Pagan symbols.

symbols“When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and 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 LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32

This is my opinion, so please take it as such, nothing more, nothing less.

I read something today that got me thinking about the symbols used at Christmas and Easter.
There are evergreen trees, twinkly lights, candles, wreaths, gingerbread biscuits, fruit cakes, presents, chocolate eggs, chicks, rabbits etc etc.
Most of these are not bad or pagan, symbols in and of themselves. After all, God made trees, chickens, rabbits; candles are handy for blackouts or if you live without electricity, gingerbread is yummy all year round and so is chocolate.

But it is my understanding that those symbols that the pagans used to worship their gods, whether it be Pan, Astarte, Eostre, the sun, the moon, mother earth,or whatever, are not to be used in the same manner of worshiping the God of the Holy Bible, the Creator of the universe.
The verses in Deuteronomy above seem to suggest that.

It is my understanding that we have been given two symbols to use in remembrance of Jesus.. the bread and the ‘wine’, both of which symbolise his shed blood and his bodily sacrifice for the world.
“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew* the Lord’s death till he come.” 1 Corinthians 11:24,25
*Strong’s Concordance #G2605 “καταγγέλλω katangéllō, kat-ang-gel’-lo; from G2596 and the base of G32; to proclaim, promulgate:—declare, preach, shew, speak of, teach. – t
o announce, declare, promulgate, make known, to proclaim publicly, publish.”

It seems to me that eating the bread and ‘wine’ is what Jesus tells us to do to teach or show the world about him, not by using all the other symbols associated with these holidays. To me, the other symbols are all in vain because they represent nothing of what Jesus did on the cross.
By the taking of the bread and the ‘wine’ we are showing the world what Jesus actually did for them, which was to die on the cross, shed his blood and have his body broken, and isn’t that the message of the Gospel?

 

 

 

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Christmas.

xmassThis is just going to be a short post about Christmas.

There are many, many people who have tried to show believers the origins of Christmas and what the Bible says about it, but most don’t seem too concerned about it. There is much proof that it is NOT Jesus’ birthday, and there is much proof that it is pagan in origin. Still, many people don’t seem too concerned about those facts.

Many of the reasons I hear are that ‘I know it’s not Jesus’ birthday, but I choose to celebrate it at Christmas anyway’; or ‘It’s not pagan and the traditions all relate to Christ’ (ie evergreen tree represents ever lasting life, the star on the tree represents the star of Bethlehem, the lights represent Jesus as being the light), or ‘I know it’s a pagan day, but God can redeem anything’ etc.. They do these things in remembrance of Jesus.
So, lets look at what the Bible says to do in remembrance of him: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.   1 Corinthians 11:24
This verse is not talking
about trees, stars, tinsel and lights, is it? No, these are all traditions made up by men. What does the Bible say about those? “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 Christ.” Colossians 2:8 (*seduce; **empty deception)

One event in particular to take note of is Cain and Abel. Both went to give an offering to the Lord. One brother did what the Lord instructed, the other did what *he* thought was best. That didn’t turn out too well for Cain did it?! He did what he thought God wanted, but God actually wanted a different offering. The result was Cain became jealous and angry and killed Abel because God didn’t respect his offering.
This verse comes to mind in this instance: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25

Celebrating Christmas as Jesus’ birthday is basically celebrating a lie. Most Christians know it isn’t Jesus’ birthday but insist on celebrating it as if it is. How is that being honest? The Bible states: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
With this verse in mind, are you really celebrating Him in truth?
It’s a bit like your friends and family celebrating your birthday on a different day of the year, without you there.
Say your birthday is January 1st for example, and you love chocolate cake and green decorations, but your friends choose to celebrate your birthday on September 17th with blueberry cheesecake and orange decorations. Is it really you they are trying to please, or themselves?! It doesn’t sound like they really care what you want, does it?

So it is with Christmas (and any of the other so called Christian holidays). They are all based on how *man* wants to celebrate God, and not how God wants us to worship Him (as in the Cain and Abel example).
I hope that you will read this and that you will truly seek the Lord on the matter. Does He really want you celebrating Him the exact same way the world celebrates Christmas, or does He want you to come out of the world and be separate and worship Him in the way that He wants?..
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

Just another quick thought. These popular sayings: “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “Put Christ back in Christmas” are so wrong. Jesus is the reason for every season, every day and everything, not just ‘Christmas’. Also, you can’t put Christ back into something that he wasn’t in in the first place.

 

 

Another view on Christmas.

Thanks go to UCG for allowing me to post their article.

http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/top-10-reasons-why-i-dont-celebrate-christmas/

This is not my post but someone else’s. I am posting it in the hopes that it shows that I am not the only Christian who doesn’t celebrate Christmas.
I am not one of a kind, and I am not crazy or legalistic. I just choose not to celebrate it after learning of the origins of it.
I am not telling anyone whether they should or shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. I am only asking you to seek the Lord about it and ask Him if He wants you to do it.

People say that “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “Put the Christ back in Christmas”. Well, actually He isn’t and He was never in it in the first place.
I ask you to read this with an open mind and of course pray about what the Lord wants you to do.
If you do decide not to go ahead with Christmas this year, I have some tips on how you can break it to your children and family, as I went through this last year.
Of course each child and each family are different so my suggestions won’t work for everyone, but they worked for me, so they should work for others.

Here is the post by Scott Ashley.

“The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Celebrate Christmas

article by Scott Ashley
It’s that time of year again! You’ll soon be barraged by the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Shoppers will soon go into spending overdrive, and when the bills arrive, some will wonder if it’s really worth it. Here’s a perspective from one who kicked the Christmas habit.

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don

What’s the real meaning behind Christmas?
Source: Photos.com

Christmas is a hugely popular holiday celebrated by some 2 billion people worldwide. It’s become such an ingrained part of modern culture that even people in nations with little or no Christian history or tradition are celebrating it in increasing numbers.

Christmas is so big that it plays a key role in the economies of many nations. In the U.S. retail industry, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday is commonly known as “Black Friday”—not because it’s bad, but because this marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and stores that have been “in the red”—operating at a loss all year—suddenly see their sales shoot up so fast that they are now operating in the black (at a profit) the rest of the year. “Black Friday” is the biggest shopping day of the year due to its Christmas sales.

Christmas is big— very big. Schools and colleges commonly take a week or longer break at this time, some businesses shut down to give their employees time off, many families plan trips and get-togethers, and some people darken the door of a church for perhaps the first time all year.

So it’s not surprising that I get some pretty shocked looks when I tell people I don’t celebrate Christmas. That’s pretty unusual for anyone, much less someone who’s been an ordained minister for 15 years and edits a Christian magazine.

So what’s up with this? Why would anyone not want to celebrate Christmas like nearly everybody else? Are there valid reasons for not participating in all the holiday hoopla?

American Late Show television program host David Letterman is famous for his “top 10” lists in which he offers pointed commentary about popular culture and current events. So here I offer my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas!

1. Christmas is driven by commercialism.

It’s not that difficult to recognize what really drives the holiday in our age. Cal Thomas, an American syndicated columnist who often writes from a Christian perspective, acknowledged uncomfortable truths about Christmas in a December 2003 column.

“I’m not sure it’s worth keeping Christmas anymore,” he began, lamenting that the holiday has become a “road show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and the God substitute, Santa Claus, who serves as a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt some parents bear for ignoring their kids the rest of the year.”

He asks a great question: “Why participate any longer in this charade where the focal point of worship has shifted from a babe in a manger to a babe in the Victoria ‘s Secret window? . . . No room in the inn has been replaced by no room in the mall parking lot.”

But perhaps his most insightful statement is this: “It’s instructive how just one season away from lusting after material things can break the habit. It’s something like liberation from an addiction or lifestyle choice. Being away from it can cause one to realize the behavior is neither missed nor needed for fulfillment and enjoyment.”

Having said good-bye to the Christmas habit several decades ago, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

2. Christmas is nowhere mentioned in the Bible.

This is rather obvious, but most people never give it a second thought. The books of the New Testament cover 30+ years of Jesus Christ’s life, then another 30+ years of the early Church following His death and resurrection, but nowhere do we find any hint of a Christmas celebration or anything remotely like it.

Yes, the Bible does give us quite a few details of His birth—the angelic appearance to Mary and then Joseph, the conditions surrounding His birth in a stable in Bethlehem, the heavenly choir’s performance for the shepherds in the fields outside the town. But nowhere in the Bible is there any record of anyone observing Christmas or any hint that God the Father or Jesus Christ expects us to do so.

3. Jesus wasn’t born on or near Dec. 25.

Surprising but true! Remember those shepherds who were “living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night”? (Luke 2:8).
December weather around Bethlehem is often miserably cold, wet and rainy. No shepherd in his right mind would have kept his flocks outside at night at that time of year!

The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues “against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted” shepherds to be out in the fields with their flocks then.

And Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays tells us that Luke’s account of Christ’s birth “suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night” (p. 309) rather than keeping them outdoors.

Also, Luke 2:1-4 tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because his parents came to that town to register in a Roman census. The Romans were well known as highly efficient administrators. It would have made no sense to have conducted a census in the dead of winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and traveling was difficult due to poor road conditions. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating!

4. The Christmas holiday is largely a recycled pagan celebration.

Again, surprising but true! Read it for yourself in just about any encyclopedia.

Consider the customs associated with Christmas. What do decorated evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe, yule logs, a jolly plump man in a fur-lined red suit, sleighs and flying reindeer have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ?

None of these things have anything to do with Him, but they have a lot to do with ancient pagan festivals. (Read the eye-opening details in our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep? )

And what about the date of Dec. 25? How did it come to be assigned as the supposed date of Jesus Christ’s birth? Historians Gerard and Patricia Del Re explain:

“The tradition of celebrating December 25 as Christ’s birthday came to the Romans from Persia. Mithra, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts, was born out of a rock on December 25. Rome was famous for its flirtations with strange gods and cults, and in the third century the unchristian emperor Aurelian established the festival of Dies Invicti Solis, the Day of the Invincible Sun, on December 25.

“Mithra was an embodiment of the sun, so this period of its rebirth was a major day in Mithraism, which had become Rome’s latest official religion . . . It is believed that the emperor Constantine adhered to Mithraism up to the time of his conversion to Christianity. He was probably instrumental in seeing that the major feast of his old religion was carried over to his new faith” ( The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 17).

It’s difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated Dec. 25 as Christmas, but historians generally agree that it was sometime during the fourth century—some 300 years after Christ’s death. And then a contrived date was chosen because it was alreadya popular pagan holiday celebrating the birth of the sun god!

Similarly, virtually all of the customs associated with Christmas are recycled from ancient pagan festivals honoring other gods.

5. God condemns using pagan customs to worship Him.

Since Christmas is supposedly a day to worship and celebrate God the Father and Jesus Christ, wouldn’t it be a good idea to look into the Bible to see what it says about how we should worship God?

The answer is quite clear. God gives specific instruction about using pagan practices to worship Him— the exact thing Christmas does! Notice what He says in Deuteronomy 12:30-32

: “. . . Do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way . . . Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (emphasis added throughout).

And lest some think this is simply an Old Testament command that no longer applies, the apostle Paul makes the same point in 2 Corinthians 6, where he addresses whether unbiblical religious customs and practices have any place in the worship of God’s people:

“What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial [the devil and/or demons]? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?For you are the temple of the living God . . .

“Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’ Therefore, having these promises, beloved,let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1).

Rather than relabeling pagan customs as Christian, or allowing members of the Church to continue their old pagan practices, the apostle Paul told them in no uncertain terms to leave behind all these forms of worship and worship God in true holiness as He commands. Jesus likewise says His true followers “must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24
)—not revel in recycled pagan customs and symbolism.

6. Christmas is worshipping God in vain.

Since Christmas is a jumble of ancient pagan customs invented by men, and a holiday found nowhere in the Bible, does God honor or accept such worship?

Jesus provides the answer in His stern rebuke of the religious teachers of His day, men who had substituted human traditions and teachings for God’s divine truths and commands: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites . . . ‘in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ . . . All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).

In the 17th century Christmas was actually outlawed in England and some parts of the American colonies because of its unbiblical and pagan origins. They knew something most people today have forgotten or have never known!

7. You can’t put Christ back into something He was never in.

Some people admit the many problems with Christmas. But rather than face up to those problems, some assert that we should “put Christ back in Christmas.”

However, it’s impossible to “put Christ back in Christmas” since He never was in Christmas in the first place! He never so much as heard the word “Christmas” during His lifetime on earth, nor did His apostles after Him. You can search the Bible cover to cover but you won’t find the words “Christmas,” “Christmas tree,” “mistletoe,” “holly,” “Santa Claus” or “flying reindeer.”

Putting Christ back in Christmas may sound like a nice sentiment, but it’s really only a misguided effort to try to justify a long-standing human tradition rather than what the Bible tells us we should do.

8. The Bible nowhere tells us to observe a holiday celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth —but it clearly does tell us to commemorate His death.

As noted earlier, the Bible nowhere mentions Christmas or tells us to celebrate Christ’s birth.

This is not to say that the Bible doesn’t tell us to commemorate a highly significant event in Jesus Christ’s life on earth. It does —but that event is His death, not His birth.

Notice what the apostle Paul, conveying the instructions of Jesus Himself, tells Christians: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’

“In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes . . . Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:23-28).

And yes, many believers do what they consider a form of this today in taking communion or “the Lord’s supper.” They fail to realize, however, the full significance of these acts, or that what Paul is actually describing here is the Passover — which is what Jesus Himself called this observance (Matthew 26:18-19; Mark 14:14-16; Luke 22:8-13, 15).

And many have no idea of the real date of Christ’s death and the annual Passover observance, but that’s an issue for another time. (Hint: It isn’t “Good Friday” prior to Easter as so many mistakenly believe. See our booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?   for details.) The point is: Jesus clearly expects His true followers to commemorate His death—not His birth—by observing the Passover.

9. Christmas obscures God’s plan for mankind.

Passover, mentioned above, has enormous significance in God’s plan for humanity. The Old Testament Passover, described in Exodus 12, was symbolic of Jesus Christ’s future role and sacrifice. As the blood of the slain Passover lambs on the Israelites’ houses spared them while the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain, so does Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf spare us from death— eternal death.

Paul alluded to this great truth when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:7
that “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” Similarly John the Baptist, speaking under divine inspiration, said of Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Peter wrote that we are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19)—a clear reference to the Passover lambs (Exodus 12:5).

A central key to God’s plan for humanity is Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8)—meaning His death for our sins was planned before the first human beings were ever created (1 Peter 1:18-20). Only through His death to pay the penalty for our sins can human beings receive God’s gift of eternal life (John 3:14-17; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22).

Christmas, in contrast, teaches us none of this. Regrettably, because it is a hodgepodge of unbiblical customs and beliefs thrown together with a few elements of biblical truth, it only obscures the incredible purpose of Jesus Christ’s coming—as well as why He must return to earth a second time! (For more details, request our free booklets Jesus Christ: The Real Story and The Gospel of the Kingdom . )

10. I’d rather celebrate the Holy Days Jesus Christ and the apostles observed.

God in His Word sets out many choices for us. Will we do things His way or our own? Will we worship Him as He tells us to, or expect Him to honor whatever religious practices we choose regardless of what His Word says?

It’s always good to ask the question, What would Jesus do? The answer, from the Scriptures, is quite clear as to what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t allow His followers the option of adopting pagan practices in their worship. He and the apostles plainly kept God’s Holy Days and festivals that we find recorded in Leviticus 23.

As noted above, they kept the Passover (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Scripture shows they also observed the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The New Testament Church itself was founded on the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), another biblical festival they clearly observed (Acts 20:16). They likewise kept the Day of Atonement (called “the Fast” in Acts 27:9) and the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 10).

Christmas, meanwhile, is totally missing from the biblical record.

Most people don’t know that the Bible includes a whole list of festivals that God commanded, that Jesus Himself observed and that the apostles and early Church were still keeping decades after Christ’s death and resurrection. And unlike Christmas, these reveal a great deal about Jesus Christ’s role and mission.

Each one teaches us a vital lesson in what Jesus has done, is doing and will yet do in carrying out God’s great plan for humankind. The differences between these and the tired old paganism and crass commercialism of Christmas is truly like the difference between day and night. Why not look into them for yourself?

I’ve given you my top 10 reasons for not celebrating Christmas. What do you suppose God thinks of your reasons for continuing to observe it? GN”

**Please note. I do not necessarily endorse all the articles, their authors, the comments or the beliefs of everyone on the UCG website, I am only posting this article as it has some very good points in it.**