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Biblical or Pagan?
By: K. Dresser
I Thessalonians 5:22: Abstain from evil in whatever form or whatever kind it may be. Psalm 34:14: Depart from evil and do good seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue it!
Proverbs 3:3-7: Let not mercy and kindness and truth forsake you; bind them about your neck, write them upon the tablet of your heart. So shall you find favor, good understanding, and high esteem in the Father’s sight and man. Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Father with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes reverently fear and worship the Father and turn away from evil. Ephesians 5:6-13: Let no one delude and deceive you with empty excuses and groundless arguments, for through these things the Father’s wrath comes upon the sons of rebellion and disobedience. So do not associate or be shared with them. For once you were darkness but now you are light in the Father; walk as children of Light. For the fruit of the Light or the Spirit in consists in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. And try to learn what is pleasing to the Father. Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead expose and reprove and convict them. For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that such people practice in secret. But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light. Jesus said the traditions of men "make the Father’s Word of none effect." It was true in the First Century when He said it, and it is true today. The Word is an unchanging truth, and will make us free; but the truth has been pretty thoroughly swallowed up in our traditions. Our flesh wants to be like those around us. "It's the way we have always done," is both a common thought and a powerful force in our decisions. So it is with holidays and holy days in the calendar year. You will learn how completely invaded and deceived you are. Each of the most significant days in the year have been invaded by a counterfeit, robbing the sheep of any vital truth and Jesus of the honor that only He deserves. And, in the course of all this, the church has absorbed a great deal of paganism.
What exactly does the Word say about tradition?
Matthew 15:2-3: Why do thy disciples transgress the TRADITION of the elders? But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the Father’s commandment by your TRADITION? Matthew 15:6: Thus have ye made the Father’s commandment of none effect by your TRADITION. Mark 7:5: Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the TRADITION of the elders?
Mark 7:8-9: For laying aside the Father’s commandment, ye hold the TRADITION of men…And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the Father’s commandment, that ye may keep your own TRADITION. Mark 7:13: Making the Father’s Word of none effect through your TRADITION, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. Colossians 2:8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the TRADITION of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after the Messiah.
What does the Father say about new feasts?
Isaiah 1:13-14: Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto Me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth: they are a trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Definition of FEAST according to Merriman-Webster: 1: an elaborate and usually abundant meal often accompanied by a ceremony or entertainment : banquet 2: a periodic religious observance commemorating an event or honoring a deity, person, or thing Revelations 3:16: So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!
“With the rise of Christianity, many [pagan] festivals were converted to the Christian calendar.”1
I Thessalonians 5:21: Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.
Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome: Adkins - 1994 P. 281 The Story of Christianity: 2,000 Years of Faith, Price & Collins - Tyndale 1999 P. 47
“…Pagan festivals were taken over to become Christmas and Easter, and a place was found for pagan philosophy and literature in Christian thought, as a preparation for the gospel.”2 There is an interesting unity in paganism and its celebrations. Although in ancient times they were no such things as trans-oceanic travel, radios, telephones or mail service for co-coordinating such things, pagan religions sprang up in the various parts of the world and there is such similarity, such unity that it would force the conclusion that there was some unifying, co-coordinating source behind it all. According to Scripture, the ‘spirit of the anti-christ’ has been around since before the disciples. One of multiple scriptures: II Thessalonians 2:7-8: For the mystery of iniquity does already work…And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.
What does the Word say about this world and it’s “owner”?
Matthew 4:8-9: Again, the devil takes Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And says to Him, All these things will I give You, if you will fall down and worship me. Mark 8:36: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? John 12:31: Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. John 15:19: If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 16:11: Of judgment, because the prince of the world is judged. John 16:33: These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 17:14-16: I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Romans 12:1-2: I appeal to you therefore brethren, and beg of you in view of all the
The Story of Christianity: 2,000 Years of Faith, Price & Collins - Tyndale 1999 P. 47
Father’s mercies, to make a decisive dedication of your bodied as a living sacrifice, holy and well pleasing to Him, which is your reasonable service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of the Father, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect. I Corinthians 3:19: For this world’s wisdom is foolishness with God, for it is written, He lays hold of the wise in their own craftiness. I Corinthians 11:32: But when we are judged by the Father, we are disciplined and chastened, so that we may not be condemned to eternal punishment along with the world. I John 2:15-17: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of this world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of the Father abides for ever. James 4:4: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with the Father? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of the Father. But! Even though the Devil is the ‘prince of the world’ Yeshua has the authority of the world. Matthew 28:18: And Yeshua came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. “Christian ritual developed when, in the third century, the Church left the Catacombs…Water, oil, light, incense, singing, procession, prostration, decoration of altars, vestments of priests, are naturally at the service of universal religious instinct. Little enough, however, was directly borrowed by the Church — nothing, without being "baptized", as was the Pantheon…Even pagan feasts may be "baptized": certainly our processions of 25 April are the Robigalia; the Rogation days may replace the Ambarualia; the date of Christmas Day is due to the same instinct which placed on 25 Dec., the Natalis Invicti of the solar cult…All know how Julian tried to remodel a pagan hierarchy on the Christian.”3 “The Roman Emperor Julius Caesar promulgated a new solar calendar in 45 BCE, known as the Julian calendar. It has twelve thirty-day months,
Paganism" The Catholic Encyclopedia: Vol. 11: Cyril Charles Martindale – Robert Appleton Company, 1911 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11388a.htm>.; cf. Augustine, Epp., xlvii, 3, in P.L., XXXIII, 185; Reply to Faustus XX.23; Jerome, "Epp.", cix, ibid., XXII, 907; P. Allard, "Julien l'Apostat", Paris, 1900
with five extra days scattered during the year, and a leap year day every four years, inserted after February 23rd. The early Christians follow this calendar. Today, most of the people of the Western world use the Gregorian calendar, which was worked out by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. […] The church year [...] is regulated in part by the sun, and moon. Immovable feasts, such as Christmas and the feasts of the saints, are based on the solar, or secular, calendar [...] When Julius Caesar created the Julian calendar, he shifted the beginning of the Roman year from March 1 to January 1. Until the 700s in the Frankish kingdom and the late 1700s in Venice, March 1 continued to be observed as the beginning of the year. Until the 15th century in France, the beginning of the year was Easter, and until the 16th century in Scandinavia and Germany it was Christmas. The church year was never planned. The first Christians had a personal and detailed experience of the Jewish calendar of feasts which remembered and celebrated God's saving actions.”4 “The influence of seasons on religious traditions increased when the Jewish lunar calendar gave way to the secular solar calendar. This happened after 70 C.E. when Jerusalem was destroyed…and the church soon traded it for the Julian calendar popular throughout the gentile Greco-Roman world. This calendar was based on the solar year rather than the lunar month. As a result, the summer and winter solstices and spring and fall equinoxes, along with the seasons they introduced, became more evident in the religious life of Christians.”5 “At one time almost every day of the calendar honored one saint or another [...] these were called feast days. The first reform of the calendar of saints' feasts were done by Pope Pius V (1570) after the Council of Trent. This reformed calendar had 158 feasts. A multiplication of saint's feasts occurred again [...] soon there were 300 feasts. The Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Sacred liturgy called for a reform of this calendar...  The new official calendar (1969) retained for the universal church only those feasts that remembered the saints who have a meaning for the entire church.” 6 “In New England, for the first two centuries…most people did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, the holiday was systematically suppressed by Puritans during the colonial period and largely ignored by their descendants. It was actually illegal to celebrate Christmas in Massachusetts between 1659 and
Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide- Greg Dues: Twenty-Third Publications; Revised Edition 1993 P. 15-16 5 Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide- Greg Dues: Twenty-Third Publications; Revised Edition 1993 P. 38 6 Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide- Greg Dues: Twenty-Third Publications; Revised Edition 1993 P. 108,112
1681 (the fine was five shillings). Only in the middle of the nineteenth century did Christmas gain legal recognition as an official public holiday in New England. […] The Church officially decided to observe Christmas on December 25th. And this date was not chosen for religious reasons but simply because it happened to mark the approximate arrival of the winter solstice, an event that was celebrated long before the advent of Christianity. The Puritans were correct when they pointed out…that Christmas was nothing but a pagan festival covered with a Christian veneer.”7 "Those who follow the custom of observing Christmas, follow not the Bible, but pagan ceremonies.”8 "Christmas…clearly started as a celebration of the passing of the winter solstice, and the start of the sun's return journey from the north to the south. The ancient Romans observed this time with a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and it was called Saturnalia. When Emperor Constantine decreed Christianity as the new faith of the Roman Empire, early in the fourth century, the Christians gave the [same pagan] holiday a new name and meaning.”9 "That God's word damns your ceremonies, it is evident; for the plain and straight commandment of God is, ‘Not that thing which appears good in Your eyes, shall You do to the Lord your God, but what the Lord your God has commanded you, that do you: add nothing to it; diminish nothing from It’. Now unless that you are able to prove that God has commanded your ceremonies, this his former commandment will damn both you and them.”10 “Festival of our Lord's nativity…passion, resurrection, ascension…these festivals at the present time obtain no place among us; for we dare not religiously celebrate any other feast-day than what the [God] prescribed.”11 "The second commandment is moral and perpetual, and forbids to us as well as to them the additions and inventions of men in the worship of God. Therefore, sacred significant ceremonies devised by man are to be
The Battle for Christmas: Stephen Nissenbaum [University of Massachusetts Historian] – Vintage 1997 The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Charles Haddon Spurgeon – Passmore & Alabaster 1876 P. 697 9 Joseph Gaer, Holidays Around the World: Little, Brown and Company 1954 P. 133 10 John Knox, The History of the Reformation in Scotland, in The Works of John Knox - Edited By David Laing; Edinburgh: James Thin, 1895 – Volume 1 P. 194 11 In The Works of John Knox, Volume VI Pgs. 547-548
reckoned among those images forbidden in the second commandment.”12 The Catholic Encyclopedia states, "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church...the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. […] Pagan customs centering around the January calendars gravitated to Christmas…In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his [Jesus] birthday.”13 "The Catholic Church, in an effort to gain more people to the Roman Catholic Church, adopted the Mithraic festival of the birth of the sun.”14 Bishop Frederick Neilsen says, “During the first three centuries (of the church) we find no trace of any feast for the birth of Christ.”15 "The transition from festivals commemorating the birth of a sun god to a celebration ostensibly for the Son of God occurred sometime in the fourth century. Unable to eradicate the heathen celebration of Saturnalia, the Church of Rome, sometime before 336 A.D., designated a Feast of the Nativity to be observed.”16
Christmas = Saturnalia & Yule: December 25th
“We know Jesus was not born in December. One reason that this is certain is that when He was born when shepherds were "abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night" (Luke 2:8). And in Israel shepherds have never slept out on the ground with their flocks in December [34 degrees is average]. The date was chosen to coincide with Saturnalia, the pagan midwinter festival, and with the pagan Roman holiday called "Birth of the Unconquered Sun" (natalis solis invicti) on December 25th. We have been doing it ever since.”17 Luke 2:7-8: And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded on the Church of Sctoland [17 Century]: George Gillespie - Naphtali Press 1992 Part 2: Holy Days Take Away our Christian Liberty Proved Out of the Gospel - P. 118, 84 13 Martindale, Cyril Charles. "Christmas." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm 14 World’s Popular Encyclopedia, Volume III – World Syndicate Publishing 1937 15 Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History: Eusebius Pamphilus, C.F. Cruse – Henderickson Publication; Updated Edition 1998 P. 224 16 "Christmas," in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, P. 223.; J. D. Douglas, Editor – Paternoster Publishing; Revised Edition 1978 17 Holidays and Holy Days Tom C. McKenny 1997 Jubilee Publishing New Zealand P 21
“It would, of course, be going too far to assert that the development of the Church's liturgy...was wholly uninfluenced by the pagan religions of Rome...Such for example was the substitution of the feast of Christmas for the popular festival of the birth of the Invincible Sun, dies natalis solis invicti, on the 25th of December, the time of the winter solstice, according to the Roman calendar. This pagan feast was associated with the cult of the sun, established by the Emperor Aurelian in 273...a cult of Mithras.”18 “In Rome, there were any number of winter holidays. December 25th was considered the birthday of Mithras, a god associated with the sun. It was also the birthday of sun god, Apollo. The Brumalia, a feast of Bacchus, the god of wine (Dionysius to the Greeks), was celebrated on the same day.6 Rome seems to have had the first December 25th Christmas celebration around 336. Constantinople followed in 379, Egypt in 435. The churches in Palestine held out until the sixth century, and the Armenian Church still observes Christmas on January 6th.”19 “Mithras was often identified with the sun and one of his commonest titles were Sol Invictus – the Unconquered Sun. His birthday fell on 25th December, so our Christmas has a Mithraic origin.”20 “December 25th was the day on which people celebrated the birthday of the Phrygian Sun god, Attis….Attis was superseded by another god, with an uncannily familiar life story…Mithras…The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun is really the aptest description for what has come to be known as Christmas…Prior to Christianity the Anglo-Saxons called this generic midwinter festival geoi, the precursor to Yule.”21 “Yule is the longest, darkest night of the year, but it also marks the beginning of the time when days grow longer and nights grow shorter. It is a festival, which honors the sun’s rebirth symbolized by the Horned god who rules the dark half of the year. It is during this time that the Mother gives birth to her son and future consort. Pagan customs include decorating a tree, hanging mistletoe and holly, and burning a Yule log…Christmas is actually the Christianized version of the Pagan Yuletide feast.”22
The Catholic University Bulletin, Volume 19: Catholic University of America - Catholic University of America., 1913 P. 383 19 The Real History Behind the Da Vinci Code: Sharan Newman – Berkley Books 2005 P. 12;  Jeffrey Burton Russell. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Cornell UP, Ithaca, NY, 1972, P. 68. 20 All Color Book of Roman Mythology: Peter Croft - Book Sales 1989 P. 62 21 The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs: Adele Nozedar – Metro Books, 2010 Rites & Rituals, Customs & Observances: Christmas P. 469 22 Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca Craft: Miria Liguana, Nina Metzner – Penguin 2004: Winter Solstice or Yule
Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome, Leslie & Roy A. Adkins – Facts on File 1994, P. 287, “Festivals | List of Festivals | December”
New Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language: Modern Desk Edition – Belair 1976, P. 460, “Saturnalia” Man, Myth & Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Universe, Richard Cavendish, Volume 1 1995, P. 418, “Christmas”
“Mithras, Dionysus, and Adonis all celebrate their birthdays on December 25th [...] In Rome, this day was known as Natalis Solis Invicti ("Birth of the Invincible Sun"). The ancient Greek historian Plutarch notes that the birth of the Horus was celebrated at the winter solstice [...] St. Justin Martyr quotes an unidentified ancient Syrian commentator, who wrote that, "It was in fact customary among the pagans to celebrate the festival of the sun's birthday on December 25th and to light bonfires in honor of the day. They even used to invite the Christian population to these rites. But when the teachers of the Church realized that Christians were allowing themselves to take part, they decided to observe the Feast of the Birth on the same day."23 “Mithraism, [was] a pagan sun cult popular in the Roman Empire during the primitive Christianity…Devotees of Mithra, a Persian deity, celebrated the birthday of their sun god with a festival called dies natalis Solis Invicti (Latin, "Birthday of the unconquered sun") at the winter solstice…The two religions shared some religious discipline, doctrine, and symbolism in common, such as initiation, fasting, immersion, a sacred mean of bread and
ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path: Joyce & River Higginbotham. Llewellyn Publications 2009 P. 61
wine mixed with water and honey for new initiates [present at Catholic baptisms], fellowship gestures, and belief in the immorality of the soul. [...] With the promulgation of the Edict of Milan in 313, Constantine became the benefactor and protector of Christianity. Consequently, pagan culture features of sun-symbolism were no longer threatening. They could be freely absorbed by the Church.”24
The Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture: Peter & Linda Murray – Oxford University Press, USA 1998 P. 104
“Forty days after Samhain (All Saints’ Day), the holiday of Christmas is in conjunction with Saint Sylvester’s Day (December 31st), marked by a set of pagan customs that Christianity has not entirely succeeded in smothering…For Christians, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. Yet this anniversary was placed at different times of the year before being fixed at December 25th. In different eras, in accordance with various Christian religions, Christmas was variously attached to January 6th, March 25th, April 10th and May 29th. The commemoration of Christ’s birthday on December 25th resulted from seasonal and mythological associations to pagan beliefs that are older than Christianity. The celebrations of Christmas Eve and Saint Sylvester are, even today, the most apparent pagan rites of the end of the year.”25 “Others note with a wry sense of humor that Yule has become overshadowed by the Christian holiday of Christmas, which in its own was is a celebration of the birth of the "sun". Indeed, much of the folklore and popular imagery associated with this Christian holiday has its roots in pagan spirituality. From kissing beneath the mistletoe to setting up a Christmas tree to burning a Yule log and decking the halls with boughs of holly, many of the customs connected with this holiday have roots in our ancient pagan past. […] Yule represents the time when the Oak King triumphs over the Holly King; the rebirth of the sun and the promise of the eventual return of warmth and light.”26
Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide- Greg Dues: Twenty-Third Publications; Revised Edition 1993 P. 51-52 25 Christianity The Origins of A Pagan Religion – Philippe Walter: Inner Traditions 2006 P. 52 26 The Complete Idiot's Guide To Paganism: Carl McColman – Alpha; First Edition 2002 P. 170-171
“New peoples from the barbarian tribes of Europe took to the feast wholeheartedly. They added elements from their own pre-Christian winter traditions, putting their stamp in Christmas traditions that continue today.”27 “There are a number of quaint and appealing stories about the origin of the Christmas tree tradition, including an unreliable one about Martin Luther. But towering above all the folk stories, these facts stand, stark and undeniable, on the field of inquiry: The Christmas tree has nothing at all to do with Jesus, His birth or His life; Since earliest times evergreen trees have been worshipped as symbols of life, fertility, sexual potency and reproduction, and were often brought into the house and set up as idols. The Bible speaks specifically to this pagan practice and condemns it in Jeremiah 10:1-5. Although some Christians hang Christian symbols on them, most Christmas trees feature snow, icicles, candy canes elves and Santa symbolism and have nothing at all to do with the coming of the Savior to redeem lost mankind.”28 Jeremiah 10:1-5: Hear ye the word which the Father speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the Father, 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. “The old pagan custom of bringing a live tree indoors in the middle of the dark months of the year and decorating it wit candles and trinkets was introduced to Britain by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria…Bringing evergreen vegetation in the form of trees, boughs, and branches from the outside to the inside was a magical ritual…meant to encourage the return of spring…An evergreen tree…symbolizes immorality and everlasting life, and the lights draped on it are a reminder that during the darkest time of the year, lighter days are just around the corner…The Roman god Atys or Attis was a savior god…born on December 25th to a virgin mother…was killed beneath a conifer…His priests, called dendrophori (meaning “tree bearers”), were charged with selecting a
Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide- Greg Dues: Twenty-Third Publications; Revised Edition 1993 P. 52 28 Holidays and Holy Days Tom C. McKenny 1997 Jubilee Publishing New Zealand P. 21
conifer from a sacred grove that would be brought indoors in memory of the death…Of Atys, who is also linked with Apollo, the Sun god.  The Christmas Tree is a way of venerating the spirit of the World Tree [universal term for specific trees sacred to different cultures] by bringing it into the home and decorating it.” 29 “Most Christmas traditions associated with Deuteronomy 7:26: Do not evergreens and trees are bring a detestable thing into related somehow to preyour house or you, like it, will be Christian practices. The set apart for destruction. Utterly use of evergreens and abhor and detest it, for it is set wreaths as a symbol of life apart for destruction. was popular already among the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples worshipped trees and decorated houses and barns with evergreens at the new year to scare away the demons…The Christmas tree, was first called the paradise tree. The Christmas tree seems to have resulted [also] with a festival of lights from pre-Christian times.”30 The image of Asherah was a date palm tree for the Canaanites, Phoenicians, Assyrians and Babylonians.31 Jezebel who married Ahab, Samaritan King of Israel. When Northern Israel was dispersed into the nations by the Assyrians in 722 BCE, they carried this tree custom with them. Phoenicia means "date palm". They called themselves Sidonians or Tyreans, after their city-states of Tyre and Sidon. Their date palms were called Asherim, and Jezebel taught this practice to Northern Israel through her marriage to Ahab.32 Asherah was the “Queen of Heaven.”33 This "tree" was named Asherah in the Hebrew Scriptures, and her worship continued.34
The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs: Adele Nozedar – Metro Books, 2010 Flora: Cherry tree-Christmas tree P. 324 & Rites & Rituals, Customs & Observances: Christmas P. 469 30 Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide- Greg Dues: Twenty-Third Publications; Revised Edition 1993 P. 56-57 31 Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 19, Part 19 Poles and Posts: James Hastings - Kessinger Publishing, 2003 P. 93 & The Tree of Life: An Archaeological Study Volume 11 of Studies in the History of Religions - Numen Book Series , No 11: Edwin Oliver James - Brill 1967 P. 42 32 I Kings 16:31, 21:5-15, II Kings 9:30-37 & The Encyclopedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature, Volume 18 Edition 9: Thomas Spencer Baynes - H.G. Allen 1888 P. 803 33 Jeremiah 7 & 44 34 See Strongs & Acts 19
“Just as early Christians recruited Roman pagans by associating Christmas with the Saturnalia, so too worshippers of the Asheira cult and its offshoots were recruited by the Church sanctioning ‘Christmas Trees’. Pagans had long worshipped trees in the forest, or brought them into their homes and decorated them, and this observance was adopted and painted with a Christian veneer by the Church.”35 “A rebirth, more particularly the rebirth of light – a solar symbolism dating back at least to the Roman festival of Saturnalia, when evergreen decorations celebrated the death of the old year and the birth of the new. Teutonic Yuletide rites in which fire trees were hung with lights and surrounded with sacrificial offerings are more direct antecedents of the modern decorated tree; Victorian ceremony took this Christmas tradition from Germany.”36
Witch Balls. Or as we know them, Christmas tree ornaments.
“WITCH BALL is a glass sphere, typically green, blue or purple, that is used as a protection. Sometimes the sphere contains glass strains extending across the diameter, loose pins, or other items inside the ball. Witch balls are usually hung in a window…the sphere is often the size of a softball, but larger ones were common in the late nineteenth century…the ornaments hung on the Yule/Christmas tree evolved from the Witch ball.”37 “Witch balls” are bright, reflective balls of glass that can be found today hanging in antique shops. Their purpose was to ward of spirits by reflecting evil back to its own source…Early Christians continued to use many of the amulets of their ancestors…The medieval Catholic Church promoted the use of numerous holy charms, including rosaries and holy relics.”38 “The modern Christmas ornament ball is descended from the Witch ball…the ornament was placed on the tree to dispel a visitor’s envy over the presents left beneath the tree.”39 “The witch ball is a large, hollow glass ball, often with mirrored or otherwise reflective surfaces…the precursor to the brightly colored
Clement Miles, Christmas Customs and Traditions: Their History and Significance, New York: Dover Publications, 1976, pp. 178, 263-271 36 Dictionary of Symbols: Am Illustrated Guide to Traditional Images, Icons, and Emblems: Jack Tresidder o Duncan Baird Publishers 1997: Christmas Tree P. 45 37 Encyclopedi of Wicca & Witchcraft: Raven Grimassi – Llewellyn Worldwide 2000 P. 450 38 Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions: James R. Lewis - ABC-CLIO 1999 P. 11 39 The Witches’ Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation: Raven Grimassi - Llewellyn Worldwide 2002 P. 203
reflective balls that are hung on Christmas trees.”40 “In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January). Later, this ritual expanded to include giftgiving among the general populace. The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas.”41 “The gifts we exchange at Christmas today were originally a part of the Saturnalia festival.”42 “Mistletoe was sacred to the Druids, and was worshipped by them. They also used it to cast spells, the principal belief being that if they held it over a woman's head she was powerless to resist, and they could have their way with her sexually. From this comes our custom of hanging it over doorways, and the tradition that if a girl is caught under the sprig of mistletoe she may be kissed and may not resist. As it all had to do with fertility and sex, the berries on the sprig made its power more potent. We still consider our mistletoe sprigs to be worth more if they have berries.”43 “The carrying in and draping of holly and other evergreen plants has come down to us from the pagan worship of evergreen plants, especially from Druid rituals conducted in midwinter (late December).”44
Encyclopedia of World Mythology: Rex Warner – Galahad Books; First Edition 1975 P. 167, “Appendix | Saturnalia”
“The sacred golden bough of mythology…its sacred nature is attributable to many factors…It grows only in the sky, and never on the ground, so it is closer to the Heavens; it is propagated by birds, themselves symbolic messengers of the gods; and its pearlescent berries represent drops of semen, so the mistletoe represents fertility…Druids traditionally harvest mistletoe with a golden sickle, a magical took that represents the sun…As an evergreen mistletoe symbolizes longevity and immorality, and has
The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs: Adele Nozedar – Metro Books, 2010 Signs & Symbols of Magic & Mystery: Winged Disc-Witch Ball P. 170-171 41 Clement Miles, Christmas Customs and Traditions: Their History and Significance, New York: Dover Publications, 1976, pp. 178, 276-279 42 The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs: Adele Nozedar – Metro Books, 2010 Rites & Rituals, Customs & observances: Saturnalia P. 483 43 Holidays and Holy Days Tom C. McKenny 1997 Jubilee Publishing New Zealand P. 21 44 Holidays and Holy Days Tom C. McKenny 1997 Jubilee Publishing New Zealand P. 21
become a traditional part of Christmas decorations. However although holly and ivy have managed to cloak their pre-Christian significance in order to enfold themselves into the Church…[Mistletoe] is a reminder of powerful pre-Christian practices and beliefs…the [Catholic] Church said at one time that the cross of Christ had been made of mistletoe wood (an unlikely claim for anyone familiar with the fragile stalks of the plant)…it was used to aid fertility problems…People hung mistletoe indoors to ward off evil spirits. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is a remnant of its potency as a fertility symbol.”45 “The holly is symbolic of eternal life and immorality; its red berries stand for life and vitality, as well as for blood…The custom of bringing holly boughs into the home in the depths of winter has its origins in the original pre-Christian idea that its prickly leaves sheltered the fairy folk, who were delighted to come indoors at such a cold time of the year. The Romans also brought holy into the house during the time of Saturnalia, in mid December. Holly trees planted close to the home guarded the house and its occupants from evil influences; the spiny leaves of the “male” tree are a symbol of protection. Holly with smoother leaves has more female attributes. The name of the holly comes from the Teutonic goddess Hole, who was the mother of all unborn children and was responsible for naming them…so sacred was the holly that it was also named the “holy tree.” The “holly king” is a symbol of a giant man, constructed from holly, who carries a holly club in his hand. The seasonal counterpart to the oak king, the holly king is the guardian of the midwinter solstice. [328-329] The holly tree not only provides a home to nature spirits, but its prickly leaves are also phallic symbols of fertility…a cup of ivy is said to prevent drunkenness, hence its association with Bacchus, an influential deity during the gluttony and largesse of the Saturnalia, but these links seem largely to be overlooked by the [Catholic] Church.” 46 “The Yule Log tradition comes to us from Scandinavia, where the pagan sex and fertility god Jul, or Jule (pronounced "Yule") was honored in a twelve-day celebration in December. A large, single log (generally considered to have been a phallic idol) was kept with a fire against it for twelve days, a different sacrifice to Jul being offered in the fire on each of the twelve days…When we send "Yuletide Greetings," that is what it means; we are sending greetings in the name of this Scandinavian fertility god and his festival.”47
The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs: Adele Nozedar – Metro Books, 2010 Flora: Mistletoe-Mushroom P. 303-304 46 The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs: Adele Nozedar – Metro Books, 2010 Flora: Hawthorn-Holly P. 328-329 & Rites & Rituals, Customs & Observances: Christmas P. 469 47 Holidays and Holy Days Tom C. McKenny 1997 Jubilee Publishing New Zealand P 22-23
“The traditions of the December fire are quite ancient; indeed, they were not foreign to ancient Rome. In fact, the month was placed under the protection of Saturn, god of time, and Vesta, goddess of the domestic hearth. Maintained in her honor was a fire, never extinguished, that was lit in her temples and in the first room of each house (hence the word vestibule for this entrance room). Other fire traditions extend from this during the month: Traditionally, the Yule log must burn at least three days (hence its name trefeu, “three fire,” in Brittany [peninsula off of France]).”48 “Many pagan societies have worshipped a hearth god, clad in red, who came down the chimney to bless those who pleased it and to curse those who didn't. Food and drink offerings were left to him on hearth or mantel, an effort to please and appease him. There are such red-clad hearth gods worshipped in India and China today. Santa Claus, as we know him, is a composite of many pagan traditions, taking the form in which we now depict him only about 100 years ago. He is clearly supernatural, attended by a host of supernatural elves [spirits]…able to travel over the entire surface of the Earth in a few hours (climbing down millions of chimneys and back up), and knows whether we have been naughty or nice. Once a year, he comes down from the heavenlies to bless with gifts those who have found favor [in] him, and to leave bundles of switches [or coal] for those with whom he isn't pleased. It is traditional to leave food and drink for him on the hearth or mantel piece. In the fourth century there is believed to have been a bishop in Asia Minor remembered for his gifts to children. Because his name was Nicholas, the name "Saint Nicholas" has been blended into the Santa Claus tradition. He is completely pagan in origin and has displaced Jesus in the awareness and affections of children. I also might point out that if we are to rear our innocent children in the pagan tradition of Santa Claus, we must deceive them; we must lie to them.”49 “Nicholas was a bishop of Myra (Myre) in Asia Minor. Interestingly, in old French mire means both medicine and doctor, which can explain the devotion that grew around this thaumaturge [worker of wonders & performer of miracles] saint…In addition…Nicholas was an excellent magician. This good phantom saved people who called upon his aid and sometimes brought them gifts (such as the money offered to three young girls who were in danger of becoming prostitutes) by the mythical Santa Claus [Claus is a deformation of Niklaus and Nicholas] who flies through the air on a sleigh pulled by reindeer.”50 “On November 11th, Saint Martin, [rode] his donkey, [distributing] gifts to
Christianity The Origins of A Pagan Religion – Philippe Walter: Inner Traditions 2006 P. 65 Holidays and Holy Days Tom C. McKenny 1997 Jubilee Publishing New Zealand P 24 50 Christianity The Origins of A Pagan Religion – Philippe Walter: Inner Traditions 2006 P. 66
children in certain regions of Germany, Austria, and Belgium. In Germany, Holland and Lorraine it is Saint Nicholas, also on a donkey, which brings joy to the hearts of youngsters. In Wales there is a mythical horse called ‘Aderyn bee y llwyd' (bird with the gray beak) that makes the rounds of all the houses on Christmas and New Year’s Day. All of these figures were eventually replaced by Father Christmas, himself the heir of the AngloSaxon Santa Claus, linked by name to Nicholas who himself leads a donkey bearing gifts when legend does not have him pulled by swans or reindeer. And all of those figures are linked to an ancient bird-woman figure bequeathed by the Celtic great goddess…who symbolically arrives to offer her presents at the time of the gift-giving and festive season - that is, at the time when time is renewed, the dawn of the new year.”51
A History of Saint Nicholas:
“Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 C.E. and later became [the Catholic] Bishop of Myra. He died in 345 C.E. on December 6th [and] was named a saint in the 19th century. In 1087, a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy. There Nicholas supplanted a female moon-giving deity called ‘The Grandmother’, or ‘Pasqua Epiphania’, who used to fill the children's stockings with her gifts. The Grandmother’s shrine at Bari…became the center of the Nicholas cult. Members of this group gave each other gifts during a pageant they conducted annually on the anniversary of Nicholas’ death, December 6th. The Nicholas cult spread north until it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans. These groups worshipped a pantheon led by Woden –their chief god and the father of Thor, Balder, and Tiw. Woden had a long, white beard and rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn. When Nicholas merged with Woden, he shed his Mediterranean appearance, grew a beard, mounted a flying horse, rescheduled his flight for December, and donned heavy winter clothing. In a bid for pagan adherents in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church adopted the Nicholas cult and taught that he distributed gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th. In 1809, the novelist Washington Irving (most famous his The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle) wrote a satire of Dutch culture entitled Knickerbocker History. The satire refers several times to the white bearded, flying-horse riding Saint Nicholas using his Dutch name, Santa Claus. Dr. Clement Moore, a professor at Union Seminary, read Knickerbocker History, and in 1822 he published a poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas: “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the hope that Saint Nicholas soon would be there…” Moore innovated by portraying a Santa with eight reindeer who descended through chimneys.
Christianity The Origins of A Pagan Religion – Philippe Walter: Inner Traditions 2006 P. 46-47
The Bavarian illustrator Thomas Nast almost completed the modern picture of Santa Claus. From 1862 through 1886, based on Moore’s poem, Nast drew more than 2,200 cartoon images of Santa for Harper’s Weekly. Before Nast, Saint Nicholas had been pictured as everything from a stern looking bishop to a gnome-like figure in a frock. Nast also gave Santa a home at the North Pole, his workshop filled with elves,52 53 54 and his list of the good and bad children of the world. All Santa was missing was his red outfit. In 1931, the Coca Cola Corporation contracted the Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa. Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice, chosen for his cheerful, chubby face. The corporation insisted that Santa’s furtrimmed suit be bright, Coca Cola red. And Santa was born – a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol.”55 “Santa Claus, Old St. Nick, St. Nicholas, Sinterklass, Papa Noel, Kris Kringle: whatever we choose to call him…is arguably one of the consequences of the Christianization of a much earlier, pagan figure. The
“Elf: A small, often mischievous creature considered to have magical powers.” “Elves discreetly sank into the background with Christianity, since they belong to the old pagan beliefs…elves have a malicious side, too. In Germany, the word for “nightmare” is Albtraum, and these disturbing dreams are said to be brought by elves.” 54  Masonic and Occult Symbols Illustrated: Dr. Cathy Burns – Sharing 1998 Elementals: P. 77;  Eric Maple, The Complete Book of Witchcraft and Demonology Cranbury, New Jersey: A. S. Barnes and Company, Inc.., 1996 Edition P. 11 of Glossary;  The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs: Adele Nozedar – Metro Books, 2010 Fauna: Djinn-Fairy P. 256 55 1. The Real Story of Christmas: The Origin of Santa Clause: Lawrence Kelemen [Orthodox rabbi, international lecturer & author] http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm 2. Santa Claus, Last of the Wild Men: The Origins and Evolution of Saint Nicholas, Spanning 50,000 Years: Phyllis Siefker - McFarland, 2006 3. "Santa Claus." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/522799/Santa-Claus>. 4. The Blade: Sunday, December 23, 1984/Section E Entertainment By Boris Nelson (Blades Arts Editor) Toledo, Ohio 5. The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving: Andrew Burstein – Basic Books 2007 P. 86, 142, 284, 362 6. Bowler, Gerry, Santa Claus: A Biography McClelland & Stewart Ltd, Toronto, 2005 7. Christoph, Peter R., "Saint Nicholas," The Encyclopedia of New York State, Sample Entries 8. "A Glimpse of an Old Dutch Town," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Harper and Brothers, New York, Vol. 62, Number 370, March 1881 9. Hageman, Howard, Book review: Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan: Biography of a Legend by Charles W. Jones, Theology Today, October 1979 10. Jones, Charles W., "Knickerbocker Santa Claus," The New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Volume XXXVIII Number 4, October 1954 11. Nissenbaum, Stephen, The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America's Most Cherished Holiday Vintage, Random House, New York, 1996 12. Seal, Jeremy, Nicholas: The epic journey from Saint to Santa Claus Bloomsbury, New York & London, 2005 13. Walsh, Joseph J., Were They Wise Men or Kings, Joseph J. Walsh, Westminster John Knox, 2001 14. http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=458
name and form of this character may have altered over the centuries, and the actual character is an amalgam of different historical and mythological figures…his brightly colored garb is a relatively recent introduction, though not, as popularly supposed, wholly invented by the Coca-Cola corporation but certainly popularized by them, inspired by an earlier cartoon that appeared in 1863, by one Thomas Nast whose work appeared in the Harper’s Weekly…this depiction of Santa as we recognize him today is now ubiquitous; it’s an etching showing a smiling old man with holly tucked into the brim of his hat, clutching a pipe in one hand with a bundle of toys and gifts under his arm. Prior to Nast’s interpretation, Father Christmas’s appearance was much more subdued-a taller, slimmer, figure dressed in a slubby brown or green color, as befitting his origins as a pagan spirit of nature. One of the manifestations of this ancient nature spirit is in the guise of “Old Winter,” personified in a Norse ritual whereby an old man went from door to door, fed and watered wherever he went…the god Odin (who also appears to humans as an old man with a beard) had a huge feast at Yule for the slain warriors in Valhalla56. Children left their shoes stuffed with food for Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir; in exchange Sleipnir refilled these boots with gifts. These customs seem to have merged with the midwinter Saturnalia festival of the Romans. Later, in efforts to Christianize this pagan character, he was linked to St. Nicholas, a fourthcentury bishop born in Patara in Turkey…Santa’s reindeer…carry much the same symbolism of the horse, able to conduct spirits between the world of the living and the dead…in parts of India, the symbol of a chubby genie, also dressed in red and white but propelled by a flying carpet rather than by reindeer.”57 “In the Hindu culture, the Sûrya and his charioteer Aruna rides across the sky in a horse-drawn sun chariot. In other cultures, animals such as the goat (Zeus) or the reindeer pull the chariot. Origin of Santa Claus: 4th century: Historical evidence shows that St. Nicholas never existed as a human. He was rather a Christianized version of various Pagan sea gods — the Greek god Poseidon, the Roman god Neptune, and the Teutonic god Hold Nickar. In the early centuries of the Christian church, many Pagan gods and goddesses were humanized and converted to Christian saints. When the church created the persona of St. Nicholas, they adopted Poseidon’s title “the Sailor.” They picked up his last name from Nickar. Various temples of Poseidon became shrines of St. Nicholas.”58
In Norse mythology, Valhalla (from Old Norse Valhöll "hall of the slain” is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard, ruled over by the god Odin. 57 The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook: An A to Z Compendium of Over 1000 Designs: Adele Nozedar – Metro Books, 2010 Fauna: Father Christmas P. 258 58 The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets: Barbara Walker - Harper and Row 1983 P. 725-726
The Three Wise Men at the Manger Biblical or not? Not.
"The greatest of kings born in the most humble of places," proclaims one of the three wise men, as he showed up at the manger the night Yeshua was born in Bethlehem, in the 2006 movie, The Nativity Story. Matthew 2:7-11: Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 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 Mary 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.
I Peter 1:14-15: Live as children of obedience to God; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires that governed you in your former ignorance. But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.
When I make a claim, for example, Christmas is of pagan origin and is not rooted in scripture, I do not speak of my own theories. I only deal in researched facts. In nature, I'm black and white. I don't live in the grey. And that is how I write. If you claim Christianity, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, then you take Scriptures and you use them as edification on your life and the lives of your brothers and sisters. You do not take your life and edify God and Scriptures. You do not take Scriptures out of context and build a foundation because you refuse to recognize the grey. Either you're a child of God or a child of the world. It's a choice. But there is not playing "christian."
The Father hates and forbids all forms of paganism, for it honors other, false gods and leads to the spiritual adultery, "a whoring after other gods.” [Judges 2:17; 8:33, Exodus 34:16, Hosea 1:2; 4:12; 5:4; 9:1, Psalm 106:39, Leviticus 17:7] He even warns that the bondage and sickness may be felt by succeeding generations. [Exodus 20:3-6; 34:6-7, Deuteronomy 5:9-10; 7:9-10, I Kings 21:29, Job 21:19, Isaiah 14:21, Jeremiah 32:18, Matthew 23:32, Ezekiel 20:4] The "images of their gods,” are not to be tolerated or brought into our homes, lest we "be snared therein," and become "a cursed thing like it.” [Deuteronomy 7:2, 16, 25-26; 12:30; 13:16; 20:18, Judges 2:3; 8:27, Exodus 23:24, 33; 34:12, Joshua 23:13, Psalm 106:36; Jeremiah 10, 1 John 5:21, Ezekiel 14:14, I Corinthians 12:2] The Father warns us very specifically about divination, spiritism, enchantment, sorcery, witchcraft. He says that "all who do these things are arc abomination unto the Lord. [Deuteronomy 12:31; 18:9-12,14, II Kings 16:3; 17:17; 21:6; 23:24, Leviticus 18:21; 19:26, 31; 20:6, Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; 27:9-10; 32:35, Ezekiel 16:1,36, Genesis 44:5, Exodus 22:18, I Samuel 15:23; 28:3, Psalm 106:37-38, Micah 5:12, Malachi 3:5] Yeshua said the great condemnation of men is that they choose darkness rather than light, preferring darkness "because their deeds are evil.” [John 1:5; 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:35-36, 46 Proverbs 4:19; 21:3, 9, Job 24:16, Ephesians 5:11,13, Acts 26:18] Paul tells us that we "cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and also the cup of the devils." We are likewise taught clearly that we are to come apart from such unholy works of darkness, that we are not even to touch such unclean practices and objects. The Holy and the profound don't mix. [I Corinthians 10:20-22, II Corinthians 6:14-18, Leviticus 26:12, John 1:5; 14:23, Ecclesiastes 6:10, Isaiah 5:20] We are told plainly to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness"; rather we are told to “expose them for that they really are.” “The Word of God leaves no room for such "middle ground.” [Ephesians 5:6-11, John 3:20, Galatians 5:9,22, I Corinthians 8:9; 5:6, Romans 12:2; 13:12, Colossians 1:10,12; 2:8, 1 John 2:8, II Thessalonians 2:3, Hebrews 13:9, I Timothy 6:20, I Thessalonians 5:21-23, I John 4:1]