Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yahshua’s Birth & the Christmas Tradition

Overview
When we celebrate Jesus' birth why is there a tree and presents for everyone?  What started these  Christmas traditions?  What prophecies were fulfilled with his birth?  Here are my findings.

Yahshua’s Birth was a Fulfillment of Prophecy

Jesus, was born as a fulfillment to Our Father's word documented in the Old Testament.  Reflected below are some of the prophecies Yehshua fulfilled:


Prophecy
Fulfillment
Micah 5:2 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel,  whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Mat 2:6 6 "'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. '"
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
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.
John 7:42 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"
Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,  "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"; 6 as he says also in another place,  "You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek."
Jesus was born to the line of King David.  David’s line was of rulers and high priest.  See here for his ancestry
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. [Immanuel means god with us]
Luke 1:34 And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" 35 And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God.
First Passover in Exodus 12:3. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers 'houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
Jesus fulfilled Passover since he was sacrificed on Passover.  He was the lamb without blemish.
Mathew 26:2 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2 "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."
John 19:14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" 15 They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." 16 So he delivered him [Jesus] over to them to be crucified.


Jesus let us know that he came to fulfill the law:

Matt 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.


Date of Jesus' Birth


Jesus was born on the Day of Atonement.

Here
is a real good newspaper article that explains how early Americans felt about celebrating Christmas. This also discusses the day of his birth. 

So we do know that Jesus was not born on December 25th.  There is no example of the 12 apostles celebrating Jesus’ birth and there is no example of the 12 apostles performing the pagan things we do today to celebrate Christmas.  So celebrating his birth and putting presents or offerings under a tree would be adding to his commands of us.

Due4:2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your God which I command you.



Since he was born on the Day of Atonement we should observe that day as instructed in the Laws of Moses.  The apostles did observe fasting day which is the Day of Atonement. 

Pagan Traditions


Here is a list of heathen things many of us do to celebrate his birth:

·         Christmas Ham:  It should not be considered honoring to Jesus birth by eating an unclean animal.
Deu 15:8 And the pig, because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch.

·         Presents under the Christmas Tree:  Placing offerings or gifts under a tree was not considered a good practice in the Bible. See this page for more information.
Eze 6:13 You shall know that I am Yahweh, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the places where they offered sweet savor to all their idols.

·         Merry: The word ‘merry’ is usually associated with being drunk in the Bible:
Genesis 43: 34 Portions were taken to them from Joseph's table, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him.
Judges
 19." 6 So the two of them sat and ate and drank together. And the girl's father said to the man, "Be pleased to spend the night, and let your heart be merry."
Ruth 3:7 And when Boaz
 had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain.
1 Samuel
 25: 36 And Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk.




What are we really celebrating?  Maybe we are really celebrating Saturnalia and Yuletide.  We have combined several festivals together.

Saturnalia


Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves.[1] The poet Catullus called it "the best of days."[2]

Although probably the best-known Roman holiday, Saturnalia as a whole is not described from beginning to end in any single ancient source. Modern understanding of the festival is pieced together from several accounts dealing with various aspects.[4] The Saturnalia was the dramatic setting of the multivolume work of that name by Macrobius, a Latin writer from late antiquity who is the major source for information about the holiday. In one of the interpretations in Macrobius's work, Saturnalia is a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth.[5] The renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated in the later Roman Empire at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun," on December 25.[6]

The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the third and fourth centuries AD, and as the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, some of its customs may have influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and the New Year.[7]


Yuletide became Christmastide


Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time") is a Pagan religious festival observed by the historical North Germanic peoples (Scandinavians), later being absorbed into and equated with the Christian festival of Christmas. The earliest references to Yule are by way of indigenous Germanic month names Ærra Jéola (Before Yule) or Jiuli and Æftera Jéola (After Yule). Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Modranicht.

Terms with an etymological equivalent to Yule are used in the Nordic countries for Christmas with its religious rites, but also for the holidays of this season. Yule is also used to a lesser extent in English-speaking countries to refer to Christmas. Customs such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from Yule. A number of Neopagans have introduced their own rites.

Yule is the modern English representation of the Old English words ġéol or ġéohol and ġéola or ġéoli, with the former indicating the 12-day festival of "Yule" (later: "Christmastide") and the latter indicating the month of "Yule", whereby ǽrra ġéola referred to the period before the Yule festival (December) and æftera ġéola referred to the period after Yule (January).
 
The word is attested in an explicitly pre-Christian context primarily in Old Norse. Among many others (see List of names of Odin), the long-bearded god Odin bears the names jólfaðr (Old Norse 'Yule father') and jólnir (Old Norse 'the Yule one').

Yule was an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples, absorbed into celebrations surrounding Christmas over time with Christianization. The earliest references to it are in the form of month names, where the Yule-tide period lasts somewhere around two months in length, falling along the end of the modern calendar year between what is now mid-November and early January


United States Holiday


According to a report, created for Congress, the Christmas became a holiday as follows:

The act of June 28, 1870, which was apparently prompted by a memorial drafted by local “bankers and business men,” provided that New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Christmas Day, and “any day appointed or recommended by the President of the United States as a day of public fasting or thanksgiving [were] to be holidays within the District.” This legislation was drafted “to correspond with similar laws of States around the District,”3 and “in every State of the Union.”

I have placed a copy of this report here, see page one.

Closing


Early American’s did not want Christmas celebrated since they knew it would bring in many pagan rituals celebrated in Europe that were not honoring Jesus.  They were right since we are celebrating it with all the pagan trappings.  We are so busy at Christmas time it is hard to find the time to really honor his birth in a matter pleasing to Yahweh.

 The only people receiving benefit from the Christmas celebration is the bankers and business men that wanted the holiday.  These corporations then use the money to lobby against us. 

For many of us, the Christmas season is full of stress and is a financial burden and not a blessing.  Teaching our children to idolize Santa instead of Yahweh is really not good.  Therefore, celebrating Christmas does bare good fruit for all of us.

Mat 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Since it is a national holiday, wouldn’t it be more honoring to Jesus to spend the day praying and thanking him for the gifts we received from Yahoweh. And maybe a nice family dinner and visiting.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

1836 Christmas in America

Overview

Christmas was not originally celebrated here in America by Protestant Christians.  The Puritans were against the celebration of Christmas since a Roman Catholic Pope started the tradition based on the false belief that Jesus Christ was born on December 25th.  The Protestant reformation was about eliminating all observances and traditions that were established by Popes and not based on biblical facts. I do agree with the Puritans that Jesus Christ was born on September 29th and not December 25th.  

The actual problem with the Christmas celebration is that the Puritans forgot the reason behind the celebration since the Pope had actually just changed the reason.  The original Christmas celebration was the anointing of the Second Temple Altar recorded in 1st Maccabees 4:44-59.  The word Christ means anointed and -mas means sacred day.  

 Reflected below is a full transcript of an 1836 newspaper article regarding the history of Christmas and their reasons for thinking it should not be celebrated.  Click here to see original article in column three.

December 28, 1836 Vermont Telegraph – Christmas

It is known to all that have examined the subject, that we are entirely ignorant of the precise time of our Lord’s nativity.  There is good reason to believe that the Christian era itself is considerably inaccurate; that our Savior’s birth really took place about four years earlier than the time from which it is commonly reckoned; so that we are now in the year 1840, from the true period of his incarnation.  The cause of this error was, that even Christians, to say nothing of others, did not reckon time from the birth of Christ, till about the beginning of the sixth century after his advent; when it was no longer practicable to fix that great epoch with certainty.  The public archives had been destroyed by the burning of the greater part of the city of Rome, in the time of Nero, and probably by his order; and hence, although the empire in the sixth century had long since become Christian, the decree of Augustus for a general taxing which was contemporaneous with our Savior’s birth and the account of his death sent to Rome by Pilate, could not be resorted to in determining the exact time of these interesting and important events.

 The word Christmas is composed of the two words, Christ and Mass, and was first employed to denote the religious service made use of in the Roman Catholic church, in celebrating our Savior’s birth; nor is it improbable, that this very term has increased, if it did not originate the strong dislike, which some Protestants have always entertained and expressed against the performance of any religious service on the day called Christmas.

 There seems to be no probability that the great event which Christmas commemorates, happened on the 25th of December; and it is wonderful that Pope Julius, by whom that day was fixed for religious observance, should have decided as he did.  Two events, coincident with the incarnation of our Redeemer, are fully known – the resort of the Jews, from the most distance parts of Judea, to the city or place where they were born, that they might be enrolled and taxed – and the watching of their flocks by night, of the shepherds, in the vicinity of Bethlehem.  Now, it is very improbable that the season of the year, the most unfavorable of all for traveling, should have been assigned for the universal attendance of the Jews at the various places of enrolment:  and it is still more improbable, that in a climate not very different from that of the southern part of the United States,* shepherds should be “keeping watch over their flocks by night,” on the 25th of December – encamped as they clearly were, in the open fields.  Those who have investigated the subject most carefully have placed our Lord’s nativity somewhere between the middle of August, and the middle of November; and the best and prevalent opinion is that it happened in the latter part of September, or in the early part of October.

 We have no evidence that Christmas was ever observed as a religious festival till toward the end of the second century of the Christian era, under the Roman emperor Commodus.  The observance of it, however, soon became general, and continued so till the time of the Protestant reformation.  Neither, indeed, was its observance proscribed or discountenanced by the reformers, otherwise than that this might seem to be implied in the great Protestant principle that the Scriptures alone contain the laws and institutions which are binding on conscience and obligatory on the church, and that in the Scriptures, there is certainly no command, nor any recorded usage of the primitive church, in favor of the observance of Christmas.  The Protestant churches, nevertheless, both Lutheran and Calvinistic, have, in fact, generally observed the day not only as a season of social festivity, but by the performance of some religious service, commemorative of the birth of Christ.  It is believed that the Scotch church and the English puritans, with their descendants, stand alone, among all the reformed churches whose origin is ? with the reformation, in their refusal to celebrate Christmas in a religious manner – esteeming such a celebration as a departure from the fundamental principle of Protestantism, already mentioned and viewing in as dangerous to make any observance habitual, without a clear scriptural warrant; or to act as if any other day than the Sabbath could lawfully be regarded as sacred.  We are now prepared to make the following summary statement.

1.       That the religious observance of the day called Christmas, is not a divine institution, and therefore to represent of regard it as such, is contrary to truth and duty.

2.       That the day of the year, and even the month in which our Savior was born, is not known. – The day of his crucifixion we know exactly.  It is ascertained by the Jewish Passover, the annual return of which is most clearly specified in the Pentateuch, and has been punctually observed by the Jews in every successive age.  But in the providence of God, we are not permitted to know the day on which our blessed Lord became incarnate.

3.       That the incarnation or nativity of the Redeemer of the world, is unquestionably an event which we ought often to recollect, with the deepest admiration and the most lively gratitude, and on suitable occasions to celebrate in social worship.

4.       That since the second century of the Christian era, the great body of Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, have assigned a specific day for the commemoration of the great event by which a Savior was given to the world.

5.       That some Protestant sects notwithstanding, refuse to observe this day, because they have no scriptural warrant for such an observance, and therefore, think that it is wrong in itself, and likely to be followed by very bad consequences.

*Bethlehem, in Judea, is placed on maps in Lat. 33 deg. 36 min north, which is very nearly the latitude of Charleston, S. C.

---Christian Advocate