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The Midnight Cry:
A Prophetic Witness to the Church Today

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17
Six Reasons Why You Should Keep Christmas
(Ha! Ha! Ha!)

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.


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:

Be careful 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:

See that you do ALL I command you; DO NOT ADD TO IT, or take away from it (Deut 12:32).

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. Peter added:

They think 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 Peter said:

...the pagans choose to do, living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry (1 Pet 4:3).

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 believers should:

...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 matter?

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 man.

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 reveals:

"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 Hanukkah.

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:

You shall 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 4:2, NKJV).

This admonition is repeated in Deuteronomy 12:32, and in Joshua 1:7 where Joshua adds:

...that you may prosper... (NKJV).

Solomon repeated this warning:

Every word of God is flawless... do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you (Pr 30:5,6, NIV).

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.

I warn 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 December 25!


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.

There are 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 thing.
  • 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 human traditions.
  • If you want to add to the Word of God, and detract from what it does say.
  • If you dismiss His witnesses.

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.
  • You will not make the Word of God ineffective by observing unbiblical human traditions (Matt 15:3,9)
  • 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

November 23, 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.

Marsha Burns

November 21, 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.

Marsha Burns

Bill and Marsha Burns, FAITH TABERNACLE

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www.midnightministries.org.uk