Christmas, that terrible pagan celebration of the birth of the Messiah, is over. I posted the other day about Christmas, not so much saying it was fine but saying it wasn’t pagan.
I represented, not surprisingly, the minority opinion.
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The funny thing is that I don’t, and never have, celebrated Christmas because, well…I’m Jewish. My intent actually had nothing do to with Christmas, but was using Christmas as a way to show people they need to learn how to question everything they are told about what the Bible says.
What I want to talk about today stems from the many arguments I saw from people about Christmas and man-made traditions, in general.
My experience reading posts from and talking to Gentiles who are returning to the laws God gave in the Torah, is that they universally reject any and all man-made traditions because of what Yeshua said and that anything not specifically required by God in the Bible is wrong.
Let’s see what Yeshua really said; it is in Mark 7: 6-10…
Yeshua answered them, “Yesha‘yahu was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites — as it is written, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me. Their worship of me is useless, because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.’ “You depart from God’s command and hold onto human tradition. Indeed,” he said to them, “you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition!
This is the response Yeshua gave to the Pharisees who were chastising him for teaching his Talmudim (students) that they didn’t have to practice N’tilat Yadayim (ceremonial handwashing) before eating. The point Yeshua was making is traditions that replace or supersede God’s commandments are the ones that are wrong. Yeshua never condemned all man-made traditions, but only those that, as he said here, cause people to depart from God’s commandments.
The example he gave them was that someone would not give money to help their parents because it had been pledged to the Temple (called a Korban), thereby violating God’s commandment to honor thy mother and father. A Korban is not a biblical commandment, but it was a tradition.
In fact, regarding Yeshua and man-made holidays, most everyone agrees that Hanukkah, a man-made tradition is fine because Yeshua celebrated it.
But whose idea is it, really, that Christmas is pagan? Or that all man-made traditions are wrong? Or that the Christmas tee is a pagan symbol?
The arguments I have seen against the Christmas tree were based solely on Jeremiah 10. But did you know that Jeremiah wasn’t the only one who talked about this? Isaiah also mentioned the uselessness of wooden idols in Isaiah 40:19- 20 and 44:14-17. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah declared the futility and absurdity of making and worshiping idols. But did they mean a tree in the house?
Has anyone ever seen or read about trees in the home of the ancient peoples? Has there ever been an archaeological dig that discovered any evidence that the ancient pagans had trees in their homes? Not that I have ever heard of. However, we do have both archaeological and biblical proof of wooden idols in the home. Even as far back as Jacob and Rachel, we know that Rachel stole the family gods from her father, Laban.
There is no proof, anywhere in the Bible or in archaeology, that trees were taken into the home and decorated as we do today with a Christmas tree. The rampant misuse of Jeremiah 10 to destroy the tradition of the Christmas tree tells me that someone believed this and spread this teaching in order to get others to change what they do.
The same goes for the teaching/belief that Christmas is a pagan holiday, despite the way it is actually celebrated or who it is supposed to be about.
When I see posts using Yeshua’s response to the Pharisees to justify a universal rejection of anything man-made that is, to me, misusing the Bible as a form of control.
Let me ask you something…where did you first learn of Christmas being pagan? Did you receive a vision? Did you perform original research on your own? Did you learn about Saturnalia by studying the winter solstice ceremonies practiced by the pagans, then learn about the creation of Christmas by Constantine and add two and two?
I doubt it. I am willing to bet that most everyone who has posted or commented that Christmas is pagan and the tree is a pagan symbol that Jeremiah talked about learned this by hearing it from others. They heard a pastor or minister make this statement, or from someone else who they trust and respect, and when verifying it for themselves never realized that they had already accepted the interpretations and teachings as true. Therefore, when they saw the references in the Bible which (supposedly) confirmed what they learned, they didn’t really examine them hermeneutically or with an open mind- they had already accepted what they heard as true.
They believed that what they had always enjoyed celebrating is sinful and pagan because someone else told them that is what it is.
I believe that when a Gentile discovers the truth about the lies and anti-Torah teachings they have been fed all their life, their “belief pendulum” swings from believing traditional Christianity to universally rejecting everything that is traditional Christianity.
I am not defending Christmas: I don’t give two hoots about Christmas or whether or not you celebrate it. What I am trying to do is warn you that when someone automatically accepts or rejects an interpretation or teaching, they are allowing themselves to be controlled by someone else.
The “tagline” of my ministry is “God has no religion”, and I have constantly stated that people created religion so that they could have control over other people. After all, if someone can make you reject what you have always practiced, isn’t that the ultimate form of control? To take something that you have enjoyed all your life, and make you believe it is evil so that now you reject everything about it, and then add to that they make you believe this is what God wants…isn’t that control?
Look, I am not saying what you should believe or not believe, and if you want to believe Christmas, Easter (we may as well add that to the stew) and any other man-made tradition is a sin, then believe it. All I am saying is that if you haven’t REALLY examined the reasons you believe this, and come to a conclusion that you know is your own, then you have been controlled.
God will control events in our lives to give us the opportunity to make the right choices, but he doesn’t control us. Throughout the Bible, God tells us what we should do but he never says anything or does anything to control our actions. Satan, on the other hand, will use lies and mislead us in a way that gives him control over us. Right from the beginning: God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit, but he left the tree unprotected. Satan’s lies to Eve allowed him to make her do what she wouldn’t have done on her own; Satan’s lies gave him control over Eve.
Too many people accept what they hear because it sounds good, then they convince themselves it is the indwelling Holy Spirit that confirms their belief. I am sure there are many times when this is true, and their spiritual confirmation is valid. My warning is that you better be sure what you believe is your idea because we will all be held accountable for what we do and say. The excuse that someone else told me it was true will not hold water. The only way to be sure is to force yourself to argue for both sides on an interpretation. When you hear something and believe it to be true, pretend that it is wrong and try to prove it wrong; if you can’t prove it wrong then you have valid confirmation that your belief is truly your own.
And the same goes for when you don’t believe something you hear.
One last warning: if you don’t want to go through that effort, then believe what you want to but realize that you have just allowed yourself to be controlled, and whatever you now believe isn’t really your idea. So ask yourself: do you want to be accountable for what someone else believes?
Thank you for being here, and please subscribe and share this message with others. And I do welcome and appreciate your comments.
Until next time (hopefully, there will be a next time you tune it to me), L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!