Monday, February 25, 2019

Holidays; Holy and Pagan: INTRODUCTION


This work could be considered the second volume and or a continuation of its predecessor; Get Back to the First Century. In Get Back to the First Century we firmly established the relevance and joyous, yet incumbent universal nature that the Torah (Law) has upon Believers in Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) today, despite ones ethnicity (Jew or Gentile). In close connection to Torah Observance is the celebration of the Feasts of the LORD as found in Leviticus 23. However, it was beyond the scope of the previous volume to expound on these Feasts and their observance, nor was it the place to expose and expound on the true origins of the holidays that replaced them; thus the reason and necessity for this volume.

In all honesty I put off writing this book for years. Why? Because I felt I was trying to reinvent the wheel. It only takes seconds to look this stuff up on the web and there are tons of excellent sites and resources and a plethora of information out there regarding the Feast of the LORD and the pagan origins of the western Christian holidays, so why rehash it? I finally concluded that it would be nice to have such information all in one place (volume) instead of sending people on an internet quest or to suggest buying several books that covered the topics. I also put it off because there is so much information regarding the pagan holidays, that it was intimidating on trying to find a place to start, and that it is nearly impossible to put all the information out there concerning these things in one volume, and I hate to leave stuff out if I can help it. There are so many angles, cultures and time periods in which I could address them from as well, and so I agonized on where to begin and how to lay out the information in an orderly and understandable way. I concluded that there is no way I could put every bit of information out there into this, so I determined to try and keep it as simple and as concise as possible, knowing that if people do further research on their own after reading this book that they will uncover much, much more. And so this is not an exhaustive work on the subject matter, but enough to whet ones intellectual appetite to research further and to prove the point. So my purpose is not necessarily how to observe the Feasts of the LORD (there are many great resources that do a good job of that), but to show you their origins and contrast them with the holidays the church at large observes that have pagan origins and to make a case for believers to reject such holidays and adopt the Divinely Appointed ones. My goal is to try to make this work enjoyable and accessible to scholar and layman alike.

My Experience and the Hard Questions:

Growing up in a Protestant (Free Will Baptist) Christian home, celebrating Christmas and Easter as well as other holidays that supposedly had Christian origins and having fond memories of such, even as a youth, I was bewildered and questioned what a tree decked with gold and silver tinsel and balls and an egg bearing rabbit had to do with the Birth and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What did a naked baby with wings have to do with Christ-like love? How can you honor saints that have passed on by dressing up as monsters and having faces carved from pumpkins?  How was He (God and Christ) honored by these things that seem to have absolutely no connection with Him or Scripture?

I was taught as a child that the celebration of Christ’s birth and resurrection came before the infusion of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny by our consumer, secular society which has bleed into the observance. I was taught that, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” But as I began to look into these things for myself, I was shocked to discover in all actuality, the very opposite was true. I was stunned and saddened to discover that these and many other holidays touted to be Christian in origin, actually originated in ancient Babylon and Rome and was birthed from its pagan religions. These holidays did not have Christian origins but pagan, and Christianity has attempted to sanitize and “Christianize” them in an effort to redeem them. But can what was offered to pagan gods be “sanitized” and taken and be offered to YHWH the Most High God? Can the customs and rituals stay the same but just change the name to whom such rituals are addressed to? I didn’t think so.

“When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.” – Deut. 18:9

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not… And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the Lord.” – Lev. 10:1, Num. 26:61

But as I investigated further and spoke with Christian religious authorities that they, and many laity in Christendom, knew about the pagan origins of the “Christian” holidays and yet celebrate them anyway and say, “Jesus knows my heart.” Meaning, God knows their intentions to honor Him with these holiday observances and celebrations and not to acknowledge or honor the pagan deities for whom these holidays were originally for. Or they reason, “Oh it’s just fun for the kids, those holidays don’t mean what they originally did back then.”

-        Is there any justification in this line of reasoning?
-        So how did this all happen? How did this all come about?
-        If these religious holidays are truly pagan, have they been redeemed?
-        Are they okay for Believers in Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) to celebrate?
-        Are there true, Divinely Appointed, Biblical Holidays we have been commanded and should be celebrating instead?
-        If so, what are they and when and how can I celebrate?
-        If there is no way to redeem the pagan holidays do I have the boldness to stop celebrating them and replace them with other acceptable holiday observances, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks?

As for those who have read the blog series that came before this one (Get Back to the First Century), I opened with hard questions, and so I do with this blog series as well. We, as follower and proclaimer of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), need to be honest with ourselves and ask ourselves these hard questions and respond with honest answers, and not just ones that will please our flesh, culture or traditions and not offend our neighbors.

Growing up in the Western World, woven into the fabric of our lives, are various these holidays that festively brings families and friends together and breaks up the monotony and the mundaneness of  the year. It’s so ingrained into our culture it has defined us as Westerners and has forged and has become a part of our national Christian identity. Supposedly, these celebrations that have been secularized with commercialism, special sales, leprechauns, cupid, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny have Christian origins; or so we have been told, but do they? When you run across one who doesn’t celebrate certain holidays like Christmas and Easter, it feels like sacrilege, and one assumes they are of a different religion, culture or they belong to a religious cult, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses or something. After all, even non-religious people and atheists embrace the holidays, but do not acknowledge the “Christian” and or religious aspects of the holidays. But can we truly secularize or even “Christianize” these holidays? Can you really separate the religious aspects from such observances? The Pharisees of Yeshua’s day had a tough time separating the Commands of the LORD from the traditions that have built and imposed upon them.

“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. – Matt. 15:1-9

The Roman Catholic Church is much to blame for the blatant paganism that lies under the veneer of Christianity.  And Constantine is mostly responsible for this. Secular History records Emperor Constantine as being the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. The alleged conversion supposedly took place in 312 AD while worshiping in the Grove of Apollo the sun god (Prior to Christianity the official Roman religion was sun god worship called Mithraism) in Gaul, which is ancient France. Constantine claims to have had a vision where Christ appeared to him telling him to put “XP” upon the shields of his troops and the very next day he claims to have seen a cross superimposed over the sun and heard a voice say, “In this sign you will be victorious.” Other say the voice said, “In this sign you will conquer.”

Shortly after the Edict of Milan was issued, officially ending the persecution of Christians.

Despite Constantine’s alleged conversion, he still worshipped the sun god. You see, Constantine had a divided kingdom of Roman sun god worshippers and Jewish Believers and Gentile Christians. They lived and worshipped differently and so in an effort to unify his empire, he simply changed the times and seasons (Dan. 7:25) in which Christians worshipped to the days the Romans worshipped their pantheon of gods and was in many ways the father of the Roman Catholic Church. The various gods were simply substituted for Mary, Jesus and the saints (apostles).

Convening the Council of Nicaea, Constantine, through the council was able to blend Christianity and Mithraism to create what we know today as Roman Catholicism.

Catholic missionary’s strategy has always been to take whatever pagan culture, religion and customs that exist among whatever people they find themselves with and synchronize and sanitize their belief system and make it “Christian.” This is why you have the pagan origins in Western Christian holidays today. The old religion and customs that have been passed down from Babylon, to Greece, Rome, the Celts and Nordics etc., have been “Christianized.” Baal, Osiris, Zeus, and Odin become God, Saturnalia, Mithra, Tammuz become Jesus and Simiramus, Ishtar, Venus, and Frigg become Mary and other minor gods of the various pantheons become the venerated saints.

In Christianity it has been taught and perpetuated that the things of the Old Testament, its Laws and observances have been done away with and replaced with the celebration of Jesus’ birth at Christmas and His resurrection at Easter. We celebrate the lives of His followers at Valentine’s Day and Halloween also known as All Saints Day. But is there really any Scriptural validation or mandate to have done such? Or are we just fooling ourselves and actually honoring other gods and the ways of the nations whom God destroyed before Israel? Are there really two different reckonings of time? Does God have a Divine clock and calendar and does satan have a knock off version? If so, what are they, how can we tell the difference? And if we find out is it even possible anymore to follow God’s time table and reject the evil one’s? And if so, will we cave and succumb to nationalistic and cultural peer pressure and comfort ourselves by saying, “God knows my heart,” or will we have the guts to say:

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Josh 24:15

Making Evil, Cute.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isa. 5:20

This is the number one objective, the prime directive, the method of operation in the war room of Satan himself.

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. – II Cor. 2:11

In Satanism, he is often prayed to or addressed in the reverse, in a backward chant, whether it be a living or dead language it is pronounced and said backwards. Satanism habitually inverts or puts upside down symbols such as the pentagram and the cross. This is Satan’s fingerprint and calling card. He does the opposite and flips things around and upside down.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isa. 5:20

Those who know me well, knows that I am not hung up on paganism to the point of being a paga-phobic and deeming virtually everything as pagan. Nonetheless, evil and that which is pagan at the root is covered in a veneer of cute and cuddly fluffiness, and is thus blindly accepted by the masses. Those who decided to celebrate the Feasts of the LORD instead are seen as strange, unpatriotic, self-righteous, and such folks are deemed as bad parents for depriving our children of fun. After all, how can harmless, cute and cuddly fun be evil!?

·       Eggs dipped in the blood of sacrificed infants and ritualized cultic sex unto a fertility goddess are now replaced with pastel colored eggs and multiplying cute and cuddly furry bunnies and downy chicks. People are calling good evil and evil good.
·       The night when virgins daughters are kept under lock and key lest they be kidnapped, defiled and or sacrificed. The night where produce is carved into frightening visages to ward off evil spirits and food is placed outside to appease the spirits has become a time to dress up as cute, puppy-eyes, bobble headed ghouls with plastic jack-o-lantern buckets in which to collect candy in door to door. People are calling good evil and evil good.
·       The darkest time of the year when all nature seemed dead, where folks would leave candles burning in every window, when the elemental spirits and phallic gods would be offered gifts in order to hasten the coming of spring has become a commercialized, hedonistic time for your materialistic wishes to be granted. People are calling good evil and evil good.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isa. 5:20

The Evil One asks oh so innocently, “Come now, how can something so cute and fun be pagan, harmful or evil?”

Lay a woolen fleece upon a wolf or put a bowtie on a bear get him to balance upon a ball and see how cute and cuddly they really are if you try and snuggle up to them. They may look cute and cuddly, but they are nonetheless deadly and ravenously wild animals.

As the old saying goes, no matter if you take a pile of manure, spray it with perfume and put it into a jewel incrusted silver box and put a gilded bow around it, inside it is still manure.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isa. 5:20

People, we must take a hard look at the customs and traditions we practice in His Name.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land – II Chron. 7:14

After discovering the truth of these “Christianized” pagan holidays, I, in a clear conscious could no longer celebrate or participate in them. I am without excuse.

Where Did Paganism Come From?

In archeological and critical historical religious literature the authors (usually agnostic, atheist or secular and with an agenda) often attempt to make one believe other cultures are older and predate that of Scriptural writ, simply because physical evidence found is often older than the earliest Biblical manuscripts. They claim that the Biblical writers took traditions and stories from these so called older cultures and adopted them as their own creation story and flood account and so on. However, if one believes the inerrancy of Scripture one would easily realize that the entire world was at one time one people, language and culture until the confounding of the languages at the Tower of Babel. Thus, in the post Babel world everyone took the shared traditions and legends from the Creation to the Flood and all the prophecies of redemption and messiah that lies therein and molded into what each people group has become. This is why every people group has a creation and flood story.  Just because most all cultures practice or practiced at one point animal sacrifice, have legends of virgin births, god-men messiahs, and just because these things appear in Christianity and Nazarene Judaism in the truthful events does not mean they were gleaned from a pre-Biblical pagan culture of Mesopotamians, Canaanites or what have you. No, we did not rip stories from them and claimed them as our own holy history, they ripped stories from us. After all, we have the Protoevegelium, the prophecy in Genesis (3:15), the prophecy of the god-man Yeshua prior to Babel, so it stands to reason other pagan cultures would have a perverted concept of this.

I read books such as “The Two Babylon’s” and see how Satan has perverted the truth in each culture in an attempt to drive them away from the truth, yet the grain of the truth lies within each culture; which lends to the possibility of a pagan culture to come to the truth. Indeed, it is an ingenious plan of the evil one to hide truth in plain sight, yet disguised in cultural paganism.

For these reasons I believe the ADONAI, Yeshua (Jesus) and the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) is One but, I do not believe they are, or come from, a pagan trinity. And because of the reasoning stated above I believe Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is Divine, and why I believe in the miracle of the Virgin Birth and Resurrection of Messiah from the dead. This is also why I believe He is coming again to reign over the New Earth as the Priest and King.

Many things in Judaism that oppose a divine Messiah, a virgin birth and such came after the late 1st century as reactionary doctrine in an attempt distances itself from the pagan influenced Constantinian type Christianity that had separated itself from Nazarene Judaism.