As December days shorten, darkness overcomes light. Frigid blasts whistle through leafless, lifeless trees. Frozen ground is covered in silence. Nothing moves. By all appearances nature has died. But then, intruding on the pervasive quiet, comes the most hyperactive frenzy of merrymaking glitz and glitter ever conceived by man. Wine flows freely, songs of cheer echo through halls strung with holly and mistletoe. Gifts are exchanged while candles and fires like a thousand points of light puncture the darkness.
Out of the throes of encroaching death springs a wild celebration of life – all in the urgent hope of awakening the gods of life and fertility.
It’s Christmas, 2,000 years before the Savior’s birth. Or, it’s today. Time has no claims on this ancient rite.
Early American Warning
Contrary to common belief, Christmas anciently was not the celebration of the birth of the Savior at Bethlehem. That connection came much later to this heathen festival celebrating life.
The fact that the holiday is deeply rooted in pagan sun worship was more than enough reason to keep the Puritans and other early American settlers seeking spiritual purity from having any part of it.
“Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen at that precise time of year, in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents to Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed,” Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 93.
No Thanks to Babylon
Christmas, with its trappings of life-celebrating superstitions, stretches back to ancient civilizations.
Steeped in beliefs of reincarnation and immortality, the pagan Babylonians thought that their king and sun-god Nimrod, who had been cut down, was brought back to life in the form of a green tree.
His return coincided with the winter solstice at the end of December, when the sun returns in its astronomical cycle and days begin to lengthen once more. And so we see the burning of the yule log signifying the sun’s light and warmth, and the evergreen tree wrapped in lights.
As pointed out in the book, 4,000 Years of Christmas by Earl W. Count, “Mesopotamia is the very ancient Mother of Civilization. Christmas began there, over four thousand years ago, as the festival which renewed the world for another year,” p. 18.
Lies of Yuletide
None of the facts surrounding Christmas is a mystery. You can read about them every year in newspapers and magazines appearing in December. The total indifference churchianity has to the revelation of the heathen roots of Christmas is remarkable.
Saturnalia is the forerunner of Christmas. It was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the god Saturn, held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to December 23. It was the most popular holiday in Rome and its celebrations are the source of many of the traditions we now associate with Christmas.
But by the fourth century CE western Christian churches settled on celebrating Christmas on December 25, which allowed them to incorporate the holiday of Saturnalia. Many of the traditions of Saturnalia—including giving gifts, singing, lighting candles, feasting, and merrymaking—had become absorbed by the traditions of Christmas.
Unable to refute its pagan origins and practices, they shrug, “We keep Christmas for the children. How can we deny them that?”
Think a minute. Aside from being anchored in dark, mystery worship, the perceived “biblical” side of Christmas is tethered to a series of falsehoods and distortions. Should heathen fictions be the basis for the adoration of the Son of Righteousness, even if He were born then? Jeremiah 10 clearly says not to learn the ways of the heathen.
Saint Nick has usurped the role of the Savior. Children are taught to be good for Santa’s sake (a mythological character who can do magical things), not for the righteous Judge whose birthday is presumably being honored.
Yet, we still have a big problem even if we remove Kris Kringle from the scene.
Christmas promotes covetousness in its obsession with gifts. This annual greedfest is betrayed by the fact that retailers earn up to half their yearly sales during the Christmas shopping frenzy.
What a strange birthday observance anyway — where celebrators gather to give gifts to one another and not to the one whose birthday is supposedly being honored!
Through common angel and mother-child icons displayed during the observance, both young and old are exposed to blatant idolatry. This is in flagrant violation of the Second Commandment not to make any graven image of any likeness on earth or heaven nor to bow down to them.
The tree itself becomes that image of adoration. Contests are held for the most beautifully decorated trees and homes, while churches long ago broke the barriers to the forbidden by erecting evergreens in their halls.
Christmas transfers the ancient worship of the sun to worship of the Son, violating Yahshua’s own words to Satan, “You shall worship Yahweh your Elohim and HIM only shall you serve,” Matthew 4:10.
Tradition says the shepherds came and worshiped Yahshua in the manger. The Bible, however, says they glorified Yahweh the FATHER for all that they had seen and heard, Luke 2:20.
No Command for Christmas
Nowhere does the Bible say or even hint that the Messiah was born on December 25. That date coincides with the Saturnalia, the pagan Roman feast held in December at the winter solstice in honor of the returning sun (god).
In the spirit of throwing in with what cannot be overthrown, the Roman church adopted this day of the sun’s annual rebirth as the birth of the Son of Yahweh.
Significantly, not one verse in the Scriptures commands man to remember the birthday of Yahshua’s human advent. If there were, rest assured man would virtually ignore it, as he does other direct commands of Yahweh. Ironically, this holiday conspicuously missing from Scripture tops the charts of man’s religious celebrations!
“In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” Yahshua said in Matthew 15:9.
Other truths twisted into fantasy include the fact that the wise men never came to the manger but to the Messiah’s house as much as two years later (Matt. 2:11). Neither is it clear how many came. Nor were their gifts meant as birthday presents but royal offerings for a King, of the Jews.
A Relative Latecomer
Nowhere in the entire Bible do we find that anyone kept Christmas. In fact, Christmas as a celebration of the Savior’s birth was not observed before the fourth century of the modern era. These facts alone are testimony to the absence of any heavenly command or mandated biblical practice.
As Hislop reminds us, “That Christmas was originally a pagan festival, is beyond all doubt. The time of the year and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origins. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian queen of heaven, was born at this very time, ‘about the time of the winter solstice.’ The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves –Yule-day – proves at once its Pagan and Babylonian origin. ‘Yule’ is the Chaldean name for infant or ‘little child’ and as the 25th of December was called by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors…long before they came into contact with Christianity,” pp. 93-94.
A person who seeks only the pure word of truth will give up the solar survival of Christmas in favor of what Almighty Yahweh DOES command in His Word. Leviticus 23 lists seven annual observances that Yahweh gave man as an ordinance “forever,” but which are largely ignored today.
These are called Feasts of Yahweh, not Feasts of the Jews or of any other nationality or race. They are for ALL men everywhere in honor of the one true Creator Yahweh, the Designer and Maker of the universe. Shouldn’t True Worshipers seek to keep the days specifically COMMANDED in the Scriptures, and not the holidays man has devised – that are not?
Young voices squeal with delight as adolescent “private eyes” search caches for chocolaty blue, gold, and green treasures hidden around trees and in clumps of grass. “I found one,” a five-year-old shouts, reaching for the oval booty. “Me too,” his friend chirps, parting the grass to reveal a chocolate rabbit in cellophane dress.
This springtime scene is repeated a million times as communities and churches throughout the nation host Easter egg hunts. It echoes rites as old as the hills, reaching back to the hills of ancient Babylon.
Asked why they keep this annual ritual, parents of indulgent youngsters just shrug and say, “It’s for the kids. We did it when we were young and it is just something we do because it’s Easter!”
As seekers of Truth we continually strive for purity in our lives and devotion. Isn’t Easter supposed to be a highly hallowed observance? Don’t even those who hardly ever warm a pew usually make it a point to show up at least on Easter Sunday? If it is Bible-based, why color eggs, hunt for jelly beans, march in parades, eat hot-cross buns and put chocolate rabbits and marshmallow chicks in baskets filled with green plastic grass?
How does any of this relate to the resurrection of the Savior?
The following statement in a common encyclopedia should jar the conscience of every Bible-professing, church-going person today: “Early Christians celebrated the Jewish feasts. The New Testament contains no reference to distinctively Christian festivals.” (Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Reference Encyclopedia, 1966 ed., vol. 10, p. 3461).
The questions begging for answers are, why did the very early New Testament believers continue to keep the Old Testament holy days, and why aren’t today’s most popular observances like Easter, even in the Bible?
A common human obsession is to fiddle with what is already well and good. In Exodus 12, Leviticus 23, and Deuteronomy 16, Yahweh gave man seven yearly observances, beginning with the Passover. They were to be kept “forever, throughout your generations” as part of a covenant between us and our Creator.
But these observances were apparently not good enough for evolving, early New Testament churchmen. They wanted their own celebrations. They didn’t like or want those old “Jewish” days even if they were commanded in the Old Testament—AND observed in the New.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica reveals, “Unlike the cycle of feasts and fasts of the Jewish Law, the Christian year has never been based upon a divine revelation. It is rather a tradition that is always subject to change by ecclesiastical law” (vol. 4, p. 601).
This source says about the Sabbath, “From the beginning, the church took over from Judaism the seven-day week. Before the end of the apostolic age (1st century C.E.), as the church became predominantly Gentile in membership, the first day of the week, or Sunday, had become the normative time when Christians assembled for their distinctive acts of worship, in commemoration of the [L-rd’s] Resurrection” (ibid).
Easter a Fertile Hybrid
As the early Catholic church opened its doors to more Gentiles, it took up their beliefs and worship habits and gravitated increasingly to Sunday, the day the heathen honored their sun deity. The church gradually switched over its observance of the Passover to Easter Sunday as well.
“The earliest Christians celebrated the L-rd’s Passover at the same time as the Jews, during the night of the first full moon of the first month of spring (Nisan 14-15). By the middle of the 2nd century, most churches had transferred this celebration to the Sunday after the Jewish feast.
But certain churches of Asia Minor clung to the older custom, for which they were denounced as ‘Judaizing.’” (Britannica, vol. 4, p.60)
“Eusebius further says that the churches of Asia Minor derived their custom of observing the pascha [passover] from the Apostles John and Philip. Without a doubt Christian elements were incorporated into the celebration. It was not a question of whether a day corresponding to the Passover should be celebrated, but a question of the time at which it was to be celebrated,” The New Schaff Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, vol. 4, p. 44.
Avoiding the Biblical Calendar
To deliberately break from the Jews, the Roman Church took the first in a long list of liberties. Two calendars were extant in the fourth century—the Biblical lunar calendar and the Egyptian-based solar calendar. Judaism held to the lunar reckoning while Rome adopted calculations based on the sun.
By adopting a solar year, Rome could observe Easter on Sunday and avoid timing it with the “Jewish” Passover. But that didn’t sit well with everyone. “A serious difference as to the day for its [Easter’s] observance soon arose between Christians of Jewish and those of Gentile descent, which led to a long and bitter controversy,” Britannica, 11th edition, “Easter,” p. 828.
“Anxiety over the date of Easter was thus a reason why Constantine the Great in 325 A. D. summoned the famous council of Nicaea. It was decided that Easter must be celebrated everywhere on the same day and this day must be a Sunday. It must be the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox, March 21, with one reservation: In the English prayer book it is stated thus: ‘and if the full moon happens upon a Sunday, Easter day is the Sunday after.’ The reason for this exception reveals the depth of the division between the Church and the Synagogue. For whenever the full moon fell on a Sunday, Easter would be celebrated on the same day as the Hebrew Passover. Hence, the postponement for a week, to avoid the coincidence,” Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 9, p. 507.
The Christian church wanted a Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday, proceeding to Good Friday and ending on Easter Sunday, commemorating the supposed resurrection on Sunday. Never mind that there is no mention of any of these days in either Old or New testaments.
A Strange Mixture
Through the influence of converts from mystery religions, the hybrid celebration called Easter took on abominable customs.
The name Easter itself derives from Eostre or Ostara, a Teutonic deity of love and the goddess of spring to whom sacrifice was offered in April. Her roots go back to the goddess Inanna, daughter of Anu, the supreme mighty one in Sumerian times before the old Babylonian period.
Passover in the Greek is Pascha. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, shows Easter’s link to the Passover even in the way the name Easter is rendered in other languages: French, Paques; Italian, Pasqua; Spanish, Pascua; Danish, Paaske; Dutch, Paasch; Welch, Pasg.
The worship of Ishtar through old fertility rites is reflected in the egg and rabbit symbolism of the modern Easter celebration. The egg symbol predates the resurrection of the Messiah by more than 2,000 years. Note this candid statement from the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909 Edition, “A great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring…The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been a symbol of fertility.”
The Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend sheds more light on the Easter egg and rabbit: “Children roll pasch eggs in England. Everywhere they hunt the many-colored Easter eggs, brought by the Easter rabbit. This is not mere child’s play, but the vestige of a fertility rite, the eggs and the rabbit both symbolizing fertility. Furthermore, the rabbit was the escort of the Germanic Goddess Ostara who gave the name to the festival by way of the German Ostern” (1949 ed., vol. 1, p. 335).
Also, the Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend notes this about the Easter egg: “The Easter egg, pagan symbol of rebirth, was given a Christian meaning when it became the practice to bring eggs, forbidden during Lent, to be blessed in church on Easter Sunday,” p. 89.
Another relic of heathenism is the Easter sunrise service. This rite is rooted in the worship of Eastre or Estera, the dawn deity. Ancient pagans worshiped the sun
because of its life-sustaining power.
It was a simple and easy transition, then, to worship at sunrise on resurrection morning. The problem is, the Savior was not resurrected Sunday morning, but was already gone when the women visited the tomb Sabbath evening at dusk. The word “dawn” in Matthew 28: 1 is epiphosko, meaning “draw on to.” This was the end of the Sabbath at sundown, not Sunday morning.
Ironically, Yahweh strongly denounces indulging in the only worship many today ever attend — Easter sunrise services:
“And He brought me into the inner court of Yahweh’s house, and behold, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east. Then He said unto me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke Me to anger: they put the branch [ashtoreth, phallic symbol used in Ishtar fertility worship] to their nose. Therefore will I deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them,’” Ezekiel 8:16-18.
The hot-cross buns so popular at Easter are also a relic from paganism, condemned in Jeremiah 7 when Judah was at their own Ishtar. “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other deities, that they may provoke me to anger,”verse 18. The word cakes is the Hebrew kawan, literally meaning a bun that is branded (with a cross).
The cross that makes hot-cross buns (see left) is the old symbol for female.
In ancient hieroglyphics the cross sign was the symbol for living or life, as well as the worship of the kind of life and fertility that Easter glorifies anciently and today.
A Choice We Each Must Make
A true follower finds repulsive the mixing of pure worship with ancient rites of mystery religions. Clearly, Almighty Yahweh does as well.
In today’s modern culture when more and more churchgoers know less and less about the Bible that they profess to follow, Almighty Yahweh leaves us a choice. We can continue in darkness or we can leave the abominations of heathenism and come clean as we serve the only true Elohim.
He is seeking a pure bride today who wants to prepare now to join the returning Savior in a coming life of eternity in His Kingdom.
“And what agreement has the Temple of Elohim with idols? For you are the Temple of the living Elohim; as Elohim has said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.’ Wherefore ‘come out from among them, and be separate,’ says Yahweh, ‘and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,’” 2 Corinthians 6: 16-l.
Pure worship is expressed as a narrow and often difficult road, and Yahshua said few will be walking on it. But those who are will find the eternal rewards indescribable!
What do a tinsel-laden pine tree, a jolly ol’ elf, and gift exchanging have in common with the Messiah Yahshua’s birth? Clearly, nothing.
Today’s Christmas customs do not exist in Scripture but derive from man-made traditions thousands of years old. Come take a journey with me through history and Scripture to understand the truth about this extravaganza of holidays.
Xmas Built on a False Premise
First, we consider the premise of Christmas. Do we have evidence that December 25th is the Messiah’s birthday? According to history and scholarship, there’s no evidence that Yahshua was born on this day or anywhere close to it.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: “Inexplicable though it seems, the date of Christ’s birth is not known. The Gospels indicate neither the day nor the month” (1967. Christmas).
The Roman Catholic Church chose December 25 as the date of the Messiah’s birth. No other evidence exists establishing that date. So we find here that the very source responsible for the establishment of December 25 as the birth date for the Savior admits that the actual date is unknown.
Many other sources confirm its absence. For instance, the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature says. “The fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity. No corresponding festival was presented by the Old Testament…the day and month of the birth of Christ are nowhere stated in the Gospel history, and cannot be certainly determined…” (1981, Christmas).
This admission is staggering. The church fathers of the first three centuries spoke nothing about the celebration of the Nativity. Clearly, the observance of the Messiah’s birth was unknown to the men who governed the church for the first 300 years.
Any reasonable person would think that such an important, historic event would have been understood by these stewards. The fact that the church fathers were oblivious to this observance shows that it has no early ties to Christianity. So if the day of the Messiah’s birth is not known even in the earliest years of the church, why then did the church later select December 25? What was so special about this day?
Worship of Saturn
This day has another past more sinister than many realize. December 25th was chosen because of its connection with pagan worship, specifically with sun worship, a religion going all the way back to ancient Babylon.
In Roman culture there were three observances that contributed to the timing and customs of Christmas. Possibly the greatest and most popular celebration was in honor of the Roman god of agriculture Saturn, hence Saturnalia, at the winter solstice. According to most historians, this festival resembled Mardi Gras and New Year’s: it was a time of decadence and confusion.
The Standard American Encyclopedia explains, “…the feast in honor of Saturn, celebrated by the Romans in December and regarded as a time of unrestrained license and merriment for all classes, even for the slaves” (1940, Saturnalia).
According to the Encyclopedia Americana, “It [Saturnalia] probably originated as a harvest celebration. Under the Caesars it was celebrated from the 17th to the 23rd of December, during which period public business was closed, masters and slaves changed places, and feasting, giving of gifts, and general license prevailed” (1956, Saturnalia).
It is no coincidence that the dates of Saturnalia closely correspond to Christmas.
This Roman festival was one of the happiest times of the pagan year. It included the giving of gifts, the suspension of work, and easements in cultural norms and ethics. Slaves were given temporary freedom and certain cases of immorality were overlooked.
The Counterfeit Messiah
Another belief influencing Christmas was Mithraism. This was a cult in the Roman culture that was reserved for men only and was especially popular among soldiers.
Again the Catholic Encyclopedia says, “The origin of the cult of Mithra dates from the time that the Hindus and Persians still formed one people, for the god Mithra occurs in the religion and the sacred books of both races, i.e. in the Vedas and in the Avesta. In Vedic hymns he is frequently mentioned and is nearly always coupled with Varuna, but beyond the bare occurrence of his name, little is known of him (Rigveda, III, 59). It is conjectured (Oldenberg, Die Religion des Veda, Berlin, 1894) that Mithra was the rising sun, Varuna the setting sun; or, Mithra, the sky at daytime, Varuna, the sky at night; or, the one the sun, the other the moon. In any case Mithra is a light or solar deity of some sort; but in vedic times the vague and general mention of him seems to indicate that his name was little more than a memory….Mithraism was emphatically a soldier religion: Mithra, its hero, was especially a divinity of fidelity, manliness, and bravery; the stress it laid on good fellowship and brotherliness, its exclusion of women, and the secret bond amongst its members have suggested the idea that Mithraism was Masonry amongst the Roman soldiery” (see newadvent.org, Mithraism).
As we learn from this reference, not much is known about this cult. It goes back to when the Hindus and Persians were one people, but how and in what form this deity was worshiped is unknown. As this deity evolved over time and cultures, it found a home in Rome; it especially gained popularity among the Roman military. At this point, Mithra had been reinterpreted as a deity of war and as a result, Mithraism again took root within the Roman culture.
The connection between Mithraism and Christmas is described in the book, Mystery Religions in the Ancient World. “Mithra was the creator and orderer of the universe, hence a manifestation of the creative Logos or Word. Seeing mankind afflicted by Ahriman, the cosmic power of darkness, he incarnated on earth. His birth on 25 December was witnessed by shepherds. After many deeds he held a last supper with his disciples and returned to heaven. At the end of the world he will come again to judge resurrected mankind and after the last battle, victorious over evil, he will lead the chosen ones through a river of fire to a blessed immortality,” p. 99.
The resemblance of Mithra and the Messiah is striking. Scripture states that the Messiah is the creative Word or Logos, John 1:1-3. We also know that His birth was witnessed by shepherds and that He shared a last supper with His disciples and was afterward murdered and resurrected to heaven. The Bible also prophesies of His return, when He will remove evil and conquer all those who oppose Him. Because of these similarities, some scholars believe that Mithraism was a major force in Christianity and a serious threat to the Church. According to Ernest Renan, a French historian and expert in ancient cultures, “…if the growth of Christianity had been arrested by some mortal malady, the world would have been Mithraic…”
Mithra was born on December 25. There’s little doubt that the date of Mithra worship played a role in the establishment of December 25th as the Messiah’s birth.
Unconquered Sun Worship
In addition to Saturnalia and Mithraism, there was another celebration called the Feast of Sol Invictus that helped solidify December 25 as the date for the Nativity. The EncyclopaediaBritannica openly states that the Church adopted this day for Christmas:
“During the later periods of Roman history, sun worship gained in importance and ultimately led to what has been called a ‘solar monotheism.’ Nearly all the gods of the period were possessed of Solar qualities, and both Christ and Mithra acquired the traits of solar deities. The feast of Sol Invictus (unconquered Sun) on December 25th was celebrated with great joy, and eventually this date was taken over by the Christians as Christmas, the birthday of Christ” (2000, vol. 11, p. 390).
There should be no doubt that Christmas is an amalgamation of ancient pagan practices later adopted by the Roman church.
This ancient celebration was nothing more than sun worship or “solar monotheism.” The term “solar” refers to the sun, while “monotheism” refers to the worship of one deity. Most ancient religions were polytheistic, meaning they worshiped many gods. To find a point in history where sun worship was a monotheistic religion is noteworthy.
On a side note, vestiges of sun worship can be seen in other areas of the Church. For example, the day that nominal worship has chosen as a day of worship comes from the Latin dies solis, meaning, “day of the sun.” According to historians it was Emperor Constantine who officially changed Sabbath worship to Sunday; prior to his conversion this man was a sun worshiper.
Authors Anthony F. Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting in their book, The Doctrine of the Trinity, state, “Constantine appears to have been a sun-worshiper, one of a number of late pagan cults which had observances in common with Christians. Worship of such gods was not a novel idea. Every Greek or Roman expected that political success followed from religious piety.
“Christianity was the religion of Constantine’s father. Although Constantine claimed that he was the thirteenth Apostle, his was no sudden Damascus conversion. Indeed it is highly doubtful that he ever truly abandoned sun-worship. After his professed acceptance of Christianity, he built a triumphal arch to the sun god and in Constantinople set up a statue of the same sun god bearing his own features. He was finally deified after his death by official edict in the Empire, as were many Roman rulers.”
We also find evidence for the role that sun worship played in Christmas from the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. “December 25 was the date of the Roman pagan festival inaugurated in 274 as the birthday of the unconquered sun which at the winter solstice begins again to show an increase in light. Sometime before 336 the Church in Rome, unable to stamp out this pagan festival, spiritualized it as the Feast of the Nativity of the Sun of Righteousness,” p. 223.
According to this source, December 25th was marked as the birthday of the sun in 274 CE and about 60 years later the Church adopted this day as the birthday of the Messiah because of its inability to stamp out this pagan observance. By doing so, the Church changed the faith forever!
A Holiday Outlawed by Puritans
Because of its paganism and the fact that Christmas resembled more of a Mardi Gras during the time of early America, many Christians rejected Christmas and its customs.
Robert J. Myers in his book Celebrations says, “In England, for example, the Puritans could not tolerate this celebrating for which there was no biblical sanction. Consequently, the Roundhead Parliament of 1643 outlawed the feasts of Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide, along with the saint’s days,” p. 312.
As noted on the History Channel, this refusal was shared by the pilgrims and other early Americans: “In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and as part of their effort cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and with him came the return of the popular holiday.
“The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings” (history.com, Christmas).
What would happen if believers took such a stand today? Much of today’s error and subsequent problems would be removed and a time of unparalleled truth would result. We need only to ask, is it sanctioned by Almighty Yahweh and His Word?
Tree Worship and Santa Claus
Christmas is riddled with non-biblical traditions. The evergreen tree has been an object of worship for millennia.
Scripture provides many examples of tree worship, but none clearer than Jeremiah 10. “Hear ye the word which Yahweh speaketh unto you. O house of Israel: Thus saith Yahweh. Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven: for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth 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,” vv. 1-5.
Does this description sound famil-iar? Take a closer look; 1) one cuts a tree out of the forest; 2) they deck it with silver and gold; 3) they fasten it with nails and with hammers; and 4) they stand it upright. You’re probably thinking, Christmas tree. Truth be told, this is not referring specifically to a Christmas tree, which is nonetheless a form of tree worship.
Read what Jeremiah said in verse 2: “Learn not the way of the heathen.” Does this warning also apply to Christmas? We can answer that by simply asking: Is Christmas found in the Bible or in traditions of pagans? We can safely say this warning includes Christmas. When Yahweh said through Jeremiah, learn not the way of the heathen, He meant any pagan worship, including Christmas and Easter.
In addition to the biblical record, scholarship also confirms that tree worship was common. For example, The Golden Bough states. “…Tree worship is well attested for all the great European families of the Aryan stock. Amongst the Celts the oak-worship of the Druids is familiar to everyone. Sacred groves were common among the ancient Germans, and tree-worship is hardly extinct among their descendants at the present day,” p. 58.
We have the tradition of Saint Nick. According to the book, Santa Claus, Last of the Wild Men, the traditional Santa Claus may have roots to Odin, a major deity in Norse mythology: “… children would place their boots filled with sugar, carrots or straw, near the chimney for Odin’s flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir’s food with gifts or candy. This practice survived in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianization and can be still seen in the modern practice of the hanging of stockings at the chimney in some homes” (pp. 171-173).
While many state that Santa Claus traces back to Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, who existed during the 4th century, the truth is very different. The etymological roots of this figure trace back to German and Dutch folklore, but not to Scripture.
The True Birthday of Yahshua
Let’s now transition from the historical roots of Christmas to the scriptural facts about our Savior’s birth. From Scripture we find that He was likely born in the fall.
We find evidence in Luke 1:5, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.”
Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father, served at the temple and his course of duty was of the course of Abia. What’s the significance of this? Before we answer that, we need to understand these courses a bit better. In the Old Testament there were 24 courses or service schedules in the temple. The cycle of courses began at Abib (the first biblical month) in the springtime and was from Sabbath to Sabbath. Each priest was required to serve twice a year. Abia was the eighth course.
The course of Abia would have fallen around the beginning of June. Based on this, we can pinpoint that John the Baptist was conceived around early June. Scripture states that Mary conceived Yahshua six months after Elisabeth conceived John the Baptist, Luke 1:26. From this we can determine the approximate date of the Messiah’s conception and birth. If John the Baptist was conceived in early June and if Yahshua was conceived six months later, then He was likely conceived in early December, placing His birth nine months away, sometime in September, possibly during the Feast of Tabernacles.
Snowmen and … Frosty Shepherds?
What about the shepherds? The traditional Christmas story goes that shepherds received a miraculous message about the infant Yahshua while in the fields on December 25th. The traditional story is based on Luke 2:13-18,
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising Elohim, and saying, Glory to Elohim in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass which Yahweh hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”
The question is, were shepherds out tending flocks the end of December? This is highly unlikely. According to Adam Clarke’s Commentary, “It was a custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the passover, and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain: during the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As the passover occurred in the spring, and the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November, we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the 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 [Master] 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 fact, which casts considerable light upon this disputed point.”
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary confirms. “From this most critics, since Lightfoot conclude that the time which, since the fourth century, has been ecclesiastically fixed upon for the celebration of Christ’s birth – the 25th of December, or the midst of the rain season – cannot be the true time, as the shepherds drove their flocks about the spring or Passover time out to the fields, and remained out with them all summer, under cover of huts or tents, returning with them late in the autumn. …The nature of the seasons in Palestine could hardly have been unknown to those who fixed upon the present Christmas-period: the difficulty, therefore, is perhaps more imaginary than real.”
Three Men and a Birthday?
Let’s consider one more piece of the puzzle – the wise men. This story is based on the second chapter of Matthew. It reads, “Now when Yahshua was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him…
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Miriam his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh,” vv 1-2, 10-11.
Tradition says that three wise men visited the infant Yahshua in a manger to honor His birth. Do we find evidence of that here?
First, Scripture says nothing about three wise men, only that three gifts were given. Second, they did not visit the infant Messiah at the manger, but the boy Messiah at His house, verse 11. And third, the wise men were not there to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, but to worship the King of the Jews, verse 2.
Other than the wise men visiting the Messiah, the traditional account is almost completely lacking in Scripture. Again, there is no mention of the number of wise men, there is no mention of a manger, and there is no mention of the Messiah’s birth.
We find from verse 16 that Yahshua was around the age of two. It reads, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.”
Scripture verifies here that Herod murdered all male children two years and under. Why did he start with the age of two? It’s likely that Yahshua was near this age when the wise men came to visit.
Again we find that the traditional story of the Messiah’s birth has little basis in Scripture. The story of Christmas is not in the Bible but it was through pagan Roman tradition that the Church adopted the rituals of Christmas.
Come Out, Be Separate, Don’t Touch
What does our Father Yahweh say about such compromise? We are commanded in Jeremiah 10 to abstain from learning the ways of the heathen.
Paul in 2Corinthians 6:14 also warns about compromise and accepting false worship. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellow ship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Messiah with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of Elohim with idols? for ye are the temple of the living Elohim; as Elohim hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith Yahweh. and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith Yahweh Almighty.”
Here in each question Paul shows the distinction between right and wrong: and between worship that is honoring and worship that is not. Based on the facts that Christmas contains no scriptural foundation and was borrowed from pagan worship, it is clearly to be avoided by anyone who wants to honor the true Messiah.
In our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land we visited Tel Dan, an ancient city in the northeast corner of Israel. It was originally called Leshem and Laish. After the Philistines forced the tribe of Dan from central Israel, they relocated to this area and renamed it Tel Dan. Along with the city of Bethel it was here where Jeroboam placed and worshiped the golden calf.
Where the alter would have stood at Tel Dan.
This account is found in the 12th chapter of 1Kings: “Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their sovereign, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah,” verses 25-27.
Jeroboam compromised out of fear– he was afraid of losing the people, his position, and in the end his life. He realized that if the people went back to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh that they would also return to Rehoboam. For Jeroboam this wasn’t something he could bear. So how did he prevent it from happening?
Beginning with verse 28: “Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy mighty ones, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi,” vv. 28-31.
Jeroboam did the unthinkable; he made two idols for Israel to worship. To prevent the people from going back to Rehoboam, Jeroboam compromised Yahweh’s worship.
Amazingly, we still find this being done today. For 2,000 years the Church has compromised worship for self-preservation, numbers, and other self-seeking interests. As shown through history, it’s very hard for mankind to remove self from the equation and to simply follow Yahweh as He commands.
Even believers are susceptible to such compromise. This is why we must always be on guard against false doctrine and the traditions of man. When we do it Yahweh’s way, sacrifices will be made. While some are willing and able to do this, the reality is that most are not.
Beyond the idols Jeroboam also made priests of the lowest of the people. As for the qualifications of ministers, the Bible says that they must meet a high standard. In 1Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6, the Apostle Paul says that a bishop or elder must be blameless. James in his epistle also states that ministers will receive the heavier condemnation or judgment.
Where the King’s throne sat at the city entrance. (2 Kings 23:8)
Consequently, one of the worst things we can do is to compromise leadership, as did Jeroboam. This compromise will negatively impact the body of Messiah. As goes the leadership, so goes the assembly. For this reason we must ensure that our worship and those who minister before us meet the standards of our Father’s Word.
Continuing on, we find that Jeroboam made one more fatal mistake. “And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense,” verses 32-33.
In addition to setting up idols and making priests of those unqualified, he also changed Yahweh’s worship. Instead of observing the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month, he moved it to the eighth month. The people worshiped on a day that Yahweh never appointed. In other words, instead of doing it Yahweh’s way, they did it man’s way.
The sad reality is, we find many cases of apostasy in today’s worship, including: Sunday worship, man’s holidays (e.g. Easter, Halloween, Christmas), Trinity, Rapture, and the list goes on. The Bible shows that Yahshua and His Apostles observed the true seventh-day Sab-bath along with the annual Feast days, as appointed and as established by Yahweh. Like Jeroboam, the Church com-promised the truth from the beginning, and for 2,000 years since.
This is why we at YRM strive to strip away the traditions of man and to simply worship Yahweh according to His Word. We all have a choice; we can follow the example of Jeroboam and compromise our Father’s worship or we can worship Him as He commands.
What many don’t realize is that Jeroboam’s compromise began with Solomon’s negligence, as seen in 1Kings 11:4-9: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other mighty ones: and his heart was not perfect with Yahweh his Elohim, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the elohim of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and went not fully after Yahweh, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their mighty ones. And Yahweh was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from Yahweh Elohim of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.”
When Solomon took the throne he was humbled and sincerely desired to follow Yahweh. He prayed to Yahweh for wisdom. Because his motives were noble and pure, Yahweh blessed him with incredible wisdom along with great wealth and abundance.
The Bible says that Solomon was the wisest man and that his wisdom exceeded even those in the east and Egypt. Besides the Messiah, Solomon was likely the wisest man in the Bible.
Even though he possessed incredible wisdom in the end he still forsook Yahweh. When he was old his wives turned his heart away from Yahweh and to other mighty ones.
The Bible says that he allowed and promoted the worship of Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Molech, and other pagan gods.
Through Solomon we find that wisdom alone is not sufficient; we must also have a heart of obedience. As believers we should realize that we’re also susceptible to this type of influence and deception.
What was the result of Solomon’s apostasy? “And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other mighty ones: but he kept not that which Yahweh commanded. Wherefore Yahweh said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen” (1Kings 11:10-13).
Because of Solomon’s sin Yahweh would tear apart the kingdom of Israel during the reign of his son, Rehoboam. Because of Yahweh’s love for David he could have one tribe, i.e., Judah. Rehoboam actually received two tribes, i.e., Judah and Benjamin, along with a portion of the Levites.
We pay a penalty when we deviate from our Father’s Word. In the case of Solomon, his sin impacted not only him but also an entire nation. Sin can do the same to families and to an assembly or body of believers. When we choose not to follow Yahweh’s righteous standards we will suffer the consequences.
This is why it’s important that min-isters follow the standards established by Yahweh. Nothing will cause more problems than when the requirements of leadership are lowered.
This is also true for parents. If a father or mother doesn’t have right virtue and character, this deficiency will negatively impact families and likely future gener-ations.
The Sons of Aaron Rebel
The Bible provides us another case of compromise in the tenth chapter of Leviticus: “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 Yahweh, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from Yahweh, and devoured them, and they died before Yahweh. When Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that Yahweh spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace,” verses 1-3.
Instead of worshiping the way Yahweh commanded, Nadab and Abihu took it upon themselves to change worship. For that Yahweh consumed them with fire. Consider this: these were the sons of the High Priest. If anybody would have been faithful to Yahweh’s Word, logic would say that it would have been these two men. But that wasn’t the case.
Moses told Aaron after Yahweh killed his sons that Yahweh would be sanctified by them that came near. In other words, those who minister before our Heavenly Father must be especially careful to follow Him.
In truth, this principle applies to all positions of leadership. Consider again the impact of Solomon and Jeroboam – because of their negligence the entire nation suffered. This is one reason why the Torah commanded that the king write a copy of the Law. Not even the king of Israel was above Yahweh’s divine commandments. So whether it’s a civil or religious position, both must hold to the Word of Almighty Yahweh and be a person of virtue and character.
The simple truth is this: when more is given, more is expected! This is why James states that a minister will receive the greater condemnation.
Making a Separation
The Apostle Paul in 2Corinthians 6:14-16 shows that as believers we must make a distinction in worship: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Messiah with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of Elohim with idols? for ye are the temple of the living Elohim….”
Here Paul conveys the great contrast between believers in the Messiah and the world. He states emphatically that we are to make a distinction in worship. When we follow Yahweh closely, the separation will come automatically.
One of the most frequently asked questions of the Ministry is: Can we worship in the common titles in lieu of the actual names of the Father and Son? While it’s our desire to promote fellowship within the body, we cannot support worship outside the Truth that is diluted with compromise. The fact is, both the titles “Lord” and “God” have questionable etymological roots. More importantly, the Bible mandates that the Names of Yahweh and Yahshua are key to proper worship.
Those baptized into Yahshua’s Name represent Yahweh’s temple. The Old Testament allows no room for compromise regarding worship in the temple (or tabernacle). Since believers now represent His temple, this same policy applies to us today. As Yahshua’s disciples, we must make a distinction between the holy and the common.
The Church has gone astray in a myriad of ways, solidifying error into tradition. Tradition often proves hardest for believers to deal with. It’s difficult to go against the majority, but if we desire to follow our Heavenly Father without compromise, there is no other choice. Either we do it His way or we do it man’s way; it’s not possible to please both. If we try, we will not succeed with either.
One Man Against 400
Elijah or EliYah (meaning, “My El is Yah”) was a prophet who knew the cost of worshiping Yahweh. In 1Kings 18:20 we find him all alone against 400 prophets of Baal: “So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if Yahweh be Elohim, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word,” verses 20-21.
Before we consider what Elijah says here, it’s important that we understand the events which led up to this point. Prior to this passage, Elijah prayed to Yahweh that it would not rain upon the land. This was in response to the sin of King Ahab and Jezebel. Yahweh answered his prayer and three years of drought followed. Through the prophet Obadiah Elijah then calls a meeting with King Ahab. He asked that the king, along with the prophets of Baal, meet him at Mount Carmel. Elijah’s plan was to show the power and supremacy of Almighty Yahweh.
In verse 21 the stage was set. All of Israel was gathered at Mount Carmel including King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. The test for supremacy was simple: take a bull as a burnt offering, place it upon wood, and see which mighty one world consume the burnt offering.
First up was the 400 prophets of Baal; they danced, chanted, and cut their own flesh in their futile attempt to call down the power of their mighty one. Needless to say, nothing happened except that they made a mockery of themselves and the one they worshiped.
Next up was the prophet Elijah. Before praying, he asked that four barrels of water be poured on the sacrifice and wood. This man wanted to show beyond a shadow of doubt who reigned supreme. After this was done he prayed to Yahweh and at that very that moment the fire of the Almighty came down from heaven and consumed both the water and burnt offering. Seeing this the people of Israel fell upon their faces and said, “Yahweh, he is the Elohim.” Then they killed the 400 prophets of Baal.
Let’s now return to verse 21. In this passage Elijah asks the people how long they will flip-flop between two opinions? How long will you continue to compromise worship?
As the people of Israel had to choose, we too must choose whether we’re going to worship Yahweh as He commands or to compromise His Word. We know from this story that the people of Israel chose Yahweh, but only after Elijah gave a demonstration that they would not soon forget.
Understand that this question is just as relevant to us as it was then. Whom do we serve today? Are we faithfully following our Father in heaven or are we allowing ourselves to compromise His truth?
The Cost of Total Commitment
Another man fully devoted to his Father in heaven was Joshua, the son of Nun. In Joshua 24:15 we find just how resolute Joshua was. It reads, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve Yahweh, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the mighty ones which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the mighty ones of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.”
We find here Joshua’s resolute devotion to His Father in heaven. Regardless of what the people of Israel chose, we see that this man was going to stay the course. Joshua is one of the best examples of personal commitment in all of Scripture. No matter who or what, nothing was going to distract this faithful servant from his focus and service to his Father Yahweh.
What about us, is our Father in heaven the first focus in our lives? Are we going to follow Him no matter what? At the beginning of this passage, Joshua said to the people, choose you this day whom you will serve.
Even though the truth is not a democracy, we see that we still have a choice. We can choose to serve Him or to reject Him. We can worship as He commands or we can compromise and follow man, as Israel did with Jeroboam.
Are we going to demonstrate the character of Joshua by fully committing to Yahweh or are we going to compromise? Our Heavenly Father is calling out a select people; He wants the cream of the crop. If we’re found worthy, it’s going to be because we followed Him without compromise and deviation. This is the only path that will ensure His blessings and the prize of everlasting life in His Kingdom.
For more info on our Trip to Israel please check out this video: https://youtu.be/FPxIXBdQmJ0
The stealthy Xmas season begins early with a few retail displays appearing in September, and then roars to a manic climax the third week of December. The holiday consumes Western society like a mountain forest fire. Even atheists are pulled enthusiastically into the gift-exchanging vortex.
If Xmas is the celebration of the Savior’s birth, what is Santa Claus doing as master of ceremonies? What of the strange mix of the profane and the religious all gift-wrapped in one package? Was St. Nick present at the manger, along with Rudolf and Blitzen, holly and mistletoe?
Did the Apostles prepare for each December 25 by buying gifts for one another? Did those who followed Yahshua pass greeting cards to one another on December 25 and sing carols to Him amid falling snowflakes? Did first-century parents tell their children not to be naughty but nice for Santa’s sake, who could satisfy their coveting?
For all of these traditions and customs to have such allure they must be rooted somewhere in Scripture, right? Not so fast.
Many would be surprised to discover that the word “Christmas” is missing from Scripture. Not a single passage tells us to observe the birthday of the Savior, either.
It is time to take an honest look at this celebration and ask the hard questions. In Jeremiah 10:2 we are admonished, “Learn not the way of the heathen.” Then in verses 3-5 the Father in heaven rebukes those who take trees from the forest and set them up as objects of veneration.
Your salvation hinges on whether you choose the truth of the Bible or go along with the world’s masses as they indulge in the deception of profane practices. Paul admonished, “Wherefore come out from among them and be separate, says Yahweh, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you,” 2Corinthians 6:17.
You may respond, “But how can I deprive the children of this holiday?” If there is no Creator in heaven, then it doesn’t matter. You can have as good a time as the Babylonians who worshiped nonexistent “gods” and who actually started the whole holiday under another name.
But if there is a Heavenly Father then you cannot do both – you cannot mix pagan practices with the holy. The Eternal Yahweh said, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?” 2Corinthians 6:14. You cannot fool yourself that you’re really observing Christmas because of the birth of Yahshua the Messiah.
The fact is, Christmas is firmly anchored in a winter solstice festival of ancient pagans, which we will see.
Cristes-masse was a Catholic mass that grew out of a feast day established in the year 1038. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1946 edition, candidly says, “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church.”
For the first 300 years the religious writers are silent regarding the Christmas observance. An Armenian writer of the eleventh century states that a Christmas-like festival was first celebrated in Constantinople in 373. In Egypt the Western birthday festival was opposed during the early years of the fifth century, but was celebrated in Alexandria as early as 432.
In 1644 the English Puritans forbad any merriment or religious services by Act of Parliament on the grounds that Christmas was a heathen festival. They were so opposed to its observance that they ordered a fast on December 25.
But why didn’t the early converts celebrate Christmas? To answer that, we must go back to the great mother of pagan worship – Babylon. The founder of the Babylonish system was Nimrod, grandson of Ham, one of Noah’s three sons.
Genesis 10:9 says, “Nimrod was a mighty hunter before Yahweh.” The word before means “in defiance of.” Nimrod set up his own kingdom based on a man-ruled government and worship of himself.
An entirely pagan religious system grew out of worship of this “hero.” Gradually, through trade, influence of Babylon spread to other nations as they incorporated its government and religious system.
Mother and Child Reunion
The universal mother and child theme, which has been passed down over the centuries through many different cultures and which remains strong today, had its start with the Babylonian Semiramis.
Babylon had mother-child worship, as did ancient Egypt, India, Rome, and Germany through Celtic paganism (Egypt, Bunsen, vol. 1, p. 444; Hindoo Mythology, Kennedy, p. 49; Dymock’s Classical Dictionary; Babylon Mystery Religion, p. 13).
The husband of Semiramis was Nimrod, who built the wicked city Nineveh, while his father Cush was responsible for the tower of Babel in opposition to Yahweh (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 26).
When Nimrod died, Semiramis immediately proclaimed that her husband had become deified and was resurrected to life through Tammuz. According to The Encyclopedia of World Religions, Tammuz was the god of vegetation. Every year a festival was held at which his “death” and “resurrection” were celebrated.
To depict his resurrection, the Babylonians believed that an evergreen tree sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump, or yule log, symbolized the dead Nimrod, and the new evergreen was Nimrod resurrected in Tammuz (Babylon Mystery Religion, p. 152). Green holly, popular at Christmas, has long been a symbol of eternal life and it played an important role in portraying the rebirth of Nimrod, seen as the “Unconquerable Sun.”
Winter Solar Festival
Was Yahshua born on December 25? Historians have long theorized that His birth was in the autumn and not in the dead of winter, as the sheep were still in the open fields.
“It was an ancient custom among Jews of those days to send out their sheep to the fields and deserts about the Passover (early spring), and bring them home at commencement of the first rain,” Adam Clarke Commentary, vol. 5, p. 370.
From the middle of November to the middle of April is the rainy season in the Mideast. Because of the cold, dampness, and sometimes snow, shepherds take their flocks into sheepfolds at night (Daily Life in the Time of Jesus, by Henri Daniel-Rops).
Ezra 10:9 speaks of those in Jerusalem sitting outside in early December and shivering in the freezing rain. Yahshua considered the severity of the winter in Judea when, in His prophecy of the end times (Matt. 24:20), said, “Pray that your flight be not in the winter…”
How, then, did December 25 become the birthday of the Messiah? Alexander Hislop explains: “Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen at that precise time of the year, in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ” The Two Babylons, p. 93.
The Catholic Encyclopedia confirms the merger. “The well-known solar feast of Natalis Invicti [The Nativity of the Unconquered Sun] celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date,” vol. 3, p. 727.
Recall that the Roman world was originally pagan, totally steeped in heathen customs and practices. They loved festivals and would organize a banquet at the slightest pretext. Chief among these was the Feast of Mithras, celebrating the deity’s birthday on December 25. Mithraism was merely a spinoff of the ancient Babylonian worship of Tammuz.
In Egypt it was believed that Osiris (Tammuz) was born on December 25. Often portrayed as brilliant as the sun, the deity Mithras was known as “The Invincible Sun,” or “The Sun of Righteousness.” Mithraism promised immortality to its faithful.
Further details on the relationship between December 25 and sun worship are brought to light in The Golden Bough (p. 416): “In the Julian Calendar the twenty-fifth of December was reckoned the winter solstice, and it was regarded as the Nativity of the sun, because the day begins to lengthen and the power of the sun to increase from that turning point of the year. Now Mithras was regularly identified by his worshipers with the Sun, the Unconquered Sun, as they called him; hence his nativity also fell on the twenty-fifth of December.”
The merger of Mithraic beliefs with the customs and traditions surrounding the birth of the Savior was largely because Mithraism was popular at the time of the Messiah’s birth.
“Between 1400 B.C.E. and 400 C.E., Persians, Indians, Romans, and Greeks worshiped Mithras. He was particularly important in the Roman Empire in the 2nd and 3rd centuries,” Encyclopedia of World Religions, p. 94. The pagan feast of the Saturnalia, which the Romans celebrated in honor of the deity Saturn from December 17 to 24, eventually encompassed the Feast of Mithras. Many of the practices of Christmas trace to the Saturnalia celebration.
A Beckoning Blend
How, then, did these rank, pagan festivals of sun worship become entwined with the worship of the Savior of men? The same way December 25 came to be accepted. The New Schaff Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge explains:
“The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. The recognition of Sunday (the day of Phoebus and Mithras as well as the L-rd’s Day) by the emperor Constantine as a legal holiday, along with the influence of Manicheism, which identified the Son of [Yahweh] with the physical sun, may have led Christians of the fourth century to feel the appropriateness of making the birthday of the Son of [Yahweh] coincide with that of the physical sun“The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit or in manner. Christian preachers of the West and the Nearer East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which [Yahshua’s] birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun-worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival.
“Yet the festival rapidly gained acceptance and became at last so firmly established that even the Protestant revolution of the sixteenth century was not able to dislodge it,” p. 48.
Merely to placate the heathen and bring them into the church, the pagan festival of Christmas was adopted. In other words, they could have both their cherished old Saturnalia as well as their new faith – merely cloaked in a different name!
The Church Slowly Absorbs Xmas
But it took nearly 400 years before the church began to accept Christmas into its calendar. It wasn’t without objection and it wasn’t until the end of the fourth century that it was declared official, The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 3, p. 725. A great amount of confusion initially surrounded this merger of the Saturnalia with the nativity.
The people were confusing sun worship with worship of the Son of Yahweh.
But whether the masses adopted the celebration of Xmas or not, the fact remains that nowhere in the Bible is the command to observe the Savior’s birthday. The early converts would have nothing to do with it. In fact, His precise date of birth is obscured because Yahweh never intended His birth to be a cause for celebration.
Yahweh punished ancient Israel for becoming involved in heathen rituals (see 2Kings 17:9-23; Acts 7:39-43). He commands not to celebrate the Savior’s birth, but to remember Yahshua’s death at Passover,
Will your Heavenly Father look the other way if you indulge in the same kinds of false festivals that Israel was forbidden to keep?
By Alan Mansager Xmas Xmas Xmas Xmas Xmas Xmas Xmas
Why does it seem foreign to most churchgoers to keep the holy days of the Scriptures? For the early followers of Yahshua the Messiah, doing so was the only thing to do. But in just a few hundred years everything changed in one of the most dramatic transformations in history. New Testament Sabbath worship was switched to the first day of the week, while pagan-centric observances (Christmas Ect…) replaced the annual Holy Days and festivals of the Bible. The early converts to the New Testament religion were Jews. Only later did Peter and the Apostle Paul take the Truth to the Gentiles, Acts 2, 9:15.
“Initially, the faith in the Messiah was a completely Jewish faith. All the believers were Jewish: even the writers of the New Testament were Jewish: the Apostle Paul [Heb. Sha’ul] himself being a Jewish rabbi. Both the New Testament and history record that these Messianic Jews continued to be Jews, remaining highly loyal to their land, people, and [G-d]-given laws,” Faith and Doctrines of the Early Church, p. 35. In time, Gentile converts became the majority and they began to influence the new faith. “Eventually, a strong ‘de-Judaizing’ process set in which would not only strip the faith of its Jewish roots but would also lead the majority into an apostate form of Christianity. Until this ‘de-Judaizing’ process set in, both the Hebrew and Gentile Christians had observed the Sabbath and had observed the time of the Passover in memory of the [L-rd’s] suffering and sacrifice. It was at this time, Passover, that the early Christians had observed the L-rd’s Supper, ”ibid., p. 36.
In an effort to distance themselves from the Jews and to gain new converts from paganism, later converts found more affinity in observing a different “Passover” known as Easter. Easter, a Babylonian fertility rite named after the pagan deity Astarte, is just one example of the baggage brought in by converts from paganism. Another is Sunday, the venerable day of sun worship. Aided by Roman Bishops Sixtus (116-125 CE) and Victor (189-199), as well as Emperor Constantine, replacement observances like Sunday worship and Easter became firmly rooted and continue to overshadow the true biblical Holy Days of worship even today.
The Apostle Paul foretold that this apostasy would happen, Acts 20:29-30. “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” One needs only to look up today’s pseudo-religious holidays like Easter and Christmas in most any encyclopedia to be appalled at their origins and history. Almighty Yahweh calls the seven annual Holy Day observances found in Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23 “My Feasts.” He says they are a “statute forever throughout your generations, in all your dwellings,” Leviticus 23:14.
Who is man to change Yahweh’s specifically commanded times and laws? (Dan. 7:25)
The annual rite of Halloween is bigger than ever – especially among adults. But it’s lots of harmless fun, they say. Harmless? Let’s look below the surface of Halloween to see what lurks there in this age-old mask-erade.
Every October 31 children across the land learn how extortion works through one of the world’s most popular of ancient pagan festivals.
We know it as Halloween, which is a contraction of the words “Hallowed” and “evening” (Halloween). But there is nothing hallowed about this night.
“Trick or treat!” the bantam, masked marauders cry as they go from door to door coercing goodies from mostly compliant residents. Along with blackmail, the chance to deface private property and get away with it is also a part of the “hallowed evening.”
Not Just for Children Anymore
Visit many office buildings and department stores on October 31 and you’ll see adult employees dressed in silly or grotesque costumes sporting painted faces and hair.
They are psyching up for the Halloween party that night – when they’ll have a chance to act foolishly with impunity. This high holy day of the ancient heathens has zoomed to the top of the holiday charts.
But is Halloween just a harmless time of frolic and fun for the whole family, where everyone can don hideous costumes and glorify blood, gore, and thinly veiled murder? Actually, it tacks another nail in the coffin of wholesomeness and decency in an increasingly decadent society. The popularity of this holiday should concern anyone who professes a belief in the Scriptures.
Night of the Walking Dead
Rooted in Druidic demon worship 2,000 years old, Halloween continues to cast its noxious spell on modern society.
The ritual was not known as Hal-loween when the Celts of pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland observed it on November 1. For them it was the Feast of Samhain (pronounced Sa-ween), Lord of the Dead. This was also the beginning of the Celtic new year, a time to give thanks to the sun god for the harvest.
But it was also a foreboding time when the ancients believed the souls of the dead walked abroad, mingling with the living and playing malicious tricks. The Celts thought that the sinful souls who died during the year had been transferred to the bodies of animals. Samhain judged these souls and decreed the form in which their existence was to continue – as animal or human. Through gifts and sacrifices these souls could be freed to claim a heavenly reward.
The ghosts of the dead that were thought to collect around houses of the living were greeted with banquet-laden tables to feed the spirits. When the feast was over, villagers donned masks and costumes to represent the souls of the dead and paraded to the outskirts of town to lead the ghosts away to avoid any calamities the roving ghosts may cause them in the event they were displeased by a lack of sufficient sustenance.
Such calamities included the death of livestock, souring milk, and spoiling food.
Often food was set outside for the spirits so that they would leave the house untouched. The trick-or-treat custom re-enacts these ancient superstitions.
Amid all of this the Druids were offering sacrifices to the sun god. “It was common for horses to be sacrificed since they were sacred to the Sun god. There were also human sacrifices. Men, mostly criminals, were imprisoned in wicker and thatch cages shaped like animals or giants. The Druid priests set fire to the tindery cages and the men were burned to death. “In the Middle Ages in Europe black cats were still being thrown to the flames in wicker cages, for they were thought to be the friends of witches or even transformed witches,” Celebrations, The Complete Book of American Holidays, p. 258.
From Samhain to All Saints’ Day
So how did “Halloween” fit with the church? The celebration in the Roman Catholic Church that was later to merge with Samhain was known as All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day originated in the 7th century when the Pantheon at Rome was wrested from the barbarians, made into a cathedral, and renamed the Church of the Blessed Virgin and All Martyrs.
Thus, from honoring all gods (which is the meaning of the Greek word “pantheon”) the Pantheon became the center for glorifying all saints. (Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia, vol. 1, p. 363).
This day that honored all the “hallowed” or holy saints was first observed on the evening of May 13, and was known as the Allhallows festival. The day was officially sanctioned in 835 by Pope Gregory IV after it was moved to November 1 to coincide with Samhain. It began on the evening of October 31, and therefore was called All Hallows Eve.
Without forcing the pagans to drop their pagan practices and accept the Bible, the Roman church simply made room for the barbarians and their heathen rites.
Just as it confiscated the pagan Pantheon for its own use, the Roman church incorporated the customs of Samhain to further its mission of converting the known world to Catholicism. The merged celebrations made strange bedfellows: one in respect of evil spirits, the other honoring so-called saints.
One writer noted, “The three days between October 31 and November 2 see pagan and Christian celebrations intertwined in a fascinating way. All Hallows Eve, usually called Halloween, is followed by All Hallow’s Day, which is also All Saints Day, and the three-day period is a perfect example of superstition struggling with religious belief,” Year of Festivals, p. 76.
Can we mix light with darkness? “But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to Elohim; and I would not that you have fellowship with devils. You cannot drink the cup of the Master, and the cup of devils: you cannot be partakers of the Master’s table, and of the table of devils,” 1Corinthians 10:20-21.
The joining of the two celebrations spawned an odd hybrid of beliefs about what was supposed to happen in the spirit world. Souls in purgatory appeared as witches and toads to persons who had wronged them. Halloween fires now were used to comfort souls in purgatory and people prayed for them while holding burning straw in the air.
Even the idea of trick-or-treating by evil spirits took on an acceptable church flavor: costumed children went around on All Souls’ Day offering to fast for the departed souls in return for money or an offering.
As the Celts converted to the new religion, they did not forget their stories of the dead traveling to the afterworld on Halloween. Rather, exhibitions of this night became more evil and the observance adopted even more malicious overtones.
That Leering Jack-o-lantern
In America it’s a pumpkin, but in Europe it was often a turnip, large beet, potato, rutabaga or even a skull with a candle in it. The fearsome face of the fat jack-o-lantern represented the god of the dead, Samhain, who would drive off less powerful evil spirits abroad that night.
As glimmering lights flickered over an English marsh or an Irish bog, people imagined dead souls had returned to earth. They would place the jack-o-lantern on posts and in windows to ward off the spirits of the dead on Halloween.
The word is an abbreviation of “Jack of the Lantern.” Jack is another name for joker or Satan. In the Irish tale, a man named Jack was fond of playing tricks on the devil. Annoyed, the devil tossed Jack a burning coal from hell and with that in his lantern Jack was forever condemned to wander the earth. The jack-o-lantern keeps alive demonic superstition.
Witches and Black Cats
Witches were thought to be possessors of magic. The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce (feminine of wicca), or “sorceror.” Witches, who worship the deities of nature, have living talismans or symbols through which they derive their dark powers. They invoke evil spirits to enter the bodies of their talismans. Some witches have dogs, owls, snakes or swine for their talismans, but the most common are cats.
Cats have been closely associated with mystery religion from the Egyptians to the Norse. Celts had a particular fear of cats, believing they were humans who had been changed into feline form by evil powers. The black cat particularly was connected to demonic powers.
Black cats are the chief idol of the goddess of Wicca, Diana. In legend, she turns into a black cat to commit incest with her brother, Lucifer.
Eventually the Druids themselves came to be regarded as witches. Witch hunting during Halloween became almost a national pastime in the colonial years of our nation. Today Halloween is regarded as the highest “sabbath” for practicing witches.
Witchcraft is demonic worship in diametric opposition to the worship of Yahweh. Yahweh minces no words about it. He told Israel through Moses, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Ex. 22:18). He says in Deuteronomy 18:10, “There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son of his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.”
How can a True Worshiper allow his son or daughter to dress up in imitation of a witch or warlock, knowing how Yahweh condemns witchcraft? We are commanded to avoid even the appearance of evil (1Thes. 5:22).
Why Witches Fly
The broomstick is a symbol of the male organ, on which the witch mounts and leaps high around the fields to “teach” the crops how high to grow (ABC’S of Witchcraft, pp. 48-49). The notion of flying witches relates to the fact that witches believed they could fly great distances to their feasts by smearing their bodies with ointments containing drugs. The drugs gave them psychedelic “trips” making them think they flew. (Ibid., pp. 142-146).
Shrouded in Blackness
“Orange, black, and red, the devil’s colors, are the colors associated with Halloween…,” so says the Good Housekeeping Book of Entertainment on page 168. Black prefigures black magic and demonic influence. The black of night is when these forces of evil are busiest, using the cover of darkness for their sinister works.
Yahweh warns, “Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from Yahweh, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? and who knows us?” (Isa. 29:15)
In John 3:19-20 Yahshua said, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
How much time should any Bible believer give to a rite that is observed in the dark and that revels in the colors, symbols, and practices of Yahweh’s adversary, Satan the devil?
Of Skulls and Skeletons
The skeleton is a form of the god of the dead, or the witches’ “horned god.” The Dictionary of Satanism by Wade Baskin says under “skull worship”: “Skulls play an important role as sacred relics and as objects of worship among primitives. “Among Polynesians and Melanesians, skulls of ancestors are worshiped in order to establish connections with the spirits of the dead. Like the head of Osiris in Egypt, the skulls of ancestors may also serve as titular deities. The head or its parts, each of which may stand for the whole, can be used as magical food or as a means of increasing the fertility of the soil.”
Isaiah tells us what Yahweh thinks of courting death and the dead: “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their Elohim? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa. 8:19-20, NIV).
Fire Rites… and Wrongs
Being that Halloween is a Celtic new year’s festival, many of its surviving rituals trace to the Celtic feast. The fire rite was practiced in many areas around the world on the night before the new year. The old fire was allowed to go out and a new one was kindled – usually a sacred fire from which the fires of the village were relit. The fires were thought to rejuvenate the waning sun and aid in banishing evil spirits. The Druids built hilltop fires to celebrate important festivals. (Celebrations, the Complete Book of American Holidays, pp. 258-259).
Ghosts and witches feared fire, it was thought, and so fire became the best weapon against evil spirits. Witchcraft was punished by burning at the stake, fire being used as a means of purification. The light that fires gave off was a sign of sacredness.
Popular at Halloween parties is apple bobbing. It was a means of divination with the Druids and survives in cultures influenced by the Celts.
Because the apple is also a common love charm, the practice of apple bobbing seems to have been associated with the selection of a lover (see The Folklore of American Holidays).
Selling Out to Sin
People have always been tempted to compromise their faith by selling out to the dominant culture and its practices. For those who are satisfied with less than total truth, the concessions come easier.
Today we witness Easter egg hunts on church lawns, Christmas trees in church vestibules, and Halloween parties in church basements (on the pretext of keeping the children off unsafe streets and away from tainted Halloween candy).
“But it’s for the children,” goes the argument. “We really just do it for them.” What children practice they also learn. Why would we introduce pagan falsehoods to them? How can we instill in them a desire for righteousness if we let them revel in ancient customs of evil on Halloween and pass them on to their children?
How can we promote healthy, decent values while allowing children to don hideous masks of vile creatures or deformed humans – with the underlying themes of murder, mayhem, and death?
Can we live a lie? Can we mix the holy with the profane and expect Yahweh to bless us? “Learn not the way of the heathen!” He thunders in Jeremiah 10:2. Come out from among them and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing, Paul writes in 2Corinthians 6:17.
Halloween has no redeeming value. It is one huge trick on an ignorant and indifferent society, and another victory for the forces of darkness.
Almighty Yahweh gives us a final warning about demonism and witchcraft: “For all that do these things are an abomination unto Yahweh… You shall be perfect with Yahweh your Elohim” (Deut. 18:12-13).
Become right before Yahweh. Drop the empty, senseless, heathen observances of man and resolve to begin keeping the true Holy Days our Father has commanded in His Word. Discover what true blessings and deep fulfillment can be when you begin to comply with His will and live your life His way.
Yahshua the Messiah said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth your word is truth.” This powerful statement sets the standard for all who would be True Worshipers, those sanctified or set apart by the truth of Almighty Yahweh’s pure Word. They know the truth and have been set free by it, John 8:32. It is their goal to follow the narrow pathway of truth and righteousness and leave the broad way of lawlessness, sin and error. They follow the instruction of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:17-18 where he said, “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Sovereign and Savior Yahshua Messiah. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
As seekers of truth, we must constantly be on guard against the errors that have been put forth by law-loathing men. One such error that has caused many to lose their spiritually secure position is the doctrine of Easter.
Origin of Easter
Surprisingly, Christian history is very candid about the origin of Easter. The ancient records clearly show that it originated from paganism and that it was substituted for the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread observances. Let’s take a look at some of the verifying evidence.
Nelson’s Bible Dictionary explains, “Easter was originally a pagan festival honoring Eostre, a Teutonic (Germanic) goddess of light and spring. At the time of the vernal equinox (the day in the spring when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length), sacrifices were offered in her honor. As early as the eighth century, the name was used to designate the annual Christian celebration of the resurrection of Chr-st. The only appearance of the word Easter (KJV) is a mistranslation of pascha, the ordinary Greek word for ‘Passover’ (Acts 12:4).”
This source agrees completely with the Catholic Encyclopedia, which states, “[Easter] The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown, even in the Edda (Simrock, Mythol., 362); Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron; Old High German, ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn; German, Ostern. April was called easter-monadh.”
Why did Easter become a substitute for Passover and who had the authority to make such a drastic change? Certainly not the Apostles. The Apostolic congregation in Jerusalem and all other locations always observed Passover and never Easter. The Apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians wrote about the Passover observance, exhorting them to keep the feast.
“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8; NKJV).
Paul had instructed the Corinthian brethren in the proper observance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread that follow it. He never switched the Biblical observances to Easter or even intimated or envisioned such a thing for the future.
Eastern Bishops Disagree
A controversy developed in the 2nd century C.E. concerning when to observe Passover. A Catholic Encyclopedia article, “Easter Controversy,” quotes Eusebius, a 4th century writer on church history: “We read in Eusebius Hist. Eccl., V, xxiii): ‘A question of no small importance arose at that time [i.e. the time of Pope Victor, about A.D. 190]. The dioceses of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast of the life-giving pasch.’”
The eastern believers were, at this time, still observing Passover on the 14th of Abib (the first scriptural month). In a letter from Polycrates (the head of the eastern bishops) to Victor the bishop of Rome, Polycrates insisted that they observe the ancient tradition that was passed on to them by a long line of bishops all the way back to the Apostles.
They refused to observe any day for Passover other than the 14th of Abib. For their refusal to break from keeping Passover and switch to the unscriptural Easter, Victor, bishop of Rome, excommunicated the eastern bishops.
The Roman Church had taken a sharp turn from the narrow way of truth and started down the slippery slope’s broad way to destruction. The church had no scriptural mandate or authority to make such a switch. Yahweh Word tells us that the Passover observance is everlasting. “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance for ever… You shall observe this rite as an ordinance for you and for your sons for ever” (Ex. 12:14, 24: RSV).
The correct opinion of the eastern bishops, as well as the truth put forth in the sacred Scriptures, had no effect upon those who favored the pagan Easter over Passover. The controversy continued for the next 135 years when, at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, Emperor Constantine imposed his view that all the various congregations should observe Easter, on Sunday, in opposition to the Jews whom he held responsible for the Messiah’s death.
Once again we read in the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The text of the decree of the Council of Nicaea which settled, or at least indicated a final settlement of, the difficulty has not been preserved to us, but we have an important document inserted in Eusebius’s ‘Life of Constantine’ (III, xviii sq.). The emperor himself, writing to the Churches after the Council of Nicaea, exhorts them to adopt its conclusions and says among other things: ‘At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. . . And first of all it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin. . . for we have received from our Saviour a different way. . . And I myself have undertaken that this decision should meet with the approval of your Sagacities in the hope that your Wisdoms will gladly admit that practice which is observed at once in the city of Rome and in Africa, throughout Italy and in Egypt. . . with entire unity of judgment,’” “Easter Controversy.”
At this time in his life Constantine was a sun worshiper. It is understandable that he would give his support for this “Sun”-day observance.
Why the break from thousands of years of tradition and embrace Easter over Passover? In a bid for new converts, Roman Church leaders integrated heathen customs of the masses with their worship. Their disdain for anything they deemed Jewish was clear as well, making certain that the church calendar never had Easter fall on the same day as the Passover. Apparently they forgot that Yahshua the Messiah and all the Apostles were Jews who kept the Passover as an example for us. They had forgotten what Yahshua told the Samaritan woman in John 4:22, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.”
Easter’s Pagan Past
As shown, the Easter celebration was originally a heathen fertility rite for the worship of the female deity Eostre or Estre. The pagan celebrations attached to this deity were quite offensive to True Worshipers.
In the book The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop provides eye-opening information about Easter and its pagan practices.
In chapter three, section two, we read, “Then look at Easter. What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar. The worship of Bel and Astarte was very early introduced into Britain, along with the Druids, “the priests of the groves.” Some have imagined that the Druidical worship was first introduced by the Phoenicians, who, centuries before the Christian era, traded to the tin-mines of Cornwall. But the unequivocal traces of that worship are found in regions of the British islands where the Phoenicians never penetrated, and it has everywhere left indelible marks of the strong hold which it must have had on the early British mind. From Bel, the 1st of May is still called Beltane in the Almanac; and we have customs still lingering at this day among us, which prove how exactly the worship of Bel or Moloch (for both titles belonged to the same g-d) had been observed even in the northern parts of this island.”
Hislop links Easter to Astarte, Beltis (the queen of heaven), Ishtar and Bel (or as known to the Israelites, Baal). Astarte and Baal were two of the most reprehensible idols that the Israelites worshiped. These idols competed with Yahweh as Elohim. In 1Kings Chapter 18, the story of the Prophet EliYah and his competition with the priests of Baal and Asherah shows how serious a threat they were to the true worship of Yahweh. Ancient Israel’s proclivity for leaving the worship of Yahweh for the abominable worship of Baal and Asherah continues today in the rites of Easter.
Hislop describes how these ancient pagan traditions became part of the Easter celebration. “Such is the history of Easter. The popular observances that still attend the period of its celebration amply confirm the testimony of history as to its Babylonian character. The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Pasch or Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now. The ‘buns,’ known too by that identical name, were used in the worship of the queen of heaven, the g-ddess Easter, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens—that is, 1500 years before the Christian era. ‘One species of sacred bread,’ says Bryant, ‘which used to be offered to the gods, was of great antiquity, and called Boun.’ Diogenes Laertius, speaking of this offering being made by Empedocles, describes the chief ingredients of which it was composed, saying, ‘He offered one of the sacred cakes called Boun, which was made of fine flour and honey.’”
The prophet Jeremiah took a strong stand against these abominations: “The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven (Jeremiah 7:18).” He then goes on to describe in more detail the pagan practices which have been attached to Easter. The Jewish people of Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day had incorporated sun worship into the worship of Yahweh. We have already read of their worship of the Queen of Heaven and Tammuz, but Yahweh also showed Ezekiel other abominations that were going on.
After revealing the women weeping for Tammuz, Yahweh said to Ezekiel, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn yet again, and you shall see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of Yahweh’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east,” Ezekiel 8:15-16.
As the sun rose in the east the Jewish leaders were turned to face the east, worshiping the rising sun. Judah was corrupting the true worship of Yahweh by introducing false, paganistic sun worship into their fellowship.
Yahweh’s temple was built facing eastward just as the tabernacle in the wilderness faced east. This positioning was for a purpose. Sun worshipers would begin their daily worship by facing the rising sun in the east. Yahweh’s temple and tabernacle faced the east so that a True Worshiper would turn away from the rising sun in the east to face the temple or the tabernacle in the west. This was a symbol of repentance. One had to turn away from sun worship to the True Worship of Yahweh.
Such is the status of those steeped in paganistic Easter sunrise worship today. One must turn, repent of such things, and shift to the True Worship of Yahweh. “Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated.” The Two Babylons.
These revolting customs were ushered in by the Roman Catholic Church without even the slightest admission of wrongdoing. Once again we quote the Catholic Encyclopedia in the article “Easter.” “Because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, coloured red to symbolize the Easter joy. This custom is found not only in the Latin but also in the Oriental Churches. The symbolic meaning of a new creation of mankind by J-sus risen from the dead was probably an invention of later times. The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter.” Concerning the Easter rabbit, the Catholic Encyclopedia says in the same article: “The Easter Rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility” (Simrock, Mythologie, 551).
How sad it is that mainstream Christianity has left the truth to follow the fables of ancient paganism. The Apostle Paul warns Timothy of such happenings in 2Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” The facts speak for themselves. The Easter celebration has more to do with pagan fertility rites than it does with Yahshua’s death and resurrection as the Son of Yahweh.
No Mandate for Resurrection Celebration
Nowhere in the Scriptures exists a command or example for observing the Savior’s resurrection. He indeed was slain, buried and resurrected, but it is not a matter to be celebrated after the ways of the pagans. The resurrection is not justification for devising our own observance, nor is it grounds for Sunday worship. There are, however, clear mandates for observing the day of His death.
The Scriptural way we remember the Savior’s resurrection is through our own baptism. Paul wrote in Romans 6:3-5: “Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Yahshua the Messiah were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
Paul repeats to the Colossians that the believer is “buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of Elohim, who has raised him from the dead,” (Col. 2:12). As we come up out of the watery grave into a new life in the Savior, we portray His rising from the tomb and changing to spirit.
Lent: Loaned from the Heathens
Another custom linked with Easter is Lent. The word is derived from the Old English lencten, meaning spring. Today it is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday until Easter, reserved by churchianity for penitence and fasting.
Most of the self-denying practice of fasting during Lent has given way to giving up something—usually something that should be given up anyway, like tobacco or drinking to excess. But where did this custom of Lent originate? The Two Babylons explains, “The forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshipers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, ‘in the spring of the year’ is still observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devil-worshipers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians….Such a lent of forty days was observed in Egypt…held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god,” pp. 104-5.
Osiris’s counterpart is the Greek Demeter and the Babylonian Tammuz—both deities of fertility and life. As Hislop observes, “Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing…To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgameted, and, by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity—now far sunk in idolatry—in this as in so many other things, to shake hands,” p. 105.
Yahweh’s Salvation Plan in His Observances
Observance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread holds the key to understanding Yahweh’s plan of salvation. It was never Almighty Yahweh’s intention to link His Son’s death and resurrection to a pagan festival in honor of a fertility idol. Instead, Almighty Yahweh ordained the observance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread to point toward the salvation that comes through His Son.
By dying on Passover day and being resurrected during the Days of Unleavened Bread, Yahshua became the Savior of mankind. Yahweh never tells us to observe the Savior’s resurrection. Nor is Easter commanded anywhere in the Scriptures. We never see Yahshua or His disciples coloring and hiding eggs, eating hot-cross buns, or worshiping the rising sun. Nor did it ever happen among the Savior’s apostles even after His death and resurrection. The simple, verifiable fact is that Easter is man-made, not Yahweh inspired.
Yahshua’s death to pay the penalty for our sins is memorialized by the Passover, and this observance is explicitly commanded, honored, and kept throughout the Bible. The New Testament included. The Scriptures are the inspired Word, 2Timothy 3:16. The words were breathed by Yahweh as if He were talking face-to-face with us, which is the meaning of inspiration in this passage. If He commands us to keep certain days at certain times then we simply have no authority to do anything differently.
Yahweh’s feasts fulfill their intended purpose of pointing to Yahshua’s redemptive work. As True Worshipers we must do as the Apostle Paul taught in 1Corinthians 5:7-8, “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (NKJV).
Choosing the Passover Lamb
As sanctified believers we must choose Yahshua as our Passover lamb. In order to find salvation we must recognize him as the Lamb of Yahweh who takes away the sin of the world, John 1:29. Without Passover, Yahshua could not have fulfilled the Scriptures which pertain to His Messiahship. To reject Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread is to reject Yahshua as the Messiah. Let us look at some of the crucial scriptures that prove this point. First, as the Lamb of Yahweh, Yahshua fulfilled the scriptures regarding the first Passover observance in Egypt. The Passover Lamb of Exodus chapter 12 prophetically points to our Savior as the Lamb of Yahweh. Let us look at this passage and learn how Yahshua fulfilled it. “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat” (Ex. 12:3-4).
Just as the lamb was selected on the 10th day of the month, so the Lamb of Yahweh was selected by the Jews to be their offering on the same day. In Christianity this is referred to as Palm Sunday. This event actually took place on the weekly Sabbath that preceeded the Passover. We read about this in Matthew 21:6-11, “The disciples went and did as Yahshua had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Yahshua sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of Yahweh! Hosanna in the highest!’ When Yahshua entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds answered, ‘This is Yahshua, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’”
The people were totally unaware that they were in fact choosing Yahshua as their Passover Lamb. Four days after this occurred some of the same people who heralded Yahshua’s entrance into Jerusalem were crying out for His death. How ironic!
We next learn how the Passover lamb was to be killed on Passover day (Abib 14) and how its blood was to be applied to the lintel and side posts of the door of the house where the lamb was eaten (Ex. 12:5-7). Prophetically this points to Yahshua’s suffering and death on Passover day. Consider Yahshua’s suffering.
Yahshua began the day (scriptural days begin at sundown) by gathering with the Apostles to eat the Passover. “They left and found things just as Yahshua had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Yahshua and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’” It was at this time that he humbled Himself as a servant and washed His disciples feet thereby giving us the example of humility (John 13:1-20).
Then Yahshua instituted the new Passover meal and emblems. He gave His disciples unleavened bread to represent His Body and the juice of the grape to represent His shed blood. “While they were eating, Yahshua took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them. ‘I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of Yahweh’’ (Mark 14:22-25).
After discoursing and praying with His disciples, they all departed to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Here is where His suffering as the Passover Lamb began. All of those events took place on Passover day. From the time that Yahshua began to sweat drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane until His death on Golgotha, Yahshua shed His blood as atonement for sin. He fulfilled the scriptures regarding the Passover Lamb and proved Himself to be the Lamb of Yahweh who takes away the sin of the world.
His blood was upon the torture stake just as the blood of the Passover lamb was placed upon the side posts of the Israelite’s dwellings. To separate Yahshua’s sacrifice from Passover and to relink it with Easter is a sacrilege of immense proportion and an insult to Yahshua. The observance of the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread was ordained by Almighty Yahweh in perpetuity as the memorial of Yahshua’s death and resurrection.
“So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance…So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance… And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever” (Exodus 12:14, 17, 24; NKJV). Through Yahshua’s sacrifice we are freed from the bondage of Egypt (sin—Heb. 11:25).
Yahshua ordained that His followers observe Passover with the new emblems of His body and blood. “For I received from the Master what I also passed on to you: The Master Yahshua, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Master’s death until he comes” (1Cor. 11:23-26).
More Evidence Against Easter Sunday Resurrection
One of the main arguments put forth to support Easter is the erroneous belief that the Messiah was resurrected at sunrise on Easter Sunday morning. The truth is revealed by a close examination of Matthew 28:1-2. Here we read, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of Yahweh descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” (KJV)
Notice the underlined words in the passage. In Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary of the New Testament this is No. 2020— epiphosko (ep-ee-foce’-ko); a form of NT: No. 2017; to begin to grow light: It has been translated in the KJV as: begin to dawn, draw on. This word is used twice in the New Testament, here and in Luke 23:54. There we read, “And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on” (KJV). Again it must be pointed out that the scriptural (Jewish) day begins and ends at sundown. In Luke 23:54 the statement “and the Sabbath drew on” obviously means that it was close to sundown. The same can be said about Matthew 28:1, “as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.” Once again, this would refer to sundown. That being the case, Yahshua was resurrected when the earthquake took place at the end of the weekly Sabbath and not Sunday morning at sunrise.
This is very significant because it further proves that we must observe the Days of Unleavened Bread. Concerning Yahshua’s resurrection, we read in 1Corinthians 15:20-23, “But Messiah has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Messiah, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.”
The Messiah is the first of the firstfruits of the resurrection from the dead. As such, by being resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath, He was presented to Almighty Yahweh as the firstfruit wave sheaf. The wave sheaf of cut barley was waved, as an offering, by the priest on the day after the weekly Sabbath which fell during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Consider Leviticus 23:9-14, “Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before Yahweh so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to Yahweh a lamb a year old without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil — an offering made to Yahweh by fire, a pleasing aroma — and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your Elohim. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.’”
No Wave Sheaf on Easter
Yahshua the Messiah is our spiritual, firstfruit wave sheaf offering. After His resurrection from the tomb, He presented Himself to Almighty Yahweh on the day after the weekly Sabbath and thus gave new significance to the wave sheaf offering. As the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:15-17; Psalm 110:4), Yahshua also would have offered a physical wave sheaf to Yahweh. He must have still been holding it when He was met by Miriam Magdalene, as she assumed that He was the gardener.
“But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Yahshua’s body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ ‘They have taken my Master away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Yahshua standing there, but she did not realize that it was Yahshua. ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’ Yahshua said to her, ‘Miriam.’ She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Yahshua said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my Elohim and your Elohim.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Master!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her” (John 20:11-18).
Yahshua would not let Miriam touch Him at this time because He had not yet ascended to His Father to present Himself as the first fruits offering.
Once again, the scriptures are very clear in showing the significance of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Yahshua, as our spiritual, first fruits wave sheaf, presented Himself to Almighty Yahweh as our offering. Because He has been resurrected from the dead, we have hope for our own resurrection when Yahshua returns.
The Apostle Paul declared this in Romans 6:3-11: “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Messiah Yahshua were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was impaled with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Messiah, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Messiah was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to Yahweh. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to Yahweh in Messiah Yahshua.”
Obviously from these Scriptures Yahshua was not resurrected on Easter Sunday morning. He was resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath just before sundown. As the first day of the week began, He cut the firstfruits wave sheaf and, as Yahweh’s High Priest, He offered it. Then, He ascended up into the heavens and presented Himself as our spiritual wave sheaf, the first of the firstfruits of the resurrection, before Almighty Yahweh our Father. To reject the Days of Unleavened Bread, and especially the wave sheaf offering day, in favor of Easter is to reject Yahshua as our resurrected Messiah. Our hope of the resurrection lies in Yahshua’s fulfillment of the scriptures in regard to the Lamb of Yahweh that takes away the sins of the world.
Three Days and Three Nights Mystery
It is truly ironic how mainstream worship has abandoned Yahshua’s Messiahship by embracing the observance of Good Friday and Easter. Despite all the great miracles that our Savior preformed that showed that He was the Messiah, He stated that there was only one sign that would prove Him to be the Messiah. That sign was that He would spend three days and three nights in the grave. Let’s consider this as found in Matthew 12:38-40: “Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, ‘Teacher, we want to see amiraculous sign from you.’ He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”
No matter how you count it, it is impossible to get three days and three nights from a late Friday afternoon death and burial to a Sunday morning resurrection. Appendix 144 of Dr. Bullinger’s The Companion Bible states the following: “The fact that ‘three days’ is used by Hebrew idiom for any part of three days and three nights is not disputed; because that was the common way of reckoning, just as it was when used of years. Three or any number of years was used inclusively of any part of those years, as may be seen in the reckoning of the reigns of any of the kings of Israel and Judah. But, when the number of ‘nights’ is stated as well as the number of ‘days,’ then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes a literal statement of fact.”
This is a surprising statement in light of what is taught by most. All the confusion comes about because Christianity has mistakenly believed that the day after the Passover (Abib 14) was the weekly Sabbath. In fact, it was the first high holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This can be verified in John 19:31, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the torture stake on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”
The error that the day after the Passover impalement was the weekly Sabbath disappears upon examining Yahweh’s command concerning the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Leviticus 23:6-8, “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to Yahweh; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it” (NKJV).
How clear the sequence of days becomes when you understand that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a high holy Sabbath day like the weekly Sabbath. We have already learned that, according to Matthew 28:1-2, our Savior was resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath. Now, by counting backwards three days and three nights, we learn that Yahshua died on a Wednesday afternoon and was placed in the tomb just before sundown. Wednesday at sun down would have begun the first high holy day of the feast. Friday was the preparation for the weekly Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath was a holy day.
We count the three days and the three nights as follows: Wednesday just before sundown to Thursday just before sundown—day one, Thursday just before sundown to Friday just before sundown—day two, and Friday just before sundown to Sabbath just before sundown—day three. This completely agrees with what is found in Matthew 28:1-2. Yahshua was resurrected from the tomb when the earthquake took place toward the end of the weekly Sabbath.
When it comes to the question of Easter or Passover the simple facts speak for themselves. Christianity openly admits to having taken an ancient pagan fertility celebration and applied its meaning and customs to the resurrection of the Messiah. This is totally contrary to what is found in the Bible and opposes what was taught and observed by our Savior, the Apostles, and the saints of the New Testament.
After examining the Scriptures concerning Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, it is clear that Almighty Yahweh intended for these days to be celebrated by all True Worshipers in remembrance of Yahshua’s death and resurrection as the Lamb of Yahweh. The true meaning of the plan of salvation can only be fully understood by the observance of Yahweh’s sanctified feast days. Yahshua is the first of the first fruits. Because He died and was resurrected according to the Scriptures we have a hope of being in the first resurrection when He returns at His second coming. The apostle wrote, “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the good news I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this good news you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1Cor. 15:1-4).
Those who believe in Yahshua as the Messiah will remain in the truth of His Word and will be found worthy as His disciples. All sincere followers of truth will be in the first resurrection when Yahshua returns. They have gained freedom from the false teachings of this world. Because they have chosen to follow the teaching of Yahshua, they observe Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread rather than the pagan feast of Easter. “To the Jews who had believed him, Yahshua said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31-32).
True Worshipers must hold to the teachings of our Savior. Yahshua’s life, death, and resurrection are based upon the truth of Yahweh’s Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread and not upon the pagan customs of a fertility rite.
Sargo, the Babylonian, lounges by the Hanging Gardens, daydreaming of the far distant future. What will the 21stcentury be like, he wonders. “What if I could go to those future lands spoken of in the legends, to see how people live 4,000 years from now?” he fantasizes,chomping on a pork chop.
“Will the great god Bel have allowed the people to be powerful? Will Earth Mother Beltis have protected them through the years, and will Ishtar have blessed them with many children to sacrifice? Or will future faiths have forgotten our Babylonian beliefs?”
No, Sargo, you would be pleasantly surprised to know that were you alive today you would not feel all that uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the state of religion in the 21st century. In fact, you may even be moved tell the modern churchgoer, “You worship much like I do.”
Sargo, your Babylonian beliefs have become the standard for nearly all the world’s religions. They are evident the world over in a wide variety of religions and practices.
Hindus practice it, still keeping your sacred cow sacred, and still honoring the Trinity – except they changed the names to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. They haven’t lightened up on your belief in immortality of the soul, either, just gave it their own spin in the wheel of samsara.
Your story of Nimrod and Tammuz taught them well. In fact, the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation is a hot item in parts of Europe and America. It’s called New Age. I know, Sargo, it is not new. I realize they should give credit where credit is due. After all, you Babylonians are the true masters of all things heathen.
The fastest growing religion today is Islam. It was started by a man, just as Nimrod founded your faith, Sargo. Mohammed gleaned many of his beliefs from Judaism and another religion called Christianity. You’ll find essentials of your revered Babylonian mysteries in these religions as well.
Your notion of a gloomy, dark world where evil people go at death and burn forever still is very much alive. Here again lives that immortal soul idea you are so famous for. Your faith in many deities has an outlet in some faiths today with their veneration of saints.
Sargo Would Be Very Comfortable
What day is it? you ask. This is Monday, Sargo. You get it? Mon-day/Moon Day, the day your forefathers set aside for moon worship. It still comes right after Sunday, the day your ancients worshiped the sun-god Shamas.
All the other days of the week still reflect heathen worship, like Tuesday, the day the deity Tiu was honored. And Wednesday, named after Woden, a Celtic deity who came later in Europe. Then there’s Thor’s day (Thursday), Frigg’s day (Friday), and of course, Saturn’s day (Saturday).
No, Sargo, most people today don’t worship the planets as you Babylonians did, but they do read horoscopes where they seek their futures from the stars – in the same manner your fathers did.
Fortune-telling by the stars is so popular today that even a former First Lady consulted an astrologer before advising her husband.
I believe in the Bible. The Bible condemns prophesying through the stars.
And the Bible doesn’t name the days of the week either, it only numbers them, except for the seventh, which is called the Sabbath.
What’s the Bible, you ask? It’s the Book inspired by the true Almighty Yahweh and on which Christianity is claimed to be based. Christianity is a major religion that has spread around the world. Its worshipers claim to worship the true Heavenly Father.
You may be surprised that they call Him God. Yes, that’s right. It’s not a name. And I agree that it is rather odd that Christianity seems to be the only major religion in all of history that doesn’t honor the One it worships by name.
Pardon me? …Oh of course, their Mighty One does indeed want to be called by His Name, just as you do yours. He said over and over in His inspired Word that His Name is Yahweh, and even sealed it in the Third Commandment. But THEY don’t think it is important.They say, “He knows who I mean.”
I agree, it IS very strange – and very confusing. But there are many aspects about this faith that you would find familiar, Sargo.
For instance, if you could see its temples, called churches, you would recognize the tall spires most of them have … Yes, you’re right. They are a carryover of the Asherah you had in Babylon. This is what a scholar says about the asherah:
“Originally a tree, symbolical of the ‘tree of life,’ it was an object of reverence and veneration. Then came the perversion of the earlier idea which simply honoured the origin of life; and it was corrupted and debased into the [male] organ of procreation, which was symbolized by the form and shape given to the Asherah. It was the phallus image of Isaiah 57:8, and the image of the male, Ezekiel 16: 17.” (Companion Bible, Appendix 42)
Babylonian Days Prosper
This religion worships on the venerable day of the sun, just as you and your forefathers did, Sargo, when you worshiped sun deities. Strangely, their own Bibles command that they worship on the seventh day, not the first day of the week (Ex. 20:10). But because they wanted to break clean from another faith known as Judaism, they decided on their own to change their day of worship.
They chose Sunday because that is the day their converts from pagan Babylonian religions were accustomed to keeping holy. A king even enforced it. His name was Constantine. And they have been observing Sunday ever since.
But there is much more.
They observe a holiday each year in honor of your goddess Ishtar. It still sounds similar: Easter. Many of them even are aware that Ishtar was the Babylonian queen deity of love and fertility, yet they still paint and hide eggs, symbols of life and reproduction, and flood this observance with rabbits, also symbols of fertility.
They claim they observe it because the Savior was resurrected on Sunday morning, although Scripture says He was already gone by the time Sunday sunrise rolled around. Anyway, they still honor where this observance really comes from – with your now symbolic rabbits and eggs.
You Babylonians certainly were big on worship of sex. But is that something to be proud of, Sargo? The big paradox is that the Bible condemns mixing these rites with True Worship. “Learn not the way of the heathen,” Jeremiah 10:2 reads, but they continue practicing your pagan traditions of worship anyway. They cite something about doing it for the children’s sake.
In Ezekiel, the One they seek to worship says He will have no mercy on those who practice sunrise worship rites:
“And He brought me into the inner court of Yahweh’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about 25 men, with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh, and their faces toward the east: and they worshiped the sun toward the east… and they put the branch [asherah] to their nose… Therefore shall I deal in fury…” (8:16- 18)
Modern Holly Folly
Amazing, isn’t it, how all these rites of your influential heathen faith are so entrenched in today’s worship? But I’ve barely scratched the surface, Sargo. Where your religion really shines today is in the annual extravaganza called Christmas.
The biggest promoters are the merchants, who have kept this observance alive and growing in order to reach their annual sales quota. They claim to make half of their annual sales in the last two months of the year before Christmas, when gifts are exchanged and people go into debt for the next year. So they start Christmas advertising in September.
The Bible prophesies that the merchants of the earth will “have waxed rich through the abundance of her [Babylon’s] delicacies,”Revelation 18:3. Amazingly accurate, isn’t it? Never so accurate as in this the biggest shopping extravaganza the world has ever seen.
You’ll be more amazed at how Christmas rites are so very like those in ancient Babylon.
Some practices may have changed cosmetically through the years as they left Babylon and diffused through the Mithraic cults and into northern Europe, but the essence still shines through.
For instance, you know about the myth of Nimrod, symbolized by a tree, and how he became deified and was “reincarnated” after being cut down. Well, the fable is still celebrated in December with a yule log. At Xmas the burning log represents the glowing sun god Mithras returning to the skies after the winter solstice.
In Egyptian worship Nimrod reappeared as the palm tree. In Rome and northern Europe he was the fir or evergreen that is always green and seemingly immortal.
One source put it this way, “Now the Yule Log is the dead stock of Nimrod, deified as the sun-god, but cut down by his enemies; the Christmas tree is Nimrod redivivus – the slain god cometo life again,” The Two Babylons, p. 98. It continues, “This entirely accounts for the putting of the Yule Log into the fire on Christmas-eve, and the appearance of the Christmas-tree the next morning,” p. 97.
You pagans were always quite concerned when your source of life, the sun, appeared less and less each day at the end of the year. At the winter solstice, about December 25, you celebrated the return of the unconquered sun as it made its cyclical appearance once more and promised springtime renewal of life from the dead of winter.
In honor of the solar deity, even though they may not realize it, people at Christmas today decorate their evergreen trees with bulbs and balls symbolic of the returning sun, as well as to honor the renewal of life. Then they stand back and virtually worship this tree idol, placing gift offerings beneath it.
Yes, Sargo, without hesitation you could say that Christmas is indeed a gift from you sun-worshiping Babylonians. Some people today still claim December 25 is the day the Savior was born,but many know better.
In her book, All About American Holidays, Maymie R. Krythe writes, “The exact date of [the Messiah’s] birth is not known; and during the first two or three centuries little note, apparently,was taken of the anniversary. For church officials opposed such celebrations as savoring of paganism,” p. 254.
Early American colonists detested the Christmas observance, realizing its true origins. Associated Press writer Peter Coy writes, “Celebrating Christmas in Massachusetts three centuries ago was risky: Anyone who took the day off from work could be fined 5 shillings. When George Washington crossed the Delaware River the night of Dec. 25, 1776, he could count on catching the Hessian soldiers drunk and sound asleep after a day of carousing. But, for Washington’s men, Christmas was just another day. And it wasn’t until 1836 that the first state – Alabama – declared Christmas a holiday.”
Christmas is also rooted in the Roman Saturnalia, a sister heathen festival in honor of Saturn, deity of agriculture. According to Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Reference Encyclopedia, “The customs of the Saturnalia were later, in Christian times, blended with those on January 1, the celebration of the New Year, when it was also the practice to give presents, and much of the traditional merrymaking of the Christmas season seems to have developed from the earlier pagan festival,” Saturnalia, p. 7825.
Passing on the Mysteries?
You see, Sargo, other cultures also borrowed from your mysteries, and ours borrowed from and built on theirs as well as yours. The Roman counterpart to your Tammuz was Mithras, the sun deity. He supposedly hatched from an egg on December 25.
Because Mithraism was one of the last of your mystery cults to reach the West, it became a rival of Christianity, with which it was contemporary. Many of the practices of Mithraism were picked up by Christian worshipers.
The book, The Golden Bough, says about the blending of Mithraic rites with Christmas nativity customs, “In the Julian Calendar the twenty-fifth of December was reckoned the winter solstice, and it was regarded as the Nativity of the sun, because the day begins tolengthen and the power of the sun to increase that turning point of the year. Now Mithras was regularly identified by his worshipers with the Sun, the Unconquered Sun, as they called him; hence his nativity also fell on the twenty-fifth of December,” p. 416.
What is the harm in observing holidays your forefathers began? you ask. Well, Sargo, your pagan background allows for the worship of numerous “gods.” Naturally, these “gods” don’t mind sharing your worship because they don’t exist.
But Almighty Yahweh does exist, and because of Him you exist. He says that if you seek salvation – to live forever in His Kingdom – then you must obey and worship only Him.
Here are His exact words: “I am Yahweh: that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images,” Isaiah 42:8. He also said through the Apostle Paul, “Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine: continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you,” 1Timothy 4:16.
We can’t compromise True Worship, Sargo. The Roman Empire tolerated many different religions because they did not understand truth, and what they were really after anyway was political unity. So they forfeited truth whenever expedient to appease their subjects. And compromise is what began the fall of man in Eden.
You see, being a follower of the one true Mighty One Yahweh means enjoying a close, father-child union with Him. He actually lives in us by His Holy Spirit power. He says, “You are the Temple of the living Elohim; as Elohim has said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.’ Wherefore, ‘come out from among them, and be separate,’ says Yahweh, ‘and touch not the unclean thing,’ “ 2Corinthians 6:16-18.
If I worship other deities in the popular customs, even though maintaining that I’m really worshiping the true Creator Yahweh, then I can no longer be a son of Yahweh. He makes that clear. It’s like giving up my family and all it stands for and going to live at the neighbor’s house.
What would you think if your child did that to you, Sargo? It is the same with the Father Yahweh, the only true Mighty One of the universe. When we accept false worship and we compromise the truth, it is the same as leaving our Father.
Egg-laying rabbits; hot cross buns; Lent and ham dinners; sun-centered worship — why the strange customs? Why the strange name, “Easter”?
On an early Sunday morning in April dad gets up and stumbles in the darkness searching for his best suit. He swallows a quick juice and heads off to the church. There he joins 20 of his friends gathered outside. As they look to the eastern sky they become enraptured by the brilliance of the dawning sun. Someone begins to sing a hymn. Others join in, faces glowing as they respond in adoration of the warming rays of the yellow orb.
Back home mother drives the chill from the house as she warms the oven. The smell of baking dough will spread to the bedrooms, beckoning awakening children to join her in making sugary crosses on toasty cakes.
A fat ham roasts in the oven. Dad’s mouth waters as he anticipates returning home and dining on the ritual offerings he has come to savor each spring. But first one more prayer with hands stretched upward in praise as the vernal sun rises to jumpstart the life-cycle of another new year.
As he heads home he notices many others celebrating the return of spring in groves of trees that line the road.
The year is 500 years before the Messiah. Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah conveyed Yahweh’s disdain for a celebration that not only has survived millennia, but even blossomed into one of the major celebrations of Christianity today—Easter.
Easter takes its name from a deity of the Chaldeans known as Astarte or Ishtar. “Her presence was thought to guarantee fertility, and in her absence the land, humans, and animals could not reproduce,” Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.
Easter a Phantom Observance
But is Easter in the Bible? Can we find the word Easter? Only in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version. It is a mistranslation of the Greek Pascha or Passover.
Barnes Notes says about the KJV’s changing the term Passover to Easter: “There was never a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover.”
New Living Translation:
“… Herod’s intention was to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover.”
International Standard Version
“…planning to bring him out to the people after Passover season.”
New American Standard Bible
“…intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people.”
American Standard Version
“…intending after the Passover to bring him forth to the people.”
Bible in Basic English
“…his purpose being to take him out to the people after the Passover.”
“…intending, after the pasch, to bring him forth to the people.”
English Revised Version
“…intending after the Passover to bring him forth to the people.”
World English Bible
“… intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover.”
Young’s Literal Translation
“… intending after the passover to bring him forth to the people.”
New International Version
“…Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.”
New King James:
“… intending to bring him before the people after Passover.”
New Living Translation:
“… Herod’s intention was to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover.”
Notice the preceding verse 3 of Acts 12: “These were the days of unleavened bread.” What connection does the Feast of Unleavened Bread have with Easter? None. What does Easter have to do with the Feast of Unleavened Bread? Nothing. But the Passover and Feast of UB have a lot to do with each other. In the law the Feast follows the Passover on the 15th of Abib.
The early New Testament believers in Acts were still observing the Old Testament’s Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread! Never did Yahshua the Messiah or His apostles or any of the Jews of their day observe Easter.
Easter today is known in other languages by words that link it directly to Passover: French-Paques; Italian-Pasqua; Spanish-Pascua; Dutch – Pasen. The word for Easter sounds similar in each of these languages. The problem is, it doesn’t sound at all like “Easter” but like the original and scriptural “Passover.”
Its absence in the ancient manuscripts shows that the Easter celebration was completely missing in New Testament worship. This fact has not escaped even secular sources. The New Werner Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica says, “There is no trace of the celebration of Easter as a Christian festival in the New Testament or in the writings of the apostolic fathers,” vol. VII, p. 531.
It wasn’t until 800 years after Yahshua that an observance of His resurrection was ever called Easter.
Nelsons Illustrated Bible Dictionary says on p. 317, “Easter was originally a pagan festival honoring Eostre, a Teutonic [Germanic] goddess of light and spring. At the time of the vernal equinox, sacrifices were offered in her honor. As early as the 8th century the name was used to designate the annual Christian celebration of the resurrection of Messiah.”
The word “Easter” is a renaming and completely unauthorized replacement of the Passover. The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica makes this short and eyeopening statement: “The name Easter (German Ostern) like the names of the days of the week, is a survival from the old Teutonic mythology. According to Bede, it is derived from Eostre or Ostara, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, to whom the month answering to our April, and called Eostur-monath, was dedicated.”
Historically, Easter is the celebration of the ancient queen of heaven, Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. Her beau was the Babylonian Tammuz (Greek Adonis). She is the same goddess worshiped throughout the Near East and Mediterranean worlds almost from the beginning of recorded history. She was variously known as Inanna, Innin, Astarte, Ashtar, the Greek Aphrodite, and the Roman Venus.
Solar Survivals a Heathen Legacy
Virtually all heathen religions of antiquity worshiped the sun. In Ezekiel’s day Judah had incorporated sun worship into their own worship of Yahweh. Yahweh was no more happy with their doing that than He is with admixing the same practices today and calling it a “biblical” observance. We have no authority to make our own worship. Doing so is making Yahweh into our image.
We read that this idolatry consumed ancient Judah in Ezekiel 8: “Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of Yahweh, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. He said to me, ‘Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.’
“He then brought me into the inner court of the house of Yahweh, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of Yahweh and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.”
The sun-worship services of the backslidden Israelites, with their women participating in the rites of Astarte worship (Easter) and weeping for Tammuz was detestable to Almighty Yahweh. Little angers our Father in heaven more than embracing the idolatry of the heathen nations.
No Commemoration for the Resurrection
Nothing about memorializing Yahshua’s resurrection is commanded anywhere in the Bible. The proper observance of Yahshua’s death is the Passover, for which we have plenty of commands and examples in both Old and New testaments. Yahweh instructs, “These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh’s Passover,” Leviticus 23:4-5. Nowhere is man given authority to alter this observance or morph it into something else.
Early believers observed the Passover according to the command. Ultimately the Roman church instituted Easter. “The Passover, ennobled by the thought of [the Messiah] the true Paschal Lamb, the first-fruits from the dead, continued to be celebrated and became the Christian Easter” (Britannica).
In the Passover-to-Easter transformation, the first act was to change the day on which Passover was observed. The Britannica notes, “A difference as to the time of its observance speedily sprang up between Christians of Jewish and Gentile descent, which led to a long-continued and bitter controversy, and an unhappy severance of Christian union.”
Some of the early churches stuck with the biblical command for the 14th of Abib. They were called Quartodecimani and were regarded as heretics.
Others couldn’t decide which day of the week they would observe the “holy day” and did as they saw fit. “In the words of Epiphanius, ‘Some,’ he writes, ‘began the festival before the week, some after the week, some at the beginning, some at the middle, some at the end, thus creating a wonderful and laborious confusion,’ ” Ibid.
It finally took a papal decree of Pius I to settle the issue. And thus we have the modern Easter falling on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
They Couldn’t Stick with Scripture
It would be bad enough to keep an arbitrary day named and observed for a pagan deity in honor of the Savior. But the atrocity doesn’t stop there.
The many trappings of the Easter rite sank the participant further into the abyss of idolatry. As the Roman Church grew it encountered heathen nations who held tenaciously to their idol worship and man-made customs. The Roman Church recognized that to amalgamate these peoples into its church-state, it would need to make an easy crossover for them. Rather than forcing the pagans to drop their worship altogether, the church found it expedient to recognize as much as possible their heathen rites in its own ecclesiastical calendar.
This blending of beliefs is explained by James G. Frazer in his book, The Golden Bough: “Taken altogether, the coincidences of the Christian and the heathen festivals are too close and too numerous to be accidental. They mark the compromise which the church in the hour of its triumph was compelled to make with its vanquished yet still dangerous rivals. The inflexible Protestantism of the primitive missionaries, with fiery denunciations of heathendom, had been exchanged for the supple policy, the easy tolerance, the comprehensive charity of shrewd ecclesiastics, who clearly perceived that if Christianity was to conquer the world it could do so only by relaxing the too rigid principles of its founder, by widening a little the narrow gate which leads to salvation.”
With those carryovers came the inclusion of the idol-rooted customs of eggs, rabbits, hot cross buns, ham dinners, bonfires, lent, and sunrise services all used in pagan worship.
Each of these was related either to sun worship, fertility worship of pagan deities and worship of life itself or, as in the custom of eating swine, a snub of the Jews they disdained.
Easter hams get their origin from the corn goddess and counterpart to Astarte, Demeter, whose mascot was the pig.
The heathens believed that by eating what represented their god, in this case swine, that they were literally partaking of their god.
What does Yahweh think of those who practice such things each year? Note Isaiah 65:3-5. “A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.”
None of Easter’s traditions can be found in connection with pure worship of the Bible. Not Lent. Not Good Friday. Not Easter itself.
It is no coincidence that Easter involves symbols of eggs and rabbits, historically representing fruitful reproduction. Consider Easter’s bizarre melding of two powerful symbols of fertility — egg-laying rabbits. It’s a powerful example of the whole absurdity of using this observance to celebrate Yahshua’s resurrection.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909 ed., has the following admission: “A great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring…The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been a symbol of fertility.”
The egg became associated with Astarte or Venus, when she hatched from a giant one that fell from heaven. The egg to the ancient represented the entire universe, which engenders everything. It is round, like the world, and is the universal principle of new life. The mystic egg was venerated in most paganistic nations of the world: Greece, Egypt, Persia, Babylon, India, Japan, and Phoenicia.
Lent on Loan from the Ancients
The 40-day, pre-Easter “fast” known as Lent is an appendage of the mythologies of Greece and Rome. But as with much of false worship, the custom of Lent was original with Babylonian paganism.
“From Arnobius we learn that the fast which the pagans observed, called ‘Castus’ or the ‘sacred’ fast, was, by the Christians in his time, believed to have been primarily in imitation of the long fast of Ceres, when for many days she determinedly refused to eat on account of her ‘excess of sorrow,’ that is, on the account of the loss of her daughter Proserpine, when carried away by Pluto, the god of hell,” Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 105.
Because the early Roman church had no direction from Scripture on the observance of Lent, its first steps with the custom were faltering. “Originally, even in Rome, Lent with the preceding revelries of the Carnival, was entirely unknown; and even when fasting before the Christian Pasch was held to be necessary, it was by slow steps that, in this respect, it came to conform with the ritual of paganism,” The Two Babylons p. 106.
At first, Lent was only half as long as the present 40 days. Hislop explains, “But at last, when the worship of Astarte was rising into the ascendant, steps were taken to get the whole Chaldean Lent of six weeks, or forty days, made imperative on all within the Roman Empire of the West,” pp. 106-107.
Each year before Easter we see people walking around with palm ash in the shape of a cross smudged in the middle of their foreheads. They are marking the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. It’s a time supposed to be spent in penitence and fasting, and is a practice completely missing from the Scriptures.
Cakes for a Pagan’s Deity
Mother’s making of hot cross buns for Easter traces to worship of the goddess Astarte or Easter. Jeremiah the prophet underscored this abomination in speaking Yahweh’s denunciation of these same heathen practices of his day: “See not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other deities, that they may provoke Me to anger,”Jeremiah 7:18.
In Jeremiah 44:19 is another stinging rebuke of those who offered to the pagan goddess. The prophet says in one of the succeeding verses, “Yahweh could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which you have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day,” verse 22. He continues, that because His people rejected His laws and statutes, a curse would befall them.
Various pagans have depicted Astarte differently, but always in connection with procreation. Her worship is alive and well today in the symbols and customs of Easter.
Passover: the Right Observance for Today
Yahweh tells us in Proverbs 14:12 that even if we think we are serving Yahweh in ways that seem okay to us, that those ways are still wrong and carry an ultimate penalty. “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
The masses just blindly fall into this observance each year because everyone else is just blindly falling into it. Unless something drastic happens to a person, he will continue traditional ways just as his parents did and their parents did and their parents did. And he won’t ever question why! We truly are slaves to habit, to custom, to routine, to convention and to ritual.
Our Creator has prescribed the only way He wants to be worshiped, and we as His creation have no authority to change anything. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways,’ says Yahweh.”
Passover is the memorial commemorating the death of the Savior for the sins of mankind. Through His death, which paid the ultimate penalty for us, we can have everlasting life. That is the message Yahweh wants us to hold on to. And we do so every year when we partake of the Passover memorial emblems.
Easter has nothing in common with the Passover. We find no command anywhere in the entire Bible to observe the resurrection of the Savior. We are enjoined to remember the day of His death, however, with Passover. At its core Easter is nothing more than the perpetuation of the practice of pagan rites and rituals. And Yahweh warns not to learn such ways.
In 1Corinthians 10:14-22 is the apostle’s warning against profaning the Passover and its significance by other practices and other symbols not given in the Word:
“Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of the Messiah? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of the Messiah? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to Yahweh: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.Ye cannot drink the cup of Yahweh, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of Yahweh’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Sovereign to jealousy? are we stronger than he?”
Now that you know the truth, you have a decision to make. Continue on in ways of ultimate destruction or return to the faith once delivered to the saints, Jude 3. That faith includes the true days commanded in the Word – His Feasts and Sabbath. You are being called to make a choice, which is truly a life or death decision. Choose life.
Watch: “Pagan Origins of Easter” below
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