Church of God, New World Ministries

Where Does God Command You To Observe Christmas?

Did you know that Christmas was observed by pagans 2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ? And, that neither the apostles nor the inspired New Testament Church observed it?

That may come as a shocking surprise to you. You probably have never noticed it before, but it is true! In the New Testament is amazing proof – almost totally overlooked – that Christmas and other pagan holidays were cleverly introduced into the Christian Church in the days of the apostles. And proof that the apostles were inspired to forbid Christians to observe them!

It is time you looked to see what is recorded in your very own Bible! How, then, did Christmas-- now revealed as an ancient pagan holiday celebrated 2000 years before the birth of Christ – creep into the Christianity of this Western World? And does it make any difference if you observe it?

Consider! Your eternal destiny depends upon the answer! You are soon – very soon - going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Do not say carelessly” “Well, here is the way I look at Christmas,” or “I do not think it makes much difference.” God says it does make a difference. God declares, there is a way that seems right to a man –to you –but the end result leads to death (Prov. 14:12).

You will be judged by what God says - not by what you think. Now let us unveil the mystery which surrounds the introduction of Christmas into the professing Christian world. Notice how plain it is.

No one knows the exact day on which Jesus was born. It has been hidden because God didn’t intend His church to celebrate the birthday of Christ.

The pagans, during the days of the early church, were celebrating this very day in honor of Sol, the sun-god. The Romans celebrated December 25th at the Brumalia, or birthday of the new sun. In most any public library you can get proof of this in a book entitled 4000 Years of Christmas, by Earl Wendell Count. The very name of this book proves that the Christmas holiday isn’t Christian. It was celebrated 2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ in honor of pagan gods! Therefore it was, and is, idolatry!

Even though church leaders are being forced to confess the true origin of their holidays, they refuse to repent – refuse to give them up. They cleverly deceive the people by claiming that God approves these abominations.

But notice what God does say about the Christmas holiday season and other customs by which the heathen served their gods: “Take heed that you do not enquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? – that I also may do likewise.’ You shall not do so to the Eternal your God, for every abominable thing which the Eternal hates they have done for their gods” (Deut. 12:30-31).

The churches today reject this commandment of God so they can hold the traditions of men. Jesus commands us not to worship Him by holidays like Christmas.

Even though Christmas did come from paganism, you ask, “Surely giving gifts at Christmas is scriptural? Didn’t the wise men give gifts at the birth of Christ?”

Although most people admit Christmas came from paganism when confronted with the facts, they assume that giving gifts to relatives is in the Bible. Just where did the Christmas shopping season really originate?

Here’s a surprise! “The custom of giving presents was a feature of the Romans during their winter festival the Saturnalia,’ says John Then, in his book, Christmas, p. 91. “Professing Christians made presents to their children on Christmas morning, under the pretense that they were the gifts of the Christ child. This age-old custom can be traced to the dawn of history” – to paganism!

Did trading gifts at Christmas come from the Bible? No! It came from pagan tradition and was turned into a pretense – a deception. Various religions, using the name of Christ, are practicing this lie today.

Millions of sincere, deceived people spend precious dollars to give gifts to friends and family on a day that doesn’t honor Christ at all. How silly to claim to honor Christ, when giving gifts to one another on a day that isn’t His birthday at all.

The wise men didn’t give gifts to one another? Notice what they did. “Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matt. 2:1-11). Why were the wise men giving gifts to the Christ child? Was this his birthday? No! Jesus had been born days before! Then why did they give gifts to Him? Because Jesus was born “King of the Jews.”

“The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands,” say Adam Clarke in his Commentary about Matthew 2:11.

The wise men were not coming on Jesus’ birthday as an example for us. Instead they came to worship Jesus and present Him gifts because he was King. Since Christmas isn’t the birthday of Jesus and was not observed by the early true Christians, how did it get into the churches?

Following the death of the apostle Paul, false teachers began to lead away many from the truth. Paul wrote Timothy: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wonder into myths” (II Tim. 4:3-4).

Notice it! People would reject the truth and begin to follow myths. Instead of continuing to observe the days God sanctified as the first Christians did, the apostatizing majority, who called themselves “Christians” soon began to invent their own traditions.

These professing Christians who departed from the truth and began to adopt Christmas and other pagan customs were called Nicolaitans” in the Bible (Rev. 2:6, 15).

The doctrines of the Nicolaitanes, from whom Catholics and Protestants have sprung, have never ceased to puzzle Church historians. They have always imagined the Nicolaitanes to be some small sect which separated from the great worldly body of professing Christians. It has never occurred to the scholars that the Nicolaitanes are that great body of professing Christians which has departed from the true Church of God.

What does the word “Nicolaitan” mean? It has nothing to do with the deacon Nicolas (Acts 6:5), or a later bishop, Nicolas of Myta, as some have assumed. The original Greek word “Nicolaitan” means one who is a “follower of Nicolas.” Who was Nicolas of whom they were followers? God reveals that He hates the doctrine of that man (Rev. 2:15).

But what does the name “Nicolas” come from? It comes from two Greek words – nikos and laos. Nikos means “conqueror” or “destroyer,” and laos means “people.” The original Nicholas was the conqueror or destroyer of the people! That was merely the Greek word for Nimrod – the original arch-rebel who conquered the people and founded man-made civilizations within two centuries after the flood (Gen. 10: 8-10)!

While Nimrod was alive, by his dictatorial rule, he put himself in the place of God. And when he died, his admirers continued to worship him as a divine hero. They called him “Baal,” a name found throughout the Old Testament. “Baal” means “master” or “lord.” It was only natural that Nimrod should bear that name, for he put himself in place of the true Lord or Master of all the universe.

But “Baal” was not Nimrod’s only other name! He had many other names. One of these names was “Santa,” commonly used throughout Asia Minor .This name of Nimrod may be found in Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary.

Now you might ask, ‘is there any connection between Nimrod, who was called “Santa,” and “Santa Claus”?

“Santa Claus” is but a shortened form of “Santa Nicholas” or “Saint Nicholas.” The followers of “St. Nicholas” or Nimrod are termed “Nicolaitanes” in the New Testament! So those people who falsely called themselves “Christians” continued to honor Nimrod in the days of the apostle John –just as they do today! Today, on what date is “St. Nicholas” or Nimrod – especially honored? It is December 25? Yes! But why?

The Romans used to celebrate December 25th as the Saturnalia – the birthday of Saturn or Nimrod. And is it any wonder that December 25th, Nimrod’s purposed birthday, is still celebrated in honor of “Nicholas” –Nimrod – the first great despot.

Yes, Santa Claus – just a shortened form of Nicolas, the Greek name for Nimrod – is Nimrod deified. It is he – and not Jesus Christ whom the professing Christians serve to this day-- and whom they honor at Christmas! And there were individuals in the Church of God in those days who tolerated such practices and even indulged in them!

In 200 A.D., Clement of Alexandria wrote that many were speculating about Christ’s birthday. In the western and especially the eastern parts of the Roman Empire, many sects were beginning to follow a false tradition that Jesus was born on January 6.

Even the church at Rome for nearly two centuries observed this false date for Christ’s birth on January 6. This festival was called Epiphany (Bingham’s’ Antiquities, Bk. XX, chapter iv).The celebration of January 6 was anciently introduced in Babylon as the birthday of Nimrod at the time when the winter solstice occurred on that date – before 1900 B.C. (The Evolution of the Christian Year by A. Allan McArthur, p. 35.)

The introduction of the birthday of Nimrod among the Romans occurred when the winter solstice on their religious calendar occurred on December 25! That occurred about 300 B.C., shortly after Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire and introduced the Mystery Cult of Babylon into the West. Alexander wanted to found one world and one religion and the one religion to which all could trace back their origin was the Babylonian Mystery Cult! It claimed to be a universal, or catholic, form of religion in which all peoples could find unity!

According to the religious calendar maintained by the priests of the mystery cults, each year averaged 365 1/4 days. This made the year a fraction too long. It caused the winter solstice to drop back over the centuries about the rate of one day in 133 years. In Rome the winter solstice – “Christmas”-- had gradually dropped back to December 25, beginning 300 years before Christ.

The early Babylonians date of January 6 as the birthday of the pagan savior Nimrod was first applied to Jesus by the apostatizing Eastern Christians. But this date for the birth of Christ was not universally accepted. In 245 A.D., Origen, like numerous other Catholic leaders, still repudiated the idea of observing any day as Christ’s birthday. The traditional date of January 6 therefore did not gain a very strong foothold in the western parts of the Roman Empire because certain heretical sects were also following the same tradition.

Then, how did December 25 – the Roman festival in honor of Nimrod’s birth-- finally become the traditional date of Christ’s birth?

Bishops in the West, and especially at Rome, saw that by allowing converts to retain their pagan holidays, they could induce thousands to enter the church and “embrace” Catholicism. The Catholic writer Tertullian lamented this trend when he said in 230 A.D.

“By us who are strangers to Sabbaths, and new moons, and (God’s) festivals, once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia (December 25), the Matronalia, are now frequented. Gifts are carried to and fro, New Year’s’ Day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar” (De Idolatria, chapter 14).

In less than two centuries after Christ’s death, professing Christians were returning to their former pagan practices – to December 25-- the birthday of Sol, the sun god. Here is one of the earliest indications that Christians were transforming the birthday of the physical s-u-n into the birthday of the s-o- n of God.

This idolatrous adoption of heathen festivals preceded very slowly until Catholicism became the state religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine. Almost immediately, the pagans flocked to the churches, bringing their customs with them. Within 40 years the celebration of the 25th of December became so widespread that a sudden change took place in Rome.

The last record of Pope Liberius’ celebration of the nativity on January 6 occurred in 353 A.D. In the very next year he celebrated it on December 25! This is fully explained in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, by James Hastings, article “Christmas” Even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that Christmas celebration officially began by this year – 354 A.D.

From Rome in the West, the celebration of Christmas quickly engulfed the whole empire. But many preachers in the East still clung to January 6 as the traditional nativity. As late as 373 A.D. Ephraim Syrus said: “On the 10th day (of March) was His Conception and on the 6th day (of January) was His Nativity” (Assemani Bibl, Or, ii. 169).

Here is what Chrysostom said about Christmas in his Homily on the Birth of Christ, written in Antioch about 360 A.D.: “It is not yet ten years since this day was made known to us.”

Christmas didn’t come from the apostles. It came to Antioch, the city were the Apostle Paul preached, three hundred years after the apostle died! It came from an apostate Rome, not from Jesus Christ. Christmas came from paganism, not from the Bible.

Notice what Chrysostom continues to say about Christmas: “I know well that many even yet dispute with one another about it, some finding fault with it and others defending it.” He admitted it was “new, in that it has recently been made known to us.”

The bishops at Rome claimed to have accurate knowledge of Christ’s birth because they possessed the census papers of Jesus’ family. Just why they kept this hidden for over three centuries they never say.

They forged many records in an effort to show that preceding popes celebrated Christmas on December 25. If this were really true, they would not have needed to forge these spurious records.

The celebration of Christmas in Constantinople, near where Paul preached in Asia Minor, first took place between 378 and 381 A.D. And if this isn’t enough evidence against the apostolic origin of Christmas, there is proof that December 25th was not celebrated in Jerusalem before 385 A.D. Yet Jerusalem was the site of the mother church in the very beginning.

The Catholic Bishop Chrysostom, who lived in the 4th century, admits that the superstitious “times,” which Paul forbids in Galatians 4: 10, were pagan Christmas customs practiced by “Christians” in his day, as by the pagans in the days of old. He says: “Many were superstitiously addicted to divination upon them. In the celebration of these times (they) set up lamps in the marketplace, and crowned their doors with garlands” – as is done at Christmas time today! (From Bingham’s Antiquities of the Christian Church, pp. 1123-1124).

Christmas became a universal practice in all but the Armenian Church by the 5th century. Hundreds of traditions and customs began to develop about Christmas in every land. In the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, you can read this about Christmas: “Yet the festival rapidly gained acceptance and became at last so firmly established that even the Protestant Revolution of the 16th century was not able to dislodge it.”

Protestants didn’t get Christmas from the Bible. They got it from their mother church – Rome: and Rome got it from pagan sun-worship!

And where do you suppose the story of Santa Claus originated? And, what about hanging mistletoe in the door-way at Christmas time? Where did the holly-wreath, the Yulelog, and lighting of fires and candles come from? You can read the truth about these customs, what God says about them in our article “The Plain Truth About Christmas.”

Most people are dishonoring, yes, robbing Christ at every Christmas season and they don’t even know it! While spending every available dime on gifts for friends and relatives in this commercialized season, they are forgetting Christ. They take – steal-- the very money that belongs to Him. (Malachi 3: 6-12).

Many of you have been robbing God of His tithes and offerings by spending God’s own money on Christmas gifts instead of giving Him what is due. Our people have turned aside from Him, our hearts have gone after pagan festivals, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, etc.

Today, under the New Covenant, God commands that His tithes go to His work for the preaching of the true gospel to all the world. This year, instead of celebrating a pagan holiday, why don’t you give your gifts to Christ for His work? That is how you can really honor Him.

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