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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A Tale of Two Christmases

Pastor David Jeremiah confessed at last weekend’s service that he loves the trappings of Christmas. Every year he takes his family to New York City to watch the Rockettes perform their holiday program. He shared the story of his family’s recent visit:

They gave us a pair of special glasses and turned down the lights. As the program began we could see 3D projections of Santa Claus flying over the stage delivering presents. It looked so real that I actually reached out to try to catch one of the wrapped gifts.

At the end of the program they recreated the Christmas story from the Book of Luke. I sat in wonder as the story of Christ’s birth was presented on the big stage. How would it be received by a New York audience in 2017? Well, there was a standing ovation, but as we were leaving I heard a man say,  “I really enjoyed the first part of the program, but why did they have to ruin it with all that religious stuff?” I wanted to reach out and tell the man, “That religious stuff is what Christmas is all about.”

When it premiered on December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas was expected to be a ratings disaster. CBS executives didn’t like the theme music (Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi) because it sounded too adult. More importantly, TV execs did not want to broadcast a religious-themed Christmas program. Director Bill Melendez somewhat agreed with the network, but noted that “Sparky (Charles Schulz) would not budge.”

CBS thought of canning the program, but it had spent so much money to develop the project that it decided to air the special and simply write it off as a production loss. The rest, as they say, is history. A Charlie Brown Christmas was seen in 50% of American households. It earned critical acclaim, and was awarded an Emmy and a Peabody. It became a Christmas classic, and has aired for over fifty years.

Pastor Jeremiah warned that even a Christian can get caught up in the trappings of Christmas. Santa Claus is a jovial, non-threatening substitution for Jesus Christ. The North Pole is a substitute for heaven — a lump of coal  a substitute for hell. The concept of good and evil reduced to an innocuous list of those who are naughty, or nice.

 There is a great divide — two Christmases, if you will, one for the pagans and one for the Christians. It is hypocritical, though, for non-Christians to celebrate Christmas, or Christ’s mass. The world loves the holiday music, parties and gifts, but they fail to recognize the true gift of the season.

2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16
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.

God blinds their eyes and hardens their hearts so that they cannot discern what is true nor perceive what is deception. My sorrow is that many Christians are equally confused.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

Jesus or Santa?

I was reading about a childless couple who opened a foster home, but because they didn’t celebrate Halloween, Christmas or Easter their licensing credentials were revoked; and the children living at the home were removed by the state.

The foster parents (who are Christian) suggested that the children not be permanently removed, but that they might spend the holidays in a secular foster home. The social worker denied their request on the grounds that the Christian couple may disapprove if the temporary home is managed by a same-sex couple.

This story opens up a whole range of topics — moral, ethical, legal and spiritual — but what I want to discuss here is in the context of Christian parenting. What do you tell your children about Santa Claus?

The social worker told the foster parents that they were required to affirm the existence of E.B. and S.C. because it was the right of children to be reared in a home which followed the customs of society.

Socialization brings to mind herd mentality. Why do we follow social customs? By way of mass media, social media and public education children are indoctrinated with the values of a Godless world system.

Think of it in terms of the herd of swine that ran into the sea and perished (Matthew 8:28-32). This will be the fate of all people who live by the code, “Every one is doing it!” Not one of those pigs saw the danger and broke from the herd.

Consider, also, that parents are called to bring up their little ones in the way of the LORD (Proverbs 22:6). There was a time when children were homeschooled and their grade-level reader was the Holy Bible. Public education was instituted in the 19th century by fascists, communists, socialists and progressives to reeducate a nation’s youth. A high school graduate knows more about sex, drugs and alcohol than how to live as a responsible, productive, moral citizen.

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted. Vladimir Lenin

A child does not have the right to believe in Santa Claus (nor the Easter Bunny). In fact, the evidence suggests that to instill such beliefs causes psychological harm. I was listening to a Christian family counselor who recommended that parents not lie to their children. She shared her own personal story:

I remember when I first learned that there was no Santa Claus. My girlfriends made fun of me because I still believed. It was really hurtful and embarrassing, but what was even more devastating was that my parents had deceived me. I began to question everything my parents had taught me. If Santa Claus was a lie then maybe Jesus was a lie, too. So I stopped believing in God. It wasn’t until I was 29 that I sensed an urge to return to the church. I felt like I was home again, and regretted all those faithless years. 

A youngster’s cognitive development is acute at a very early age. Their mind is like a sponge. What are they being taught in preschool or grade school? Are they learning things that uphold or reject the values taught by their parents? Are parents being honest and forthright with their children?

The prevalent anti-Christian worldview is ubiquitously disseminated through every type of gadget and device. Children are victimized by a secular methodology that advances progressive socialization. In other words, the child grows up faithless and leftist — seeking refuge in a college safe-room (stocked with crayons and Play-Doh) whenever they hear the name of God, or Donald Trump.

Children will retain whatever values have been stored in their neurons. Alcohol and drugs can kill those receptors which is why the left pushes for drug decriminalization, and public schools advocate that rambunctious kids be medicated. It’s so much easier to rewrite the program of a person who is dependent.

Parents, do not lie to your children. Santa Claus is a substitute for Christ. When St. Nick proves to be a myth don’t be surprised if your child no longer wants to attend church. It will be difficult, but you must rethink the tradition of gift-giving. What is the gift of Christmas — that 60″ plasma you scored on Black Friday? No, the gift of Christmas is …

Jesus Christ.

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).

This is the joyful gift — that God gave his Son to the world. All of the other trappings of Christmas are a deception and a distraction. The hustle and bustle takes our eyes off of Jesus, and leaves many feeling lonely and depressed.

Satan counterfeits all that is pure and lovely. Will you go on being deceived (and your children), or will you take hold of the one, true gift?

Salvation … which is found only in the eternal Son of God.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ