"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Was Jesus Really Born on December 25th?

This post is from another source. I cannot tell you the name of the website (my bad) but wanted to give food for thought. For me ~ it's time to set some things in my life straight and to live accordingly.

I hope you see something in this that touches your life.

Girl on a Journey - of truth

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the
people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” (Micah 5:2)

Christians around the world have already set up their Christmas trees,
bought their presents to give family and friends, and depending on which
denomination they are a part of, will be celebrating the prophetic
fulfillment of the birth of the Jewish Messiah in Bethlehem.

Orthodox Christians, unlike Protestants, do not celebrate it on
December 25th.

The tradition of the Christmas tree arose out of tree worship that has existed in many societies throughout history.

“I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in
the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the
Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

The Tanakh (Jewish Scriptures) doesn't identify the month in which the
Messiah would be born, and the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) doesn't
identify the date he was born.

When was the Messiah Born?

Although Christmas is a well established Christian tradition, Biblical scholars suggest that December 25th is not the true date of Yeshua’s birth.

Winter in Israel is generally too cold at night to be out shepherding flocks,
and yet at the time of Yeshua’s birth, the shepherds were in the fields watching over their flocks at night.

This month it has been sunny and hot during the day. The men at our ministry wear short sleeve shirts, but around 4 PM each day as the sun goes down, it becomes freezing cold, and you need to put on a warm jacket.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” (Luke 2:8)

The fact that shepherds were in the field keeping watch over their sheep at
night when Yeshua was born likely indicates that he was not born in the
winter. Some scholars suggest the sheep were brough under cover from
November to March.

Winter in Israel is not the logical time to take a census, and yet at the time
of Yeshua’s birth, Joseph and Miriam (Mary), had gone to Beit Lechem
(Bethlehem) to register for a census (Luke 2:1-5).

Jerusalem would only have been so crowded at the time of one of the three
pilgrimage feasts: Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost) or Sukkot (Tabernacles/
Booths). For Yeshua’s birth, Jerusalem was so crowded that there was no room at the inn.

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:6-7)

Likely, Yeshua was born at the end of the harvest, during the Biblical holiday of Sukkot, fulfilling the Scripture that one day the Lord would ‘tabernacle’ with His people.

“Look! God’s dwelling (Sukkah) is now among the people, and He will
dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with
them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

God first revealed Messiah's birth to nearby shepherds.

Birthdays and the Culture of the Time

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than
pride.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

Yeshua was born into a completely Jewish, Hebraic culture where the date of one’s death was remembered and observed rather than the date of one’s birth. This could explain why we are certain of the date of his death (Passover), but not clear on the date of his birth.

How, then, did December 25th come to be celebrated as the day of Jesus’
birth and what is the origin of the festival of Christmas?

It was certainly not included in the early celebrations of the Christian church.
The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “Christmas was not among the earliest
festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian [early Church fathers] do
not show it on their list of feasts.”

Later, when churches in different parts of the world began celebrating the
birthday of Jesus, they had various opinions as to the correct date. It was
not until the latter part of the fourth century that the Roman Church began observing December 25th.

By the fifth century, it was decreed that the birth of Jesus be forever
observed on this date
, even though this was the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, one of the names of the sun-god.

Mithraism—a large, pagan, sun worship cult fostered the celebration of
December 25th as a holiday throughout the Roman and Greek worlds.

This winter festival was called ‘the nativity’ and ‘the Nativity of the sun’.
Semiramis, the Queen of Babylon, (also called the Queen of Heaven and
Ishtar) contaminated the Israelites’ worship of God with Baal worship
(Jeremiah 7:18, 44:17).

“The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out
drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger.” (Jeremiah 7:18)

Semiramis ordered the ancient world to celebrate the birth of her son
Tammuz, who was apparently believed to be the sun god reincarnated.
She set December 25th as the date of Baal’s birth on the advice of her
astrologers, since the sun is at its farthest point from the earth during the
winter solstice.

Over time, the sun god came to be worshipped all over the ancient world on this date of December 25th. It was a time of orgies, drunkenness, and the sacrificing of infants to the pagan god, Baal.

Because this feast was so popular among the pagan population of Greece
and Rome, the date was simply adopted as the time of the birth of Jesus
by the Roman church.

Although Christmas caroling today brings cheer to many Christians, in
their earliest beginnings, carols really had nothing to do with Christmas.
The melodies were originally written to accompany an ancient dance form
called the circle dance associated with fertility rites and pagan festivities.

Many customs associated with the season–the giving of gifts, house-to-house caroling, and the general rejoicing and festivity derived from this winter festival of Saturnalia–are a remnant of paganism that has remained attached to the Christian Church.

The Christians who first observed the birth of Jesus on December 25 did not do so thinking that he was born on that day, but because the pagan winter festival of Saturnalia was celebrated on that date in Rome, they were willing to have this pagan holiday metamorphosed into a Christian one.

Due to its known pagan origin, the Puritans (Christians from the Church of England) banned Christmas altogether. In Massachusetts, its observance was illegal between 1659 and 1681.

Despite its association with paganism, Christmas was, and still is, celebrated by most Christians.

Rabbis and Orthodox Jewish anti-missionaries, often use this information to
confirm that Christianity is a pagan religion and that the story of Jesus’
birth is just a myth from the pagan festival of the birth of Sol the sun-god.
According to this logic, Yeshua couldn't be the Jewish Messiah!

This mosaic found in the Vatican grottoes under St. Peter's Basilica,
on the ceiling of the tomb of the Julii (Pope Julius I), represents
Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) as the sun-god Helios or Sol Invictus riding in his
chariot. It's dated the 3rd century AD.

According to David Kertzer, in his book The Popes Against the Jews: The
Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism
, throughout the 18th
and 19th centuries CE, Jewish rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to
wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the
crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles as part of the Saturnalia carnival
(p. 74).

In 1836, the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition to Pope Gregory
XVI pleading with him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish
community, to which the Pope responded, “It is not opportune to make any

And on December 25, 1881, riots broke out across Poland when Christian
leaders incited the Polish masses into an anti-Semitic frenzy. On this
Christmas Day, twelve Jews were brutally murdered in Warsaw, several
others injured, and many Jewish women raped. In addition to the personal
violence, two million rubles of Jewish property was destroyed.

The Origins of Christmas Customs

The season of Christmas can be a joyous time. Many Christians set up
Christmas trees with beautiful lights, and as long as it brings joy to family and friends while keeping them focused on the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) and all the blessings from God, then that’s a blessing.

However, one should know the history of traditions that they keep.

While the custom of decorating a Christmas tree dates back only a few
centuries, the principle behind it is ancient. Pagans had a custom of
worshipping trees in the forest (Jeremiah 7:18), or bringing them into their
homes and decorating them, and this observance was adopted by the
Christian Church.

Furthermore, sacred trees as symbols of the life force were also associated with Canaanite cults.

Cylinder seals dating from the Late Bronze Age often show a worshipper
standing in front of a tree.

Seals depicting sacred trees have been found at Megiddo and other archaeological sites in Israel.

Other seals dating from the 8th to the 10th centuries BC, which depict a tree flanked by worshippers, have been found at Lachish, Beth-shemesh, Gibeon, Samaria, and Megiddo archaeological sites in Israel.
A drawing of a sacred tree with lily flowers being eaten by two ibex was
discovered on a jar at the religious center of Kuntillet Ajrud. Gold pendants
of the Late Bronze Age from Tell al-Ajjul (near Gaza) and from Ugarit show
stylized trees growing out of a formalized goddess, according to ‘The
Harper Atlas of the Bible
’ (pgs.101-102).

Sexual intercourse under these "holy" trees was thought to transmit the
potency and vitality of the goddess.

"They sacrifice on the mountaintops and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth trees, where the shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery." (Hosea 4:13)

These female deities could well have been the Asherah or Astarte who are
often mentioned in the Jewish Scriptures (Tanakh/Old Testament) as the
consort of the weather god Baal.

"The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs." (Judges 3:7)

In at least 10 Bible references, the green tree is associated with idolatry and false worship.

"They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree." (1 Kings 14:23)

The use of holly and mistletoe comes from the Druid ceremonies. Some
historians think that the Druids used mistletoe to poison their human
sacrificial victim.

Kissing under the mistletoe is a synthesis of Druid sacrificial rituals with Saturnalia sexual immorality.

Places of worship with sacred Christmas trees are frequently mentioned in the Bible and the prophet Jeremiah condemned their use:

“Do not learn the ways of the nations... For the customs of the peoples are
worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.” (Jeremiah 10:1-4)

Christmas Today

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they
will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:23)

In light of all this information, some Messianic Jews and Gentiles choose not to celebrate Christmas in any form whatsoever, while others continue to
celebrate December 25th as Jesus’ birthday.

It is important to refrain from condemning those who choose to
celebrate Christmas, as well as those who choose not to.

What is truly important during this season, while people are confronted with
the birth of the Messiah, is to spread the good news that Yeshua came as
the Light of the World, not to condemn the world, but to save it.

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in
darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that
whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Redeeming the Time
"Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days." (Ephesians 5:16)
Although the celebration of Christmas has pagan origins, this time can be redeemed by doing special mitzvot (good deeds) to help those who are feeling lost or alone while others are celebrating with friends and family.

It’s a fact that this time of the year is the hardest for many people who
don’t have family or who are struggling.

We can be a ‘light’ by bringing cheer, comfort, hope and support into the
lives of friends, family, neighbors, and those less fortunate than ourselves.

This season is a good time to help single mothers, widows, or anyone who
has fallen upon hard times.

Many Christians will celebrate the pagan traditions in ignorance on one day
of the year – December 25th. However our focus should be celebrating the
Messiah’s birth and life everyday of the year as Yeshua was born in
prophetic fulfillment of the Scripture to redeem the world.

We need to celebrate our Creator and His Scriptures (The Word) and the
Messiah (The Word that became flesh).

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

God is love and so He gives His very best to us. We can choose to share the love of God during this festive season by giving of ourselves so that others can also come to know His salvation (Yeshua)

This year Christmas and Chanukah fall during the same week – so please remember the Jewish People, and to help us bring the Word of God to them.

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