Outcry Ministries | What’s The Big Deal About Christmas? – Learn Torah

If you are an American or were raised within a western culture, you are probably familiar with the emphasis placed on Christmas. It is such a cultural event that many employers either close or operate on a reduced staff. People leave their homes and travel to visit family and friends. Some attend church. Some sing songs. Some have Christmas Trees with tinsel, ornaments and presents. And some expect Santa Clause to bring them presents. In this article, I explore the following questions from a Torah perspective: Is Christmas found in the bible? What are the origins of Christmas? Does The Most High, The Creator, care if we gather and feast on December 25? And, what if any, are the consequences of observing and gathering for Christmas?

Having been raised an American Catholic, I didn’t think to question the origins of Christmas until later in life. In fact, I didn’t question the origin of ANY holiday. In general, the Catholic Church has never favorably looked upon questions regarding its authority or its claims. Catholic families that I knew, including my family, did not compare the Catholic bible with other bibles, nor did we translate or compare words from any bible into Latin, Greek or Hebrew. My experience is that most Catholic, Christian and Jewish families have been conditioned to NOT question the writings, doctrine or mighty ones of these religious institutions.

When I ask others why they observe Christmas, the most common answer is “to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus” or, “because that’s what we’ve always done”. Over the last few years I have begun to deconstruct and examine some religious and cultural norms, including holidays that are accepted without thought or question. In this article, I will share some of the things that I have learned along “The Way”. Before I begin let me be clear, I am not an authority or an expert. I highly recommend that you do your own instigation. As we are told in Philippians 2:12 “…work out your own deliverance with fear and trembling,…”

To begin, I will point out seven Torah concepts to help clarify my position:
1. Deuteronomy 12:32 “All the words I am commanding you, guard to do it – do not add to it nor take away from it.” (Concept 1: The Creator tells us to do what He has commanded. He is also telling us to not change, add or remove His commands from His Torah.)

2. Ex.12:6-20, 13:3-10, 23:16, 34:18,22; Lev. 16:29-31, 23:15-16,26-32,33-39, 25:5-6, 23:6-11; Num. 9:2-3, 28:16-25, 29:1,7,12,35, 33:3-4; Deut. 16:1-4,8-9,13; Ezekiel 45:21; Neh. 8:18, John 7:10,37. (Concept 2: YHVH commands that we observe ONLY His Sabbaths and Festivals which are known as holy days or holidays. This action of observing His holidays identifies us, it MARKS us and SETS US APART as His. The action of observing holidays that are NOT found in Torah marks us DIFFERENTLY and does not set us apart.)

3. Exodus 34:14 “for you do not bow yourselves to another mighty one, for YHVH, whose Name is jealous, is a jealous El” (Concept 3: YHVH is making it very clear that He does not want us worshiping other mighty ones and refers to this practice as adultery and whoring. How would you feel, and what would you do if your love was whoring around in an adulteress relationship?)

4. Leviticus chapter 26. (Concept 4: Looking at the creation story, we see there is ONLY one thing over which we were given COMPLETE CONTROL, it is our freedom to choose. EVERYTHING else is designed, created, controlled and owned by Him, including our body, our seed, our spirit, our labor, our intellectual property and the knowledge and wisdom from whence it came. (See Proverbs 8 for more on wisdom and knowledge). And what is the choice that He presents to each of us? The answer is, our choice of obedience or disobedience. For every cause there is an effect and every action an equal and opposite reaction. For choosing obedience and acting obediently, there are blessings. For choosing disobedience and acting disobediently, there are curses.

5. Isaiah 30: 1 “Woe to the stubborn children,” declares YHVH, “to make counsel, but not from Me, and to devise plans, but not of My Breath, in order to add sin to sin…” Isaiah 30: 9-13 “…that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who refuse to hear the Torah of YHVH, who says to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right. Speak to us what is smooth, prophesy deceits. Turn aside from the way, swerve from the path, cause the Set-apart One of Yisra’el to cease from before us.” Therefore thus said the Set-apart One of Yisra’el, “Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and rely on them, therefore this crookedness is to you like a breach ready to fall, a bulge in a wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, swiftly.”” (Concept 5: Isaiah the prophet, sent by YHVH, was told by the children of Yisra’el that they didn’t like Isaiah’s message because it wasn’t nice. Further, these rebellious disobedient children told Isaiah to stop telling them the truth and start telling them lies that were more pleasant. Doesn’t that sound like an immature child who is not mature enough to understand the consequence of their actions?)

6. Jeremiah 17:5 “Thus said YHVH, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes his flesh his arm, and whose heart turns away from YHVH””; Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in YHVH, and whose trust is YHVH. For he shall be the tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and does not see when heat comes. And his leaf shall be green, and in the year of drought he is not anxious, nor does he cease from yielding fruit.” (Concept 6: Back to freedom of choice. We can choose to trust man and be cursed. Or, we can choose to trust YHVH and be blessed.)

7. Ecclesiastes 12: 11-14 “The words of the wise are like goads, and as nails driven by the masters of collections – they were given by one Shepherd. And besides these, my son, be warned – the making of many books has no end, and much study is a wearying end of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the entire matter: Fear Elohim and guard His commands, for this applies to all mankind! For Elohim shall bring every work into right ruling, including all that is hidden, whether good or whether evil.” (Concept 7: This passage was written by Solomon and he is saying that knowledge itself comes from YHVH therefore the highest concern FOR ALL is to Fear Elohim and guard His commands. For more about knowledge see Proverbs 8.)

Now we are ready to begin the question, “What are the origins of Christmas?” By the way, if you don’t care for my answer, I challenge you to do your own study. I offer that you may start with a simple internet search by typing “origins of Christmas” or “origins of Christianity”. You will find an abundance of material to read.

The following is an except from www.nazarite.net about the origins of Christmas, just one of the many sites dedicated to sharing historical origins:

“Christian Holidays are ancient pagan feasts that were ushered in by the Roman Catholic Church during the rule of emperor Constantine. Constantine was a pagan sun-worshipper who had a “Christian experience” that wanted to unite his empire, both Christian and pagan together. He achieved this by re- writing history and re-naming pagan feasts with Christian names.

Christmas was celebrated by pagan sun-worshippers for thousands of years before the Messiah was even born. It all started during the building of the tower of Babel. Nimrod supervised the operation and was called the sun-god and worshipped as such. To end this worship, Nimrod’s uncle Shem, Noah’s eldest son, killed Nimrod and cut his body into small pieces then scattered his body parts across the land.

Ishtar or Easter, also known by her biblical name Semiramis was the widow of Nimrod. She was called the “Queen of heaven” and claimed to have been impregnated by Nimrod through the rays of the sun and later had a son by the name of Tammuz who had a miraculous birth on December 25th. Pagans believed that Nimrod was reincarnated as Tammuz and so Easter married her son Tammuz. Pagan sun-worshippers celebrated the birthday of the reincarnate sun-god on December 25th. Scripture is very clear that we are not to celebrate this particular holiday.

The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other deities, that they may provoke Me to anger. (HIM Jeremiah 7:18) 

The passage above is obviously referring to making Christmas cookies and leaving those cookies and a glass of milk for Nimrod’s widow Easter who was called the queen of heaven. The only difference is now those offerings are left for Santa (Satan) himself. Let’s move on and read another passage from Scripture.

Thus says YaHuWaH, “Do not learn the way of the gentiles, and do not be dismayed at the signs of the heaven; for the gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are vanity; for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it not move. (HIM Jeremiah 10:2-4) 

This passage is obviously referring to cutting down the Christmas tree, putting it on some sort of tree stand, and decorating it. Once you learn why it had become customary to use an erect evergreen tree that has a pointed end decorate it with big red balls you will realize the extent of the perversion in this holiday. The erect tree symbolizes Nimrod’s erect masculinity. The tree was evergreen because evergreen trees are full of life year round, like Nimrod’s penis. The tree was pointed at the end just like Nimrod’s pecker. The big red balls that dangle off the tree, well you get the picture. This holiday is perversion at its best.

Every sun-god was born on December 25th. Amun-Ra, Horus, Mithra, Tammuz, and Zeus were born on December 25th. If there was one day that the Messiah was not born, it was December 25th. In fact the Scripture is quite clear that Messiah was born late September or early October on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.”

In addition to conjuring up her sick and twisted Christmas tree symbolism of Nimrod’s penis, “the queen of heaven” added one more tradition of placing presents under the Christmas tree. Her intent was to have the people, usually children, get on their knees to pick up presents thereby engaged in the physical act of bowing down worshiping before Nimrod’s manhood.

Isn’t it interesting to find churches that display a Christmas tree? I hope that you are now asking yourself: If religious institutions are condoning or teaching Christmas, what other false doctrines are they teaching and false mighty ones are they worshiping?

Jeremiah 17:5 “Thus said YHVH, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes his flesh his arm, and whose heart turns away from YHVH””;

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in YHVH, and whose trust is YHVH. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and does not see when heat comes. And his leaf shall be green, and in the year of drought he is not anxious, nor does he cease from yielding fruit.”

If you would like to do a more in depth reading on this subject, here is a link to Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons – proof that Roman Catholic beliefs came from pagan Babylonian religion”, Click Here.

Can a bad tree produce good fruit? Both Matthew and Luke agree that a good tree can not produce bad fruit and a bad tree can not produce good fruit. (Matthew 7:17-18, 12:33; Luke 6:43). If you take a critical and honest look at Christmas, you will see that its tree, the doctrine its founded upon, along with its mighty one is false and the fruit it produces is bad. It makes no difference if occasionally some good is achieved, the fruit is still bad to the core. All you have to do is look at the fruit and test it with the Torah to determine if it is truly from YHVH!

The Torah is so restrictive. The whole WORLD is taking time off to celebrate, gather and feast on Christmas! Everybody’s doing it! “What’s the harm of getting together with friends and family on December 25 to celebrate this feast?” These are the words of an immature child who does not yet understand the consequence of their words and actions. I employed this tactic myself as a child. I remember my dad asking me: “are you going to jump off a cliff just because everyone else is doing it?” Exodus 34:14 “for you do not bow yourselves to another mighty one, for YHVH, whose Name is jealous, is a jealous El”.

Here’s my problem with getting together with friends and family on December 25. It is in direct opposition to YHVH and His Torah. It is an action that shows a serious lack of respect and love for YHVH. How are we to show YHVH our love?

“The one who says, “I know Him, “ and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him”, (1 John 2:4).

He tells us very simply that ONLY those who obey His commands are the ones who love Him!!! Read 1 John 2:4 again!

Who in their right mind would intentionally offend The Creator, King and most powerful being of ALL? Consider the examples of those who angered or offended YHVH. We are commanded over 400 times to NOT fear. Yet, we are told to fear only ONE thing, YHVH! (Ecclesiastes 5:7, 8:12-13, 12:13; Revelation 14:7).

Some have asked me why I no longer gather or feast on December 25. Now you now know answer. However in asking me this question, and me having answered your question, I have fulfilled the command in Ezekiel 33. Therefore, you may no longer claim ignorance on this matter. Having informed you, YOU are now LIABLE under the same command found in Ezekiel 33. The question now becomes, what are you going to do? Will you take action and obey His commands in expectation of His promised blessings or will you take no action and disobey His commands and hope you will somehow avoid His promised curses? I hope you the best with the latter. He has given you the freedom to choose. I hope you choose wisely.

Whether we take action or we take no action, we ARE serving somebody, a phenomenon grasped yet beyond human comprehension. So if we are serving somebody anyway, wouldn’t it be preferable that we serve the right somebody? I prefer to serve the Creator and not the created, how about you? I suggest a simple course of action. First stop listening to teachers of false doctrine who serve false mighty ones. No man or institution has been given authority from YHVH to intercede on our behalf. They may claim authority but that doesn’t make it so. Their proof is of their own making, and again bad fruit. Take action and begin learning the Torah and His commands. Finally, continue with action and incorporate what you’ve learned into your daily life. Go directly to YHVH and speak to Him for yourself:

Philippians 2:12 “…work out your own deliverance with fear and trembling,…”.

Shalom.

Fasting Is Afflicting | Yom HaKippurim – Learn Torah

I have seen many people decide to not fast on Yom HaKippurim in the past few years. The main reason for this is because the large ministries teach that “afflicting” your soul doesn’t mean fasting. We are going to take a look at this in a simple scriptural study we like to call “Fasting Is Afflicting.”

AFFLICTION

26 Yehovah spoke to Moshe, saying, 27“On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be set apart convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to Yehovah. 28“You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before Yehovah your Elohim. 29“If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.30“As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31“You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32“It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”

What is this word humble? It has been translated from the Hebrew word עָנָה (anah).

Let’s take a look at what the Strong’s Dictionary has to say.

Definition
to be bowed down or afflicted
NASB Translation
afflict (16), afflict him at all (1), afflicted (22), affliction (1), disturbed (1), do violence (1), force (1), humble (12), humbled (6), humbling (1), mistreat (1), oppressed (1), oppressors (1), ravish (1), ravished (2), silenced (1), submit (1), treated her harshly (1), violate (1), violated (5), weakened (1)

You can see that this word literally means afflicted, or to bow down. This is the problem with this passage. It doesn’t say the Hebrew word for fasting here. This is where many justify the observance of Yom HaKippurim without a fast. Sadly, this is a very wrong interpretation of the passage that is caused by casual study and fleshly desire. I too once believed that it wasn’t that big of a deal whether or not we fasted on this day. That changed as I took the ENTIRE Scriptures into account on this subject of affliction, or fasting.

It is also important to note how severe the punishment is for NOT afflicting our souls on this day. In other words, we should probably put a lot of study into this so that we avoid being cut off and destroyed!

Fasting

So let’s get back to the Hebrew word for fasting. Why is it not used in this passage? Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to prove a fast if the actual word was used?  Let’s find the word in Scripture and then look it up in the Strong’s dictionary. We will go to Daniel chapter 9 to start.

3So I gave my attention to Yehovah Elohim to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. 4I prayed to Yehovah my Elohim and confessed and said, “Alas, O Yehovah, the great and awesome Elohim, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 5we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. 6“Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. (Daniel 9)

Ok, so before we get to the Hebrew word for fasting, I would like to point out a few things here. Daniel is fasting because they had TRANSGRESSED the Torah. He was fasting as an act of repentance as he was recognizing that he needed forgiveness. This is VERY important. This is EXACTLY what Yom HaKippurim is for, ATONEMENT. It seems that Daniel understood how serious this transgression was. Now on to the Hebrew word for fasting. This word is צוֹם (tsom). Here is the Strong’s definition.

Definition
fasting, a fast
NASB Translation
fast (17), fasted (1), fasting (7), times of fasting (1).

We can see that there is no question that this word means to fast. Let’s look at another passage where Daniel is referencing fasting…

2In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. 3I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed. (Daniel 10)

Daniel is saying that he fasted for 3 weeks. Why is this significant? We have to keep reading.

12Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. (Daniel 10)

It is interesting to note that the word for humbling used in this passage is the same word used in Leviticus 23 for the instructions on Yom HaKippurim. Why would the Messenger of Yehovah refer to what Daniel did as affliction? This is a question that is important to answer. Remember, the punishment for NOT observing Yom HaKippurim is a serious thing, and should not be taken lightly. Let’s look at some more examples of this idea of affliction.

13But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled (anah) my soul with fasting (tsom),
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom. (Psalm 35)

And again…

3‘Why have we fasted (tsom) and You do not see?
Why have we humbled (anah) ourselves and You do not notice?’
Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers. (Isaiah 58)

Here is another one…

 21Then I proclaimed a fast (tsom) there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble (anah) ourselves before our Elohim to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our Elohim is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.”23So we fasted (tsom) and sought our Elohim concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty. (Ezra 8)

So we can see that there are many clarifying passages to help us understand the meaning of this word AFFLICTION. In the Ezra passage above, we can see this idea of fasting is directly linked to transgression again. I think this is pretty clear, but still there are those who are not willing to hear.

We must not just take the easy road, but we must study to show ourselves approved. It is very clear that the idea of Yom HaKippurim is more than just feeling sad. It involves affliction. If you look up the many definitions for affliction, most of them have to do with things that we are not permitted by Torah, to do to ourselves. Things that involve causing harm to our own bodies. There is a difference between being afflicted, and afflicting yourself. This is an important thing because why would Yehovah instruct us to do something to ourselves that was against Torah? HE WOULDN’T! He is calling us to fast.

Oh, but what about Isaiah 58?

6“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?

7“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58)

This is the passage that many use when justifying their tradition of NOT fasting on Yom Hakippurim. When looking at this passage in context, as well as using all of the other information we have covered so far, it is very simple to see that Isaiah was not prophesying against the fast of Yom HaKippurim. Let’s take a closer look. Lets go back to verse 3…

3‘Why have we fasted and You do not see?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’
Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers. (Isaiah 58)

First off, it is VERY interesting that Israel couples fasting with humbling here… Secondly, why did Yehovah not accept their fast? Because they were NOT following all of the commands. They were driving hard their workers which is a transgression of the basic instructions for Shabbat. Israel was not obeying the simplest of commands, so why would their observance of this day be accepted? If we move on, we see that Yehovah instructs His people to take care of the needy. Share bread with them. This is usually used to say that we are to eat on Yom HaKippurim. But if we keep reading, we can clearly see that that is NOT the case. Yehovah is trying to communicate that we should give of ourselves EVERY day to the needy. We should take care of the poor, the orphan, the widow EVERY day. When we do that THEN He will accept our humbling on Yom HaKippurim.

8“Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of Yehovah will be your rear guard.

9“Then you will call, and Yehovah will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, (Isaiah 58)

You see, they CRIED out to Yehovah “Why do you not see? Why do you not notice?” And He told them it was because they were not taking care of the needy people around them. He then says when you take care of the needy, THEN I will hear your cry and notice your offerings. We also have to look at verse 10.

10And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.

The word for afflicted there is the same word used in Leviticus to instruct us to be afflicted. ANAH. Isn’t it interesting that it is used interchangeably with HUNGRY?

Oh, and we MUST keep reading!

13“If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of Yehovah honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,

14Then you will take delight in Yehovah,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of Yehovah has spoken.”

What Yehovah is trying to tell His people is this… If His people would take care of the afflicted, AKA HUNGRY, He will provide something much greater than food to Israel. He will feed them with HERITAGE. We need not worry about afflicting ourselves, AKA going hungry, on Yom HaKippurim, but trust that Yehovah takes care of us and blesses us when we OBEY ALL that He commands us.

Are You Still Doubting This?

Are you still not convinced? Its ironic that most of the people who decide to refrain from a fast on Yom HaKippurim are messianics or hebrew rooters who follow the “spirit” of the law over the “letter”. Why is this ironic? Let’s take a look at a passage that most of these people overlook within their own messianic writings.

 9When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them, (Acts 27)

So what does this have to do with fasting on Yom HaKippurim? let’s take a look at the word used here for fast…

nésteia: fasting, a fast

Original Word: νηστεία, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: nésteia
Phonetic Spelling: (nace-ti’-ah)
Short Definition: fasting, the day of atonement
Definition: fasting, the day of atonement.

If you study the weather patterns of the ancient middle east, you will find that the time of year after Yom HaKippurim was not a great time to sail. This was the winter, or rainy season, and storms were popping up all over the place. While I think Paul is very wrong on some things, I find it interesting that he calls this day THE FAST. Why did he say that? Maybe because he knew that it meant fasting, and so did everyone else. He joined Daniel, David, and Ezra and many more in their understanding of this topic.

May you repent, and find TRUE understanding as we approach this Day of Atonement. May you not worry about going without for one measly day out of the year, but be ready to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to receive atonement from our savior, Yehovah. Don’t be cut off for not following a simple instruction to humble yourselves. If fasting is not required, oh well, you acted above and beyond the instruction. On the contrary, if it is how we are to humble ourselves, well, you might be cut off from your people for being to weak to go without food for 24 hours….

May your name be found in the book of LIFE!

 10When I wept in my soul with fasting,
            It became my reproach. (Psalm 69)

Shalom.

 

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