

New Catholic Encyclopedia on Christmas
The New Catholic Encyclopedia, in discussing the unlikelihood of a Dec. 25 date for Jesus Christ’s birth and how that particular date was chosen, gives some insight into the holiday’s origins:

“Why, then, were December 25 and January 6 chosen for the celebration of the Lord’s birth? Several theories are offered in explanation. Some actually believed December 25 was the birthday of Christ and tried to prove it by arguing from the conception of St. John the Baptist. Assuming, gratuitously, that Zachary was high priest and that the Day of Atonement fell on September 24, John would have been born on June 24 and Christ 6 months later, on December 25. This theory is now considered completely untenable.”

Continuing in the same source: “L. Duchesne suggested that the date of Christmas was determined from March 25, the traditional date of the Crucifixion. If He died on March 25, He must also have been conceived on this date and thus have been born 9 months later on December 25. More recently H. Engberding has tried, unsuccessfully, to defend a comparable position.

“According to the hypothesis suggested by H. Usener, developed by B. Botte, and accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice, because on this day, as the sun began its return to the northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the birthday of the invincible sun.

“Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome. This theory finds support in some of the Church Fathers’ contrasting the birth of Christ and the winter solstice. Though the substitution of Christmas for the pagan festival cannot be proved with certainty, it remains the most plausible explanation for the dating of Christmas” (1967, Vol. 3, p. 656, emphasis added throughout).

This encyclopedia admits that arguments for a Dec. 25 birth of Jesus Christ simply aren’t credible (see “Biblical Evidence Shows Jesus Christ Wasn’t Born on Dec. 25 ,” ). It acknowledges that this date was chosen because of popular existing festivities honoring the ancient sun god Mithra and celebrating the winter solstice.

Ancient origins of Christmas
Man, Myth & Magic is an illustrated encyclopedia of mythology and religion. In its article on Christmas, we uncover a treasure trove of research material on this holiday’s origins and history.

“Christmas has its origin in two ancient pagan festivals, the great Yule-feast of the Norsemen and the Roman Saturnalia. Extending from Advent, which begins on 30 November or the Sunday nearest to it, to Candlemas Day on 2 February, it was close enough to the winter solstice to acquire many of the associations of the Norse ceremony: the Yule-log, the evergreen decorations in houses and churches, even the Christmas feast itself. These elements were combined with the Saturnalia of the Romans to provide the basis for the early Christian festival.

“During the Saturnalia, gifts were made by the wealthy to the poor in honour of the golden age of liberty when Saturn ruled the known world, and slaves were allowed to change places and clothing with their masters. They even elected their own mock king who, for the period of the festival, ruled as a despot. The Saturnalia involved the wildest debauchery, and was a festival worthy of Pan himself.

“Naturally it came under heavy censure from the early Church and despite the fact that Jesus Christ and the saints gradually replaced the pagan deities it was long considered completely out of character with the Christian ideal. However, the festival was far too strongly entrenched in popular favour to be abolished, and the [Catholic] Church finally granted the necessary recognition, believing that if Christmas could not be suppressed it should be preserved in honour of the Christian God” (1995, Vol. 3, p. 418).

Do you grasp what this is telling us? We saw earlier that the Dec. 25 date for Christmas came from ancient pre-Christian festivals. Here we see that the same ancient pagan celebrations honoring other gods were continued, with the Catholic Church simply relabeling the festivities and customs as Christian!

Christmas banned for its paganism
The Man, Myth & Magic encyclopedia reveals more of the strange story of Christmas as it continued after the ancient celebrations were adopted by the Catholic Church:

“Once given a Christian basis the festival became fully established in Europe with many of its pagan elements undisturbed. It was only in the 4th century that 25 December was officially decreed to be the birthday of Christ, and it was another 500 years before the term Midwinter Feast was abandoned in favour of the word Christmas.

“Even then on the Continent the festival continued to show many features inherited from the Saturnalia. In particular, the Feast of Fools was a wild debauch reminiscent of the pagan past. The Normans when they invaded England in 1066, introduced a Master of Ceremonies into the English Christmas. Known as the Lord of Misrule, his counterpart in Scotland was called the Abbot of Unreason.

“… The undisguised pagan element in Christmas had often provoked criticism from extreme Protestants but the festival was not really affected by their beliefs until the Puritans came to power in the 17th century. Christmas was attacked as ‘the old heathens’ feasting day to Saturn their God’ and carols were forbidden. Finally, 25 December was proclaimed a fast day in 1644. The new rule was enforced by the army, which spent much of its time pulling down the greenery that festive ‘pagans’ had attached to their doors.

“In Scotland the prohibition was enforced with great rigour. This anti-Christmas attitude spread to Puritan territories in America. The Church established special services for Christmas in Boston during the 1690s, but many civil authorities strongly opposed this move. And it was not until some 150 years later that Christmas first became a legal holiday in the United States, in Alabama in 1836” (pp. 418-419).

Of course, Christmas has long been accepted throughout much of the world. Now it’s so popular—not to mention commercially important—that it’s almost inconceivable to realize that at one time it was outlawed for its pagan associations and practices!

An ancient nativity celebration reborn
The noted British anthropologist and scholar Sir James Frazer wrote a classic work on ancient myths and religious practices titled The Golden Bough. His findings on the ancient origins of our Christmas practices and customs are revealing:

“… There can be no doubt that the Mithraic religion [the worship of Mithra, the Persian sun god, popular in the Roman Empire] proved a formidable rival to Christianity, combining as it did a solemn ritual with aspirations after moral purity and a hope of immortality. 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 [Catholic] 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 [i.e., Middle Eastern] goddess whom the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of Astarte [also known as Easter].

“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 commemorating the birth of the Savior 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 [Catholic] 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.” (1993, p. 358).

Sir James Frazer studied the thread of Christmas customs and practices through ancient times and reached an inescapable conclusion: Christmas is but a relic of the worship of the pagan god known by the Persians and Romans as Mithra or Mithras, relabeled with a Christian name.

A pagan festival relabeled
Why did the early Catholic Church adopt and relabel this ancient pagan celebration? Frazer explains:

“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 [Catholic] 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. Accordingly, 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 [Pope] 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.

“Thus it appears that the Christian [Catholic] Church chose to celebrate the birthday 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” (1993, pp. 358-359).

The truth about Christmas’s origins is simple: One of the ancient world’s most popular celebrations—a festival that originated in sun worship and honoring pagan gods—was renamed and reborn as traditional Christianity’s most popular celebration.

What would Jesus say?
Today, would Jesus Christ recognize the religion that professes to follow Him?

Think about it: If you lived in the Holy Land in the time of Jesus and you observed Christmas, you would be alone, for no true Christian ever kept Christmas during Jesus’ life on earth. Further, if you saw Jesus or the apostles walking through the narrow passageways of Old Jerusalem or the dusty roads of Judea and you invited them to join in your Christmas celebration, what would they say?

Since Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), they might remind you of what God’s Word says about incorporating pagan customs into your worship:

“… Do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods … Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:30-32).

Jesus Himself might repeat to you what He said to the Pharisees, who considered their traditions and customs more important than obeying God’s Word: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). Christmas, mentioned nowhere in the Bible, is a “commandment” of men.

The apostle Paul might remind you of the words he wrote to Church members in Corinth, a city steeped in pagan religious practices: “… What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God … Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ … Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17;7:1).

Does it really matter?
Sadly, for the bulk of modern Christianity these scriptures—which help define what true Christianity is and is not—mean very little. Most of the 2 billion professing Christians on earth today observe Christmas and other extrabiblical holidays without ever giving them a second thought.

Most will never take the time to look into their beliefs to learn their true origins, though information such as that found in this article can be found in virtually any modern library or on the Internet. Though the basic facts about the origins of Christmas are spelled out in almost any reputable encyclopedia, most people will not look long and hard at their traditions and customs to see if they square with the Bible.

It’s especially ironic to see the articles that appear in many newspapers each year —often written by well-intentioned but misguided clergymen—who recite the pagan origins of Christmas and its trappings but conclude that it doesn’t matter because it’s now celebrated for a good cause. We have to wonder how they can reconcile that view with the clear scriptures quoted above.

What about your beliefs? Jesus Christ says that those who worship God “must worship [Him] in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Are your beliefs and worship firmly grounded in biblical truth, or in ancient fables?

While most Christians embrace Christmas, a few recall a more complex history

Posted on Thursday, Dec 13th, 2007
Some Christians won’t be celebrating Christmas 
Associated Press
As Christmas draws near, the Rev. John Foster of Charleston, W.Va., won’t be decorating a tree, shopping for last-minute gifts or working on a holiday sermon for his flock. After all, it’s been 50 years since Christmas was anything more than a day of the week to him.

He’s one of very few American Christians who follow what used to be the norm in many Protestant denominations — rejecting the celebration of Christmas on religious grounds.
“People don’t think of it this way, but it’s really a secular holiday,” said Foster, a Princeton-based pastor in the United Church of God. He last celebrated Christmas when he was 8.

His church’s objection to Christmas is rare among U.S. Christians. Gallup polls from 1994 to 2005 consistently show that more than 90 percent of adults say they celebrate Christmas, including 84 percent of non-Christians.

That’s a huge change from an earlier era, when many Protestants ignored or actively opposed the holiday. But as it gradually became popular as a family celebration, churches followed their members in making peace with Christmas.

The change didn’t happen overnight. Through much of the 19th century, schools and businesses remained open, Congress met in session and some churches closed their doors, lest errant worshippers try to furtively commemorate the day.

“The whole culture didn’t stop for Christmas,” said Bruce Forbes, a religious studies professor at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. “Government went on as usual, business went on as usual, school went on as usual.”

In researching his book, “Christmas: A Candid History,” Forbes discovered that major American denominations — Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and Congregationalists — either ignored the holiday or actively discouraged it until the late 19th century.

That rejection was rooted in the lack of biblical sanction for Dec. 25 as the date of Jesus’ birth, as well as suspicion toward traditions that developed after the earliest days of Christianity. In colonial New England, this disapproval extended to actually making the holiday illegal, with celebration punishable by a fine.

“Some somehow observe the day,” wrote Boston Puritan Samuel Sewall on Christmas Day 1685, “but are vexed, I believe, that the body of people profane it, and blessed be God no authority yet compels them to keep it.”

Some 322 years later, Sewall might be surprised to see his congregation — today known as Old South Church — proudly displaying a decorated Christmas tree outside the church.
“We think it’s cheerful and seasonal,” said Nancy Taylor, senior minister of Old South, one of America’s most venerable congregations, counting among its past worshippers not only Sewall but Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams.

Now part of the United Church of Christ, Old South not only has a Christmas tree, but encourages its 650 or so members to exchange Christmas presents — although the focus is on charitable donations and service, rather than shopping.

“We are the descendants of the Puritans and Pilgrims, but we have loosened up a lot since then,” Taylor said. “We have changed and adapted and I think that’s part of why we haven’t died out.”

Like Sewall’s successors, the mainline Protestant churches have learned to accommodate Christmas. But the change came from the pews rather than the pulpit.

Christmas benefited from a 19th century “domestication of religion,” said University of Texas history professor Penne Restad, in which faith and family were intertwined in a complementary set of values and beliefs.

Christmas became acceptable as a family-centered holiday, Restad said, once it lost its overtly religious significance.

At the same time, aspects of the holiday like decorated trees and gift-giving became status symbols for an aspirant middle class. When Christmas began its march toward dominance among holidays, it was because of a change in the culture, not theology.

“In America, the saying is that the minister follows the people, the people don’t follow the minister,” Restad said. “This was more of a sociological change than a religious one. The home and the marketplace had more sway than the church.”

That’s partly why Christians like the United Church of God reject the holiday: They say divine instruction, rather than culture and society, should determine whether the holiday is appropriate.

“It’s common knowledge that Christmas and its customs have nothing to do with the Bible,” said Clyde Kilough, president of the United Church of God, which has branches all over the world. “The theological question is quite simple: Is it acceptable to God for humans to choose to worship him by adopting paganism’s most popular celebrations and calling them Christian?”

There is still lingering unease with the holiday in denominations that once rejected it. This can be glimpsed in worries about commercialization and in individual Christians like Phillip Ross.

Ross is an elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Vienna, near Parkersburg. Well-versed in the history of Christianity, Christmas and Presbyterianism, Ross knows his church historically objected to Christmas.

On the other hand, Ross is also a father of two, and while he made up his mind to reject Christmas as a teenager, his children’s early years included gifts, decorations and a tree.

“I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas,” he said. “It seems obvious to me that there’s nothing scriptural about it, but that’s a hard sell with children.”

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

What's the Big Deal About Christmas?

Joseph Herrin (Originally posted on 12-06-2014)

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas - Poster Modified to Promote Truth in Advertising
(Click on Image to View Larger)

I would like to challenge you with the following thought. Your success in passing through the coming days of Christian persecution and global tribulation are even now being forecast by your words and actions relating to the observance of the Christmas holiday. Before you dismiss such a claim as baseless, I challenge you to consider the following:

Once a Christian has been presented with the evidence of the idolatrous origins of the Christmas holiday, the date it is observed on, the rites and symbols associated with it, and Yahweh’s condemnation of His people mixing together the holy and the profane, they are brought to a crisis of decision. Their choice will have profound repercussions for their own life, as well as those who are close to them. As each believer weighs the evidence presented to them, they are confronted by the same influences, pressures, desires, and struggles between the flesh and spirit that they will encounter in the last dark days at the end of this age, days which we are even now entering into.

The decision to “come out of Babylon and be separate,” (Revelation 18:4) or to continue in the confusion of Babylon, is confronted by a growing number of Christians every year as they have presented to them the truth of the extra-Biblical and idolatrous origins of Christmas. Their response to the truth reveals the presence, or absence, of the fear of God in their lives. It exposes whether they can accurately discern between truth and error, between the mind of Christ and the voices of deception. How they handle the subject of Christmas participation will bring to the light of day many characteristics of their spiritual lives. It will be shown whether they are careful in examining all things in order to arrive at the will of Yahweh, or whether they manifest a carelessness and lack of concern for Yahweh’s judgment. Brought into the open will be their attitude toward personal suffering in obedience to Christ. It will also be shown how they handle pressures from family and other people of influence in their lives. Whether the person is ultimately a God-pleaser or a man-pleaser, whether they embrace suffering for truth or flee from it, will be revealed as they decide what their response to the truth will be.

All of the dynamics are present in an individual’s decision regarding observance of the Christmas holiday that will be present in coming days when Christians will be faced with pressures to deny their faith, compromise the truth, and embrace deception in order to avoid personal suffering, reproach, or some threat to the happiness and safety of themselves, or the people they love. Many who confidently assert that they will die for Christ when put to the test will find that, like Peter, their bold statements lack substance. For many it will be revealed too late that in their refusal to “die daily” as they were faced with decisions between obedience and disobedience, between suffering and avoidance of suffering, between bearing reproach or being a man-pleaser, that they were establishing patterns and habits in their lives which will cause them to shrink back when faced with a decision to confess Christ and die, or to deny Him and live. Martyrdom is not a one time event. It is a way of life.

Oftentimes I have observed some financial company or advisor adding the following caveat to their words:

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

In other words, there is no certainty that what has occurred in the past will occur in the future. Such a statement absolves financial advisors from culpability should an investor follow their advice only to see their money disappear into thin air. In the realm of human behavior, however, future performance can oftentimes be predicted by observing past behavior.

I acknowledge the exceptions to this pattern. People can change. Yahweh does give men and women the grace to repent and amend their ways. Yet we should bear in mind that there is a point past which Yahweh will no longer strive with mankind. He will give them over to their own ways. Those who have been refusing to bear the cross of a disciple of Christ will at some point find that the opportunity to do so is no longer afforded them. The apostle John recorded the following words of the Son of God:

Revelation 22:10-13
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and let the one who is holy, still keep himself holy. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”

I believe many professing believers are deceiving themselves by holding onto the notion that they will be faithful unto death should persecution and suffering overtake them in the future. When they will not deny themselves today; when they will not choose obedience to Christ over pleasing family, friends, loved ones, and self, why would they reasonably conclude that they will do so in the future?

As I consider the topic of Christmas holiday observance, I perceive in it all of the pressures, influences, and considerations that believers will face in the coming tribulation. Some years back I was invited to hold a weekly Bible study in the home of an elderly Christian brother. After some months, the Spirit of Christ directed me to teach on the subject of the pagan origins of Christmas and the commandment of Yahweh to separate between the holy and the profane in our lives.

Ezekiel 44:23
“Moreover, [My priests] shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”

I remember clearly the last day Yahweh allowed me to lead this Bible study. As half a dozen men sat around the dining room table with their Bible’s before them, one man complained of a sickening headache just as we were about to begin. I discerned it to be an attack of Satan to hinder this man from hearing what God would speak to him. I told the men that we should stop at once and pray for this brother. I led the prayer, asking God to rebuke the adversary who would hinder Yahweh’s truths from being proclaimed and understood by those gathered together. I prayed that the Great Physician might touch this man and make him whole so that he might receive all that Yahweh had determined to proclaim that day.

After praying, I had just began speaking when I saw this same man shaking his head back and forth vigorously. He had a look of incredulity upon his face. I asked him what was happening. He said the headache that was so intense just a moment ago was now completely gone. He was shaking his head just to make sure he was not imagining things, for even slight movements had been causing his head to ache before. Now there was no pain and his mind was alert and his thoughts clear. I affirmed to him that Yahweh had answered our prayers because it was important that all those present hear and understand what was to be shared.

I proceeded to declare the message that is set forth in the writing titled Removing the High Places. I have since formatted this teaching to be able to print it out in newsletter format, as it is one of the teachings I share with men in prison. It can also be found in a format suitable for viewing on the Internet.

Removing the High Places - Cover Page

Removing the High Places - Inside Pages

There are many sources of information on the pagan origins of Christmas and Easter, but Yahweh inspired me to write on this subject with an emphasis upon the forces that wage war within and without a man or woman, leading them to compromise truth and engage in behavior that is displeasing to God. He specifically led me to cite the example of King Solomon. The Bible tells us:

I Kings 11:4-6
When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to Yawheh his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians... Solomon did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and did not follow Yahweh fully, as David his father had done.

In these words are recorded a great tragedy. Solomon was deeply loved by Yahweh. The Bible even tells us that Yahweh gave to Solomon a name meaning “beloved of Yah.”

II Samuel 12:24-25
Now Yahweh loved [Solomon] and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah because of Yahweh.

Solomon was a man greatly blessed by God. In his youth Solomon walked humbly before Yahweh, and delighted in Him. When Yahweh asked Solomon to request anything he desired, Solomon replied that he wanted wisdom to know how to rule Yahweh’s people, for he deemed himself to be a mere child who did not know how to come in, or go out. Yahweh was pleased with this request, and gave Solomon wisdom beyond that of any other man. He also gave him riches and honor. Yet, over time, Solomon began to be drawn away by his love for many women. He married 300 wives and had 700 concubines. Many of these women came from foreign nations who worshiped false gods and whose societies followed many idolatrous practices.

I think many people today imagine these idolatrous practices as being apparently evil, such as child sacrifice, or drinking blood. This, however, was not the case. Many of these idolatrous practices were beloved by their people, and shared numerous similarities with the present holidays known as Christmas and Easter. In fact, in the passage from I Kings cited above, the goddess Ashtoreth was specifically named. Ashtoreth was a fertility goddess. She is called in other languages and cultures Astarte, Ishtar, and Eostre. In English, her name has come down to us as Easter.

On Easter every year in “Christian nations,” the holiday that bears the name of this fertility goddess is attended with rites and symbols related to rebirth and new life. Easter bunnies and colored eggs are both symbols of fertility, as are grass and flowers. The many sunrise celebrations that are observed on Easter originate in the pagan rite of arising early to watch the Sun ascend over the horizon, for the Sun was considered a deity and a giver of life. People would bake hot crossed buns and give them to their daughters as they invoked the goddess to make them fertile. If the people had no daughters, they gave the buns to their sons. This is where the nursery rhyme originated.

Hot Crossed Buns and Easter Eggs

Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns

If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns

The cross on the buns was the “t” or “tau” symbol of Tammuz, the son of the fertility goddess. He was reportedly killed by a wild boar, but is reborn at Easter. This is why there are 40 days of mourning leading up to Easter, a period that the Roman Catholic Church adopted and refers to as Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday as the tau symbol of Tammuz is placed on the foreheads of people, continuing the millennia’s old ritual of pagan idolatry. This ash on the forehead is an ancient symbol of mourning. The t, or tau symbol, identified the mourning as being on behalf of Tammuz.

The Bible describes this idolatrous practice as far back as the days of Ezekiel who lived six centuries before the birth of Christ.

Ezekiel 8:14-15
Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz. And He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? Yet you will see still greater abominations than these.”

Jeremiah lived around the same time and he describes the women of Israel baking cakes for “the queen of heaven” (Jeremiah 7:18). These are actions that Yahweh describes as “abominations,” for He is a jealous God and has said “You shall have no other gods before me.” The actions described by Ezekiel and Jeremiah were some of the types of things Solomon’s wives loved to do. They were similar to the actions Christians observe today as they practice Christmas and Easter: Giving presents to one another on the winter solstice; Slaying a wild boar as an act of revenge for the boar that killed Tammuz (this is the origin of eating ham on Christmas and Easter); Incorporating signs of fertility at Easter, and the focus on the Sun.

The Roman Catholic Church came up with alternate explanations of these rites to make them appear “Christian,” and to thereby disarm the disciples of Christ who opposed the incorporation of idolatrous practices into Christianity. Still, many of the faithful disciples of Christ refused to have anything to do with these profane and idolatrous ways. What does Easter ham have to do with Christ? Yahshua is described as the Passover “Lamb” of God. Pigs were considered unclean animals, despised by the Jews. In the same way, it is incongruous to associate the birth of Christ with an orgy of materialism. The Christmas season is marked by shopping. It is a period of time with a greater fixation of materialism than any other time of year.

This focus on materialism is as unbefitting of a celebration of Christ’s life as Easter ham is as a substitute for the Passover Lamb. Christ carried forth His ministry as a homeless wanderer. He counseled His disciples to carry only the bare essentials with them as they traveled about (Luke 9:3). He told those who were His disciples to sell all they have, give to the poor, and then come and follow Him. The emphasis of Christ’s life and instruction was selflessness and an emptying of material goods. This was also the practice of the early church.

Acts 2:44-45
And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

Luke 14:33
“So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

Christ made a whip of cords and drove the merchants and money changers out of the Temple of God. In this hour of great apostasy the church has invited the merchants and money changers back in. They now make a celebration out of the greatest orgy of conspicuous consumption and the pursuit of mammon the world has ever witnessed. They do all this in the name of Christ.

Although such behavior was unknown by Christ and His apostles, nor was it practiced by the virgin church espoused to the Son of God, the focus on buying and selling entered into the church through the practice of syncretism (the merging of pagan and idolatrous practices into Christianity). It has now become a cherished tradition, and the highlight of the year for many people, Christian and non-Christian alike. This is the same way Solomon’s wives felt about the rituals they had known in their homelands. Therefore, they spoke to Solomon about wanting to continue these practices. They wanted to continue to celebrate Ashtoreth (Easter). They wanted to commemorate the birth of the Sun every winter solstice. Solomon, wanting to make his wives happy, gave them what they wanted, even though he knew to do so was against the commandment of Yahweh.

At the Bible study I mentioned from some years back, I set before the men the origins of the various practices and symbols related to Christmas and Easter. I will not repeat them all here. The information is available in a number of my writings. I particularly recommend the series titled Syncretism.

I asked the men at the end of the Bible study if they understood what had been presented to them, and if they agreed that the rites and symbols of Christmas and Easter had arisen from unclean sources. They all responded affirmatively. They admitted that the evidence was quite plain. The following week I was preparing for the next Bible study when the Spirit of Christ spoke to me quite plainly. He indicated that I was to ask the men what they were planning to do with the truths presented to them the previous week. We had just observed Thanksgiving. Christmas was a few weeks away. Yahweh instructed me to ask the men if they were going to continue to observe this holiday with all of its idolatrous and unclean practices and origins. The Spirit of Christ told me that if the men were not going to act upon the truth presented to them the week before that I was not to give them any more truth.

There are times when the Spirit speaks to me something that I know will be controversial, and will likely result in some emotional response. When I see the weight of some situation like this looming before me I feel stirred up in spirit and it is my habit to begin pacing back and forth while praying earnestly. This is what I gave myself to that day. I was stirred up in spirit by what the Lord was communicating to me. My heart’s desire was to faithfully represent God, being obedient to His command. At the same time, I had some trepidation as I considered how these men might respond.

When I arrived at the Bible study I began by asking the question the Spirit had placed upon my heart. I repeated my questions from the previous week, asking the men if they agreed that what was presented to them was true. They again affirmed that it was. I then asked if any of them were changing their plans regarding Christmas. The answer was “no.” (Two of the men, the elderly host and his grandson, had already quit observing Christmas, being aware of the holiday’s unclean origins.) One man who was present had a wife and daughters. He expressed how it would cause much strife in his home for him to choose to no longer observe the Christmas holiday. This man loved his wife and daughters and wanted to make them happy. Like Solomon, he chose to appease those family members he loved, rather than to honor God by his obedience.

Yahshua said that if we follow Him as disciples we will come into strife with the members of our own households. He declared this to be part of the cost of being His disciple. All who would follow Him must count the cost and embrace it.

Luke 14:26-30
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’”

Matthew 10:34-38
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

As soon as I heard the answer from these men, I announced what the Spirit of Christ had told me. I informed them that I could not continue the Bible study with them. Yahweh would not permit me to deliver to them more truth if they were unwilling to walk in the truth already presented to them. The man who had the headache the week before was the one who spoke of fearing the reaction of his wife and daughters. It was reported to me by the host and his grandson that after I left, this man became quite angry. Nevertheless, it is a principle of God that those who are faithful with the truth already given to them will be given more truth. Those who are unfaithful are in danger of losing even the truth they have already received (Matthew 25:14-30).

Matthew 25:28-29
“Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”

Luke 19:26
“I tell you, that to everyone who has shall more be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”

What do you think the behavior of this man will be in future days when he is faced with a decision to honor God and suffer, or to please his wife and daughters? Will he choose Yahweh over his family? The cost of obedience to Christ is not likely to decrease in the days ahead. Is it reasonable to conclude that men and women who will not pay the cost of discipleship now, who reject the cross of Christ, who will not obey the truth when to do so is costly, will prove willing to die as martyrs in the days ahead? Will those who refuse to die daily in the multitude of decisions and tests that God brings to them, suddenly find within themselves the resolve to glorify Yahweh in an hour of great persecution?

In recent weeks there has been much talk about Kirk Cameron’s new movie titled Saving Christmas. I thought perhaps the movie was aimed at defending Christmas against a growing secularism and commercialism. I was surprised, and saddened, when I watched the movie trailer and discovered that it was in fact focused on refuting those who have chosen to not participate in Christmas due to conviction, having become aware of its pagan origins and its spiritually unclean rites and symbols. Following is the trailer for the movie.

A positive thought which comes to me as I consider the focus of this movie is that the truth of Christmas’ pagan origins, and the conviction that participating in such rites is contradictory to the will of God, is increasing to such an extent that it has now appeared on the radar of mainline denominational Christianity. It is no small decision for many believers to choose not to participate in Christmas, for it is a cherished holiday, loved as much by the unsaved as it is by those professing to be Christians. That so many are paying the cost of estrangement, reproaches, and being labeled extremist, by family, friends, and neighbors reveals that there remains a remnant who place obedience to God above personal interests.

In the days of Elijah, Israel and Judea had been overrun with idolatry and paganism. Elijah lamented that he felt like he was the only one left to follow Yahweh with a whole heart. Yahweh responded by informing Elijah that He had preserved 7,000 men unto Himself who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Are we seeing a similar situation today?

For those who have eyes to see, the parallels are deeply troubling. Although I had not intended to share much in this post regarding specific aspects of the idolatrous origins of Christmas, I am inclined to make mention of one prominent aspect of Christmas that reveals we are living in days very similar to those of Elijah.

Yahweh told the prophet that He had reserved 7,000 men to Himself who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Baal is also spelled as Bel. We observe this name in the English word “obelisk.” An obelisk is a “shaft of Bel/Baal.” The Freemasons are servants of Lucifer and they have adopted the Obelisk as one of their chief symbols. Washington, D.C. was designed by a Freemason, and at its center lies the largest Obelisk in the world, the Washington Monument. The Christmas tree is also a type of obelisk. It represents the same thing as the stone obelisks throughout the world. It is a monument to the worship of Satan/Lucifer, the light bearer. This is why Christmas trees are adorned with lights, and have either an angel or a star adorning the top of them. The angel, or star, represents Lucifer.

Brothers and sisters, I am aware that Satan, through the Roman Catholic Church, has presented alternate explanations for all of the symbols and rites associated with this pagan holiday. Whether it is the candy cane, the Christmas tree, the tradition of giving gifts, lighting candles, or putting a star atop the Christmas tree, these pagan traditions have all been covered in a thin veneer of Christianity. Yet peel away the facade and underneath lies the diabolic truth.

Have you ever wondered why a nation that has rejected Christ, banned prayer from the schools, removed every symbol of Christ from the public square, which promotes homosexuality and the murder of the unborn, continues to celebrate Christmas and Easter on government property, including the White House? This year there are 26 Christmas trees in the White House.

Have you wondered why the Rockefeller family, a family well known for their Luciferian, Illuminati associations, annually erects one of the largest Christmas trees in the nation amidst great fanfare and elaborate productions? The reason is that the Christmas tree has nothing to do with Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah. The Christmas tree is an ancient symbol of Satanic worship. This is seen as a person examines the context in which these trees appear. Below is a statue of Prometheus beneath the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

Prometheus Under the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

The statue of Prometheus bringing fire down from heaven and giving it to mankind, is one of the most evident pieces of art found on the Rockefeller Center complex. It is a re-telling of the story of Lucifer who offered to mankind the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. An Internet website shares the following commentary on this statue found on the Rockefeller property.

This statue depicts Prometheus, a Titan of Greek mythology known for his great intelligence. He has however betrayed the god Zeus by stealing fire and giving it to mankind. He is credited to have taught mankind the arts of civilization such as writing, mathematics, agriculture, medicine, and science. Zeus then punished Prometheus for his crime by having him bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver every day only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day.

Paul Manship’s sculpture featured in the Sunken Plaza of the Rockefeller Center portrays Prometheus holding the fire stolen from Zeus and gliding towards humanity. He lies inside a ring in which are outlined the signs of the Zodiac. Behind the statue is an inscription saying:

“Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends.”

Substitute the name Lucifer for Prometheus, and you will perceive the true substance of this monument. Lucifer was judged by God, not for a benevolent act on behalf of mankind. Lucifer’s fall occurred prior to Adam and Eve’s residency in Eden. It is described by the prophet Isaiah

Isaiah 14:12-14
"How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'”

At Rockefeller Center, the statue of Prometheus/Lucifer is located directly beneath the tree that is erected annually. Prometheus is seen with the gift of fire in his hand, and he is right beneath the tree where the gifts would be laid.

Prometheus with His Gift Under the Tree

Atop the tree is a great star. This star symbolizes Lucifer, the light bearer. In the writing titled A Rockefeller Christmas, I have shared the following relating to this star.
Star Redesigned as Comet
The star, now five years old, was made by the crystal manufacturer Swarovski, which had commissioned the designer Michael Hammers to design a replacement for an aging fiberglass star. Mr. Hammers's star had 12 rays, spiky triangles of glass with 25,000 tiny crystals glued inside. All told, the crystals have a million glittery facets.

For the makeover, he decided to do more to project light through the rays. That meant adding the LEDs. Mr. Hammers said in an e-mail message from Beijing, where he is involved in a performance of Bach's ''Christmas Oratorio,'' that he had a comet in mind.

''Every star on a Christmas tree is a Christmas star,'' he wrote, adding that many people suspect the original Christmas star was a comet.

Of course, comets streak across the sky like a certain sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, but that is another story.

There is another being who is compared to a streaking star, a flash of light, as he was cast from heaven to earth.

Ezekiel 28:16
Therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.

Luke 10:18
And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning...”

Revelation 12:9-10
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Satan seeks to portray himself as a victim of an unjust God. He declares himself to be an angel of light, a bringer of knowledge and truth to mankind.
It is Lucifer whom the Rockefeller’s honor with their lighted tree every year. It is Lucifer who is honored in the White House. A stone obelisk stands outside as a monument. Portrayed in the ritual of cutting down a tree, bringing it into one’s home, adorning it with lights, topping it with a star or an angel, and placing gifts beneath it, is the act of men and women inviting Lucifer into their homes year after year and honoring him for his gifts. And what do men, women and children have to do to receive these gifts? They must bow down before the tree topped with the star or angel, the symbol of Lucifer.

The apostle Paul spoke the following sobering words.

II Corinthians 11:14-15
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Satan disguises himself.” What a masterful stroke he has accomplished here. He has so disguised himself that under the guise of honoring the birthday of Christ, men and women bring this symbol of Satan into their homes annually, gather around it, and bow down before it. What did Yahweh say to Elijah? “I have reserved 7,000 men for Myself who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Will you be one of the remnant reserved unto God?

Admittedly, the information in this single blog post is far from exhaustive. It is insufficient to instruct any man or woman in the full truth of Christmas or Easter. This writing is not intended to provide the many historical evidences and proofs of the idolatrous origins of these holidays. I must refer you to other writings I have made freely available that delve more deeply into these subjects. I will provide links at the bottom of the post in order that those who love truth and who fear Yahweh might test these things for themselves.

Before I do, I would make mention of the movie that “stars” Kirk Cameron, and which is titled Saving Christmas. The movie is actually an argument for saving the practice of syncretism, which is defined in the following manner:

Syncretism: the attempt to reconcile disparate or contrary beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. This may involve attempts to merge... several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, and thus assert an underlying unity allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths.

If you consider the definition of syncretism, you will find that it stands in direct opposition to the will and ways of God. He has said:

II Corinthians 6:14-18
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty.

Do not be bound together... Come out... Be separate... Do not touch... What harmony has Christ with Bel...?

Brothers and sisters, what is occurring at Christmas is the very thing denounced by the apostle in these words to the church. Christmas is the merging, and attempted harmonizing, of the things of Christ with traditions, dates, and rituals associated with Baal/Bel worship. One of the chief elements seen in Kirk Cameron’s film is the Christmas tree. He defends this as a Christian symbol, but to do so he must go outside the Bible and the history of the early church, and draw from the history of Christianity after it had descended into apostasy.

It is ever the ploy of Satan to cause men to adopt some profane symbol or rite by deceiving them as to its real meaning. This is a tactic employed by Freemasonry. Albert Pike, in his Masonic tome titled Morals and Dogma, has shared the following in defense of the deception practiced upon the members of this Luciferian organization.

Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it. Truth is not for those who are unworthy or unable to receive it, or would pervert it....

The truth must be kept secret, and the masses need a teaching proportioned to their imperfect reason…

The Blue Degrees are but the outer court or portico of the Temple. Part of the symbols are displayed there to the Initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations. It is not intended that he shall understand them; but it is intended that he shall imagine he understands them. Their true explication is reserved for the Adepts, the Princes of Masonry. The whole body of the Royal and Sacerdotal Art was hidden so carefully, centuries since, in the High Degrees, as that it is even yet impossible to solve many of the enigmas which they contain. It is well enough for the mass of those called Masons, to imagine that all is contained in the Blue Degrees; and whoso attempts to undeceive them will labor in vain, and without any true reward violate his obligations as an Adept. Masonry is the veritable Sphinx, buried to the head in the sands heaped round it by the ages.

Satan is the great deceiver who deceives the entire world. He has reserved many of his greatest acts of deception for the people of God. This is why it is requisite that the saints of Christ examine all their ways, all the traditions passed onto them by former generations. They must pray that Yahweh might teach them the difference between the holy and the profane, and they must be willing to separate themselves from that which Yahweh calls unclean, even if doing so proves costly or engenders reproach.

Do not suppose that Satan has been any less successful in deceiving the mass of men and women in the church than he has been in deceiving the millions of men who have reached only the lower degrees of Freemasonry. Do you think it incredible that the Christmas tree is in fact an ancient symbol of Baal worship and that millions of Christians have been tricked into bringing it into their homes? I tell you it is no more incredible than commemorating the death of Yahshua, the Passover Lamb of God, by eating the Easter ham. It is no more unbelievable than to comprehend that Satan has caused nearly all of the churches to replace the Biblical Passover Feast on which Christ was slain with a holiday bearing the name of a pagan goddess of fertility, and to bring into this celebration the many rites, symbols and traditions associated with Easter/Eostre/Ishtar/Astarte/Ashtoreth.

We do many things in ignorance, and Yahweh is gracious to forgive us our error when we repent. However, when we have truth presented to us, we are brought to a crisis of decision. Will we honor God, possibly suffering reproach, and the anger and misunderstanding of those we love? Or will we stop our ears, and close our minds to the truth, embracing arguments and justifications to continue in the error which we love? Will we try to persuade ourselves that it is really no big deal with God? Really? Walking in truth and eschewing deceit and idolatry is no big deal with God? Joining together Christ and Belial, light and darkness is no big deal? If we will deem it so, then what might we not sanction? Is anything forbidden? Is Yahweh a God of absolute tolerance? Will He wink at our corruption? Will He smile as we bring confusion between the holy and the profane?

Perhaps the day will come when you are faced with denying Christ or being executed. Having established a pattern of compromise, is it not possible in that moment that you will reason that God will understand that you did not mean it? You could persuade yourself that you will be given more days to share the gospel of Christ if you avoid death by denying Christ momentarily. It doesn’t matter, you might reason, as all of the men hearing your confession know you are being coerced.

Do you really think the decisions you make now regarding truth and obedience, and your response to the pressures others exert upon you, will have no bearing upon your future performance? Will you be a martyr on the last day of your life when you refused to be a martyr every other day? Maybe what you do about Christmas is a big deal after all...


Kirk Cameron does not stop at advocating in favor of Christmas celebrations. He has also stated publicly that he believes Christians should celebrate Halloween, going so far as to suggest that they should be holding the biggest Halloween party on their block.

Removing the High Places


A Rockefeller Christmas - Redux

Christmas Season Versus Sabbath Rest

Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter

I also recommend the more recent writing titled Prometheus, Ebola, and the Coming Days of Woe. It contains relevant information from the movie Prometheus that was released in 2012. In one scene from the movie, the captain of the spaceship Prometheus upon awakening from two years in a state of hibernation erects a Christmas tree. This action is an anomaly in the movie, having no purpose unless one understands the esoteric origins of the Christmas tree and its relationship to Prometheus/Lucifer.

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