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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Merry Christmas – Rejoice! Christ Was Sent!

Within Christianity and Messianic Judaism/Hebrew Roots Movement the celebration of Christmas is pegged as paganism by many who have been led to believe that it is unscriptural to observe this holiday in any form. The idea is sold that it brings dishonor to God, that it replaces the feasts given to Israel, and that it is not commanded directly by God. Therefore; Christmas is considered evil and those who dare to celebrate it are mocking God and partaking in idol worship with their decorations and traditions.

Many false allegations and myths have been thrown on the table in order to cause people discomfort and fear in their choice to worship the Lord at the time of year when we traditionally celebrate Jesus’ birth. The traditions, cultural and secular additions to Christmas are an aside to the core of Christmas. The world will always find a way to tarnish God’s Word, dishonor and reject the Gospel message … we should not let the world’s view define what we use or how we as believers choose to worship the Lord.

The following article brings forward much Scriptural support for the celebration of Christmas, a truth that is Biblical, not pagan. Setting aside one’s beliefs that Christmas is somehow a perversion is difficult. This blog administrator has struggled significantly for years trying to find balance since being convinced through the Messianic movement that Christmas is not of God. The following article has healed immensely, and smoothed things reasonably and with balance due to the Scriptural approach. The focus is on Jesus Christ – whose birth was the impetus, from the beginning, as the reason for the celebrations …

The Gospel is presented in all its glory in the New Testament. It is the full revelation of Jesus Christ through His apostles as shared with the world in the first century. The apostle Paul was given the mystery of the Gospel to bring it first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Paul was chosen specifically and uniquely by Jesus Christ to be His ambassador of the Good News of Salvation and to explain this mystery – of Christ in us, the Hope of Glory > to Jew and Gentile alike.

The Gospels tell us the story of His birth, as God inspired the writers, though His Holy Spirit, to relay to us what Jesus wanted us to know about Him, about the Lord God, and how we should live to please Him. It was a brand new concept, unknown and not comprehended until the apostles witnessed and testified to the truths found in the 27 books of the NT. These books give us complete clarity and understanding, bringing full revelation of the birth, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior into total understanding. It is the beauty of the very Words of God that helps us see the truth for what it is, not what man has done to it to destroy the wonders that God wrought through Jesus Christ … and it is this fact that makes Christmas beautiful, to the praise of His glory.

[The following article is condensed from an extensive writing about Christmas. The author, my friend Karen, has given permission to share it.]

Paul’s Simple Guideline

I believe God is honored by His children celebrating Christmas, and that He and Paul would not object. Why? For the many, many reasons that are outlined below. The first one is because he instructs [us] to have guidelines in whatever we do. He says whatever we do, do it heartily as to the Lord.…

Col 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…

He also says, as another guideline for us, to let all we do be done with love…

1Co 16:14 Let all that you do be done with love.

In a nutshell, this is what Christmas is and what His followers do. We do it heartily to the Lord and honor Him in love. This brings Him glory. It is because we love Him and appreciate Him that we do this. We want to worship, celebrate and honor Him. We also want to tell the world about Jesus, His story and all He has done, which we are also commanded to do. I celebrate Christmas because I do it from my love and appreciation to God, remembrance of His Son and my love for my family. Love is my motivation, so I am following what Paul and God taught us to do. I am doing it heartily to the Lord, because of love. I am also following what Jesus says in the 2nd commandment about loving God, ourselves and others. Love is a fulfillment of the Law …

Merry Christmas

Most people know saying Merry Christmas means we are talking about the happiness of Christ’s birth, a merry time. Some Christians are being told it is wrong to say Merry Christmas. This is based on incorrect and false teaching, by other believers who may think they are teaching correctly.

Some may not like the combination of two words Christ and mass. Some believe this to mean the Catholic mass of Christ, but it is good to look further to what the root of the word really means. It is important not to be quick to judge, but to look into its origin, so we can understand correctly and make correct decisions. If we don’t do that, we will be partaking in teaching and sharing falsities ourselves. We will also be turning people away from focusing on and honoring the truth that God sent His Son. These are 2 things that wouldn’t make God happy.

In English, Christmas is a combination of Christ and mass. We know what Christ means and Who He is, but what does mass mean? The word mass came from the Late Latin word missa, which is from the verb mittere, which means to send. It is important to consider that those who originated the word Christmas were most likely aware that it meant to send Christ, or Christ is sent. Therefore telling people the Good News that God sent Christ to us.

Mittere Translation To send – Main forms: Mitto, Mittere, Misi, Missus http://latindictionary.wikidot.com/verb:mittere

miss-, mis-, -miss, -mis, mit-, mitt-, -mit, -mitt (Latin: to send, to let go, to cause to go; to throw, to hurl, to cast) http://wordinfo.info/unit/1319/s:admit

 

mitto to cause to go, let go, send, send off, dispatch, mittere verb pres inf act http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=mittere&la=la&prior=D

Mittere – Present active infinitive of mittōto send, to cause to go”…”to send out, to emit”

Second-person singular present passive imperative of mittōbe thou sent… be thou caused to go”http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mittere

From Middle English masse, from Old English mæsse (“the mass, church festival”), from Vulgar Latin *messa, from Late Latin missa, noun use of feminine past participle of classical Latin mittere (“to send”). Compare Dutch mis (“mass”), German Messe (“mass”), Danish messe (“mass”), Icelandic messa (“mass”). http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mass

Mass Origin:before 900; Middle English masse, Old English mæsse  < Vulgar Latin *messa, Late Latin missa,  formally feminine of Latin missus,  past participle of mittere  to send, dismiss; perhaps extracted from a phrase in the service with missa est  and a feminine subject http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mass

 

Christ-mass… We see it means to send Christ, or Christ is sent. This lines up perfectly with what we are taught in the Scriptures. Saying Merry Christmas is a confirmation and declaration of the Scriptures.God sent us Jesus. God sent forth His Son…

Gal 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  Why?  Gal 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

1Jn 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Act 10:36  The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ–He is Lord of all–

 

The Christmas Story from the Bible 

 

Matthew 1:18-25 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Luke 2:1  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

The Angels

Luk 1:19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.

Mat 1:20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

Luk 1:26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

Luk 1:27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. Luk 1:28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

Luk 1:29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Luk 1:30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Luk 1:31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

 

The Visit of the Shepherds

Luke 2:15-20 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

 

The Visit of the Magi (Wise Men)

Matthew 2:1-12 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

 

Peace on Earth

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

Peace with God

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

Immanuel

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

 

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Isaiah 40:1-11 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

 

Mary Visits Elizabeth

Luke 1:39-45 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

 

Mary’s Song

Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

 

Zechariah’s Song

Luke 1:67-79 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

 

These Christmas Bible verses reveal that God has given the greatest gift to the world—eternal life—and that life is in his Son, Jesus Christ. As Christians we celebrate his birth at Christmas, yet even more, we praise God for the gift of salvation and eternal life that was given to us though Jesus Christ.

 

The Gift of Eternal Life

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He savedus, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

John 10:27-28 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Christmas is a set time every year for God’s children around the world to do what they did that first year, and what it says to do in this Psalm…Giving thanks to God for His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men. Christ was sent to us. It says let us declare His works with rejoicing.

Psa 107:21 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psa 107:22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare His works with rejoicing.

We need to tell the world about His birth for other reasons. Why? Because it is different from any other birth. Included are verses that teach us about Jesus’ birth. A Lot of them are told only during the Christmas season. We learn He was born of a virgin, He was born the Son of God, King of the Jews, born under the law, born to redeem those under the law, born a King, born of the will of God, born as a Savior and as the Christ. Because of Him we can cry out Abba Father.

Mat 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, Mat 2:2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, Gal 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Gal 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Mat 1:16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.

Jesus, John and Luke explained to us Jesus’ birth and purpose in detail. It is in the explaining and telling these verses that people can come to know Him and understand how special His birth was…

Joh 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Joh 1:13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Mat 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Mat 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. Mat 1:20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. Mat 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Mat 1:22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Mat 1:23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which is translated, “God with us.” Mat 1:24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, Mat 1:25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name

Luk 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

If people don’t teach and tell clearly every year the whole story of Jesus’ birth, how can people know these things? Let’s do as Jesus, the prophets, disciples, wise men and angels did. Let’s join them to tell others about the good news of Jesus and His birth in the Gospels!

 

Pagan holidays

Since Christmas is about God sending Christ to us, …. it is important to see what really is ok with God and what is not, based on His word. Some of the most common activities, I surprisingly found are rooted and based in the Scriptures.

Some Messianics teach that the Israelites thought they were worshiping the true God with the golden calf, the way He wanted them to worship Him, and they compare this to celebrating Christmas. Yet, this is not a correct comparison. Christmas to Christians is not worshipping a golden calf; it is worshipping a Person, Jesus Christ, God’s very own Son. There is a big difference between worshipping the One true God, or a god made of gold. You cannot compare the two, and by sharing things that are not true, puts a false burden of guilt on those who choose to celebrate Christmas.

Christians throughout the centuries have taken pagan celebrations down so to speak, and instead shared Christ throughout the world. Because of this, God is glorified and magnified! The disciples proclaimed the verses that we share during this holiday. They told specifically about Jesus’ birth in detail, as well as His death and Resurrection. That’s what they did the most in the Gospels, Epistles and other Books. Even the Prophets told about His birth and death.

Some ask: Do you think God cares that we His people chose on our own to celebrate His Son’s birth on the day that every pagan culture in the world celebrated the sun god? Can I answer that please? Yes! I believe He does care and it sounds like He cares very much by what He said about doing things like that. Based on the Scriptures below, I believe God would be very happy His children did that. For at least one reason, because He told us to do that very thing in His word! Christians took over an ungodly, pagan holiday and gave the people the real meaning to celebrate. I believe God would be very pleased His children did this and instead wanted to help people convert to Christianity. We need to look correctly at this to see the reason why His children did this. It was to tell the truth about the Son of God, so people could come to Him, be saved and worship Him too.

Most importantly this is a Biblical principal that was taught in the OT. God repeatedly told His people to go into the land and destroy the people, customs and false teachings of the land, and to tear down their idols. Instead they were to teach His ways and exalt and worship Him. Again, this is the very thing the believers did. They did not destroy people, because the NT shows us not to that, but they destroyed the false teaching of the celebration of the sun god and tore it down, so to speak. They replaced it with the truth of the message of the SON of God. They told people He is the Light of the World, not a false sun god! They taught people to celebrate and honor the Son of God Himself, and to come to Him for life. They outlined His story specifically from the Scriptures to teach people about the truth of His birth, life, death and resurrection so they could understand His purpose. They sang Him songs and drew close to Him. They replaced the false teaching with the truth from the Scriptures.

God is pleased with this, I am sure. Why? Again, because God was quite strict about His people removing the false god and false worship and exalting Him instead. He asked them why they had not obeyed Him by tearing down the false god’s alters. As a result of His people allowing the alters of the false gods to stand, God said they would be thorns in their side and their gods would be a snare to them. The people then wept.

 

Jdg 2:2  And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Jdg 2:3  Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ ” Jdg 2:4  So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.

 

The believers who originated the celebration of Christ and told the people about Him actually tore down the false god’s alter. The bottom line is they obeyed God, and as a result the false god is not a snare or thorn to us centuries later. Instead, God, His ways, His word and His Son have been exalted and taught ever since! Again, the Lord said to tear down the false altar and build an alter to the Lord. These altars to the Lord (the celebration and honor of His Son and speaking and teaching about Him from His Word) have brought glory to God and His Son throughout the centuries, due to their obedience.

Jdg 6:25 Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; Jdg 6:26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.”

We read that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did not serve or worship any god except their own God! As a result the ungodly came to God and praised Him, and God was blessed because of it. This is what the early Christians did too. Since they did not worship the false god, but tore it down and exalted and taught about the only One true God and His Son, the ungodly come to Him yearly for salvation and life!

Dan 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God!

As an act of obedience by God’s children, He and His Son are glorified and Jesus’ life and purpose are told. This was probably the most evangelical thing ever done! Even on the day that every pagan culture in the world celebrated the sun god, but now close to 2,000 years later we still celebrate the Son of God instead. God has the victory and is glorified! We see that this is an OT and NT principle!

Rom 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The message of Christ was brought to the pagans, which is what Jesus did. He went to the sinners and ate with them. Didn’t He come to us? Didn’t He bring His light into our darkness? We are told to do the same thing. I believe according to several OT and NT principles outlined below, it is a good thing the Christian leaders counteracted that practice of celebrating the wrong god by giving believers Christian days to celebrate Jesus instead.

Additional helpful verses regarding false gods:

God tells us we shall have no other gods before Him. The believers obeyed and did not worship the sun god or any other god.

Exo 20:3  “You shall have no other gods before Me.

What the believers did actually helps new believers or non believers to not be snared by the false god, as we are told to do. Non believers or weaker believers may have been tempted to join the festivities of the pagan god. Instead, the stronger believers gave them a reason to really celebrate and worship God’s Son. They obeyed God by taking heed not to be ensnared, or follow after the popular god of that time.

Deu 12:30  take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’

Because the believers offered a godly option, the people did not serve the gods according to the rituals of the nations.

2Ki 17:33  They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods–according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away.

The believers who initiated Christmas celebrations didn’t do as Israel did by worshipping the gods of the countries around them. They did not forsake the Lord, but served Him and His Son. They taught about Him and worshiped Him.

Jdg 10:6  Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him.

In the New Testament we see similar warnings not to worship other gods.

1Co 10:14  Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Gal 4:8  But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

We are to expose unfruitful works of darkness, which the worship of the sun god was, and we are to have no fellowship with it. The believers obeyed and didn’t join people in false worship, but gave them the real reason to worship. And the real reason is God’s Son.

Eph 5:11  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Jesus tells us true worshippers worship Him in spirit and in truth. That is what we do at Christmas. We worship Him in our spirits and by telling the truth of His story.

Joh 4:23  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. Joh 4:24  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Paul praised the believers at Thessalonica for turning from idols to serve the living God. Again, this is what is done when we celebrate Jesus. We worship and server the living and true God.

1Th 1:9  For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

Paul shared that he was grieved by seeing a whole city given over to worshipping idols. It is very possible that those who initiated Christmas were grieved at whole cities given over to idol worship of a pagan sun god.

Act 17:16  Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.

Based on an OT precedent, they used a holiday to praise and thank God and be good to others and give gifts to each other. Fellowship, getting together with family and friends to celebrate, remember, honor, sing and eat are just the same to me as when Jesus and His disciples got together and fellowshipped and ate together. He even did this after His resurrection, which shows me that fellowship and getting together to be close to others is important to God. To be with those you love and to celebrate Him and His birth and resurrection are good things.

Gift Giving

Interestingly, we find Gods children giving gifts to one another and celebrating in the OT. The very acts of gift giving, feasting, joy, sending presents to one another and giving gifts to the poor with gladness as a holiday is actually Biblical.

We see in the Bible there was a special holiday created with the act of giving gifts to people. A pagan earthly king made a holiday to honor his wife, Queen Esther! God did not say it was wrong to decree this holiday, nor did Queen Esther, a Godly Jew, object to it. This holiday was initiated out of love and generosity we are told. 2 things that are very important to God…

Est 2:17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Est 2:18 Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther, for all his officials and servants; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the generosity of a king.

The king rewarded Mordecai and took off his signet ring and gave it to him and put him in a position of authority when Haman’s wicked plan was exposed.

Est 8:2 So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman.

God allowed Queen Esther and Mordecai to be elevated to positions where they could write decrees. The king gave Mordecai royal apparel of blue and white, a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple. Mordecai became great in the kings palace and his fame spread throughout the provinces.

Est 8:7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews. Est 8:8 You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.” …Est 8:15 So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. Est 9:4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for this man Mordecai became increasingly prominent.

We are told, as a result of overcoming the enemy, they celebrated, with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and sent presents to one another.

Est 9:1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day, the time came for the king’s command and his decree to be executed. On the day that the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them… Est 9:19 Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.

Mordecai as a leader sent letters to all the people and told them they should yearly celebrate the day they had rest from their enemies. Their sorrow was turned to joy and from mourning to a holiday. They were told again they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and giving of gifts to the poor.

Est 9:20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, Est 9:21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, Est 9:22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. Est 9:23 So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them,

Here we are told that God’s children established and imposed a holiday upon themselves and their descendants to celebrate these 2 days every year.

Est 9:27 the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, Est 9:28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

It says Queen Esther and Mordecai (both Leaders and God’s children) wrote with full authority and had words of peace and truth.

Est 9:29 Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. Est 9:30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,

We are told that Mordecai became a great leader of the Jews and was second in command to the king.

Est 10:3 For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.

I included these verses to show the succession of events. That God took 2 of His people and gave them favor. He raised them to position of Queen and 2nd in command to the king. During this time, they established and instituted upon themselves, in full authority a holiday of gift giving and rejoicing, because of the freedom God gave them. They thanked God and gave gifts to each other – 2 very important themes of the Bible… being thankful and giving.

Why can’t we as Christians (God’s children) have full authority to celebrate Jesus with words of peace and truth and gift giving and singing? Much like they did. He is so much more a reason to celebrate, although their freedom was a very important thing. Our freedom from a false holiday of the sun god set by pagans, to the real holiday of the Son of God is cause for us to celebrate our freedom from the false god to the true God. We should be grateful generations before us did the right thing and have continued to since then!

Regarding gifts in the NT, we are told by Paul that we are to give and we will be blessed with the same measure …

Luk 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Jesus gave gifts to men. Spiritual gifts…

Eph 4:8 Therefore He says: “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” (Caps not mine)

We are told we are to remember the poor. .

Gal 2:10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

Jesus says it is more blessed to give than receive…

Act 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “

God says He loves a cheerful giver. We need to give as we purpose in our hearts and to do it cheerfully. It is good to give and we can be very cheerful doing it.

2Co 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Paul says it is good to be rich in good works, ready to give and willing to share…

1Ti 6:18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,

Christmas is a good time to give to the poor, even though we should do this throughout the year. During this time, there are many lonely people who may have lost loved ones, and just need to feel special and cared for. Giving shows the Christian message and is the very heart of God. For God so love the world He gave us His Son!!! Ministries like Angel Tree so children can have gifts, and canned goods for the poor, Rescue Missions, etc are examples of how we can reach out to those around us and show people that we care with the love and blessings of Christ!

I think it is good to ask ourselves…does annually celebrating Christ’s birth and remembering and honoring Him contradict any of the commandments or laws that Paul gave us? No it doesn’t. God’s children are doing nothing wrong to celebrate the birth of His Son. In fact, praising and thanking God for the gift of His Son is like giving God thanks for His very costly gift to us every year.

Lift Him Up!

Another reason I believe it is important for believers to celebrate Christmas and the Resurrection Day is because we are specifically told to lift up Jesus. We are told this by Jesus, the Son of God, Himself. He says if we lift Him up, He will draw all men to Him. He makes it clear if I (not Moses or Abraham or David etc) be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Myself!

Joh 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

He also says in the OT that He will be exalted among the heathen and in the earth. How will the heathen hear if we don’t celebrate Him and His life and purpose in such a worldwide way?

Ps 46:10  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

It seems like the Hebrew Roots and Messianic Ministries are promoting removing the celebration of the 2 holidays that specifically lift up the Messiah, the Son of God in detail regarding His birth, death and resurrection. It seems like some people feel a sort of pride or smugness and justification that they are doing the right thing, and that God would be pleased with them doing this. Yet I ask you to really consider what you are promoting doing. You want to remove the yearly telling of stories about His Son directly from the Scriptures during this time, and the honor of Him throughout the world. If you call yourself a Christian, this doesn’t make sense. Now for the world to want that, I can fully understand.

We saw how the precedent was set by Queen Esther that they celebrated the holidays they determined on their own, every year. I believe God saw their heart and what they wanted to do. I believe because what they wanted to do was good, God did not object. It was not only good in that it gave God praise and thanks, but in that it was doing good to each other in giving gifts and having joy and feasting. It was a happy time of celebration. They even said these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city… Isn’t this what the believers began with lifting up the Lord by telling of His birth, death and resurrection? These holidays are remembered and kept throughout every generation by God’s children.

Jesus told us a 2nd time very clearly that the Son of Man must be lifted up. We need to lift up the Son of Man in every way we can, especially as believers. This is so whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life, Jesus tells us…

Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, Joh 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Christmas and the Resurrection Day lift Jesus up, and not only that but they have been the most evangelical Christian holidays that God has used to spread His word throughout the entire world. That is because the prophecy from Isaiah and the other verses about Jesus are being told over and over every year…

Isa 9:6…  For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given…

Paul told us to have our love abound, have discernment, approve things that are excellent. We need to have discernment that it is excellent to honor and remember Jesus and tell the world about Him. It is also excellent to have our love abound to Him and others. This is to the glory and praise of God, which is what Paul wanted. People are filled with love, which is a fruit of righteousness.

Php 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, Php 1:10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, Php 1:11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

He then went on to say that the things that happened to him actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. I realize he was talking about being in chains, but the point is he was concerned with the furtherance of the gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom. This is just what these holidays do.

Php 1:12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,

Paul addressed the issue that some may preach Christ from wrong motives and some from goodwill. However Paul stressed that the latter do it out of love, and that he was appointed for the defense of the gospel. He went further to tell us that only in every way, whether the gospel is preached in pretense or truth, Christ is preached and he rejoiced. He stressed a second time that he rejoiced. The gospel is preached from sincere Christians out of love and it furthers the gospel, so Paul would rejoice. It sounds to me like he would rejoice if people preached the gospel (as it is during Christmas and the Resurrection Day) even if it were done out of wrong motives, but most are doing it from a sincere heart and love for God. As Paul said in so many words, what does it matter as long as Christ is preached?

Php 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: Php 1:16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; Php 1:17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. Php 1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

 

Very importantly, even if these holidays began for the wrong reasons, which it doesn’t look like they did, or if the devil tried to throw in pagan things, the Christians took it over and started to preach Christ instead. This is good and, we saw previously that God told us to do things like this!

Jesus says we are like a city on a hill and the light of the world…

Mat 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Nativity Displays

It is even interesting to see the creativity of the believers in wanting to tell the story of Jesus in different ways. We see this in the value of Nativity displays. They also help explain and teach the story of Christ’s birth for children and the world alike. It is a visual message that puts all eyes on Jesus once again. I can only imagine that God would be pleased with this as well. It is a completely different way of lifting Jesus up, which is probably why the world has also been fighting to remove these from city and public property as well!

Songs

Songs have been written that tell the Good News of Jesus’ birth according to Scriptures from Matt, Luke and other verses. They take the different verses and explain them in song form, which is once again another way to share the story of Jesus. It is like singing God’s Word when we sing Christmas songs, and it is another powerful way God has used to share His Good News throughout the centuries. It has also helped keep His message going in word form, which we are admonished to do.

God has been honored by every means people have used to share His story… through preaching verses, saying Merry Christmas, using Nativity displays and singing songs. As we sing the songs, it is like explaining and rejoicing in the Scriptures. Again, He tells us His word won’t go out void. As these stories are told and retold from the Scriptures every year even in song form, people come to Jesus, repent and want to follow Him and give Him their lives. We are doing as Paul says. Sing hymns and make melody in your heart to the Lord. We are also told to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and singing spiritual songs to the Lord.

Rom 15:9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “FOR THIS REASON I WILL CONFESS TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND SING TO YOUR NAME.”

Eph 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

We are also told to sing to Him and exalt Him in the OT…

Psa 34:3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.

Psa 99:5 Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His footstool– He is holy.

Psa 107:32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders.

Isa 25:1 O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

Job 36:24 “Remember to magnify His work, Of which men have sung.

Psa 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.

This is what the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus and the songs do to me and millions of people around the world. I LOVE the songs that are Scripturally based and explain the story of Christ’s birth and our salvation. So many of the songs that are near and dear to my heart and make my soul feel close to and very appreciative of God and Christ actually are a proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom… Fall on your knees and hear the angel’s voices, O night divine when Christ was born… Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born…

The Date: December 25th

Apparently during Paul’s time there was a dispute among believers about which days they were to observe. To make it clear to people which days to observe, Paul said he who observes the day, observes it to the Lord. This seemed to be the criteria, to observe it to the Lord, which is what I and many other believers do worldwide. He left it up to the person to observe a day to the Lord. He did not say, you must observe this day or that. If God had wanted us to, He would have told Paul to make it clear to us, but instead he gave us freedom. After all we read that Jesus revealed things to Paul to teach us. We have liberty in Christ to observe a day to the Lord if we want to…

Rom 14:5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. Rom 14:6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord…

Because we do not know the date, does that mean we can’t celebrate Christ’s birth or that God’s people desired to honor Him, remember His birth, sing songs about Him and read Scriptures? We will never really know the actual date. We don’t even know for sure the exact year He was born. Does that mean we can’t make a holiday to celebrate Him? We want to remember and worship God’s Son, because we love Him and give thanks for His most Precious gift!

Some people say it could not have been in December due to the weather … that the shepherds could not have been in their fields, as it was the rainy season. However, we know some seasons are milder than others during different years. In Bethlehem the temperatures ranged from a high of 72.0 °F on (12/01/2006) to a low of -9.0 °F(12/31/1917)

http://weather.yahoo.com/climo/USPA0125_f.html?woeid=2363557.

Therefore, even if it were in the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s °F that year in Bethlehem, the shepherds could have stayed in the fields in December. It would not hurt sheep to be out at night in that temperature. It is interesting to read that Jacob said he took care of the sheep in the day of drought and the frost by night.

Gen 31:38 This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39 That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Gen 31:40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.

 

From these verses it sounds like Jacob stayed with the sheep even in frost by night. It has to be an extremely cold night to have frost.  Yet he said he did so for 20 years. We also saw above that the weather can vary a vast range in the course of a century. So we really cannot say it wasn’t December for sure. That may be getting too technical. I read that the believers did their best to determine the date based on the records they had. God knows the heart and if that is true, then it sounds like they were trying to do the right thing,

Another reason Jesus could have been born in December even if it were very cold, and even if it was snowing, is from information a vet in Wisconsin gave. She says it is best for the sheep to stay out in winter. Even in snow. She tells people how to care for their sheep in the cold in “Winter Sheep Care” http://www.littlehats.net/gessert01.html …“There is no need to house wooled sheep indoors during the cold winter months. I repeat, there is no need to house wooled sheep indoors during the winter!”… She said that about sheep in Wisconsin, and yet it doesn’t get as cold in Bethlehem as it does in Wisconsin during the winter.

So again these facts show that it could have actually been December like the early church set out to determine.

Traditions

The Pharisees were making the word of God of no effect through their tradition. Christians have not done this, but instead shared the word of God and have born good fruit in every nation. There is a big difference!

Mar 7:13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Paul even said to beware lest any man cheat us through tradition of men, not Christ. Christmas and The Resurrection day focus on and are based on Christ, not tradition. No one is cheated, instead they are blessed and God is too.

Col 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

 

According to Jesus they were transgressing the commandment of God, because of their traditions. He said they taught as doctrines the commandments of men… They were man made traditions, not the teaching and worship of God’s Son.

 

Mat 15:3  He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?…Mat 15:9  AND IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.’ “(Caps not mine.)

Peter said we were redeemed not with corruptible things received from the traditions of our fathers, but with the precious blood of Jesus, as a lamb without spot or blemish. Again, Christmas and the Resurrection Day tell the Good News and show the traditions and ways of our fathers were aimless, if they were not based on God’s word. These holidays are based on God’s word and tell about Jesus being a Lamb without spot or blemish!

1Pe 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 1Pe 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1Pe 1:20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

For sincere believers, to tell the verses and story of Jesus from God’s word is not done in tradition. Neither is appreciating and honoring Him and drawing close to Him. It is obeying Scriptures. So for me, Christmas is not a tradition. It is essential. It is life-giving. The more I study the Bible, the more I have come to realize how many of the things we do at Christmas’ time have their foundation straight from the Bible. The verses we share are taken right out of Matthew 1:18 – 2 and Luke 1 – 2. It cannot be a tradition, because we are told to share the Gospel by Jesus Himself…

Mar 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Christmas is teaching people the truth. It is where we learn about God and sinner reconciled, like the Christmas song says… Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn king, Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled. The song is sharing the message of reconciliation from the Bible… How can that be tradition?

Rom 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And, Col 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.

2Co 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,

2Co 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

Christmas is about celebrating God being manifest in the flesh as a Man. It is about Immanuel, God with us! How else would people know all those things around the world as they do, unless they read the Bible or were told and retold them on a massive scale throughout time by the celebration of Christmas?

Christmas Tree

Some people are concerned with the verse from Jeremiah 10 that they think is talking about a Christmas tree. However; the passage shows that Israel was cutting down a tree, carving it into an idol to worship, and decorating it with gold and silver, and then worshiping it. This is not what a Christmas Tree represents or how it is used by believers. It is merely a cultural decoration.

The Lord told Israel to take branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and the willows of the brook and rejoice before the Lord. He also did say that all who are Israelites born (native Israelites) shall dwell in booths. It was for those who were born Israelites to dwell in a booth.

Lev 23:40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. Lev 23:41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Lev 23:42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

 

We don’t know people’s hearts, but I would think that whoever put the star of Bethlehem on the tree must have meant well, and used it as a way to tell about Jesus’ birth. Whoever put lights on the tree may have meant it to show that Jesus is the Light of the world. These were just more ways to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. It seems wise to me to take caution to not judge people’s hearts when they were trying to tell the story of Jesus.

 

Preach the Gospel

 

The story (good news) of Jesus is to be spoken over and over throughout the generations, so people can come to God through His Son. Again, very importantly Jesus told us to preach the gospel to every creature. Celebrating Christmas  and  the Resurrection Day do this.

 

Mar 16:5 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

 

We are even told that an angel had the everlasting gospel to be preached…

Rev 14 6-7 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people– saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him…

 

Judgment Day

A good question to ask yourself may be…, do you really want to stand before God on Judgment Day and say that you believed and spoke against people proclaiming and honoring His Son’s birth, death and resurrection according to the Scriptures? And that you wanted no part of those verses being read and celebrated yearly? And that you didn’t want people to say Merry Christmas, which we saw means God sent His Son, rejoice. Or you didn’t want to worship His Son and celebrate Him by singing Him songs as we are told to do? Also that you spoke against His believers tearing down the wrong god and rising up the right God, even though He commanded us to do things like that. Based on the verses I quoted, and there are so many, we should want to honor His Son and be a part of sharing His word in song and teaching.

Finally, I am very grateful my parents taught me about Jesus and Christmas. I could have been born in a family that worshiped false gods. My parents did the best they could to have us learn about Jesus. I am grateful as a child I had Jesus to turn to. I am so grateful that my grandmother had a strong faith in God. She had to escape during the war in Italy with her daughter by herself, because her husband was in the army. She was bombed with glass falling into the room and had to get both of them under a mattress for protection. As they escaped to the country, she had to walk past people who had died, but she had a strong faith in God and His Son, that she passed on to her daughter and grandchildren, and for that I will be forever thankful!

Christmas is where we focus on love…Again, for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Immanuel God with us. It tells us of His virgin birth and that he came down from heaven to earth to save us and show us a way to the Father. We can only come to the Father through the Son. It is my prayer that this article helps you do that. Merry Christmas! Christ was sent!

 

 

 

 

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Myth. Jesus celebrated Hanukkah not Christmas, and we should be celebrating Chanukkah instead of pagan Christmas.

A.   Hanukkah is a celebration and holiday within Judaism about the Jewish people, for practicing Jews of Judaism only. It is an offence to them for Gentiles and those outside of Judaism to participate in this holiday and we as believers in Jesus Christ are called to cause none offence.

Although it is suggested that Hanukkah be celebrated because of the universal desire of mankind for liberty, within Judaism many believe it to be a memorial about the historical and ongoing conflict of Jewish culture and faith versus non-Jewish beliefs and what many call the Gentile/Greek influences and faith.

Others articulate that the celebration of these festivals is to continue strengthening the Jewish people in all aspects of their lives. The very name of Hanukkah imparts the belief that when Jews have dedicated themselves to their faith and through the pursuit of their religious ideals, Judaism is strong. The goal then is to strengthen the Jewish religion and their people and that is what is being commemorated in celebrating Hanukkah.1

Also called Lights, The Feast of Lights, or Feast of the Maccabees, 2 the historical name for the festival was not the Feast of Lights but the Feast of Fire. 3.  Hanukkah, (also Hannukah, Chanukkah, Chanukah) which means Dedication, commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after having been desecrated by Gentile forces. Based on the Maccabean revolt (discussed below), and victory over Antiochus of Syria, the subsequent cleansing and rededication of the temple, culminated in the legend of the oil burning in the temple eight days, which many believe is true.

Jewish Rabbi Daniel Kohn, in answer to the question, “Is the miracle of Chanukah made up?” stated that the whole concept of the miracle of the oil, was indeed untrue. While stating that the actual lighting of the Menorah for the dedication of the Temple was real and based on spiritual significance, the rabbinic writings in the Talmud took the shift from the Maccabeean military victory to that of a claimed miracle of the oil for the Menorah. 4

The perceived glory of the Maccabean victory became overshadowed due to all they did that caused harm to fellow Jews and their focus became viewed as dangerous and containing seditious ideas that were to be suppressed. The fear of glorifying the military success of the Maccabeans while under Roman rule, formed the basis for the idea of inventing the story of the miracle of the oil to become the focus and with it, masked the truth about the Maccabees and their shameful legacy for many years. By reinventing the stories, the rabbis kept the holiday alive with a shift in focus and thereby inserted more religious significance. 5

Celebrated anywhere from late November to late December, for many within Judaism the eight day holiday has become very much a children’s holiday, reminiscent of Christmas and (for some) instead of Christmas, celebrated with decorated and lit Hanukkah ‘bushes’. It is a time when family comes together to commemorate this holiday by lighting a candle and exchanging gifts for each of the eight days, and eating special food. Traditionally children received gifts of coins which were meant as a remembrance of the coins minted by the Maccabee state after the military victory. The receiving of gifts on each of the eight days became a later tradition, meant to parallel what is done at Christmas with Christians, although Christians that do exchange gifts normally do so only on one day. Prayers and Psalms are recited according to Talmudic and kabbalist traditions. The prayers and recitations during Hanukkah have much to do with the view of the Jews’ salvation[s], redemption and miracles via God using the Maccabees and other people/wars/events historically.

Hanukkah in the Scriptures

The Hebrew word of hanukkah or chanukkah is used in the Old Testament eight times. It means ‘dedication.’ and is found in Numbers 7:10, 11, 84, 88; 2 Chronicles 7:9; Nehemiah 12:27 and Psalms 30:1. The secondary language found in the Old Testament, Aramaic, uses hanukkah precisely four times, in Daniel 3:2,3 and Ezra 6:16 & 17 and spells it chanukka. Invariably, the word hanukkah refers to the dedication of the altar in front of the Tent of Meeting, the Temple built by Solomon, or the wall of Jerusalem. The two times in Daniel 3 it is not used for those purposes, but rather is found used in reference to the dedication and worship of the image of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Those that refused to worship it were to be thrown into a fire.

Daniel 3:3…. were gathered together  unto the dedication <chanukka’ (Aramaic)> of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up…”6

The one Scriptural reference to dedication in the New Testament is found in John 10:22. Many Messianics are using this passage to say that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah and therefore that means we should.

It is necessary to view the passage of John 10 as a whole first, and read the whole chapter because the verse in reference to the feast of dedication, does not in fact say that Jesus was celebrating it. It was a statement of what time of year it was.

John 10:22  And it was at  Jerusalem the feast of the dedication <egkainia>, and  it was winter.

G1456 >dedication <egkainia> 1456. ἐγκαίνια  egkainia

Thayer Definition:

1) dedication, consecration

1a) in particular the annual feast celebrated eight days beginning in the 25th of Chislev (middle of our December), instituted by Judas Maccabaeus [164 BC] in memory of the cleansing of the temple from the pollution of Antiochus Epiphanes”  7

Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries > 1456…Neuter plural of a presumed compound from G1722 and G2537; innovatives, that is, (specifically) renewal (of religious services after the Antiochian interruption): – dedication.

Prior to verse 10:22, we see that the context began while Jesus was teaching in the Temple from chapter 8:

John 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.

John 8:52-54 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54. Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. [KJV]

Jesus healed the blind man just after leaving the scene at the Temple, John 9:1, and said:

John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. 8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?

John 9:14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

Joh 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. [KJV]

Summary –the Jews cast out the blind man cured by Jesus. Jesus finds him and reveals who He is and the healed man believes and worships Him.

–the Pharisees there witness this and are told they are blind

10:1-5–the sheepfold parable-the Pharisees did not understand

10:6-16–about the sheepfold, Christ the door of the sheep, Christ the good Shepherd, the hirelings, laying down His life for the sheep,

Jesus had been healing and teaching prior to healing the blind man, and the Pharisees were disputing him, some claiming He had a devil. Starting at verse 10:17, it says the following:

John 10:17  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
19  There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20  And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
21  Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? 22  And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
24  Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us
plainly. 25  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
26  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30  I and my Father are one.
31  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32  Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33  The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. 42 And many believed on him there.
[KJV]

Many of the Jewish and Gentile people gathered in Solomon’s porch because it was winter and it was cold. Solomon’s porch bordered the outer court and was where the Gentiles congregated, because they were not allowed into the inner court with the Jews. Jews could interact with the Gentiles on the porch, which was located on the east side of the outer court of Herod’s Temple, i.e. the Second Temple. There was a sign posted at the inner court warning all non-Jews that to enter would be punishable by death. The actual quote inscribed on the sign tablet[s], read:

“No foreigner may enter within the railing and enclosure that surround the Temple. Anyone apprehended shall have himself to blame for his consequent death!” 8

Alfred Edersheim suggests in his writing, The Temple-It’s Ministry and Service in the time of Jesus Christ, written during his seven volume work from 1876-87, “…These halls or porches around the Court of the Gentiles must have been most convenient places for friendly or religious intercourse- meetings or discussions.” 9

Jesus went to where the people were and spoke the truth of who He was. He was not received by most of the Jews present, especially the Pharisees, which many Messianics claim Jesus was celebrating with. They, in fact, wanted to stone Him. There is nothing that says Jesus entered into any celebration. From what is stated in this chapter, the preceding and following chapters and verses, Jesus was there to share the things of God and who He was/is. He was about His Father’s business. And when they tried to seize Him, He left Jerusalem.

Unlike the Maccabees, whose original mission was to protect and include the Jews and their beliefs while excluding Gentiles and their beliefs, Jesus came to include all mankind who believed in Him, so they could be part of the kingdom of God which He was building. Jesus was teaching that He was the Good Shepherd and that not only were there going to be ‘other sheep’, meaning the Gentiles, brought into the sheepfold with the Jews but, all must enter the sheepfold through Him. The resulting flock of sheep would be comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles, which was prophetic and part of the Abrahamic covenant from Genesis

These teachings are contrary to the Hanukkah festivities and focus, which was/is to separate fully from anything or anyone non-Jewish, and celebrate the Maccabees, with the focus of some on that ‘messiah.’

In sharp contrast to the Maccabean mission of physical liberty through war, self focus and revolt to the governing authorities, disassociation and for some, resentment or hatred for those outside of Judaism, Jesus instead taught of loving enemies and forgiving and bringing those viewed as unclean into the fold through the only door that would make all spiritually clean. Himself. He taught and fulfilled, for example, the Isaiah prophecy of making God’s house a house of prayer for all people. He taught that all mankind, not just the pagan Gentiles, needed His cleansing.

Isaiah 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.  [KJV]

Jesus often made a distinction between ‘the religion of the Pharisees’ and what He and the Scriptures said. That is why many could not receive Him. They went by man made religion and thought over the Truth in the Scriptures. The Scriptures were there for them. Jesus said so.

John 5:39  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. [KJV]

Regarding Hanukkah, there is no doubt that if the legend of the oil was true in that God kept the oil burning for 8 days, He is more than able. However, Hanukkah is not about God, but rather about the Maccabees and the Jewish people within the religion of Judaism. God was very specific about how the Menorah was to be made, with 7 candlesticks. There was no divine directive to change that or celebrate with anything different, or in fact, change the law of Moses. God forbids the changing of His commandments and the adding to them, and yet we have Messianics following rabbinic traditions that do just that. That Judaism elevates their traditions and writings of the sages (found within the Talmud and kabbalah) above the Scriptures is what makes Judaism what is today. It is totally separate from what Christians or those who believe Jesus are to be about.  And that is the issue. The things of Christ are not about days and such, nor is our focus or glorying to be on man, but God alone:

Colossians 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;  [KJV]

For Christians , we need to apply the verses:

1 Thessalonians 5:21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.   [KJV]

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Myth: Hanukkah commemorates the miracle of the oil and the victory of the Maccabees over the Gentile rule and should be celebrated by those in Hebrew Roots or Messianics instead of pagan Christmas.

A. Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration for the Jewish people. It was never to be including those outside of Judaism. The historical facts show a far different story than many weave to bring others into celebrating this event. The Maccabee’s story is central to understanding what is legend and what is fact.

The Maccabean Revolt

The revolt that inspired the keeping of Hanukkah was through the actions of Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his five sons: Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah, who eventually led the uprising. This small group of Jews called the Maccabees rebelled and risked their lives to, “live according to Jewish law,” and to prevent any further desecration of the Temple. 1

The story of the Maccabees and the Maccabean Revolt was reportedly commissioned by the Maccabees themselves, and is found in the Apocrypha’s 1st & 2nd Maccabees, which are found in Catholic and some Protestant Bibles. However, none of those writings are found in Jewish Bibles, but rather, the Maccabean Revolt is found referenced to in the extra-biblical writings of the Talmud. 2

From those and other historical sources such as Josephus’ Antiquities, we know that Antiochus or “Epiphanes”, outlawed the practice of Judaism prior to the second century BC. Idols and altars were established throughout Jerusalem where sacrifices were made to the various ‘gods’. In full rebellion to Almighty God, an idol was erected in the Temple, with many historically believing it to be an image of Zeus. Jews who disobeyed the directive to burn their Torah scrolls and cease from practicing Judaism were murdered. By about 167 BC, Mattathais Maccabees and his sons determined to stop the sacrilege of the Temple and proceeded to overthrow the Syrians. Judah Maccabees took the lead and the Jews recaptured the Temple. According to the various writings, they rededicated the altar on the 25th of Kislev, that is, November-December. The celebration for the dedication of the altar went on for eight days followed by the rededication of the Temple to God. 3

Following the Maccabean War, peace was re established temporarily with the Seleucids, and the Maccabean state became known as the Hasmoneans. They did not cease their war however, but discarded the temporary peace and continued with a civil war against the Seleucids and Hellenized Jews within Jerusalem. It was then that the Maccabees commissioned and paid for the writing of their war history called I Maccabees, which was fully propaganda about their exploits. Jewish loyalists called the Hasidism, who had also been against the Hellenizing Jews, were outraged not only by that propaganda, but also by the Maccabees claim to political and religious power. In response they formed a new opposition political party called the Perushim aka the Pharisees, who were separatists. 4

It was descendents of those Pharisees that Jesus dealt with many times and it was they who tried to stone Him and in the end, most rejected Him.

The Pharisees eventually became the Rabbis, who (years later) were responsible for writing the Mishnah and Talmud, and through them kept their hatred of the Maccabees entrenched in the writings. The Pharisees believed the Maccabees had committed blasphemy by uniting the political power seat with that of the priesthood. The Maccabees had used their military power to forcibly expand the Jewish kingdom by becoming a military dictatorship, forcing such as the Idumeans (Edomites descended from Esau) to convert to Judaism and follow the laws and rituals, as well as submit to the Jewish government. It became obvious that the more successful and wealthy they became, the more Hellenization took place within Jewish society. They became the major force behind it, doing exactly what they started out to overthrow.  Their political rule was eventually terminated by the conquest of the Romans. By the time of the Rabbis, the descendents of the Pharisees and Hasidism, Israel had faced massive loss of life, not just in the initial revolt, but in the following civil war where Jew rose up against Jew.  5

Jewish Rabbi Daniel Kohn, in answer to the question, “Is the miracle of Chanukah made up?” stated that the whole concept of the miracle of the oil, was indeed untrue. The actual lighting of the Menorah for the dedication of the Temple was real and based on spiritual significance, but the rabbinic writings in the Talmud took the shift from the Maccabees military victory to that of the claimed miracle of the oil for the Menorah. 6

The perceived glory of the Maccabean victory became overshadowed due to all they did which caused harm to fellow Jews, and their focus became viewed as dangerous and containing seditious ideas that were to be suppressed. The fear of glorifying the military success of the Maccabeans while under Roman rule, formed the basis for the idea of inventing the story of the miracle of the oil. By making the oil the focus, they masked the truth about the Maccabees and their shameful legacy for many years. By reinventing the stories, the rabbis kept the holiday alive with a shift in focus and thereby inserting more religious significance, which in turn used to strengthen and build Judaism.  7

As an added point, the Eastern Orthodox Church venerates the Maccabees as Saints and The Dictionary of Bible and Religion suggests that the Maccabees were exalted to the point of Messiah.  8  Many venerated Judah Maccabees specifically as the awaited Messiah. These are the facts surrounding Hanukkah.

Some Further History on Jews Killing Jews

As stated above, while many celebrate Hanukkah and the Maccabees, what many do not realize is that the Maccabees themselves became a destructive force to Judaism.

For many years, Hanukkah symbolized the overthrow of pagan Gentile influence from Jewish spirituality, and the rededication to God and the Mosaic Law. However, history reveals that the wrath which was dealt out by the Maccabees did not end the path of disaster which Israel had been treading. Whether reading ‘Gentile’ historical or Jewish resources, the end result was that the Maccabees became power hungry and corrupt. What started out for many as a zealous spiritual endeavor based on wrath, became immersed in corruption, murder and destruction, and the eventual act of Jews killing Jews. The war and rebellion became a civil war. According to Josephus in his Antiquities, within 65 years of the initial revolt, a challenge was put forth by a number of Pharisees towards one of the corrupt leaders of the Maccabees, one Alexander Janneus. During the Feast of Tabernacles, Alexander who was performing as high priest, corrupted the libation ceremony by pouring the water over his feet instead of on the altar as the Pharisees had decreed. [Please note this ceremony was not from the God-given Law, but added in and decreed by the Pharisees as part of their oral traditions.] In response, the religious Jews pelted him with lemons. It was after that time that Janneus had a partition-wall of wood built around the altar and the temple, where it was only lawful for the priests to enter. In this way, he kept the multitude of Jews from coming at him. 9 Outraged by the lemon incident, Janneus ordered his soldiers to slay 6,000 of the Jews, resulting in a civil war which lasted six years and by the end, approximately 50,000 Jews were killed. At the end of the war, the Jewish soldiers were ordered by Janneus to crucify 800 of the Pharisees. He then ordered the throats of their children and wives cut, while they watched. 10

The initial Revolt lasted about four years, from 167-163 BC. By 66 AD, the Zealots again revolted against their Gentile oppressors. Just as with the earlier Maccabees, again the revolt ended with Jews killing Jews, and many would agree that it changed the course of Jewish history forever. Many know that by 70 AD the Romans destroyed the Temple, burned Jerusalem, and slaughtered thousands of people. The last stronghold at Masada ended with the rebel Jews committing suicide.

From a Christian perspective we know that Jesus foretold of the destruction of the Temple.(Matthew 24) Many view it as a physical ending of the sacrificial system and the change in priesthood, meaning also the closing of the door on the Mosaic covenant with the fulfillment of the promised New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

Isaiah 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Isaiah 49:22 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

It meant that now all, both Jew and Gentile, could come to God through Jesus Christ who was the final sacrifice, once for all.

Ephesians 2:13-19 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Romans 10:11-13 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is no need for a Temple, because Jesus is the Temple and has also made us the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The sacrifice of our bodies and the sacrifice of praise take the place of the offerings.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. [KJV]

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Myth: God ordained Hanukkah and it is Scriptural, therefore Messianics and Christians should celebrate it instead of Christmas. The ceremonies are found in the Scriptures.

A. There is no Scripture that suggests that God commanded or suggested the keeping of Hanukkah. It is not found in the commandments given to Moses for Israel and is not listed in any of the feasts or holidays commanded by God. It was first celebrated by the Maccabees and became a religious holiday which became enforced by the Pharisees and rabbis through the Talmud. It was not God ordained in the Scriptures.

In Rabbi Hyam Maccoby’s, Revolution in Judaea, and as discussed in the article, To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part II : The Bible & The Talmud, he noted that the Pharisees brought in many traditions, observances and festivities which were not part of the written law of Moses given by God. These additional traditions, often referred to as the oral law, are what were rejected by the Sadducees. However, most Jews defend and fully support the additions found throughout the Rabbinic writings of the Talmud and Kabbalah, which have become ingrained in Judaism as it is known today. According to Hyam Maccoby, the Pharisees not only added the festivals of Hanukkah and Purim, they added to the canon of Scripture and added new doctrine to Judaism, which included new rites to Temple worship, and they have continually brought in new prayers and ceremonies for use in Jewish synagogues. These are all additions that many Messianic congregations also utilize and participate in. 1

The principal source for the story of Hanukkah and the legend of the oil is found in the Talmud and many Jewish and non-Jewish sources discuss the fact that the legend of the oil burning for eight days in the Temple is just that, legend. Which brings one to an interesting point.

We have been told that most Messianics do not approve of, nor do they embrace the teachings from the Talmud, although some have admitted to this author that they do, and one merely needs to peruse the writings of many leadership to see they do. And of course the activities and Messianic dress is based on rabbinic aka talmudic or kabbalist traditions. So, why are most using the Legend of the Maccabees and the associated Miracle of the Oil story to enter into the celebration for that Legend?

Hanukkah Ceremonies

The 9-candle menorah (Chanukiah) is used to celebrate Chanukah and contemporary use of it is in celebration of the victory of what many view as a Messiah, Judas Maccabees and his brothers. The story includes the cleansing of the Temple and the legend of oil miraculously burning for eight days.

Some suggest that initially, the lighting of the Temple menorah in the rededication ceremony  was based on the commandment to light the Menorah with pure oil as is written in Leviticus 23 and 24. That was immediately followed by the commandment to observe the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot festival for 8 days, which means 7 days of  Sukkot followed by Shemini Atzere. “The Sages saw this as a Divine hint that Chanukah should be for 8 days.” 2   The Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated in the fall, not late November to late December when Hanukkah is celebrated, yet this conflict does not appear to be noticed by most.

Following the seven days of Sukkot, the eighth day is called Shemini Atzeret, which literally means “the assembly of the eighth day”. It is actually a separate holiday from Sukkot, and does not involve the special rituals of Tabernacles. Rabbinic writings (Talmud) explain it that, “our Creator is like a host, who invites us as visitors for a limited time, but when the time comes for us to leave, He has enjoyed himself so much that He asks us to stay another day”. Another explanation is that Sukkot is a holiday for all of mankind to participate in, but when it is over, only the Jewish people are invited by God to stay the eighth day for a more intimate celebration with Him. 3

According to the teachings of Kabbalah and Hasidism, the eighth day for Hannukah is the final ceremony for when the dedication of the altar took place by the Maccabees and it is  the “seal” of the High Holiday season of Yom Kippur (day of atonement) , and is therefore considered a time to repent out of love for God. Due to this belief,  many Hasidic Jews greet each other with the traditional Yom Kippur wish, “may you be sealed totally for good”. It is taught in Hasidic and Kabbalistic literature that this day is particularly favorable for answers to prayers. 4

Through kabbalah’s gematria, eight is viewed as representing the Jewish People’s special role in human history. Seven is the number of days of creation, meaning the completion of the material cosmos, and planets and eight represents the Infinite. The Eighth Day of the Assembly festival, is according to Jewish Law a festival for Jews only. Similarly, in Judaism the rite of circumcision which brings a Jewish male into God’s Covenant, is performed on the eighth day. In Judaism, Hanukkah’s eight days celebrate their  victory over Hellenistic humanism,  and as such have great symbolic importance for practicing Jews.

To simplify, what they are saying regarding the implementation of this holiday, is that within Judaism’s writings, they changed the timing, purpose and length of the Feast of Tabernacles as ordained by God and as described in Leviticus in the Law of Moses. They then ascribed to it the new celebration proclaimed by the Maccabees and which was then enforced by the writings of the rabbis in the Talmud. That despite the very clear warning by God to not add to or change what He had commanded in the Law.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

…12:28 Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.

…12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. [KJV]

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Myth: The Hanukkah Menorah with nine candles symbolizes Christ and therefore all Messianics and Christians should be celebrating Hanukkah instead of pagan Christmas.

The Candle Question & Messianics

A. The Hanukkah festival is observed in Judaism by the lighting of a special nine candle Menorah, although the Menorah ordained by God for the Temple has seven candles. One candle is lit per night, and each additional candle is lit on each night of the holiday, progressing to the eighth on the last night. The ninth candle, separated either above or below the rest, is called the ‘shamash’ or guard or servant candle, which is lit each night in order to light the other candles. It’s purpose is fully secular, not religious, and is strictly for Judaism to which this holiday belongs.

According to the Talmud, the purpose of the extra light is to adhere to the prohibition, specified in Tracate Shabbat 21b–23a, against using the Hanukkah lights for anything other than publicizing and meditating on the Hanukkah story. 1

And yet, we have Messianics who utilize the rabbinic writings, including the Talmud and the Zohar which is the kabbalah, and state that the whole use of 9 candles was a prophecy about Christ.

Some Messianics also align Chanukah to a celebration of the conception of Mary, with some going so far as declaring that December 19 was “the evening before the conception of Mary”.

One Messianic stated in an email:

“…the evening’ before the conception of Mary. “*** From Peter: For all of you awaiting the day of the conception of Yeshua, it will be in the early evening hours of Sunday. It occurred in the early evening when Miryam entered the home of Elizabeth. At that very moment in history the Messiah Yeshua, the Word/Torah was made flesh in the womb of Miryam.  peterm ” 2.

According to these people, the proof of the conception of Mary calculations are found in the writings of various Messianics practicing kabbalah and gematria, with the approximate time of conception believed to have fallen sometime in late November to late December. They proudly proclaim that this is exactly the period of time for the Festival of Chanukah, which is also when they believe the Magi arrived fifteen months later. Another said:

“…for Jews who light the Chanukiah this year, or for those who can learn from our customs, we should keep in mind that in our encounter with “darkness”, we don’t want to use the flame to burn and destroy the world, but rather, we want to use it to illuminate the whole world with Torah. We want to light the way for all the Nations so that they can prosper materially and spiritually. Even though they will never fully respond to this before the coming of Mashiach, we must still give them this prescription. It is the same as it was in the time of the Hellenistic oppression: by increasing our light, the darkness fades and the bright Morningstar arises.”3

Words cannot express how un-Scriptural these things are. The man-ordained celebration was never intended to represent the conception of Mary — and it is certainly not viewed like that in Judaism nor their writings in the Talmud or Zohar. Nor did Almighty God feel it necessary to suggest precisely how and when these things happened. However, that does not hinder many from delivering the intent of Hanukkah as being for Gentiles to join with the Jews in this celebration, so that the Jews can “illuminate the whole world.”  What a sharp contrast to the historical and original intent of the Maccabees–to separate from all Gentiles and their practices and beliefs, and also the current view of Hannukah by practicing Jews of Judaism.. And what a very sharp contrast to the Scripture where Jesus said He was the Light of the world.

John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”  [KJV]

Jesus also said those who followed Him were to be salt and light of the world.

Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. [KJV]

Christians are told in the Scriptures to do the following:

Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Luke 24:44-47 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. [KJV]

Nowhere are we told to go into all the world and preach Torah, because it is about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some Messianics have determined that the whole legend of the oil as being true and go on to declare that the original and specially designed menorah and all the symbolism was meant to symbolize Jesus. It is also being stated that the Jews were free to change what and how God ordained the Temple menorah and feasts to be. The belief is that the Maccabees wanted to make the holiday so much more special, (than the God commanded ones?) that they copied the Feast of Tabernacles, but changed the menorah to the 9 candles instead of the seven. The 9th candle is, according to them, used to light all others and represents Jesus. 4  Which of course is fully contrary to what Judaism teaches. And it is their celebration…

Some teach that the original Chanukiah, aside from the 9 candles, had the Star of Remphan, also called the Star of Moloch, emblazoned as a symbol on it and which people today refer to as the star of David.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica’s article, Magen David, acknowledges that the hexagram was used by  magicians in connection with Judah Maccabee.

” The oldest text mentioning a shield of David is contained in an explanation of a magical “alphabet of the angel Metatron”…among the Hasidei Ashkenaz of the 12th C. But here it was the holy Name of 72 names which was said to have been on this protective shield together with the name MKBY, which the tradition of the magicians connected with Judah Maccabee.” 5

Some of those very facts are discussed in the Kabbalah, Talismans and Masters of the Name and other articles in the series, “To Embrace Hebrew Roots.” 6

Of the many Scriptures concerning this are:

Acts 7:42,43 ” Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the STAR OF YOUR GOD REMPHAN, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

Amos 5:26-27 But ye have born the tabernacle of your Moloch, and Chiun (Remphan) your images, the STAR OF YOUR GOD, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore, will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord…

Exodus 25:30 And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me alway.
31 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
32 And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:
33 Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
34 And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.
35 And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.
36 Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.  [KJV]

God dealt with the issue of the star of remphan/chiun/molech that some in Israel went after…

Referencing Strong’s Concordance about Remphan, we see:

4481 Rhemphan [hrem-fan’] by incorrect transliteration for a word of Hebrew origin 3594; n pr m AV – Remphan 1; 1 Remphan = “the shrunken (as lifeless)” 1) the name of an idol worshipped secretly by the Israelites in the wilderness.”

3594 Kiyuwn [kee-yoon’] from 3559; n pr dei AV – Chiun 1; 1 Chiun = “an image” or “pillar” 1) probably a statue of the Assyrian-Babylonian god of the planet Saturn and used to symbolise Israelite apostasy.”

Various articles reference The Talisman of Saturn, which involves a pentagram and a hexagram. From one occult source concerning the use of this symbol:

“On the first face is engraved…a pentagram or a star with five points. On the other side is engraved a bull’s head enclosed in a SIX-POINTED STAR, and surrounded by letters composing the name REMPHA, THE PLANETARY GENIUS OF SATURN, according to the alphabet of the Magi.” (Christian, p. 304-5) 7

In other words, the hexagram used today as the star of David came historically from non-Biblical foundations. Some within Judaism openly admit that it came from Babylon.

The point is, neither Hannukah, nor the 9 candle menorah were ordained by God in the Scriptures. And it is to the Scriptures that we are to turn to confirm our beliefs and doctrine.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

James 1:21-22 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  [KJV]

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Myth. Christians believe Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

A. Obviously it is not, although some would be inclined to say it is the actual birth day of Christ. For those in Hebrew Roots, December 25 is anathema, and by using the pagan roots of secularism attempt to apply them to how Christians celebrate Christ’s birth. They push the “real date” back to the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall as the correct date, but do little to celebrate His birth in any case, as everything about “Jesus” is pagan and everything about keeping the feasts is right. Once the issue of the person and name of Jesus Christ being pagan is established as a ‘fact’, then the Scriptures can be overturned, which is done systematically, until the New Testament is believed to have been totally corrupted by pagans.

Christmas, although having many secular and unnecessary elements, for most Christians, means a time to publicly tell the story of the miracle of Jesus Christ’s birth and all related to it, including the fulfillment of prophecies. May we never be silent on these Truths.

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Original article and footnotes can be found here:

http://www.seekgod.ca/hr/hrfaqs4a2.htm#1

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