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Is this Historical Christmas?
Simpletoremember.com ^ | Unknown | Lawrence Kelemen

Posted on 12/22/2012 6:02:55 PM PST by Phinneous

...An article on the pagan origins of Christmas...


TOPICS: Apologetics; History; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: christmas; jewish; pagan; paganism; waronchristmas
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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This was posted on a Jewish website, obviously emotionally-charged in that it intends to sour Jews from associating with Christmas. I am not a historian or scholar... and whereas I am surprised by most of these historical (?) points I can see a benefit of "adapt and overcome" even in religion and certainly in one's own life.

I know there are a ton of Christian textual and historical scholars on this site...so soften it up for me. Are we really supposed to be at each others' throats as this article would have us be? Are these commonly-accepted facts among Christians or is it a little/lot inflated for the purpose of distancing Jews from Christmas?

1 posted on 12/22/2012 6:03:04 PM PST by Phinneous
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To: Phinneous

“The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology” explains that the earliest Christians did not have a time when they regularly observed Christ’s birth. However, by the late fourth century it was generally celebrated in churches. December 25 became recognized as Christmas day because it provided a Christian alternative to pagan festivals related to the Roman god Saturn and the winter solstice.
http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=2081


2 posted on 12/22/2012 6:12:06 PM PST by donna (Pray for revival.)
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To: Phinneous
Christmas in October
3 posted on 12/22/2012 6:18:26 PM PST by Former Fetus (Saved by grace through faith)
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To: Phinneous

I don’t know about at each other’s throats, but the core reality is that pretty much all the big Christian holiday traditions, including the timing, are stolen from pagans. Not just Christmas either, Easter has the same issues going on, ever wonder where that egg laying bunny appears in the Bible?


4 posted on 12/22/2012 6:20:09 PM PST by discostu (Not a part of anyone's well oiled machine.)
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To: Phinneous
Many of the stricter earlier English settlers of tje North American colonies believed similarly. My own paternal grandparents declined to celebrate Christmas in any visible way other than going to church. On this they softened a little when grandchildren came along, they'd buy modest gifts.

The author veers into hysteria further into the article, though, calling Christmas a 24 hour repudiation of Judaism. Some Christian groups might look at it that way, but none of my folks ever did. Jesus was a Jew as were all the Apostles. He came to fulfill the Law, not repudiate it.

Many of the customs associated with Christmas actually are an accumulation of practices, some with pagan origins. My maternal grandparents were Lutheran, descended from Moravians, German speaking people. They celebrated Christmas with all their hearts. It had nothing to do with the pagan origins of greenery and a tree, it was Christmas.

I recall Michael Medved taking the opposite tack several years back, attacking these same early American settlers for their refusal to celebrate Christmas. He tried to paint them as almost anti-American, with the American, commercialized Christmas of Macy's Parades, department store Santas, electric lights decorating everything and an orgy of buying gifts as a kind of interfaith cultural event that was a defining quality of what it meant to be American.

I thought he was wrong. There would be no America without those early settlers who eschewed celebration of Christmas. But, this other Jewish author is just as wrongheaded in trying to sow division, even if many of his facts are not disputed by many Christians themselves.

Does this make any sense at all, lol?

5 posted on 12/22/2012 6:23:42 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: Phinneous

The audio at the link is MUCH more entertaining than the essay.

Not sure what the big deal is, some Jewish months are named after pagan gods. Christian scholars don’t deny historical cultural milieus either.

The Jewish practices around Nittel Nacht might amaze contemporary Christians more.


6 posted on 12/22/2012 6:36:48 PM PST by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: Phinneous

The information is accurate and correct based on historical writings. Do about it what you will. Dec 25th is NOT the date of my Savior’s birth.....does not mean I can’t enjoy my family’s company and some spritz cookies.


7 posted on 12/22/2012 6:46:24 PM PST by Nifster
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To: discostu

And it came to pass that it was time for Christ to arise from the dead,but the angels labored in vain to move the stone.There were small rocks and pebbles blocking the movemant of the stone.Lo a small rabbit came along and dug out the rocks and pebbles from the path of the stone and the angels were able to open the tomb.When the Lord appeared He blessed the rabbit with eternal life and required it each year to spread the Lords message on the day of His resurection.The small rabbit gifted Christ with a boiled egg as the Lord was hungry.
This is the Biblical basis for the easter bunny,and can be found in the lost books of the Bible hidden in the vatican.


8 posted on 12/22/2012 6:49:37 PM PST by Craftmore
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To: Phinneous

It doesn’t matter. Our custom now celebrates the birth of our Savior. I am so tired of “pagan” articles that try to spoil our celebrations. He lives! We honor HIM! Amen.


9 posted on 12/22/2012 7:00:49 PM PST by stilloftyhenight
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To: Craftmore

10 posted on 12/22/2012 7:18:03 PM PST by Raycpa
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To: Craftmore

Oooo, I want to read the Gospel according to Bunny!

Although, could be from the books buried beneath the Hefner mansion...


11 posted on 12/22/2012 7:25:28 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: stilloftyhenight
It doesn’t matter. Our custom now celebrates the birth of our Savior. I am so tired of “pagan” articles that try to spoil our celebrations. He lives! We honor HIM! Amen.

Exactly. These pagan traditions do nothing to detract from Christ, in all instances, they have been repackaged to point to Christ, and that is what matters... they are now message models to emphasizes Christ's birth, death and resurrection.
12 posted on 12/22/2012 7:26:57 PM PST by Thorliveshere
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To: jjotto

:-)


13 posted on 12/22/2012 7:30:10 PM PST by Phinneous
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To: Raycpa

I suspect that a bunny with a waffle on it’s head carries a finer shade of meaning than a bunny with a pancake on it’s head.

Am I correct in my suspicion?


14 posted on 12/22/2012 7:30:48 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: Ophiucus

Those lost books also explain why Jesus walked on the water,,,Sadly he had never learned to swim,,,


15 posted on 12/22/2012 7:35:10 PM PST by Craftmore
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To: RegulatorCountry

I like waffle the waffle translation better.


16 posted on 12/22/2012 7:52:47 PM PST by Raycpa
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To: Craftmore

And here I thought it was the Jewish moonwalk


17 posted on 12/22/2012 7:56:01 PM PST by Ophiucus
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To: Craftmore

Reminds me of Reepicheep and his friends who chewed the ropes off of Aslan in The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe.


18 posted on 12/22/2012 8:04:22 PM PST by Mercat (Adventures make you late for dinner. Bilbo Baggins)
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To: Phinneous

I had it explained to me that many of the “pagans” were prophets of the coming of Christ. Made sense.


19 posted on 12/22/2012 8:07:07 PM PST by Mercat (Adventures make you late for dinner. Bilbo Baggins)
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To: Phinneous

As a biblical Christian who does not celebrate the traditions of Christmas or Easter - and instead follows the biblical holy days - I think in our current state of societal collapse, it is a grave mistake for Christians to focus on bashing other Christians and their traditions and appointed Feasts.

While the Body of Christ in the USA lo, these many decades of peace and prosperity, has been busy tearing down any and every Christian who is not sitting under our own denominational roofs - we lost our culture to secular government-worshipping hedonists. At the same time we have become lukewarm as a faith to where Christianity stands for little outside of adding a new ATM or coffee shop in the lobby to attract those seeking Sunday entertainment while calling it religion.

I don’t keep the traditions of mainstream Christianity - but I acknowledge that we were a better country when they were respected and honored by the bulk of our people just a few generations ago.

We can argue until the cows come how regarding which day is Jesus Christ’s birthday. We can even argue the fact it is not disclosed in scripture, nor is there any evidence in the Gospels or the Acts of anyone keeping the date. (I’m of the understanding it was most likely sometime in the early Fall around 4 B.C.).

What IS important - is that Jesus Christ WAS BORN, and became a human being for the express purpose of becoming our Passover sacrifice for sin. Without His birth, there is no redemption to life for mankind, as our sins have condemned us to eternal death as scripture plainly states.

Since many people may actually cast a thought about Jesus during this time of year - now is the perfect opportunity to encourage the faith and show others the way of God more perfectly, that our faith would not perish amidst the gathering darkness around us.

The world needs Jesus Christ, and mankind NEEDS His Kingdom on this earth. Let us continue to seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness - that revival might come to a nation on the brink of absolute ruination.


20 posted on 12/22/2012 8:08:42 PM PST by INVAR ("Fart for liberty, fart for freedom and fart proudly!" - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Phinneous
The Apologetics of Christmas (Part 1)

by Jimmy Akin (Catholic Answers)

Should Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus? There is no evidence the apostles did. When did it become a feast day? Weren’t birthdays a pagan thing?

Why was he named Jesus when, as stated in Matthew 1:23, the Messiah was to be called Immanuel?

Matthew 1:23 quotes Isaiah 7:14 as “a virgin will conceive” from the Septuagint, but the original Hebrew uses the word “almah” meaning “young woman of marriagable age.” Was Matthew wrong to quote this?

What does Joseph’s reaction, in Matthew 1:19, to the news of Mary’s pregnancy tell us about his character?

Why would Joseph take a 9-month pregnant Mary to Bethlehem instead of taking her earlier? Why did he take her at all? Couldn’t he have just left her in Nazareth?

These are among the questions we explore in this week’s episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast!

Click "Part 1" to listen to the answers to these questions:

Part 1

Part 2

1. I’ve heard it wasn’t uncommon for some people to sleep in the stable of an inn during busy times? Was that true?

2. What was the Star of Bethlehem? A conjunction of planets, meteor, comet, supernatural event? What does the Church or Church Fathers say about it?

3. What is significant about gold, frankincense, and myrrh?

4. How did the birth of Jesus come to be celebrated on December 25?

5. Why do Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on January 7?

6. What light does the Ark of the Covenant shed on Mary's perpetual virginity, and what evidence do we have for her perpetual virginity?

Click "Part 2" to listen:

Part 2

21 posted on 12/22/2012 8:18:16 PM PST by fidelis (Zonie and USAF Cold Warrior)
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To: stilloftyhenight
Would you not agree that "Jesus Christ is also the Lord of the Old Testament" ?
Remember:
Now our Lord, Jesus Christ, said this:

Now, do you think our Lord Jesus wants us to celebrate Christmas ?
22 posted on 12/22/2012 8:25:40 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: INVAR

Very fine post.

The vast divide is not between denominations. Instead it is between believers and non-believers and furthermore between those who hold their religion in an orthodox manner and those who wear it like a fashion garment, put on and taken off like a club coat at the country club.


23 posted on 12/22/2012 8:31:26 PM PST by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years. RSC)
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To: Phinneous
Most Americans have no idea about the Pilgrims who settled in America, no idea of the Reformation. The only Biblical Holy Days are the 52 Sundays of the year called the Lord's Day.

The Religious Observance of Christmas and ‘Holy Days’ in American Presbyterianism

Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)

Professing Christians in America today all too often do not honor the Christian Sabbath, the Lord's Day, but they celebrate Easter and Christmas, days that are unscriptural feast days.

It simply goes to show that many Protestants are completely unaware of the Reformation (why they are in Protestant denominations to begin with), as I was until only a few years ago.

The following link is definitely not the place to rely on for facts without checking them, but this article does provide a very quick overview of the era.

The Reformation

IMHO, it would be profitable for Americans to at least get familiar with the foundings of their nation - and the several hundred years prior which set the stage. It will truly be a pleasant and exciting journey when one makes the connection between American ideas and the events and issues of those several hundred years.

IMHO, always good to learn and gain true wisdom - and I always try to learn from my own mistakes and learn from history. The challenge, of course, is... what to read.
24 posted on 12/22/2012 8:38:20 PM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: Phinneous
Early Christians stopped celebrating the holy days of the Lord because of Roman antipathy against Jews. A series of Jewish revolts against the Roman empire caused a hatred of Jews among people in the region. This caused Christians to abandon God's holy days because to keep them would make one look too "Jewish". Four hundred years after the death of Christ it became heretical to keep the holy sabbath of scriptures.

Today we have a choice...keep the biblical holy days of the Lord Jesus Christ or observe man made holidays.

25 posted on 12/22/2012 8:43:33 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: donna

The funny thing is that we all know if we read the Bible when Christmas should be, nine months after Gabriel told Mary she would become pregnant. She was told in late June or early July. That puts Christmas in late March or early April. Roman taxes were paid in spring, just like they are now here. Christmas can be celebrated anytime you want but The son of God was born in the flesh in the spring.


26 posted on 12/22/2012 9:13:55 PM PST by JAKraig (Surely my religion is at least as good as yours)
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To: JAKraig

Gabriel told Mary in December.

Yeshua was born in september.

All the fake pagan ‘gods’ were born December 25.

Catholics love pagan nonsense, and fake Christians like Constantine, who was born on...

December 25!


27 posted on 12/22/2012 9:20:21 PM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: editor-surveyor

Gabriel told Mary in December.

Yeshua was born in september.

__________________________________________________

Here is what Luke says:

__________________________________________________

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
___________________________________________________

January was still the 1st month by the King James writers.


28 posted on 12/22/2012 9:28:01 PM PST by JAKraig (Surely my religion is at least as good as yours)
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To: JAKraig
January was still the 1st month by the King James writers.

Yes, but what of the original writers? Which calendar were they themselves using as framework? The Jewish calender is different. Not only in when it starts, but since it doesn't keep exact pace with the solar year, that introduces another variable. Add to that the change from Julian (which didn't keep pace either, but at a different rate of error than the Jewish) to Gregorian calender in the West, and it raises some question & doubt. The Gregorian has had some changes too, I think.

Not being able to read koine Greek (that of the age, or the later koine) or Hebrew or Aramaic, I can't solve the puzzle, personally. At the risk of calling in local cranks --- I think I've seen it attempted... and in another place possibly more correctly done, but cannot recall the outcome.It was said to be difficult to examine, and feel confident one had properly sifted the variables.

One place to start would be analysis of the oldest extant manuscripts? Where there any month "names" used in closely related texts? I don't *think* so, which might leave the question of which calendar the writers were at that time referring to? Jewish calender, or Roman?

29 posted on 12/22/2012 10:31:38 PM PST by BlueDragon (big hitter, the Lama)
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To: JAKraig
I isn't that straight forward, actually, as there have been lots of changes to the calendar and you need to know which one someone is referring to before you know what that equates to now. It's pretty interesting to read about because you could have something dated differently than you would expect by looking at the calander in common use rather than the legal calander or the religious calander in use at the same time.

In common usage, 1 January was regarded as New Year's Day and celebrated as such, but from the 12th century until 1751 the legal year in England began on 25 March (Lady Day). So, for example, the Parliamentary record lists the execution of Charles I on 30 January as occurring in 1648 (as the year did not end until 24 March), although modern histories adjust the start of the year to 1 January and record the execution as occurring in 1649.

Most Western European countries changed the start of the year to 1 January before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. For example, Scotland changed the start of the Scottish New Year to 1 January in 1600 (this means that 1599 was a short year). England, Ireland and the British colonies changed the start of the year to 1 January in 1752 (so 1751 was a short year with only 282 days) though the tax year has stayed as 25 March to this day (being 6 April in the new calendar). Later that year in September the Gregorian calendar was introduced throughout Britain and the British colonies (see the section Adoption). These two reforms were implemented by the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar

30 posted on 12/23/2012 12:12:46 AM PST by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: Craftmore

And it came to pass that it was time for Christ to arise from the dead,but the angels labored in vain to move the stone.


Just about the way i think of it.


31 posted on 12/23/2012 1:54:18 AM PST by ravenwolf
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To: Phinneous

I like to celebrate Christs birthday, as long as they keep santa clas out of it.


32 posted on 12/23/2012 2:09:03 AM PST by ravenwolf
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To: Phinneous
The way I look at the whole issue is that there are some very sour people who hate any thought of celebrating the birth of Christ. They complain about the date, the Christmas tree, giving presents, and even Santa Claus (although how Santa Claus-reindeer thing remotely relates to the birth of Christ is one I'm still trying to figure out). And now even Charlie Brown's Christmas. The bottom line is that these people hate the thought of celebrating the birth of Christ. If we had definitive proof that Christ was born on the 25th of December they still would hate it.

I don't care. I will celebrate Christmas and Christ's birth. I will put up my CHRISTmas trees, snowmen, and, yes, even figurines (not idols) of Santa Clauses. We have always been careful to explain that Santa Claus represents, like the wise men, a time when we can give without receiving. I'll go to church and sing Christmas carols and have fun. I make it a point to wish people (including my Jewish friends) a very happy holiday. They know what I'm talking about. Others are free to sit in a dreary house and complain about the pagan traditions.

33 posted on 12/23/2012 4:09:34 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: Phinneous
Why not just accept it for what it is??? We have a pagan tree at our house...And it is in no way connected to Jesus...

We don't pray to the tree or bow down before it so we know it is not connected with worship or pagan gods or goddesses...

We spend the time and money buying and wrapping meaningless Christmas presents...Fight the traffic...Fight the crowds...Fight with each other because of all the stress...

Many towns have a Christmas Day parade...Christians as well as others flock to them...Sometimes you might see a Nativity scene but mostly it's Santa Claus and reindeer...Music...A big party...

So why do we have the tree and celebrate that Holiday, you ask???

Because the kids and Grandkids would freak out if we didn't...Because I get a couple of paid vacation days...

True, it does afford some Christians a scheduled time to more focus upon Jesus and his birth and his mission...And churches do capitalize upon this...

However, if the Christians ever accepted the idea that Jesus was born probably in October instead of the Winter Solstice would we continue to celebrate his birthday??? Would we incorporate a Christmas tree and it's associated madness???

I take it for what it is...

34 posted on 12/23/2012 5:06:38 AM PST by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: Iscool
We spend the time and money buying and wrapping meaningless Christmas presents...Fight the traffic...Fight the crowds.

Do Amazon next year. Half hour and I was done. ;O)

35 posted on 12/23/2012 5:34:33 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: Mercat

C S Lewis based his story of Reepicheep off of the true story of the rabbit and the stone.The Narnia stories are all based on true events in the lost trranslations.


36 posted on 12/23/2012 6:32:47 AM PST by Craftmore
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To: Phinneous
Salvation history, all of it, crammed into 365 days.


37 posted on 12/23/2012 6:40:25 AM PST by Oratam
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To: Craftmore

LOL


38 posted on 12/23/2012 7:22:48 AM PST by Mercat (Adventures make you late for dinner. Bilbo Baggins)
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To: Craftmore

LOL


39 posted on 12/23/2012 7:23:38 AM PST by Mercat (Adventures make you late for dinner. Bilbo Baggins)
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To: Craftmore

LOL


40 posted on 12/23/2012 7:26:00 AM PST by Mercat (Adventures make you late for dinner. Bilbo Baggins)
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To: Phinneous; donna
Sheldon Cooper: “In the pre-Christian era, as the winter solstice approached and the plants died, pagans brought evergreen boughs into their homes as an act of sympathetic magic, intended to guard the life essences of the plants until spring. This custom was later appropriated by Northern Europeans and eventually became the so-called Christmas tree.” ****

Sheldon: Oh, yes. We had a tree, we had a manger, we had an inflatable Santa Claus with plastic reindeer on the front lawn. And to make things even more jolly, there were so many blinking lights on the house they induced neighbourhood-wide seizures.

Penny: So I take it you don’t want to help us trim the tree.

Sheldon: I do not. But if you insist on decorating a spider-infested fire hazard in my home I would request that you add this.

Penny: What is it?

Sheldon: You’re kidding, right? It’s a bust of Sir Isaac Newton.

Penny: Oh, sure, sure, yeah. Very Christmassy.

Sheldon: Wait, excuse me, but it’s much more Christmassy than anything you’ve put on the tree.

Leonard: Here we go.

Sheldon: December 25, 1642, Julian calendar, Sir Isaac Newton is born. Jesus, on the other hand, was actually born in the summer. His birthday was moved to coincide with a traditional pagan holiday that celebrated the winter solstice with lit fires and slaughtered goats. Which, frankly, sounds like more fun than 12 hours of church with my mother followed by a fruitcake.

41 posted on 12/23/2012 8:23:25 AM PST by La Lydia
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To: JAKraig

No, you are completely wrong for two reasons.

First, the pagan catholic lies were generally accepted in all of Europe, and that pagan bias is prevalent in both the KJV and the Geneva.

Second, is that there was no process at that time to resolve the biblical years into our pagan calendar. The biblical calendar was a complete mystery at that time, partly due to the contrivance of Talmudic Jews in recreating the biblical calendar around the era of the renaissance.

We know that the fall fiests were the prophecies of Christ’s commings, and both were written, from Moses time, to be in the fall. All of the colateral information given in the gospels also only fits the fall, including the ‘wise men’ following Daniel’s revelation to their ancestors in Babylon regarding the constellation Betula.

One has to disregard all the obvious things that are known to swallow the DEcember 25 lie.


42 posted on 12/23/2012 10:41:38 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: Phinneous

>> “ Are we really supposed to be at each others’ throats as this article would have us be?” <<

.
If we are to worship him in SPIRIT, and in TRUTH, then yes, that has to be, for most will follow the wide gate unto destruction, and only the few, the remnant, will find the narrow gate.


43 posted on 12/23/2012 10:45:24 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: Craftmore

Do you want to try to tell that pagan lie to the Lord at the Great White Throne judgement?

There is no Biblical basis for anything “Easter.”

When the Lord arose, he didn’t need for the stone to be removed, for he was then in his perfect, immortal body, and was seen walking through stone walls after his resurrection.


44 posted on 12/23/2012 10:57:07 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: editor-surveyor

-— There is no Biblical basis for anything “Easter.” -—

Or Sola Scriptura, not that anyone seems to care.


45 posted on 12/23/2012 11:02:30 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Is that why Christ almost always preceeded his teaching with “it is written...?”


46 posted on 12/23/2012 11:07:25 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: La Lydia

Hollywood only has 10-gay-writers for all of TV.

I’ve heard that version 100 times this year alone.

Yawn.


47 posted on 12/23/2012 11:12:35 AM PST by donna (Pray for revival.)
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To: editor-surveyor
Is that why Christ almost always preceeded his teaching with “it is written...?”

Was He referring to the New Testament, which did not yet exist? Or is the Old Testament to be our guide?

Notice that He doesn't command us to settle intra-Christian disputes via Scripture.

"If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

48 posted on 12/23/2012 11:17:46 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas
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To: editor-surveyor

“...contrivance.... blah blah...”

Jews are quite certain of the calendar from the first day of creation until today, the 10th day of the 4th month in the 5773rd day since creation, actually. Contrive other reasons if you can’t resolve your calendar.


49 posted on 12/23/2012 11:28:24 AM PST by Phinneous
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To: Phinneous

>> “Jews are quite certain of the calendar from the first day of creation until today” <<

.
Absolutely false!

There is over 200 years of injected error in the current Jewish calendar. That can be proven by simply comparing historically recorded astronomical events with the present configuration. Perhaps you think computers are unreliable, but I seldom (never) catch mine screwing up.


50 posted on 12/23/2012 11:41:49 AM PST by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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