You Can’t Put Christ Back Where He Never Was

I always have a bit of a private laugh when I read about people trying to put Christ back into Christmas, or when I read of people who claim obedience to God’s laws trying to justify observing Christmas if they could only get the pagan elements out of. These attempts to whitewash paganism serve only the goal of trying to rationalize a popular but pagan practice among self-professed Christians and fail to meet the very high biblical standard of religious observance. There is nothing Christian about Christian whatsoever. Nothing, not one iota. Nada.

Despite the fact that the observance of birthdays is a practice without a great deal of biblical support (the only two unambiguous birthday celebrates are of a heathen Egyptian Pharaoh and a heathen Idueman, Herod Antipas) [1], it is at least understandable that someone would want to honor Christ’s birth. However, Jesus Christ was born nowhere remotely near December 25th, so to think that Jesus Christ would be pleased about His birthday being celebrated on the wrong day, about three months late or so, is very mistaken. Do you know of anyone who finds it acceptable to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries three months late? I don’t.

In fact, if the so-called Theonomists who claim to be favorable toward biblical law actually believed and practiced the biblical law about Holy Days (see Leviticus 23, for example), they would already be celebrating Jesus’ birth in the Feast of Trumpets without celebrating on a pagan day that due to its heathen ties alone is unacceptable to God. Then there would be no need for them to rationalize Christmas altogether, since they could leave it for the neo-Pagan types who want to worship solstice and scrap the pseudo-Christian trappings for Christmas altogether. It would be much more honest, and much more godly.

Let us investigate two independent biblical chains of evidence that show Jesus Christ’s birth to have been at the time of the Feast of Trumpets. For one, the symbolism of the Feast of Trumpets is full of references to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. For example, the return of Jesus Christ is said to be at the last trumpet in Revelation 11:15-19. This same trumpet is associated in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 with the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the righteous dead, as well as in 1 Corinthians 15:52. The connection between the trumpet (and the Day of Trumpets) with the visible, premillennial return of Jesus Christ is as clear as a trumpet blast. And given this obvious connection, it would not be unreasonable to surmise that the first coming of Jesus Christ might also be related to this same festival as well.

Fortunately, we do not have to rely on reasonable surmises to make that case, for the Bible itself provides the evidence in a variety of places for us to put together. The chain of evidence begins with Zacharias, a priest of the division of Abijah (Luke 1:5, 1 Chronicles 24:10), the eighth of the divisions of the Aaronic priesthood. Since the priests each served for one week and served during the entire week of the three “missionary” feasts of Passover/Unleavened Bread, Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), and Sukkoth (the Feast of Tabernacles), we can see by looking at a calendar that Zacharias would have served his regular order just before Pentecost, would have remained in Jerusalem serving through Pentecost, and then returned home to his wife.

Given that a little bit of time passed “after those days” until his wife Elizabeth conceived (Luke 1:24), we might figure that his wife’s conception probably occurred no earlier than late June. Since it was six months after this when Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit with Jesus Christ Himself (Luke 1:26) and that Mary immediately traveled to Judea, it being very dangerous to do so in the winter, and remained in the hill country of Judea during the three months of winter until the Spring (Luke 1:39-45), adding the six months from John the Baptist’s birth in the spring festival season leads us to right around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. Some people have calculated it much more exactly using extrabiblical sources, but the Bible itself is precise enough. It is possible that Jesus Christ was conceived on December 25th, but entirely impossible that He was born anywhere remotely near to that date.

An additional couple of pieces of evidence also indicate an autumn endpoint for the birth of Jesus Christ. For one, Daniel was given the 70 weeks prophecy pointing to the time of Christ in the time of the fall, probably at or around the time of the Day of Atonement, at the beginning of the reign of Darius the Mede over Babylon (Daniel 9:1-3, 24-27). Determining the time of the 70 Weeks prophecy is a matter outside of the scope of this entry, but it is worthwhile to note that royal proclamations were typically made between the spring and fall, when the weather permitted ease of travel, and not in the late fall and winter months when it was much less safe to travel, even by water (see Acts 27:9).

For this reason as well, we can gather that the registration (census) of Quirinius (which appears to have been a loyalty oath of some kind according to research by Ralph Lyman [2]) also would have occurred during the fall. During this season travel was safe and it was easy to collect and enforce duties, given that it was the harvest season. A demand to travel even the distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem would have been unreasonable for even the Romans, and unable to enforce, and they had the interest of ensuring that people were able to travel and pay the empire rather than being able to avoid such duties when the Roman army itself was not able to ensure compliance during the rough winters in the restive Jewish countryside [3].

Additionally, we have the useful piece of evidence that shepherds were out tending their flocks outside of Bethlehem at the time when Jesus Christ was born (Luke 2:8-20). The weather during the winter climate in Bethlehem is very cold, near 0 degrees Centigrade (32 degrees Fahrenheit) [4], no climate for shepherds and sheep to be outside in the elements. By December the sheep and their shepherds would be in winter quarters (like those of us who have kept cattle and other animals in the temperate climate of the United States) and would not be outside grazing on the snow(?) or dying of hypothermia during the bitterly cold winter nights. Rather, the fact that the shepherds were outside with their flocks means that the weather was still comfortable, and points to a fall birth of Christ at the latest, which corresponds with the remainder of the biblical evidence.

So, we have seen from the Bible that Jesus Christ could not have been born at any time around the end of December, and that he was most likely born at or around the time of the Feast of Trumpets. Therefore, to celebrate Jesus’ birth in late December is terribly inaccurate and insulting to the person whose birth is celebrated, since no one likes belated birthday wishes, especially a yearly habit of “forgetting” birthdays and celebrating them three months late. Additionally, if people really wanted to celebrate Jesus’ birth, the time to do that would be on the Feast of Trumpets, a day that is already commanded for believers to celebrate to honor God, rather than a pagan day of worship to various heathen solar deities.

And that is the second point. Having seen that there is nothing Christian in a celebration of a late December date (though Christians of course would be welcome to celebrate Hanukkah if they really needed a godly winter festival, like Jesus Christ himself did [5] [6]), the only thing left in Christmas is pagan festivals and worship practice. We have fertility rituals like kissing under mistletoe, the idolatrous practice of hanging up Christmas trees with gold and silver tinsel (see Jeremiah 10:1-10), caroling and revelry that involves Saturnalia festivals and celebrating the births of solar deities like Attis and Mithra, practices which spring back to corrupt Babylonian religion and that have nothing to do with genuine biblical religion.

Let us note that to celebrate Christmas without references to pagan solar gods and winter solstice festivals is impossible, since any genuine celebration of Christ’s birth would be during the time of the Feast of Trumpets anyway. Therefore, since there is nothing genuinely Christian in Christmas, all that is left is the customs of the heathen that (we ought to remind those self-professed Theonomists who feign obedience to God’s law) is expressly forbidden for believers to engage in, as it says in Deuteronomy 12:29-32: “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations [Gentiles] which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination which the Lord hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”

That would be a lesson all of us should learn, since Christmas itself is an unbiblical custom that was taken from the heathen, and genuine Christianity ought not to make any compromises or adoptions of heathen worship customs, not in the days or the ways in which we celebrate. Let us therefore remember this and avoid following after the ways of the heathen solstice festivals that so-called Christians engage in when they celebrate Christmas. You can’t put Christ back where He never was–and He has never been in Christmas from the start.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/the-bible-on-birthdays/

[2] http://www.destinypublishers.com/cart/prod/New-Insights.asp

[3] Even into the period of the American Civil War and World War II winter campaigns were rough and seldom successful, and even in the Korean War the winter campaign of 1950 was costly for both Americans and Chinese. For this reason, the Romans would not have demanded that people travel to pay taxes and register themselves for a census when they would not be able to enforce that demand with their legions.

[4] http://www.southtravels.com/middleeast/palestine/weather.html

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/hanukkah-the-festival-of-lights/

[6] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/why-jesus-kept-hanukkah-lessons-from-john-1022-30/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to You Can’t Put Christ Back Where He Never Was

  1. Jason says:

    There is nothing Christian about Christian whatsoever. Nothing, not one iota. Nada

    Is this a typo or something?

  2. Jason says:

    About nathanalbright
    I’m a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.

    Do you worship Jesus or the Christ? Please don’t answer that you worship God as many would.

    • I worship Jesus (or Yeshua, if you prefer) because he was the Christ, the Word, God in the flesh. There’s nothing objectionable about answering that sort of question. It was only gnostics, after all, who believed that Jesus and the Christ were separate beings, one of the justifications they had for ignoring His message in the Gospels and substituting their own heretical beliefs instead of biblical truth.

  3. William E. Males says:

    Brother Nathan, good post, lot’s of good info.

    Being the parent of four grown kids who never celebrated Christmas you know I have had many occasions where I had to explain to the point of deference my position of not celebrating Christ-mass. However, over the years I have learned that there are many which I would call “weak in faith” who have no real understanding in the matter. It is a tradition that has been celebrated all their lives with Christ being “made” the reason for the season, and therefore they continue to labor to make it so. Sadly, it is something they are doing only out of personal sincerity and not faith, since trough faith can only come by hearing the Word of God. Nevertheless, unto the Lord do they observe the day and therefore their display of affection to the Lord is still credited to His glory in their personal account, yet I doubt can have any enduring effect towards the promotion of His Kingdom since such affections are founded in emotion and traditions and not as the Lord requires of a us all, a true worship in spirit and truth.

    I actually take pain not to address the Christmas season with celebrating believers during the holidays, as many are already entrenched in their postures of “keeping Christ in Christ-mass. However, I am always willing to engage it any other time of the year so as to effectually reason things more thoroughly to a scriptural and historical end as you have done so here. However, I have one small input I wish to make, and that is your opening comment – “I always have a bit of a private laugh when I read about people trying to put Christ back into Christmas…”

    I try to follow your posts as much as possible, (how you can read and write so much amazes me), and therefore I am persuaded that you are one who truly loves the Lord and His truths and are in a constant pursuit of knowledge and understanding and its proper division and application thereof. That said, I believe that we must always seek the wisdom to properly share things so as to make sure the things God has revealed unto us (for we are only recipients ourselves of His glorious truths when His Holy Spirit illuminates our own hearts.) If we are to properly share them to other, it must always come from a posture of humility, that God has revealed these things unto babies such as you and I, for certainly we nothing yet as we ought and had we been more diligent in our time and study and communion with the Lord we would be looking back at where we now are with shame for our lack of growth and maturity and understanding in things that may be unlawful to utter to unstable in Christ.

    That is why we need to always have our speech “seasoned with grace so as to edify the hearers.” I would have readily share your post for the content thereof, except for the opening comment, “I always have a bit of a private laugh when I read about people trying to put Christ back into Christmas…” For it is a fly in the ointment of truth that you laugh at others sincere but misdirected efforts to honor Christ. Had you stated, “Every Christ-mass it grieves me to witness again how so many professing believers are still trying to put Christ back into Christmas,” I assure you that not only would I have forwarded your post, but many of others as well who would have seen it via my re-posting.

    Brother, I am always amazed and humbled by your gifts, talents and zeal for God and His glorious truths, and therefore pray you receive this in the love and respect I have for you as my Brother in Christ. Looking forward to meeting you one day should you ever return to Plant City (I think that is where you’re from – lol)

    William

    • William E. Males says:

      LOL =, must be the lack of coffee and the fat stubby fingers . . .

      Sadly, it is something they are doing only out of personal sincerity and not faith, since TRUE faith can only come by hearing the Word of God.

    • Thanks for your long and thoughtful post. My laughter, such as it is, is not directed at those who celebrate Christmas in ignorance, for my feelings for them are much like your own, in that I generally dislike behaving in a self-righteous and condescending manner. I sought to make it plain both in the introduction and closing that my laughter (such as it is) was devoted toward those who pretend particularly strong obedience to God’s laws, and who write weighty works as commentaries on the law (like Gary North and his Theonomist associates) but who neglect God’s laws concerning holy days (Leviticus 23) or following pagan customs (Deuteronomy 12). Such people hold themselves to a higher standard than that of someone who goes to church and hears the messages but whose understanding of the Bible is weak.

      Additionally, I give no blame to those whose “celebration” of the day consists merely in eating with and spending time with family members and friends. That sort of activity I do not consider blameworthy, though I would steadfastly avoid engaging in any of the pagan customs of the day, even if having such time off of work/school makes it convenient for get-togethers. I hope that explains my own view somewhat better, lest I be thought of as uncharitable. Thanks for your kind suggestions. I would not say that it grieves me as much as it disappoints me, though. There are plenty of things in this world that grieve me, but the misguided worship of others is something that is more disappointing, for I look out and see people scattered like sheep without a shepherd. I feel sympathetic, and disappointed that no one is there to guide them in godliness and truth, to feed on good grass.

      And yes, I was raised in Plant City. I have family still there in town. I lived just outside of Plant City, in the area known as Cork, from 1984 to 1995, when I moved to Tampa. I have visited back many times since then.

      • William E. Males says:

        Thanks for you gracious acceptance of my words, and my concern was more for the appearance of your opening words to others than a concern of a self-righteous and condescending attitude in your heart. As I believe you are truly concern for other’s walk with the Lord.

        I am in Crystal River, so should you make it home sometime and have time for coffee a quick lunch I would love to meet with you sometime.

        Peace.

        William

      • William,

        Thanks for your kind words and high praise. I do not know when I shall make it back home to Tampa, but it will be a long while yet, probably until 2013 as things are going now. I would enjoy having a tea and some long conversation as well. I am curious as to your own background.

        In brotherly love,

        Nathan

  4. William E. Males says:

    *Correction –

    . . . I had to explain to the point of deference my position of not celebrating Christ-mass.
    . . . I had to explain to the point of DEFENSE my position of not celebrating Christ-mass.

    • Correction noted, and I think your approach is a kind one. My own post was prompted by reading a “Theonomy Resources” blog that attempted to justify keeping Christmas but not the pagan elements, and it was on that scholarly level that I sought to respond.

  5. Jason says:

    William, do you know what Jesus’s last name was-is?

    • William E. Males says:

      Jason, This is not the place to engage others in issues not relevant to the OP. If you feel there is something you’d like to share with me, you can contact me via my icon link. However, I do not answer random questions, present your position and I will reply if I believe it a sincere discourse you wish to engage in and not just that you feel you have something you need to say . . . more than others may indeed need to hear.

      William

  6. Jason says:

    Sorry and I wish to retract my question. Nathan you should delet it from this blog.

  7. Jason says:

    thanks guys, note taken 😦

    • You’re very welcome, and there’s no need to be upset. Sometimes we all make non sequitors because we write and say according to what we are thinking and are not responding to what was written or said.

      • Indeed, this particular note on which we are commenting was written and sent to a magazine I sometimes write for that deals with those struggling with addictions and mental illnesses and seeks to encourage them in “Breaking Free” from the shackles wrong mental patterns. So it was written not merely for my own personal benefit but to help others, brief because it needed to be concise.

      • Jason says:

        I am sorry but I don’t follow you. What “note”?

      • I call all of my blog entries “notes.” The habit springs from my teenage years when my first blog-like essays (this was before blogs became popular and were posted on the web) were called “Notes On Modern Life.”

      • Jason says:

        You write for a depression magazine too?

      • That’s not all it is. In fact, my first writings were for the magazine that came before it, encouraging people struggling against SSAD (Same-Sex Attraction Disorder), and then writing about sexual abuse, and after that depression. But yes, I suppose it is true that I occasionally write for a depression magazine. The magazine has until this time been for members of my church organization only, but has recently (within the past week) gone public to a broader audience, so I thought it worthwhile to write with that in mind.

  8. Jason says:

    I meant to ask if the “note” was in reference to this blog or the other one “Better now”. Sorry again for the confusion

  9. Pingback: The Reason For My View Of The Season | Edge Induced Cohesion

  10. Pingback: So Happy Together | Edge Induced Cohesion

  11. Pingback: People Will Talk | Edge Induced Cohesion

  12. Pingback: Advent Children | Edge Induced Cohesion

  13. Pingback: Book Review: Christmas Time: It’s All About Jesus! | Edge Induced Cohesion

  14. Pingback: The Worst Disease Is Loneliness | Edge Induced Cohesion

  15. Pingback: Book Review: A Day In The Life Of A Pair Of Trousers And Other Stories | Edge Induced Cohesion

  16. Pingback: Finishing The Week | Edge Induced Cohesion

  17. Pingback: Book Review: Joy To The World | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s