Every year right around the time Pumpkin Spice lattes make their return and the leaves start changing colors, we start to hear about how the “war on Christmas” is happening yet again. This year there was a huge fuss from many Christians about Starbucks’ decision to have solid red cups instead of their usual cups depicting scenes of winter and how this was somehow the height of the war on Christmas. The funny thing is, the original cups didn’t actually depict “Christian” or religious scenes. Instead they were pictures of snowflakes and kids sledding and playing in the snow.
I’ve also heard of nativity scenes being banned from public property because of the separation of Church and State and how it’s politically incorrect to say “Merry Christmas” and we should all just say “Happy Holidays” instead. To be honest, I don’t have a problem with the checkout lady at the grocery store wishing me a Merry Christmas because, really, how is she supposed to know I don’t celebrate Christmas? And the nativity scene? I mean, c’mon, people. Get a grip! If you don’t want to look at it, then don’t! Look away. Or act like the mature adult you pretend to be and get over it!
But what I do have a problem with is how in the midst of the “war on Christmas,” the battle cry of the religious is “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “put Christ back in Christmas.” But this simply is not possible.
Christ was never in Christmas. Jesus is not the real reason for the season.
We have taken our Holy Savior and transplanted Him into the abominable practices He hates and detests; we do the very things He abhors in an attempt to worship Him. But even worse, we have believed the lie that He is pleased with this.
We say we want to “put Christ back in Christmas” and that “Jesus is the reason for the season” but the truth is that we cannot take the abominable practices God warned us against and make them something holy. God will never take the abominable practices of idolatry and make them into something holy and pleasing to Him. That’s not how He works. YHVH has never instructed us that these pagan practices were “redeemed” in any way because He has His own ways and Holy days that He established from the beginning of time — and they are found in His Torah. Unfortunately, we have also believed the lie that His Instructions do not apply to us.
However, if we truly want to celebrate the birth of the Messiah as the reason for Christmas, then perhaps the biggest “war on Christmas” is actually Christmas itself.
The First Christmas
Today Christmas is celebrated around the world by Christian and non-Christian alike. Universally, however, it is known as the time to celebrate 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. As we explore the origins of many of our modern Christmas and Easter traditions, the connection to the pagan practices which God calls an abomination become undeniable.
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” (a god). In fact, the Vatican proudly displays a statue of Nimrod the great hunter.
The Bible goes on to tell us that Nimrod built the Tower of Babel and that he went to Assyria and founded Nineveh and Babylon. As a reference point, today Assyria would be found in 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 area has been in the news quite a bit since ISIS invaded Northern Iraq and took complete control of Mosul and other cities as part of their strategy to control the Levant area.
Legend has it that Nimrod married Semiramis, who also went by Isis, Astarte, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus, Diana, Asherah or Easter depending on which region of the world you were from. She was often called “the mother of god” and “the queen of heaven.” I will be referring to her as Ishtar for the rest of this article.
After Nimrod was murdered, 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 after dying at the winter solstice, Nimrod would come back to life again at the time of the spring equinox because he had risen to the sun and was now the sun god Ba’al, meaning “lord” or “husband.”
Ishtar also told the people that she had become the goddess of the moon and sky and that Nimrod had impregnated her through his sun rays and had reincarnated himself as her newborn son Tammuz. Ishtar later married her son Tammuz.
Tammuz was later killed by a wild pig and Ishtar told the people that he had ascended to his father, the sun. Ishtar also claimed that some of his blood had fallen on the stump of an evergreen tree and the stump had grown into a full, new tree overnight. This made the evergreen tree sacred in Babylonian worship.
Ishtar proclaimed that a period of mourning for Tammuz must now occur before the anniversary of his death every year. During this time of mourning, people were to refrain from eating meat, meditate on the mysteries of Baal/Nimrod and Tammuz (the father and son), make the “t” sign of Tammuz in front of their hearts as they worshiped, and they were also to make sacred cakes with the “t” on top. The “t” sign of Tammuz eventually evolved into a cross-like symbol. The aforementioned sacred cakes were the original hot cross buns that are now eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent.
In order to bring Tammuz back from the dead, legend says that Ishtar descended into the underworld and had to pass through the seven gates of Hades. At each gate, Ishtar had to remove one symbol of her power, either clothes or jewelry, until she stood at the last gate completely naked. Once the Queen of Heaven humbled herself before her sister, the Queen of Hades, she was plagued over her entire body. She was then sent back through the gates of Hades, picking up her removed items along the way. The Queen of Hades then told Ishtar that she has succeeded in ransoming her husband/son and that Tammuz could return for six months out of the year to earth but then he must return to Hades for the remaining six months.
Every year, on the first Sunday (sun worship) after the first full moon of the spring equinox, a celebration was made to celebrate Tammuz’s resurrection or rebirth. At this celebration, a pig was eaten to remind them of the pig that had killed Tammuz. The death of Tammuz is usually commemorated at the time of his birth – the winter solstice.
Ezekiel 8 speaks of how Ezekiel was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem and shown the abominations being committed in YHVH’s Holy Temple. One of those abominations is the women “weeping for Tammuz” in Ezekiel 8:14.
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.” – Exekiel 9:14-18
Trees and branches became the symbols of Nimrod. Legend has it that when Nimrod was “cut down” or murdered by his enemy, his body was cut into pieces and were sent to different parts of the Babylonian kingdom. The only part of his body which was never found was his penis. So Ishtar did what any loving wife would do and she decided to memorialize his penis by erecting a giant image of it in the shape we now know as an obelisk.
The stump of the evergreen tree, with a snake wrapped around it, came to represent Nimrod because he had been “cut down” like a tree. Every year around December 21 on the birthday of Tammuz (Nimrod reincarnated), 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 testicles.
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’s genitalia. It is not just a pretty decoration for our homes at Christmas time. At its very core the Christmas tree is a pagan sign of idolatry. It is an image that was worshipped and is an abomination to the One True God which we continue to bring into our homes every year.
Why would you want that in your home?
Take a moment to really think about it. What does a Christmas tree have to do with the birth of the Messiah? How does it logically fit into His story? How does it line up with what God tells us in the Bible about bringing these trees into our homes? It just doesn’t fit. It does not line up with the Word of God.
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. – Jeremiah 10:1-10
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 depiction of Satan.
Saturn went by many different names in the different regions of the world. 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”).
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 name for 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 God. Compare this to YHVH who does have a very specific way of doing things and does care what name you call Him. 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, that often included much drinking and revelry, would continue in people’s homes. People would carry on with their drinking and carousing and the wealthier 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 dies natalis sol invictus, the “Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun,” on December 25.
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 on December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness (now embodied in the victim) by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman and thereby ensuring the gods’ blessing for the coming year’s crops.
In his dialogue entitled “Saturnalia,” the ancient Greek writer, poet and historian Lucian describes how the festival was observed 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 unrestraint, and the consumption of human-shaped biscuits (we call them gingerbread men) in order to mimic human sacrifice.
The Encyclopedia Britannica volume 24 page 231 also tells us that people would give each other gifts, primarily to the children, in the form of dolls which was another representation of human sacrifice to their gods.
They celebrated what they believed was the sun’s return by having orgies, human and animal sacrifices and eating blood pudding which we call Christmas Pudding today.
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. People everywhere stopped work to join in the celebration.
In the 4th Century AD, Emperor Constantine incorporated Saturnalia into his new religion of Christianity and called the new mixed holiday “Christmas.” No such festival acceptable to God exists in the Bible.
Putting Christ Back in Christmas
I know that many of us have been taught that God redeemed these pagan rituals or that since we didn’t know about the pagan roots its ok to continue celebrating them. But the truth is, 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. There is substantial evidence that the Church not only knew about these pagan roots but purposely embraced them in order to keep the peace between the different religious groups.
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.
Now hear me on this point, I am by no means saying that our Savior did not die on the cross for our sins or that we should not celebrate His birth or resurrection. I am simply trying to say that the way we celebrate these Holy things and the time of year in which we celebrate them is wrong.
I know how hard learning these facts can be. To be honest, there are parts of Christmas that I used to truly enjoy and that I honestly miss. But for me, the most significant action I can take to truly love and worship the One True God is to fully obey Him. It’s not about me or what I want. It’s about Him. Pleasing Him is so much more important than decorating my house, getting presents, listening to Christmas music or doing things that make me feel good. He is the reason for every season and if we truly believe that then our focus should be on obedience to Him and His Word.
So this Christmas season, remember the real reason for the season and take Christ out of Christmas because Christmas is the real war on our Savior.