Last year, around Christmas, I posted a status on FB that was related to the pagan origins of Christmas. The ensuing thread, not surprisingly, was full of strong emotion …
One of the things I realized in the midst of it is that I may have come across as condemning Christmas for it’s pagan origins while letting other holidays slide. So, I’m taking an Equal Opportunity moment to correct that. 😀 Yep, gonna step on toes. However, please take the following seriously –
*Reader’s note – Please do not take this blog as a personal attack, nor as judgement towards you even if I step on your toes. I respect choices of my friends and family in how they live their lives. I will not, nor do I want to force my beliefs onto you – if you want to know more, please ask, or follow some of the links provided. If you disagree, please do so respectfully. This is where I’m at, my beliefs, my story…*
As I look back thru church and religious history, and read Paul’s writings in the context of his culture, it’s clear to me that Yeshua, Paul and the disciples celebrated Sabbath, and Yehovah’s feasts, as the Torah describes. The Catholic church has openly admitted that Sunday is a Roman Catholic institution, and setting apart of Sunday as a holy day has no foundation in Scripture. Most of the other denominations have admitted that as well. Should you be interested in reading such quotes, please see: http://www.sabbathtruth.com/sabbath-history/denominational-statements-on-the-sabbath.aspx
I recognize that MANY in the Christian world are okay with following a Catholic tradition, some of whom are DEAR friends, and I respect their beliefs, and love them dearly in the midst of disagreeing entirely. 🙂
As I said earlier, this blog is about my beliefs..
I find that it was not the disciples, nor Scripture which suggested that the Fourth commandment meant the first day, rather than the Seventh day of the week. Early historical accounts show that the disciples kept Passover on Passover, not Easter. During the persecution of the early Christian church, and even when Christianity was legalized by Constantine, Christians who chose to follow the clear instructions in Scripture to remember, forever, the Feasts of YHVH & the Sabbath on the 7th day, were persecuted and martyred. It was, at that time in history, when the church became the “Catholic CHURCH” and the theology of Christianity met and married the theology & practices of Pagan Sun-god worship which had been around since the time of the Tower of Babel (For more on the History see Holiday History… as best as I can figure it ). Sun-god worship was common throughout the world, each language group having a different name, but VERY similar practices and “holy days”. Not surprisingly, in the marriage of the two, the pagan holy days took on “Christian” costumes and paraded around as somehow sanctified, despite the fact that Scripture (from Genesis to Revelation) EXPRESSLY forbids the marriage of the Holy with the profane, or the incorporation of ANY pagan worship rites into the worship of and relationship with our Creator. For a much more thorough discussion of Scripture on the subject, see my blog post: “Holidays, Holy days – A look at Scripture”
Other uglies from paganism also came into the Christian faith. Namely, and most abhorrently, a god who demanded appeasement. Instead of demanding the sacrifice of a Human LIFE in one fell swoop, the church now demanded indulgences, penance, and WORKS to earn salvation – human life in the slow seeping away of vibrance and abundant joy into fear, dread and shame. The teaching was that we were “sinners in the hands of an angry god”, and that salvation must be earned… rather than Paul’s very clear writings in Romans 5 that Salvation is a free gift or John’s words that Elohim is defined as “LOVE”.
Thankfully, 498 years ago today (Oct 31, 2012), Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Church. His Theses called into question the sales of indulgences and the other abuses in the church in regards to salvation. Luther didn’t intend to start a new church, rather to change the old… However, the old kicked him out, and the rest we know as the Protestant Reformation – a trajectory “out of Babylon” that many are still on today. Much Scriptural truth was found in the following years, as Bibles were printed in the common languages, and people got to read for themselves just what Scripture had to say. By the time Protestants fled to America, they had renounced much of the traditions and teachings of the Catholic church, including the “church calendar” aside from Sunday, and Christmas celebration was forbidden in Plymouth from the beginning, and Boston, as well as in England (1644), and New England (1659).
However by the mid 1800’s Christmas and the other ‘church holidays’ were making their way back into Protestant circles… At about the same time that several groups of people were recognizing that Yehovah set aside the 7th day of the week – Sabbbath (known as Saturday) not Sunday. It should be noted that there were a few small groups of people thru the centuries around the world, who had worshipped on Sabbath rather than Sunday, but in the mid-1800’s the 4th Commandment was finally being recognized for what it actually says – Remember the 7th day to keep it holy. Most notable in this period of “spiritual awakening & reformation” was the newly formed Seventh-day Adventist denomination, but a few other groups moved in that direction as well to include the Church of God in the early 1900’s and the Seventh-day Baptists…
I grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist church. Sabbath keeping has been a way of life for me, one which I’m grateful for, altho how I celebrate the day has changed thru the year. The origins of the change from Sunday to Sabbath are well known to me. Given clear evidence from church history, I’ve long believed that observance of Sunday had it’s roots in paganism. I’ve also long detested all things about Halloween – as I described in “In a Land, Far from Home”, I’ve been a stranger to the culture of Halloween since I was four – the satanic overtones were just way too much for me… and as an adult, what I know about satanic and other cult activities on this night turns my stomach and causes my heart to ache.
Easter was the next to go for me. I just couldn’t get around the fact that I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Yeshua was the Passover lamb, and yet, often Passover and Easter were a month apart! It just didn’t line up.
Next I watched the History Channel’s “Christmas Unwrapped”. The Pagan origins of Christmas are clear thru the centuries… the day had been originally celebrated with no less debauchery than Halloween and Mardi Gras (which also has it’s roots in the same sun god worship). The celebrated birthday of every sun-god in history fell on the winter solstice, which, prior to the Gregorian revisions to the Julian Calendar, was on Dec 25th.
I think the argument that drove it home for me was when Rudy asked the question – “Misty, If I’d continued my affair with “Y” for longer, and enjoyed celebrating her birthday, how would you feel if I suddenly decided that instead of celebrating your birthday when you were born, in September, we would now celebrate it on “Y’s” birthday?”
My response was, “Absolutely NOT!”
Then I had to ask myself -” why am I doing that to my Savior?”
Okay, granted, I never worshiped said sun-god. However, God doesn’t just take “my” actions into account. He looks at the whole of a group and frankly, I believe myself as being “grafted in”, having “been alien to the commonwealth of Israel, and now brought nigh” (Eph 2:12,3), a Seed of Abraham – part of His Chosen Bride. His “group mentality” can be seen clearly in Genesis, when He uses Abraham, Isaac & Jacob to witness to the Canaanites, and then, 3 generations later, ships His Chosen people off to Egypt for 400 years, to allow Egypt to come face to face with Him AND to allow the Canaanites to make their choice for Him. In the end, neither Egypt nor the Canaanites chose Him over their gods, and so, Pharoah found himself at the bottom of the Red Sea a week after every firstborn in the country had died, and the Canaanites began to be slain – every man, woman and child some 40 years later.
My point being, even if I’ve never worshipped the sun, if my Creator says, “DO not ask after the ways of the Pagans, or worship me in the ways they worship their gods” I believe He means forever… not just till c. 70-100 AD or even 313 AD … Which means I need to take a really serious look at the culture in which I was born into and ask, what ways of the pagans referred to in Scripture, have I unknowingly inherited and do I need to repent of & turn from? And when He says Passover, Sabbath and Tabernacles will be celebrated FOREVER, I think He means FOREVER, not just till c. 70-100 AD or even 313 AD…
If He says He Never changes, and He says He is Love, then I know if I look deep enough into the culture and governmental ruling that HE set up within the Instructions for abundant life found in the Torah, that I’ll find not the punitive, must be appeased god Molech/Baal/Tammuz/Mithra, but a truly LOVING Creator Elohim (God) who is Crazy about us, who wants us to have ABUNDANT Life, who wants to be in intimate union with us, and who loves to spend time with us so much that He’s set aside some 94 days a year to celebrate, feast, worship and spend with Him!!
So… Yes, I’m following out the path that the Reformers started. I’m coming out of Babylon – out of the religious system that according to YHVH, has whored herself to pagan theology. (Revelation 18). Yes, I’m a humbug… and yes, I’ll call every single one of the holidays I used to celebrate pagan, as well as a good bit of the theology I was raised with. Not because there aren’t some elements, or even a lot of elements that point to Jesus; not because everything within them now is pagan; but because they have a pagan foundation. I’m reminded that unless Yehovah builds a house, the laborers labor in vain (Ps. 127). A house with YHVH written on the walls and roof, but Satan & sun-god worship written all over the foundation isn’t likely to stand in the end…
I prefer not to focus on “trying to come out of Babylon” nor on the “paganism” all around me. I write this blog for the few who truly want to know where I’m at theologically and personally, and to be clear that I don’t just pick on Christmas – Sunday, Easter, Lent, Halloween, even Valentines all get an equal opportunity in my book… LOL.
However, Its so much more joyful to focus on the incredible goodness of Abba, the feasts and festivals He has ordained; which have their foundation and entire substance in Yeshua. His Calendar, His ways are beautiful, full of deep meaning, and so much fun! The next one up is Sabbath, only a few days away :D, and then we have a New Moon to look for and enjoy a feast for in about 2 weeks. After that comes Hannukah! A celebration of the Dedication of the Temple.. Looking back at the Maccabeans & their revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes – Saving not only the Temple & Jewish culture from the Greeks, but the line of David thru which Yeshua was born… Looking forward to our own temples needing to be cleansed of Greek & Pagan influences and re-dedicated to Him; and looking even further forward to the coming anti-christ and the truth that YHVH will come thru in the end! It’s a fun 8 day holiday that even our Messiah journeyed to Jerusalem for 😀
I invite you to join me in learning and celebrating the feasts and Holy Days that Yehovah set apart, in seeking out the beauty of their substance, their foundation, and in learning more about our Messiah!!