Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Christmas Tree or Not? 3 Reasons I Stopped Keeping Christmas. Updateimageimage

For this “Scripture Sunday”, which is also December 25, known as Christmas Day:

Jeremiah 10

A Christmas Tree or Not?

Is Jeremiah 10 really talking about a Christmas tree, or something else? Jeremiah 10 really talking about a Christmas tree, or something else?
[Darris McNeely] “The question has come in from a Beyond Today viewer regarding Jeremiah chapter 10 and what it says about bringing a tree in and decorating it with gold and silver, and whether or not that is talking about a Christmas tree.

[Steve Myers] It says some interesting things when you actually read what it says there in Jeremiah chapter 10. And it starts out I think in an amazing way in verse 2 by saying, and this is God talking, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles.’” Some versions say heathens. And then He goes on to say, “The customs of the peoples are useless. They’re futile. One cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with an axe. They decorate it with silver and gold. They fasten it with nails, hammers so that it will not topple. They are upright like a palm tree. They cannot speak” (Jeremiah 10:2-5).  So what exactly is it talking about? Some of those things, especially if you look at the holiday decorations start to sound pretty familiar.

[Darris McNeely] Matches up pretty closely, doesn’t it, to what might, what is a Christmas tree and what Christmas decorations of gold and tinsel on a tree that’s been cut down from the woods, at least in the traditional way, brought into a home, set up, and around which gifts are spread. It is very, very plain, and matches up with this. Now, some commentators on Jeremiah chapter 10 say that this is talking about a form of idolatry where a tree is cut, but then it is cut into a totem or an idol from that, and the axe is actually a skilled artisan carver that makes this into something different from and therefore cannot be applied to the idea of a modern Christmas tree. But I think that the fact that Jeremiah here is talking about avoiding the practices of the heathen that then become idolatry and a part of worship that replaces something that is truthful was something that is wrong and pagan in place of God. I think that it still refers to what is being described here.

[Steve Myers] Absolutely applies in the sense that if you look into some of the practices of the pagans during this day, they did worship trees. They worshiped all kinds of things. They had a god for just about everything you could imagine. So when you look at the trees, especially at this time of the year, they’re looking at the life that a green tree would bring. And that was a common practice back in that day as well.

[Darris McNeely] Yeah, they were cut. They were used in the middle of the winter time because they supposedly didn’t die, still had life in them, and to represent the life that people wanted to gather around at this time of year in the darkest part of the winter. Those trees were a part of the practice of the ancient world, and yes they did migrate into other parts of the world including Northern Europe from which our modern customs in the United States and the Western world regarding a Christmas tree eventually were adopted. And yet they were still connected with pagan ideas and worship that did migrate from the exact part of the world Jeremiah is talking about where anciently green trees, evergreen trees, were even used in the winter time as a part of this type of worship.

[Steve Myers] And I think that’s such an important point. Can you adopt a pagan principle? Can you adopt something from the Gentiles or heathens, those that don’t know the true God, and somehow try to use that to honor God? Well, He says right here don’t learn that way. Do not do that. That is not a way to honor God by adopting some other practice, and try to call it Christian. He says that’s unacceptable. You can’t do it.

[Darris McNeely] And so you’re left with the question: does it really matter? And the answer is it does matter. And truth does matter and our worship and our relationship with God, we should worship Him in spirit and in truth and not according to the ways that are adopted from heathenism or paganism. That’s what the scripture says. It does matter.”

"Keep not the way of the heathen."

Have you ever wondered why the whole world cuts down a tree and brings it into their home during the Yule season?  There is a reason.  You might not want to know it though. The real history behind the "Christmas" tree is as shocking as finding out that your uncle Frank, whom you love dearly, was a serial killer years ago, but he is a sweet old man now.  If you don't like hard truths, please stop reading now.

William Sansom, in "A Book of Christmas," states that human sacrifice originated during the winter solstice, which falls around December 25th.  He says, “The giving of presents, particularly candles and dolls, called Sigillaria also derives from the insistent origin of human sacrifice at this time of year......Winter solstice traditions included giving dolls to children. Scholars believe that the term doll is derived from the word idol and may specifically refer to the “dolls” or clay effigies that were placed under evergreen trees in the home, imitating the actual sacrifice of children made under a grove of evergreen trees.

The words “green tree” (evergreen tree) are used 10 different times in the Bible in connection with idolatrous worship and, in four cases, with child sacrifice. Sun worship or Baal worship required firstborn children to be burned alive by “passing through the fire to Molech” under a grove of evergreens.

Stop and think about the fact that thousands of years ago, the whole world worshipped the sun.  Firstborn children were sacrificed under green trees (stayed green all year) and this is specifically mentioned in the Bible!  Read Isaiah 57!
Isaiah 57:5 Enflaming yourselves with idols, under every green tree slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks...”

Jeremiah 10 certainly does sound like a description of the modern Christmas tree! But rather than commanding us to put a tree in our house, it says, “Thus says the Lord, learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; (the winter solstice of December 25th) for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain, for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They deck it with silver and gold, they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it moves not....” Jeremiah 10:2-4

In fact, the whole book of Jeremiah mentions the solstice god Baal or Baalim 13 times altogether and it is in connection with sun worship that God is stating, “learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. (The signs of heaven that he alludes to is the December 25th winter solstice!) Sun worshippers were astronomers who clocked the movements of the sun, moon and stars as part of their religion. The winter solstice was fear provoking to them.....and that is how human sacrifice began

Can it be a coincidence that scriptures directly place child sacrifice and the evergreen tree in the same context?  People who want to say, yes Christmas may have pagan origins, but we have "Christianized it," need to remember that it was a time of child sacrifice.  That can never be sanitized or made acceptable!  It would be like saying yes, old uncle Frank was a serial killer, but he was nice to me and he went to church, so he was a great man in my book.  That just doesn't fly.  Neither can we keep a holiday that is so evil with a clear conscience before God.  His admonition concerning the matter, if that matters to us, is "Keep not the way of the heathen."
Several paragraphs were excerpted from our article "Good Old Time Religion"

3 Reasons I Stopped Keeping Christmas

If you profess Christianity, now is a good time to consider why Dec. 25 is kept so fervently by so many, yet is totally devoid of New Testament support.

3 Reasons I Stopped Keeping ChristmasMy wife and I have been married for 50 years, and we still treasure some photographs—taken in an obviously Christmas setting just a few months after we met. Like people in many parts of the world, we realize that Christmas celebrations are generally memorable family occasions.
So why ever would a Christian choose not to celebrate Christmas?
Well, my wife and I stopped celebrating it many years ago. Here are three major reasons we decided we could no longer keep the popular holiday.
1. We don’t know when Christ was born.
Several dates have been proposed for the birth of Christ, but Dec. 25 is by far the most common. However, there is no biblical evidence to support this date.
Philip Schaff in History of the Christian Church makes the following comments:
“The only indication of the season of our Saviour’s birth is the fact that the Shepherds were watching their flocks in the field at the time, Luke 2:8. This fact points to any other season rather than winter, and is therefore not favorable to the traditional date. … The time of pasturing in Palestine (which has but two seasons, the dry and the wet, or summer and winter) begins according to the Talmudist, in March, and lasts till November, then the herds are brought in from the fields, and kept under shelter till the close of February” (Vol. 1, Apostolic Christianity, A.D. 1-100, p. 127).
Some insist that even though we do not know the exact date, Dec. 25 is as good a date as any to celebrate Christ’s birth and have a good time.
But what is the ancient history behind Dec. 25? How, when and why did Dec. 25 festivities become Christianized?
2. It was celebrated in pagan Rome.
Dec. 25 was part of Saturnalia celebrations held in pre-Christian Rome with uninhibited lawlessness. During that period nobody could be prosecuted for damaging other people’s property. Even worse was the tradition that each year an innocent person was forcefully selected by mob rule to be considered an “enemy of Rome.” He or she was mercilessly murdered on the concluding day of their festival, Dec. 25.
Wouldn’t connecting Jesus Christ to the date of vile pagan celebrations be an abomination to Him?
“The festival began [on Dec. 17] when Roman authorities chose ‘an enemy of the Roman people’ to represent the ‘Lord of Misrule.’ Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman” (
There is clearly no basis for celebrating Christ’s birthday on any date, but even if there were, would He or His Father pick the explicitly heathen Dec. 25?
3. Jesus warned about human traditions.
Jesus Christ warned the Pharisees of His time to reconsider their futile “traditions”—and He commands all Christians to do likewise.
“Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matthew 15:6-9, emphasis added throughout).
The Old Testament is filled with warnings specifically about mixing pagan traditions with the worship of the true God and the Old Testament is filled with warnings specifically about mixing pagan traditions with the worship of the true God: “Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise’” (Deuteronomy 12:30).
God also said, “You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things” (verse 4). Christians should not worship “according to all their [pagan] abominations” (Deuteronomy 20:18).
Church leaders, sacrificing their own professed Christianity, succeeded in converting large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue their old customs. But, sadly, they ignored the above warnings against such blending.
Jesus was never in Christmas
This time of year, we often hear the phrase Put Jesus back in Christmas! But, as we have shown, Jesus Christ was never in Christmas! God never made Dec. 25 “holy” as only God can.
On the other hand God did make holy seven annual holy days in the Bible, and Jesus Christ has center stage in every one of them. Each holy day enlightens us further about Jesus Christ’s role in God’s plan of salvation.
To learn more, view our short videos in the “Feasts of the Lord” series on the Learning Center at

Another article:


The weather did a quick turn around and now it is in the high 70’s!!  We installed the heat/air in the guest house, even though my helper wasn’t feeling well.  He has an addiction to eating cereal right out of the box, so I call him a “cereal killer”!   He had eaten a lot of Raisin Bran that someone gave me to donate.  He didn’t read the ingredients because he said he used to eat that all the time.  He used to have acid reflux all the time, too.  The first ingredient is whole grain wheat.  When he eats wheat or gluten he gets terribly sleepy, and doesn’t even know that he has been asleep, sitting up, for hours.  This isn’t narcolespy, it is more like hypersomnia. Then the acid reflux starts and he can’t keep anything down.  We had to quit work after an hour and a half one morning because of that.  I have been so careful to get him gluten-free ingredients for lunch then he goes and does that.   He was sick for over two days.  You really are what you eat, and everything starts in the gut.

Purry, my adorable foster cat arrived from the Habitat, and was put in my bathroom which would become his head-quarters until he got used to the sounds and smells of a household.  I call that getting him “house-ified” for his new home.  He had never been loose in a house before in his whole little life.  I knew that he was a busy little boy, so we took up the rugs in my bathroom, and taped down a big piece of kitchen carpet.  He could have ‘skid’ the rugs and made it so that the door would be jammed shut.  BTDT!   It took him one day to untape and move the carpet, but being firm it didn’t jam up the door. He just loved the freedom of not being in a cage, and adapted very well, which I knew he would, as he is a very adaptable, happy little boy.

Then I heard that Purrcy will not be going back to the habitiat right away, so he will stay here.   After one day he also had the freedom of my bedroom, and the next day the whole house.  He has been very good and hasn’t jumped up on the kitchen counters.  He has settled down into a very calm little man, but still prefers his own little bed in my bathroom.  Another foster cat arrives tomorrow, a 12 year old gray male.

The little dog is becoming more and more difficult to care for, she can now climb over my gate.  This is the dog that chewed up my Ethernet wires when she first arrived.  Even though my living room is scattered with doggie toys, she chews up anything when she is in the house alone, so I had to bring a big cage into my living room.  When she figured out how to open the door on one big cage, and tore up the floor in it, I had to bring in a different one.  I only put her in there when I wasn’t able to watch her, so she and the cat, Purrcy had a great time chasing each other around the house.  No animosity, no one had told them that they were enemies.  A tired dog is a good dog.  But she wouldn't let anyone know when she wanted to go out, so I would take her out on a schedule, but she wouldn't pee and waited to pee on my carpet.
The dog’s owner had never inquired about her, said thank you, never offered to pay for her board, or food, so after 5 days, legally she belonged to me.   I had dewormed the dog, given her monthly heartworm and flea preventative,  I could run her through the SPCA system, get her spayed, vaccinated, treated for heartworms, foster her and find her a new home.  But if I can’t contain a dog in my fence, it is too much liability and expense for the SPCA, so I sent her to her owner’s daughter, where the dog used to live.  I hated to do this, but I don’t have “Muggins” written on my forehead.   I try to help when I can, but enough is enough.

I had made some quinoa for my helper’s lunch as it is gluten-free, but he wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t appreciate it, so I made it into “Cajun Quinoa ‘Dirty Rice’ with ground sirloin, canned diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and a lot of Cajun seasonings.  That crockpot was nearly empty by the time the church potluck was over.  One elder had brought a whole lamb simmered in a big crockpot, it was very tender, and he gave me the remains to make Lamb Bone Broth.  He knows that I will cook something in it for the church potlucks.  It might be brown rice, farro, freekeh, beans, lentils, or something else.  I’ll save most of the meat, add some veggies, and make a lamb stew for the potluck.

The Bible readings were Gen. 37:1-41:25, Amos 2:6-3:8, and Acts 7:1-16.  These about Joseph, his coat of many colors, and his being sold to Egypt.  The Teaching was about “Canopy of Blessings”, about how God shelters his people.

The last Sabbath we had been so cold in the church as the heater couldn’t keep up, but this Sabbath the AC was so cold that even the people who are hot all the time, complained. Can’t please all the people all of the time.

Eat your hearts out, Northerners.  Yesterday it was a high of 80°, now how about that for a late December Day?

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