Holiday or Holy Day?

Think for a moment if we observed New Year’s Day in the spring. As noted in the last post, the LORD established Nisan (March/April on the Gregorian calendar) as the first month of the year (Exodus 12:2).

In the verses following, the LORD commands Israel to observe Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as an everlasting memorial of their deliverance out of Egypt. The Feast of Firstfruits, following the Passover sabbath, was observed by Christians in memory of Christ’s resurrection.

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).

Imagine, then, that the first month of the year was a celebration of Passover (if you were Jewish), or the Feast of Firstfruits (if you were a disciple of Yeshua). Wouldn’t that be a more solemn, reverent, holy observance of the New Year?

Someone may ask, “How did January become the first month of the year?” Pope Gregory XIII codified the custom set forth by the Julian calendar which honored the Roman god, Janus, who was considered to be the first among gods; and the beginning of days, months, years and time. The festival of Janus, for whom the month was named, was celebrated on January 9.

In contrast, ancient Israel numbered its days and months. Only four months are named in the Tanakh and these are of Canaanite origin. Naming the days and months of the year was a pagan tradition associated with idol worship — a custom Israel later adopted in exile.

The Gregorian calendar that we use today is a testament of false gods and pagan deities. Instead of observing the New Year in a manner prescribed by YHWH, the world celebrates in the month dedicated to a Roman god.

Why does Israel celebrate New Year’s (Rosh Hashanah) in the fall?

In the seventh month of the year, Tishri on the Hebrew calendar, Israel was commanded to observe the Feast of Booths (Leviticus 23:34). Known also as the Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of the Ingathering (or Sukkot) it was a seven-day celebration of the autumn harvest at the end of the year (Exodus 23:16).

The end of the year (haš·šā·nāh, הַשָּׁנָ֔ה), so thought the Rabbin, implied the beginning of a new year so Tishri was mistakenly recognized as the first month. The Rosh Hashanah celebration that is observed in September/October evolved out of this misinterpretation. Even if we followed the earliest Hebrew calendar — which only had ten months — Tishri could not be the first month of the year. And, as I have noted, Rosh Hashanah is mentioned nowhere in the Torah. It is a human tradition, with pagan origins, that dates back to the second century AD.

The Feast of Firstfruits was supplanted by Easter just as the Feast of Trumpets was supplanted by Rosh Hashanah. The LORD commanded that Israel observe the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:23-24). The blowing of the shofar announced a ten-day period of repentance culminating in the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) — the holiest day in Judaism.

Jewish disciples of Christ expected that the end was near. There was no prophecy on Jehovah’s calendar unfulfilled except the return of Messiah. Yeshua HaMashiac fulfilled the feasts of Israel. *

Passover Lamb
Unleavened (sinless) Sacrifice
Resurrected at Firstfruits
Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost
Righteous Atonement

* Dispensational premillennialism teaches that the fall holy days will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ.

Holidays are of pagan origin while holy days were appointed by G-d. The Gregorian calendar is a deception — a device of human tradition. Only the Hebrew calendar provides insight as to the revelation of Jehovah’s plan of redemption.

Copyright © 2018 Eternal Christ

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Is Christmas Truly Christian?

YHWH spoke these words through His prophet Yesha’yahu (יְשַׁעְיָהוּ):

“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2)

Clothing, food and shelter are the necessities of life. Jehovah knows that you need these things, and He will provide.

However, Netflix is not a necessity. The cell phone, television, Roku, and all of the other gadgets you may possess are conveniences, but not necessities.

In our modern world a car may be a necessity, but does it have to be that fully loaded, brand new model on the showroom floor?

According to Forbes magazine U.S. shoppers spent over $1 trillion on holiday gifts in 2016. This begs the question — what is the origin of Christmas gift-giving? The greater question — what is the origin of Christmas? — I have addressed in previous years, and will do so briefly here.

People tell me, “We need to make Christianity attractive to the world.” So we’ve added rock music and a watered-down Gospel to attract new believers.

Speaking of the Mashiac, the prophet wrote:

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:2).

My Catholic friends may bristle when I say this, but pagan traditions were adopted by the Church for the express purpose of making Jesus Christ attractive to the world. The Roman Empire became Christianized as pagan customs merged with Catholic observance.

Reverence of Mary was patterned after the Egyptian worship of Isis — Queen of Heaven, or Mother of God. The belief that the elements of the Eucharist are the literal body and blood of Christ is rooted in the Roman practice of eating the body and drinking the blood of their pagan gods (Mithraism). The stature of the papacy as head of the Church was mirrored after the supreme authority of the Roman emperor.

Got Questions summarized:

The origin of the Catholic Church is the tragic compromise of Christianity with the pagan religions that surrounded it. Instead of proclaiming the gospel and converting the pagans, the Catholic Church “Christianized” the pagan religions, and “paganized” Christianity. By blurring the differences and erasing the distinctions, yes, the Catholic Church made itself attractive to the people of the Roman Empire. One result was the Catholic Church becoming the supreme religion in the Roman world for centuries. However, another result was the most dominant form of Christianity apostatizing from the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the true proclamation of God’s Word.

Pure Christian religion does not celebrate Christmas. The holiday was observed across Europe, but declared a pagan celebration by the Puritans upon their arrival in the New World. It really wasn’t accepted (in the U.S.) until the 19th century when President Grant proclaimed it a federal holiday in 1870.

What is the origin of gift-giving?

Giving gifts preceded the Christmas tradition. It was a customary practice across the Roman Empire at the winter solstice during the worship of Saturnalia.

The pantheon of pagan gods which ruled over every facet of human existence was incorporated by the Catholic Church in the institution of sainthood. For example, ancient travelers would pray to a false god for safe journeys in the same manner that Catholics beseech their patron of travel, Saint Christopher.

Odin, the Nordic god who flies over Europe delivering toys to the children, was the forerunner of Catholic Saints Nicholas and Wenceslaus — the genesis of Santa Claus. Initially, the tradition of gift-giving called for parishioners to give tithes or gifts to the Church in recognition of the gifts presented by the Wise Men to the baby Jesus.

During the Industrial Revolution it was customary for the wealthy class to give Christmas care packages to the working poor. In the cold winter months bands of unemployed laborers would descend upon affluent neighborhoods in search of basic necessities.

The tradition of gift-giving evolved, yet again, as retailers capitalized on the profit potential of marketing Christmas directly at parents and their children. The world’s economy is dependent on Christmas spending. Think about that for a moment. Edward E. Yardeni, director of economics at Prudential-Bache, said that Christmas sales are the heart of economic expansion.

Commercialization is not Christianity. The holiday season leaves many people in debt or depression. It is a distraction that focuses on gluttony, greed and consumption. Despite the best efforts of the remnant, the world has effectively removed “Christ” from Christmas.

I lay blame at the door of the Catholic Church. Early Christians, Jewish to be sure, did not observe Christmas. Plain and simple it was contrived by the Romish authority for the purpose of making Christianity appealing to the pagan world.

Sadly, this Catholic tradition (and others like it) served only to paganize the Church thus sowing the seeds of the Protestant Reformation.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

Leftovers, Part 3

[This is the third installment of my trilogy on Thanksgiving.]

He was twelve-years-old when he became afflicted with anorexia nervosa and bulimia. It was due to earlier psychological trauma that slowly developed over time. There were compounding factors including impropriety by an elementary grade school teacher who would keep him in the classroom after the other students were dismissed for recess.

Anorexia/bulimia is a psychological disorder.

The condition manifested itself as the preteen entered the seventh grade. It was at Thanksgiving that year when he excused himself from the family table, went into the bathroom, and emptied his stomach into the toilet.

Fearing that his dark secret might be heard the boy would later sneak away and dig a hole in the family’s sprawling back yard to … well, you get the idea.

Within a year he had lost so much weight that the neighbors wondered if he had cancer. The boy’s father knew something was wrong, but this kind of illness was not really discussed out in the open. His dad would feed him plates of peanut butter sandwiches, but afterward the boy would excuse himself and dig a hole.

His mother said later that if she had known there was a problem she would have sought counseling for her son.

Thanksgiving, for whatever reason, exposed the boy’s psychological scars even into adulthood. It’s just that he found it difficult to be thankful for anything.

That young man was me. I don’t share this easily, but it may help you to better understand the tone of these articles.

Thanksgiving, today, means deliverance from years of suffering. The LORD reached down and lifted me up in the power of His spirit and by the precious blood of His son.

The holiday season is not about food and shopping, but about cleansing and healing. I truly am thankful to God for saving me.

That’s the most I’ve written about this … ever.

If you, or someone you know can relate, may I recommend another blog that discusses this issue with unbridled honesty.

Caralyn, at Beauty Beyond Bones, shares her courageous story of overcoming an eating disorder; and the Scriptures that inspired her recovery.

Her blog is pretty busy so you might begin here.

As for me, I just take the season one day at a time. The anniversary of my parent’s death is next on the calendar (Hanukkah), and then comes Christmas.

I think what saddens me most about Christmas is that the world has done a pretty good job at removing Christ from the holiday.

It’s a Small World at Disneyland opened this week displaying its Christmas facade. A Southern California newspaper posted an article criticizing Disney for the religious tone of the attraction:

Disney should know that the religious theming of the popular ride dismisses the attraction’s designed message of an inclusive and diverse world.

The Christmas observance in my community was long ago replaced with a politically correct  winter celebration, but this is true in communities across the nation.

It is thought by some in the Messianic community that Yeshua was born on the 15th day of the seventh month of Tishrei (September-October on the Christian calendar) during the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles when God came down and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ.

I say, give the winter solstice back to the pagans. And there’s a reason why we are not told the date of Jesus’ birth. Besides the fact that it has been corrupted by paganism and idolatry, Jesus told us to remember his death (Luke 22:19).

Our eternal hope rests in his death and resurrection.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ