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The Greatest
"Myth" Ever Told
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     Is it really true that millions of people worldwide have been mysteriously misled to believe that the story contained in the so-called “Greatest Story Ever Told” was, in reality, penned by mankind, and not conceived by Satan? Didn’t Satan convince Eve to believe that she could eat of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and still live? Yes, Satan is the original “liar and deceiver,” and the “father of all liars,” John 8:44.
What is a “Myth”?
     A good dictionary would define a “myth” as any inventive story or any imaginary thing or person. Relative to the story “Greatest Story Ever Told,” one definition is an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution. But, how does one show that the “Greatest Story Ever Written” is a “Myth”? Can Yahweh’s Word do the job? What facts of today’s story of X-mas are real? Are Scriptural? What reality is there in the use of the “Manger Scene”? The “Date”? The “Yule Log”? The “Christmas Tree”? The “Mistletoe”? “Holly” and “Wreaths”? Read on to find out.
The Manger Scene
     Today, the manger scene can be seen in front of many church buildings, in numerous store windows, and, in some cases, on someone’s front lawn. Generally, the scene depicts a baby (representing our Savior) lying in the manger, next to an inn, with His parents (two statues representing Mary [Miriam] and Joseph) beside Him. One must remember a manger is a trough from which cattle or horses would eat grain. Also depicted on this scene would be three wise men (magi), each bearing a gift (gold, frankincense and myrrh) to be given to the Baby.
     This last part of the scene is rather misleading. First, Scripture speaks of the wise men visiting Yahshua as a young child (not a baby) and of the visit happening in a house. The Greek word oikia, translated as house in Matt. 2:11, specifies this as the abode to which the wise men came to see Yahshua as a child.
     The Greek word kataluma is used and translated as inn in Luke 2:27. Neither of these two Greek words is ever translated as the other.
     And, secondly, no Scripture indicates that there were three wise men, but only references “wise men.”
The Date of December 25
     “The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called [Yahshua], early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many people rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.” (Internet article under title of “Christmas.”)
     Does the date of December 25 conflict with the events surrounding His birth? When Scripture relates the announcement of the birth of Yahshua, it also speaks of shepherds tending their flocks by night,
     And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of Yahweh came upon them, and the glory of Yahweh shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is the Messiah, the Master,” Luke 2:8-11.
     Verse 12 tells us that the Messiah would be found “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
     Is wintertime the time of year for shepherds to be in the fields caring for their flocks of sheep? NO!
     The following can be found on the Internet under “Saturnalia.”
     “In ancient Rome, the largest Solstice holiday was the Saturnalia, in honor of the harvest god Saturn. Not many people today have heard of Saturnalia, or know that most of our popular holiday customs are directly descended from the ancient holiday season. Saturnalia was a big holiday – businesses and courts closed for days. The halls were decked with holly branches and evergreen wreaths.
     “People visited family and attended lavish banquets and holiday parties. Gifts of silver, candles, figurines, and sweets were exchanged. Another popular custom at Saturnalia involved slaves and their owners swapping roles. The equality of all was emphasized by wearing (even the emperor) of the red felt pileus cap of the freed slave – headgear that has long gone out of fashion, except for the character of Father Christmas, aka Santa Claus.
     “So how did a raucous Pagan celebration become associated with Christianity? Very intentionally. At the time of the date of [Yahshua’s] birth was officially assigned [the Messiah’s] birthday, Rome was pretty thoroughly Christianized, but the former pagans were more reluctant to give up the holiday than they were their gods. After brushing aside inconvenient facts, the names were changed – but the holiday remained the same.
     “Nativities were celebrated at Christmas-time, including that of Mithras, known throughout the empire as ‘the light of the world,’ and the nativity of Sol Invictus, the birthday of the sun.
     “John Chrysostom, a fourth century Bishop, wrote: ‘On this day also the birthday of [the Messiah] was lately fixed at Rome in order that while the heathen were busy with their profane ceremonies, the Christians might perform their sacred rites undisturbed. They call this (December 25th), the Birthday of the invincible one (Mithras).”
     The following can be found on the Internet under “Mithras.”
     “Saturnalia may have been responsible for the pageantry of our midwinter festival, but it’s Mithraism that seems to have inspired certain symbolic religious elements of Christmas. The comparison of Mithraists and Christians is not coincidental. December 25 was Mithras’s birthday before it was [Yahshua’s]. The actual choice of December 25 for Christmas was made under the Emperor Aurelian because this was the date of the Winter Solstice and was the day the devotees of Mithras celebrated the birthday of the invincible sun.”
Sol Invictus
     The following can be found on the Internet under “Christmas.”
     “Another Roman festival at the same time as Christmas was dedicated to Sol Invictus (‘the invincible sun’). Originally a Syrian deity, this cult was imported by Emperor Heliogabalus into Rome and Sol was made god of the state. With the spread of Christianity, Christmas celebration became the most important Christian festival. In the third century various dates, from Christmas to April, were celebrated by Christians as Christmas. January 6 was the most favored because it was thought to be [Yahshua’s] Baptismal day (In the Greek Orthodox Church this continues to be the day to celebrate Christmas.). In the year 350, December 25 was adopted in Rome and gradually almost the entire Christian church agreed to that date, which coincided with the Winter Solstice and the festivals, Sol Invicta and Saturnalia. Many of the pagan festivals were incorporated into the Christmas celebration and are still observed today.
     “Probably the most celebrated holiday in the world, our modern Christmas is a product of hundreds of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the world.”
The Christmas Tree
     In the book, The Two Babylons or The Papal Worship, the author, Alexander Hislop, writes, on page 97, “The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in pagan Rome and in pagan Egypt. In Egypt it was the palm-tree, which denoted the Pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, while in Rome it was the fir which denoted him as Baal-Berith. The mother of Adonis, the Sun-God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as the ‘Man the Branch.’”
     The following quote can be found on the Internet under “Christmas.”
     “Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood were scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.
     “Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s, Christmas trees were seen as the brilliance of pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.
     “It is not surprising that, like many other festive Christmas customs, the tree was adopted so late in America. To the New England Puritans, Christmas was sacred. The pilgrim’s second governor, William Bradford, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out ‘pagan mockery’ of the observance, penalizing any frivolity. The influential Oliver Cromwell preached against ‘the heathen traditions’ of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated ‘that sacred event.’ In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th-century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.”
The Yule Log
     On page 98 of his book, The Two Babylons or The Papal Worship, Alexander Hislop wrote,
     “Therefore, the 25th of December, the day that was observed at Rome as the day when the victorious god reappeared on earth, was held as the Natalis invicti solois, ‘The birthday of the unconquered Sun.’ Now the Yule Log is the dead stock of Nimrod, deified as the sun-god, but cut down by his enemies; the Christmas-tree is Nimrod redivivus – the slain god come to life again.”
     Now, who is Nimrod? Nimrod was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, Gen. 10:1-8. The book mentioned above indicates that Nimrod founded Babylon and Nineveh. This book also reports that Nimrod’s wife was named Semiramis, and that both were deified. Reportedly, Semiramis is called the queen of the heavens under the name of Astarte (queen of the heavens – Astarte – Easter).
     Hislop continues in his book: “Nimrod was the divine child born at the winter solstice as a new incarnation of the great god (after that god had been cut in pieces), on the purpose to revenge his death upon his murderers. Now the great god, cut off in the midst of his power and glory, was symbolized as a huge tree, stripped of all its branches and cut down almost to the ground. But the great serpent, the symbol of the life restoring Aesculapius, twists itself around the dead stock, and lo, at its side up sprouts a young tree – a tree of an entirely different kind, that is destined never to be cut down by hostile power – even the palm-tree, the well-known symbol of victory.”
     It is interesting to note that the word “Yule” is the Chaldean name for an “infant” or “little child.”
Mistletoe, Holly and Wreaths
     On the Internet, looking up “Mistletoe and Holly,” one finds,
“The use of the mistletoe bough has its origin in Druidic, Norse and English traditions and superstitions. Kissing under the mistletoe is of English origin. It was derived from Babylonian Mysteries dealing with ‘the man – the Branch,’ Nimrod. Holly is a plant that is used to make Christmas wreaths.”
     Centuries ago, the Catholic Church, in order to gain members, allowed the rites and celebrations of these pagan peoples to be adopted. December 25 was set (declared) as the date of our Savior’s birth by the Council of Nicea. The national Roman Catholic monthly magazine, U. S. Catholic, has from time to time pointed out that Christmas is indeed a pagan holiday and admits that it is a “grotesque counterfeit.” Even the editor-priest of this magazine, some time ago, stated,
     “The Christmas season has been perverted so grossly that it has become a threat to mental and emotional well-being. It is time to come out of the land of Babylon, which the hucksters of wares and materialism have taken over... and leave December 25 to the pagans.”
     In the December 16, 1967 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, the following appeared under the title, “Why So Serious About Christmas?”:
     “Christmas, to begin with, is scarcely a Christian holiday at all. There is certainly no evidence that [Messiah] was born that day, nor was the day celebrated as such for some three hundred years after His death. Instead, there were various festivals commemorating the winter solstice on December 21, and December 25 was officially decreed to be the birthday of the ‘unconquered sun,’ climaxing the orgiastic week of Saturnalia. Teutonic and Celtic tribes added the rites of the Yule log, and the Christmas tree which apparently dates from a fir tree planted by St. Boniface to replace the sacred Oak of Odin (god of war) in the eighth-century Germany. Added to all this, from various places in various times, came Santa Claus, Good King Wenceslaus, and the office Christmas party.”
Scripture Speaks
     In Jeremiah 10:2-4, Yahweh clearly tells us not to mix pagan worship or customs with Yahweh’s truths:
     Thus saith Yahweh, “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; 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 with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not."
     Sure sounds like what is done at Christmas time. It is estimated that there are over 12,000 cut-your-own Christmas tree farms in the United States and over one million acres of land devoted to produce some 34 to 36 million Christmas trees each year.
     The truth of the Christmas story is staring you right in your eyes. If you celebrate December 25 as the date when the Messiah was born, you are showing your allegiance to an idol. Instead of celebrating Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter, start now by turning your back on them and keep Yahweh’s Feast days that will be kept in the Kingdom. By doing so you have everything to gain.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer

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