In this article, we want to take a look at the major Christian holidays which are observed in Christendom pretty much world-wide, and ask the question, “Of what spiritual value are they?” and “What do they teach us and our children?” Do they help us to be better servants of the Almighty? And, most important, should we be observing them, in the first place? We will be looking at the most popular, major holidays, including Christmas and New Years, St. Valentine’s Day, Easter and Hallowe’en.
The information furnished here is from historical sources generally friendly and supportive of the holiday under discussion. Much of it comes from church records and histories such as encyclopedias.
In order to understand them, we first need to take a look at the Biblically ordained Holy Days that most people today know little or nothing about. The reason for this, is that whereas the New Testament is actually a continuation of the Old Testament, Christians have historically taught and believed that the Old is “done away,” and is of no value under the New Covenant - that anything of the Jews, or “Jewish,” has no relevance to us in our New Covenant spiritual walk, except maybe as history, prophecy, and inspiration.
But the New Testament is NOT complete in and of itself. It will not stand alone without the Old. You cannot understand the New Testament without a working knowledge of the Old. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. Are you one who believes that there is salvation only in the New Testament? Then note the two following Scriptures, two of many:
John 5:39 (Yahshua speaking): Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me.
2 Tim. 3:16 (Paul speaking): All Scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.
In both these instances, it is the Old Testament Scriptures that are being spoken of. The New Testament had not yet been written. The New complements the Old; it does not replace it.
Briefly, here are the Festivals of Yahweh, as found in the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 23 (notice it is Yahweh [KJV “the LORD] speaking to Moses, saying “these are MY Feasts.” They are NOT "Feasts of the Jews" as some falsely teach):
The weekly Sabbath, the 7th day of the week, vs 3.
Passover, 14th of first month, Abib (in the Spring). Preparation day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows on the 15th through the 21st, verses 5-6.
Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), 50 days after Wave Sheaf Day in Passover week (verses 15-21).
Feast of Trumpets, First day of 7th month, Tishri (in the Autumn) (verses 24-25).
Day of Atonement, 10th day of 7th month, a fast day (verses 27-32). No food or drink on this day.
Feast of Tabernacles, 15th through 21st of 7th month (verses 33-35).
Last Great Day, 22nd of 7th month, verse 36.
These are the Festivals that Yahshua observed during His lifetime here on earth. He said He had set us an example that we should follow Him. The Apostle Peter said the same thing in 1 Peter 2:21. His apostles and converts observed these days for the rest of their lives.
But today most Christians have never heard of them. Their pastors say, “They are not for us today.” On the other hand, authority for observing the holidays that we see the churches observing today cannot be found in the Bible. Why is this? Man has followed tradition of his own imagination, traditions that date back to the earliest beginnings shortly after the flood.
Yahweh does nothing in vain. His Holy Days have meaning and purpose. They are to teach us His plan of Salvation, by our physically acting them out each year. Briefly, here is the meaning.
The weekly Sabbath reminds us of the Creation, Exodus 20:8-11. The unscientific idea of evolution would not be so rampant today if we as a nation kept this commandment.
Passover commemorates Yahshua’s death as our Passover sacrifice. He died so we don’t have to (1 Cor. 5:7).
7-Day Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures our repenting of past sins and getting rid of false doctrines, and beginning our walk with the Savior in Spirit and in Truth (1 Cor. 5:8).
Pentecost, Feast of Weeks, commemorates the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai, and, much later, the coming of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, so we can KEEP the Law with a spiritual intent (Acts 2 and Jeremiah 31:31-33 with Romans 8 & Hebrews 8:7-10).
Feast of Trumpets looks forward to the time when Yahshua will return “at the last trump,” “with the sound of a trumpet,” to set up His Kingdom here on earth. See the following verses: Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52, and 1 Thessalonians. 4:16, Rev. 20:6 with 5:10.
Day of Atonement pictures the Saints becoming at-one with Yahweh, and the marriage of the Lamb to His Bride, who has made herself ready (Rev. 19). We are to fast on this day.
Feast of Tabernacles pictures the 1,000-year reign of Yahshua the Messiah and His resurrected Saints here on the earth, that 7th 1,000 year period or “day.” Man has been given 6,000 years, which are just about up, to go his own way, in defiance of Yahweh and His laws.
But when Yahshua returns, He will put down all resistance, and enforce His laws for the good of mankind. For the first time, peace will be a reality. See Hebrews 4:1-11 and 2 Peter 3:8, which speak of this millennial “rest.”
Last Great Day takes us to the end of the 1,000 year period, when the general resurrection is to occur, Rev. 20:5, when those who were not in the first resurrection will come up to be judged by Yahshua and the Saints. Read all of Rev. 20, along with Mat. 24:30-31 and Mat. 25:31 to end of the chapter. This completes the plan of salvation, from the time the Firstfruits repent, until the Latter harvest is completed. This includes everyone who has ever lived. Those who repent and are baptized will be saved, while those who refuse to repent and obey, will end up in the lake of fire, where they will be destroyed.
How are these days to be observed? No article on the Holy Days of Yahweh would be complete without explaining what we are to do, and how we are to keep these days in their seasons. First, of course, is the weekly Sabbath. It is a day of complete rest, when we are to do no work whatsoever. We are to praise and worship our Heavenly Father by assembling in a "holy convocation" on that Seventh Day of the week (Lev. 23:3, Heb. 10:24-25, Luke 4:16, Acts 24:42-44). We do not buy or sell on that day (Nehemiah 13:15-17). We are to forsake our own thoughts on that day (Isaiah 58:13). It is Yahweh's Day and we should treat it with the honor and respect it deserves.
Next is Passover. We commemorate Israel coming out of Egyptian slavery and the death of the First Born (Exodus 12). This occurred in the first month of the Sacred year (Exo. 12:1-2), in Spring. It is also the date that Yahshua the Messiah died for our sins (John 13 through 18 and I Cor. 11:23-26). We partake of the Unleavened Bread and Wine that represents His broken and bloodied body, and wash one another's feet (John 13:1-15).
The Passover meal is the first meal of Unleavened Bread, and begins the first Holy Day. The difference between an annual Feast Day and the weekly Sabbath is found in Exodus 12:16, where we find that food can be prepared on these Holy Days. We are to have a "Holy Convocation" on these days as well. The seventh day of Unleavened Bread is also a Holy Day.
Then, seven weeks later, comes the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. This is the day on which the first Covenant was given to Israel at Mount Sinai, and included the 10 Commandments (Exodus 19 and 20). It is also the day upon which the Holy Spirit was given, as recorded in Acts 2. This is so that Believers who repent and are baptized can then receive the Holy Spirit so that they can keep the Law with a Spiritual intent.
The other four Holy Days come in the seventh month, in the autumn. The first one is Feast of Trumpets, and is on the first day of the seventh month. It represents Yahshua's triumphant return to this earth to set up His Kingdom (Revelation 19, Matthew 24:31, I Cor. 15:52, I Thes. 4:16). He will resurrect His saints, the First Fruits, those now being called, and will reign with them for 1,000 years.
Nine days later, on the 10th day of the seventh month, is the Day of Atonement. This is a fast day, on which we neither eat nor drink anything from evening of the 9th day until evening of the 10th day (Leviticus 23:27-32). This day represents the wedding of the Lamb to His Bride, the Assembly, and becoming "at one" with Yahweh. On this day no work whatever is to be done, but we are to appear before Yahweh in a Holy Convocation.
The Feast of Tabernacles begins on the 15th of the seventh month, and lasts for seven days. This is the time when we are to live in temporary dwellings with other believers. It represents our life in the 1,000-year reign of the Kingdom of Yahweh on this earth, when we will prepare the earth for the general resurrection to follow (Rev. 20:4-6). The first day is a holy day, an annual Sabbath.
The Last Great Day immediately follows the Feast of Tabernacles and is also an annual holy day, the last one of the year. It represents the time at the end of the 1,000-year period, when all who have ever lived will be resurrected to life and given an opportunity for salvation. We are now being judged (1 Peter 4:17), but the vast majority of people are not now called. They will be called at this later date. Yahshua said that even the evil Sodomites would yet stand in judgment (Matthew 10:15, 11:24, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:12-14). See our booklets, The Truth About the Resurrections, and The Truth About Judgment for more Scriptural proof.
Now, with that knowledge, let us look at the holidays observed by most Christians today. We will begin in the Spring:
Easter. This name comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the Dawn, and called Astarte in the New Revised Standard Version of Scripture, and Ashtaroth or Ashtoreth in the King James Version, as in 1 Sam. 31:10, 1 Kings 11:5, 33 and 2 Kings 23:13, a goddess of the Sidonians.
She is referred to as the “Queen of Heaven” in Jeremiah 7:18 and 44:16, 17, 19, and 25. Also, in Ezekiel 8, we find women “weeping for Tammuz” (vs. 14). Tammuz was a son of Ishtar or Easter or Astarte or Ashtaroth, or whatever name you prefer to call her. This son had been killed by a wild boar (according to the legend), and they mourned for him annually (similar to Lent of today).
Then at Easter, he was re-born (like a counterfeit resurrection), after which there was great gladness among the pagans. He was thought to have been the sun-god, whom we see the Israelites worshipping in a sunrise service, Ezekiel 8:15-16, with their backs toward the Temple of Yahweh, looking toward the east as the sun rose, and worshipped the sun.
The Israelites had taken up this abominable form of worship, and Yahweh was furious with them (verses 17-18). Easter has come down to us as a substitute for the proper and commanded Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. Its symbols of fertility, eggs and rabbits, show the original licentious nature of this holiday. It has nothing to do with True Religion. It is commonly believed that Easter celebrates the Resurrection of our Savior, but, on closer examination, we find that Yahshua was NOT resurrected on Sunday morning, but rather, late on Sabbath afternoon, the evening before. As we have seen, it actually celebrates the resurrection of Tammuz, the son of Ishtar.
A variation of the story has it that Easter was originally on March 25, and was the date she became pregnant with Tammuz. Then 9 months later, on December 25, she gave birth to him and he became known as the Sun God. Israelite women "mourned for Tammuz" annually (Eze. 8:14).
Hallowe’en, or “hallowed evening,” is the evening before “All saints day.” Now a children’s holiday, Hallowe’en was originally a Celtic festival for the dead, celebrated on the last day of the Celtic year, Oct. 31. Elements of that festival were incorporated into the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve, the night preceding All Saints’ (Hallows) Day. Until recent times in some parts of Europe, it was believed that on this night witches and warlocks flew abroad; and huge bonfires were built to ward off these evil spirits. (From Lexicon Universal Encyclopedia, vol. 10).
“Trick or treat” derives from the ancient’s putting out “treats” to appease these evil spirits so they would not harm them. It is a form of bribery, in which we teach our children, “Give me a treat, and I won’t trick (or harm) you.” Is this really what we want to teach our children?
Christmas/New Years. This festival, as is the case of all these we are examining in this article, comes directly from paganism, and came into the Roman Church as an attempt to appease the pagans to accept the new Christianity. The new converts did not want to give up their time-honored festivals to their gods, so the Church allowed them to keep them, giving them Christian-sounding names (exception being Easter, the name of a pagan goddess).
For about two thousand years before the Messiah's time, festivals centered around the winter solstice, when the sun reaches its southern-most point and then begins its trek back north, bringing warmth and new life to the inhabitants of the northern climes. The following are excerpts from The Life Book of Christmas, Vol. 2, the Pageantry of Christmas, 1963, article, “Turning Pagan Rites to the Praise of God.”
“Until 350 A.D., when Pope Julius I proclaimed Dec. 25 as the date of the nativity, almost every month in the year had, at one time or another, been named by reputable scholars as the likely date of Christ’s birth.”
“Christians, for whom Christ was the new beginning and the new light of the world, celebrated his birth in a seasonal tradition which crosscut a number of cultures. During the winter solstice, ancient Mesopotamians performed rites to aid their god Marduk ..” At that season the Greek Zeus began anew his battle against Kronos and the Titans. The followers of Mithras, a Persian sun-god whose cult was brought to Rome by returning Legionaires and became the chief rival of Christianity, celebrated Dec. 25 as Dies Solis Invicti Nati (Birthday of the Unconquered Sun). The Romans themselves had long celebrated the solstice season as the Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture. During Saturnalia, normal life turned upside down...Lord of Misrule...lavish banquets...exchange of gifts.”
“Christians began absorbing these old customs and infusing them with Christian meaning in order to help spread the faith. Many church fathers considered the method dangerous. Gregory the Great wrote, in 597, that they should not try to put down pagan customs ‘upon the sudden,’ but adapt them ‘to the praise of God.’”
In the North at Christmas season, missionaries found the pagan adherents of the gods Woden and Thor (ed: Our Wednesday and Thursday are named after these two “gods.”) battling the winter’s evil darkness with huge bon fires. In central Europe, they found the belief that at the death of the old sun, witches and fiery demons came to earth to destroy the fertility of the new year, and could be dissuaded (bribed) by presents. In Britain, they found Druids paying tribute to the victory of evergreens over winter’s darkness.
The missionaries, heeding Gregory the Great’s advice, made no effort to “cut off” the “evil customs.” As a result, many of them survive as cherished Christmas traditions of today.
We are told in Jeremiah 10 to NOT learn the way of the heathen. But we have, haven't we?
Valentine’s Day. Excerpts from Lexicon Universal Encyclopedia: The association of love and courtship with St. Valentine’s Day may have arisen from the coincidence of the date with the Roman festival of Lupercalia.
Lupercalia was a Roman festival believed to have been in honor of Faunus, the god of flocks and fertility. Celebrated on Feb. 15, it was intended to ensure fertility of people, fields and flocks for the coming year. After sacrificing goats and a dog on the Palatine Hill, young men called Luperci raced around the borders of the hill striking those they met with whips made of the goatskins. Women who were struck were ensured of fertility and of easy delivery of children. The festival survived until the 5th century, A. D. (Ed: It survives yet under its new name).
This is a very, very brief, cursory treatment of these man-made festivals, but it is plain to see that all of them have their roots in paganism, and have nothing to do with True Religion, the Bible, Yahweh, or Yahshua our Savior. In fact, just the exact opposite is true. Man has appropriated to himself who or what he worships, and how he chooses to worship him or her or it. But notice what the Creator has to say about such practices (remember, the churches are attempting to worship the Biblical Deity, but they want to use customs from their ancient traditions to do it).
(Deut. 12:30) take care that you are not snared into imitating them, after they have been destroyed before you: do not inquire concerning their deities, saying, "How did these nations worship their deities? I also want to do the same." (NRSV)
(Deut. 4:2) You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of Yahweh your El with which I am charging you.
(Rev 22:19) if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Yah will take away that person's share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
So we see that Yahweh’s days lead to salvation, and our traditional days do not. Let’s be faithful to obey our Creator in this matter. Our life depends on it! <
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