WCG and LCG on Christmas

Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales


GIC (formerly WCG) sent out an email yesterday announcing an article by its J. Tkach which stated:

Early in my Christian walk, I found the Christmas season annoying and irritating rather than inspiring and enjoyable. That’s because I believed Christmas was really a pagan holiday masquerading as Christian, and as such, God must hate it. I thought people who call themselves Christian but participate in such pagan revelry must disgust God.

But something the apostle Paul wrote gave me pause to reflect on my assumptions about Christmas, as well as Easter, another holiday I took for pagan debauchery. It’s in Philippians 1:15-18…So what does that have to do with Christmas? It showed me that when Christ is preached, that’s a good thing, regardless of the reasons or setting for it..The Christmas tree, which is an evergreen, symbolizes the everlasting life…

We don’t even avoid most of the things pagans did in worshipping their false gods, nor does God expect us to. Pagans don’t own December 25. That day belongs to God like every other day.

While pagans do not “own” any particular day, this does not mean that Christians should follow pagan worship practices.  J. Tkach seems to have overlooked certain biblical passages such as Jeremiah 10. Here are two translations of it:

Listen to the Message that God is sending your way, House of Israel. Listen most carefully:    “Don’t take the godless nations as your models.  Don’t be impressed by their glamour and glitz, no matter how much they’re impressed. The religion of these peoples is nothing but smoke. An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down, then shaped by a woodsman’s ax. They trim it with tinsel and balls, use hammer and nails to keep it upright.  It’s like a scarecrow in a cabbage patch—can’t talk!  Dead wood that has to be carried—can’t walk!  Don’t be impressed by such stuff. It’s useless for either good or evil… (Jeremiah 10:1-5, 11, The Message).

1Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:  2Thus 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. 3For 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. 4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 5They 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…11Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens…Tell them this, ‘The stick gods who made nothing, neither sky nor earth, Will come to nothing on the earth and under the sky (Jeremiah 10:1-5, 11, KJV).

Note that God does NOT endose adding trees to worship of Him as the pagan do.  Nowhere in the Bible do we see anything that suggests that God’s people should decorate trees in honor of Jesus.  I should add that the in the passage in Philippians 1:15-18 that J. Tkach cited, Paul was saying that getting the MESSAGE out was good, even if the motivation was not.  But Paul did not say that it was fine to preach an inaccurate message about Jesus.  Notice that Paul actually Paul condemned those who preached a false, changed gospel:

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9, NKJV)

Christmas observance actually changes the focus of the gospel and it is NOT a day that the Bible suggests should be observed as the heathen once did.

This morning, in his latest commentary, LCG’s Wyatt Cieselka stated:

The Catholic Encyclopedia reveals: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts…” (vol. 3, pp. 724, 728).  Christmas was even briefly outlawed in Massachusetts in 1659 and in England in the mid 1600s as being unbiblical.

Understand.  Before Christmas was the Roman Saturnalia, upon which Christmas is founded.  Tertullian; considered an early Catholic church father, wrote that during the Saturnalia, presents were exchanged and “every pomp of the devil is frequented” (On Idolatry, circa 200 – 206 A.D.).

But, the Saturnalia was simply an adaptation of something earlier – Persian Mithraism.  As the Catholic Encyclopedia records: “In Mithraism, the highest god was Aion, Kronos, or Saturnus.  Saturnus; the name popularized by the Roman world, was no other than the ancient Iranian [Persian] god; Zervan (“Mithraism”).

The Romans eagerly adopted Mithraism in the form of the Saturnalia.  Emperor Diocletian built a temple to Mithra in Carnuntum, and “The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun” (ibid).

In Mithraism, the mid-winter festivals began with worship of Zervan, whose celebrations ended on December 24.  The celebrations then transitioned to worship the reborn Zervan as the newborn Mithras, the new Saturn, born on December 25 who brought back the sun after the winter-solstice (Mithras, the Secret God, M.J. Vermaseren).

The pagan god Zervan was depicted as a winged, part-human, part-lion figure.  Thus, we see that Zervan depicts angelic cherubim characteristics (2 Chronicles 3:13; Ezekiel 10:14).  Further, Zervan was typically accompanied by snakes wrapped around his legs, arms or body (The Mysteries of Mithra, by Franz Cumont, 1903, page 93).  Scripture reveals that Satan (formerly Lucifer) is a fallen cherub (Ezekiel 28:14-16), and is associated with the snake (Genesis 3:1-14; Revelation 20:2).

A righteous angel will not permit himself to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10; 22:9).  And Revelation 9:20 warns that idolaters are actually worshipping demons.  Clearly, the cherub who demands his worship at the winter-solstice is no righteous angel.  Whether calling himself Zervan, Saturn or another eponym, this deity is a proxy for no other than Satan, the fallen cherub!

But even the Roman Saturnalia and Persian Mithraism was an adaption of an even earlier mystery religion – the Babylonian mystery cult.  The ancient Babylonians celebrated the reborn Nimrod as the newborn Tammuz by worshipping an evergreen tree (now the common Christmas tree).  The Babylonians also celebrated this rebirth during the winter solstice.  Jeremiah condemns ancient Israel for copying this terrible paganism, and even specifically mentions the evergreen tree in Jeremiah 3:13.

Regardless of fond memories or whether “everyone does it,” a true Christian will reject Christmas, not only because of the commercialism, the pagan influence, and the impossibility of Jesus being born mid-winter, but more fundamentally because Christ refuses to have any part with idolatry (2 Corinthians 6:15-16).  Christ was never part of Christmas and He will not be “put back” in Christmas.

God commands us to “learn not the way of the heathen” (Jeremiah 10:2, KJV), reveals that pagan celebrations are abominations to Him (Jeremiah 10:3-4; Ezekiel 8:13-14), and tells us to not change what was taught through Christ and the Apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15).  Once this truth is understood, a true Christian will shudder at the idea of celebrating Christmas, realizing that these winter solstice celebrations are indeed Satan’s celebrations.

To learn more, watch the powerful Tomorrow’s World telecasts, Origins of Christmas and Insight into Christmas, or read the insightful article “What is Hidden by the Holidays.”

I realize that most people who celebrate Christmas believe that this a good and biblically proper thing to do.  However, if they looked more into this, I believe that most would realize that Christmas observance actually detracts from the message of the Bible and encourages compromise with traditions of men.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?

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