Saturnalia

The Real Reason for the Season

So let’s talk Christmas. I know this is going to be a touchy subject for a lot of people. But all I ask is that you give me a chance to explain a few things before you make up your mind or before you decide you don’t want to hear it anymore.

In this post, I am going to go through a brief history into how Christmas became the celebration so many people worldwide have come to know and love and the meaning behind some of the modern day Christmas traditions still seen today.

But before we begin, I want to say that I know this will be hard for some of you who read this; to take a hard look at what we really believe. I want you to know that I have been there too. I have had to answer tough questions about what I was taught my entire life and had to decide what was most important to me: my beliefs or what YHVH desired from me.

I know that we live in a society where Christian beliefs and morals are under attack and I want you to know that’s not what I’m trying to do here. All I want is for everyone to take a good look at the doctrine we have all been taught and see if it matches up with YHVH’s Scripture. It’s a scary thing to question what you believe but it can also be one of the most important things you ever do.

Questioning what you’ve been taught makes you stronger in your faith. It enables you to stand firm since you have tested what you believe. So even though it may be hard at first, please pray about the facts that I present here and ask YHVH what He wants you to do.

So let’s jump in!

Nimrod, Ishtar, and Tammuz
Christmas. Today it is celebrated the world around as time of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Families come together. Gifts are given. People are full of the Christmas spirit. It can be a very happy and wonderful time of the year. But that’s not what Christmas always was.

According to the Bible in Genesis 10, Nimrod was the great-grandson of Noah and was called a “mighty hunter before YHVH” and a “mighty one” (god). In fact, in the Vatican there still remains a statue of Nimrod the great hunter.

The Bible goes on to tell us that he built the Tower of Babel and that he went to Assyria and founded Nineveh and the Babylon. As a modern-day reference point, Assyria today would be parts of Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. Nineveh is the modern day city of Mosul in Iraq. It is the oldest and most populated city of the ancient Assyrian Empire. This was a hot spot of activity earlier this year when ISIS invaded Northern Iraq as part of their strategy to control the Levant area.

But back to Christmas.

Legend has it that Nimrod married Semiramis, who also went by Isis, Astarte, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus, Diana, Asherah or Easter. She was often called “the mother of god” and “the queen of heaven.” I will refer to her as Ishtar for the rest of this article.

After Nimrod was killed, Ishtar had to find a way to maintain her position as Queen of Babylon, so she concocted a story. After consulting her astrologers, she told the people that when Nimrod had risen to the sun god Ba’al (which means lord or husband) and that he died at the winter solstice but came back to life again with the spring equinox (sound like Easter to anyone?).

Ishtar told the people that Nimrod had impregnated her through his sun rays and that he had reincarnated himself as her son Tammuz. Because Tammuz was the reincarnation of her husband Nimrod, naturally, Ishtar married her son (did you catch my sarcasm there?).

So let’s talk Christmas trees for a brief moment. I apologize in advance…there isn’t exactly a Disney version of this story.

Christmas Trees
Trees and branches became the symbols of Nimrod. Legend has it that when Nimrod was “cut down,” he was actually cut into pieces which were sent to different parts of the Babylonian province. The only part of his body that was never found was his penis. So Ishtar did what any loving wife would do in her situation: she decided to memorialize his penis by erecting a giant image of his male part in what we now know as an obelisk.

The stump of the evergreen tree, with a snake wrapped around it, had come to represent Nimrod because he had been “cut down” like a tree. Every year on Tammuz/Nimrod’s birthday (December 25), Ishtar instructed the people that they should go into the forest (the Bible uses the word “groves”) and offer a present to an evergreen tree. They were also instructed to cut down a tree, take it into their homes, and decorate it with gold and silver balls which symbolized Nimrod’s…uh…testicles. Yikes….

I’m hoping all this is starting to come together for you but just in case it’s not, let me spell it out for you.

The modern day Christmas tree complete with garland and balls, is a modern depiction of the snake wrapped around the stump and male testicles while the tree itself is a representation of Nimrod/Tammuz! Why would you want that in your home???

Now that we’ve covered the ancient pagan origins of Christmas, let’s talk about how the Romans and Greeks would have celebrated Christmas around the time of Yeshua.

Saturnalia
Until the 4th Century AD, the feast we now know as “Christmas” was celebrated as Saturnalia. It was an ancient Roman festival held on the 17th of December through the 23rd of December to honor the Roman god Saturn or Satur. He is the half-man, half-goat god that was associated with the god Pan, the god of confusion (where we get pandemonium, pandemic, panic, etc.) and thought to be an early representation of Satan.

Saturn went by many different names, however. Some of the names he is called are Mithra, Krishna (Vishnu), Osiris, Horus, Hercules, Tammuz (Nimrod), Indra, Budda, and Iesus (which later developed into the name “Jesus”).


NOTE: I would like to point out that no matter which name we use, whether it’s Saturn, Tammuz, Nimrod, Mithra, Pan, Osiris, etc., it’s all the same thing as referring to Satan. Satan doesn’t care what name you call him by just as long as you turn your back on the things of YHVH. Compare this to YHVH who does have a very specific way of doing things and does care what name you call Him by. There are many roads that lead to death, but only One that leads to life.


Saturn was the Roman god of agriculture who is said to have reigned the world during the Golden Age in which humans enjoyed the bounties of the earth without having to labor for them while they lived in a state of social egalitarianism, or complete equality with one another. The implication here is that there was peace on earth and good will towards all men.

Saturnalia was also described as a festival of light leading into the winter solstice, characterized by abundant candles to symbolize one’s quest for knowledge and truth.

After the public observances of Saturnalia took place, including public sacrifice (of both animals and humans), ceremonies in honor of Saturn, much drinking and revelry, Saturnalia would continue in people’s homes. People would carry on with their drinking and carousing and the more wealthy would sacrifice and subsequently eat a suckling pig as an offering to Saturn.

Saturnalia was also a time characterized by role reversal and the freedom for one to disrespect their masters. It was a time where social norms and hierarchies were disregarded and people acted with little regard to one another. Essentially, it was a time of chaos and confusion mixed in with some gift-giving for good measure. This was the precursor to Topsy Turvy Day and the medieval Feast of Fools.

Following Saturnalia, the renewal of light and the coming of the new year was celebrated at Sol Invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25.

Sol Invictus
During Sol Invictus, each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures (food, sex, drink, etc.) throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman and ensuring the gods’ blessing for the coming year’s crops.

The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time. In addition to human sacrifice, he mentions these customs: widespread intoxication, going from house to house while singing naked (a precursor of modern caroling), rape and other sexual license, and consuming human-shaped biscuits (we call them gingerbread men) in order to mimic human sacrifice.

The Encyclopedia Britannica volume 24 page 231 tells us the people would give each other gifts, primarily to children in the form of “dolls” which also represented sacrificed human beings to their gods.

They celebrated what they thought was the sun’s return by having orgies, human and animal sacrifices and eating blood pudding which we today call Christmas Pudding.

The festival was characterized by gift-giving, feasting, singing and debauchery, as the priests of Saturn carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the Roman temples. People decorated their homes with green branches, evergreen wreaths, incense, candles, and religious figurines and gave them as gifts to one another. Everywhere, people stopped work to join in the celebration.

Christianity incorporated Saturnalia into the religion of Constantine (Christianity) calling it Christmas in the 4th Century AD.  No such festival exists in the Bible.  It is directly from Babylon.

I hope you understand that, even though we have been taught to celebrate Christmas in order to celebrate the birth of our Savior, YHVH never intended us to celebrate Christmas or take part in any of these pagan rituals and celebrations.

I know that many of us have been taught that God redeemed the pagan rituals or that since we didn’t know about the pagan roots it’s ok to continue celebrating. But it’s not. I’ve even heard some people say that the Church didn’t know about these pagan roots or that they didn’t intend to partake in evil practices but there is clear evidence to the contrary…which I won’t include here for the sake of space.

I know it can be hard to question these traditions and the things we have been taught but let me again encourage you to seek YHVH on what He would like you to do with this information. I also encourage you to seek answers and Scriptures for yourself. Never blindly accept what any person tells you but instead, embrace the Word and instruction of God alone.

I have been there too. Where you must question everything you have been taught. It’s not an easy thing to do and it can be incredibly scary. But let me tell you that it has changed my life and my relationship with God into something so beautiful…and I never could have gone deeper in my walk with God without taking the difficult steps of questioning what man had taught.

Questioning what you believe doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you will leave your faith or that you will turn your back on God. Questioning what you believe can make you stronger in your faith and can strengthen you in ways you never imagined. The Word tells us that we are strengthened by testing and that our faith is made as pure as gold through the fires.

For He knows the way that I take. When He has tried me, I would come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps. I have guarded His way, and did not turn aside. I have not strayed from the command of His lips. I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily portion. – Job 23:10-12

…even though for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by manifold trials, in order that the proving of your belief – much more precious than gold that perishes, and proven by fire – might be found to result in praise and respect and esteem at the revelation of Yeshua Messiah, whom having not seen, you love; in whom you exult with unspeakable and esteemed joy, yet not seeing, but believing, obtaining the goal of your belief: a deliverance of lives. 1 Peter 1:6-9

If you’re still with me, I’d like to take a look at some scriptures that address what were the once-modern pagan practices of weeping for Tammuz and Saturnalia.

Scriptures about Christmas
Listed here are a few scriptures that deal directly with the pagan practices of Christmas, Easter, and mixing the holy ways of YHVH with paganism. I know they are kind of long, but I encourage you to read them in their entirety. Rather than shorten them, I think it’s important you read these verses in context.

Hear the word which YHVH speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus said YHVH, “Do not learn the way of the gentiles [pagan nations], and do not be awed by the signs of the heavens, for the gentiles are awed by them. For the prescribed customs of these peoples are worthless, for one cuts a tree from the forest, work for the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. They adorn it with silver and gold, they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it does not topple. They are like a rounded post, and they do not speak. They have to be carried, because they do not walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they do no evil, nor is it in them to do any good. There is none like You, O YHVH. You are great, and great is Your Name in might. Who would not fear You, O Sovereign of the nations? For this is Your due, for among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their reigns, there is none like You. They are both brutish and foolish, an instruction of worthlessness is the tree. Silver is beaten into plates; it is brought from Tarshish [in Spain], and gold from Uphaz, the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the smith; draped in blue and purple; all of them are the work of skilled ones. But YHVH is truly Elohim. He is the living Elohim and the everlasting Sovereign.

At His wrath the earth shakes, and nations are unable to stand His displeasure. Say to them this, “The elah that did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.” He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens by His understanding. When He makes His voice heard, there is a roaring of waters in the heavens. And He makes vapors rise from the ends of the earth. The lightnings for rain He has made, and brings wind from His treasuries. Everyone is brutish in knowledge; every smith is put to shame by his idol. For his molded image is falsehood, and there is no spirit in them. They are worthless, a work of mockery. In the time of their punishment they perish. The Portion of Jacob is not like these, for He is the Maker of all, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance – YHVH of hosts is His Name. – Jeremiah 10:1-16

Here, YHVH is reminding the Israelites that they are not to learn the ways of the pagan nations. More specifically, the children of YHVH were not to go into the groves, cut down a tree, and decorate it with gold and silver. It specifically refers to these trees as “idols.” YHVH also says that those who take part in this ritual will perish when YHVH releases His destruction. He goes on to say that the inheritance of His children Israel is YHVH, not these pagan idols.

“Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children are gathering wood, the fathers are lighting the fire, and the women are kneading their dough, to make cakes for the queen of the heavens, and to pour out drink offerings to other mighty ones, to provoke Me. Is it Me they are provoking?” declares YHVH. “Is it not themselves – unto the shame of their own faces?” Therefore, thus said the Master YHVH, “See, My displeasure and My wrath is poured out on this place, on man and on beast, and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it shall burn and not be quenched.” Thus said YHVH of hosts, the Elohim of Israel, “Add your burnt offerings to your slaughterings and eat meat. For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, about matters of burnt offerings or slaughterings. But this word I did command them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I shall be your Elohim, and you be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, so that it be well with you.’ But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in the counsels, in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward. From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. But they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did evil, more than their fathers. And you shall speak all these words to them, though they do not listen to you. And you shall also call to them, though they do not answer you. But you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that did not obey the voice of YHVH their Elohim, nor did they accept instruction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth. – Jeremiah 7:17-28

In these verses, we see YHVH showing Jeremiah how the people of Israel were worshipping “the queen of heaven,” as in Ishtar, and making her cakes. For more info on this practice and Ishtar, please click here to read my post about Easter. YHVH says that the people have been mixing the pagan traditions with His Torah and reminds them that only if they walk in the ways of YHVH with all their hearts will it be well with them. We know that both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah went into captivities for their involvement in pagan practices and not refusing to repent and change their ways.

And I went in and looked and saw all kinds of creeping creatures, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, carved all around on the walls. And facing them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each one had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up. And He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each one in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘YHVH does not see us, YHVH has forsaken the land.’ ” And He said to me, “You are to see still greater abominations which they are doing.” And He brought me to the door of the north gate of the House of YHVH, and I saw women sitting there, weeping for Tammuz. Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? You are to see still greater abominations than these.” And He brought me into the inner court of the House of YHVH. And there, at the door of the Temple of YHVH, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the Temple of YHVH and their faces toward the east, and they were bowing themselves eastward to the sun. And He said to me, “Have you seen, O son of man? Is it a small matter to the house of Judah to do the abominations which they have done here? For they have filled the land with violence, and turn back to provoke Me. And see, they are putting the branch to My nose. Therefore I shall indeed deal in wrath. My eye shall not pardon nor would I spare. And they shall cry in My ears with a loud voice, but I shall not hear them.” – Ezekiel 8:10-18

These verses tell us that YHVH took Ezekiel to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem to show him the abominable practices being performed there. These abominable practices included having idols and abominable beasts carved on the walls of the Temple. The priests carried censers which created a thick cloud of incense. The women who were weeping for Tammuz (again, a precursor to many Easter traditions) as well as the men who had their backs to the Temple and their faces to the east.

All of these evil practices describe sun worship. The pantheon of idols and the incense. This is reminiscent of any modern day Catholic church with the saints adorning the walls of the building and the priests who carry the (very strong smelling) incense. The women weeping for Tammuz is describing the weeping that would be done for him when he “died” at the winter solstice but also the ritualistic weeping done at the spring equinox right before he was reborn. The men who had their backs to the Temple and their faces to the sun were unquestionably engaging in sun worship, probably on Sun-day. YHVH even specifically mentions putting the branch to His nose. Remember that Tammuz (the reincarnated sun-god Nimrod) was symbolized by tree branches!

So really, the question we need to answer is this: should Christians celebrate Christmas? I think YHVH has been clear on this in His Word. He does NOT want His people celebrating this pagan holiday.

I know, I know…but we don’t celebrate it like that anymore. And the traditions don’t mean the same thing anymore. And I’m not doing it with evil intentions; I’m celebrating Christ’s birthday. But the fact is, YHVH said no. YHVH’s desire is that His people be separate from the nations and obey His commands only. He desires a bride who has made herself pure and clean not one that has “defiled herself under green tree.” So the choice is up to you.

For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil, in that I am commanding you today to love YHVH your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to guard His commands, and His laws, and His right-rulings. And you shall live and increase, and YHVH your Elohim shall bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away, and you do not obey, and shall be drawn away, and shall bow down to other mighty ones and serve them, I have declared to you today that you shall certainly perish, you shall not prolong your days in the land which you are passing over the Jordan to enter and possess. I have called the heavens and the earth as witnesses today against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore you shall choose life, so that you live, both you and your seed, to love YHVH your Elohim, to obey His voice, and to cling to Him – for He is your life and the length of your days – to dwell in the land which YHVH swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:14-20