JOHN MAC ARTHUR ON CHRISTMASS
MAC ARTHUR'S STATEMENT ON CHRISTMAS:
You asked about Christmas; I'll tell you about Christmas.
In the early Greek periods, December was the month of orgies and feasts and festivals to the gods. It was the time of the feast of Saturnalia. The winter was coming, and they wanted to appease the gods, that they would survive the winter and they would see the spring and all of this. So these tremendous pagan festivals to Saturnalia and to many other deities were held in December. Now, the Constantine Roman Empire that came about in about 300 or so, after that they wanted to sort of Christianize everything, and so in approximately 450 AD the bishop of Rome decided that it would be really good if they could Christianize the festivals of December. So he determined in some kind of conjunction with the Bishop of Jerusalem that they would spot December 25 as the birth of Christ. And if they could pick December 25th as the birth of Christ, that might sanctify all of this, even though it's highly unlikely that He was born then. They were really trying to overpower the paganism. But instead, they got a mishmash.
Mistletoe- that's from paganism; Christmas trees- paganism; holly- basically is a rather pagan thing; Christmas cards- 1864 and they were first invented by a business man who thought of a way to make money, and they had drinking scenes on them. So you can go right down the line. Saint Nicholas from Scandinavia was a saint in the Roman system who was supposed to leave things stuffed in little wooden shoes of kids who were good. This is not uncommon in Christianity.
Another illustration- just before Easter, traditionally the Christian church celebrates what season? Lent you know where Lent came from? There's no Lent in the Bible- none. It never appears in the Bible. It has nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ, but in ancient paganism, in the instructions of Baal and Ashteroth, and the deities of the ancients, it was believed that Tamuz or Baal- he goes by a lot of different names, Cupid, many names- but that Tamuz or Baal was killed by a wild boar, and when he was killed by a wild boar, his mother Semiramis, the high priestess of Babylonian paganism, mourned for him and cried for him for forty days, and at the end of those forty days, he was risen from the dead. So the whole concept of the forty-day mourning and going without and fasting has absolutely nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ but was an imposition on Christianity from pagan mystery religions of Babylon.
The mother-child perspective, where you see in the Roman churches, you know, the virgin or you see the pieta, the carving, this whole mother-child thing, does not come, basically, from Christianity. There's no sentimentalization of that in the Bible, but it comes again from paganism. Semiramis, it was by the pagans, conceived her son Tamuz because she was implanted by a sunbeam. That would falsify what? The virgin birth. And after that she gave birth to her son without a human father. So that the mother-child cult really came through mystery religions of Babylon and in its pagan origin was superimposed on Christianity. And ultimately the confusion came out in the Roman Catholic system where you have Lent, which has no Biblical basis at all. In fact, that's only one part of it.
But you know the term "queen of heaven"? I was reading a Catholic book the other day: Queen of Heaven "queen of heaven" you can find in the book of Ezekiel. And the first queen of heaven was Semiramis the high priestess of Babylonian cults, the mother-child cult. Many of these features have come out of paganism and been superimposed across Christianity.
Now, that is not to say we have to abandon all meaningful things. I mean, just because the world wants to mess up and confuse the issue, doesn't mean I have to be confused about it. I could celebrate Christmas today if I wanted to, and I could celebrate it any day I want. And I can be grateful the Lord was born, or the Lord was risen from the dead, or whatever. That's my prerogative as long as I understand the distinction. The part that I don�t think is necessary is for us to sort of just say, well, we will not do all of that. I think you miss something there.
I think that if you want to honor the Lord Jesus Christ, that's great, and if you are really good about it, you will capitalize on people's sensitivity toward Christ at that season. I know that every Christmas season, I gear up to preach an evangelistic message, and people come to Christ because there's a sensitivity. Plus psychologists tell us that the most depressing time of the year is the Christmas time. That's when people are most depressed, because they're supposed to be happy and they're not. They look forward to all the family getting together. And the family gets together, and nobody likes each other. So there are some problems there.
But, yes, there's no question about the fact that the systems of Babylon have been superimposed upon Christianity; there's no question about that. So insofar as he brings that issue-- There's another book that's very helpful called The Two Babylons by Hyslop, also a very, very helpful book.
This man came so close to making Christmas ALL a blasphemy. But, he knew he had hundreds of members in front of him who had not yet given up Christmas, and he knew some of them might walk out on him if he made Christmas a blasphemy. So, he waffled better than the cooks down at the Waffle House. This is not rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Why? Answer: When the application of the Word is conditioned by accommodation to culture and mongrel social norms, the Word becomes a facilitator of compromise in the minds of the listener.
Having said that, again, I posted Mac Arthur's comments on Christmas because much of his information is worthy as to the history of the thing.
HOMINUM DEFENSE OF CHRISTMAS BY MACARTHUR