Tuesday, September 20, 2016

THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS




BY PASTOR MIKE TAYLOR

 

 John 4:23  “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

Those who wish only to honor and worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ take the time each year to commemorate the birth of our Lord during this time known traditionally as Christmas. But to do so must be out of a pure understanding of what was accomplished on a clear Bethlehem night so long ago, now nigh 2000 years.  We must honor the birth of our Savior with the knowledge of the truth of his birth. As the above verse attest, God wishes to be worshiped, but in Spirit and in truth. So I take this time each year to remind brothers and sisters in Christ, “what is the truth of the birth of our Savior?” When we learn the truth of His birth, then it is upon each of us to decide whether to follow the truth of God, or follow the traditions of  men. The following is a message I wish to pass on to like minded believers in the life of the greatest human that ever lived, Jesus the Christ or Messiah.


Traditionly, it is the Christmas season, again. A time of joy about the birth of our Savior, a time of good will toward men, and family getting together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Many Christians view this time as a most holy time when Jesus Christ was born in a manger, as God in the flesh, and was announced to the world via shepherds tending their flocks in the fields by night. But is it the truth of His birth? Not to offend anyone who looks on this season with much anticipation of what it has traditionally held, even from the time I was a boy. Who doesn’t  like pretty decorations, giving gifts to a small child, having big dinners, and family joining in festivities of the season? Somewhere in that mix, we may, I repeat…”MAY” (many don’t) take time to acknowledge that the season was designed to honor and worship the birth of our Savior. In our morally challenged nation of modern USA (and for that matter, the world) this time of year has evolved into a time of parties, revelry, debauchery, greed, and sinful displays that honor the flesh, but do NOT honor God. Those who wish to honor God, and the birth of our Savior MUST know the historial truth behind what our modern era calls “Christmas” and here it is. 
THE TRUTH OF CHRISTMAS



Many centuries ago, the Roman Catholic Church in all its religious and dictatorial desire to give “honor” to the Savior, imposed a set date of December 25th as the date that Jesus was born. First, I wish to take an historical position, and foremost and more importantly, a biblical position on this most human of traditions that comes in the winter every year of our modern times.

FIRST, THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT

Is there anything that we can look to that determines what day exactly, that Jesus Christ was born?  No, not exactly as the bible does not pinpoint the exact day of our Saviors birth.  But we can come close to the month and season of His birth from scripture and it wasn’t in December. How do I know? Scripture gives an account of the birth of Jesus in relationship of the birth of John the Baptist and that of Mary being with child. Let’s start  our discovery with the father of John the Baptist. John, who became the forerunner of the proclamation of the Messiah, was the second cousin of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist had as his father a member of the priesthood called by the name, Zacharias. . Zacharias was given the priestly duties before the Lord at set dates in the course of 24 priest that performed their duties at set times of the year. Zacharias duties fell on the course of Abijah, as we find in Luke chapter 1:

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.

1:6  And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

1:7  And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

1:8  And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,

1:9  According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.”

From the time of King David, there were 24 courses of priests assigned to theTemple, and the course of Abijah was the 8th course as a permanent assignment. Each course of priests served for 7 days (1 Chronicles 9:25), twice a year. Their week long service at the Temple began and ended on the Sabbath (2 Chronicles 23:8).

We know from studying scripture and knowing how the course fell that Zacharias was given these duties during the 10th week of the Jewish year, or about Sivan 12-18, which falls on our calendar in the month of May/June.

We can read about the encounter that Zacharias had with the angel Gabriel in the subsequent verses that speak of the proclamation that Zecharias and  Elisabeth would have a child and his name was to be John. But to pinpoint the near date of the conception of John the Baptist we look to these verses in that same passage of Luke:

1:23  “And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

1:24  And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,

1:25  Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

So by taking this scripture, we can determine that John the Baptist was conceived in June sometime, and Elisabeth hid herself for 5 months.”



How does this relate to the birth of Jesus? We read further down in Luke and we come to the angel now appearing to Mary, the earthly mother of our Savior.

1:26  “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

1:27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

1:28  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

1:29  And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

1:30  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

1:31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.”

Luke makes a pointed effort to show that in the “sixth month” meaning from the time of John the Baptist being conceived, an angel also came to Mary and she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit with Jesus.

1:36  “And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.”

By taking this biblical account of the conception of John the Baptist, who would be born 9 months later, we find that John was born sometime in the spring, or sometime in March or early April on our calendar, and in the Jewish calendar, the month of Nisan, around Passover time. Simple math allows us to calculate the approximate time of the birth of Jesus by taking the time of Mary coming to Elisabeth who was 6 months pregnant, and Mary having just conceived shows that Jesus would be born 6 months after John’s birth, around the time of the fall, or approximately, during the Feast of Tabernacles celebration in the month of September or early October. Which makes a lot of sense, as the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles is “God with us.” God came to live amongst us as a living, breathing human being during this time.

There are many more clues that people overlook when they falsely embrace the birth of our Lord. It is noted that the angels came to the shepherds who were tending their flocks in the fields around Bethlehem. We know that the weather there is similar to ours, as it is on the same latitude as we are in the Midwest, so their winter, if it were in December, could be very cold and snowy with no grass growing on the hills. Also, these sheep or lambs were being tended, possibly for the temple sacrifices that would begin in the fall during the Day of Atonement and they would not risk the death of fragile lambs to cold weather.

Another clue is that Joseph was commanded to go to his place of birth to be counted for taxes by the census of Quirinius, as taxes would be leveled when the farmers had the proceeds from their crops and were full of money. Also, they would naturally gather to celebrate a festival during this time, or the Feast of Tabernacles, so the town was packed with feast observers, hence Mary and Joseph could find no room at the Inn for lodging.

Why is this all important? It was commanded by Jesus to observe His death and resurrection, but no where is there a commandment to observe His birth. Then why do we do it? Simply, it is tradition that was started by the ruling theocracy, or the Roman Catholic Church. Is there anything wrong with observing the birth of Jesus Christ? No, not in itself, as we are joyous and thankful that He did come, as a child and grow into a man, full of grace and truth with one mission, to save the world of its sins. But for some reason, men find no threat coming from a cute little baby lying in a manger, but have a hard time acknowledging the risen Savior who will come back as a ruling and reigning Warrior King with a rod of iron to put down all sin and rebellion found on this earth.

SECOND, THE HISTORICAL ASPECTS OF CHRISTMAS

"One prolific writer in the early church fathers was Irenaeus, the bishop over all the churches of Asia Minor. He was designated a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, and was the bishop following John the apostle and Polycarp. Irenaeus was bishop in about 170-180 AD, and wrote about all the church observances. Nowhere is Christmas mentioned or the observance of a day for the supposed birth of Yeshua. You can read Irenaeus' writings in English at the Wheaton University website, and check it out for yourself.

“The Catholic encyclopedia states that shortly after the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, a pope assigned December 25th as the day for observing the birth of Jesus. Then in the 5th century AD, another pope made it church law, that all Christians would observe December 25 as Christmas, forever. Think about it, the date of December 25 was chosen over 300 years after the death of Jesus, as the date of His birth; and 400 years afterwards it was institutionalized as a mandatory church observance.” (Paganism in Christmas, Reinhold.)

Oh how people love to participate in all the man-made aspects of Christmas; the glittering lights, the evergreen tree, the giving of presents, and the entire merchant push for their biggest sales period of the year. While some Christians will say that "we ought not to commercialize Christmas", or "let's put Christ back in Christmas", those are just slogans to perpetuate what is historically something we must admit, it is a pagan festival. Jesus Christ is NOT in Christmas, as the day proclaims.  Are you shocked? You should be if you’re a true follower of Jesus Christ. Let’s see what this time in history is really about, and how Jesus our Savior was added to this celebration and it’s not based on Christian principles of worship.

As mentioned, three hundred years after the resurrection of our Lord, the Roman Catholic Church by edict proclaimed the date of December 25th as the official date of the birth of Jesus. Years later, the Emperor Constantine designated and approved this date by stating the following:

"On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations, the bounty of heaven should be lost."

I’m going to reveal some details that most Christians do not understand or realize where these traditions came from. The popes ordered Christmas to be instituted on the birthday of Sol the sun-god, because the Roman pagans already observed Sunday to honor Sol and the winter solstice period was already observed as Sol's birthday. This was an overt means to convince the people that Sol (the sun) and Jesus were the same person. The winter solstice occurs on December 21, and Saturnalia was kept from December 17-24. Then on December 25, Brumalia was the celebration of the rebirth of the sun-god. This is called Mithraism.

To get a secular definition of the meaning of this tradition, all one has to do is look at any dictionary, or online at Wikipedia at the following URL:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

The tradition is historical, and has nothing to do with Christianity as a religion. So who was Sol the sun-god? It was a continuation of the Ba’al worship from ancient days. It was present in Egypt and back to ancient Babylon. December 25 was the birth day of Tammuz, the son of Semiramis, and the so called rebirth of Nimrod his father. Note that Semiramis married her own son, by Nimrod, as the risen king. (incest) The ancient legend is that a green tree sprang up on Brumalia, with the stump symbolizing Nimrod (Ba’al) and the green tree Tammuz. This festival is nothing more than witchcraft institutionalized in the church today as Christmas. It is Ba’al worship. Many Christians hold up their noses over ancient Israel who worshiped YHVH and also worshiped the baals. They think they would never do such things themselves. However, they are practicing the same Ba’al worship that people were criticized in the scriptures over 2500 years ago.

Although the early Roman Catholic popes knew of the pagan origins of these celebrations that did not concern them, as they felt that substituting Christ in a pagan tradition would satisfy the new converts into their mainstream religion.

Jeremiah warned of this practice when he wrote of a passage that sounds much like a Christmas tree:

Jeremiah 10:3-4 “For the customs of the people are a delusion; because it is wood cut from the forest, the work of the hands of the craftsman with a cutting tool. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers so that it will not totter.”

I don’t wish to pour water on your parade, as many Christians celebrate the season with a pure heart and again, only wish to honor the Lord Jesus by being in church and being mindful of the beginning of the salvation of the world. Is it wrong to celebrate Christmas even with all the added tinsel and trappings of a man made holiday? You have to decide. Does God condone connecting His Holy Name, Jesus Christ, and a name above every name with a tradition that seeks pleasure of the flesh, but sprinkles in piety to season the stew? I am reminded of a verse that jumps out at me:

"Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them [the pagans in their customs] . . . that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods" (Deuteronomy 12:30-31).


 Remember again what Jesus said and opening this message,  in John 4:24,

4:23  “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth, meaning we must worship to the fullest of God's intent as revealed in His Word, with every act guided and determined by His revealed truth. Yet, how many corners do we cut when we feel it serves us better at the time? We do not add to it, or take away from it.

By blending in different worldly traditions in our misguided attempt to worship and honor God we are missing the mark and by doing so, sinning against God. The world's theologians call this process syncretism, which means "the combination of different forms of belief or practice; the fusion of two or more original forms."  Example is the incident of the Golden Calf found in your bible that the Hebrew people has Aaron fashion for them (Exodus chapter 32), that blends the worship of the true God with the worship of false gods, and the result is proclaimed to be worship of which men believed the true God  would approve of. Does God now or did He then, approve? What was the judgment of the Hebrew people when they tried to mix paganism with the worship of Jehovah? Exodus:

32:7  “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

32:8  They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”

God intended to wipe the children of Israel away in His hot anger, but Moses interceded for whole of the people and God spared them for Moses plea, but punishment was instituted by Moses and the tribe of Levi. You can read verses 9-26, which ends with these verses to the judgment that was enacted for their great sin:

32:27  “And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.

32:28  And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

32:29  For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.

32:30  And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.”

God and Moses were deeply offended when the people tried to celebrate a God of their own minds, by redefining Him and controlling Him to their own desires. I’ve had people tell me that they don’t care if Christmas started as a pagan ritual as it’s their way of praising God. Is not this person doing the same thing as the Israelites did in the wilderness when they substituted a golden calf, as god of their own desire, for the true God of Heaven? Are you doing the same thing? At this time of the year, let us examine our hearts and minds and determine, are we worshipping God in spirit and in truth, or are we making a god of our own desires as Israel did? I leave it to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life and Holy conviction.


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

As I started this message, I wish to offend no one, but as a Christian, a true believer,  you must know the truth of what the Bible says is the real season of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Now I leave it to your own conscience and good will wishing only to serve our God with true worship.

                                                               Merry Christmas?




This is pastor Mike Taylor, wish God’s salvation in your life though Jesus Christ our Lord. If you have any need for prayer, for counseling, or just to listen, send me an email to
 realteam1999@sbcglobal.net,  
God bless you, till we meet at Jesus feet.




Comments

mike pentycofe
12/14/2014 6:03pm
God bless you Pastor Mike for speaking the truth about Christmas ! To many so called Christians would rather be politically correct than to know and speak the truth. Most of humanity has completely missed the boat as far as true worship in this day and age ! Humanity has a tendency toward tradition rather than truth.. As the Apostle Paul writes, we must study and learn the truth of the Word of God and do it in the proper context. The power of the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us to the truth ! But we must be in tune to his leading. When we know the truth it will indeed set us free !!! Praise the mighty name of Jesus Christ !!! Amen and Amen !!!
Reply
lester looney
12/14/2014 8:57pm
Thanks Brother Mike. Would you also bring to people's attention about where Saint Nick and the Christmas tree came into the picture of Christmas time. The Nicolaitans (Ref. Rev. 2:6 & 15, and Acts 6:5) were followers of Nicholas (a proselyte Jew). He mixed Jewish traditions and worship with paganism (worship of things of nature) and the idea of using an ornamented tree with a star on top, and other paganistic ornaments in Jewish worship rituals -- His followers established him as Saint Nicolas. Thus we now have all the ritualistic paganism of giving so much attention to the Christmas tree.
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12/15/2014 3:47pm
I think you just did a good job of adding more reasons to reject the season. I observe a time of joyous singing and praising God for the birth of His Son during the season of His true birth...we pick a date closer to His real birth...this year it was Oct. 8...why? No special reason, as one member said...it doesn't matter what day we keep, but how we keep it...but at least this day has no other trappings or resemblance to pagan worship of any other god....We celebrate the Lord's birth around the Feast of Tabernacles, as that was the season that Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem and Jesus was subsequently born in a stable, because there was no room at the Inn, because of the crowds. God bless.
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Jerry C
12/15/2014 8:57am
Good job pastor Mike. When I found out about in the book of Revelation of Jesus' coming millennial reign and that the Feast of Tabernacles (that you mention) will be observed by all nations, I went on a quest to learn all 7 Feast Days. Jesus fulfilled the four in the spring (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits & Shavaot/Pentecost). Jesus will fulfill the remaining three in the fall (Trumpets, Atonement & Tabernacles). Because of my renewed interest in the Jewishness of Jesus & God's 7 Holy Feast Days, I quit following Christmas (Easter, Halloween, etc...) & have been trying to follow God's Appointed Days. Amazing how little we Christians know about our Jewish Messiah!! Great & timely article. Amen
Reply
12/15/2014 3:55pm
Jerry,
you got that one down pat....Praise God....The next Feast to be fulfilled is the Feast of Trumpets....(a sign of the return of the King) with blowing of trumpets. We are told that Jesus will come at "the last trump" ...I believe He speaks of the last trumpet blown commemorating this festival ordained by God...We are now in the Church Age..or between Pentecost and the Feast of Trumpets...Someday soon, as trumpet will sound, and those who are ready will hear it and be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, and the dead will be raised to life eternal...we will join our Lord in the clouds, in a gathering we call the rapture....I wrote about those events on this website...it's for your reading pleasure....just scroll and you'll find it...God bless,
Reply
Matt Koop
12/15/2014 9:58am
Colossians 2:16-22English Standard Version (ESV)

Let No One Disqualify You

16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions,[a] puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?

As you say, this is a matter between the Holy Spirit and the believer. I for one was 35 years old before I knew the pagan origins of the holidays and have never given praise to any other than the Lord. I did my own research to make sure that I didn't have to live like the the JWs. Let each of us examine ourselves to make sure that our observances and festivals are not false worship.
Reply
12/15/2014 3:50pm
Matt,
as was mentioned, each of us have to make a decision on what time of year to honor our Lord in worship of His birth...given the complete facts of why Christmas is celebrated traditionally on Dec. 25th leads one to make a choice....follow God or follow man....it's up to each individual and I make no judgment on any man who does so with a pure heart. But they must know the truth...I leave judgment to God's Holy Spirit....who am I, but a mere man?
God bless,
Reply
12/15/2014 3:13pm
the following four comments are from a dear brother who in most matters agrees with me, but on this one issue, we agree to disagree...
we'll start with his first email to me:


Hi Mike.

As you probably know, I'm more interested in what Christmas represents NOW rather what that December 25 meant in the past. Besides, if we want to get technical, the Earth's rotation is not constant. Due to the influence of the moon, there is a gradual slowing. Today we adjust our atomic clocks to compensate, but such technology of course did not exist before the 20th century. So here we have another wrinkle in our timekeeping over the centuries. Okay, science lesson concluded!

Since no one knows when Jesus was born, one day to honor his birth is as good as another to me. I figure since the angels thought it important enough to celebrate this wonderful and miraculous event - and that with lowly shepherds and not the elite of that time, we should all do the same, no matter what day we decide to do it.

But since this is not a salvation issue, I don't have a problem with those who disagree with me.
I'm looking at this from a Romans 14 point of view.

On the major points of salvation and prophecy, we pretty much agree.

God bless!
Ed
Reply
12/15/2014 3:15pm
Ed,
as I mentioned in the message, I leave it to your own spiritual conviction to either follow the commands of men...IE..the Catholic Church, or to follow God who condemns worshiping Him in vain...God knows and now we know that this way of worship is in tribute to pagan gods by design. Does God condone such displays of ignorance, especially when you know the truth of it's beginnings?....it doesn't matter what it means to you today, as God didn't find it anything but offensive when the Israelites did the same by erecting a golden calf to honor Him....they expected it to be included in their Feast celebrations, which were ordained by God, but they wished to define who God was in their own minds. We must understand, God has a memory and He remembers quite well what these dates and symbols represented to the men of the past.

Was God amused? No, He was not amused...He was indignant and offended to the point of wanting to wipe them from the face of the earth. Should we take a lesson from this? If you believe in pure worship of God and not to approach Him with things that have been defiled...and Ed, proven by historical evidence that this form of worship is defiled by pagan influence, then my brother, you have to decide for yourself, if you wish to approach Him with worship that has been tainted by evil men who wished to include the worship of Ba'al symbols mixed with elements of the most important event in the history of mankind, second only to the resurrection of His only Son...being His birth....Is it a salvation issue...no......but to worship Him faithfully and the way He wishes to be worshiped, you and I must do it in the Spirit and in Truth...now you know the truth....your spirit has to decide if you will follow His commands, or the commands of men...God bless,
YBIC,
Pastor Mike
Reply
12/15/2014 3:16pm
To this, Ed replied:

Hello again.

I can see you feel very strongly about this. the thing is, Mike NONE of us capable of a "pure worship" any more than we are capable of living a sinless life. No one but Jesus did that. I do think that if we think we are the only ones "purely worshiping" God, then we join the ranks of the Pharisees and all the self-righteous crowd, of which there are plenty today, thinking they are the only ones who have it right and that the rest of us don't. I give you the Mormons, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses - the list is endless.

I recognize that I am just not smart enough to say that I'm the only one who has it right and everyone else is wrong - because the odds are overwhelming that is not so! As Paul said, even if we performed everything the Mosaic Law told us to do, it would not save us (which only Jesus could do anyway) , Jesus would not have had to sacrifice himself to save us.

Again, I'll put my trust in Jesus and not rely on myself or anything else.

Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts - even if I disagree.

God bless - again.
Ed
12/15/2014 3:17pm
Ed, And Hello to you as well, again..
I have not kept Christmas for many years...for one reason, it is pagan...through and through...I felt odd about it for years after I became an adult...I looked around and thought to myself, does God approve of how we worship Him during this "season of good will toward men"...?

I had to say, no...no, He does not...am I convinced about this..yes. Is my worship pure? Not this side of eternity it can't be, as I'm mortal, but in the same breath, I will do nothing that I know goes against His laws, or His commands to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth....Yes, you are right, only Jesus will save us. Like I said, it's not a salvation issue, as only Jesus can save, BUT in the same flip side of the coin...are we being obedient to Him?

...Jesus said : John 14:15, "If you love me, keep my commandments". Now that is coming from the Lord Jesus who saved us, who we say "we love". Since the Father and He are One, then what Jesus and the Father have commanded, out of obedience and our undying love for them, WE MUST do as He ask....to do otherwise, is to worship Him in vain...Jesus chastises us by speaking to each of us today by His words: Matthew chapter 15:
15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Yes, Jesus saved us, but how MUCH do you love Him...really? I'm not condemning you, but posing the question, if the Lord was standing right there beside you, would He be pleased? God bless,
YBIC,
Pastor Mike
Reply
12/15/2014 3:19pm
Hi Mike.

Well, my friend, I'm just as convinced that if I'm wrong, which I don't think I am, Jesus will understand that my intention is to honor his first Advent and his birth among us just as the angels and shepherds did, even as I await his Second.

God bless.
Ed
Reply
That is correct, Ed.....
you have to do what the Holy Spirit convicts you about or leads you in this life...I'm sure at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ, He will reward those who understood His commandments and correct those that did not...BUT we will receive rewards done for Him, and the rest will be burned up....we will both enter into His glorious Kingdom as brothers in Christ, and heirs of salvation....Praise His Holy Name...God bless you, brother,
YBIC,
Pastor Mike
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Lisa G
12/16/2014 3:05pm
Pastor Mike,

I first learned of the pagan origins of Christmas when I was in my 30's. I was shocked and it did bother me. Growing up in the U.S. (of which I am very proud and blessed) I think that most of us can attest to how deeply ingrained in our psyche this holiday is....most especially if you're a child of the 50's or 60's...which I am. It is so firmly established in our hearts that it is nearly impossible to separate ourselves from the fond memories that we have from childhood and from those we've passed down to our children. And who would want to anyway? Yes, it's deeply entrenched in our psyche..

So I continued to celebrate Christmas as I had always done. But.....as I continued to study and learn of it's origins and of the nefarious reasons behind it, it bothered me more and more. Especially so because it joined the blessed name of Christ with....well....Ba'al. How sacrilegious!......mingling the Spiritual with the worldly.

But still I continued to celebrate Christmas as "Jesus was the reason for the season". I thought somehow that seemed to make it all better. After all, Christmas is NOT today what it once was. Really it's not. Nor does it have the meaning that it once did. Even very many of the original traditions associated with it have changed or disappeared entirely over the centuries. I would say that it has sufficiently "morphed" into more or less a man made holiday. But then, some might say the same thing about Halloween or St. Valentine's Day. And so, I continued to celebrate.

But little by little over the years I found myself distancing the name of Christ with this holiday and with "Easter" as well (but that's another can of worms). Until finally I decided to celebrate Christmas as just another "secular" holiday......as I would Labor Day, Memorial Day or 4th of July.

Is that a compromise? Maybe, but I celebrate it for what it represents TODAY.......a time of gifts and cheer and family and holiday happiness....and ONLY that. Would Jesus condemn me for that? Would he condemn me for celebrating Mother's Day, Father's Day, Veteran's Day? I don't think so. Neither do I condemn or scold anyone who celebrates Christmas as Christ's birth, though I recognize that it is not the time of his birth.

I try to remember what Jesus said; "And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's. Luke 20:25

I realize he was talking about money and taxes in that verse. But I think it can still apply here. Money and possessions, those are things of the world. So are holidays. Yes; I know, we are in the world but we are not of the world. And because we are NOT of the world...spiritually....don't attach the spiritual things of God with the world. Hence, the reason I celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday.

As I said, I have no problem with anyone who celebrates Christmas as Jesus' birthday. Though I happen to know that they are well intentioned but wrong. But I understand the "psyche" behind it. You and I and many others can speak the truth to them... in love. But that's all we can do. It's the Holy Spirit who teaches and guides and grows a person in their spiritual maturity. And we all grow differently....as the Spirit leads and as we yield to His teaching. It took me nearly 20 years to come to the point where I am now. (sometimes I'm kind of slow....or maybe just stubborn) I pray that each person will pray and ask God to guide them and reveal His truth to them. And may they prayerfully submit to His will.

And so, as we each go along in our walk with the Lord:
May God bless you all and Merry Christmas!

Lisa G
Texas
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12/17/2014 3:24pm
LIsa,
yes, it is a personal choice based on Holy Spirit conviction. If one knows the truth and continues to practice what they know is a lie, then to them, it is a sin . To others who truly believe Christ, in Christimas, then they are deceived, just not sinning...but then again, did the Israelites know they were deceived, or just practicing what had been their religious tradition from being slaves in Egypt and pagan influences ingrained into their minds. Remember, God had to start from scratch to re-teach them by writing His Ten Commandments in stone, as they had all but forgotten His Law. Does God turn a blind eye to our ignorance, or turn a deaf ear to when we know the truth and do it not? Each of us have to decide and that was the intent of the sermon...God bless
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Bob
12/17/2014 1:48pm
One thing that wasn't mentioned which is equally important. The idea of celebrating a birthday was a pagan tradition. As with many things we Christians took the idea and converted it to our beliefs. Does that mean it's wrong to celebrate your birthday? Maybe if you feel convicted but for most I would say no. Remember, even the bible has pagan influences. There are a large number of stories and even songs (in the Psalms) that are directly lifted from older, pagan stories where the names where changed when converted to Christianity. If it's not wrong for God to use them for his glory then it's not wrong for us.
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12/17/2014 3:14pm
Bob,
that's not the point. I celebrate the birth of my Savior as well, but just not the "traditional" day, as mentioned that it is associated with paganism, much like the children of Israel tried to worship God with a golden calf. But your assertion that the Bible has pagan influenced is very disturbing to hear from a believer, if indeed you are. If not, then send me your proof that the Bible used pagan stories and changed the names, kinda like Catholicism changed the names and "christianized" them. God Word is Holy and to say something you just said, borders on blasphemy...email me with your proof, or reply and I'll decide if your proof passes the mustard test...God bless,
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Lisa G
12/17/2014 9:28pm
Pastor Mike,

There are many things that have been taught in our churches for decades that are not accurate according to the Bible. Yet they continue to be taught and passed down from generation to generation.

Example: In every church Christmas play you will see the Magi visiting the Lord (baby Jesus) at the manger. The Bible doesn't teach that. The Magi did come with their gifts.....but not to the manger. What the Bible does say is that when they were come into the HOUSE, they saw the "young child" with Mary his mother and they fell down and worshiped him....

Example: In most churches Christians are taught that their name is written in the Book of Life when they are saved. The Bible doesn't teach that. What is does teach is that names were written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world. And their names will be blotted out if they are never saved......read the book of Revelation.

Example: Most people think Noah took 2 of every kind of animal on the Ark. But the Bible teaches that he took 7 of the clean and 2 of the unclean of every kind.

And many other things are being taught and passed down inaccurately because we have become content to learn by rote. Most people don't take the time to search out the scriptures though we are told to "study to show ourselves approved".

I believe your lesson on Christmas is accurate. Let us pray that God will give everyone the passion and desire to search out the truth of the scriptures for themselves.

I always enjoy your lessons and look forward to reading them every week.

God Bless

Lisa G
Texas
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kim segar
01/02/2015 8:40am
For me, because Jeshua said HE hated paganism and traditions of men and killed many in His anger. It did begin even in the begining but is still here and like G-d said, what was , will be, like in the days of Noah. and those who love the world is sin and is treason in heaven. we cannot serve two mastors. why would I celegrate something G-d hates. it is the same as their god of the sun..named ISIS which we see all around the world. and what does darkness have to do with light. the very thing chuches are and have embraced , the apostasy is blooming as the falling away continues and will till G-d says the time of the gentiles is over and his eyes go back to Israel. the tower of babel is being built again where violence is the same reason G-d destroyed it, like in the days of Noah were. we have had all the WORD which is G-d to warn us. chose today , who will you serve..I choose my councler, prince of peace, mighty G-d and everlasting father. shalom all these following baal worship is the same reason G-d set aside Israel and the Jews. we could learn from that hopefully.
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