Christmas has been with us for a very long time, but NOT as long as some think. Many mistakenly believe that the Christian churches have been celebrating Christmas since the church started on the Day of Pentecost. The truth is, for the first 400 - 500 years of Christianity there is no mention made of a celebration centering around the "birth" of Christ. The early church DID NOT observe what we know today as Christmas. It wasn't until well into the 4th century that some (NOT ALL) professing Christians started observing Christmas in one form or another. Over the years, Christmas was polished over and over to become one of the brightest stones in Christian "theology". Eventually it evolved into the highly commercialized, mainly secular holiday that it is today.
Most of those who celebrate Christmas are unaware of the fact that many of the things which have come to be associated with Christmas have been around for a very long time - longer than Christmas itself; and dating back much further than the birth of Yahshua. Rather than being "Christian" these "things" are absolutely pagan. With the passing years many "pagan customs" such as the use of holly, mistle-toe, yule logs, wassail bowls, hanging stockings and the ever-popular Christmas tree and Santa Claus, were incorporated into the Christmas celebration. All Encyclopedias confirm that the roots of Christmas is basically "Pagan", even to its December 25th. date. When one takes a SERIOUS and HONEST look at Christmas, one discovers that Christmas is anything but CHRISTIAN.
It wasn't until the early 17th century that the Christmas Tree was added to the Christmas tradition. It started in Strasbourg, France, spread from there to Germany, and then into northern Europe. In 1841 Albert, Prince Consort of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, introduced the Christmas Tree custom to Great Britain. From there, it was brought by emigrants to Canada and the United States. British settlers in the New World adopted Santa Claus from the Dutch tradition of Saint Nicholas Day. When we consider all these things we need to ask: "WHERE is Christ in all of this?"
Christmas and many other Pagan holidays were added to the "professing Christian church" when the church went into the prophesied (Revelation Chapter 2 and 3) spiritual darkness. Holy Spirit leadership was usurped by the leadership of man and many anti-Christian doctrines and traditions were brought into the church. It lost the spiritual revelation of the New Covenant of God's Grace and took the people into forms of godliness and idolatry.
Like some of the backslidden leaders of Israel in the Old Testament had done, the leaders of the Church brought in idols and festivals out of their own hearts to satisfy the people and appease their pagan neighbors, hoping to entice them into the church. They now turned to paganism instead of the Word of God for their inspiration! It's a paradox that that period of history when the organized church held undisputed sway over all Europe, has become known to historians with unbelievable irony as the dark ages. It was especially dark in the spiritual realm, showing that the "false church", and not the "true" church was in control.
But since the days of Martin Luther, Yahweh has been "restoring" Truth back to the true church of the first born (Hebrews 12:23) - bringing in more and more Scriptural Light to expose the anti-Christian doctrines and traditions which were added to the Word by man. The "crowning" ministry of restoration was that of Malachi 4:5-6.
Of course, the vast majority of professing Christians absolutely reject this Evening Time Light which exposes the errors and sin of the church world. According to Revelation 3:14-22, Christ Himself is put out of the organized church. In verse 21 we find Christ on the "outside", knocking, calling to the "individual" in the church (but NOT to the church). Therefore, Yahshua is neither in the Church or in Christmas.
Even though the New Testament contains absolutely no reference to distinctive Christian festivals or celebrations (other than offering the Bread and Wine, communion - 2nd Corinthians 11:23-34 and the foot-washing ordinance, John 13:1-17), let's take a few moments to see if we can find anything "Christian" in Christmas. Starting with the date we discover that December 25 has nothing whatsoever to do with the birth of Christ. Therefore, where did the December 25th. date originate?
According to Hyslop's "Two Babylons", December 25 was the date of the birth of Tammuz, the illegitimate son of Semiramis, the widow of Nimrod. And Nimrod was the founder of Babylon and false religion. Nimrod was known as "The Sun-God" and his supposed son was the "son of the Sun-God". Here in Babylon the worship of "mother and child" (Semiramis and Tammuz) was started. Bringing this over into Christianity the spiritually blind church leaders adopted the worship of "mother and child" (Mary and Jesus), disguised it with Christian names but it's still a heathen practice. The leaders also adopted the date of the birth of the Son of the Sun-God, as the date for the birth of Christ, the Son of God. In reality, December 25th represents the highest form of paganism and idolatry.
From different pagan and heathen roots other things were made a part of the Christmas celebration to make it appear religious, while entertaining the people. Most of what the secular and religious world does to celebrate Christmas has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the birth of the Saviour of the World. HE is brushed aside in favor of Santa Claus, the worship of Christmas Trees, gifts, feasting, merry-making and drinking. In Puritan England, under Oliver Cromwell, Parliament passed a law, forbidding the observance of Christmas. But, under King Charles II it was revived again.
The "one" person who is magnified, honored, exalted and looked for, at Christmas time is NOT Jesus Christ, but rather it is an old man called "Santa Claus". Some may go to church once at Christmas time or sing a few carols to put a religious coating on their celebrations, but the most honored one is Santa Claus and Santa's "shrine" which is the Christmas tree. More bow at Santa's shrine then they do at the footstool of Yahshua. They are more interested in the gifts around Santa's shrine than they are in the "the gift" of eternal life found at the shrine of our Lord. In this Age children, young people and even many adults know more about Santa Claus than they do about Jesus Christ. They are more excited about Santa's coming than about the Coming of Yahshua.
There was a time when church leaders would allow Santa Claus and Christmas Trees only in the home but NEVER in the church. But now they bring Santa Claus and Christmas Trees right into the church. Because of it's pagan and heathen roots it's an abomination in the sight of Yahweh and a stench in his nostrils. But, still, the people turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the Truth.
Whether or not the people want to acknowledge it, the truth remains, that Santa Claus is the God of Christmas and the Christmas Tree is his shrine around which the people gather. If the people really want to remember the birth of Christ, why don't they set up a "manger scene" in their home; and place their gifts there. And instead of singing "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree", sing "He's Is Lord! He is Lord!" At least, that would be more Christian-like. The Bible tells us that our God is a jealous God; He shares His glory with none, NOT EVEN Santa Claus.
Who's Santa Claus?
The name "Santa Claus" is a corruption of the name of "St. Nicholas", a Roman Catholic Bishop who lived in the fifth century. The Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 19, pages 648-49, the Eleventh Edition, states, "St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, a saint honored by Greeks and Latins on the 6th of December. A legend of his surreptitious (secret or improper) bestowal of dowries on the three daughters of an impoverished citizen is said to have originated the custom of giving presents in secret on the eve of St. Nicholas, December 6th."
So, from this we have come to associating Christmas Day with St. Nick, St. Nicholas or Santa Claus. The name "Santa Claus" is the dutch corruption of St. Nicholas". We should note here that some time ago the Roman Catholic Church "de-canonized" a number of their "saints"; meaning that certain ones who were previously declared to be Saints are no longer Saints. In essence, they lost their "sainthood' status. St. Nicholas was one of those who lost his sainthood status. The Roman Catholic Church basically admitted that they made a mistake when so-called "good old St. Nick" was canonized. So, hundreds of millions of people honor and revere a defrocked or demoted Roman Catholic saint. Millions of parents teach their children the "Santa lie" and encourage them to write letters to Santa, St. Nick or Santa Claus, asking for specific gifts for Christmas. I wonder how many parents are teaching their children to write letters or pray to Jesus, asking for His blessings? Once we know the truth about these things then we cannot with an honest heart, before God, promote the Santa "lie" and the Christmas "lie" anymore. If we have Christ why do we need Santa Claus. YAHSHUA, not Santa Claus, is Yahweh's example of love, peace and giving.
Throughout the year parents (some parents) try to instill in their children the virtue of Truthfulness; and sometimes even punish them for telling lies. Then Christmas with its Christmas spirit comes along and parents begin telling their children the "lie" about Santa Claus. People go so far as to "warn" children to be "good for Santa Claus". It is rare indeed to hear parents warning them to be "good for Jesus". Is it any wonder that many of them, when they grow up and learn the truth about the myth of old Santa, begin to believe that God and Jesus is a myth also. In this day and Age of materialism and commercialism, it is serious indeed to be found spreading such anti-Christian ideas and making merchandise of it - all in the name of religion. Santa Claus is the number one Christmas idol. Now, let's consider the number two idol in Christmas - The beautifully decorated "Christmas Tree".
O Christmas Tree!
No one can deny that in today's modern society there is more emphasis put on Santa Claus and the Tree than on Christ Himself. Weeks before December 25th; people driven by advertising and commercial brain-washing, begin to get into the 'spirit' of Christmas. Eventually the idols and decorations come out of the closet and go on display - Santa Claus, trees, lights, etc. out number manger scenes on a scale of several thousand of secular idols to one manger scene. HOW in the world can Christians think that Christmas is a Christian celebration?
What was the origin of the Christmas tree? Well, it didn't start as many think, with Martin Luther or by someone else in Germany. The origins of the Christmas Tree go back long before the time of Martin Luther or even the time of Moses. Again, Alexander Hislop in his classic book, entitled "The Two Babylon's", traces the Christmas Tree, the Yule log and many other Christmas traditions, back to Babylon and the false religion founded by Nimrod and his wife. The Yule log represented the dead stock of Nimrod, deified as the Sun-God, but cut down by his enemies. The Christmas Tree is Nimrod come to life again. His widow had reported that "overnight" an evergreen tree grew up from a dead stump, thus causing the people to worship Nimrod, his widow and his son (mother and child worship).
From Babylon the legend of the Tree spread among other tribes and peoples till eventually it became what it is today in our society - The Christmas Tree. As common as it is with us, it was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt it was a Palm tree; in Rome it was the Fir tree; the Palm tree denoting the Pagan Messiah, Baal-Tamar, the Fir tree referred to him as Baal-Berith. It wasn't until the mid-seventeenth century that the Christmas Tree (as it came to be called) started to grow in popularity and use. But beyond any shadow of doubt we know that the Christmas Tree is deeply rooted in paganism and heathenism. There is more than enough historical evidence to show that Christmas, as it is celebrated by most Christians today is absolutely HEATHEN and PAGAN. As for Bible proof, well, we are admonished in Jeremiah 10:2: Thus saith YAHWEH, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Verses 3-5 are also sufficient "evidence" to indict the use of "Christmas Trees" by Christians. Some would argue that the prophet Jeremiah is not referring to the Christmas Tree as we know it today, but rather it [only] speaks of cutting a tree, carving it into an image, beating silver and gold, etc. into plates to wrap around the stock, to hide the wood. But let's study a little further to see if this is true.
"For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They [are] upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also [is it] in them to do good. Jeremiah 10:3-5
Matthew Henry, in his Bible commentary on Jeremiah chapter 10 stated: "If you think to mend the matter by mending the materials of which the idol is made [and decorated], you deceive yourselves. .....the stock [of the tree] is a "doctrine of vanities" (verse 8), it teaches lies, it teaches lies concerning God. ...it amuses ignorant worshippers. ...They [the tree images] are falsehood; they are not what they pretend to be, but a great cheat put upon the world. Enquire into the use of them and you will find they are "the work of errors" (verse 15) grounded upon the grossest mistakes....."
Matthew Henry does not mention the "Christmas Tree" because his commentary was not published until 1712 - many years before the "Tree" was introduced into England. But with "historical hind-sight" and "spiritual insight" we can unquestionably place the "Christmas Tree" in Jeremiah 10. One thing is certain, True Prophets will not disagree with one another on the Word of God. The end-time Prophet to the Gentiles (Malachi 4:5-6) clearly stated that the "Christmas Tree" is an "idol".
Considering history and the Word of God, ask and answer for yourself the question: "Should we attempt to "put Christ back" into "a Christmas" that is riddled with paganism and heathenism? Can we take something essentially heathen and make it Christian? Is it the way of God or His Bible? In Scripture Yahweh has always called His people to a separation from idolatry and heathenism.
As they did in Oliver Cromwell's day, in England, maybe it's a time to abandon the observance of Christmas again, not only because of it's pagan roots, but because it's all out of balance. It's a time of the year when the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It is at Christmas time that the gap between the "haves" and "have nots", the "well to do" and the "poor" widens. The pain of their poorness is never more severely felt than at Christmas time. The early Christian church helped and served the poor throughout the year, easing their burden everyday and not just one day a year.
We only ask that you seriously consider the above comments and the following Quotes from the Message of God's Servant and prophet, Bro. William Branham. It's for you to decide whether or not you want to partake of any of the Christmas celebrations, or whether you want to do away with Santa Claus, Christmas Trees, etc. and just keep it in the simplicity of the moderate and modest exchanging of gifts. No doubt there are many people who want to keep Christmas in a Christian way. They genuinely want to remember the birth of our Lord without undue emphasis on Mary, Trees, Santa Claus, Lights, etc. They attempt to keep it in a spiritual way - doing good works. That's all good and fine BUT must it be done in the name of Christmas? WHY wait till Christmas to help someone or go to church, etc.? Let Christ be born in you to live His Life through you daily.
The following Branham Quotes on Christmas in general, Christmas Trees, Santa Claus, Gift giving, etc., are in chronological order - From 1949 - 1965.
The Deity Of Jesus Christ - 12/25/49
Noah had some faithful ones in that day. God's got some faithful ones today. The hour is coming, this great drama setting......Men and women, if the Holy Ghost is dwelling in you, the Christ that was born nineteen hundred years ago, came to manhood - He never stayed in the cradle. And today, that memorial of His birthday, what do they do? They get some tree, cut it down, make a Christmas tree, for the kiddies. But they think... That's all right; I'm not kicking against that. But the thing of it is, they put more on the Christmas tree than they do for Christ.
Kris Kringle's run over the country. Who was he? A German, a Catholic saint years ago, an old man went about doing good. And today it's become almost a worship. That's right. It's all right to tell the kiddies, or whatever you want to do, as far as I'm concerned. But the thing of it is, it's so easy to fall in that rut on the other side, and push out Christ, the real fundamental thing of Christmas. And man take Kris Kringle instead of real Christmas; that's right, "No room for Him in the inn."
The Cruelty Of Sin - 04/03/53
Today I was thinking of the cathedrals a ringing out, and the bells a tolling, and so forth like that; and people going to the church, and making ready, and the women buying their Easter hats and so forth. What has this come to? My, how I can't understand where a rabbit has anything to do with the resurrection (See? No, sir.), or how a Christmas tree has anything to do with the birth of Christ. It's pagan, friends. We've got off the path somewhere. That's right. But now a real born again man or woman realizes, because there's life within you, tells you that that's wrong. Is that right? [Congregation responds: AMEN!]
Where Is He, King Of The Jews? - 12/21/58
It's Christmas. All the tinsel up-and-down the street of Santa Claus, a German fiction, a Catholic dogma... There's not one ounce of it true. And it takes the place of Jesus Christ, in the hearts of too many Americans. Christmas don't mean Santa Claus. Christmas means Christ. It's not some man with a pipe in his mouth, and coming down a chimney. Teaching your children such as that, what do you expect them to grow up to be? Tell them the Truth, not on some fictitious story. Tell them there's a God of Heaven Who sent His Son, and that's what Christmas means. And He's near coming again.
Questions And Answers On The Holy Ghost - 12/19/59
QUESTION: What about a Christmas play in a Holy Ghost church?
ANSWER: Well, if it's about Christ, it might be all right. But if it's about Santa Claus, I don't believe in him. I've growed away from that. I don't believe in Santa Claus at all. See? And some of these little Christmas things they have, I think is ridiculous. But I think they've took all Christ out of Christmas and put Santa Claus in it.
And Santa Claus is a fiction story. (I'm not hurting any of your feelings, I hope, about the children.) But I'll tell you. Here not long ago, about twenty-five, thirty years ago, when a minister here in this city, the pastor of a certain big church here in the city, that I knowed real well, a bosom friend of mine, he walked to me. And Charlie Bohanon (Set there in his office and said, "I'll never tell my kids or have my grandchildren told that lie no more." He said, "My own little boy walked up to me after he got about twelve years old, and talking about Santa Claus..." And he said....."Then, daddy, is this Jesus the same thing?"
Tell the truth. Santa Claus is a Catholic getup about a fellow, a Kriss Kringle or Saint Nicholas, an old German Catholic saint of many years ago who went around doing good to children. And they've carried it down as a tradition. But Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He's real, and He lives.
Christianity Versus Idolatry - 12/17/61
Studying on mythology and all these myths, Christmas itself is a myth. It's not nothing real about Christmas. Christmas wasn't even mentioned in the Bible; they never worshipped the birthday of Christ. Wasn't no such a thing. That's a Roman Catholic dogma and not a Christian teaching, no Scripture for it nowhere in the Bible and for the first hundred years after the Bible (See?) nothing of it. It's just a myth. Santa Claus, commercial, everything, the whole thing is wound up into a big conglomeration.
When Was Yahshua (Jesus) Born
He was not born on December 25th. Many people in the End-Time Message teach he was born in the Spring time (April usually) because Bro. Branham said this. Is this so?
Before we go any further, let us state that we ARE NOT going against the vindicated word of a true prophet of God. This statement made by Bro. Branham is not "THUS SAITH THE LORD". He was a man with his own opinions just like you & I. This was HIS own opinion. He made this statement on the basis that Jesus was the Lamb of God; and since He was a "lamb", he would have to be born in the time that lambs are born, the lambing season runs between February and April. Please don't be carnal and use the quotes of Bro. Branham as being the FINAL authority, Yahweh & Yahweh ALONE is the final authority. If Bro. Branham said this as "THUS SAITH THE LORD", then it would be a Divine & Eternal Truth; but this was his words, not God's, this was his opinion, not "THUS SAITH THE LORD". Don't take certain quotes of the Prophet/Messenger and make your own "doctrines" out of them. You Branhamites have tarnished the image of Bro. Branham more than any unbelievers and have turned many away from the TRUTH by your carnality & ignorance in worshiping this man, quoting him verbatim, baptizing in his name, preaching a "Return Ministry" and so forth. How dare you, being WILLINGLY ignorant, make a mockery out of this precious man and the God-given Message he brought and fought so hard for. Branhamites, whether you like it or not, THE TAPES ALONE ARE NOT FOR YOU TOO LIVE OFF OF SPIRITUALLY!!! It's time to move on. William Branham has come & gone. He's been dead for over 40 years. The Message he brought still lives on but ya'll are stuck in the past, living & "eating" on certain things that were for that time only. You are no better off than the DEAD & DECAYING denominational, charismatic religious world that God spit out of His mouth. You have become blind to the Light of Revelation that shines today. You still seek what was yesterday instead of searching for what God has for the Bride today.
Yahshua was born in the time between mid-September & late October. Doing some simple research will prove this.
"But what about the manger scene with shepherds and wise men?" you ask. Yes, the manger is described in the Bible, but it was never provided as a focus for the continued observance of the birthday of the Savior. Shepherds came to the manger, but the wise men visited a house up to two years later. Here's the account of these wise men, right from Matthew 2:11, "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary [Miriam] his mother, and fell down and worshiped Him."
And then there is the timing. Usually during Christmas plays someone will read the account in Luke 2:8: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." Is this describing a cold December scene? According to Jeremiah 36:22, December is wintry in the Holy Land, cold and rainy, and on occasion snow covers the ground (see Daily Life in the Time of Jesus by Henri Daniel-Rops).
Luke, however, says that sheep were still in the open fields. This had to be before the cold winter rains and snows began to fall. The livestock had not yet been moved to shelters. Notice: "It was a custom among Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts about the Passover [early spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain" (Clarke's Commentary by Adam Clarke, vol. 3, p. 370). Clarke says the first rain commences in October or November. He adds, "As these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, as a result, our Savior was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields ...the [Bible says] flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up."
Another indication that the Savior was born in the fall rather than in winter is the fact that Caesar Augustus had declared a census or tax be made of the empire, and each citizen had to report to his hometown to register, Luke 2:1-5. Ordering the people of the empire to travel great distances in the dead of winter would have surely incited a revolt, at least among the Jews in the Holy Land. No right-minded king would have requested such a thing. He more likely would have called a census in early fall after the crops were harvested and the people had money and time to travel before bad winter weather set in.
Various prophetic Scriptures indicate that Yahshua the Messiah was born at the time of the fall Feast of Tabernacles. That may have been one reason that the inn was full when Joseph came to Bethlehem, as the city had swelled with Feast observers
In Luke 3:23, it says: "And Yahshua himself, when He began to teach (preach), was about 30 years of age...". Now, from other studying, you will find that Yahshua's earthly ministry lasted roughly 3 ½ years (3 yrs & 6 months). He preached 3 ½ years and then He was killed, so he was 33 ½ when he died. Now, let's look at this very carefully. History tells us that He was crucified between late-March & early-April (our time). Most history scholars say April 6th. Now let's do some simple math. If he was killed in April, then all we have to do is subtract 33 years, that gives us April again, but then take off 6 months, which gives us October. With careful studying and having a mind that's open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, these SIMPLE yet PROFOUND truths can be understood. So, the Bible clearly states that Yahshua was born between late-September & early-October and He died between late-March & early-April. December 25th IS NOT His birthday and neither was He born in April as some claim. If He was born in April, that would mean He was 34 or older when He died. Also if He was born in December, then His ministry only lasted approximately 3 yrs & 2 months (December/April = 4 months. 6-4=2)
Why a Death Celebration Honoring a Birth?
A mass is a celebration of the Eucharist or the emblems of the death of the Savior. Yet, "Christ-mass" is an observance supposedly in honor of His birth. Why? The answer is found with the secular ancients. Mithras was known as the Sun Deity. His birthday, Natalis solis invicti, means "birthday of the invincible sun." It came on December 25, at the time of the winter solstice when the sun began its journey northward again. Pagan peoples were overly concerned with life and fertility. They saw life fading in the darkness of winter and so held festivals in honor of and to beckon back the sun to give life and light to the earth once more. The Dictionary of the Middle Ages explains how a funeral mass came to be celebrated as the supposed birthday of the Savior:
"In patristic thought [the Messiah] had traditionally been associated with light or the sun, and the cult of the Sol invictus, sanctioned as it was by the Roman emperors since the late third century, presented a distinct threat to Christianity. Hence, to compete with this celebration the Roman church instituted a feast for the nativity of [the Messiah], who was called the Sol iustitiae .... Usually when Christians celebrated the natalis of a saint or martyr, it was his death or heavenly nativity, but in this case natalis was assigned to be [the Messiah's] earthly birth, in direct competition with the pagan natalis," pp. 317-318. (That is, it was to compete with the birthday of Mithras.) So confused were some about what or whom they were worshiping that Pope Leo I (440-461) chastised Christians who on Christmas celebrated the birth of the sun deity!
The sun cult was particularly strong at Rome about the time Christmas enters the historical picture, according to the New Catholic Encyclopedia. "The Feast is first mentioned at the head of the Depositio Martyrum in the Roman Chronograph of 354. Since the Depositio was composed in 336, Christmas in Rome can be dated that far at least. It is not found, however, in the lists of Feasts given by Tertullian and Origen," vol. 3, p. 656.
Where did Mithraism come from, this Roman religion that venerated the sun deity and influenced Christianity so greatly? Kenneth Scott Latourette in A History of Christianity, traces Mithraism to the mystery religions of Egypt, Syria, and Persia. "Almost all the mystery cults eventually made their way to Rome," he notes. "They were secret in many of their ceremonies and their members were under oath not to reveal their esoteric rites. Numbers of them centered about a savior-god who had died and had risen again. As the cults spread within the Empire they copied from one another in the easy-going syncretism which characterized much of the religious life of that realm and age," pp. 24-25.
Saturnalia - Forerunner of Modern Christmas
Tammuz, the Babylonian sun deity, was the first counterfeit savior. Yahweh in Ezekiel 8:14-18 condemns ancient Israel for adopting worship of Tammuz, which included sun worship and the asherah (phallic symbol).
"Then he brought me to the door of the gate of Yahweh's house which was toward the north; and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of Yahweh's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch [asherah] to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them."
Elements of this worship are still found in today's Christmas rites. The Romans worshiped Tammuz as the sun deity Mithras in a special observance called the Saturnalia. The Saturnalia was named for Saturn, otherwise known as Cronus. Cronus is an alias for Tammuz. His wife and mother was Rhea (Semiramis). The Saturnalia, therefore, was just another observance for Tammuz, the Babylonian, counterfeit redeemer. The Romans kept the Saturnalia in December, at the time of the winter solstice, in honor of the returning sun. The festival lasted seven days. "All classes exchanged gifts, the commonest being waxed tapers and clay dolls," says the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition.
Legend has it that the Saturnalia was instituted by Romulus under the name Brumalia (from bruma, rneaning winter solstice), Britannica, p. 232. "The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence," notes the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p. 48.
And so the church established the birthday of the Savior to coincide with the heathen feast day. "...the Latin Church, supreme in power, and infallible in judgement, placed it on the 25th of December, the very day on which the ancient Romans celebrated the feast of their goddess Bruma. Pope Julius I was the person who made this alteration" (Clarke's Commentary).
This fact is supported by the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 223: "December 25 was the date of the Roman pagan festival inaugurated in 274 as the birthday of the unconquered sun which at the winter solstice begins again to show an increase in light. Sometime before 336 the Church in Rome, unable to stamp out this pagan festival, spiritualized it as the Feast of the Nativity of the Sun of Righteousness." Hislop observes, "That Christmas was originally a Pagan festival, is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin," The Two Babylons, p. 93.
This blending of observances only served to confuse worshipers. By the middle of the fifth century, Pope Leo the Great rebuked his over-cautious flock for paying reverence to the Sun on the steps of St. Peter's before turning their backs on it to worship inside the westward-facing basilica. Even some bishops, like Troy, continued to pray to the sun. He eventually went back to sun worship entirely (from The Early Church, by Henry Chadwick).
Protestants Object to Christmas Observance
As the Roman Empire grew and as merchants traveled, the customs of Christmas spread also. Cultures in northern Europe contributed some of their own traditions, or twists on some unbiblical themes, nearly all of which had a basis in Babylonian paganism. The decorated tree, St. Nick, yule log, wreaths, cookies, berries, mistletoe, bonfires, roast goose, roast pig, wassailing, caroling, and other familiar fixtures were added or embellished for the Christmas-Saturnalia in various countries.
When the Protestant movement attempted to rid itself of the excesses and sins of Roman Catholicism, there also came an opposition to Christmas that almost obliterated it entirely in England. "In England, for example, the Puritans could not tolerate this celebrating for which there was no biblical sanction. Consequently, the Roundhead Parliament of 1643 outlawed the feasts of Christmas, Easter, Whit-suntide, along with the saints' days," Celebrations, p. 312.
For a period of 12 years the staunch Puritans kept the shackles on Christmas, making it an ordinary day of business and even a day of fasting. Yet "with the Restoration in 1660 the citizens reclaimed Christmas, but it was a different festival from what it had been. The religious aspects were often neglected, with the result that the secularization of the holiday was well under way," ibid.
In America, strong religious antagonism to the feast of Christmas lasted from 1620 to 1750 - 130 years! In 1776 General George Washington surprise-attacked the German Hessians on December 25, winning a critical Revolutionary War battle by defeating the Christmas-celebrating, drunken German mercenaries. Obviously, Christmas was not an important celebration for the father of our country!
Henry Ward Beecher, clergyman and lecturer, wrote in 1874 of his boyhood in New England, "To me Christmas is a foreign day, and I shall die so. When I was a boy I wondered what Christmas was. I knew there was such a time, because we had an Episcopal church in our town, and I saw them dressing it with evergreens, and wondered what they were taking the woods in church for; but I got no satisfactory explanation. A little later I understood it was a Romish institution, kept up by the Romish Church." Eventually the major Protestant denominations accepted Christmas, "although they reacted violently against the corruption of the Christkindl, the Christ Child, into 'Kriss Kringle,' " Celebrations, pp. 315-316.
Seriously considering the Scriptures, history and the lateness of the hour in which we live, our participation in Christmas is very limited indeed. Over and over in the Old Testament Yahweh warned Israel not to get involved with the pagan customs of their heathen neighbors. When Israel drifted into idolatry and paganism, Yahweh would always send a message of warning, through His prophets. If the warning was ignored, chastisement and/or judgment followed.
Like Israel, the "Church of the First Born" is called to walk a separated walk; talk a separated talk; and live a separated, peculiar life, for the Glory of God. Once learning the Truth about Christmas, our participation in it's pagan customs brings reproach on the pure Gospel of our Master and Savior Yahshua. No matter how "nice" or "religious" it seems, it's still pagan. In making our decision about which parts of Christmas we should participate in, we must not forget that the Christmas of "today" is more worldly, more commercialized, and more secular than it was in Brother Branham's day. More than ever Christmas is polluted with the world and the things of the world. And the Bible tells us that "if we [as professing Christians] love the world or the things of the world, the Love of God is NOT even in us" (1st. John 2:15).
The Bible says that one time God winked at our ignorance. In Acts 17:29-31 Paul admonishes us in these words: Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of Yahweh, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance Yahweh winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained;
For centuries God winked at our ignorance as we used pagan and heathen customs and practices to celebrate the birth of Christ. But now in these last days, HE now commands us to repent of the idolatry and paganism of Christmas and get ready for the Second Coming Rapture (going home) of the Bride of the Lord. We would do well to heed the warning of God, through His Prophet Jeremiah: "Thus saith Yahweh, Learn not the way of the heathen".