by Ruel Thompson and the Congregation of Yahweh

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New Moons and ancient Hebrew Calendar


The truth about Christmas

Since pre-Christian times people have held a winter festival. This was an opportunity to celebrate the end of Winter and the coming of Spring. In the 4th. Century A.D. when Christmas was officially established in the West, rather than abolishing the pagan customs, and starting afresh, the church simply adapted them, applying its own meaning to the old rituals.
Long before Yahshua was born, the Romans kept a similar Feast, which they called Saturnalia. Gifts were sent, celebrations involving fun, food and many customs now found in our western Christmas today were already enjoyed on the 25th. The Anglo-Saxons had a mother night and child's day long before the Christian Era, and the pagans worshipped the mother and child as the 'Re-birth of the sun' also at this time of the year.
In 1916 after exhaustive historical research, Reverend Alexander Hislop wrote a a book called "The Two Babylons." which enlarges on this topic, showing that most if not all the traditions associated with Christian Festivals especially Christmas and Easter stemmed directly from this 'adoption' by the Church of Pagan worship. Sadly, perhaps because he had an agenda, some of his research includes some issues which history including Biblical facts cannot substantiate, for example, Nimrod about whom we read in Gen 10:8-10 "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." The word before Yahweh does actually mean "in the face of" suggesting anger, in the original Hebrew text.
In some versions and historical writings such as in Flavius Josephus' historical accounts, Nimrod is a man who set his will against that of Yahweh/God. So there could be some truth in his rebellion against Yahweh. However, there is no Biblical evidence for his having been married to a queen named Semiramis, as Hislop suggests, although she was indeed a historical figure about whom there are reliable historical records.
In his book The Two Babylons, Hislop declared that the 25th of December was celebrated as far away as Babylonia in ancient times, over 4000 years ago with a man called Nimrod. His mother, Semiramis claimed her illegitimate son to be the re-incarnation of her dead husband, Nimrod.
Some think that Hislop included myth with fact when writing his book, and I myself view it with some skepticism. However, there may be facts which are genuine, so I leave it to you to decide should you want to take a look. I will mention though, his general thought is that the Nimrod mentioned in Genesis was indeed an evil man, totally against Yahweh. He writes that His mother Semiramis was worshipped along with her baby child, as a goddess, the 'Queen of heaven' on the very day of the 25th. December. After his death by a wild boar (historical fact? I have found none) Semiramis hailed the arrival of her illegitimate son on this day as the re-incarnation of King Nimrod, her dead husband, and consequently a boar was sacrificed on December 25th as part of the festival, hence the boar, turkey, chicken etc. for Christmas dinner? We will leave it there. The book is rather shocking, in its bias, but worth a read, and you can find it on line.

However, I am including some of the comments Hislop makes which can be verified. His discourse on the Roman Festival of Saturnalia for example is of course based on fact, as we are able to research the practices of this pagan Feast, and we are able to see how many traditions of Western Christmasses are indeed 'offshoots' of it. Since the publication of his book, and especially in our day as the Worldwide Web has developed, we are able to discover for ourselves, the origins of many of the Christmas customs along with the inclusion of pagan practises associated with it. Also, that because there is no mention in Scripture of the date of Yahshua's/Jesus' birth, the Church decided to celebrate the day on an existing Festival, namely the Roman Saturnalia celebrated throughout the then-known world.
This decision was made by Pope Julius 1 around 350 AD. Having converted many pagans, the Church then began to change certain pagan festivals like Saturnalia which was part of the pagan Winter Solstices festivals, into Christian 'Holy Days' or holidays. The Church also promised the converted pagans that they could continue to celebrate their festivals, with the intention of gradually replacing these festivals with Christian ones, but sadly many of the pagan practices remained, such as partying and dancing, eating and drinking to excess, present giving, and other fleshly indulgences.
At the time of the English Reformation the Puritans disapproved of the extravagance of Christmas, and in 1644 the commonwealth banned Christmas and festivities were prohibited, but in many areas the celebrations continued. Oliver Cromwell abolished Christmas in England but this change lasted only about 13 years, when Christmas became again a popular winter feast in Europe. The ordinance prohibiting Christmas was abolished in 1660 with the restoration of King Charles 2nd but its importance had diminished and celebrations waned until they were revived by the Victorians.
'Christ-mass' was first observed in the Christian Church in the third and fourth centuries.
Tertullian, in his day, about the year 230, bitterly lamenting the inconsistency of the disciples of Christ in this respect, and contrasting it with the strict fidelity of the Pagans to their own superstition. "By us" he says, "who are strangers to sabbaths, and new moons, and festivals, once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, (ancient Roman winter festival) and Matronalia, (female goddess worship) are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, new year's day presents are made with din, and banquets are celebrated with uproar; oh, how much more faithful are the heathen to their religion..."
The apostacy went on, till the Church with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under Pagan superstition. 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 origin.
Many true believers however could not stomach these atrocities and left the church. For this statement which they made 'with their feet' many were martyred. The priests did have a few problems trying to keep the Feast serious because of the habits of the pagans.


A fair and balanced
short teaching
on Christmas

on YouTube by
Shirley Bate. Begin the actual
message 1.35 minutes in.

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