13 Ways Hanukkah Is Different from Christmas

Hanukkah (a Hebrew word meaning “the Feast of Dedication” and also known as the Festival of Lights) is a minor holiday in Judaism and is only mentioned once in the Scriptures (John 10:22). It is the memorial of the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem after the pagan Greeks had defiled it with idols. There is no scriptural command to celebrate it. There is no indication that Yeshua or the early disciples celebrated it, although John in his Gospel mentions that Yeshua happened be at the temple during this holiday. Nevertheless, Hanukkah as great positive spiritual ramifications.

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Although Hanukkah and Christmas occur in the same month, they are totally different from each other. Hanukkah is not a replacement for Christmas for those who have discovered the pagan origins and unbiblical nature of Christmas. Here are several ways how these two holidays differ: Continue reading

 

Chanukah or Christmas, Neither or Both?

Happy Chanukah/Hanukkah! Tonight begins the first night of the Festival of Lights. Want to know more? Please read on…

John 10:22, The Feast of Dedication [or consecration]. This is a reference to the annual Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah, and also known as the Festival of Lights) celebration lasting for eight days beginning in the 25th day of Jewish month Chislev (in the middle of our December). This minor Jewish feast was instituted by Judas Maccabaeus (164 BC) in memory of the cleansing of the Jerusalem temple from its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, the pagan Greco-Syrian king.

The word Chanukah derives from the Hebrew word KH-N-K meaning “to dedicate.”

While Chanukah isn’t a biblically commanded observance, it is interesting to note that Yeshua happened to be at the temple in Jerusalem at this time as John mentions in his Gospel (John 10:22). Are there any spiritual significances to this? Perhaps.

Chanukah falls in the same time frame as the modern Christian festival of Christmas, which has its roots in the pagan Roman festival of Saturnalia, which culminated on December 25. Saturnalia was a pre-Christian festival held from December 17 to 25 in honor of the sun god characterized by drunken revelries, sexual debauchery, hedonistic indulgences of all sort, and human sacrifices. Saturnalia was a festival of lights in an effort to defeat the forces of darkness at the darkest time of the year and to woo the sun as earth’s life-giver back again thus insuring that the earth wouldn’t become an uninhabitable dark and frozen wasteland.

In the fourth century, Christian leaders “redeemed” Saturnalia by attaching the birth of Jesus Continue reading

 

A Feeding Trough, Manger or Sukkah?

Luke 2:7, Manger. (Gr. phatne) The Greek word phatne literally means “feeding trough” and according to the word’s etymology and lexicology as stated in The TDNT, there is no indication that this manger is anything but a standard feeding trough or manger.

Nevertheless, this manger may have been a sukkah or tabernacle, which is the flimsy little hut that Israelites build during the biblical Feast of Tabernacles (Heb. Chag Sukkot) as commanded in the Torah (Lev 23:33–43). We see the connection between a manger and a sukkah in Genesis 33:17 where Jacob built booths (or tabernacles; Heb. succot or sukkot is the plural form of sukkah) for his livestock showing us that the Hebrew word sukkah (pl. sukkot) can also mean “livestock barn or manger” as well as a temporary habitation where Israelites dwell during the biblically commanded festival of Sukkot.

This raises the possibility that Yeshua was born in a festival sukkah during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot and not just in an animal barn as Christian folklore would have us believe.

The LXX Greek word for sukkah in Gen 33:17 is skenas meaning “habitation, dwelling or tabernacle” and is the same word used in John 1:14 and Rev 21:1–3 in reference to Yeshua tabernacling with his people.

Putting all the pieces together, Yeshua may have been born in a sukkah-manger prior to or during the Feast of Tabernacles with a human sukkah (or body, of which the physical sukkah during Sukkot is a metaphorical picture) in order to redeem man from sin, so that Yeshua might tabernacle with redeemed men forever in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:3).

 

A Gift for Yeshua: Why I Love Him—Reflections on His Nativity

In December, many people think of the birth of Jesus (Yeshua). Most people who are knowledgable know that he wasn’t born in December, but in the early fall. But nine months before the actual time of his birth puts us at the end of December when Yeshua was conceived—when the life of our Savior began in Mary’s womb. It was at this time that the heaven-sent Yeshua, miraculously pierced the spiritual darkness of the this world at the darkest time of the year. This divine spark of life in the womb of a woman would become the spiritual light of this world to lead men out of the darkness of sin and evil and to the supernal light of his Father, Elohim, and to eternal life.

Whether you celebrate the birth of the babe in the manger in December or in the fall, Yeshua’s arrival is still heaven’s ultimate love gift to humanity as John 3:16 says. “For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Please stop for a moment and quiet your heart and mind to reflect on the significance of this momentous event that occurred in the tiny town of Bethlehem some 2000 years ago.

For years since I was a child, my mind fully believed what the Bible tells us about the birth of Yeshua. But it wasn’t until much later, as an adult, that, while I was alone one night and quietly seeking Elohim, that the revelation of the priceless nature of Elohim’s love gift to me literally pierced my heart like a lightening bolt from heaven. As a result of this supernatural revelation and an overwhelming sense of Elohim’s love that accompanied it flowing through me like warm oil, I fell to my knees in worshipful and reverential awe as my heart came alive to just how much Elohim loved me personally—a sinner who deserved death. That night changed my life forever. They say that the eighteen inches between the head and the heart is the greatest distance in existence. My head and heart know this is to be true. Now they were united!

The thought of the baby Yeshua in the manger ignites my heart in ways too deep to explain. I know that I know that Elohim sent him to the world to redeem me from my sins and to show me the path to an eternity in the presence of my Father in heaven. They say that if you have nothing worth dying for, then you have nothing worth living for. I believe that I would give up anything on this earth including my life on account of my love for and devotion to Yeshua, so help me God!

But my love for Yeshua is predicated on more than just emotions. On that night years ago alone in my living room, my heart and mind united indivisibly in love and worship for Yeshua the Messiah, and they have remained the same to this day. Why do I continue to love Yeshua? Let me tell you.

If there were other reason, this one alone would be sufficient: I love him because he’s the Supreme Creator and Law-Giver in the universe. I as a created being owe him my total love, allegiance, and obedience. I owe him my life. Therefore, he is worthy of my total worship and adoration.

I love Yeshua for his beauty and loveliness. When I look at the ugliness of the world around me, I love him all the more.

I love him for the liberating truth that he is and that he shares with me. This is in stark contrast to the bondage of the damning lies masquerading as the truth that fill and permeate the world around me.

I love him because he and his word is (this is not a typo, since he and his word are indivisible, for he is the Word of Elohim incarnate) the light of truth that illuminates my path through the darkness of this world.

I love him because he paid the price for my sins and cleansed me of sin’s stain and guilt and delivered me from the empty darkness and despair of the walking damned.

I love him because he is the strength, joy, peace and hope of my life.

I love him because he is the light and hope of eternal life at the end of this dark tunnel called the wilderness of life.

I love him because he is the way to my Father in heaven, and because he made me in his image because he wants me to be part of his eternal spiritual family.

I love him because he comforts me when I’m down, heals me when I’m sick, feeds me when I’m hungry, clothes me when I’m naked, speaks to me when I need to hear from him, and teaches me his ways through his Holy Word, the Bible.

Elohim gave the gift of his Son to me because he loves me. Because of my love for him, how can I show him (and others) that love? What can I possibly give as an expression of my love and devotion to the one who already possesses everything in the universe? There is nothing that I have that he needs or wants that he doesn’t already have—except my heart.

We’re all familiar with the words of our Father in heaven that like a priceless diamond express his quintessential love for humanity, “For Elohim so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish but have eternal life.” As an expression of my love for him, like a mirror, I would reflect back to Elohim his adoring words in the following way,

For I so love Elohim that I have given him the only thing that I could that was not already his—the affection of my heart, and because he believes in my love for him, our spiritual relationship will not perish, and we shall live together forever in his everlasting kingdom.

 

25 Reasons I Don’t Celebrate Christmas

  1. Christmas is not the day on which Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was born. He was likely born in the autumn during the biblical Feast of Tabernacles. In ancient times, December 25 was considered the birthday of the demon-sun god by many heathen religions. This was definitely not the birthday of Yeshua!
  2. There’s no biblical command to celebrate Christmas.
  3. Christmas has become a pagan substitution for YHVH’s true biblical holidays or festivals, which are listed in Leviticus 23. These are the same biblical festivals that Yeshua and his apostles celebrated. They never celebrated the Messiah’s birth.
  4. Christmas is the Christianization of various ancient pagan sun god, sex-worship rituals having to do with the winter solstice. “Cleaning up” a pagan custom is contrary to the biblical truth of turning away from the practices of the heathen and having nothing to do with them after one chooses to follow Elohim and his Word as found in the Bible.
  5. Christmas is laced with heathen and Satanic rituals and traditions. These are things the saints should have nothing to do with!
  6. The Bible forbids placing any trees or tree-like objects near an altar (or in a church building), since this is a heathen practice (Deut 16:21).  Most Christians violate this command when they place Christmas trees in their church sanctuaries near their altars every year at Christmas.
  7. The Bible forbids the heathen practice of incorporating trees into any religious service (Deut 12:1–4). Elohim hates pagan religious practices that happen under trees (Isa 57:5; Jer 3:6).
  8. Celebrating Christmas is friendship with the world which is an act of hatred toward Elohim. In this area, it makes one a friend of the world and an enemy of Elohim (Jas 4:4).
  9. Elohim condemns, forbids and calls an abomination bringing any pagan items into our houses (Deut 7:24–26), of which Christmas trees and nearly all Christmas’ associated accoutrements, paraphernalia and traditions are associated.
  10. The Bible commands the saints not to put up anything that even remotely resembles a Christmas tree. Jeremiah 10:1–5 is almost a perfect description of a modern Christmas tree — and it was a pagan custom 1000 years before Christmas became a Christian holiday in the Catholic Church.
  11. Christmas perpetuates the lie of Santa Clause to one’s children. Lying is not a value one wants to pass on to their children. Lying is a violation of the ninth of YHVH’s ten commandments and is a sin.
  12. The Bible commands the saints not to learn or practice the ways of the heathens (Jer 10:2; Lev 18:3; 20:23).
  13. Christmas is about syncretizing biblical truth (i.e., the birth of Yeshua) with pagan and satanic customs. In the Bible, YHVH commands his people not to be like the heathens, turn from evil, and don’t learn their evil customs. Yeshua commanded his disciples to be in the world, but not to practice its evil ways (John 17:11, 14). Christmas is practicing the evil ways of the heathens.
  14. For many, the main focus of Christmas is on self (“What gifts am I getting?”), rather than on Elohim’s gift to mankind, which was Yeshua the Messiah (who wasn’t even born in December). Christmas generally promotes a culture of selfishness and self-centeredness. These are values that were antithetical to everything that Yeshua and his disciples lived and taught.
  15. Christmas promotes an atmosphere of greed, covetousness and materialism. 
  16. Christmas is a tradition started by the Catholic Church, and I’m not a Catholic and I don’t take my spiritual marching orders from any pope —  especially when he tells me to do something contrary to the Bible, the Word of Elohim.
  17. Christmas is a short, one day long holiday. Too much emphasis is placed on this one day. The devil has tricked and shortchanged Christians into substituting Christian holidays like Christmas for the biblical ones. YHVH gives his saints seven biblical holidays with two of them lasting for seven days each (see Lev 23). These biblical holidays are called feasts, and they are spiritual and guilt-free celebrations focusing on rejoicing and righteously partying with family, friends and Elohim around godly and biblical themes all involving the gospel’s plan of redemption. They are totally righteous with no paganism mixed in. This can’t be said about Christmas.
  18. Do your homework. You will find that even the phrase “Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas” is sacrilegious and blasphemous.
  19. If Christmas day turns sour for people (e.g., because of bad family experiences and unfulfilled expectations), then one’s year is ruined until next Christmas when one gets another shot at it in hopes it’ll be better the next go around. How pitifully sad!
  20. Christmas as celebrated by the majority of people ends up taking the focus off the glorious event of the Savior’s birth, trivializes it and then places the emphasis on gift-giving, partying and mindless unbiblical pagan traditions and rituals.
  21. The Bible commands us to abstain from all appearances of evil (1 Thess 5:22). There is much evil, Satanic and idolatrous baggage associated with Christmas; therefore, those who are serious about their biblical walk of righteousness and want to be obedient to YHVH Elohim should not be going near it.
  22. Those who celebrate Christmas in the traditional way are honoring or worshipping pagan deities. Anytime anyone puts a pagan practice or tradition ahead of obedience to Elohim and his Word, this is, by biblical definition, idolatry. Whether it’s Christmas lights on the house, wreaths, evergreen foliage, mistletoe, the Christmas tree with its red balls, gifts under the tree, Santa Clause, or even the Christmas greeting of “Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas,” it all originates from ancient Satanic, idolatrous and lewd sex worship practices originating from pagan religions. This is not something with which the true saints of YHVH Elohim wants to be involved.
  23. Christmas puts a lot of people into financial debt. Debt is bondage and evil.
  24. Christmas was become a major money-making venture for merchants, and I refuse to be suckered in by their marketing schemes to purchase their products.
  25. Celebrating Christmas is following a multitude to do evil — something YHVH forbids (Exod 23:2).

Now that you have received the light of the truth about Christmas, you are responsible before Elohim to live up to that truth. Will you put obedience to the Word of Elohim and his truth first in our life, or continue to walk in sin? To obey Elohim means to cast out of your life all idolatrous practices and cease doing that which is evil and sinful. This is then followed by choosing to obey YHVH Elohim in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23–24). “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas 4:17).

Come out of [Mystery Babylon the Great], my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and Elohim has remembered her iniquities. (Rev 18:4–5)

And what agreement has the temple of Elohim with idols? For you are the temple of the living Elohim. As Elohim has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their Elohim, And they shall be My people. Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate,” says Adonai. “Do not touch what is unclean,  and I will receive you.” (2 Cor 6:16–17)

 

Getting a Christmas Tree? Save Some $ and Read This First!

The use of trees or wooden poles as an object of worship in the ancient world was universal as a fertility or phallic symbol. In many places, the Bible strongly condemns involvement with this pagan custom. Obviously the tree of Jeremiah 10:1–5 is not the modern “Christmas tree” as we know it, since Christmas wasn’t invented by the Christians until about the late fifth century AD. However, the decorated tree is a pagan symbol as evidenced by history, which is why it was outlawed by the Puritans and many other religious groups in America in the 1700s. It was not until the 1850s with many Germans migrating to America with their Christmas tree tradition that Christmas became popularized again in this country.

The Scriptures advise us to abstain from all appearances of evil (1 Thess 5:22). At the very least, because of its pagan connotation, a Christmas tree is an appearance of evil. Furthermore, where in the Bible do we find any examples of YHVH’s people reclaiming a pagan tradition, sanitizing it, and then practicing it? This occurred only when Israel was in a state of apostasy or was attempting to syncretize the religion of the Bible with the pagan practices of the surrounding nations.

True, many things in our daily lives have been tainted by paganism. If we were to toss out everything that fits that category, we probably wouldn’t be able to say anything, wear anything, eat anything, or do anything. Some of us would even have to change our names! What we are to throw out are those things that the Bible forbids, anything that is indigenously pagan, or anything that leads us away from YHVH and his Word.

Often our view of the Scriptures is filtered through our emotions. We all struggle with this spiritual disease. When we’re extremely partial to a belief or an idea, we have a hard time conforming our lives to those biblical scriptures that disagree with us. Thus, we have a spiritual blind spot. For many, Christmas has become a spiritual blind spot because it is so ingrained in our families and the culture  around us. It is perhaps the hardest thing for people to let go of because of family and emotional ties. Each of us has to make the choice: Do we love the praises of family or the praises of Elohim more (John 12:43)?

Jeremiah 10:1–5 is the perfect description of what has come to be known as a Christmas tree. Continue reading

 

False Teachings and Destructive Heresies in the Early Church

Who goes there?

Thief sneaking through door2 Peter 2:1, False teachers…destructive heresies. When did several prominent but destructive, non-biblical heresies creep into the early church, which are now major doctrines in mainstream Christianity? Here is a partial list along with the approximate times the early church fathers began teaching these doctrines.

The Human Soul Is Immortal

The immortality of the soul was not  a Hebraic concept, but originated from the ancient Greek philosophers. This pagan concept made its way into the church as Gentiles who were steeped in the thinking of the Greek philosophers gained control of the early church after the death of the last apostles.

A.D. 130— The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, ch. 6

Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 18

Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Two, ch. 34

Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Five, chaps. 7.1; 31.1

Teachings Against the Sabbath and Biblical Feasts

There is no record in the Bible of the early New Testament believers replacing the seventh-day Sabbath with Sunday. To say so is wishful thinking, a twisting of the Scriptures and biblical revisionism. It wasn’t until the fourth century at the Council of Nicea under Roman emperor Constantine that the Sunday officially replaced the Sabbath in the early church. Until that time, many Christian churches still observed the Sabbath throughout the Roman empire. The process of transitioning from Sabbath to Sunday observance was a slow one beginning in the early second century and had its roots largely in antisemitism.

A.D. 130—The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, ch. 4. The author calls the Sabbath and biblical feasts “utterly ridiculous and unworthy of notice.”

Ca. A.D. 130—Epistle of Barnabas, ch. 2 (also ch. 14). The author says that the Sabbaths (weekly Sabbath and biblical feasts) are abolished.

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philippians, ch. 14

Observance of the Lord’s Day (Sunday) Advocated Over Sabbath Observance

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, ch. 9. The author says to keep the Sabbath on Sunday.

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, ch. 9

Ca. A.D. 130—Epistle of Barnabas, ch. 14

Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 67

Teachings Against the Torah

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, ch. 6. The author declare, “If anyone preach the Jewish law, listen not to him.”

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, ch. 10

Ca. A.D. 155—The First Apology of Justin Martyr, ch. 47. The author states that out of “weak-mindedness,” some Christians observe the Mosaic law. Sabbath and feast days observance are optional, but not encouraged.

Anti-Semetic/Anti-Torah Theology

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesian, chaps. 8, 10

Ca. A.D. 180—Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book Four, ch. 16.4. The author declares that the Decalogue was not cancelled by the New Covenant, but the statues and judgments of the Torah were a bondage to the Israelites and are no longer binding on Christians.

Teachings Against the Biblical Dietary Laws of Clean and Unclean Meats

Early part of second century A.D.—Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians, ch. 6. The author states that one who adheres the biblical dietary laws “has the apostate dragon dwelling within him.”

Easter Celebration Established a Christian Holiday

Ca. A.D. 150—The celebration of the resurrection within the early church began in the middle of the second century (History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, pp. 207–8, by Philip Schaff). The date of Easter and its formal establishment and disconnection from Passover occurred in A.D. 325 at the council of Nicea.

Sabbath Officially Changed to Sunday

A.D. 321—Sunday officially becomes the weekly day of worship (in place of the Sabbath) by a legal enactment of Emporer Constantine (History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, p. 378ff, by Philip Schaff; History of the Christianity, vol 1, p. 93, by Kenneth Scott Latourette)

Christmas Established as a Christian Holiday

Ca. A.D. 354—Christmas originated in the middle to the end of the fourth century as a Christian holiday as an outgrowth of a pagan festival celebrating the birth of the pagan sun god.