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New December 20
From Jeff Wallace: I saw an O'Reilly segment where he really went after the Catholic Church for staying completely silent on the very big movement nationally to rid any semblence of the words Christmas or Christ from Christmas as a national holiday. I put a couple of the comments here below for your reveiw...but I think it is very telling the tone of the ranking Catholic on the show as to how he views fundamental Christians. You can tell he holds us in strict disdain.MCBRIEN: But, Bill, it's a certain segment of the Protestant side, and I'm not — I don't intend to diminish them or to put them down. But mainstream Protestants generally are in the same boat, as it were, as mainstream Catholics and their bishops.O'REILLY: There's an increasing secularization of America. Everybody knows it, in every area. One of the strategies to getting religious people out of the public arena is to diminish all references to God, all spirituality in public. You know what's going on, it's been very successful. That's the big picture here.
MCBRIEN: Yes, sure. But I think we Christians are sometimes our own worst enemies. There has been a concern about the fact that certain types of Christians, especially among Protestants, but some Catholics as well, but mostly evangelical, fundamentalists, Pentecostal Protestants, and not by any means all or most, have really been — become the face of Christianity in America. And there are many mainline Protestants and many mainline Catholics who are a little bit taken aback, that this is the — this is the representation of Christianity.
From Rick Miesel (concerning the comment below): Everything in my report is documented from reliable sources -- much from Alexander Hislop's highly regarded work The Two Babylons. Mr. Perry's problems are thus with ol' Alex, not someone I'd want to butt heads with over the matter of historical accuracy. Notwithstanding my reverence for the works of Hislop, I might have some concern here (as to the accuracy of some of my points) if it were not for Mr. Perry's ludicrous statements in numbers 7 & 8 below. He loses all credibility with those foolish ramblings.
From Robert Perry: I have been given an adaptation (or maybe original text) of the rapidnet.com link "Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?" and would like to encourage you to take a good hard look at its contents. I understand fully the connection to the Saturnalia, but there are a number of other things that (if I'm informed correctly) just don't make sense about the article. They are attached below:
1. Although it is well-known that the Romans had quite a number of religions due to their empire, there is a certain geographical disconnect here. The Romans did not compel the worship of their own gods save Caesar; why should we assume that they were able to spread the worship of Babylonian gods to lands they did not control? As such, certain things are highly dubious:
a. That Celts, Teutons, and so on gave one of their gods a Babylonian name "yule."
b. That Romans worshipped Egyptian gods?ones that had not been worshipped much for several centuries.
2. The comparison of "Sun" with "Son" only works in English and German, not Latin or Hebrew/Aramaic.
a. Latin: sun is "solus," son is "filius." Constantine would have gotten blank stares talking about "filius invictus."
b. Hebrew: son is "ben," sun is "shemesh." No similarity.
3. The Roman church is savaged for vestments, candles, statues, and processions. However, let's not forget that the Law of Moses commands these; is Moses a heretic therefore and the Bible blasphemous? Consider:
a. The Levite priest wore a specific garment and the chief priest wore the ephod to signify his position. These are vestments.
b. Lamps were throughout the Temple/Tabernacle, and Revelation talks about 7 lampstands.
c. The Temple featured statues of bulls, pomegranates, and angels (cherubim).
d. Three times per year, the whole nation would be involved in a grand procession to Jerusalem singing the "songs of ascent" of the Psalms.
4. Celebration of the New Year; Babylon celebrated a lunar year not starting at winter solstice. Europeans, following Rome, celebrated New Year's on April 1. Hence, the allegation that a week after winter solstice was the New Year is false.
5. Adonis is not a sun god; in Greek mythology, he was the consort of Aphrodite. Not to be confused with the origins of Teutonic feasts on wild boars.
6. It is extremely doubtful that Egyptians, who knew no snow or ice, believed one of their gods to inhabit a frozen wasteland.
7. Is the nativity scene idolatrous, or is it merely an educational tool? Remember that the German word for education (Bildung) literally means "picturing."
8. Jesus celebrated the feast of Dedication (Channukah), which is not mentioned in the Bible. Clearly, Jesus did not require Scriptural precedent to take part in a festival.
Thank you, Robert, for sharing the information. I haven't had time to check it against the Rick Miesel's article, but I invite our visitors to do so. Meanwhile, I want to share my appreciation for Rich Miesel and all the research he has posted on his website. I have been encouraged and informed through his fellowship in Christ.
From Carol Knapp: In relation to the visit of the wisemen which you so well expressed in your article, I was reminded of what Dr. Dwight Pentecost said when mentioning the prophetic significance of their visit. He related it to the offerings of the nations and kings of the earth... He noted passages such as Isaiah 60:3, 6: "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD." It was a precursor to the flow of nations into Jerusalem bringing their tribute to the King of kings.
"And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain." Zechariah 4:16-17
It is believed by some that the New Jerusalem will descend over the Millennial Jerusalem during Christ's reign, and that the fulfillment of Revelation 21:24-26 will be fulfilled then, "And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it." It is to be noted that the retention of national identity is retained. If this is the eternal state of the new heavens and earth, this does not remove the commensurate requirement of the Millennial form of the Kingdom being anything less, especially in light of Jeremiah 31:34.
Since worship during the Kingdom reign of Christ will be year to year and represented by the kings of the saved of the earth at that time, this combination of factors is how their bringing of gifts and offerings to worship is derived. The wisemen from the East is, therefore, representative of what will be on a universal scale when Jeremiah 31:34 will be fulfilled. The eternal state is only the extension of God's eternal rule through His Son through the Davidic promises which were eternal.
This my best putting together of the data which Dr. Pentecost gave us in my classes at Dallas.
The gifts brought by the wisemen, were probably used for paying expenses while Joseph and family were in Egypt. So even the gifts of the Gentile nations were used to bring glory to Him in the time of His humiliation.
From Carolyn Davison: I feel Christians are so sleepy at the moment. My friend overheard two children talking to each other, one of them said "When I have been naughty I pray to Santa to forgive my sins." This child apparently came from a Christian home!! What are parents teaching their children? We have not allowed our children to believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy. Santa is almost an idol to children.
Most Christmas cards have no reference at all to Christ (unless they are bought from a Christian bookshop!) and we have a trend at the moment in the UK, where people 'dress-up' (if you can call it that!), their houses with plastic Santas reindeers, snowmen, lights etc. Some streets look like Las Vegas (not that I have been there!!). It is so tacky and such bad taste, but people think it is a 'cool' thing to do!! Where is Christ in all this?
I remember someone saying that they were standing next to Christmas cards and she heard 2 ladies talking, one said to the other while looking at a nativity scene, "They are even bringing religion into Christmas."!!! Apparently, as well, there are certain areas in the UK where they are thinking of doing away with the word Christmas altogether and calling it Winter Festival (or words to that effect!!).
Thank you for telling us what is happening in the UK, Carolyn. I share your sadness over this amazing social transformation and spiritual confusion.
Perhaps this page - America's Spiritual Slide - will help those who struggle to communicate truth in a world that has redefined some of our most important words. The same process that changed Europe is now changing America.