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Fukuoka, Japan
Christian blogger, KJV Bible apologist, legal researcher, teacher, learner, family man, writer, entrepreneur, born Jamaican, son of the soil, traveler... it's complicated. "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." 1 Corinthians 1:25-29 (KJV)

This Blog

"I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works." ~ Psalm 9:1 (KJV). This blog contains and explains the truth of God's Word. The Epignosis of the Word of God is what every servant of God must teach.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CHRIST-MAS: Is December 25 really Jesus' birthday?

THE UNDENIABLE FACTS:
JESUS was born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem precisely as prophecied many years before (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit of God AND NOT BY MAN. JESUS existed before the Creation of the world (John 1:1-3). The Son of God then came in human form (John 1:14) to die as a willing sacrifice in payment for the sins of mankind. He did this to provide salvation as a free gift to all who accept and follow Him (John 3:16).


Now, let me burst your bubble: there is no tooth fairy, no Jack Frost nipping at your nose, no Easter bunny, no Frosty the snowman who came to life, no Santa Claus with flying reindeer, and although Jesus exISts undeniably, there is evidence to suggest that he was not born on December 25!

YES I SAID IT and NO I'm not trying to be controversial. Let me say it again: JESUS MAY NOT HAVE BEEN BORN ON DECEMBER 25! Let me give you the historical secular perspective first then we will go into the scriptures.

Consider this, if this assertion is true then what are the implications for us as born-again believers? Only that we have been celebrating the birth of our messiah in the wrong month, that we are celebrating someone else's birthday, that someone created Christmas traditions based on pagan rituals and lies about when our saviour was born, and that we have a responsibility to celebrate Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection perpetually, all the time, and free of paganism.

Is your mouth wide open? Do you think Scrooge got to me before the third ghost got to him? Well let me tell you, the HOLY GHOST is the only "ghost" who REALLY MATTERS. No "bah humbug" here, just Biblical truth. Gently close your mouth and carefully consider the research below.

Did you know: The word “Christmas” means “Christ mass,” a special celebration of the Lord’s supper—called a mass in the Roman Catholic Church and a Communion supper in most Protestant churches.

SECULAR HISTORICAL INFO
Here is an excerpt from history.com about the pagan origins of Christmas.

"In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention [a] date for his birth (a fact Puritans later pointed out in order to deny the legitimacy of the celebration). Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring [I SAY AUTUMN] (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival.

First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the "three wise men" [THE HOLY BIBLE DOES NOT SAY THERE WERE THREE] finally found Jesus in the manger.

By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated. By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, replaced pagan religion. On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today's Mardi Gras.

Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the "lord of misrule" and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorize them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined "debt" to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.
" SOURCE: CHRISTMAS.

Christmas was created and used as a tool to replace the Saturnalia festival and was a sort of condescending way to "right the wrongs and mistreatment of the poor by the rich" at the end of each year. The article contains much more information that you will find very interesting.

December 25 is now used as Jesus' birthday since no one knew the exact day of his birth and the Roman Catholic Church decided to choose this date. The Church essentially replaced the pagan festival with a Christian holy day (holiday). The psychology was that it was easier to take away an unholy festival from the population and replace it with a good one. Let me say that as a Christian I do not condone lying in any form, for any reason.

BIBLICAL INFO
HERE ARE TWO THINGS TO CONSIDER!

1. SHEPHERDS IN THE FIELD (In Winter?)
LUKE 2:1-7 says Caesar Augustus issued a decree for all to be taxed and Joseph took his family to Judaea to pay taxes. Mary was still pregnant but would deliver Jesus soon.

LUKE 2:8-11 says shepherds were watching their flocks at night in Judea at the same time that Jesus was born.

Look at what Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says about the climate of the region of Judaea:

"Israel's climate ranges from temperate to tropical, with plenty of sunshine. Two distinct seasons predominate: a rainy winter period from November to May; and a dry summer season which extends through the next six months. Rainfall is relatively heavy in the North and center of the country, with much less in the northern Negev and almost negligible amounts in the southern areas."

The scripture uses the term: "abiding in the field". It is translated from the Greek word AGRAULEO (Strong's G63), which literally means 'to live in the fields, be under the open sky, even at night.' The context of the scripture gives us a very clear understanding of what was happening. They were guarding their sheep at night because of the treachery of the terrain and from wild animals, and they were doing so under the open sky.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also tells us:
"Regional conditions vary considerably, with humid summers and mild winters on the coast; dry summers and moderately cold winters in the hill regions (including Jerusalem), hot dry summers and pleasant winters in the Jordan Valley; and year-round semidesert conditions in the Negev. Weather extremes range from occasional winter snowfall at higher elevations to periodic oppressively hot dry winds, which send temperatures soaring, particularly in spring and autumn."

In Judaea we will find that the winters are moderately cold (including in Jerusalem). It stands to reason that if the winters in Judaea are RAINY, and cold too, then shepherds would not be watching their flocks at night in the rain or cold under the open sky. Look at what Matthew Henry's commentary on the verse says:

" They were not sleeping in their beds, when this news was brought them (though many had very acceptable intelligence from heaven in slumbering upon the bed), but abiding in the fields, and watching... They were employed now, not in acts of devotion, but in the business of their calling; they were keeping watch over their flock, to secure them from thieves and beasts of prey, it being probably in the summer time, when they kept their cattle out all night, as we do now, and did not house them."

The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. Thus, it is more believable (though not certain) that Jesus’ birth may have been around the end of September and his conception (or the miracle of incarnation that occurred when Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)) in late December of the previous year.

Look at what [Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible (notes for Luke 2:8,13)] suggests:

"This would mean, then, that His conception took place in late December. Thus, it might well be that when we today celebrate Christ’s birth at what we call Christmas (i.e., ‘Christ sent’), we are actually celebrating His miraculous conception, the time when the Father sent the Son into the world, in the virgin’s womb. This darkest time of the year—the time of the pagan Saturnalia, and the time when the sun (the physical ‘light of the world’) is at its greatest distance from the Holy Land—would surely be an appropriate time for God to send the spiritual ‘light of the world’ into the world as the ‘Savior, which is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11)”."

2. JESUS WAS BORN SIX MONTHS AFTER JOHN THE BAPTIST
In Luke 1:5, 8 we see that Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was serving in the course of Abijah in the temple. The book of 1 Chronicles 24:7-19 indicates that there were 24 courses. The assertion is that the eighth course was the course of Abijah and that this period of service started in early June. If this conclusion is accurate, then we can count forward to discover the dates of birth for John the Baptist, and then by deduction, Jesus (born about six months after John according to Luke 1:24-36).

If Elizabeth became pregnant right away, and the pregnancies of both Mary and Elizabeth were normal in terms of length, then John the Baptist would have been born in March, nine months after his conception in June of the previous year and again, JESUS may have been born in the month of September.

Now don't get nervous and jittery because you think that you've been celebrating Jesus' birth in the wrong month. LOL. Consider this as well: It is not wrong to celebrate such a monumental occasion in contrast and opposition to Saturnalia. When people gather on December 25 in Churches all over the world it is to celebrate JESUS and not some pagan ritual. When families gather together to share elaborate dinners it MUST be primarily to share JESUS the bread of life first, then to share all the other delightful goodies.

As born-again believers we are called to share JESUS' complete story every day, everywhere we go, and Christmas is just as good a time as any to talk about JESUS. I must say, I'm not doing the santa thing, although I may decorate the tree and do gift giving for the children's sake. It is very important to reach out to the less fortunate ALL THE TIME, not just in December.

Finally, the various misconceptions about Christ’s birth necessitates that we MUST always test everything we hear against God’s Word, no matter what the source.

The Bible is the final authority.

God Bless You and Happy Holidays!

5 comments:

Nikki Weatherford said...

Well said! It's good to know I don't stand alone on this one. Great post, my friend!

S. Morgan said...

Thanks Nikki,
To God be the glory. :)

Connie in Japan said...

Good post. Another blogger posted something similar a week or so ago and I commented on my blog-with a link to hers-and basically said she had a good post and I pretty much agreed with it. When I found out "the truth" years ago I put the breaks on all things Christmas at our house...that didn't go over too well. So...then we decided that we were going to celebrate Christmas because it is a good time to bring up Christ when perhaps other times people might not be open to talking about Him. So now we celebrate this "winter holiday" with family and friends, food and fun...knowing that it is not really Jesus birthday party. I do enjoy all the Christian hymns and joyous music at this time of the year.

S. Morgan said...

Thanks Connie! Praise God!

I read that post via your link. Good stuff. I found this out many years ago but had never researched it thoroughly enough to write about it until now.

The Easter "situation" is even more shocking!!! The enemy is a great 'counterfeiter' and has tried to imitate God's plan since the beginning of time. He has been successful in his deception because many people fail to study.

I agree with you when you say this holiday is a great time to bring up Christ since people may not be open to talking about Him at other times. The story of Jesus is a great story and children love it. There is nothing wrong with telling the truth about Jesus. The thing is that children love birthdays and we cannot continue to lie to them that its Jesus' birthday on Dec. 25 after we've discovered that its not.

As far as Christmas is concerned for me, its a fun holiday and some of the hymns are a real blessing, but I refuse to continue the 'santa' and flying reindeer lie as well. LOL. Maybe I'm too strict with this God-Me relationship. LOL.

God bless you.

Connie in Japan said...

Hi brother,

No...I agree on the Santa thing. I tell the real story of St. Nick-he was a real person. I think that's where the character Santa Claus came from? I also say that Santa in the red suit is a make-believe character...so are the reindeer...they are just make-believe characters...kind of like Frosty the Snowman. Fairytale characters (to me anyway). Kids are introduced to them everywhere at a young age-it's hard to shelter them from that whole scene...so I just told mine the truth. Anyhow...we never had a chimney on a tropical island (Saipan)...the kids figured that one out pretty quick on their own, that some jolly chubby man was not going to come smashing down our chimney to deliver presents! Santa was just the same as the Disney characters and such to us. I guess that just seemed like the logical way for me to handle the situation when the kids were little.