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Is Christmas Pagan?



Is Christmas Pagan
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Periodically I will ask someone in modern “Christianity” a simple question: Why do you celebrate Christmas? The answer is always the same, the modern “Christian” will claim that the reason they celebrate Christmas has to do with “the birth of Jesus”.


What I want to do with this message, as I have done with those I have asked this question in the past, is present to you the real reason why “Christians” celebrate this most popular holiday by exploring how this holiday came to be and whether or not there are pagan elements in both the early development and the modern practice of it. After all, both of these factors are essential to a study like this as something not originally pagan and/or idolatrous can become so later in history. One thing we will look at in this message is a biblical example of this and what the biblical response to it should be.


What I find most interesting is that whenever people answer the question about why they celebrate Christmas, they seem to always admit to knowing that Yeshua was not born on December 25th. I don’t even know how many times I have heard a “Christian” say something like: “It isn’t the day He was born, but it’s the day we celebrate His birth.” This might sound good on the surface, but when you begin to look into the history of this holiday it becomes quite problematic.


Year after year debates between those following the crowd and those questioning traditional religious practice get heated over whether or not Christmas is pagan. A little later in this message we will take a close look at what this word pagan means and what it means to label something pagan.


While there are a lot of sources from academia and no shortage of leading scholars that stand firm that the origins of Christmas are taken from the Roman Saturnalia festival and certainly many modern Christmas traditions appear to have strong similarities to those of the Saturnalia, the Nordic Yule festival, or other religious or secular inspirations apart from Scripture, I want to approach this topic from a different angle. After all, every time you turn around it seems one person has what sounds like a valid enough argument that these things are connected and then another has a counter-argument that appears to be equally plausible. So I am not so sure that trying to determine if Christmas is pagan based on connecting it with things like the Saturnalia or Yule festivals remains the best approach. It should certainly be part of the discussion, but it probably is not the deciding factor.


I have written on the relationship Christmas appears to have with the Saturnalia and the connection between the popular Santa Claus character and the Norse god Odin in the past, and I stand behind my research. When it’s all said and done, we really need to come to logical conclusions and often times that requires us to err on the side of caution. When something is both not in The Bible and is even potentially connected to pagan religious practices then we are wise to expunge it from our own lives and faith practices. We really should not even need to determine conclusively if it is absolutely pagan at that point. But since some want to contest these things every year, it seems a message like this is increasingly becoming essential.


Now, I want to make it clear that I specifically said pagan religious practices. There are those, even in Messianic or Hebrew Roots Movement circles, who have begun to move toward making straw-man arguments in an effort to defend Christmas celebration, as well as the celebration of other similar holidays such as Easter and Halloween, or at the very least say they do not celebrate them or endorse them but also claim they are not pagan—essentially defending “Christian” celebration of them. So, before getting into addressing Christmas and the argument that it’s pagan from an angle you may not have heard much, I want to look at a couple of popular defenses of Christmas and why they simply do not justify the celebration of a religious holiday that appears to originate from a pagan religion.


Days, Months, Planets, And Toothbrushes


The first claim I want to look at goes something like this: “The days of the week are named for pagan gods—Sunday is for sun god, Monday for moon god, Tuesday for the god Tiw, Wednesday for the god Odin, Thursday for the god Thor, Friday for the goddess Frigg, and Saturday for the god Saturn. The months are named for gods of other religions—January is for the god Janus, March is for the god Mars, and May is for the goddess Maia. The planets are named for other gods and goddesses too—Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, etc.”


The argument, then, is that if we are going to deem holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween to be “pagan” and something we should not celebrate, then we are being hypocrites if we acknowledge the days, months, planets, and other such things that are named for pagan gods. Before commenting further on why this is a total logical fallacy, let me prove to you that The Bible actually approves of the use of things like this if they have been given pagan names.


Now it came to pass, 480 years after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv (which is the second month), that he began to build Adonai’s House.

—1 Kings 6:1 (TLV)


In the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, the foundation of the House of Adonai was laid, and in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul (which is the eighth month), the House was completed in all its parts and according to all its details. So he was seven years building it.

—1 Kings 6:37-38 (TLV)


All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the Feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month.

—1 Kings 8:2 (TLV)


The month of Ziv? The month of Bul? The month of Ethanim? These are not the Hebrew month names. So what are they?


These are Canaanite month names. Yes, that’s right, they are pagan names for these months, and here they are in use in The Bible as a standard part of the culture of that time period.


You see, you can’t take something that has been given a pagan name and demonize it the same way you can the actual festivals of other religions. Just because society has chosen to name something after a pagan god or some other pagan inspiration does not deem it pagan. This is very different than an actual celebration that derives from a pagan religion, as you will see.


I know people, and you probably do too, who have names that originate from some other religion or even a god from another religion. Think about a person born into a Muslim family who may have been given the name Muhammad. Is that person disqualified from coming to faith in Messiah Yeshua because of their name? They did not choose that name, it was given to them. I also know of people with a last name such as Easter, Christmas, or even Pagan. There is a Christian pastor who has recently gained some popularity with the last name Christmas. Is he a pagan pastor because of his name? No! He may be because of his beliefs and teachings—of which I am not aware, I have never listened to him just heard of him. My point is that you become pagan based on beliefs and religious practices, not what your name is. Nobody or no thing—day, month, planet, whatever—can be pagan simply because someone gave it a pagan name.


The next similar straw-man argument I have heard goes something like this: “Toothbrushes and toilet paper were invented by pagans, so if you are against Christmas, Easter, and other holidays not from The Bible but you use a toothbrush and toilet paper you are a hypocrite.” It is true that people who would be considered pagans invented both toothbrushes and toilet paper. But allow me to show you where this argument completely falls apart—again, through what is revealed in The Bible.


Let’s take a look at a few other tools that seem to trace their origins back to pagan societies. Farming plows, chariots, writing, and mass-produced pottery are among the inventions of the ancient Sumerians, the people of Mesopotamia where Nimrod established his kingdom with cities like Ur, Nineveh, and Babylon. Copper-bladed axes appear very early in Egyptian culture. And plumb lines seem to also trace back to ancient Babylon and Egypt. So, we have a good number of hand tools that originate from pagans. Now let’s turn our attention once again to the The Bible.


For six days you will work, but on the seventh day you will rest. During plowing time and harvest you must rest.

—Exodus 34:21 (TLV)


The chariots of God are thousands and thousands —my Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness.

—Psalm 68:18 (TLV)


So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was making a work on the wheels. Whenever the pot that he was making from the clay became flawed in the hand of the potter, he remade it into another pot, as it pleased the potter to make.

—Jeremiah 18:3-4 (TLV)


But as one of them was cutting down a beam, the axe-head fell into the water; and he cried, and said, “Ah, my master! It was borrowed.” Then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it there, and made the ax head float. Then he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

—2 Kings 6:5-7 (TLV)


This is what He has revealed to me: Behold, my Lord was standing by a vertical wall, and in His hand was a plumb line. Then Adonai said to me: “What do you see, Amos?”

I said: “A plumb line.” Then my Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line among My people Israel— I will no longer pass over them.

—Amos 7:7-8 (TLV)


Adonai said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book, and rehearse it in the hearing of Joshua, for I will utterly blot out the memory of the Amalekites from under heaven.”

—Exodus 17:14 (TLV)


All of these hand tools, and perhaps many others invented by pagans, can be found in use by God’s people within the biblical text. I think you can see here that there is plenty of Scriptural support for using tools invented by those who follow after other gods. So we have biblical validation for both the use of pagan names given to someone or something and the use of tools that may have been invented by pagans. But, with all of that, we still have a commandment from The Torah that would apply to religious rites, rituals, practices, and festivals that originate from other religions—including and especially any that would be deemed pagan.


When Adonai your God cuts off before you the nations that you are going in to dispossess, when you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God! For every abomination of Adonai, which He hates, they have done to their gods—they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

—Deuteronomy 12:29-31 (TLV)


When you enter the land Adonai your God is giving you, you are not to learn to do the abominations of those nations. There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or a fortune-teller, soothsayer, omen reader, or sorcerer, or one who casts spells, or a medium, a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is an abomination to Adonai, and because of these abominations Adonai your God is driving them out from before you.

—Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (TLV)


You must utterly destroy them—the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as Adonai your God has commanded you. You are to do this so they will not teach you to do all the abominations as they have done for their gods, and so you would sin against Adonai your God.

—Deuteronomy 20:17-18 (TLV)


Each of these passages are admonishing us, the people of God, to not appropriate the religious ways of the people of the nations who worship other gods. We have clear Bible justification to use names and tools that originate from paganism while we still have a very clear commandment against embracing any religious practices that originate from religions outside of The Bible.


It’s funny, you know. I have heard people—including, again, those in Messianic, Hebrew Roots, or Torah-whatever circles—say that while there is no commandment in The Bible to celebrate Christmas there is also no commandment against it. I suppose that would be true if one deemed Christmas to not be pagan. But in a moment I am going to show you the extremely dishonest way some have chosen to go about making such a declaration. Then I will show you how Christmas is absolutely and undeniably pagan regardless of whether or not it can be connected to things like the old Roman Saturnalia, the Germanic-Norse Yule, or even the claims some make attempting to link it to ancient Babylonian religion.


While it is certainly and undeniably true that there is not a commandment to celebrate Christmas in The Bible—the holiday didn’t even exist during the time of the Gospels and Apostolic Writings—we simply cannot say the same of a commandment against it. So long as there is any even remote possibility that the holiday, and others associated with it like Easter and Halloween, are in any way even loosely connected with pagan religions then the commandment from The Torah to not inquire about them and use them in worship of Yah applies. To say conclusively and dogmatically that there is no commandment against celebrating Christmas is simply a bald-faced lie, just like—as you will see in this message—saying conclusively and dogmatically that it is not pagan is a bald-faced lie because it is impossible to deem it as such without totally dishonest scholarship and making stuff up.


One final thought on this before moving on. Often times known physical archaeological evidence suggests that something associated with biblical faith, worship, and the nation of Israel—such as temples, laws, sacrifices, and the symbol known as “The Star of David”—trace to pagan origins. But the reality is that all of these originate from The Father and the first few chapters of Genesis. The original Temple was Eden, the mountain of God. Commandments are given in the first two chapters of Genesis—the whole reason sin and pagans even exist is because someone broke God’s Law allowing such things to prevail in this world. Cain and Abel offered sacrifices. And the “Star of David” symbol is found in nature on such things as the pomegranate fruit and the oleander flower, both of which are found in Israel and the pomegranate being a prominent element of ancient Israelite Temple worship. Much of the time paganism is a perversion of things God created or instituted. So, the fact that pagans had temples, laws, sacrifices, and perhaps even a symbol much like the “Star of David” is irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not Christmas is pagan and is just another weak straw man argument.


Yeshua Was Not Born In Winter


A few years ago I shared an article titled WWJB: When Was Jesus Born. I was, of course, playing off of the old “WWJD” (What Would Jesus Do) movement from the 1990s with the title, but the message was a presentation to show that Yeshua could not have been born in the middle of the winter—be it December 25th, January 6th, or any other date outside of the window of biblical clues we are given to when He was born. More recently, after having studied this side of the matter further, I published an article titled He Tabernacled Among Us where I give a strong case that we can narrow down the time of His birth to the fall Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) season, contrary to what a minority have claimed about His birth taking place in the spring at the time of The Passover.


The Bible does give us information to lead us to a probable window of time for when Yeshua was born, at least as far as what time of the year it was when He was born. In the two aforementioned articles I go into more detail on these points, but allow me two quickly highlight three major points that lead to a conclusion that Yeshua was born during the biblical Sukkot season.


1. The birth of John the Immerser is known to be six months prior to the birth of Messiah. John’s father was a priest of the order of Abijah and many have concluded that his service in the Temple, which occurred twice in the year, places John’s birth either at the Feast Of Passover or the Feast Of Tabernacles. This would place Yeshua’s birth at whichever of the two Feast Seasons that John was not born, as Passover and Sukkot are six months apart.


2. Luke 2:8 says: “Now there were shepherds in the same region, living out in the fields and guarding their flock at night.” Some have sought to argue that the language of this verse indicates that it was the lambing season, and proposed that this would indicate it was the spring. But as I have shown in my previous articles, lambing can also take place in the fall months. Additionally, Babylonian Talmud: Beitzah 40a, a Jewish historical record of the time, says: “Pasture animals are such as are led out about [the time of] Passover and graze in [more distant] meadows, and who are led in at the time of the first rainfall (October-November)” This creates a window of time where Luke 2:8 can be placed within—and the winter months fall outside of this window.


3. Luke 2:1-3 says: “Now it happened in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the world’s inhabitants. This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone was traveling to be registered in his own city.” There is evidence, as presented in my more recent article on this topic, that the Romans conducted their censuses between August and October. This creates a window within the previous window, and only the Fall Feast Season occurs within this window—and the point regarding John’s birth establishes that both he and Yeshua were born at one of the Feast Seasons, six months apart.


So, with just these three pieces of information we can pretty much conclude that Yeshua was more likely born during the Feast of Tabernacles than at Passover, and He was certainly not born in the middle of winter. As I often say, it is a biblical impossibility for Yeshua to have been born on December 25th or any other time in the midst of the winter months.


In addition to this we have possible evidence that the earliest followers of Yeshua commemorated His birth to some capacity during the fall Feast of Tabernacles. An old piece of Jewish folklore titled Aggadta DeShim’on Kefa, as documented in a book titled Saints And Role Models In Judaism And Christianity, gives an indication of this. The author of this tale—a Yeshua-denying Orthodox Jew of his time—accuses the earliest followers of Yeshua as led by the Apostle Peter of overshadowing Passover with a commemoration of Yeshua’s resurrection, Shavuot (Pentecost) with Yeshua’s ascension, and Sukkot (Tabernacles) with Yeshua’s birth. The story addresses a point in history before the Roman religion established December 25th as the date of Yeshua’s birth.


Let’s take a look at two things The Bible says.


God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes his mind! Does He speak and then not do it, or promise and not fulfill it?

—Numbers 23:19 (TLV)


God—who cannot lie—promised this before the beginning of time.

—Titus 1:2 (TLV)


You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks lies he is just being himself—for he is a liar and the father of lies.

—John 8:44 (TLV)


So, The Bible tells us that the characteristic of God is that He does not and even cannot lie, and that the characteristic of the devil is that he is a liar and the father of lies. So, if something is not the truth—such as the claim that Yeshua was born on December 25th—do you suppose that claim originates from God or Satan?


Christians”, when faced with things like this, are notorious for making all sorts of excuses. It’s always something like, “That’s not what it means to me,” or, “We know that’s not when He was born, but it’s still the day we celebrate it because nobody knows when He was born,” or some other thing religious people have made up to justify in their mind that it can’t really be a pagan or Satanic holiday. Look, it’s not truth, it’s a lie, therefore Satan is behind the origin of Christmas, which makes Christmas a totally Satanic holiday.


On top of this, we do have a pretty good idea of when He was born. At the very least the known facts place His birth at least closer to the biblical Fall Feasts than anything else. There is so much prophetic significance between the Feast of Tabernacles and the storyline of Yeshua’s birth as recorded in The Gospels. That would be the appropriate time to commemorate His birth, during a celebration that Scripture mandates us to celebrate anyway. There is no commandment anywhere in The Bible to celebrate Christmas, but passages like Deuteronomy 12:29-31, 18:9-12, and 20:17-18 are very likely commandments against celebrating it and we are commanded to celebrate the biblical Feast of Sukkot. So, why do “Christians” celebrate Christmas? Let’s continue and perhaps we will find out.


What Does Pagan Mean?


As I stated earlier, there are those who are using blatantly dishonest methods to define the word pagan in order to deem Christmas to not be pagan. I was recently presented with a statement developed by an influential Messianic ministry doing this exact thing. This is what they said regarding how they wanted to define the word pagan:


Words mean things. The Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. The modern Hebrew language is not the same as the Biblical Hebrew used to write the earliest forms of the Bible. This is a universal truth of languages in general as we see evidenced in the many different transformations of the English language. I am old enough to have seen many words get new definitions and be accepted in a completely different context from the original context. I am going to define pagan before we even go forward because how you define terms matters. If a word has held different definitions and you do not define terms, arguments form very easily, and both parties could be using different measuring sticks. The word pagan itself has had three different primary definitions in the English language alone over the last 100 years. Most of the disagreements I have seen come from this very issue. The way people define the word, if different, can lead to a different conclusion. For the sake of this article, we will be using the following definition:


Pa-gan : not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam.


This definition comes from Vocabulary.com. It is important for us to also point out that Merriam Webster, Dictionary.com, and Collins Dictionary all have a variation of this definition and by using any of those variations you could end up with a different weight of measure


Because positions like this are subject to change and I am uncertain of the publication status of this statement—it was sent to me prior to any later potential publishing—I am choosing to not directly cite it, which I couldn’t anyway if it is not yet or never will be published. However, let’s examine some of the claims of this statement and see the blatant dishonest scholarship that went into it. We will start by looking at the actual whole definition given on their primary cited source: Vocabulary.com.


1. (noun) a person who follows a polytheistic or pre-Christian religion (not a Christian or Muslim or Jew)


types:

Wiccan, witch, a believer in Wicca


type of:

religious person, a person who manifests devotion to a deity


2. (noun) a person who does not acknowledge your god


synonyms: gentile, heathen, infidel


types:

paynim, a heathen; a person who is not a Christian (especially a Muslim), idol worshiper, idolater, idoliser, idolizer, a person who worships idols, idolatress, a woman idolater


type of:

nonreligious person, a person who does not manifest devotion to a deity


3. (adjective) not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam


synonyms: ethnic, heathen, heathenish, irreligious, hostile or indifferent to religion


4. (noun), someone motivated by desires for sensual pleasures


Isn’t it interesting that there is a whole lot more to what pagan means than the single statement being used by someone who seemingly intends to deem Christmas to not be pagan? You know, one of the driving forces behind this, at least from Messianic and Hebrew Roots ministries like the one referenced above who sent me a draft of their belief at the time I am writing this, is to come against the controversial and even outright wrong claims of Alexander Hislop’s book The Two Babylons, as well as modern ministries seemingly influenced by such claims like Michael Rood, Jim Staley, and Lew White.


Consider this statement from an article by Ralph Woodrow titled The Two Babylons: A Case Study in Poor Methodology: “Hislop says, for example, that the ‘round’ wafer used in the Roman Catholic mass came from Egyptian paganism. For this he cites a statement in Wilkinson’s Ancient Egyptians (vol. 5, 353, 365) about the use of thin round cakes on their altars. When I checked Wilkinson’s work, however, he also said the Egyptians used oval and triangular cakes; folded cakes; cakes shaped like leaves, animals, and a crocodile’s head; and so on. Hislop failed to even mention this.” Of the many things pointed out by Woodrow to show the errors of Hislop’s work, this one jumped out at me when looking at it again recently. Why? Because the person who wrote the above statement did the exact same thing Hislop did in taking only one portion of the definition of pagan to support their own bias agenda. Hislop wanted to say Christmas is pagan and used this dishonest method, and today some are trying to counter his work and say Christmas is not pagan using the exact same form of dishonesty.


Now notice under the first sense of the word that it notes the Wiccan religion specifically. There are strong claims by those of this religion, which is the faith of practicing witches, that Christmas is their holiday. There is a debate about the validity of these claims, and it is not the focus of this message to dive into that side of this issue. But it is worth noting that Wiccans make strong claims that this holiday, albeit under the name Yule, belongs to them. This would play into that part noted in the introduction portion of this article about whether or not the holiday can be deemed pagan today, something we will look at a little further into this study.


Perhaps the most important point I want to pull from this actual complete definition from the cited source Vocabulary.com is what the first sense of the word is: a person who follows a polytheistic or pre-Christian religion. In just a moment this will become much more important. But first let’s examine several other dictionaries and how the word pagan is defined. We’ll start with Merriam-Webster.com and Dictionary.com, two of the referenced additional sources on the above cited statement.


Merriam-Webster Online:


1 : heathen sense 1 especially : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)

2 : one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person

3 : neo-pagan witches, druids, goddess worshippers, and other pagans in America today— Alice Dowd


Dictionary.com:


noun


1. (no longer in technical use) one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.

2. a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; a neopagan.

3. Disparaging and Offensive. a. (in historical contexts) a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim; a heathen. b. an irreligious or hedonistic person. c. an uncivilized or unenlightened person.


adjective


4. of, relating to, or characteristic of pagans.

5. Disparaging and Offensive. a. relating to the worship or worshipers of any religion that is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim. b. irreligious or hedonistic. c. (of a person) uncivilized or unenlightened.


Notice that on the latter it claims that the use of pagan as a reference to polytheistic religion is “no longer in technical use”. But what needs to be considered and is imperative to this study is that this was the use of the word when Christmas—likely originally called the feast of the nativity, as Christmas is derived from the phrase Christ’s Mass of which the earliest known use was in 1038 A.D.—is first documented in 354 A.D.


This means that, since we are dealing with the establishing of this festival where pagan is used was from a time when the primary definition of pagan absolutely was a reference to polytheistic religion, we need to approach the question of whether or not Christmas is pagan through using pagan as a reference to a polytheistic religion. Before we do that, however, let’s review some more definitions of pagan from some printed dictionaries I reviewed.


Pa-gan n [ME, fr. LL paganus, fr. L, country dweller, fr. pagus country district; akin to L pangere to fix — more at PACT] (14c) 1: HEATHEN 1; esp : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome) 2 : one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person.

(Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition)


pa-gan n. 1. FOLLOWER OF A LESS POPULAR RELIGION somebody who does not follow one of the world’s main religions, especially somebody who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, and whose religion is regarded as questionable (sometimes considered offensive) 2. POLYTHEIST OR PANTHEIST a follower of an ancient polytheistic or pantheistic religion 3. HEATHEN somebody who has no religion (disapproving) adj. 1. OF A LESS POPULAR RELIGION believing in or relating to a religion that is not one of the world’s main religions and is regarded as questionable 2. FOLLOWING POLYTHEISTIC OR PANTHEISTIC RELIGION believing in or relating to an ancient polytheistic or pantheistic religion 3. NONRELIGIOUS having no religion (sometimes considered offensive)

(ENCARTA World English Dictionary)


pa-gan n. 1. One who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, esp. a worshiper of a polytheistic religion. 2. One who has no religion. 3. A non-Christian. 4. A hedonist. 5. A Neo-Pagan. Adj. 1. Not Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. 2. Professing no religion, heathen. 3. Neo-Pagan. (American Heritage College Dictionary, Fourth Edition)


pagan noun 1. A follower of a polytheistic religion. 2. An irreligious person. Pagan adj.paganish adj. paganism noun.

Word history

Middle English via late Latin from Latin paganus country dweller, civilian, from pagus country district. In Christian Latin the sense of ‘civilian’ was applied to somebody who did not belong to the ‘army’ of Christ. (The Penguin English Dictionary, 2nd Edition)


As you can see, the proper way to define this word “pagan” is much broader than finding a single portion of the definition you can then use to say: “Pagan” is anything that is not Christian, Jewish, or Muslim and so since Christmas is a Christian holiday it’s not pagan. It is completely dishonest and deceiving—characteristics of Satan—to pull a partial definition of a word and use it to establish an agenda-driven conclusion.


Here’s a brief overview of this word and how it came to mean the many various things it means today. You can easily research this information if you desire to verify what I am saying.


The word pagan originates from the word paganus—as we have already seen in several of the dictionaries reviewed—which is a general reference to people who live in the country, peasants, and perhaps even a blanket statement for those who might be considered “the poor”. It developed into a reference to those who engaged in polytheistic religions—especially in regard to the Greek-Roman religions, which we will look at in a moment. This use of the word appears to even predate the establishment of the Roman Church under Constantine in the early fourth century, an important point as we will see in the next segment. The narrow use of pagan as a reference specifically to non-Christians or non-Jews is much more recent, as is the more narrow use as a reference specifically toward those who practice the Wiccan religion who seem to prefer the label pagan as if it is some sort of badge of honor for them. Of course, it is worth noting that if those trying to say Christmas is not pagan are using the most recent ways to define pagan, then the mere fact that Wiccans are the group who identify as pagans today and they claim this is their holiday would lead to a conclusion that Christmas is pagan. Just something to think about.


All of this essentially means that during the time period when Christmas (or as it was probably known originally, the feast of the nativity) was created the word pagan was primarily a reference to a polytheistic religion, most notably the Greek-Roman one.


Did you also notice in some of these definitions that pagan includes in it’s meaning: one who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods, hedonistic? Go to any shopping mall, big box retailer, or pretty much anywhere in the civilized world where Christmas is celebrated from as early as September and well into January—almost five months out of the year—and see how much materialism, commercialism, hedonism, and worldly pleasures are involved in the Christmas celebration. This too is part of the very definition given to the word pagan. It also lends to the discussion of whether or not Christmas can be defined as pagan today, even if we rejected the notion of it being pagan at its inception.


Is Christmas pagan? These dictionary definitions—in their totality, not cherry-picked snippets of them—should really make you stop and wonder.


What Does Christian Mean?


Something else that is crucial to this study, especially if there are those who wish to insist on the more modern and much narrower definition of pagan as something not Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, is to properly define the word “Christian”. This word is the original Greek word: Cristianos. It is a combination of the original root word Cristos (what in English is rendered Christ) and the suffix ianos (what in English would be the suffix ian).


In English the suffix ian denotes something is related to or “of” that which it is attached. In this the English Christian” actually loses a lot of its original meaning. Many would see the English form “Christian” as someone who is related to “Christ” or someone who is “of Christ”. In this sense the word is viewed by the majority in modern “Christian” religion to simply mean that if you mentally believe that “Jesus is the Christ” then you are “of Christ” or you “belong to Christ”. It matters very little how you live as a result or if you follow everything in The Bible, so long as you “believe”.


If we go back to the original Greek word, however, the word “Cristos” was a powerful word as the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Mashiach. It is also important to note that the biblical Greek used in the Gospels and Apostolic Writings was a specific dialect known as Jewish Koine Greek. We would think of this today as something like saying there is English, and then there is British English and American English or that there is Spanish and then there is Dominican Spanish and Mexican Spanish and so on. Jewish Koine Greek was a specific form of the Greek language used among the Jewish people in the time when the apostles were writing what would become the final portions of biblical canon—The Gospels, The Epistles, and The Revelation—so it is important to note that even though it was written in Greek, so far as we know currently, it was essentially written in a form of Greek that was Hebraic. This could also be a reason why The Apostolic Writings read more like they were originally Hebrew, though there are also credible theories that The Gospels and possibly at least some of the other Apostolic Writings were originally written in Hebrew and translated into Greek, with only Greek manuscripts known to survive.


Either way, the Greek Cristos is a powerful word related to the Hebrew Mashiach, which means “anointed one”. The Greek suffix “ianos” denotes a slave. This is a much more serious charge than simply saying you “belong to Jesus” because you mentally “believe Jesus is the Christ”. To be a “Christian” today does not mean a whole lot nor does it require any real level of commitment or obedience. Everyone is a “Christian” as long as they claim they “believe in Jesus”. In fact, I remember well over twenty years ago before there was social media as we know it today and everyone was using America Online I noticed a lot of people marked their religious beliefs on their online profiles as “Christian, not practicing”. So according to the cultural standard you can be a “Christian” simply as long as you say you believe “Jesus is the Christ” if asked and it doesn’t even matter if you live out your professed faith.


But when we consider the truth of what it means to be a “Christian” as it was defined in the time period when The Bible was written, it is a reference to one who is totally sold out to Yeshua—someone who walks as He walked (1 John 2:6). A “Christian” in that day meant that you were wholly committed to Him and His Torah lifestyle. Today “Christians” make “Jesus” a part of their life instead of crucifying their flesh, laying down their life, taking up their cross, and surrendering every aspect of their life to Him. Today “Christians” go through The Bible and pick out verses they like and apply them to their lives instead of applying their whole life to The Bible and saying as Paul did in Galatians 2:20: It is no longer I that live, but Messiah Yeshua that lives in and through me. And when they pick out these happy verse to “apply to their life” they completely ignore what those who wrote these verse also had to say in regard to obeying The Torah. Think, as a perfect example, of how often “Christians” profess to claim the blessings listed in Deuteronomy 28 over their life completely skipping over the first few lines of the chapter that tell us those blessings only belong to those who obey The Torah.


Christians” today do not want to be a slave to Yeshua. Heck, most do not even want to be a casual follower of Yeshua. They simply want to “mentally believe in Jesus” and be a part of the cultural social clubs they call “churches”. They are deceived and they are delusional according to The Bible.


But all of this begs an important question to be asked: Is “Christianity” really “Christian”?


Oh, you see, that’s just it though. Most, the overwhelmingly vast majority, of what people today call “Christianity” is not at all what The Bible would call “Christian”. The Bible actually condemns most of what we see done in “churches” today—just read Matthew 7:21-23, which is probably the most accurate description in The Bible of today’s religion of “Christianity”. There are three characteristics of those described in the passage: 1. They did all sorts of religious works like casting out devils, working miracles, and prophesying, 2. They attributed these works to the name of Yeshua (or “Jesus”), 3. They were workers of LAWLESSNESS (they did not follow The Torah). There is only one people group in the history of the world from the time that Yeshua spoke those words until the present day that possesses all three of these attributes, and that is the followers of popular cultural “Christianity”. There is not a single people group outside of “Christianity” that meets all three criteria. And Yeshua said this would be the path of MANY, in contrast to the FEW He stated earlier in the chapter would find the truth. “Christianity” is one-third of the world’s population, an estimated 2.4 billion people at the time of this writing and steadily growing. That would be MANY, not FEW. If your view of The Bible is built on popular “Christian” beliefs you are on the wrong path.


And the entire effort of people in Messianic, Hebrew Roots, and other Torah-positive circles to claim “Christmas is not pagan” is an effort to create “unity” between those who believe in following both Yeshua and Torah in accordance with Revelation 14:12 and the masses in “popular Christianity”. At some point we have to come to the realization that the masses involved in anti-Torah “not under the law Christianity” are enemies of the cross and we are not to seek “unity” with them, we are to seek that they repent and turn to the true Gospel of Yeshua and His Torah lifestyle by telling them the truth without compromise. And if you are trying to “maintain the peace” with these, you are just as much an enemy of the cross as they are. The irony is that in seeking to create unity with Torah-rejecting “Christians”, they are creating the greatest divide to date within Torah-positive groups.

Recall that the anonymous statement I cited earlier chose only the definition for pagan that says: “Not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam.” We can even exclude Judaism and Islam from this as nobody thinks Christmas is Jewish or Muslim. So this begs the question: Is the god of “Christianity” REALLY The God of The Bible? I think there is very good reason to answer this question with a very emphatic: NO!!! And this will certainly become clear as we continue. The late A.W. Tozer may have said it best when he said: “Christianity is decaying and going down into the gutter because the god of modern Christianity is not the God of the Bible.”


Roman Catholicism IS Pagan


Now, I know a lot of people will be upset with me declaring Roman Catholicism to be a pagan religion, as there is a growing ecumenical movement to harmonize everything that is remotely under the banner of “Christianity” as the religious world deems it today. However, we need only look at what the word pagan means from a religious perspective to see the truth of this statement.


Pagan is an ancient word that seems to trace back to peasants and country-dwellers. The word developed into a word used of the practitioners of polytheism, which is a belief in multiple gods or a pantheon of gods. While today the word is used loosely by those of biblical faith toward any religion outside of “Christianity”, it is to this use of pagan as a reference to polytheistic religion that I want to focus on.


The old Greco-Roman religion was in its truest sense a polytheistic religion. We see the pantheon of gods in both the Greek and Roman cultures where essentially they worshiped the same gods and goddesses, though with different names. Like in other polytheistic religions, these gods tend to trace back to actual people who were posthumously deemed to be gods. This, in some ways, is similar to the deification of Egypt’s Pharaohs.


Some examples of the Greco-Roman gods and goddesses are: Zeus (Greek) Jupiter (Roman), Cronus (Greek) Saturn (Roman), Hades (Greek) Pluto (Roman), Artemis (Greek) Diana (Roman), Ares (Greek) Mars (Roman), Hermes (Greek) Mercury (Roman), Helios (Greek) Sol (Roman), Aphrodite (Greek) Venus (Roman). These are some of the most popular names among the Greco-Roman gods.


The Greco-Roman gods were assigned positions of authority. Zeus/Jupiter was the “king of the gods”. Poseidon/Neptune was the “god of the seas”. Hermes/Mercury was the messenger god. Aphrodite/Venus was the “goddess of love”. So, for the most part, these gods were not supreme, apart maybe from Zeus/Jupiter.


In the early fourth century the Roman Emperor Constantine is said to have converted to “Christianity”, but all indications are that it was not the same as the faith of the first century Believers led by the Apostles. There are also plenty of historical records that a fully Torah-positive group of Believers carried forward the true faith long past the time of the establishing of Constantine’s “New Roman Religion”. In an article titled Patrick Of Ireland I show the history of the descendants of the group Scripture calls The Nazarenes west into the land of the Gauls where the true faith flourished for centuries without the influences of the Roman religion.


All indications are that Constantine never truly, or at least never fully, converted to “Christianity”. He clearly maintained elements of the sun worship he was raised with, and seems to have actually intended the development of a hybrid religion that had elements of the biblical faith in Yeshua and elements of Roman sun worship cults. This is really not that far fetched when you look at longstanding Roman practices such as interpretatio Romana and evocatio deorum.


Interpretatio Romana was the practice of Romans replacing the name of an existing deity with a Roman deity in regions they conquered if there were similarities. So, to simplify it, if they conquered an area and the god of that area had characteristics similar to Neptune, they would say that region’s god is now Neptune and blend the characteristics of the outgoing god into Neptune. Evocatio deorum, typically associated with military actions but used in other scenarios as well, was the act of “calling out” a deity from a region the Romans were planning to capture. The god of this region was given the promise of having a new cult established in the Roman Empire, meaning that this god would then be added to the Roman pantheon.


There are some indications through various historians that evocation was used during the siege of the Jerusalem in 70 A.D. where The Temple was destroyed, though others suggest there is not sufficient evidence to support this. This is not to say that the Romans were more powerful than The God of Israel or that they succeeded in “making a deal” with Him. Rather, it would show that appearing to have succeeded in this effort they would now use this as a means to eventually morph whatever genuine “Christianity” existed with the old Roman religion, which we see through the later establishing of the Roman Catholic religion—which was initially called The New Roman Religion. In other words, some evidence suggests that the Romans first “made a deal”—in their view—with the God of Israel, then would have said that He accepted their deal having destroyed His Temple, and later through something more akin to interpretatio established a “New Roman Religion” where instead of the old Roman gods there would now be a pantheon of “Saints”, but it would still ultimately be the same pagan religion.


Another important element in this discussion is what is commonly called Imperial Cult and emperor worship in the culture of Rome. This process of deifying the seated emperor and controlling religion through the Pontificus Maximus clearly carried into The New Roman Religion with “the pope” being the pontif. Roman Catholicism regards the living pope to be “The Vicar of Christ”, meaning that they believe he is the living embodiment of Messiah on the earth and even holds the power to change Scripture.


The development of the “New Roman Religion” clearly has elements of these established beliefs in it. Not only do we see these practices in the institution of what is today called Roman Catholicism, but we see them carry forward into the religion of “Protestant Christianity” as well. One need only look at the popular Christmas character of Santa Claus. Many have been taught that the character is inspired by a Roman Bishop named Nicholas of Myra—who would later be named into the order of “Saints”. The truth is that this is a prime example of interpretatio Romana carrying forward into the “New Roman Religion” that would become Roman Catholicism and then “Christianity” as the initial inspiration for the character was the Germanic-Norse god Odin. After Roman Catholic religion finally spread into the regions where the Nordic pantheon was established, they took popular gods like Odin and rebranded them and associated them with one of their “Saints”. I have a very thorough article titled Meet Santa Claus available that goes through the whole history of how this character came into being.


In some cases there wasn’t even a need for a name-change, as in the example of Brigid of Kildare who was named a “Saint” and then blended with the characteristics of the existing goddess Brigid—typically depicted with a ball of fire in her hand and is associated with wisdom, poetry, healing, protection, blacksmithing and domesticated animals. “Saint” Brigid, in the Roman Catholic pantheon, is the patron saint of all of these, among other things, and both the Celtic goddess and the Patron Saint have a feast held in their honor on the same date of February 1st. The existence of the Celtic goddess predates the life of Brigid of Kildare, who appears to have been a Torah-keeping Believer not originally associated with the Roman Catholic religion. So this is likely another example of interpretatio Romana carrying into the Roman Catholic religion from the older Roman pagan beliefs.


Now, let’s look at a key element of Roman Catholicism that continues to this day. In the Roman-based religion, those deemed to have done great exploits for the advancement of the religion are posthumously given the title of “Saint”. This is no mere title, however. It is an act of deification. Roman “Saints” are, in actuality, given “god status”. Once deemed to be a “Saint”, the next step is to assign them a position of authority to which they are the “Patron Saint”. The website Catholic Online says that: “Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over areas of life.” Let’s take a look at some of the more well-known “Patron Saints” of the Roman religion.


Saint Peter (The Apostle): Patron Saint of Popes, fishermen, fishmongers, sailors, bakers, harvesters, butchers, glass makers, carpenters, shoemakers, clockmakers, blacksmiths, potters, bridge builders, and cloth makers. Feast day June 29th


Saint Paul (The Apostle): Patron Saint of hospital public relations. Feast day June 29th


Saint Francis of Assisi: Patron Saint of ecologists, merchants, animal welfare, and rights workers. Feast day October 4th


Saint Valentine: Patron Saint of beekeepers. Feast day February 14th


Saint Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland, snakes, engineers, and paralegals. Feast day March 17th


Saint Mary Magdalene: Patron Saint of tanners, hairdressers, and pharmacists. Feast day July 22nd


Saint Thomas Aquinas: Patron Saint of students, teachers, and academics. Feast day January 28th


Saint Joan of Arc: Patron Saint of soldiers. Feast day May 30th


Saint Raphael The Archangel: Patron Saint of doctors, pharmacists, nurses, shepherds, matchmakers, and travelers. Feast day October 24th


Saint Gregory the Great: Patron Saint of teachers. Feast day March 12th


Saint Michael The Archangel: Patron Saint of soldiers, paramedics, paratroopers, police officers, and security officers. Feast day September 29th


Saint Lidwina: Patron Saint of ice skaters. Feast day April 14th


Saint John The Baptist: Patron Saint of farriers, bird dealers, and the Knights Hospitaller. Feast days June 24th (birth), August 29th (death, beheading)


Saint Nicholas: Patron Saint of sailors, children, wolves, and pawnbrokers. Feast day December 6th


OK, I think that gets the point across. As you can see, the Roman “Saints” range from prominent Bible characters to Popes and others recognized throughout the history of the Roman religion—even angels. Note also that some of the positions of divine authority these “Saints” have gets pretty weird. I mean, why in the world is John the Immerser the “Patron Saint of beekeepers”?


Another aspect of Roman “Saints”, and perhaps the most concerning of all, is the act of praying to them. This ties in with the assigned authority of a particular “Saint”. So, if you are an ice skater you would pray to Saint Lidwina, while if you are an ecologist you would pray to Saint Francis of Assisi to “intercede” for you.


This is paganism and idolatry. The Roman religion that is today called Roman Catholicism has simply replaced the pantheon of Greco-Roman gods and goddesses with a new pantheon of gods and goddesses they call “Saints”. These gods and goddesses are assigned divine authority over regions and aspects of life and then people pray to them. It is undeniable that the Roman religion, whether the old form or the “new” form developed under Constantine is outright paganism. Not convinced? Let’s take another look at some of the popular gods from the Greco-Roman pantheon.


Saturn/Cronus: The god of time. Feast day December 17th through 23rd (at times in history associated with December 25th)


Janus: The god of beginnings. Feast day January 1st


Jupiter/Zeus: The supreme god, associated with thunder, lightning, and storms. Feast day March 15th


Venus/Aphrodite: The goddess of love and beauty. Feast day August 12th


Neptune/Poseidon: The god of the seas. Feast day December 1st


Helios/Sol Invictus: The god of the sun. Feast days August 9th and December 25th


This all means that any festivals established under this pagan religion of what is today Roman Catholicism is also pagan. People can argue that they see no evidence that Christmas originates from the Roman Saturnalia festival, Easter originates from the worship of Eostre, and Halloween originated from the Druid Samhain celebration. But it is undeniable that the December 25thfeast of the nativity, the deviation for the dating of Pascha from the biblical instructions to calculate the date of Passover to the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, and the development of All Saint’s Day—an undeniable direct predecessor of Halloween—are all of Roman Catholic origin and are therefore of pagan origin.


The only difference between the old Roman religion and Constantine’s New Roman Religion is the names of the gods and the source of their background stories. The Romans simply exchanged one polytheistic religion for another, abandoning the old gods to create a new religion with new gods that they refer to as “Saints”. That’s the reason why “Christians” celebrate Christmas to this day, because of these actions that began in the fourth century (possibly earlier, but certainly solidified in the fourth century under Constantinian rule).


The concept of the Protestant Reformation in the early sixteenth century, roughly 500 years ago, was a supposed breaking away from the errors of the Roman religion. If you were to look into the beliefs of a number of early Reformers, they opposed the celebration of the Roman holidays. Now, some of them also opposed the Bible Feasts as well, which is certainly of concern. But they deemed the holidays of the Roman religion to be exactly what they are, pagan, and refused to keep them.

But just like the proverb that says, “like a dog returns to its own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11), “Christianity” even under the Protestant expression returned to the festivals of Rome. Really, the modern celebration of Christmas is a fairly recent phenomenon in the overall history of the world. Some of the earliest “Christian” settlers in the Americas banned the celebration just as they had in parts of Europe where early Reformationists shunned the holiday. Christmas trees were not even used until the 1800s in England, though some propose the tradition traces to Paradise Trees used in a popular play conducted in Germany in the 1600s.


December 25th In Ancient Rome


While the focus of this message remains toward establishing that Christmas is pagan because Roman Catholicism is pagan, I do want to take a moment and review the known records of the December 25th date and its connection with pagan activities. I covered much of this in greater detail in a pervious message titled How December 25th Became Christmas. So for those who may have read that message this will be review, and for those who have not it will be an introduction.


The first undisputed record of Yeshua’s birth occurring on December 25th comes from a document dated to 354 A.D. called The Chronograph of 354. We will examine this a little closer in a moment, but it remains the undisputed first known record of the date December 25th being in any way connected to a celebration of “the nativity of Christ”.


Prior to this the only existing record that alludes to a theory of Yeshua being born on December 25th comes from an early Christian writer named Hippolytus in the early third century. But this reference has a number of problems. First there is scholarly debate on the legitimacy of the statement itself, which is attributed to his Commentary To Daniel. It is uncertain whether this is an authentic original entry by the author or a later forgery to try attributing the December 25th date to the birth of Yeshua prior to the year 354. Second, if authentic it is one of many proposed dates that developed around that point in history—some being in the spring and others in the fall, and even the still preferred date in some parts of the world of January 6th. Third the method used by Hippolytus to calculate the date to December 25th is particularly controversial. It is said that there was a belief that a prophet was conceived on the same day as their death. Some have proposed that this was a Jewish belief, but I have yet to find a record of such a belief in antiquity and even if one exists it raises the question, not being at all supported by Scripture, if this is a belief from early forms of Jewish mysticism or if it falls into the category of Jewish fables that Paul warned about. And finally Hippolytus also predicted “the end” to be 500 years after the birth of Yeshua which we are clearly long past. This qualifies him as a false prophet and according to The Torah we are not to listen to a false prophet (see Deuteronomy 13), something many “Christians” and even some in Messianic and Hebrew Roots Movement circles would do good to put into practice.


While there may be earlier records that could be worth considering, the first one that holds real significance is The Julian Calendar dating to 45 B.C. where Julius Caesar established that December 25th was the official date of the winter solstice. This was roughly 4 decades before Yeshua was even born and it was already a significant date on a Roman pagan calendar.


The next significant record is The Calendar of Antiochus. On this calendar is an inscription on December 25th that translates from Greek: Birth of Helios, light rises. This predates the Hippolytus text, again assuming that is even valid, showing that the date of December 25th is associated with a pagan birth celebration first, so far as the current available evidence supports.


Then we go to 274 A.D. where the Roman Emperor Aurelian formed a cult to Helios and declared December 25th to be Dies Natalis Solis Invicti—The Birth of the Unconquered Sun. This is an important record, as we will see in just a moment. While it does come now after the earliest known record of a “Christian” association of December 25th and the birth of Yeshua—a record that again may not be authentic and has numerous points of concern—it still long predates the proposed first festival celebrating the nativity of Christ on December 25th on the first undisputed record associating this date with Yeshua’s birth. It is also worth noting here that some claim the first person to establish December 25th as the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” was Julian the Apostate, a Roman Emperor (361-363 A.D.) who abandoned the Roman “Christianity”. The claim tries to say that this was an attempt to replace the Roman Catholic “feast of the nativity”, but we have it fully established under Aurelian that this date was set to commemorate the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” in 274.


Now we come to that Chronograh of 354, a codex that was commissioned for a wealthy Roman “Christian” named Valentinus, where we find the entry “25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae” [Dec. 25: Christ born in Bethlehem Judah], with an added note claiming that this was established in 336 A.D.—however, there is no evidence outside of this codex that proves the date of December 25th was formally established as the date of Yeshua’s birth earlier than the codex itself. Most attribute this record as being “the first Christmas”, but there are a couple of things I believe are often heavily overlooked in this discussion. First of all, this entry simply states that this is the date attributed to His birth. Nothing actually says that there was a feast or festival held for His birth on this or any other date in this portion of the document—hence why I said “proposed” a moment ago. Second, this entry comes from Part Twelve of the codex, which is a listing of commemoration dates for martyrs. Why is this dating of Yeshua’s birth to December 25th on what is otherwise a list of martyrs? It seems something worth pondering about.


I also have to pause and perhaps speculate for just a moment that this listing of commemorations for martyrs was connected to what we looked at earlier with Roman Catholic “Saints” and the five characteristics of pagan gods seen in them—particularly the one about designating feast days for them. Again, just something to ponder. I won’t draw a conclusion on it; I will allow you to do that. But let’s look at something else first.


What is of more interest to me is Part Six of the codex. This is called The Calendar Of Philocalus and it lists a number of interesting dates on it. One is the birthday of the Roman goddess Diana on August 13th, which is still held as a day to honor her in modern times. This, in case it may have slipped your mind, is the Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess Artemis that Paul withstood in Acts 19. There are also dates for other Roman deities on this calendar, such as the virgin goddess Vesta, the goddess Minerva, etc. Why doesn’t anyone bring this up when they want to point to the record from 354? Is this more selective and dishonest scholarship? Or do people not review the whole document, having found what they are looking for?


Then there is an peculiar little entry on the date of 25 December: N·INVICTI·CM·XXX. The “N” stands for natalis (birthday) and the “CM” stands for circenses missus (games ordered). “INVICTI” is once again that reference to Unconquered which is typically paired with “SOL” (Sun). Historians tend to agree that this is a reference to the quadrennial games instituted by Aurelian—who, as you should recall, established December 25th as a commemoration of “The Birth of the Unconquered Sun” in 274. Why isn’t this part of the document ever included in the discussion?


So, between the time Yeshua was actually born and the date of 354 A.D. we have only one confirmed record dating the birth of Yeshua to December 25th, the one in 354, and we have one highly questionable reference that may be a forgery, comes from a false prophet, and at best was merely one of many dates being theorized at the time. In that same time period we have at a minimum four confirmed original source records connecting the date of December 25th to Roman paganism, one of those dates being documented before Yeshua was even born and another on the exact same document that holds the first truly confirmed record of this date being listed on a Roman Catholic pagan document as the day Yeshua was born.


I have read many scholarly works on records like the Hippolytus text and the Chronograh of 354, some of them quite extensive. Those using these documents as the basis for Christmas being purely “Christian” never mention points I have brought up here and often create more questions than answers, if we are being honest. Neither document actually indicates that a festival, celebration, or holiday was established for the commemoration of the birth of Yeshua on December 25th or any other date, so we can’t even honestly say with certainty that people were celebrating “the first Christmas” in 336 or 354. And the 354 record—the first fully accepted as authentic record of December 25th being associated with the birth of Yeshua—is in the same document that lists actual old Roman pagan celebrations. Some want us to believe that in order to label Christmas as a pagan holiday we must directly connect it with actual paganism. Well, it doesn’t get much more connected than being established by a religious movement that meets all the criteria of a pagan religion and is first confirmed as mentioned in a document that includes actual pagan festivals.


“Another Jesu

You seem so gullible: you believe whatever anyone tells you even if he is preaching about another Jesus than the one we preach, or a different spirit than the Holy Spirit you received, or shows you a different way to be saved. You swallow it all.

—2 Corinthians 11:4 (TLV)


When it comes to Christmas and the baby that was born on December 25th (or January 6th in some Eastern Orthodox traditions) it is very clear that this is not the same child that is described in The Gospel record of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The true Messiah was born during a time when shepherds were living in distant fields with their flocks and when the Romans were conducting a census. Both of these give us a window that fits with the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, when The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (John 1:14).


This leaves us with one conclusion about the “Jesus” that the world worships annually on “Christmas Day”, and that conclusion is that this is what Paul described in his letter to the communities of Believers in Corinth—THAT “Jesus” is “another Jesus”. This poses a great problem for the proponents of the world’s largest religion (Christianity).


In order to embrace “another Jesus”, one must reject the true Messiah Yeshua of Scripture. Think about it. You can’t be following the real Yeshua of Scripture if you are following “another Jesus”, a “fake Jesus” of modern religion. This means that celebrating Christmas, along with other Roman holidays like Easter that separates the crucifixion and resurrection from the Hebrew Passover, are a literal act of rejecting Yeshua.


It’s one thing to deem Christmas a pagan holiday. It’s another thing altogether to realize that it requires people to outright reject the true Messiah of The Bible. There may be no “smoking gun” source that proves beyond all doubt that Christmas has connections with the Roman Saturnalia, the rebirth of the sun at the winter solstice, the worship of Mithras, Helios, or Sol Invictus, or with the Nordic Yule festival. There seems less doubt that Christmas is pagan based on a solid declaration that the “New Roman Religion” (today known as Roman Catholicism) that established it is pagan. But when you realize that the “Christ” of Christmas is what the Apostle Paul called “another Jesus”, part of “another gospel”, then to continue to insist on celebrating it is walking on dangerous ground.


Another previous article I posted, which I highly recommend reading, is titled Lucifer: The Deceiver. Revelation 12:9 tells us that Satan deceives the whole world. What better way to deceive the world than to create a new religion that “looks like” it mirrors The Bible to the untrained eye and then get people to worship according to that religion instead of the true Hebraic faith of Scripture? The fact of the matter, I will be so bold to say, is that the “baby Jesus” that the world celebrates on December 25th (or January 6th in some regions) is Satan himself, manifesting as the “Christ child” and deceiving the whole world.


Let’s be realistic for just a moment. The Bible is very clear, as I often point out, that the gate is narrow, the way is not easy, and FEW will find it (Matthew 7:14). A religion that consistently claims one-third of the world’s population, currently around 2.4 billion people and climbing, is simply not the “FEW” that Yeshua spoke of.


If you continue on, Matthew 7:21-23 describes a group of people who attribute their religious works to His name but are then rejected for their lawlessness. In other words, they claimed that they did a lot of great miracles in His name and He still turned them away because they did not follow The Torah. The reason this will happen is because the “Jesus” that Christians are claiming as the source for all the miraculous experiences they have seen is not the Yeshua of Scripture.


Satan runs the modern “Christian” church. He is their god, as they carry on with their faith built on lawlessness. This is quite apparent when you read through Scripture from the beginning. Genesis 3 lays out the story of the serpent, who again is revealed in Revelation 12:9 to be Satan himself who deceives the whole world. The passage starts out with the serpent leading the woman to question the commandments of God.


Too much of the time I think people try to approach the topic of “Is Christmas pagan?” from a purely intellectual angle. They debate over the credibility of academic sources and claims of connections with the winter solstice or specific ancient religious festivals. But this is not a purely intellectual study. Yes, a lot of those things factor into it, but if you look at the big picture from the beginning of Scripture and the methodology of Satan in deceiving the world, it begins to become that much more apparent that holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween are all woven into the longstanding festival calendars of the pagan nations.


What’s more is that we are dealing specifically with Satan, the one who is the master of lies and deception. It would seem that the reason we cannot come to a solid conclusion from an academic perspective is because Satan in his infinite wisdom of deceiving people has set it up so that there can be no conclusive determination on the matter. This means that there are the majority who can’t comprehend that their precious Christmas is evil, others who acknowledge that it could be but now it’s been “Christianized” (whatever that means, I’ll address that in a moment), and then there are those who do see the potential that it is evil in God’s eyes and want nothing to do with it.


My question is: Why would anyone want to celebrate Christmas when we can show with a good amount of certainty that His birth was most likely connected with the Feast of Tabernacles, a celebration The Bible commands us to keep anyway, and so we can celebrate His birth on a Bible Feast Day—and then what is left of Christmas? What’s left of Christmas after you properly place His birth in alignment with one of the Holy Days we are commanded to celebrate is paganism, “another Jesus”, and Satan deceiving the whole world. How long do you want to be a partaker of Satan’s deception? Or simply to deem it “not pagan” because you think you found a way to not demonize it for the sake of ecumenical unity with a religion that outright defies The Father’s commandments?


Is Christmas pagan? If we look at the standard arguments that deal with such ancient paganism as the Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, Helios, the winter solstice, Yule, Odin, or anything else—there are still and likely always will be people holding to the long debunked claims of Alexander Hislop regarding Nimrod, Semiramis, and Tammuz—we may never find a solid conclusion on the matter. But if we recognize that, despite all of these other things, the Roman religion of the Catholic Church absolutely is a pagan religion, that has created its own pantheon of gods that hold spiritual authority, and that parishioners of the religion pray to these gods, then the celebrations that it created are indeed also pagan holidays.


I have heard people claim that “all of the evidence used to claim Christmas is pagan is circumstantial evidence”. Apparently these people do not know a whole lot about how law and courts work. The majority of evidence that Yeshua even lived is circumstantial—so if we apply the logic some use to dismiss the connections between Christmas and paganism because of circumstantial evidence we should also conclude that Yeshua never really lived. Then what do we do?


The fact of the matter is that circumstantial evidence is quite powerful, especially when there are many pieces of it. I spoke recently with a friend who is a retired law enforcement officer and this is what he shared with me:


Circumstantial evidence often starts out as what would be called information/evidence that causes "reasonable suspicion". Reasonable suspicion is legal grounds for continuing an investigation with the hopes of that suspicion leading to "probable cause". Probable cause is the gold standard to make an arrest and satisfy the prosecutor's office. However, if substantial circumstantial evidence all points to the reasonable suspicion of one individual or outcome then a prosecutor may give in to an arrest that doesn't fully meet the requirements of the probable cause standard and they will try the case based on the sheer amount of evidence they have. The reasonable suspicion standard has to have enough corroboration that the prosecutor(s) think they can get a conviction. They'll never take something to trial without that as a likely outcome. The key here is that the sheer weight, or even just the preponderance of the evidence, all points to one conclusion.


Consider also what popular Christian author Lee Strobel says in his book The Case For Christ, which is a highly regarded work:


Eyewitness testimony is called direct evidence because people describe under oath how they personally saw the defendant commit the crime. While this is often compelling, it can sometimes be subject to faded memories, prejudices, and even outright fabrication. In contrast, circumstantial evidence is made up of indirect facts from which inferences can be rationally drawn. Its cumulative effect can be every bit as strong—and in many instances even more potent—than eyewitness accounts.


Ask Timothy McVeigh. He may have thought he committed the perfect crime by avoiding eyewitnesses, but he nevertheless landed on death row due to the circumstantial facts that pointed toward him as devastatingly as any firsthand witness could have.


Circumstantial evidence can actually be better than eyewitness accounts if there is a lot of it and it all leads to the same conclusion. And whether some people want to admit it or not, all of the available evidence when compiled together and considered as a whole leads to a reasonable conclusion that Christmas is pagan.


Redeeming Pagan Festivals?


Something people often say, that I want to address prior to concluding this teaching, is the claim often made by “Christians” that even if holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween are pagan, they have been redeemed. In other words, they seem to believe that if they convert the pagan festival and rebrand it into something with a “Bible theme” then it becomes acceptable.


The problem with this is that we are never told to redeem or convert festivals, feasts, rites, rituals, or anything else from pagan religions. We are, again, told to do quite the opposite in passages like Deuteronomy 12:29-31. Scripture does not authorize us to take things that are prohibited, assign some new meaning to them, say of the truth “that’s not what it means to me” or “that’s not what it means today”, and do whatever we want. We are told in no uncertain terms that paganism is to be utterly destroyed when we enter a territory, not to repackage the paganism and start using it as a part of our faith in following God.


The other problem is that if you are redeeming and converting festivals, feasts, holidays, and the like, then you make it impossible to convert and redeem people—who we are actually called to convert and redeem. You see, once you have done what Scripture explicitly prohibits and deemed the pagan holiday an acceptable practice you have created a scenario where every convert to your religion is now engaged in something that Scripture opposes. This means that the people you bring into your religion are not truly converted and redeemed, they are still engaged in defying The Word of God.


Just look at what happened to Israel after Solomon, the king, did what The Torah forbade and married women from pagan nations. They brought their paganism into Israel with them and in just one generation the next king was doing all manner of idolatrous things. And this persisted throughout many generations. Periodically a righteous king would rise up and purge the land, but after his reign the people went right back to idolatrous ways.


One of the things they did was raise up “Asherah poles”. Today people often think that these were some type of carved item much like a totem pole, but that is not actually the case. Asherah poles were trees. Deuteronomy 16:21 clues us in on this, saying: “You are not to plant for yourself an Asherah pole of any kind of wood beside the altar of Adonai your God that you make for yourself.” The word translated “pole” here and in other places where Asherah poles are mentioned is the Hebrew word ets (עֵץ), and it is the Hebrew word for “tree, trees, wood”. Since the words following say “of any kind of wood” it is a logical conclusion that the more appropriate translation here would be “tree”. These were originally trees that were planted for worship of Asherah. Much like Hindu Peepal Trees the followers of Asherah believed that she resided in these trees. In the case of the modern Hindu practice we can observe today people decorating the Peepal Trees and placing gifts to their goddess around the base. Does that sound like anything done in celebration of Christmas?


An article put out by Biblical Archaeology Review titled Asherah and the Asherim: Goddess or Cult Symbol, speaking of a later developed practice where trees were cut down and erected as described in the period following Solomon’s reign, says: “Asherah or asherim refer to more than just the person of the deity. These terms are often, especially in the Biblical texts, used for consecrated poles. These poles represent living trees, with which the goddess is associated. Some scholars believe that asherim were not poles, but living trees (like the one depicted on the Tanaach Cult Stand).”


Many people debate about the words of Jeremiah 10:1-5. Some compare it to a similar passage and say that Jeremiah is describing a carved god idol. But Jeremiah is more likely describing these Asherah trees. And is it any coincidence at all that when rendered into English the passage describes the practice as if it is talking about Christmas trees? Some who only seem capable of approaching Scripture intellectually and historically can’t seem to comprehend this—they can’t grasp that something in the divine living Word of God can be addressing ancient idolatry and similar modern-day idolatry that didn’t exist when the passage was written. But if you consider that all Scripture is God-breathed, divine, living and active then it doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to conclude that The Holy Spirit used Jeremiah to address the idolatry of his day and used the translators of The Bible to address the idolatry of modern “Christian” religion.


At some point common sense has to kick in. At some point we have to realize we are not told to redeem or convert holidays, festivals, feasts, or anything else from other religions—we are commanded to have nothing to do with them. At some point we have to see that when all of the same idolatrous practices seem to pop up in every pagan religion—like the similarities between Christmas trees and the use of trees in literally every single pagan idolatry that involved any form of trees as objects of worship like Asherah poles, Peepal trees, sacred groves, pagan versions of the tree of life, and many other things—it’s probably the same demonic spirits behind all of it.


Shema Yeshua


You cannot be a true follower of the biblical Yeshua and celebrate holidays that are developed in honor of “another Jesus”. The Bible gives us celebrations. The real Yeshua of The Bible celebrated them, and Scripture says we are to shema (hear, listen to, follow, and obey) Him (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) and walk as He walked (1 John 2:6). If you are a follower of the real Yeshua, you will celebrate the biblical Feasts that He did. They are: The Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Day of First Fruits, The Day of Shavuot (Pentecost), The Day of Shofars (Yom Teruah, Rosh Hashanah), The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), The Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles), Hanukkah, and Purim. Yeshua was a Torah-keeping Jewish Rabbi who taught people to obey God’s Laws, not a LAWLESS “Christian” Pastor who tells people they are not under God’s Law anymore.


You know, the religious culture that started these other holidays (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and the many feast days for their “Saints”) is the same religious culture that brought us “Christiananti-Semitism, “Christianantinomianism, and “ChristianReplacement Theology. It is the religion that initiated anti-Semitic views that led to such things as the Crusades and the Holocaust. It is the religion that started the whole “not under the law” heresy that plagues the majority of “Christian” religion to this day. It is a blatant act of Replacement Theology in replacing The Father’s Holy Days—The Feasts—with holidays that are clearly connected with aspects of paganism. Whether or not one accepts that the origins of these holidays are pagan, most will at least acknowledge that a majority of the modern traditions involved in them are of pagan origin.


And what if holidays like Christmas are not of pagan origin? Well, even if that were true, it is undeniable that modern celebration of the holiday is clearly pagan and worldly. To that we also have a biblical example of how to handle it. 2 Kings 18:4 tells us that the bronze serpent Moses made at the direction of God (Numbers 21:6-9) had become a source of idolatry and the righteous king Hezekiah had it smashed to pieces with all of the other idolatrous articles of worship being purged from the land. It doesn’t matter if these unbiblical holidays like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, feasts for “Saints”, or anything else started out as pagan or evolved into being pagan and worldly, the Bible response is the same—we are to destroy them, burn them to the ground, annihilate them, and have absolutely nothing to do with them.


We have Holy Days listed in The Bible. They are given to us by The Father. They have actual prophetic significance. Every single person who wrote any part of The Bible celebrated them. There are more of them then the “big three” of the Roman religion. We do not need to celebrate what is popular just because the whole world around us does. We need to do what is in The Bible and what we read in The Gospel that our Messiah did.


There is an interesting book titled The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina. It uses references to the biblical Feasts, even committing a whole chapter to The Feasts That Jesus Kept (which is the title of the chapter) that speaks about Yeshua keeping the biblical Feasts, only to discuss the importance of the Roman Catholic “feasts” like Chrismas, Easter, All Saints Day (Halloween), and the feasts of “Saints”. If this does not show that the Catholic holiday calendar is blatant Replacement Theology I am not sure what else will. The entire purpose of these things is to create a non-Jewish “Jesus” and an anti-Semitic religion that does not have to follow The Torah—because The Torah becomes reduced to “the Jewish laws of the Old Testament”. How can people not see the serpent of Genesis 3 in all of this?


I have also read other Catholic defenses for Christmas, and they never seem to use honesty in their presentation. They might sincerely believe what they are saying, but people can be and often are sincere but sincerely wrong. One such recent one was in an article by a Catholic writer who deferred to another Catholic scholar who claimed that there is evidence that “Christians” celebrated Christmas long before the 354 A.D. record. What was this “evidence”? It is a handful of psalms and prayers. Well, I looked them up, and as I suspected they are nothing more than generic short pieces about the birth of Yeshua in harmony with what The Bible says. No dates associated with the event, no indication they were celebrating His birth on a set day. The only thing it proves is that people talked about The Bible, The Gospel, and the life of Yeshua, and that they wrote songs and prayers about these things. It most certainly does not prove that people were “celebrating Christmas” prior to 354 A.D., and as I have pointed out the 354 record itself doesn’t even give an actual indication people were celebrating a holiday connected with Messiah’s birth at that time. If we are to renounce works against Christmas like Hislop’s The Two Babylons because of its dishonesty, we also must reject defenses of the holiday that equally use dishonesty and poor scholarship.


The reason most “Christians” believe they do not have to follow at least some commandments in The Torah today is not because of anything The Bible says. It is a belief that originates with the Roman Catholic Church. Apart from this blatant act of Replacement Theology seen in the biblical Feasts being replaced by the Catholic holidays we can also see it with things like the biblical food laws from Leviticus 11. The Catholic religion never originally attributed a banishing of these food laws to anything in The Bible. They did not defer to Mark 7, Acts 10, 1 Timothy 4, Romans 14, Colossians 2, or any other passage. The Catholic religion originally attributed the change to a Bishop, Eleutherius, they posthumously named a pope—after the establishment of the papacy—because they were establishing that their popes are “the Vicar of Christ” and all changes to Scripture need to be attributed to a pope. So when “Christians” buy into these ideas that the food laws are abolished or that the biblical Feasts are “Jewish” and these other holidays are “Christian” you are not a follower of Yeshua, you are a follower of the Catholic papacy and it’s “other Jesus”. And the concept of “the pope” as “the Vicar of Christ” is also a pagan concept. A true follower of Yeshua celebrates the Holy Days that He celebrated—the ones you can actually find in The Bible and have no ties with pagan religions or worldliness.


But allow me to offer a word of caution before concluding this message. There are those who are taking a position that we should only focus on The Feasts and not give attention to “other holidays”—particularly among those who would claim these “other holidays” are not pagan. The problem with this is we see a clear pattern in Scripture—from the exodus event to passages like 2 Corinthians 6:17—to first abandon unbiblical beliefs and practices before embracing biblical ones. Acts 15:20 is literally an admonition from the apostles to walk away from prominent pagan temple practices followed by saying that after doing that converts would learn the rest of The Torah in the Synagogues on The Sabbath Day. Titus 2:11-12 gives the biblical definition of grace as being what trains us to first abandon ungodliness and worldliness and then training us to live self-controlled, righteous, and godly. In other words, grace teaches us first to stop breaking The Torah and then to start obeying The Torah. Whenever people suggest putting a focus on obedience, whether celebrating the biblical Feasts or anything else, before or even without any attent