The Pagan Origins of Christmas (part 1)
As babies, before we could coordinate our fingers to grab, our eyes were attracted to sparkly things. Likewise as adults we are still attracted to sparkly things, just look at how the holiday of Christmas has evolved into the sparkle of lights and tinsel!
There is a natural need in humans to be like everyone else, or to have what they have. It is natural to want to keep up with the Jones’. Even the Church is not immune to the temptation to keep up with the world. The history of the Church clearly shows that it is always tempted to synchronize its doctrine with ethnic traditions and/or celebrations; all, of course, in an effort to bring in the masses so that they may be saved. Congregations willingly “push the envelope” of their theology if the result is a larger crowd at Christmas. Slowly, but steadily, the faith of our fathers has been replaced by the ethnic traditions of the world until the generations that follows no longer question the source but accepts it as dogma or even theology.
“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Prov. 14:12
Before you enter into this season of sparkly, warm fuzzeis, yummy food, and mounds of presents stop for a moment and consider the truths that have been forgotten and / or ignored to sooth our consciences.
Antiquity OR before the birth of the Messiah, Jesus:
Mithra, an offspring of the Sun, was born on December 25th. This Persian Sun deity was later called Sol Invictus [unconquerable sun] by the Romans who held an annual celebration on December 25 to honor this god’s birthday. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, “the birthday of the unconquered sun.“
Ancient Egyptians would parade a manger and child, representing their god Horus, through the streets at the time of the winter solstice [typically DEC-21]. Horus was the god of the sky containing the sun and the moon which represented his eyes; the sun was his right eye and the moon his left.
Yule-day — proves at once its Pagan and Babylonian origin by it ancient usage before ever coming in contact with Christianity and by the very nature of its practice. “Yule” is the Chaldean name for an “infant” or “little child”. The 25th of December was called by the pagan Anglo-Saxon’s, “Yule-day” or “Child’s day”. The night preceding it was called “Mother-night”. The common practice on this day was to sacrifice a child and then on the ashes of the child a green tree would be erected.
It is interesting to note that Christians were able in time to convince the Anglo-Saxons to abandon this ceremony by substituting [not eradicating] human sacrifice to just lighting a fire with a special log which they then called the “Yule Log”. Since most Northern Europeans now have central heating and no need for wood heat they now serve an eatable, cake, “Yule Log”
Old Testament scripture speaks of a god that the people sacrificed children to; this god is called Molech in scripture. Molech cannot be found in any secular recording of ancient history for it is a made up word. It was composed of the consonants of the Hebrew word for King, angel, or messenger; Melech. But it has the wrong vowels. The vowels are comprised from the Hebrew word bosheth, or shame. It would have been better translated, “the king of god whose name is too shameful to say or to recall”.
“Say to the people of Israel, Any man of the people of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, who gives any of his children to Molech shall be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. I myself will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, defiling my sanctuary and profaning my holy name.” Lev. 20:2-3
” Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.” 1Kings 11:7
[see also; Lev. 18:21; Lev. 20:4 -5; 2Kings 23:10; Is. 57:9; Jer. 32:35; Acts 7:43]
The only god that is known from antiquity to have human sacrifices made to it is a god, El, of the Phoenicians/Canaanites also known as Kronos by the Greek and Saturn by the Romans.
El …was identified by the Greeks as their god Cronus. The historian Sanchuniathon, indicates that Cronus was originally a Canaanite ruler who founded Byblos and was subsequently deified. This version gives his alternate name as Elus or Ilus, and states that in the 32nd year of his reign, he emasculated, slew and deified his father Epigeius or Autochthon “whom they afterwards called Uranus”. It further states that after ships were invented, Cronus, visiting the ‘inhabitable world’, bequeathed Attica to his own daughter Athena, and Egypt to Thoth the son of Misor and inventor of writing.
Cronus / Kronos … They also alleged that Cronus had turned against them inasmuch as in former times they had been accustomed to sacrifice to this god the noblest of their sons, but more recently, secretly buying and nurturing children, they had sent these to the sacrifice; and when an investigation was made, some of those who had been sacrificed were discovered to have been supposititious. 5 When they had given thought to these things and saw their enemy encamped before their walls, they were filled with superstitious dread, for they believed that they had neglected the honours of the gods that had been established by their fathers. In their zeal to make amends for their omission, they selected two hundred of the noblest children and sacrificed them publicly; and others who were under suspicion sacrificed themselves voluntarily, in number not less than three hundred. 6 There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus, extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed p181thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire. It is probable that it was from this that Euripides has drawn the mythical story found in his works about the sacrifice in Tauris, in which he presents Iphigeneia being asked by Orestes:Diodorus Siculus (20. 14)
But what tomb shall receive me when I die?
A sacred fire within, and earth’s broad rift.
7 Also the story passed down among the Greeks from ancient myth that Cronus did away with his own children appears to have been kept in mind among the Carthaginians through this observance.
Saturn … In Rome, Cronos was the known as Saturn; the husband of Rhea (the goddess with the little turret on her head). Saturn swallowed his children because it had been prophesied that one of his children would usurp him as he had usurped his father, Uranus. When their last child “Zeus” was born, Rhea hid him on the Isl. of Crete, and then gave Saturn a stone to swallow instead. This is the myth that led to the practice of child sacrifice. Candles and fires were lit to help Zeus as winters light was waning; to fight the darkness of Saturn. Four days after winter solstice, as the days begin to get longer, Zeus’ victory over the darkness was celebrated with feasting, orgies, and plays. As the church corrupted itself it renamed this celebration of Saturnalia, calling it Christmas. The story of Zeus’ fight with the darkness of winter was replaced with Christ’s battle with sin and death. For more on the mother goddess see (Easter/Ishtar).
Tertullian (160-230 A.D.) in his De Idolatria (“On Idolatry”)
“By us, to whom Sabbaths are strange, and the new moons and festivals formerly beloved by God, the Saturnalia1 and New-year’s and Midwinter’s festivals and Matronalia 2 are frequented–presents come and go— New-year’s gifts— games join their noise— banquets join their din! Oh better fidelity of the nations to their own sect, which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself! Not the Lord’s day, not Pentecost, even it they had known them, would they have shared with us; for they would fear lest they should seem to be Christians.”
William Bradford and Christmas
(the Pilgrim Separatists did not believe in celebrating Christmas, as not being sanctioned by Scripture):
“And herewith I shall end this year . Only I shall remember one passage more, rather of mirth then of waight. One ye day called Christmas-day, ye Govr [William Bradford] caled them out to worke, (as was used,) but ye most of this new-company excused them selves and said it wente against their consciences to work on yt day. So ye Govr tould them that if they made it mater of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed. So he led-away ye rest and left them; but when they came home at noone from their worke, he found them in ye streete at play, openly; somepitching ye barr, & some at stoole-ball, and shuch like sports. So he went to them, and tooke away their implements, and tould them that was against his conscience, that they should play & others worke. If they made ye keeping of it mater of devotion, let them kepe their houses, but ther should be no gameing or revelling in ye streets. Since which time nothing hath been atempted that way, at least openly.“
Christmas is not mentioned in the Bible or in any early Christian writing. Christmas does not correspond with any commanded feast or Sabbath listed in the Bible; Old or New Testament. As we have noted, in antiquity, before Messiah was born, Dec 25th has been used for pagan celebration, the most heinous being that of human sacrifice. In Roman days the day and its celebration was called Saturnalia; today the secular world is calling it Winter Solstice.
The early Church Fathers were adamant in their abstaining from participation of Christmas. They firmly believed that to participate even a little was to commit apostasy. As the Bible says “a little leaven, leavens the whole lump” I Cor 5:6. They believed that to let in that little bit of leaven is what God calls “those who hate Him” .
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, and requites to their face those who hate him, by destroying them; he will not be slack with him who hates him, he will requite him to his face.” Deut. 7:9-10
So what should we do about Christmas in our own lives?
First recognize where your traditions originated!
At first it may hurt but in the end … “the truth will make you free.” John 8:32
Lies and half truths only enslave and confuse … “God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints“.1Cor. 14:33
Hezekiah destroyed a national treasure, to keep his people from idolatry:
“He removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had burned incense to it; it was called Nehushtan.” 2 Kings 18:4
The Bible condemns the holiday of the green tree:
“Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, says the LORD.” Jer. 3:13
You might asked, “but others have strayed from the truth and God didn’t strike them dead on the spot! Such as Solomon:
“Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.” 1Kings 11:7
So nothing happened to Solomon, he was obviously given gratis in his lifetime even though he disobeyed Gods instructions to Kings by multiplying his horses, wives, and chariots and by the building of place of worship to pagan deities. Why was he given gratis? Don’t really know but we do know that his kingdom ended with him. After his death the kingdom that he built fell apart. Suggestion of the sins of the father falling on the children.
Note: As David is a type of messiah; Solomon is a type of the church age or kingdom age, and as such is partly corrupt.
“But we are celebrating Christ birthday!”
If Yeshua was born in December as some maintain. How come when He was crucified He was 33 and ½? To be 33 and 1/2 He had to have been born in the fall not the winter. The fact is John clearly tells us that He was born during Tabernacles, or the Hebrew holyday of Sukkot.
“And the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Why not celebrate Messiah’s birthday during the Feast of Tabernacles. It is a commanded feast not just for Jews but for all followers of God. And guess what? It’s not just a one day celebration like Christmas but you get to party for eight day!!!
If you just can’t do without all that sparkle and warm fuzzies at least quit telling your children that it is Jesus’ birthday. It only breeds confusion. And after all who wants to share their birthday with a fat little old man dressed in red pajamas anyway.