No, Christmas didn’t take the place of a pagan holiday

No, Christmas didn’t replace a pagan holiday

jeremy

, Rare Contributor

In the endless back-and-forth about the true meaning of Christmas or the War on Christmas or whatever we’re calling it this year, one of the most persistent and pernicious myths is the idea that Christians stole the holiday from the pagans.

Chastising conservative Christians in the Sacramento Bee, former talk show host Bruce Maiman cited the “fact” that “Christmas occurs on a pagan feast day, Saturnalia,” and alleges that “the earliest Christians deliberately moved the birth of Jesus to December 25, making it easier to sell Christianity to the Romans.”

The only problem with this criticism is that it doesn’t make one lick of historical sense.

Saturnalia was celebrated not on December 25 but on December 17 through 23. December 25 was during the throbbing “Oh please kill me” dry-out period between Saturnalia and New Year’s. It was thus a horrible time for sermons or celebrations – and Christmas was always a mix of both.

If you want to understand the calendaring of Christmas, look not to Rome but to Bethlehem – or, more broadly, to Judaism. The Talmud records a tradition that all especially righteous men die on the day of their conception. This figured greatly in how the church father Hippolytus figured Christ’s birth.

The accepted day of Jesus death was March 25 and so, writes religion know-it-all Michael Voll in Cracked, “Jesus’s conception must have also taken place on March 25th. Then basic biology tells us that nine months after conception comes the birth: December 25th.”

As for the very minor pagan festival of Sol Invictus, which people sometimes throw out when you shoot Saturnalia down, Cracked concedes that it did take place on December 25, but there’s an embarrassing rub. Turns out it “wasn’t created in until A.D. 274 (well after Hippolytus did his hump-math) by the Roman Emperor Aurelian.”

According to Voll, this late date for the smallish festival in fact raises the “good possibility that Sol Invictus was created to provide a pagan alternative to the Christian celebration, rather than the other way around. So hey, there you go, Christians: Go find that hippie neighbor and give him a nice, long lecture about stealing your dang holiday.”

Or perhaps, in the spirit of the day, you could just say “Merry Christmas” – and forward him this article.

YOU ARE NOT A PROPHET UNTIL YOU ARE WILLING TO REBUKE THE KING

Prophet

 

There is no longer any possibility of innocent Christian support for Obama.  There is no way the “prophetic movement” will have any legitimacy if it ignores the true role of prophets.

 It came to a head when I met with the leader of a famous revival organization.  I assumed that this would be the last place I would find compromise.  To my horror and surprise he warned me that my comments about Obama were opposite their culture.  In other words, I had to shut up about Obama or I couldn’t preach there anymore.

My response was immediate and direct.  “What if this is the same cheap grace, false honor excuse that the pastors of Germany used to remain silent while Hitler expanded his power?  What if God is ordering His vessels to rebuke Obama? Do you want to be one of those men of God with blood on his hands because you remained silent when you should have rebuked the tyranny?”  He said he agreed with me but I never heard from him again.

Turn on Christian television and it won’t be long before you see a false prophet today.  He will tell his victims that they are about to be blessed and favored.  Then he will make an utterly meaningless, high probability prediction.  It always sounds sickeningly similar.  “The Lord has shown me that you are about to be wealthy beyond your dreams.  You do not realize how much Daddy loves you and wants to bless you.”  

This kind of ministry, in this current crisis, is extreme denial bordering on insanity.  Christian television should be calling the Christians to action against the war on our values!both-extremes copy

Since the first misguided “Christian psychologist” discovered that Christians needed to feel valuable, we have been treated to an unending stream of toxic sludge that has left the army of God flabby, drowsy and AWOL during America’s greatest moral disaster.

At some churches, rolling on the floor, drooling while making animal noises is considered the “moving of the Spirit.”  Then there is the other extreme:  Pastors preach sermons that sound like a late night monologue, stringing together phrases straight out of fortune cookies, making sure that they end on time and leave the audience spiritually unscathed.

Both extremes carry the same lie: We have become too valuable for sacrifice.  We are too blessed for the Cross. We are too entitled to join the rest of the Christian world in persecution and holiness.  

God is sending the “Preachers of Los Angeles” and all the rest a solemn warning:  START LIVING AND TELLING THE TRUTH OR THE ANOINTING AND BLESSING ON YOU WILL VANISH. .  God is issuing a dire warning to the false prophets who infest the church: REPENT OR IT WILL COST YOU YOUR LIFE AND YOUR SOUL! 

Barrack Obama has left us no choice.  He never says anything good about Christians.  He never says anything bad about Islam. He foments racial hatred, destroys marriage, and respect for the police (he has given more due process to the terrorists in Guantanamo than to our cops).  He punishes Israel.   He is working to wipe out the freedoms and hopes of the next generation. charade-copy copy

He is a wounded animal bent on destroying everything we hold dear.  If the ministers of God had obeyed the Holy Spirit they would have risen up in one voice of holy outrage and driven the king out of office.

Moses rebuked Pharaoh.  Samuel rebuked King Saul.  Nathan rebuked David.  Daniel rebuked Nebuchadnezzar.   John the Baptist rebuked King Herod.   Stop it!  Don’t use the title prophet unless you are willing to rebuke Obama and his abomination.  Speak truth to power or you are nothing but a prophetic poser.

There are signs of hope.   A very successful pastor prepared to do a series based on the Wizard of OZ at his mega church.  He spent thousands on props.  He wanted to dazzle his congregation.   Then one night he woke up from a deep sleep and realized that God had left him.  He felt utterly devoid of God’s presence and peace In his life.  He despaired of life itself. 

In his desperation he cried out to God.  God was grieved by his entire ministry.  He had ceased telling the truth.   He repented to the bone.  The congregation joined him in tearing down the props as if they were idols.   “We were once a harmless congregation,” he said.  “Now the Holy Spirit is moving in our meetings with great power.  We are becoming a mighty army!”

 

Today is Christmas Day so Remember This

NativityThere is one very important thing you need to remember this Christmas.

Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Dear Friend,

Today is Christmas day so remember this…  Yes, we live in a world of explosive insecurity.  Yes, we live in a time where disaster comes without warning and destroys lives instantly.

America has finally become the generation with nothing to look forward to.  This is a time where people are melting down because of a crushing sense of helplessness and despair.  Some react with mindless panic and rage. They shoot and kill their loved ones and then turn the gun on themselves rather than face their losses.  Others are too frozen in fear and uncertainty to do anything.  Still others frantically numb their despair by plunging into addictions and perversions that prior generations never imagined.

How deep and widespread is this panic?  It is so pervasive that it has seeped into the hearts of God’s people.  Many in the church, including leaders, admit that they have developed destructive addictions trying to cope with anxiety.

This Christmas threatens to be a time of very little comfort and joy.  Many who love the Lord passionately will not even celebrate it this year!  If you are under attack, if you feel the devastating sense of helplessness, then it is time for you to remember one thing about this Christmas.

Christmas is not just the story of the most important birth in history; it is the proof that an invisible force guards the children of God with unstoppable, irresistible, compassionate protection. Christmas unfolds the masterstroke of God our Father against evil.  Let me explain!

He was the most anticipated person in history and yet His arrival fooled everyone. It requires skill from beyond our planet to sneak the Desire of all nations into our world unobserved with only a handful taking notice. God can fool anyone and He cannot be fooled by anyone.

The Jews thought that when the Son of God arrived it would be with all the ceremony possible, that crowns and scepters should immediately have been laid at his feet, and that the high and mighty princes of the world should have been his humble servants.  He came into the world, and the world knew him not.  Hcame to his own, and his own received him not.

It was not as if his arrival was without fireworks. The first burst of wonder came to the shepherds in Luke Chapter 2.  They saw and heard glorious things concerning him, and made them known abroad, to the amazement of all that heard them. (v. 17&18) After this in Luke 2:38, Simeon and Anna spoke of him, by the Spirit, to all who were willing to listen.

You would think that this would have shaken the inhabitants of Judah andJerusalem, so that finally they would rise up as one and embrace the long-looked-for Messiah; but no.  He continued nearly two years more at Bethlehem, and no further notice was taken of him till these wise men came.

Trouble!  Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”  These were no singing angels. They were mere men; notable men to be sure, but still just men. The Magi were the Persians philosophers and their priests.  No one could become a Persian king who had not first been enrolled among the Magi. It was their royalty that caused the entire ruckus.  When kings arrive and ask the local king, “Where is the real KING?” Something has to give!

Candles and Ribbon XL

“Where is he who is born King of the Jews?”  Their question made it clear that a new power was now freely working in the earth.  Moreover, this power operated as no other power had previously operated.  This power came and went as it pleased.  It raised the humble to be a force against the proud.  Love had taken on muscle and showed that a gentle but irresistible change was coming.  A new kingdom had come and it would expand through means that nullified human force.

Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar 600 years before this day that this kingdom would come.  Daniel 2: 44, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”  

Break and consume: Here is the big picture!  The Kingdom of God is expanding. It grows by tactics and weapons that have no peer. It is breaking and consuming everything that opposes Christ.  The mustard seed that sprouted in the Bethlehem stable would grow until it absorbs every foe and fulfills these words: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” -Revelation 11:15

Satan took the bait from Daniel’s prophecy!  Every other kingdom that Daniel referred to in his prophecy was set up by physical force. When he heard the words break and consume, the devil assumed that the Messiah would be a Jewish liberator like King David.  The devil never thought that a baby’s cry in a lowly manger was the real threat to his throne.

The regions of hell convulsed when it finally hit them that Messiah was now on earth. Evil now had an expiration date.  Intuitively, Herod felt this same dread.  As a puppet for Satan and Rome, what else could he feel?  Reason left him.  He knew he had no power over this, he knew that the Anointed One could not be stopped yet he went to commit a great atrocity on the children of Bethlehem.

There it is! Great evil at work while at the same time the Kingdom of God expands!  The Magi are led away from danger.  Joseph and Mary are warned to leave and use the treasure of the Magi to pay for their escape to Egypt.

You are receiving a Kingdom,,,never forget it!  Hebrews 12:28, Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”  This is the one thing for you to remember.  God surgically injected the Kingdom of God on earth; a Kingdom which cannot be shaken by global warming or moral cooling!  You are inextricably connected to the story of Christmas.  It lives in you, it breathes in you, and it energizes, protects, and guides you.  It is the power of Christmas that exempts you from all of the tragic outcomes that you see around you.  Psalm 37:18,19, “The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”

What are we to have in this time of great darkness?  Look again at the command from Hebrews: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

Let your sense of wonder and gratitude shake you from fear and compromise!  You have received an unshakable Kingdom. You do dare not drown your sorrows in alcohol or compromised living!  You dare not have your senses dulled or your heart weighed down with carousing!  Clothe yourself in the wonder of God’s work.  Be a victorious and holy Child of God!

Serve God acceptably!  Self pity is not acceptable when you are on a mission from God.  Look at the way that every character in the Christmas story did their duty in the face of great danger and sacrifice.  Why?  They felt honored to be chosen, they were living a miracle.  The joy and wonder of Christmas carried them through every test!

Christmas introduced special weapons and a new breed of soldier! 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 says, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,   casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  Beloved, you are not supposed to lay there and take it!  You are supposed to rise up in the Name of Jesus and take the sword, take the shield, take all of the weapons of God and attack!

Today, thoughts alarm us and emotions assault us, but we are not helpless… we are not powerless!  Your heavenly Father is watching to see if you will rise up, take up these mighty weapons and attack!

You are the Christmas story continued in the last days!  What is the one thing you need to know this Christmas?  God is protecting you today as much as He protected Joseph and Mary back then!  God will guide you today every bit as accurately as he guided the Wise Men!  Since you have the same Jesus, the same angels, and the same power that carried the Christmas miracle to completion, God will also carry you across the finish line!  Hallelujah!

Mechelle and I pray that you and those you love will feel the power of the angels singing, the love from the manger, and the Glory of God overshadowing you this Christmas!