GOD MAKES THINGS NEW

all-things-newGod Almighty is making all things new according to His Plans and Purposes for mankind. This means God brings good surprises to make people very happy. At other times God makes unexpected changes people may not like if they had a choice.  At times leaders and kings make necessary changes that people must conform to. Sometimes global events require they chose suitable days based on Roman Calendar for convenience, as it is impossible to please all people all the time. Similarly, emperor Constantine the Christian chose Roman Calendar 25th December for convenience. Just as 7th Day Adventists and others worship God on Saturday. God expects worship publicly daily in schools assemblies, in churches and privately. So dedicating an international day for the whole world to commemorate events like 11/11/11 to celebrate end of world war, is similar to other dates chosen randomly for celebrations like Christmas to celebrate Christ. God choose Abraham who was once a pagan from Ur in modern Iraq, called by God to be the father of all nations. Gideon the mighty man of valour in the Bible was asked by God to take his pagan father’s cow to sacrifice on God’s altar after destroying his father’s shrine groves. Christians need to realise the word gay, gaiety means happiness was popular word heard in old films of hollywood. Once it used by sodomists with a different meaning people did not say, they were happy that way anymore. In addition, drugs was a common word meaning chemist, medicine but now superdrug or few people use drugstore anymore. As it is now associated with substance abuse with devastating consequences.Cima_da_Conegliano,_God_the_FatherTo condemn Christmas to reject or totally renounce it as pagan, means Christians allow others to take over the real meaning of Christmas. By so doing overshadow true valued meaning of Christ’s birth. Similarly, the Queen of Britain’s birthdays is on two different dates. Her Majesty The Queen of Britain, has two official birthdays. One day is chosen as her official birthday to allow global celebration of well wishers and dignitaries to suit her calendar to honour her. The other birthday is her accurate original accurate birth date for a private celebration of her day with friends and family for privacy as most famous people do. Does it mean the Queen becomes irrelevant just because her official birthday or belated birthdays are changed to other days for convenience? So totally abandon or neglect Christmas because it was not originally how the apostles celebrated Christ, seems like throwing baby out with the bath water literary. Many ungodly things are recorded by John in His vision against 7 churches of Asia Minor representative of umbrella churches today. God chooses to do things through kings and queens to confound the wise yet not approved by people. The world gives freedom to people to do own thing sometimes but God makes Decisions at times on behalf of people. The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year. Her actual birthday is on 21 April and her official birthday is on a Saturday in June. Official celebrations to mark sovereigns’ birthday are held on a day other than the actual birthday. Particularly when the actual birthday has not been in the summer.queen_sub

King Edward VII, for example, was born on 9 November, but his official birthday was marked throughout his reign in May or June when there was a greater likelihood of good weather for the Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour. So many generations do not know about Christ, own or read Bible. So every little helps to promote Christmas inadvertently, the virgin birth of the son Christ Jesus. Yeshua save His people from their sins in Matthew 1:21. Though Christmas as seen today did not exist 2000 years ago as part of the early Christian tradition. Some Jews and non-Jews join in celebration of birth of the Messiah. The prophecies of birth of Yeshua brings a spirit of joy and tenderness triggered at this time of the year. People remember Yeshua’s birth and coming to His Jewish people. Some believers revile Christmas as it is perceived of pagan origin. But perhaps viewed with suspicion in the minority in excellent company. Charles Spurgeon, a Strict Baptist preacher, revered today as a great theologian, condemned Christmas as a pagan holiday. But understood it was a good day to spend time with family since there are too few times we can do so and an excellent time to discuss the birth of the Messiah. Spurgeon wrote, “Spurgeon stated such occasion led the way to neither justify nor condemn but endeavoring to lead thoughts to, useful opportunity regarding not the day, let us give God thanks for the gift of His Dear Son”  Spurgeon’s Joy Born at Bethlehem sermon.

Embracing-the-Knowledge-of-God

The exact time of the Messiah’s birth 25th december is not the accurate date but publicly celebrated to bring  the Good News of His coming and of the redemption of our souls through His later suffering and death on the cross. Often people are more open during the Christmas season and ready to hear the Good News.  There is a change in the air, the feeling that things are different, lighter and cheerier. Others, are heavier in spirit, feeling low with low morale, suffering from feelings of sadness loneliness and depression, desperate for some good news of God’s love.The apostle John tells us how Yeshua is the Word that tabernacled among us.  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt [eskēnōsen] among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth in John 1:14. The word that John uses in Greek for dwell and tabernacle share the same root word, skéné. “But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles [skēnopēgia] was near in John 7:2.  The birth of the Messiah to Miryam, a virgin, was miraculous as was the life that Yeshua lived a completely holy life without flaw. This flawless lamb became the Kapora, a sacrifice for us who are in need of redemption and forgiveness of sin. Through Yeshua, God shows us His love for all mankind, He was willing to sacrifice His Only begotten Son so we have eternal life.  The name Yeshua, means SalvationThe Birth of the Messiah brings good news through angels about Yeshua’s birth. choirangels Was He really born in Bethlehem during the winter?  The Brit Chadashah  or New Covenant speaks of shepherds tending their sheep in the fields. “There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord JESUS CHRIST YESHUA EMMANUEL GOD WITH US. This will be a sign to you to find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger in Luke 2:8–12 . We believe these were the sheep intended for sacrifice in the daily Temple ceremonies. Jerusalem and its environs are extremely cold in late December and often are covered in snow, making it unlikely that the shepherds would have been able to graze their sheep at that time of the year, sleeping with them outside due to winter snow in Jerusalem.While the Bible does not specify the timing of His birth, like it does for His death and resurrection, we do have some Biblical clues that lead us to determine its approximate timing:

snow fields in winterreal fields in sept

 

 

 

 

 

  • Miryam (Mary) conceived when her cousin Elisheva (Elizabeth) was in her sixth month of pregnancy (Luke 1:24–26).
  • Elizabeth probably conceived early in the fifth month of the Jewish calendar (Av or early July).  This is likely since the angel Gabriel appeared to her husband Zachariah while he was serving in the Temple as a priest in the division of Abijah (Luke 1:5), and advised him that Elizabeth would become pregnant (Luke 1:11–24).The Talmud and other historical sources reveal that the Abijah served during the last two weeks of the fourth month of the Jewish calendar (Tammuz), which is about late June.And the Bible says that after Zechariah came home from his service (in early Av), Elizabeth conceived (Luke 1:23–25).
  • Nine months of pregnancy and another six months of Mary’s pregnancy (15 months total) brings us to the seventh month of the Jewish calendar (Tishrei), during which falls Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

Through these Biblical, historical, and linguistic clues, we can come to a fairly educated guess that Yeshua may have, indeed, been born during the season of Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, occurs in late September or early October. When Did the Christmas Celebrations Begin? Yeshua’s disciples and first and second century Believers did not celebrate the birth of Yeshua. No extra-Biblical evidence supports existence of this celebration occurs in the writings of Church fathers as Irenaeus (c. 130–200) or Tertullian (c. 160–225). Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264) writes against ”pagan” practices celebrated by the Romans so was not celebrated. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215), a Christian teacher in Egypt, first made reference to calculation of Yeshua’s birth date. He writes of days proposed by different Christian groups. Clement does not mention December 25 but writes,“There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but the day and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon May 20 in our calendar. 13223-isaiah_41_13And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Saviour suffered.  Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].”  (Biblical Archaeology) Around 200, Tertullian of Carthage reported that the Hebrew date on which Yeshua was crucified, Nissan 14, corresponded to March 25 on the Roman calendar, which is nine months prior to December 25. March 25 was celebrated as Feast of the Annunciation, the time Yeshua was conceived. By reasoning and calculation, He was born 9 months on December 25. Christmas selection of December 25 as the date to celebrate the birth of the Messiah was a decision made by the Catholic Church. The decision allowed for the inclusion of the pagan worshipers of that time who were used to celebrating the festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or “Birthday of the Invincible Sun. ”These pagan sun worshipers had set aside that day and dedicated it to Sol Invictus, official sun-god of the later Roman Empire.681931_f520Depictions of Sol Invictus appear in the mosaics of structures uncovered in Israel including a mosaic floor in Hamat, Tiberias and in decorations surviving from Late Antique synagogues, including Beth Alpha and Husefah. In 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian officially recognized this sun-god and created an official cult that was favored by future emperors up until Constantine I. Constantine was a strong adherent to the sun-god Sol Invictus.  He portrayed him in the coinage of his reign and on March 7, 321 declared dies Solis—day of sun, “Sunday”—as the Roman day of rest. Evidence suggests that the association of Messiah’s birth with the day of Sol Invictus began sometime in the mid 4th century.  The Philocalian calendar from a manuscript produced for a wealthy Roman Christian named Valentinus of AD 354 shows the day as being the festival of “Natalis Invicti” (Birth of the Invincible).The prior celebration of day had been proclaimed by Aurelian who was an ardent worshipper of the Syrian sun-god Baal. The eastern god worship was similar to worship of Yeshua so formed rival to ancient Christianity. Mithraism reflected beliefs, practices of Christianity’s tendency toward  monotheistic God.

2573875730_7c1f190af7The sacraments, doctrine of Christ The Intercessor Redeemer and belief in a future life and a future judgement appealed to Constantine as the best faith to overrule the unknown god. The followers of Mithra set aside Sunday as holy day dedicated to the Sun. So Constantine figured it would be convenient to choose that day for Christ the King of kings celebration. Jehovah Yahweh demonstrated His great Power over dagon temple when the ark of covenant was captured in battle. God Almighty has Superior Power because He owns creation, the firmaments, days and people as seen in the beginning in Genesis in the Bible. Unfortunately pagans continued uncouth heathen practice compromise into pure Christianity. Establishment of December 25 as the day of birth of the Messiah coincides with gan holiday Saturnalia.  This was a week-long celebration of lawlessness in which courts closed and all manners of lewdness were allowed. It was marked by licentiousness, rape, and indulgence in any and all immoral acts. So brought pagan practices into church essentially allowed to continue to be celebrated as part of Christian festival.  Consequently, earliest Christmas celebrations included drinking, sexual indulgence and singing naked in the streets evolved into the “holy” tradition of caroling today. Over time pagan practices were “absorbed” into Christmas traditions. In fact, by the 17th century in England, Christmas was marked by practices that could lead to drunkenness, promiscuity and acts of immorality through excessive eating, drinking and partying.

ALOTSome argued this was intended as a kind of safety valve to relieve tensions within English society built up during the year when such practices were soundly forbidden. The debauchery and excesses led Puritans to reject Christmas. The campaign against Christmas practices gained the support of both houses of Parliament in History Today. In the colony of Massachusetts, the Puritans banned celebration between 1659 and 1681 as shown in simpletoremember. Pagan practice during week lingered on as excuse for violent expression of negative emotions. Until the 18th and 19th centuries, the rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were required to dress up like clowns during the Saturnalia carnival.  They were forced to march through the streets while jeering crowds pelted them with various missiles. Like any propaganda excuse to pick on others, December 25, 1881 in Poland saw the mobs whipped into to frenzy to attack other communities throughout the country.  In Warsaw, that year 12 were killed and many maimed while scores of women were raped. Although many Christmas customs like caroling have beautiful interpretations and explanations, they originally had nothing to do with the birth of the Messiah.  Rather, they spring from the very sin that Yeshua came to redeem us from. The Christmas tree, recent innovation, was connected to the Canaanite worship of the Asherah pole and adoration of trees, including bringing them into their homes and decorating them.BIBLEPOSTER7So the pagans regard the Evergreen tree as a phallic symbol in fertility worship. The tree is connected to traveling troupes of minstrels and actors in late 1600’s Germany, who used felled Evergreen trees as props to depict Biblical ideas, such as the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. The tree began to make its way into the home in Alsace, and although the Catholic Church at first resisted it, when Queen Victoria erected one in the 1800s, its popularity spread rapidly. Druids used mistletoe to poison human victims.  Its use at Christmas time is reminiscent of sexual license of Saturnalia combined with Druidic cult.  So pagans believe white berries of mistletoe represent drops of semen of the sun-god. Holly, along with mistletoe hung in doorways of temples and homes to bring about power of fertility in those who stood beneath and kissed, causing spirits of the god and goddess to enter them. But Christ was born to change hearts from such beliefs as eastern kings accepted Christ as their King of kings and Saviour . So travelled from afar to look for where the one who has been born king of the Jews.  We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”  (Matthew 2:2). On the 8th and final day of Chanukah menorah, 2 Billion Christians around the world celebrated the birth of the Light of the World, Yeshua HaMashiach Jesus the Messiah. Many people feel Christmas is man-made holiday not found in Scripture.

Giving Presents started based on the example of the 3 wise kings who brought Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh to Yeshua. Giving gifts in important as the mother becomes incapacitated for months and years tied down full-time to nurture the children. So it helpful for the community to rally round to donate baby shower items to help reduce the burden of the cost of mother hood. Most women are affected by career changes throughout their life for duty of caring for the family. So people help in many forms as Mary visited and helped Elisabeth 3 months to support her during birth of John. During the time of the Roman Saturnalia, the most despised citizens were compelled to bring offerings and gifts. This led to general gift-giving among the populace and it carried over into the Christian celebration of Christmas where it was given a new root, linking it with the gift-giving of Saint Nicholas. Gift giving was more common on New Year’s Day until the mid-19th century when the British royals began trading gifts on Christmas Eve. In 1841, Queen Victoria gave her husband, Prince Albert, a portrait of herself at age 7.  In 1850, Queen Victoria’s children received gifts; sword and armour.  And in 1859, Victoria gave Albert a book of poetry by Alfred Lord Tennyson in Live Science. santaSanta Claus is a fairly recent innovation connected to some very old traditions. Many feel extreme level of gift giving has reached is reminiscent of the revelry and drunkenness that caused disdain among the Puritans. Some trace the origin of Santa Claus to Nicholas, who was born in Parara, Turkey in AD 270 and later became Bishop of Myra.  He was known for his generous giving to the needy, often anonymously, sometimes placing coins in the shoes of the poor. Nicholas died in AD 343 on December 6th.  He soon became nicknamed Sinter Klaas or Saint Nicholas by the people with a feast day set aside for him, but has never been officially canonized by the Catholic Church. In 1087, a group of sailors who idolized Nicholas moved his bones from Turkey to a sanctuary in Bari, Italy.  There, veneration of him became mixed with celebration of Pasqua Epiphania who was thought to fill children’s stockings with gifts.  A cult grew up around Nicholas, and members gave each other gifts during the remembrance of Nicholas’ death on December 6. The cult spread north where it was adopted by German and Celtic pagans.  The chief god  Woden had long white beard so Nicolas merged with Woden to shed Mediterranean appearance and took on white beard and heavy winter clothing to attract adherents.07-christ-our-sacrifice-4-638The Catholic Church adopted the Nicholas concept and taught that gifts should be distributed as he did on December 25th rather than on December 6th. Many consider Sinter Klaas or Saint Nicholas to be original Santa Claus. The name Santa Claus was given to him by the Dutch and picked up and used in a satire by the American writer Washington Irving of the “Headless Horseman” fame. In 1823, Clement Moore, who became a president of Columbia University and Bible teacher at New York’s Theological Seminary read the satire and wrote the poem “The night before Christmas,” describing Saint Nicholas as a “Santa” with eight reindeer coming down through the chimney on Christmas Eve. What exactly did this Santa look like?  That puzzle was not solved until the German-born illustrator Thomas Nast drew cartoons of Santa Claus, which appeared in Harper’s Weekly. He also gave Santa his North Pole home and elves, drawing from German folklore.  The visual elements of much of our Christmas nostalgia regarding Santa Claus can be found in Nast’s 1890 collection of illustrations called Christmas Drawings for the Human Race. The finishing touches were provided by the Coca Cola Corporation, which in 1932 depicted a coke-drinking Santa wearing a red suit reflecting Coca Cola red.  in simpletoremember. As to the God’s view on Christmas one need to read Jeremiah 10:1–4, which cautions against learning the way of the nations.

fb254-yom-kippur-in-israel255b1255d“Hear what the LORD says to you people of Israel. This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. Some practices of the people are not acceptable to for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. So there is no one born righteous, no not one. Apart from the prophetic fulfillment of Bible verses promising the Jewish Messiah, Christmas suffers from reverent, sound Biblical teachings according to the plans and purposes of God. There is complete lack of Christ’s identity in many places having drawn much from pagan traditions and ceremonies. However, the fact that Christmas is extra-Biblical is perhaps not really the issue, since both the Jewish holidays of Purim and Hanukkah were not times appointed by God. Hanukkah, which ends on Christmas Eve celebrates the victory of Judas Maccabeus over the Greek Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the rededication of the Temple that had been desecrated by the Greeks in 165 BC. The books 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees, which are not in the Bible, describe the eight-day rededication of the Temple, but give no mention of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days.The Jewish Roman historian Josephus describes how Judas Maccabeus ordered lavish eight-day yearly festivals commemorating the rededication of the Temple not calling the festival Hanukkah but the “Festival of Lights.”It was only 600 years after the events described in 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees had occurred that mention is made of the Hanukkah miracle in the Talmud.

bLACK AND WHITE BOY READING tORAHAlthough many of the roots of Christmas are buried in the past even Yeshua celebrated it. Today, many people around the world rejoice in His birth and the salvation of all who accept and receive. Many people and supporters, do not promote Christmas as result of the added features not appealing to Christian believers. However, like Spurgeon it is good to make much of the gift of Yeshua, to share the Good News of His Coming to all who will listen. It is important to make the most of these opportunities because the days are evil said Ephesians 5:16. So all need to rejoice not only in the birth of Yeshua, but in the knowledge that Yeshua is returning soon. He is the King of those who freely chose to follow Him.  When He returns, He will rule and reign as King of Israel on the throne of David, and the entire earth will bow to His Kingship. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6) So Help bring the Good News of the reconciliation, forgiveness, peace, restoration through the birth of the King of Israel to the Jewish People in the Holy Land. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord in Luke 2:11.jesus-christ-by-simon-dewey-247x300

May God richly bless you throughout this season

 

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