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Truth About Christmas A  GCM Bible Study Presentation Great Commission Ministries
Christmas is business
TRUE ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS Where did Christmas originate?  From the Bible or paganism?  What is the real origin of Santa Claus—mistletoe—Christmas trees—holly wreaths—and the custom of exchanging gifts?  Many are concerned about putting “Christ back into Christmas.”  Was He ever there?
Pagan Origin “ The earliest reference to Christmas being marked on Dec. 25 comes from the second century after Jesus’ birth. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman  Saturnalia , a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice—the return of the sun—and honored Saturn, the god of sowing.
 
Saturnalia Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of  the sun  with worship of the “son”. By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday..”
Can Christ be Honored by Christmas? The most common justification that one will hear regarding Christmas is that people have replaced old pagan customs and intents by asserting that they are now “focusing on Christ.”
Jesus Said in Matthew 15:8-9 Mat 15:8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  Mat 15:9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mark 7:9 Mar 7:9  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Was Christ Born on December 25th? Christ was born in the fall of the year. Many have mistakenly believed He was born around the beginning of winter—December 25th! They are wrong!  Notice the Adam Clarke Commentary, volume 5, page 370, New York edition: “It was custom among Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts about the Passover [early spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain.”
The first rains began in early-to-mid fall. Continuing with this same quote: “During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day.  As…the first rain began early in the month of March-esvan, which answers to part of our October and November [begins sometime in October], we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer.
And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night.
On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up.  The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological
Pointers Luke 2:8 explains that when Christ was born, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”  Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This never happened in December. Both  Ezra 10:9-13  and the  Song of Solomon 2:11  show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night.
Since we now know that December 25th was nowhere near Christ’s actual birthdate, where did the festival associated with this date come from?
In the Roman world, the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts.  December 25 was also regarded as the birthdate of the Iranian mystery  god Mithra,  the  Sun of Righteousness .  On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor.
To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe.  Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season.
Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian”  (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Edit. Vol. II, p. 903). December 25th was not selected because it was the birth of Christ or because it was even near it. It was selected because it coincided with the idolatrous pagan festival Saturnalia—and this celebration must be carefully examined. In any event, we do not know the exact date of Christ’s birth.
Who Was Saturn? “ The Roman festival of Saturnalia, Dec. 17-24, moved citizens to decorate their homes with greens and lights and give gifts to children and the poor.  The Dec. 25 festival of natalis solis invicti, the birth of the unconquered sun, was decreed by the emperor Aurelian in A.D. 274 as a Winter Solstice celebration, and sometime (later)…was Christianized as a date to celebrate the birth of the  Son of Light.”
The early Romans were not celebrating Christmas but rather a pagan feast called the  Saturnalia.  It occurred each year around the beginning of winter, or the winter solstice. This was the time when the sun had taken its lowest path across the sky and the days were beginning to lengthen, thus assuring  another season of growth.
The Saturnalia, celebrated Saturn—the fire god. Saturn was the god of sowing (planting) because heat from the sun was required to allow for planting and growth of crops. He was also worshipped in this dead-of-winter festival so that he would come back (he was the “sun”) and warm the earth again so that spring planting could occur.
The planet Saturn was later named after him because, among all of the planets, with its rings and bright red color, it best represented the god of fire!
Every civilization has a fire/sun god. The Egyptians (and sometimes Romans) called him  Vulcan.  The Greeks named him  Kronos , as did the Phoenicians—but they also called him  Saturn.  The Babylonians called him  Tammuz  (as Nimrod, resurrected in the person of his son), Molech or Baal (as did the Druids).  These were all simply the various names for Nimrod.  Nimrod  was considered the father of all the Babylonian gods.
  Who Was Nimrod? Genesis 10:9 says of Nimrod, “He was a mighty hunter before [in place of] the Lord.”  He actually tried to replace God. Important evidence of Nimrod’s role in the post-flood world. Notice: “He also gradually changed the government into tyranny… He [Nimrod] also said he would be revenged on God, if He should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach
Ezekiel 8:13-14 records a picture of the women of Israel “weeping for Tammuz.” This Tammuz (the god of fire) was considered to be Nimrod and the etymology of the word itself is fascinating.  Tam  means  “to make perfect”  and  muz  “fire.”  The meaning is clear in light of what we have already learned.
Burned to Molech Let’s see how God’s people, Israel, worshipped Baal/Molech once they had departed from the true God:  “And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into My mind, that they should do this abomination…”  (Jer. 32:35).
They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spoke it, neither came it into My mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, says the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter” (Jer. 19:5). Verse 6 ties the valley of Tophet or Hinnom to this practice. Jeremiah 7:31 connects Tophet and Hinnom to child sacrifice. Tophet means “the drum.” Drums were played to drown the screams of victims in the flames.
Christmas tree video
The Origin of the Christmas Tree The modern Christmas tree originated in Germany. But the Germans got it from the Romans, who got it from the Babylonians and the Egyptians. “ An old Babylonish fable told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolized the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz! Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia!”
 
IS IT BIBLICAL? Jeremiah 10:2-5, “Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen…For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go.  Be not afraid of them ; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”
This plain description of the modern Christmas tree is clear. God directly refers to it as “the way of the heathen.” Just as directly, He commands His people to “learn not the way of the heathen,” calling these customs “vain.” Verse 23 adds a remarkable and powerful statement: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his [own] steps.” God must teach people how to live. Man simply cannot figure out God’s ways for himself.
There is no room in Jeremiah 10 to believe, as some have tried to suggest, that because these trees are powerless of themselves, it is not really forbidden to have a Christmas tree.  God condemns the putting up of pagan (Christmas) trees with this plain Bible command!

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Truth about CHRISTMAS

  • 1. Truth About Christmas A GCM Bible Study Presentation Great Commission Ministries
  • 3. TRUE ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS Where did Christmas originate? From the Bible or paganism? What is the real origin of Santa Claus—mistletoe—Christmas trees—holly wreaths—and the custom of exchanging gifts? Many are concerned about putting “Christ back into Christmas.” Was He ever there?
  • 4. Pagan Origin “ The earliest reference to Christmas being marked on Dec. 25 comes from the second century after Jesus’ birth. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia , a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice—the return of the sun—and honored Saturn, the god of sowing.
  • 5.  
  • 6. Saturnalia Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the “son”. By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday..”
  • 7. Can Christ be Honored by Christmas? The most common justification that one will hear regarding Christmas is that people have replaced old pagan customs and intents by asserting that they are now “focusing on Christ.”
  • 8. Jesus Said in Matthew 15:8-9 Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
  • 9. Mark 7:9 Mar 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
  • 10. Was Christ Born on December 25th? Christ was born in the fall of the year. Many have mistakenly believed He was born around the beginning of winter—December 25th! They are wrong! Notice the Adam Clarke Commentary, volume 5, page 370, New York edition: “It was custom among Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts about the Passover [early spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain.”
  • 11. The first rains began in early-to-mid fall. Continuing with this same quote: “During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As…the first rain began early in the month of March-esvan, which answers to part of our October and November [begins sometime in October], we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer.
  • 12. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night.
  • 13. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological
  • 14. Pointers Luke 2:8 explains that when Christ was born, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This never happened in December. Both Ezra 10:9-13 and the Song of Solomon 2:11 show that winter was the rainy season and shepherds could not stay on cold, open fields at night.
  • 15. Since we now know that December 25th was nowhere near Christ’s actual birthdate, where did the festival associated with this date come from?
  • 16. In the Roman world, the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birthdate of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness . On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor.
  • 17. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season.
  • 18. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Edit. Vol. II, p. 903). December 25th was not selected because it was the birth of Christ or because it was even near it. It was selected because it coincided with the idolatrous pagan festival Saturnalia—and this celebration must be carefully examined. In any event, we do not know the exact date of Christ’s birth.
  • 19. Who Was Saturn? “ The Roman festival of Saturnalia, Dec. 17-24, moved citizens to decorate their homes with greens and lights and give gifts to children and the poor. The Dec. 25 festival of natalis solis invicti, the birth of the unconquered sun, was decreed by the emperor Aurelian in A.D. 274 as a Winter Solstice celebration, and sometime (later)…was Christianized as a date to celebrate the birth of the Son of Light.”
  • 20. The early Romans were not celebrating Christmas but rather a pagan feast called the Saturnalia. It occurred each year around the beginning of winter, or the winter solstice. This was the time when the sun had taken its lowest path across the sky and the days were beginning to lengthen, thus assuring another season of growth.
  • 21. The Saturnalia, celebrated Saturn—the fire god. Saturn was the god of sowing (planting) because heat from the sun was required to allow for planting and growth of crops. He was also worshipped in this dead-of-winter festival so that he would come back (he was the “sun”) and warm the earth again so that spring planting could occur.
  • 22. The planet Saturn was later named after him because, among all of the planets, with its rings and bright red color, it best represented the god of fire!
  • 23. Every civilization has a fire/sun god. The Egyptians (and sometimes Romans) called him Vulcan. The Greeks named him Kronos , as did the Phoenicians—but they also called him Saturn. The Babylonians called him Tammuz (as Nimrod, resurrected in the person of his son), Molech or Baal (as did the Druids). These were all simply the various names for Nimrod. Nimrod was considered the father of all the Babylonian gods.
  • 24. Who Was Nimrod? Genesis 10:9 says of Nimrod, “He was a mighty hunter before [in place of] the Lord.” He actually tried to replace God. Important evidence of Nimrod’s role in the post-flood world. Notice: “He also gradually changed the government into tyranny… He [Nimrod] also said he would be revenged on God, if He should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach
  • 25. Ezekiel 8:13-14 records a picture of the women of Israel “weeping for Tammuz.” This Tammuz (the god of fire) was considered to be Nimrod and the etymology of the word itself is fascinating. Tam means “to make perfect” and muz “fire.” The meaning is clear in light of what we have already learned.
  • 26. Burned to Molech Let’s see how God’s people, Israel, worshipped Baal/Molech once they had departed from the true God: “And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into My mind, that they should do this abomination…” (Jer. 32:35).
  • 27. They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spoke it, neither came it into My mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, says the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter” (Jer. 19:5). Verse 6 ties the valley of Tophet or Hinnom to this practice. Jeremiah 7:31 connects Tophet and Hinnom to child sacrifice. Tophet means “the drum.” Drums were played to drown the screams of victims in the flames.
  • 29. The Origin of the Christmas Tree The modern Christmas tree originated in Germany. But the Germans got it from the Romans, who got it from the Babylonians and the Egyptians. “ An old Babylonish fable told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolized the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz! Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia!”
  • 30.  
  • 31. IS IT BIBLICAL? Jeremiah 10:2-5, “Thus says the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen…For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them ; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”
  • 32. This plain description of the modern Christmas tree is clear. God directly refers to it as “the way of the heathen.” Just as directly, He commands His people to “learn not the way of the heathen,” calling these customs “vain.” Verse 23 adds a remarkable and powerful statement: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his [own] steps.” God must teach people how to live. Man simply cannot figure out God’s ways for himself.
  • 33. There is no room in Jeremiah 10 to believe, as some have tried to suggest, that because these trees are powerless of themselves, it is not really forbidden to have a Christmas tree. God condemns the putting up of pagan (Christmas) trees with this plain Bible command!