A Prophetic Witness to the Church Today
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This morning, when I awoke, God
spoke to me and told me to write an article. He gave me the title above.
Today is the 23rd November. God uses numbers in scripture to depict certain
things. The number 23 often occurs in association with hypocrisy. (It is
significant that Matthew 23 contains the account of Jesus addressing the
Pharisees' appalling hypocrisy.) So, here's a 'nice' little bit of hypocrisy
with which you can ice your Christmas cake!
Six Reasons Why You Should Keep Christmas
(Ha! Ha! Ha!)
Six reasons why you should
Reason Number One
If you want to do your own
thing, here's a good bit of self-indulgent advice: keep Christmas. It's the
best time of self-indulgence and revelry the whole year round!
The Romans used to keep it on
December 25th. That date marked the day when the sun began to rise again in
the sky. (The winter solstice is now two or three days earlier today.) And
since they worshipped the sun god, this festival celebrated his victory over
the other gods of the cosmos. For seven days, they indulged in feasting and
self-indulgent revelry in what was their Saturnalia.
When the Roman emperor
Constantine was 'converted' to Christianity (his own spurious 'brand' of it)
he combined the prevalent pagan belief in Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun,
with the unconquered faith of Christianity. It was a winner! He won over
many 'converts' through this astute syncretism!
However, God warned His
people not to combine pagan beliefs and practices with the religious
traditions He gave them:
not to be ensnared by inquiring after their gods, saying, "How do
these nations serve their gods? We will do the same." YOU MUST NOT
WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD IN THEIR WAY! (Deut 12:30,31, NIV.)
Moses then went on to record:
you do ALL I command you; DO NOT ADD TO IT, or take away from it (Deut
If you want to do your own
thing, however, disregard these words. Isn't it more fun to add to God's
Word and go along with what the world does at this time of year?
Reason Number Two
True believers in Christ are
called to be set apart from the world. But if you don't want to be part of
His elect, then jump on the world's bandwagons and ride along with them.
Jude wrote to the Church late
in the first century:
In the last
times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.
These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do
not have the Spirit (Jude 18,19).
Constantine was one of those.
it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of
dissipation (1 Pet 4:4).
Why let others think you
strange? Adopting the pagans' revelrous dates and customs is what the
majority do. So, why not go along with the crowd? Don't worry about what
pagans choose to do, living in
debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry (1
Christmas is the best time of
year for this sort of thing. There are more arguments, family break-ups,
divorces and suicides at the time of the winter solstice than at any other
time of the year, not to mention loneliness and neglect.
If you haven't had enough of
the world's ways yet, join in and get your fill! Don't let the words of the
Bible stop you! Convince yourself that you are honouring Jesus at this time
of year (which was months after His real birth date in the autumn), and be
persuaded by duplicitous arguments that you are worshipping Him by bowing
down on the day which the pagans used to revere their Sun god!
Don't worry about it. Just
run along with the crowd. Ignore what God tells His own in Exodus 23:2.
Reason Number Three
Jude wrote that true
...contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the
saints (Jude 3b, NKJV).
But if you don't want to be
considered a true believer, forget about contending for the faith which
Jesus entrusted to His Church. Join the ranks of the false teachers who
introduced destructive heresies and shameful ways (2 Pet 2:1,2). If they
brought the way of truth into disrepute (2:2), so what? Does it really
Leave the straight and narrow
and wander "off to follow the way of Balaam... who loved the wages of
wickedness" (2 Pet 2:15, NIV).
Walk as they have done,
according to your own desires (Jude 16). Don't earnestly contend for the
faith. That faith was one which didn't contain Christmas celebrations.
Christmas was first made popular as a 'Christian' celebration by Constantine
in AD 313, and was later adopted by the Church as an official holiday. (The
word 'holiday' is a corruption of 'holy day'.)
Jesus gave the Church no
command to celebrate His birth, but He did say to remember His death (Luke
22:19,20). The early Church traditionally remembered His death on the
Passover. It was a very special annual event.
If you don't want to
commemorate what Jesus commands His chosen, then run along with pagans and
do as they did. Don't contend for the faith once delivered to the early
Church – which continued with Passover, Pentecost and the other
celebrations of the Israelite calendar (listed in Ex 12, Lev 23, Deut 16,
Num 28 and 29).
Disregard that the Christian
Church is an outgrowth of the customs which God preserved through Israel.
Forget your Hebrew heritage and roots:
If you were
cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature
were grafted into a cultivated olive tree.... (Rom 11:24)... you, though a
wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in
the nourishing sap from the olive root (Rom 11:17,18).
But, if you don't care about
Jude's admonition to contend for truth, then forget about the heritage God
has given us via Israel. After all, there's not much forgetting to do; most
of that past is already forgotten! Most preachers and Bible teachers today
have lost it anyway. The fact that all the first apostles, as well as the
early Church – Israelites and non-Israelites alike – kept the
traditional festivals which God gave Israel, is not well known, nor popular.
It is easy to forget something which is not popular. So, do what is easy.
Don't contend for that faith the early Church had!
Reason Number Four
Israel did not use the Roman
calendar. God gave a much different calendar to Israel. Instead of being a
solar calendar as we use today, it was a combined solar-lunar calendar. It
was simple in its design, the new month beginning when the first crescent of
the new moon became visible (or if obscured by cloud, 30 days after the
previous new moon). Thus, months did not have a fixed length. They could be
29 or 30 days long.
The Roman calendar in use in
the west today is a man-made system. It is fixed by purely arbitrary means.
The calendar God gave Israel was not fixed; it was fluid. Even the Hebrew
calendar used by Jews today is fixed, made more rigid by the dictates of
But in the time of God's
dealings with Israel, God revealed what HE purposed for His people. The
calendar which He gave them is one aspect of His revelation which became
lost. It was discarded in favour of one devised by pagans, and adjusted by
Rome's heretics. Without God's calendar, it is impossible to know when the
dates of God's festivals fall, so by instituting the civil Roman calendar,
some roots of the olive tree are supplanted by pagan ones.
Christmas is observed on
December 25th. You need a Roman calendar to know when it falls.
Pentecost is observed 50 days
from the Sabbath during Passover week (Lev 23:15,16). You need God's
calendar to know when that falls.
If the first disciples had
not been gathered together to observe Pentecost, they would have missed out
on the power which God wanted to pour out on the Church. They would not have
been in the right place at the right time to enjoy God's promised blessings.
If you don't want to be part
of the next wave of power God is going to pour out on the Church –
resurrecting the dead – then keep on celebrating a pagan custom with no
real life or substance to it.
Reason Number Five
After the miracle which took
place in the time of Judas Maccabaeus (2nd century BC), when one day's oil
to light the menorah (the 7-branched candelabrum) lasted for 8 days until
freshly pressed olive oil could be produced, the Jews remembered this
intervention of God by instituting a festival called Hanukkah ('Festival of
Lights'). A footnote to John 10:22 in the New King James Study Bible
"The Feast of
Dedication" is not an O. T. feast, but was instituted as a memorial of
the dedication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus in December, 165 BC,
after Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated it in 167 BC. It is now called the
Feast of Lights, or Hanukkah.
This occurs on 25th Kislev
(or Chisleu) in the Jewish or Hebrew calendar. Some say this date
corresponds with our December 25th. That is not entirely true. While the two
dates may coincide on rare occasions, they are not synchronous in most
years. They may differ by up to two weeks. So, it is hardly a valid
statement to say, as some do, that keeping Christmas is the same as keeping
But if you want to be deluded
that Hanukkah and Christmas celebrate the same thing, go ahead. You can even
keep the Feast of Lights, if you want to, but it is not a biblical festival.
It is not commanded by God.
If you want to observe
festivals which God has not commanded and which have little relevance to
believers today, carry on. But first read on.
Reason Number Six
God says in His Word that we
are not to add to or take away from what He says. We have already mentioned
this (p. 1). It was first stated in Deuteronomy:
not add to the word which I command you, nor take away from it, that you
may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you (Deut
This admonition is repeated
in Deuteronomy 12:32, and in Joshua 1:7 where Joshua adds:
...that you may prosper... (NKJV).
Solomon repeated this
of God is flawless... do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you (Pr
But, if you want to be
rebuked by God, tamper with the Word of God. Reject the clear statements of
scripture that God does not approve of taking the customs of pagans and
adopting them to worship Him.
everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this Book: If anyone adds
anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this Book.
And if anyone takes words away from this Book of prophecy, God will take
away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which
are described in this Book (Rev 22:18,19, NIV).
Christmas is an addition to
the Word of God. Its observance is not instructed by God. Keeping it also
detracts from His truth. It takes away from what God has commanded by
supplanting festivals God wants His Church keeping (which have their origin
in Israel's roots) with ones which have no scriptural foundation.
2 or 3 Witnesses Establish Truth
God says that every matter is
established by the evidence of two or three witnesses (2 Cor 13:1; Deut
19:15; Matt 18:16). There is not one witness in scripture to support
the observance of Christmas! But there are
many against it!
Of course, there are many
Christians in favour of this custom. Some wax eloquent about why we should
observe it! However, all arguments used to support Christmas as a Christian
observance are flawed. They are spurious human
arguments, based on human rationalisation. They compromise the Word of God.
Their specious reasoning is baseless, for our Lord nowhere commands us to
observe the day of His birth. That date is not even known! It was not
Six Things God Hates
God hates Christmas! It does
not honour Him. It honours 1) a non-existent sun-god, 2) a heretical Roman
emperor who idolised it, and 3) a decadent Catholic Church who made all
nations drink the wine of these idolatrous customs (Rev 18:3).
Of course, you can go along
with them if you want to. You will, if you don't really love God. But to the
few who will listen, Jesus says:
Come out of
her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will
not receive any of her plagues, for her sins are piled up to heaven, and
God has remembered her crimes (Rev 18:4,5, NIV).
But if you want to displease
God, shut out the lead of His Spirit, and deny Him by contravening His Word.
six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him (Prov 6:16).
So, here are six reasons why
you should keep Christmas, seven that are detestable to Him:
- If you want to do your own
- If you want to go along
with the crowd.
- If you don't want to
earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
- If you don't want to be
part of the next outpouring of God's power, the next move of the Spirit.
- If you prefer to cling to
- If you want to add to the
Word of God, and detract from what it does say.
- If you dismiss His
However, if you love God:
- You will be prepared to
sacrifice what you want to do (Rom 12:1; Gal 2:20; Matt 10:38),
to do His will.
- You will go against the
crowd (Acts 5:29).
- You will earnestly contend
for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3,4).
- You will surrender to
God's will, and allow His Spirit of power and enlightenment to work in
- You will not make the Word
of God ineffective by observing unbiblical human traditions (Matt
- You will not compromise
God's Word (Rev 3:8).
You will be blessed if you do
what God says. So:
I command you today
to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands,
decrees and laws, then... God will bless you (Deut 30:16). But if your heart
turns away... and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods... you
will certainly be destroyed (Deut 30:17,18).
Malcolm B. Heap
Prophetic Words About Christmas
1998: I speak to you today to maintain a pure conscience before Me. Walk in
truth and light. Refuse to fall into the fantasy of the days ahead. Some
would call these days "holidays" or holy days, but do not be
deceived into thinking there is anything holy about the world's traditions
and materialism. I say it is idolatry in its grandest form. Loose yourselves
from this bondage and idolatry, and seek Me with a whole heart. Have nothing
to do with self interest and greed; rather rise up in spiritual purity
before My face, and refuse to be distracted by what is unholy.
1998: I am stirring hearts and bringing conviction and opportunity for
repentance. I am drawing My people into a place of greater obedience, more
strength and fervent love. The choices are there. The choice is yours. Will
you yield completely to My call? Will you say yes to My proposal? Will you
be My bride? The choice is yours and yours alone. Are you willing to forsake
all and yield to My purposes? Come and be one with Me in heart and purpose.
Come away with Me, My beloved.
Bill and Marsha
Burns, FAITH TABERNACLE
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