Before we take a look at ‘faith and works’, we want to address the following portion of Nathan’s article and answer his question ‘pagan to whom ?’ . Also, please remember that there are many other christians outside what is referred to as the ‘Hebrew Roots/Messianic’ realm that observe Saturday worship or do not practice christmas and easter. This is not a phenomenon exclusive to the group mentioned in the article. We will not take anything out of it’s context and will eventually deal with each portion of the article. This will not be a ‘bashing’ and will not be an attack on Nathan. We do not support the bashing or personal attacks that Nathan has reported receiving. It will simply be an attempt to correct some misstatements and misapplications of the Word. Below is the portion of the article that we wish to address first.
The Annual Attack
I have noticed that every year around this time, I start seeing the bashing and attacks begin against those who celebrate Christmas with their families. I have witnessed that there are some who condemn those who are remembering and celebrating the birth of our Lord on this holiday.
Why is this?
“Well Nathan, it is because Christmas is a pagan holiday! I studied it. I can prove it, I watched the YouTube’s that showed me!.. It is very evil!”
My reply, … pagan to whom?…
And thus … It is as it is… in the eye of the beholder! In other words, I guess if someone is convinced that it is evil then that is their choice. We all have a conscience so let your’s guide you.
However, why is it that with this holiday, some of the enemies of Christmas become crusaders who enlist themselves in a campaign of condemnation to those with holiday cheer?
I have seen some of the arguments against Christmas. I have also seen that some of the anti-Christmas rhetoric generalize the holiday and likens those who acknowledge the day as participating in an abomination that has few equals.
To this I say, “Absurd!” end of this portion of article
First, let’s define some terms. ‘Pagan’ is a word that gets tossed around alot. What does it mean ?
‘Paganism, in the strictest sense, is a religion of beliefs and practices associated with the worship of nature. Paganism may take many forms, including but not limited to pantheism (belief that the whole of reality is divine), polytheism (belief in many gods), animism (belief that natural features of the world are invested with divine power) as well as Druidism, Witchcraft and Divination. Historically, the adherents of the three major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have applied the term pagan to the indigenous religions they encountered in the course of their expansion.’
© Encarta1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
In other words, ‘pagan, by definition, is that which is contrary to the God of the Bible in existence and/or conception. It carries the connotation of being unclean or impure in it’s very essence, inception and/or conception ethically, ritually and religiously. ‘Pagan’ is the ‘way of the nations’, impure, in contrast to the ‘ways of God’ which are pure.
( we do not recognize the deity of the one worshiped by islam )
Ok, so how does all that apply to me and christmas ? Well, let’s take a closer look at what we call christmas and the origins of it’s practices and how it connects to the birth of Jesus. Much of this you will have already heard, hopefully some will be fresh enlightenment.
First, what does the Bible say about ‘clean and unclean, the holy and the profane ( pure and impure ) ?
Job asks the question “ . . .who can bring a clean thing out of the unclean ?”
And his answer ? “ . . . No one . . .’ Job 14:4
The book of Ezekiel is primarily end-time prophecy. Ezekiel 44:23 ( which is during the Millennial reign of Messiah-Jesus ) speaks of those that will be appointed to teach God’s people the difference between the ‘clean and the unclean’ and and to ‘discern between the holy and the profane’ (or the pure and the impure). . Why ? Because the previous leaders and teachers of His people ( Eze 22 ) had failed to teach His people these principles and were not only chastised but replaced.
So if ‘understanding the difference between ‘clean and unclean’ and ‘pure and impure’ was important in the time of Job and it will be important in the Kingdom, does it not follow suit that understanding and teaching this difference should also be important today ?
Once I understand that ‘christmas’ – the practices and many of the accepted traditions that surround the annual celebration of what we dub the birth of Jesus – are unclean and contrary to God in their inception ( all of which is very easy to verify with about 10 minutes at the local library or online ) then what should I, as a blood-washed blood-bought ‘walking in obedience’ believer, do with this truth ?
Well, what does the Word say ?
“ . . . learn not the ways of the nations . . .” Deut. 18:9, Jer. 10:2
“ . . . you shall not behave thus before the Lord . . .” Deut 12:4
“ . . . you shall not worship the Lord in this way . . .” Deut 12:31
Gal. 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
Please, let’s remember that Paul (in Gal.4:9) is not speaking to a group of folks brought up in the traditions of the Feasts of Lord, Sabbath, etc. These are folks ‘out of the nations’ desiring to go back into their former practices . . . the ways of the nations . . .
So, to answer the question ‘pagan to whom ?’ ( pagan is not our word, it was used in the article . . .)
Pagan to Whom ? According to the Word of The Living God, these things are Pagan to Him, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, The Lord of Heaven and Earth, past, present and future. If things and practices are contrary to His nature, should they not also be contrary to our nature as well ? Are we not to take on His nature ?
Jeremiah 10:1Hear the word of the LORD O house of Israel: 2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the people are vain: for they cut a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they need to be carried, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O; LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.
7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.
Jeremiah was speaking to those of God’s people who were getting involved in the
‘ways of the nations’.
Paul was speaking to believers desiring to back into the ‘ways of the nations’ . . .
Seems things haven’t changed much. We still want to buddy up to stuff we have no business playing with.
2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
By the way, ‘beauty, not the Truth, is in the eye of the beholder’ . . .
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the Truth, and the life . . .”
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
And we pray for Nathan’s healing and for protection and provision for him and his family and for all the household of faith in these days
– B’Shem Yeshua HaMashiach –
in the Name of Jesus the Messiah – Amen . . .