Christmas is the time of the year when followers of Christianity celebrate the birth of Jesus. This birthday is held in the cold, dead of winter, on December 25. This period is marked by staying up late, colorful decorations, partying and revelry, grandiose feasts, catchy carols, decorating Christmas trees, and waiting for Santa Claus. So what is the true history of Christmas? Is this celebration biblical?
Christmas was not always called Christmas. In the words of Hans J. Hillerbrand of the Encyclopedia Britannica, “The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice” (Hillerbrand, 2015).
Many of us have been led to believe that this deep winter celebration was based on the scriptures. Is it a coincidence that the world over, celebrations of this nature take place in the middle of winter, on the winter solstice? The winter solstice is the most popular time of the year for winter celebrations. The winter solstice is the time of the year when the earth’s axis tilts the farthest away from the sun in the northern hemisphere. Consequently, this causes the winter solstice to be the longest night of the year. After that, the days start getting longer again. This also officially marks the start of winter.
The God of the Hebrews, YHWH (pronunciations vary), warned his people to not worship the host of the heavens (sun, moon, stars, etc.) or any other creation after they were delivered out of the land of Egypt (Deuteronomy 4:19, King James Version). This was a commandment.
The Root of this Celebration
Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord (Genesis 10:9, King James Version). Nimrod is credited for building great cities such as Nineveh and Babylon. He was a rebel. He built the Tower of Babel. He tried to turn people away from the Almighty, YHWH. YHWH had to stop the construction of this tower. After the languages of men were confounded to end the Tower of Babel’s construction, the people were scattered to the four corners of the world (Genesis 11:9, King James Version).
After the death of Cush, Nimrod took his mother (Semiramis) as a wife. Nimrod soon died himself. His body was cut into pieces and scattered throughout his kingdoms. Semiramis taught the people that the only body part that remained missing was his male member, so he had gone to the sun. His name should now be called Baal, the sun god. She taught the people that Nimrod was the father of her unborn child, and the baby was conceived by him through rays of the sun.
For his presence and power to rein supreme, phallic symbols and fires should be lit to honor him. The supposed child of that union is Horus (Tammuz), the reincarnate of Nimrod (Standish, 1992). Semiramis claimed a full-grown evergreen tree sprang out of the roots of a dead tree stump. This symbolized the springing forth of new life for Nimrod. On the anniversary of Nimrod’s birth (December 25), she said that Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts under it. This is the genesis of the Christmas tree-the symbol of Nimrod. This equates to approximately nine months after Easter, or the date Ishtar became pregnant with Tammuz, Nimrod reincarnated (Perdue, 2013).
According to Tadzik Zdan in his book Only A Few, he writes, “for centuries Tammuz’s birthday was celebrated with feasts, revelry, and drunken orgies” (Zdan, 2009). After the myth of Nimrod was taught, his incarnations started showing up in a number of cultures around the world. For example, The Babylonians had many gods. Their chief god was Marduk (Merodach) (Jeremiah 50:2, King James Version). Marduk was known by the titles Bel, Baal, or Lord (Britannica, 2016). Baal, the sun god, is now everywhere.
Some scholars have also concluded that the Christmas tree may be a male phallic symbol of eternal life (Trimm, 2016). The erections of such symbolisms have been around for thousands of years. Ancient nations of Ethiopia and Egypt had an abundance of such phallic symbols; some are still standing there today. The ancients revered the sun. The obelisks were constructed to symbolize a frozen ray of sun. Even today, one can trek over to the nearest graveyard and see phallic symbols in abundance. This was a way to pay homage to the sun god. Today, the tallest obelisk in the world is not in the land of Ham, such as Egypt or Ethiopia, instead it is located in the capital of the United States. This monument, held in place at the top of a pyramid, stands an impressive 555 feet. It is called the Washington Monument. Did you know that some of the most powerful and influential men in history have phallic symbols dedicated to them?
The cutting down of the tree has significant meaning. This signifies the premature death of Tammuz. As a part of this custom, the people would cry and mourn for Tammuz. The star placed at the top of the tree most likely signifies the sun god, or fire god (Saturn, Moloch, Marduk, Rempham, etc). The star could also be a representation of Semiramis herself. One of her symbols was an eight-pointed star. The pagan worship of stars, the sun, the moon, and other planetary objects have been popular since ancient times.
Semiramis is known by many names around the world. Some of these names include mother of god, Ishtar (Easter), Ashtoreth, Athtart, Ashtaroth, Ashtart, Asherah, Inanna, and Isis. She is the goddess of fertility, love, war, sex, and power. Her symbols include eggs, owls, fish, doves, pole (tree stump), and the star (usually the eight-pointed star. In the Bible, she is described as the queen of heaven. The worship of her was something that the God of the Hebrews, YHWH, hated. This was preached at the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 44:17-19; Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 44:25, King James Version). For example, Jeremiah 44:18 says, ”but since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.” Even King Solomon, it is written, followed this fertility goddess: “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites” (1 Kings 11:5, King James Version). Nimrod too was represented by the same symbols as his mother-wife, Semiramis. These symbols include the fish, which is the fish god (Dagon). When the Hebrews went after other gods, this was considered whoredom (Jeremiah 3:8, King James Version).
In ancient Europe and many pagan nations around the world, the worship of trees was very common. Trees played an important role in the spiritual lives of the people. The people had animistic beliefs. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, animism is “the belief that all plants, animals, and objects have spirits” (Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary, 2016).
In Rome, Ojibwa writes: “the sacred fig-tree of Romulus was found in the Forum. This tree was worshiped throughout the age of the Roman empire, and if a citizen thought that the tree was drooping, a hue-and-cry went out which was answered by citizens running with buckets of water as if they were putting out a fire” (Ojibwa, 2016).
In Northern Europe, the Germans tied fruit and attached candles to evergreen tree branches. This was done in honor of their god, Woden (Odin). The third day of the week, Wednesday, was named after this pagan god. These trees symbolized eternal life to them.
The Hebrews, we can read, committed abominations with the Asherah (groves) throughout scripture. There is usually a grove (Asherah) near an altar of Baal, or Bel. They would also decorate these abominations by making hangings for them (2 Kings 23:7, King James Version). That is because they represent Nimrod and his mother Semiramis. This is sun worship. This is idolatry. Even the decorations on the trees are nothing new. Ball (Baals) anyone? People hang from the trees these ornaments. In 2 Kings 23:7 we read, “And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.” In Judges, for example, we can see that YHWH commanded Gideon to:
“25.Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: 26. And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down (Judges 6:25-26, King James Version).
Punishment for the Hebrews
The Hebrews of old transgressed the commandments when they followed pagan gods. They were taking part in this Babylonian practice of worshipping idols when they cut trees down on the winter solstice and decorated them in honor of Tammuz. The Hebrews were routinely punished by YHWH when they committed whoredoms by following Pagan gods and profaned the Sabbath and other appointed dates. Jeremiah 10:2 – 10:5 reads:
2. Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3 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.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
5 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.
Saturnalia, the Sun God Festival—The Romans
There were many midwinter celebrations throughout the Pagan world. They have not gone anywhere; they are still with us today. Some of the most influential religions and rituals of Pagan Europe have been absorbed into Christianity. The Roman Empire had a winter solstice celebration called Saturnalia. Saturnalia was their way to give thanks to their god, Saturn. This pagan god was truly influential. Even the day of the week that we call Saturday was named in honor of this Roman god. How about the planet Saturn? Yes, him.
By the time this winter celebration came around, all planting was complete. Saturnalia was originally celebrated from December 17 to December 24. This was a time of great merrymaking. Social order was inverted and the people indulged. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Saturn’s great festival, the Saturnalia, became the most popular of Roman festivals” (Briatannica, 2016). December 25 was especially special; this day of climax became known as the Brumalia. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Brumalia was “a pagan festival held at the winter solstice from which some features of the celebration of Christmas seem to have originated.”
During this holiday, public gambling was permitted. Slaves were allowed to take part in the celebrations, and they did not have to work. Colorful dinner clothes were permitted in public. The Phrygian cap, or pileus (a felt cap normally worn by freed slaves) symbolized the freedom of the season in Rome. To symbolize this freedom, an innocent Roman citizen was selected to indulge in anything they so desire. This person was called the Lord of Misrule–a king for a day. The Lord of Misrule was sacrificed on the final day on the altar of Saturn. This dramatic end to his short rule was a way to end the period of social disorder and return to normality (Womack, 2003).
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, ‘birthday of the Unconquered Sun’, was another holiday that ancient Rome celebrated. This holiday was celebrated on December 25. The Roman Empire, as was their custom, frequently coopted the gods of the nations they conquered (Bricken, 2016). Mithras was no different. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “Mithraism is the worship of Mithras, the Iranian god of the sun, justice, contract, and war in pre-Zoroastrian Iran. In the Roman Empire during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, this deity was honored as the patron of loyalty to the emperor” (Britannica, 2016).
The Romans saw Mithras as being identical to their Sun-god, Saturn. The widespread observance of Sunday as the “Lord’s Day” is seemingly derived from Mithraism. Mithraism was the final state religion before Christianity, in the form of Roman Catholism (Fingrut, 2016). Mithra’s birthday was celebrated on December 25. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the “Invincible Sun” (Mithra). Romans who practiced Mithraism were of the upper-class and all men. In today’s terms, Mithraism would be considered a secret society because of the secret oaths and rituals that members engaged in. In addition, the elites of these societies dominated the membership. Constantine was raised in the religion of Sol Invicta, Mithraism. Today Iranians celebrate a day called Yalda. This holiday celebrates the winter solstice. This day is also known as Shab-e Chelleh. Both Yalda and Christmas are celebrated in a similar way; this involves feasting with friends and family, and staying up late (Mirrazavi, 2015).
The Growing Influence of Christmas
Undoubtedly, the worldwide celebration of Christmas today can be traced back to European domination of the world. Throughout Europe, various forms of similar winter solstice celebrations were held. In Greece, there was celebration held to honor Dionoysis. This god was identical to the Roman god Bacchus. Bacchus was the child of Jupiter (Zeus in Greek) according to Roman myths. Diónysos, the god of wine (grape harvest), and included parties, festivals, wild celebrations, madness, chaos, drunkenness, ecstasy and fertility. December 25 marks his birthday. This feast lasted for 12 days. These days of wild celebrations and excess reveling was called Bacchanalia. The days were marked with great feasts that included parades of naked women and public sex. This celebration has left footprints around the world in the form of carnival, bacchanal, or bacchanalia, and Mardi Gras.
In Finland, they had the Beiwe (Beaivi) Festival. They worshiped the sun-goddess of fertility and sanity, Beiwe. This pagan god is sometimes shown as a male figure. At the winter solstice, white animals, particularly white reindeer, were sacrificed to Beiwe. They also thought (think) that Beiwe rides a sleigh made of reindeer bones and was pulled by white reindeer (Kaldera & Krasskova, 2012).
Many Slavic people also celebrated Karachun. This pagan holiday is very similar to Samhain (Halloween). This holiday was held in honor of the black god, Chernoborg. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “the Black God survives in numerous Slavic curses and a White God (Belobog-god of light and sun), whose aid is sought to obtain protection or mercy in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Pomerania. This religious dualism of white and black gods is common to practically all the peoples of Eurasia” (Gasparini, 2016). In Russia, they celebrated the winter goddess, Rozhnitsa, at the winter solstice. She was the antlered goddess.
In Northern Europe, they celebrated Yule. This is where the majority of the Christmas traditions in the English Speaking world derived their Christmas traditions. This celebration lasted for twelve days. As a part of this festival, feasting and revelry were commonplace. Giant bonfires were also lit. The night before Yule was called Mōdraniht. Mōdraniht means Mother’s Night. During this night, the spirits of dead women and female deities were honored. This is called Desir.
Some of the traditions of Yule include the Yule tree, Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, and Yule singing, just to name a few.The Yule tree became the Christmas tree. This tree was decorated around the winter solstice. The men of the household would cut down evergreens from the forests and bring them into their homes. Families would light Yule logs, usually from the preceding year. They would eat, drink, and make merry until the logs burned out. If the log burned until midmorning, it was considered good omen (Pesznecker & Llewellyn , 2015). This celebration honored “father winter” and Skadi (“snow queen”) of whom the land of Scandinavia is thought to have been named after (Pesznecker & Llewellyn , 2015). It is believed that each spark of the log represents an animal, such a calf, or pig that would be born in the new year.
The Yule goat was one of the most popular aspects of Yule at its height. A remnant of this celebration is still held today in various countries across Europe. It was believed that the Nordic god, Thor, rode through the sky on a chariot pulled by two goats. The function of the Yule goat is not fixed. In some societies, the Yule goat represented an evil spirit that went around demanding gifts and punishing children who were bad that year (Hawkins, 2013). The Yule, or Christmas, goat is also known as Krampus. Krampus was the companion of Santa Claus. Krampus would spank misbehaving children, eat them, or carry them off to hell. The Yule ham is another abomination that is a major aspect of the pagan Yule, or Christmas of today.
The ham was important in Yule celebrations as a result of the pagan god Freyr. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Freyr is “the ruler of peace and fertility, rain, and sunshine and the son of the sea god Njörd” (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2016). Freyr’s mother is his father’s sister. The pig was sacrificed to this pagan god. The pagan god Freyr is said to ride around on a boar by the name of Sónargǫltr, which means “atonement-boar.”
Other popular traditions of the winter solstice include holly, mistletoe, and nativity scenes. The holly was a sacred plant for the Romans to their god, Saturn. They also thought having the plant around brought them good luck. At this time of the year, the plant is at its greenest. They would tie this plant into a wreath and hang it at the front of their houses, as people do today. The mistletoe is one of the major symbols of Paganism. When Paganism was the dominant religion of Europe, people would hang the mistletoe in areas where they congregated. The belief was that this plant had magical powers. They thought that the plant, among other things, would protect them from evil spirits and bring them good luck. It was also a symbol of fertility, as it was thought that the plant made people and animals more fertile (Perry, 2016). Today, this plant is still viewed as sacred. Couples are expected to kiss, if they meet under the mistletoe. Having nativity scenes is nothing short of idolatry. An idol is a greatly loved or admired person, place, or thing that is used to bring to remembrance a god. The God of Heaven, the God of the Hebrews, YHWH, hates idols. YHWH through the second commandment told the Hebrews: do “not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4, King James Version). In addition to that, those scenes go back to ancient times when scenes were created in honor of Nimrod, Seramesis, and Tammuz. The same scenes are replicated throughout the world to represent the god’s of various nations.
Grand Birthday Celebrations
Why is the birth of Jesus celebrated in such a grandiose way if there is no Biblical basis for it? The few examples of birthday celebrations in the Bible, especially the ones after the death of the Messiah, do not support the idol-filled celebrations of today. All those celebrations involved the enemies of the Hebrews. For example, in true heathen fashion, the head of John the Baptist was requested as a birthday present on Herod’s birthday to present to his daughter as a gift for her dance routine (Mark 6:21-24; Matthew 14:6-14:9, King James Version). Pharaoh had one of his servants hanged on a tree. The man was left there to be eaten by birds. This was on the same day Pharaoh had a great feast to celebrate his birth (Genesis 40:1-40:23). In the book of 2 Maccabees, we read that the Hebrews were compelled to partake in pagan traditions while they were under Greek occupation. During this occupation, it was illegal for Hebrews to keep the commandments, even the Sabbath. They were forced to celebrate their oppressor’s birth, every month. Some were forced, particularly elders and leaders, to eat pork at these feasts as a punishment (2 Maccabees 6) and as a way to encourage others to break the laws.
In closing, it is evident that winter solstice celebrations (Saturnalia, Koliada, Christmas, Yule, Karachun, etc) are all one of the same. When man was scattered from Babylon, the tradition of sun worship was exported around the world. It is one of the most pagan of celebrations on the yearly calendar. Nowhere in the Bible were Hebrews, such as the apostle Paul, seen celebrating the birth of a baby Messiah, or anyone for that matter. Nowhere in the scriptures can any righteous Hebrew be seen exchanging gifts left under a Christmas tree. Nowhere in the word can a righteous Hebrew be seen eating abominations such as ham. As we enter into the season of dark celebrations, it is important to know what you are truly celebrating. As the Hebrew scripture states, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6, King James Version). It is imperative for all peoples to get to the root of all things. It can be seen that despite the nation, there appears a common theme on the winter solstice: the celebration of light, fertility, and new beginnings in the dead of winter. Every aspect of mainstream Christmas traditions go all the way back to pagan roots; the exchanging of gifts, the feasting, the music, the decorations, and especially decking an evergreen in the middle of winter are as pagan as they come. The Jesus of the Bible (Yahushua) was never in Christmas.
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