I n the modern evangelical church, there are three days of special significance- Christmas, Easter, and the weekly Sunday "worship day". Many Christians do not know how these days came to be of special significance -they simply assume that they have always been- and that celebrating Christmas, Easter, and Sunday "worship" are orthodox 1. Most Christians do not know that these days were not celebrated by the early church and there is no biblical basis for them- but instead they were established later in church history by the Catholic Church. Even the Roman Catholic Church does not claim these days as biblical - but rather that the Church had the authority to establish them.2
There is nothing wrong with keeping traditions in and of themselves. The danger comes when we declare our traditions as "God-given" or even replace God-given commands with man-made traditions. So as not to be found following the "traditions of men" which oppose God's Word, we need to reexamine what is indeed orthodox and biblical regarding what is commonly called "Easter".
First, it should be noted that the word "Easter" is not found in the Bible 3. The origins of the word "Easter" are quite clear. This Anglo-Saxon word is derived from the ancient eastern religion of Ishtar. In ancient Babel, Nimrod 4 was married to Queen Semiramis. After Nimrod died, Semiramis declared Nimrod to be the Sun-god. Various cultures thereafter called him Baal, Bel, Molech etc. Semiramis named herself Ishtar (pronounced: ee- star) and claimed to be a goddess (other cultures adopted this and called her Astarte, Osaris, Wife of Baal, Ashtaroth or Ashtoreth, or Queen of Heaven 5). Semiramis gave birth to a son she named Tammuz 6, who she claimed was fatherless, and was in fact Nimrod reborn. When Tammuz was killed by a wild boar, Semiramis claimed that he was resurrected each spring in the trees and flowers on the first sun-day, after the first moon of the spring. Semiramis declared that those worshipping Tammuz should fast for 40 days prior to the celebration of the day of Tammuz' resurrection - a day known as "Easter". From this ancient mystery religion it is quite easy to see the pagan origins of Lent and Easter. Satan prepared a counterfeit to confuse men - but God's calendar had Feasts called "Passover" and "Unleavened Bread" that would not be tied to the sun - and thereby remain distinct.
Every year some good Believers celebrate holidays which, although they seem to glorify Elohim1, are instead bad counterfeits originating in paganism and anti-Semitism. The purpose of this paper is to educate fellow believers about the pagan "holiday" of "Easter."Pagan Origins
The name "Easter" is the name of a pagan goddess variously called "Eostre", "Eastre", "Ishtar", "Ostarun" or "Ostera." Easter is the old Teutonic pagan Anglo-Saxon goddess of the spring. She is also referred to as "the goddess of fertility." Her name is the source from which the medical term "Estrous Cycle," which is associated with female biology, has been derived. This pagan goddess Easter then is associated with the giving of life, the regeneration of life in the spring, the giver of the fertile state to all creatures, etc.
For all these "gifts" given by this false goddess, a full month of feast and celebration was dedicated in the Spring of each year during the month of April (which was also called "Eostur-monath"). This feast and celebration was established and practiced long before the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua occurred in 33 C.E. ...
Since Easter (with all the pagan symbols that have come with it) was adopted by the Catholic Church centuries after Messiah Yeshua's ascension, should Believers in Messiah Yehsua observe this holiday and encourage others to do so?
Would Messiah Yeshua celebrate Easter?
He certainly could have told us to. So could His talmudim, whose teaching and doctrine are preserved for us in the book of Acts and the letters written by Saul, Peter, Jacob, Jude and John. But nowhere do we find a hint of support for Easter or anything remotely resembling it. What we do find, as pointed out earlier, is clear instruction from Yeshua and Saul to keep the Passover and other biblical festivals.
Holy Scripture does not support this pagan holiday and, in fact, condemns such celebrations. Because Scripture condemns pagan practices and the worship of false gods (Deuteronomy 12:29-32), we know that God the Father and Yeshua His Son have no interest in Easter and do not approve of it.
Yeshua, in fact, is diametrically opposed to religious rituals that supposedly honor Him but in reality are rooted in the worship of false gods. He makes clear the difference between pleasing God and pleasing men: "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men . . . All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition'" (Mark 7:6-9).
Easter is a tradition of men, not a commandment of God. But it's more than that. It is a pagan tradition of men that, like other traditions involved in the worship of false gods, is abhorrent to the true God. Yeshua and His apostles would never sanction its observance because it mingles paganism with supposedly Biblical symbolism and ritual. It is rooted in ancient pagan fertility rites that have nothing to do with Messiah Yeshua. ...
t comes every Spring, usually sometime in March or April. You know it because in stores you see the baskets, candy, rabbits, eggs, and the annoying fake grass that goes in those baskets. You see the Cadbury cream egg commercials on television with the rabbits gobbling like chickens. Its name is Easter.
Most sincere Christians celebrate the season of Easter not as a time to fawn over rabbits or eat candy, but as a serious time to remember the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua . They commemorate His death on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Certainly, of all the events in our faith, the resurrection of our Lord is the most important. The Apostle Paul validly writes,
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Messiah has been raised; and if Messiah has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain (1 Corinthians 15:13-14).
However, when we consider the pre-Messianic and pre-Christian origins of “Easter,” we do need to reevaluate it.
It comes as a shock to many Christians, but Messianic Believers do not celebrate Easter. We do not see this holiday mandated in Scripture as one of the Lord’s moedim or “appointed times.” We believe it to be a substitute holiday in place of what God has asked His people to do in the Spring. By celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we think that can communicate a view of Yeshua coming to die as a random man or a common criminal on the cross at Golgotha (Calvary), in a “generic” manner for the sins of humanity. He does not necessarily come as the Messiah of Israel, in fulfillment of our Heavenly Father’s appointed times. The common celebration of Easter today often downplays how Yeshua is the blameless Passover Lamb slain for our sin, and the unleavened, sinless Bread of Life who was scourged for our iniquities.
There are certainly Christians today who criticize Messianics, without mercy, for not celebrating Easter. Yet as it has sadly been the case, many Messianics usually respond to these Christians without mercy as well. They accuse Christians of participating in pagan “fertility rites” or that they are worshipping the Babylonian goddess Ishtar or the sun god. Likewise, because Messiah Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection are not emphasized at many “Messianic” Passover sedars, such Christians may feel that we have lost hold of this monumental event, and perhaps can rightfully say of some people that they treat Yeshua’s resurrection with disgust (cf. Hebrews 10:29).
How are we as fair-minded Messianic Believers to handle Easter? How are we to be mature, Spirit-filled, Torah obedient Believers who follow the example of Yeshua the Messiah? At what time are we to appropriately remember what He did for us on the cross 2,000 years ago? Easter or Passover?
W ell, it's that time of year again! People rush to find that special orange pumpkin, search for the scariest costume, clothe the outside of the house in an eerie arrangement of glowing monsters, sticky spider webs, and a vast array of haunting, seasonal decor. All of this effort for the innocent fun of Halloween--perhaps? We certainly don't want to take away anyone's fun, but hundreds of years have totally changed the real truth behind the masked disguise of Halloween. Many people are not even aware of Halloween's historical origins, nor do they care. Whether or not you choose to participate in the celebration, you still might consider reading some historical highlights on how it all began--the story behind the celebration ----And yes, Halloween is a seasonal celebration connected to the movements of the heavens!---
Long ago, the festivals of the Lord were changed into Church "holy days" (holidays). The changes begn with Constantine (around the year A.D. 325), when Christianity and Paganism united. It was Constantine's efforts to appease the masses. A unification, of sorts, that united all people of various backgrounds and beliefs into one system that appeared to make everyone happy. The Christians were no longer persecuted but accepted, the Jews tolerated but ignored, and the Pagans? Well, they had their god(s), too, and so, in the name of peace, followed the blending of all types of beliefs, religions, philosophies, and cultures into one harmonious union that was intended for the good of all.....
Each year in December, Messianic Jewish congregations must deal with the question of whether it is right or wrong for members to celebrate the "traditional" holiday of "Christmas." This paper seeks to explore the origins, traditions, and applications of this "holiday" in the life of believers, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
Is it acceptable for a man-made "religious" holiday to be celebrated? In Judaism, both traditional and Messianic, we celebrate both Chanukah and Purim, which are holidays which were instituted by people. The fact that they were each created to celebrate a miracle of God (Chanukah the miracle of the rededication of the Holy Temple, and Purim the miracle of the redemption of the Jewish people from death in Persia) and that they were both celebrated during Bible times helps to give them legitimacy as religious events. But where does one draw the line between what YHVH has ordained and commanded (like YHVH's own festivals commanded in Leviticus 23) and ones created by mankind to celebrate His goodness?
There is nothing inherently wrong with celebrating the coming of the Messiah to earth (if one knew when that was). In fact, through the prophetic cycle of Biblical festivals, the coming of Messiah to earth and his ultimate plan of sacrifice for the sins on mankind is repeatedly celebrated in the Messianic community. A "right" reason for creating a holiday would be to remember what our Heavenly Father did in the past for us. But what about a holiday created for "wrong" reasons?...
We are approaching the time of the year when the world celebrates the supposed birth of Yeshua the Messiah. The jingles on the radio and television invade our sanity earlier every year, and the decorations now go up before Halloween! Anywhere we go, Christmas "cheer" is inescapable. For most of us, this is a season we struggle through, wishing it would rush by and be over.
Yet it is also a season that requires us to be on our guard. Since we do not celebrate Christmas, we often stick out in a crowd. Such a difference piques the curiosity of some, and they may ask why we do not keep it. If we respond, "Christ was not born on December 25," can we prove it? If He was not born on that date, then when was He born? What are the facts?
When this subject is broached, many Protestants and Catholics become quite emotional, often becoming firmly entrenched concerning the December 25 date in spite of the facts. Many simply enjoy the season and feel that the actual day of Christ's birth is irrelevant. Biblical and historical scholars are equally divided over this question as well. Christmas, however, is founded on the premise that Yeshua was born on December 25, and a person who is truly striving to follow the Bible will see that the celebration of Christmas is based upon falsehood....
Best Guess: September 29, 5 B.C.E.
Want the details? Read more below.
Biblical scholars readily tell us that it was most likely NOT on December 25th, C.E. 0. Why?
When were shepherds in the fields?
Israeli meteorologists tracked December weather patterns for many years and concluded that the climate in Israel has been essentially constant for at least the last 2,000 years. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible states that, "broadly speaking, weather phenomena and climatic conditions as pictured in the Bible correspond with conditions as observed today" (R.B.Y. Scott, Vol. 3, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1962, p. 625).
The temperature in the area of Bethlehem in December averages around 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) but can drop to well below freezing, especially at night. Describing the weather there, Sara Ruhin, chief of the Israeli weather service, noted in a 1990 press release that the area has three months of frost: December with 29 F. [minus 1.6 C.]; January with 30 F. [minus 1.1 C.] and February with 32 F. [0 C.].
Okay, I admit it. October 14 is a little early to be sending a Christmas greeting. But I have a good reason. Over the past year I've accumulated a pile of evidence pointing to the likelihood that we celebrate Christ's birth at the wrong time of year. For one thing, the gospel of Luke tells us that on the night Jesus was born shepherds were out in nearby fields with their sheep (2:8). In Israel, shepherds bring their flocks in from the field no later than the third week of October.
But if not December, when? I've found reason to believe Jesus was born in late September or early October.
When God gave Moses the commandments, He also gave him a social calendar that included seven holidays. Three of them were called "pilgrimage" festivals--Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles--which everyone was to celebrate together in the place where God chose to put His Name (later identified as Jerusalem)....
U p until some 30 years ago, I used to celebrate Christmas as much as-or even more than-any Gentile. You might think that is strange since I was born and raised in a Jewish home. But my family always had a Christmas tree every year, because it was the popular thing to do. We had ornaments, mistletoe, holly wreaths, presents, and everything else that goes along with the Christmas celebration.
You see, Jewish people celebrate Christmas today, not because of Christ's birthday, but because it is a popular tradition and part of our present-day culture. It's as American as apple pie and hamburgers. And I observed Christmas for nearly 22 years of my life, until God opened my eyes to see the falseness of this pagan holiday.
It's not because I'm a Jew that I don't celebrate Christmas now. That has nothing to do with it. Let me tell you the real reasons why I no longer observe this pagan holiday.
Christmas Not A Bible Doctrine
Growing up in the West, where people are steeped in a xmas atmosphere with trees, lights, mistletoe, Santas and manger scene decorations, I decided to do some research to find out more about the symbols of xmas. Don't get me wrong, some of the holiday decorations are very beautiful, but I believe that one should know the truth behind these symbols in order for them to be true to themselves and serve God the best they can. We should not be deceived by 'cosmetics' or decorations, if behind these symbols lies darkness and leads people away from truth.
And so, below are some questions posted on the internet asked by people wanting to know more about their own holiday, and some of the answers posted by their own fellow holiday celebrators.
Question: Why do we celebrate Christmas in December when Yeshua was born in March (or even around the feast Of Tabernacles (sukkot) in the Fall)? Why did the Catholic Church choose December 25 for the birth date of Yeshua?
Answers: "It was chosen in order to compete with the pagan winter solstice festivals. It was not chosen because it is the correct historical date!"
"The idea to celebrate Christmas on December 25 apparently originated in the 4th century. The Catholic Church wanted to eclipse the festivities of a rival pagan religion that threatened Christianity's existence. The Romans celebrated the birthday of their sun god, Mithras during this time of year. Although it was not popular, or even proper, to celebrate people's birthdays in those times, church leaders decided that in order to compete with the pagan celebration they would themselves order a festival in celebration of the birth of (their god).Christmas was slow to catch on in America. The early colonists considered it a pagan ritual. The celebration of Christmas was even banned by law in Massachusetts in colonial days ...
Erything is right at Christmas. I quickened my pace and studder-stepped around the last corner for home. Stooping, I looked through the trees toward the house with hopes of seeing Grandpa’s 1950 Buick. Being a Junior Higher, I fettered the little-boy impulse to run and maintained my “grown-up” stride. It seemed a long time since I had been with Grandma and Grandpa and I could already taste Grandma’s German pastries and breads. Excitement shivered deep inside me at the thought of being with them again. Reaching the level ground of the city park I could see my house at the far end of the open field.And parked in front was Grandpa’s car they had finally arrived.
Breaking into an easy trot, I crossed the open, grassy play field. Our house was across the street from a beautiful city park known for its array of trees from all over the world -Japanese Apple, Dogwood, Oak, and Maple of every variety, as well as evergreens. The colors were magnificent at fall, and even with the light dusting of snow falling that day, the few triumphant leaves which were clinging to the otherwise naked limbs burst forth in their earthy colors. I crossed the street and bounded up the stairs to the front door of our house, my finger aimed at the doorbell. As soon as the door was opened, I called out for Grandpa and Grandma who emerged from the kitchen with smiles, hugs and kisses. It was Christmas time again, and everything was right.
Mom had decorated the house with all of her usual touches—the tree was decked with the once-a-year ornaments, each having its own story to tell. The blinking lights enhanced the tinsel which we had hung, a piece at a time, blanketing the branches with the illusion of snow. Already the number of presents under the tree had grown to an embarrassing heap, and Mom did what she could to keep the pile from usurp-ing too much of the floor. The nativity scene was on the hutch as usual, and the little angel candles which made the chimes revolve were working their special magic. The house was fragrant with pine boughs, the mistletoe hung in the kitchen doorway, red bows adorned candles of every size, and the lights on the tree gave a special glow to the fast approaching darkness. Outside the falling snow become wonderfully distinct against the emerging street lights.
We talked and laughed and reminisced and did what families do at Christmas—gave way to the wonderful spirit of the season. Even the little things that often disrupted family times were ignored. The wonderful mood which Christmas brings easily dulled Grandpa’s sharp tongue and quick temper. It was, indeed, a time for peace and good cheer. ...
T oday, candymakers unload tons of heart-shaped red boxes for February 14, while millions of the younger set are annually exchanging valentines. Florists consider February 14 - St. Valentine's Day - as one of their best business days. And young lovers pair off - at least for a dance or two - at St. Valentine's balls. Why? Where did these customs originate? Where do we find any such practices in the Bible? How did we come to inherit these customs?
A Christian Custom?
Did you know that centuries before Christ, the pagan Romans celebrated February 15 and the evening of February 14 as an idolatrous and sensuous festival in honor of Lupercus, the "hunter of wolves"?
The Romans called the festival the "Lupercalia." The custom of exchanging valentines and all the other traditions in honor of Lupercus - the deified hero-hunter of Rome- was also linked anciently with the pagan practice of teen-agers "going steady." It usually led to fornication. Today, the custom of "going steady" is thought very modern. It isn't. It is merely a rebirth of an old custom "handed down from the Roman festival of the Lupercalia, celebrated in the month of February, when names of young women were put into a box and drawn out by men as chance directed." That's the admission of the Encyclopedia Americana, article, "St. Valentine's Day."...
It almost sounds sacrilegious not to, doesn’t it? Does God really care if we dedicate a former pagan holiday in His name? After all, "That’s not what it means to me", right? But the real question is, “What does it mean to Him ”? This teaching answers that question by going into great detail of the origins of both holidays and then goes straight to the scriptures to see what God has to say about it. You might be shocked to find out that God does have an opinion. DO NOT listen to this series if you would rather not know the truth.