Christendom holds these occasions as special and holy times of the year, but they are not found among God's Holy Days as listed in Leviticus Chapter 23 and there is certainly no mention of them in the New Testament. Does God secretly want His people to observe these times, or is it clear that His people should take no part in them? The clarity of the matter is very brief, as follows:
The Oxford Dictionary states, under the definition of saturnalia, “the festival of Saturn in December, characterized by unrestrained merrymaking for all, the predecessor of Christmas”.
The Oxford Dictionary states, “Old English, apparently from Eostre, a goddess associated with spring”.
The Dictionary also states that it is a festival commemorating the resurrection of Christ, but this resurrection took place only 1½ days after he is supposed to have died (“good” Friday). Christ himself says that the one and only sign of him being the messiah is that he would be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights (Matt 12:40). By observance of Easter Christendom is either admitting that it has no messiah or Christ was a liar (again no messiah).
The Oxford Dictionary clearly states, for all to see, that both Christmas and Easter are pagan. God has not hidden the meaning of these days, nor has He been unclear in any way – no Christian has an excuse for observing these pagan days. One cannot claim lack of Biblical knowledge as an excuse, because it is explained very clearly by the secular establishment. The clarity of the matter is actually astonishing and very simple to understand.
We have seen above that according to secular sources Christmas is the successor of the pagan festival of Saturnalia, but is there anything in the Bible that even resembles this festival? The answer is, yes, there is something that sounds remarkably like a Christmas tree in Jeremiah:
“…2 Thus says the LORD: 'Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, 3 for the customs of the peoples are false. A tree from the forest is cut down, and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. 4 Men deck it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move'…” [RSV].
Notice the exhortation in verses 2 and 3, NOT to learn the way of the heathen, because their customs are false! The context is contrasting pagan idols to the great creator God and about the foolishness of worshiping false gods. There are similar references in Isa 40:18-20 and Isa 44:9-20. Since the Christmas tree custom has not changed in almost 2,000 years it is reasonable to conclude that this custom is an integral part of the Saturnalia festival, just as much as the other customs surrounding this pagan occasion. The commentaries avoid this most obvious of conclusions for reasons best known to themselves, but God and His prophets are stating clearly that this event is to be avoided. Christmas is NOT Christian – it is a pagan festival that has simply had a name change.
In reality Christmas is not a celebration of Christ's birth, it is in fact the pagan celebration of the rebirth of the sun god in the dead of winter, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti.
Excerpts From “Ancient Origins” (From http://www.religioustolerance.org/winter_solstice.htm )
The god-man/saviour Osiris died and was entombed on 21‑Dec. "At midnight, the priests emerged from an inner shrine crying 'The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing" and showing the image of a baby to the worshipers."
The winter solstice ritual was called Lenaea, the Festival of the Wild Women. In very ancient times, a man representing the harvest god Dionysos was torn to pieces and eaten by a gang of women on this day. Later in the ritual, Dionysos would be reborn as a baby. By classical times, the human sacrifice had been replaced by the killing of a goat. The women's role had changed to that of funeral mourners and observers of the birth.
Saturnalia began as a feast day for Saturn on 17‑Dec and of Ops (19‑Dec). About 50 BCE, both were later converted into two day celebrations. During the Empire, the festivals were combined to cover a full week: 17-23 Dec. By the third century CE, there were many religions and spiritual mysteries being followed within the Roman Empire. Many, if not most, celebrated the birth of their god-man near the time of the solstice. Emperor Aurelian (270 to 275 CE) blended a number of Pagan solstice celebrations of the nativity of such god-men/saviours as Appolo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus into a single festival called the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun" on 25-Dec. At the time, Mithraism and Christianity were fierce competitors. Aurelian had even declared Mithraism the official religion of the Roman Empire in 274 CE.
But Isn't Observing Christmas Still Honouring God & Christ ?
Many observe Christmas in the belief that it is the right thing to do even though it may not be strictly correct as far as Christ's actual birthday is concerned and think that such observance is acceptable to God & Christ. However, what does Christ himself say of this type of attitude ?
Matt 15:8-9 “…8 ‘This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines’…” [NRSV].
Mark 7:7 “…‘Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’…” [KJV].
Mark 7:9 “…‘And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.’…” [KJV].
These verses fly in the face of traditional belief that all you have to do is “accept” Christ and you will be saved. What God & Christ are saying plainly is, “not only must you worship me, you must do it my way or it is not acceptable”. If we want to worship God and honour Christ we must do it properly, by obeying God, by keeping His Commandments, by celebrating His festivals not pagan festivals.
1. Charles Panati, "Sacred origins of profound things: The stories behind the rites and rituals of the world's religions," Penguin Arkana, (1996), Page 215 to 217.
2. B. G. Walker, "The Woman's Encyclopaedia of Myths and Secrets," Harper & Row, (1983), Page 166 to 167.
3. Mike Nichols, "Yule: Circa December 21," at: http://paganwiccan.about.com/
4. Stephen M. Wylen, "Holidays mark victory of light over darkness," The Bergen Record, 2 December 1999. The essay is online at: http://www.bergen.com:80/
Easter is not mentioned at all in the Bible, though there was a deliberate attempt to insert the error in the Authorized KJV in Acts 12:4:
Acts 12:4 “…And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people…” [KJV].
What the Commentaries have to say about this translation:
“…There never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover, meta to pasca. The word Easter now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honour of the resurrection of the Saviour. But the original has no reference to that; nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the times of the apostles. The word Easter is of Saxon origin, and is supposed to be derived from Eostre, the goddess of love,..”
“…Perhaps there never was a more unhappy, not to say absurd, translation than that in our text…”
“…rather, "after the Passover"; that is, after the whole festival was over. (The word in our King James Version is an ecclesiastical term of later date, and ought not to have been employed here)…”
“…after the Passover, certainly so it ought to be read, for it is the same word that is always so rendered;…”
The error has been corrected in the New KJV (Acts 12:4), which now reads,
“…So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover…”
We have now seen from secular sources and Barnes’ Commentary that the origin of Easter lies in the worship of the pagan goddess Eostre and has nothing to do with obedience to God. In fact observance of Easter is nothing short of blasphemy, because it calls both God and Christ liars. It also leaves humanity without a saviour, because if Christ lied, then his sacrifice was not pure and he could not have died for anyone but himself. Observance of Easter calls Christ a liar because the Easter tradition has it that Christ died on a Friday afternoon and rose again the following Sunday morning – a total of 1 day and 2 nights. Christ said he would be in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights.
Mt 12:39 -40
“…39 ‘But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’…” [KJV].
If there is any confusion as to the duration of a day or night we have to look no further than Christ’s own definition
“…Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.’…” [KJV].
At night you can’t see well, so you can stumble, hence there are 12 hours when you could stumble because there is no light and 12 hours when one does not stumble because there is light. Thus 24 hours for one (1) day means 72 hours in the grave, not 36. This is not just an ordinary man talking, it is God in the flesh (Col 2:9). This being was the one who not only created day and night, but the whole world (John 1:1-10). Accordingly, when Christ says 3 days and 3 nights, then that is precisely what he means.
For anyone to believe that they have a saviour, whom they have declared publicly not only to be a liar, but to have lied about the sign he himself said would be the only sign of his messiahship is beyond comprehension for a reasonable mind.
We have the facts from the explanation of Christmas and Easter, but the burning questions is: How were such overtly pagan practices assimilated into Christianity? The answer is as diabolical as it is simple – in a brilliant and successful effort to unite the empire, Emperor Constantine protected significant parts of pagan practices and some Christian practices by amalgamating them under the banner of the new progressive movement known as Christianity. In effect he preserved the major pagan festivals and practices and simply called his new universal religion "Christianity".
Constantine also presided over key meetings which were responsible for deciding "Christian" doctrine making him the first Pope and this title is even acknowledged by the Roman Catholic Church in recognizing him as the Pontifex Maximus. In this position he was responsible for the following:-
Resolving disputes between Bishops;
Deciding matters of doctrine; and
Excommunicating Bishops who, in his opinion, were creating dissention and not supporting his new "universal religion".
It was a sure way of stabilizing the empire and it was all done in the name of politics, not pursuit of the true religion once delivered to the Saints. Once he controlled the Bishops he controlled religion and control of religion was control of the empire. Constantine's legacy is that his universal religion, proceeding falsely under the name of Christianity, is accepted by Christendom today as the religion delivered by Christ. Yet a reading of God's Word and a little history tells the true story of deception at the core of the matter.
Excerpts from the Roman Catholic Encyclopaedia
“…In all directions new and vigorous national forces began to show themselves. Only two policies were possible: either to give way to the various national movements, or to take a firm stand on the foundation of antiquity, to revive old Roman principles, the ancient military severity, and the patriotism of Old Rome. Several emperors had tried to follow this latter course, but in vain. It was just as impossible to bring men back to the old simplicity as to make them return to the old pagan beliefs and to the national form of worship. Consequently, the empire had to identify itself with the progressive movement, employ as far as possible the existing resources of national life, exercise tolerance, make concessions to the new religious tendencies, and receive the Germanic tribes into the empire. This conviction constantly spread, especially as Constantine's father had obtained good results therefrom…”
“…This declared that the two emperors had deliberated as to what would be advantageous for the security and welfare of the empire and had, above all, taken into consideration the service which man owed to the "deity". Therefore they had decided to grant Christians and all others freedom in the exercise of religion. Everyone might follow that religion which he considered the best…”
“…For a time it seemed as if merely tolerance and equality were to prevail. Constantine showed equal favour to both religions. As pontifex maximus he watched over the heathen worship and protected its rights…”
This article may be read in full at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04295c.htm
Later, the Title of Pontifex Maximus was transferred to the Bishops of Rome. Since Gratian was the last Emperor (375 to 383) to use this Title and later omit the words "pontifex maximus" from his overall Title, it is considered that this is the time of transference of that Title to the Bishops of Rome. Bishop Damasus of Rome (366 to 384) used the Title "Pontiff" and it is believed that he was the recipient of the Title "Pontifex Maximus" from Emperor Gratian.
Wikipedia: “The Romans held a festival on December 25 called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, ‘the birthday of the unconquered sun’. The use of the title Sol Invictus allowed several solar deities to be worshipped collectively, including Elah-Gabal, a Syrian sun god; Sol, the god of Emperor Aurelian (AD 270-274); and Mithras, a soldiers’ god of Persian origin. Emperor Elagabalus (218-222) introduced the festival, and it reached the height of its popularity under Aurelian, who promoted it as an empire-wide holiday.
“December 25 was also considered to be the date of the winter solstice, which the Romans called bruma. It was therefore the day the Sun proved itself to be ‘unconquered’ despite the shortening of daylight hours. (When Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar in 45 BC, December 25 was approximately the date of the solstice. In modern times, the solstice falls on December 21 or 22.) The Sol Invictus festival has a ‘strong claim on the responsibility’ for the date of Christmas, according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia. Several early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus. ‘O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born … Christ should be born,’ Cyprian wrote.”
We are reminded there that the Imperial cult of Sol was first introduced, not by Aurelian, but half a century earlier, by Elagabalus. The wildly unconventional Elagabalus, a variant of whose name is Heliogabalus, was Syrian. His Sol Invictus was really the Syrian Elah-Gabal. Aurelian was Illyrian, not Syrian, but his Sol Invictus became again the head of the Roman pantheon. The cult was suspended with the conversion of Constantine, but revived under Constantine’s pagan nephew (ruled 361-363).
1 ¶ The Lord said to Moses,
2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.
3 "‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.
4 ¶ "‘These are the Lord’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:
5 The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.
6 On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast.
7 On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.
8 For seven days present an offering made to the Lord by fire. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’"
9 The Lord said to Moses,
10 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.
11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old without defect,
13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil—an offering made to the Lord by fire, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine.
14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
15 ¶ "‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.
16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord.
17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord.
18 Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.
19 Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering.
20 The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest.
21 On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
22 "‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God.’"
23 ¶ The Lord said to Moses,
24 "Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts.
25 Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the Lord by fire.’"
26 The Lord said to Moses,
27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the Lord by fire.
28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God.
29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people.
30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day.
31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
32 It is a Sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your Sabbath."
33 ¶ The Lord said to Moses,
34 "Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.
35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work.
36 For seven days present offerings made to the Lord by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work.