Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?
There is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for remembrance of
the day of Christ's birth as a day of special religious celebration. This is not
to say that we shouldn't remember Christ's birth and Its significance, but for
religious commemorations or celebrations, we must have Biblical command or
precedent! The fact of the matter is this -- the early church did not celebrate
Christ's birth, but such celebration only came into the church with the
"Christianization" of pagan rites as Catholicism was made the state religion by
The following outline describes the origin of Christmas (with its associated pagan customs, symbols, and terminology), details the Scriptural support against celebrating Christmas, attempts to show that celebrating Christmas violates the spirit of every one of the ten commandments, attempts to demonstrate that celebrating Christmas does not fall in the realm of Christian liberty, and attempts to debunk eight of the major rationalizations Christians put forth for celebrating Christmas.
I. THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS
A. Long Evolution
-- Christmas customs are an evolution from times long before the Christian
period -- a descent from seasonal, pagan, religious, and national practices,
hedged about with legend and tradition. Their seasonal connections with the
pagan feasts of the winter solstice relate them to ancient times, when many of
the earth's inhabitant's were sun worshipers. As the superstitious pagans
observed the sun gradually moving south in the heavens and the days growing
shorter, they believed the sun was departing never to return. To encourage the
sun's return north (i.e, to give the winter sun god strength and to bring him
back to life again), the sun gods were worshipped with elaborate rituals and
ceremonies, including the building of great bonfires, decorating with great
evergreen plants such as holly, ivy, and mistletoe, and making representations
of summer birds as house decorations. The winter solstice, then, was the
shortest day of the year, when the sun seemingly stood still in the southern
sky. Observing the slowdown in the sun's southward movement, and its stop, the
heathen believed that their petitions to it had been successful. A time of
unrestrained rejoicing broke out, with revelry, drinking, and gluttonous feasts.
Then, when the pagans observed the sun moving again northward, and a week later
were able to determine that the days were growing longer, a new year was
B. Not Among the Earliest Christian
Festivals -- Christmas was not among
the earliest festivals of the Church- It was not celebrated, commemorated, or
observed, neither by the apostles nor in the apostolic church -- not for at
least the first 300 years of church history. History reveals that about 440
A.D., the Church at Jerusalem commenced the celebration of Christmas, following
the lead of Roman Catholicism (see I.C,), [It was sufficient for the early
Christians that Jesus, their Lord and Savior, had been born. They praised God
that Jesus Christ had, indeed, come in the flesh. The day and the time of His
birth had no relevance to them, because Jesus was no longer physically on earth.
He had returned to heaven. And it was the risen, exalted Christ whom they looked
to, and that by faith -- not a babe laid in a manger. Jesus Christ is no longer
a baby; no longer the "Christ-child," but the exalted Lord of all. And He does
NOT somehow return to earth as a baby every year at Christmas-time -- though
this is the impression given even in certain hymns sung in Protestant services.]
C. The Role of Religion In Ancient
What better way than to "Christianize" their pagan idolatries. Thus, the
Babylonian mystery religions were introduced by
December 25th was
particularly important in the cult of Mithras, a popular deity in the Old Roman
Empire. Robert Myers (a proponent for celebrating Christmas) in his book
Celebrations says, "Prior to the celebration of Christmas, December 25th in the
Roman world was the Natalis Solis 1nvicti,
the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. This feast, which took place just
after the winter solstice of the Julian calendar, was in honor of the Sun God,
Mithras, originally a Persian deity whose cult penetrated the Roman world in the
first century B.C. Besides the Mithraic
influence, other pagan forces were at work. From the seventeenth of December
until the twenty-third, Romans celebrated the ancient feast of the
Saturnalia.... It was commemorative of the Golden Age of Saturn, the god of
sowing and husbandry."
In order to make
Christianity palatable to the heathen, the Roman Church simply took Saturnalia,
adopted it into Christianity, and then eventually many of the associated pagan
symbols, forms, customs, and traditions were reinterpreted (i.e.,
"Christianized") in ways "acceptable" to Christian faith and practice. (In fact,
in 375 A.D, the Church of Rome under Pope Julius I merely announced that the
birth date of Christ had been "discovered" to be December 25th, and was accepted
as such by the "faithful." The festival of Saturnalia and the birthday of
Mithras could now be celebrated as the birthday of Christ!) The pagans flocked
into the Catholic places of worship, because they were still able to worship
their old gods, but merely under different names. It mattered not to them
whether they worshiped the Egyptian goddess mother and her child under the old
names (Isis and Horus), or under the names of the "Virgin Mary" and the
"Christ-child." Either way, it was the same old idol-religion (cf. I Thes.
1:3-10; 5:22). Paul says to turn from
idols, not rename them and Christianize them). Roman Catholicism's Christmas Day
is nothing but "baptized" paganism, having come along much too late to be part
of "the faith once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).
D. "Christianization" of Pagan Customs, Symbols,
and Terminology -- Christianity had to
undergo a transformation so that pagan
blasphemous "Christ's Mass" shortened
to "Christ-mas" -- The Roman Catholic "Christ's Mass" is a special mass
performed in celebration of Christ's birth, in this mass, Jesus is considered
both the priest and the victim, represented by the Catholic priest who offers
Him as a sacrifice each time the mass is performed. In offering this
"sacrifice," the priest believes he has the power to change the bread and the
wine of the Communion into Jesus' literal flesh and blood, requiring the people
to worship these elements as they do God Himself. 'This is obviously a denial of
the gospel, and thereby, a false gospel (a re-doing of the sacrifice for sin –
Heb. 9:12, 24-26; 10:10,12,14). Yet, many who cry out till year long against the
blasphemous Roman Catholic system, at year-end embrace
Nativity Scenes (tainted with
paganism) -- Nearly every form of pagan worship descended from the Babylonian
mysteries, which focus attention on the "mother-goddess" and the birth of her
child. This was adapted to "Mary-Jesus" worship, which then easily accommodated
the multitude of pagans "converted" to Christianity inside
3. Christmas Tree -- Evergreen trees, because of their ability to remain green throughout
the winter season, have long symbolized immortality, fertility, sexual potency,
and reproduction, and were often brought into homes and set up as idols. The
full mystical significance of the evergreen can only be understood when one
considers the profound reverence the ancient pagans had for all natural
phenomena -- "To them, Nature was everywhere alive. Every fountain had its
spirit, every mountain its deity, and every water, grove, and meadow, its
supernatural association. The whispering of the trees ... was the subtle speech
of the gods who dwelt within" (W.M. Auld, Christmas Traditions). This is nothing
but nature worship or Animism.
The custom of bringing the
tree into the home and decorating it as is done today has legendarily been
attributed to Martin Luther. In truth, the modern custom has been lost in
obscurity, but almost every culture has some such tradition. For ages, evergreen
trees would be brought into the house during the winter as magic symbols of luck
and hope for a fruitful year to come. It may also be that the star with which
many of today's trees are topped did not originate as a representation of the
star that the wise men followed, but rather a representation of the stars to
which the ancient Chaldean astrologers looked for guidance.
The first decorating of an
evergreen was done by pagans in honor of their god Adonis, who after being slain
was brought to life by the serpent Aesculapius. The representation of the slain
Adonis was a dead stump of a tree. Around this stump coiled the snake -
Aesculapius, symbol of life restoring. From the roots of the dead tree, then
comes forth another and different tree -- an evergreen tree, symbolic to pagans
of a god who cannot die! In
The Old Testament warns at least ten times against the practice of decorating evergreen trees for purposes of idolatry and false worship. "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 nail-, and with hammers, that it move not." (Jer. 10:3,4.)
4. Christmas Wreaths
-- In pagan mythology, evergreen means eternal life and a never-dying existence.
Made from evergreens, Christmas wreaths were most frequently round, which
symbolized the sun (just as do halos in most religious art). Hence, the round
Xmas wreaths stand for an eternal sun, a never-dying or self-renewing sun. In
addition, the round form can also relate to the sign of the female, which stands
for the regeneration of life. Because of these pagan associations, the Christian
church was initially hostile towards the use of wreaths and other evergreen
derivatives. But in the same way it Christianized other pagan traditions, the
church soon found a way to confer its own symbolic meanings. For example, the
sharp pointed leaves of the "male" holly came to represent Christ's crown of
thorns and the red berries His blood, while the "female" ivy symbolized
immortality (Sulgrave Manor, "A Tudor
Christmas," p, 6). Such wreaths now not only adorn churches at Christmas
time, but are also appearing during the Easter season.
-- The use of the mistletoe plant (which
is poisonous to man and animals) can be traced back to the ancient Druids.
('the Druids were pagan Celtic priests who
were considered magicians and wizards.) It represented the false "messiah,"
considered by the Druids to be a divine branch that had dropped from heaven and
grew upon a tree on earth. This is an obvious corruption of God's prophetic Word
concerning Christ, "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!" (Zech. 6:12)
coming from heaven. The mistletoe symbolized the reconciliation between God and
man. And since a kiss is the well
known symbol of reconciliation, that is how "kissing under the mistletoe" became
a custom -- both were tokens of reconciliation. The mistletoe, being a sacred
plant and a symbol of fertility, was also believed to contain certain magical
powers, having been brought to earth from heaven by a mistle thrush carrying it
in its toes (hence the name). It was once known as the "plant of peace," and in
A kiss is
also something which is, at times, associated with lust. So the practice of
"kissing under the mistletoe" also had roots in the orgiastic celebrations in
connection with the Celtic Midsummer Eve ceremony. At the time the mistletoe was
gathered, the men would kiss each other as a display of their homosexuality.
(The custom was later broadened to include
both men and women.) Kissing under the mistletoe is also reminiscent of the
temple prostitution and sexual license prolificating during Roman Saturnalia.
6. Santa Claus
-- Santa Claus or "Father Christmas" is a corruption of the Dutch "Sant
Nikolaas." ("Saint Nicholas" was the 4th
century Catholic bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, who gave treaty to children; he
was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, "regarded as a special friend and
protector of children." The red suit comes from the fact that Catholic bishops
and cardinals in
the Santa Claus concept came from the pagan Egyptian god, Bes, a rotund,
gnome-like personage who was the patron of little children. Bes was said to live
at the North Pole, working year-round to produce toys for children who had been
good and obedient to their parents. In Dutch, he was called "Sinter Klaas."
Dutch settlers brought the custom to
Santa is the blasphemous substitute for God! He is routinely given supernatural powers and divine attributes which only GOD has. He is made out to be omniscient -- he knows when every child sleeps, awakes, has been bad or good, knows exactly what every child wants (cf. Ps.139: 1-4).
He is made
out to be omnipresent -- on one night
of the year he visits all the "good" children in the world and leaves them
gifts, seemingly being everywhere at the same time. He is made out to be
omnipotent -- he has power to give
each child what each one wants. He is made out to be a
sovereign judge -- he answers to no one and no one has authority
over him, and when he "comes to town," he comes with a full bag of rewards for
those whose behavior has been acceptable in his eyes.
Santa Claus has become one of the most popular and widely accepted and unopposed myths ever to be successfully interwoven into the fabric and framework of Christianity. It is a fact that Christ was born. and that truth should greatly rejoice the heart of every Christian. But the Santa Claus myth distorts the truth of Christ's birth by subtly blending truth with the myth of Santa Claus. When Christian parents lie to their children about Santa Claus, they are taking the attention of their children away from God and causing them to focus on a fat man in a red suit with god-like qualities. All of this teaches the child to believe that, just like Santa, God can be pleased with "good works," done in order to earn His favor. Also, they teach that no matter how bad the child has been, he will still be rewarded by God --just as Santa never failed to bring gifts. Even in homes of professing Christians, Santa Claus has clearly displaced Jesus in the awareness and affections of children, becoming the undisputed spirit, symbol, and centerpiece of Christmas.
7. Christmas Eve -- "Yule" is a Chaldean word meaning "infant." Long before the coming of Christianity, the heathen Anglo-Saxons called the 25th of December "Yule day" -- in other words, "infant day" or "child's day" -- the day they celebrated the birth of the false "messiah"! The night before "Yule day" was called "Mother night." Today it is called "Christmas Eve." And it wasn't called "Mother night" after Mary, the mother of our Lord -- "Mother night" was observed centuries before Jesus was born. Semiramis (Nimrod's wife) was the inspiration for "Mother night," and "Child's day" was the birthday of her son (Tammuz), the sun-god!
8. Yule Log -- The Yule log was considered by the ancient Celts a sacred log to be used in their religious festivals during the winter solstice; the fire provided promises of good luck and long life. Each year's Yule log had to be selected in the forest on Christmas Eve by the family using it, and could not he bought, or the superstitions associated with it would not apply. In Babylonian paganism, the log placed in the fireplace represented the dead Nimrod, and the tree which appeared the next morning (which today is called the "Christmas tree") was Nimrod alive again (reincarnated) in his new son (sun), Tammuz. (Still today in some places, the Yule log is placed in the fireplace on Christmas Eve, and the next morning there is a Christmas tree!)
Today's Yule log tradition comes to us from Scandinavia, where the pagan sex-and-fertility god, Jule, was honored in a twelve-day celebration in December. A large, single log was kept with a fire against it for twelve days, and each day for twelve days a different sacrifice was offered. The period now counted as the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany was originally the twelve days of daily sacrifices offered to the Yule log. (What, then, are we really doing when we send "Yuletide greetings"? Are we really honoring Christ by sending greetings in the name of a Scandinavian fertility god? These are the same customs being practiced today as in ancient paganism! Only the names have changed.)
9. Candles -- Candles were lit by the ancient Babylonians in honor of their god, and his altars had candles on them. And as is well known, candles are also a major part of the ritualism of Roman Catholicism, which adopted the custom from heathenism. Candles approached the Yule log in ritual importance. Like the Yule log, they had to be a gift, never a purchase, and were lighted and extinguished only by the head of the household. Such candles stood burning steadily in the middle of the table, never to be moved or snuffed, lest death follow. The Yule candle, wreathed in greenery, was to burn through Christmas night until the sun rose or the Christmas service began (Sulgrave Manor, "A Tudor Christmas,"p. 9). Obviously, candles should have no part in Christian worship, for nowhere in the New Testament is their use sanctioned.
10. Giving of Gifts -- The tradition of exchanging gifts has nothing to do with a reenactment of the Magi giving gifts to Jesus, but has many superstitious, pagan origins instead. One prominent tradition was the Roman custom of exchanging food, trinkets, candles, or statutes of gods during the mid-winter Kalends (the first day of the month in the ancient Roman calendar). This custom was transferred to December 25th by the Roman Church in keeping with the Saturnalian festival and in celebration of the benevolent St. Nicholas. [Is it not the height of ridiculousness to claim that giving one another presents properly celebrates Jesus' "birthday" (not that there is anything necessarily wrong in giving each other presents)? But what are we giving Him, if indeed we are specifically celebrating His incarnation?]
11. Christmas Goose -- The "Christmas goose" and "Christmas cakes" were both used in the worship of the Babylonian "messiah." The goose was considered to be sacred in many ancient lands, such as Rome, Asia Minor, India, and Chaldea. In Egypt, the goose was a symbol for a child, ready to die! In other words, a symbol of the pagan "messiah," ready to give his life (supposedly) for the world. This is obviously a satanic mockery of the truth.
12. Christmas Ham -- Hogs were slaughtered and the eating of the carcass was one of the central festivities of the Saturnalia. Each man would offer a pig as a sacrifice because superstition held that a boar had killed the sun deity Adonis. Hence, the tradition of the Christmas ham on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
13. Christmas Stocking -- According to tradition, a poor widower of Myra, Turkey, had three daughters, for whom he could not provide a dowry. On Xmas-eve, "Saint Nicholas" threw three bags of gold down the chimney, thereby saving the daughters from having to enter into prostitution. One bag rolled into a shoe, and the others fell into some stockings that had been hung to dry by the fire. Hence, the beginning of the tradition of the "Christmas stocking" or "boot."
14. Christmas Cards -- The first British Xmas card can be dated back to 1843. The first cards featured pictures of dead birds! Evidently, the popularity of hunting robin and wren on Christmas Day made the dead bird image an appropriate one for "holiday" cards. Often the text of the cards would also have a morbid tone. Later, the cards displayed dancing insects, playful children, pink-cheeked young women, and festively decorated Christmas trees. The first actual Xmas cards were really Valentine's Day cards (with different messages) sent in December. Mass production of Xmas cards in the United States can be traced back to 1875. Initially, the manufacturers thought of Xmas cards as a sideline to their already successful business in playing cards. But the "tradition" of sending cards soon caught on, leading to a very profitable business by itself.
15. Christmas Carols -- What do you suppose the reaction would be by a church's leaders if its pastor were to propose that the following hymns be introduced into the church to commemorate the birth of Christ? The tunes are quite lovely.
Hymn #1 -- A hymn by a Unitarian (rejects the Trinity and full deity of Christ) minister that does not mention Jesus Christ and reflects the liberal social gospel theology of the 19th century.
Hymn #2 -- A hymn by an American Episcopal priest, the fourth verse of which teaches Roman Catholic superstition about Christ coming to be born in people during the Advent season.
Hymn #3 -- A Song, the words by an Austrian Roman Catholic priest, the music by a Roman Catholic school teacher, containing the Roman Catholic superstition about halos emanating from holy people, with no gospel message.
Perhaps you would expect the church's leaders to be very upset. It might surprise you to learn that they were upset when they suspected that the pastor might somehow prevent them from singing them. You see, those three hymns were already in the church's hymnals! The pastor did not have to introduce them. The three theologically incorrect "Christmas carols" referred to above are It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, o Little Town of Bethlehem, and Silent Night.
E. European Xmas Traditions -- In the early days of Christianity, as it moved north and west into Europe, many pagan celebrations were encountered. For example, in the late-6th century in England, the Angles and Saxons were found celebrating Yule. The Christian evangelists thought they would fail in any attempt to rival, suppress, or stamp out such long held customs, so they simply adopted popular dates for their own "special rituals and hallowed services." In other words, it was easier to establish a festival celebrating the birth of Christ if it conveniently coincided with an existing popular feast day. In this way, the pagan peoples (albeit potential converts to Christianity), could continue with their usual celebrations at this time of year, but the reason for the merrymaking could be redefined and attributed to Christ's birth rather than to pagan rituals. As paganism eventually died out and Christianity became widespread, Christmas became more associated with its religious foundations than any others (Sulgrave Manor, "A Tudor Christmas," p. 2).
It was left to the Puritans to denounce everything. For them, Christmas was rightfully part popish, part pagan, and was forbidden to be kept as a holiday or feast day. The attack began in 1644 when the Puritans controlled the Parliament; December 25th was changed to a Fast Day. By 1647, even the Fast Day was abolished as a relic of superstition, synonymous with the Church of Rome. No observation on December 25th was any longer permitted, but the day was to he observed as a normal market-day. Christmas was accurately depicted by such names as the Profane Man's Ranting Day, the Superstitious Man's Idol Day, the Papist's Massing Day, the Old Heathen's Feasting Day, the Multitude's Idle Day, and Satan-that Adversary's-Working Day. In those days, any Christmas celebrations would be broken up by troops, who would tear down decorations and arrest anyone holding a service. Some who celebrated it in Europe were also thrown into prison. Because of the riots that broke out following the banning of Christmas, the celebrations and revelry were restored in 1660 by King Charles II, a Catholic (Sulgrave Manor, "A Tudor Christmas," p. 3).
F. American Xmas Traditions -- America's settlers (the "founding fathers" of so-called "Protestant America") rightfully considered Christmas a "popish" holiday. In fact, it was only in the early 1800s that several founding members of the New York Historical Society "invented" Christmas. Before then, it was illegal in colonial Massachusetts to even take December 25th off work. Christmas was forbidden as "unseemly to ye spiritual welfare of ye community." (It was banned in Massachusetts in 1659, and this law remained on the books for 22 years. In Boston, public schools stayed open on December 25th until as late as 1870!) It wasn't until 1836 that any state declared Christmas a holiday (Alabama), and then there were no more state declarations until the Civil War. It was not until 1885 that all federal workers were given Christmas Day off. The so-called Xmas customs and traditions were later concocted more for commercial purposes than for religious.
Quoting from a 12/23/83 USA TODAY article about Christmas: "A broad element of English Christianity still considered Christmas celebration a pagan blasphemy. The Puritans, Baptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Calvinists and other denominations brought this opposition to early New England and strong opposition to the holiday lasted in America until the middle of the 18th century." Henry Ward Beecher, a Congregationalist, wrote in 1874 of his New England boyhood:
"To me Christmas is a foreign day, and I shall die so. When I was a boy I wondered what Christmas was. I knew there was such a time, because we had an Episcopal church in our town, and I saw them dressing it with evergreens, and wondered what they were taking the woods in the church for; but I got no satisfactory explanation. A little later I understood it was a Romish institution, kept by the Romish Church."
II . SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT AGAINST CELESRATING CHRISTMAS -
A. 2Chron. 33:15-17 -- The Israelites had kept the old pagan form (the high places of Baal), but had merely introduced the worship of God into that form -- a refusal to let go of pagan worship forms(i.e., God was to be worshiped in the Temple, not on the high places). This was unacceptable worship because the right object of worship was mixed with Christmas the taking of a celebration established by pagans and for pagans. Can introducing the worship of Christ into that pagan form then be acceptable?
B. Deut. 12:29-32 -- God warned His people Israel to destroy all vestiges of pagan worship that they found in the "Promised Land." Not only did God want to prevent His people from being enticed to worship false gods, but He specifically revealed that He did not want His people to worship Him in the same manner in which the heathen worshiped their gods. We know, therefore, that our Lord is displeased by practices which profess to honor Him, but which are copied from the tradition of false religions. The command here was to worship God only in His way, i.e., do only what God commands -- not adding to God's commands nor taking away from them. [Is not "putting Christ back into Christmas," worshiping "the Lord your God their way"? Is there any command in the Bible to give special reverence to the Scriptural account of Christ's birth more so than to any other Scripture, let alone even a suggestion to celebrate or commemorate His birth in any way whatsoever? God never intended for His people to be imitators of the pagan customs of the world, but has called us to be separate and set apart.]
C. Lev. 10:1,2 -- Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire to the Lord. [Is not the celebration of Christmas, with all its pagan symbols and forms, a "strange fire" unto the Lord, and is not this form of worship contrary to God's commands?]
D. I Sam. 15:1,3; 7-9, 21-23 -- Saul disobeyed God’s prophet in order to worship God in his way. [Is not the celebration of Christmas one of man's ways of worshiping Christ? There is no Biblical command to offer worship in this manner.]
E. 2 Sam. 6:2-7 -- David attempts to transport the ark on a "new cart" instead of using the rings and poles as the Law required (Exo. 25:12-15). Additionally, the "transporters" of the ark were not even authorized to carry it (1Chron. 15:2; 13-15); i.e-, the ark was not only transported in the wrong way, but was transported by the wrong people! [Is not the celebration of Christmas the wrong way (pagan forms and tradition) with the wrong people (the heathen of the world join right in with the professing Christians)?]
F. 1Ki. 12:26-33
In order to unify the northern ten
G. 1Cor. 8:4-13;
They certainty did not have the liberty to regard Babylonian/Roman pagan holy days (days that were invented by the devil) as special days. Again, that would have been idolatry, worldliness, and perhaps even a form of Satan worship on their part. Therefore, how can the observance of Christmas Day, or any other Babylonian/Roman Catholic holy day, be a matter of Christian liberty?
Yet when some of us refuse to regard the pagan holy days as special days, we are the ones often referred to as the "weaker brother" in this matter! Are we opposed to such days because we are "weak in faith"? Faith would be defined as believing what the Word of God says about a matter and acting upon it. It was by faith that we stopped regarding pagan holy days as special days. Would we be more mature Christians if we would start regarding such days again? It would certainly be much easier on us and our families.
III. CHRISTMAS AND VIOLATION OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (reverse order)
A. Do Not Covet -- Children learn to covet the gifts of others, to drool over the Christmas catalog, to drag their parents endlessly through toy stores, all in the name of "the Christmas spirit."
B. Do Not Bear False Witness -- "Jesus is the reason for the season!" is the Christian battle cry to "put Christ back in Christmas," when in actuality, there is not only no Biblical warrant for Christmas, but its roots are in pagan worship systems. Nevertheless, professing Christians lie to their children about Santa Claus, the supernatural, sorcerous false "god" of Christmas, whose "gospel" is one of works salvation along with unconditional acceptance and rewards. Parents lie to their children for years about the god-like character of Santa Claus, in effect asking them to trust in a false god and a lie, and then don't understand why later in life, their children won't believe and trust in the true God, Jesus Christ.
C. Do Not Steal -- Christmas spending patterns could never stand the test of Biblical stewardship; Christians "steal" the Lord's resources by lavishly spending money on worthless and useless trinkets (in many cases); and withhold resources from those in need, while at the same time claiming to never have enough money to buy good Christian books, pity for home schooling, or buy Bible helps for their children. (Christians could also be helping the spiritually needy by giving them tracts, books, etc.) We "steal" from our families what they need and what we owe them in order to buy gifts for those who don't need them.
D. Do Not Commit Adultery -- At this "special" time of the year, lustful thoughts are actually encouraged; e.g., teens are allowed to go to parties and stay out later, thereby having temptations put in front of them that otherwise wouldn't be there. Christmas parties for adults also encourage evil thoughts through the use of the mistletoe, etc. (According to Matt. 5:28 such thoughts constitute adultery. At the very least, spiritual adultery is encouraged by the "season.")
E. Do Not Murder -- Envy and hate of my brother (which, according to Matt. 5, is equal to murder) because he has more than me or because he receives a larger Christmas bonus than me, is encouraged at Christmas time. We also tend to spiritually sacrifice our children to the "god of Christmas" via greed, selfishness, etc.
F. Honor Father & Mother -- Christmas gift-giving is not an honor to parents; the term "exchanging" gifts (i.e., giving in expectation of a return) is a dead give-away of the mockery associated with this tradition.
G. Remember the Sabbath & Keep It Holy -- Although we recognize that the Lord's Day is not the "Christian Sabbath," clearly the Lord's Day is to be kept for worship and observed as such. Yet when Christmas Eve, Christmas day, or the day after Christmas falls on a Sunday, most churches adjust the Lord's Day to accommodate Christmas, usually by cancelling the regularly scheduled Sunday evening service. Most of its members are too busy or too tired to attend services anyway.
H. Do Not Take the Lord's Name in Vain -- "Christ" and "mass" are two words that are totally opposite from one another, and to connect the two is to blaspheme the name of Christ. By taking a pagan celebration, "Christianizing" it, and calling it a celebration of the birth of Christ, is most certainly taking the Lord's name in vain- (A good example of the willingness of the professing church to profane the name of the Lord would be the title of a popular children's Christmas concert production -- The Divine Ornament. Imagine, identifying our Lord with a pagan ornament to hang on a pagan tree! What insult! What blasphemy!) In addition, some professing Christians use religion ("Christ's birthday") as a cloak to cover the evils of covetousness, idolatry, greed, immorality, etc. -- all excuses to give vent to evil lusts.
I. Do Not Make Yourself Any Carved Image -. Nativity scenes, "pictures" of Christ, Christmas cards with "pictures" of Jesus, etc., all violate this command. God has given us His Word, not images, to teach us about Christ (1 Pe.1:23; Dt. 4:12; 15-19).
J. Have No Other gods Before Me -- The "god of Christmas" is an idol! Looking to Christmas season for happiness, joy, and fulfillment, rather than through a pure, personal, and Biblical relationship with Jesus Christ, is idolatry.
CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS -- IS IT CHRISTIAN
A. Romans 14:1-13 -- This passage is speaking of Jews who were observing the Old Testament Jewish holy days/festivals and dietary laws even though they were now believers in Christ; but they were also judging their Gentile brothers-in-the-Lord who did not observe the Jewish customs. Likewise, the Gentile Christians were judging their Jewish brothers who were seemingly caught-up in ceremonial law. Paul was thusly saying, "To you Gentile Christians - - leave the Jewish Christians alone, because they are not violating any Scriptural commands by their actions (i.e., it's a "disputable" matter [doubtful or gray area] and not a moral issue). To you Jewish Christians -- it's okay for you to observe the Jewish festivals and dietary laws because they were given by God in the Old Testament, and thereby, are considered to be previously approved worship forms, but don't judge your Gentile brothers because there is no Biblical command for either of you to continue to observe these things." (Actually, it wasn't "okay" [see IV.C. below], but Paul allowed it as an act of an immature/weaker brother [see II.G. above].) If a moral issue is involved (i.e., a practice that is covered in Scripture), then this passage and its application to Christian liberty (i.e., the freedom to engage in practices not prohibited by Scripture) would obviously not apply. The celebration of Christmas appears to be such a moral issue, because it is not only not from God, but is from ancient paganism itself!
B. 1Corinthians 8: 4-13 -- The Gentile Christians, who had been raised in an idolatrous system, were having a problem with the their Jewish brothers who were eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. (Apparently, this was the only "healthy" meat available.) Similar to the Romans 14 passage above, Paul says that eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols is not a moral issue, and thereby, is not prohibited. However, Paul does not say that it is okay to go into the pagan temple itself; in fact, in other passages (1Cor. 10:14, 18-21), Paul specifically prohibits getting involved with the pagan feasts. In other words, it's not a moral issue to partake in the byproducts of a pagan religious system (not, however, that there is no indication here that the Jewish Christians were using the "idol meat" as part of their worship), but it is not okay to partake in the religious system itself (because the corrupt character of the participants would be harmful for believers). Rather, we must be separate from the worldly system (2Cor. 6:14-7:1). Therefore, when items (byproducts) associated with a pagan religious system not only develop religious associations of their own, but have been integrated into what would otherwise be true Christian worship (as the celebration of Christmas has clearly become in our culture), then we should pull away from them so that there is no confusion over our allegiances.
C. Galatians 4:9-10; Colossians 2.16-17 -- Both these passages of Scripture refer to the Jewish holy days under Old Testament law. If Christians were not even to observe the Old Testament holy days -- days which did have divine sanction, for a time -- they certainly don't have the liberty to observe pagan holy days!
D. James 4:11 -- James is saying that Christians may only judge a brother on matters determined in God's Word (i.e., moral issues). If a matter is not covered in the Word, then these are matters of Christian liberty (Rom,14;1-13, 1Cor 8:4-13). He who judges in these areas of Christian liberty is judging and condemning the Word of God as being an imperfect standard to which the judge, thereby, refuses to submit. Since we have clear Scriptural precept that condemns the things that go on around December 25th in the name of Christ, the celebration of Christmas does not appear to be a matter of liberty, but one of moral conduct.
V. THE RIGHT RESPONSE
A. Quench Not the Holy Spirit (1 Thes 5:19-22) -- Test all things against the Scripture and line-up beliefs and actions with what is true (i.e., do not treat with contempt the Word of God). If one is convinced that to celebrate Christmas is sin, then he and his family must not compromise with the world or the church by participating in any Christmas celebrations (Rom. 14:23).
B. Avoid Traps of the Devil.
Lack of Zeal -- One who never considers why he does certain things, but he just does them because he always has or because his parent always have; one who acts on emotions rather than on facts.
Lack of Truth -- One who does things for good reasons and right motives (i.e., plenty of zeal), but not in truth.
C. Realize that Christians Celebrating Christmas as the Day of Christ's Birth Makes No More Sense than Adding Any of the Following Days as Special Days of Christian Celebration: -- (Remember, The Bible's focus on the birth of Christ is for the sole purpose of documenting his virgin birth, his incarnation, and the fulfillment of His prophetic Messiahship. Like the tongue-in-cheek suggestions below, one must also remember that there is no Biblical warrant, precedent, nor precept for the remembrance of the day of Christ's birth as a day of special religious celebration.)
Baptism Celebration -- Why not have three days of swimming parties in the summer in order to cetebrate/symbolize Christ's three days in the grave? We could even pick a time based upon our speculation of when John the Baptist baptized Jesus!
Ascension Celebration -- Why not have one day set aside every year for hot-air balloon rides in order to celebrate Christ's ascension to heaven?
Miracle Celebration -- There is considerable Biblical focus on Jesus' miracles (even more than on his birth), so why not have one day set aside every year to celebrate the first of Christ's miracles? And since that was the turning of water into wine (Jn. 2), why not have "Christian" wine-tasting parties?!
D. Avoid the Rationalizations that:
1. "Christmas Provides a Festive Time to Share the Gospel" -- One cannot take something condemned in God's Word and "use it" to spread the Gospel; neither will God bless it to spread His Word. Unacceptable worship and the "mixing-in" of unholy/pagan forms is surely not the normal means through which God blesses the faithful. Satan works to blend together his system with God's system, because when unacceptable worship (paganism) is blended with true worship (God's truth), true worship is destroyed.
In fact, any time one mixes pagan ideas and practices with the pure religion of Christ, it is condemned in Scripture as the heinous sin of idolatry! God has always detested taking those things dedicated to idols and using them to worship Him. [In fact, this "special time of the year" is probably more a hindrance to the receptiveness of the gospel message than a help. Much of the celebration observed by our contemporary society deludes people into assuming that God is pleased, when in reality, He is offended by false religion, pseudo-worship, and alien philosophies. The ecumenical spirit and counterfeit "love" under the guise of "peace and goodwill among men," dulls one's sensitivity to his desperate need to repent of sin and be reconciled to a holy God.]
2. "Christmas is Merely the Honoring of Christ's Birth" -- Someone says, "I know Christmas is of pagan origin, but I still think it's not wrong for a church to have a special time for honoring Christ's birth." But since when did Protestants believe that Christians have the right to add to the Bible? Is the church a legislative body? Arc we to follow the Bible in our faith and practice, or the thinking of fallible men? If we have the right to add a special holy day to the Christian economy, then we can add 10,000 other things. Then we will be no better than the false cults and the Roman Catholics who follow heathen traditions! [Celebrating Christ's birth is a form of worship. But since Christmas is a lie, those who celebrate it are not worshiping in "spirit and truth" (Jn. 4:24).]
3. "All I'm Doing is Putting Christ Back into Christmas" -- The modern conservative cry to put Christ back into Christmas is absurd. As detailed earlier in this report, Jesus Christ was never in Christmas. It's a lie to say He was, He has no part in a lie. When anyone takes the truth and mixes a lie with it, they no longer have the truth. They have changed the truth into a lie. Neither is it possible to take a lie and mix enough truth with it to change the lie into the truth. You still come out with a lie. One may say, "Well, I know it's not the truth, but I'll put Christ back in Christmas and glorify God in it then." No, you won't. Christ never was in Christmas. You cannot change a lie into the truth. It should in reality be Baal-mass, Nimrod-mass, Tammuz-mass, Mithras-mass, or Mary-mass. Christ-mass is a lie. Why use a lie as a good time for a cardinal truth (the incarnation) of the Christian faith?
4. "I'm Using Christmas to Witness for Christ, Just Like the Apostle Paul Did" -- Some say that all they are doing is taking the "truth" from Christmas (i.e., the incarnation of Christ) and "cultivating" it as the Apostle Paul did (Acts 17/Mars Hill), taking the opportunity of the season to witness to a lost world. This would be fine if these Christians were actually doing only as Paul did. Paul, in addressing the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, proclaimed to them that their "unknown god" to whom they had erected an altar, was none other than "the God who made the world and all the things therein." Paul was not intimidated by the pagan surroundings and symbolisms, nor did he berate the Greeks for their error, but merely showed them the truth of the gospel of Christ. But do Christians really use the "opportunity presented by the season" in the same way as Paul used the opportunity of the pagan altar? Do Christians personally stand in front of their home-town public displays of Xmas (Nativity scenes, etc.) and preach the gospel?
To paraphrase Paul, do they say: "Men of Indianapolis, I see that in every way you are very religious; what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you"? Do they come out (if the public schools where they have just attended their children's Xmas programs) and preach to the attendees about the true God who has been grossly misrepresented in the program they have witnessed? Hardly. Even to most of those who understand the true origin of Xmas, this "unique time of year" means inviting unbelievers into their homes to gather around the Xmas tree, are only using pagan forms and the pagan festival season as an opportunity to witness. If Paul meant this in Acts 17, he would have met the people in the Athenian temple or in his or their homes, gathering around their idols which he had Christianized and was now using as a part of his worship.
Most of the people who decorate their homes and churches with Xmas trees, holly wreaths, Nativity scenes, etc., all supposedly to be used as "opportunities" via "Xmas coffees," neighborhood "grab bag" gift exchanges, Xmas concerts, etc., are convinced that they're doing God a service. And since they are not involved in the crass secular "commercialization" that the world revels in, but have instead "put Christ back in Xmas", they reason that all is Biblical and pleasing to God.
5. "It Doesn't Mean Anything to Me" -- Many Christians who routinely make a habit of picking-and-choosing which Biblical commands they will obey or not obey, have likewise carried this practice over into a justification for celebrating Christmas. They claim, "but the Christmas tree, mistletoe, Santa Claus, etc., don't mean anything pagan to me, so I’ll exercise my Christian liberty and partake in all of it." Obviously, if one were to take such a cavalier approach to the physical world (i.e., "I can drink rat poison because I choose not to regard it as poison"), it would likely lead to a quick physical death. Why then do Christians think they can avoid spiritual harm by ignoring God's spiritual warnings?
6. "The 'Connection' Has Been Broken" -- There are those who clearly recognize the pagan nature of the various Christmas worship forms and practices. Nevertheless, many of these Christians claim that because of the long passage of time from their pagan inception to the present (6000 years?), the "connection" to paganism has been sufficiently diminished to allow the adoption of these forms and practices into our Christian worship and celebration. While it may be true that most symbols have lost their original demonic meaning and significance in a modern society, it is strangely bizarre and ironic that Christendom seeks to commemorate Christ's birth with the faded symbols of Satan. And even though some of God's people may be naive and ignorant about the source of these things, surely God is not. Can such things please Him? And think about this -- if it were possible to "disconnect" current practices from their pagan/occultic roots, why does Scripture not provide us any guidelines as to:
how much time is necessary for the "neutralization"/disassociation process to occur; and
which of the hundreds of ancient pagan rites would then be acceptable for adaptation into Christian worship (since some are obviously much more pagan/occultic than others)?
7. "There Are Hundreds of Other Items of Daily Life that Have a Pagan Origin" -- It is said, "Such things as the wedding ring, certain clothing customs, the modern division of time into hours and minutes, the names of the days of the week, etc., all have pagan connections in their origins, so isn't it a contradiction on your part to say that their meanings have sufficiently changed while Christmas's meanings have not?"
That's not what we're saying. We would ask the question back, "Which of these pagan items do we focus on to celebrate the birth of Christ? Or which of these is 'Christianized' and brought into our weekly worship of, or our daily devotion to, Christ, as you do with the pagan forms and traditions of Xmas?" The origin and meaning of a custom, tradition, or form does not take on significance unless it is somehow specifically incorporated into, or lined up with, our worship. As we have already detailed in the section on Christian liberty (Section IV.B.), these rings, clothing customs, etc. would be merely the byproducts of paganism, not paganism itself, and they have developed no religious connotations or associations of their own, as have the Xmas customs and traditions.
8. "Baptism (and Circumcision) Have Pagan Origins and God Still Gave Their Use in Scripture, So What's Wrong With Using the Pagan Forms of Christmas?" -- This argument is frequently made by pastors who say that to be consistent, those who would have us forbid the forms, symbols, and traditions of Christmas should also be calling for us to abandon believer's baptism; i.e., shouldn't the would-be banners of Christmas be saying, "Since the ancient mystery religions practiced forms of baptism, therefore baptism is a pagan custom and should be outlawed for the believer in Christ"? This is a strange argument for anyone to make (and, in our opinion, reveals a low view of Scriptural admonitions). If baptism were absent from the Bible, as using pagan forms and traditions to celebrate or commemorate Christ's birthday are absent, there would then be no Biblical justification for baptism – God has not commanded us to celebrate or commemorate Christ's birth- He has commanded us to baptize (Matt. 28:19).
9. Abstain From the Observance of Christmas -- What, then, ought to be the Christian's response to this and other pagan and Roman inventions? It cannot be denied that they are pagan pure and simple, from beginning to end. God gives us specific instructions in His Holy Word: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen ... (Jer. 10:2). These words are perfectly clear. What rational options does a Bible believing Christian have?
The very popularity of Christmas should cause the Christian to question it. Anyone and everyone can celebrate Christmas without question -- outright pagans, nominal Christians, and even Buddhists and Hindus. If, in reality, December 25th was a date set by God to remember the birth of Jesus, you could be sure that the world would have nothing to do with it. After all, God has commanded one day in seven -- the Lord's Day -- to worship Him. Does the world observe it? Of course not. As expected, the world loves Christmas, but hates the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn.15:18, 23-25). It shuns anything pertaining to true religion. Shouldn't the Christian be just a little suspicious of a celebration in which the whole sinful world can join without qualms?
One way to test the Scripturalness of our practices is to reflect on what we would expect missionaries to teach new converts in a foreign culture. With the Bible as their guide book they could start new local churches without importing American culture encumbered with Roman Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, and crass commercialism. Missionaries who have urged new converts to forsake all pagan superstitious relics have later been questioned about the apparent inconsistency of their own American Christmas customs. Nationals perceived them as idolatrous even though the missionaries were oblivious to that possibility!
When Christmas is exposed for what it really is, this angers people. It angers Protestant people! And there is reason why it does so. When the pagan celebration of Christmas is rooted up, and rejected, then what has become a Protestant tradition is, in effect, being rejected! And that is why people become angry. It began as a Roman Catholic holy day, and then it became a Protestant holy day. And if anyone dares show it up for what it really is, they face the wrath of the Protestant religious machine. Christmas is a thoroughly pagan holiday -- in its origin, in its trappings, and in all its traditions. Perhaps we should contemplate the words of the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon, delivered in a Lord's Day sermon on December 24, 1871:
"We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because [it's] not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour's birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred….
"It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, therefore superstition has fixed it; ... Where is the method in the madness of the superstitious? Probably the fact is that the holy days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. ... We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Saviour was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December.... regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son,"
And from Dr. H.A. Ironside's Lectures on the Book of Revelation (1920; p. 301):
"It is a lamentable fact that Babylon's principles and practices are rapidly but surely pervading the churches that escaped from Rome at the time of the Reformation. We may see evidences of it in the wide use of high-sounding ecclesiastical titles, once unknown in the reformed churches, in the revival of holy days and church feasts such as Lent, Good Friday, Easter, and Christ's Mass, or, as it is generally written, Christmas..., some of these festivals ... when they are turned into church festivals, they certainly come under the condemnation of Galatians 4:9-11, where the Holy Spirit warns against the observance of days and months and times and seasons. All of them, and many more that might be added, are Babylonish in their origin, and were at one time linked with the Ashtoreth and Tammuz mystery-worship. It is through Rome that they have come down to us; and we do well to remember that Babylon is a mother, with daughters who are likely to partake of their mother's characteristics ..."
And, finally, from Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons: Or the Papal Worship:
"Upright men strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts, the apostasy went on till the Church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under pagan superstition. That Christmas is a pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, and the ceremonies with which it is celebrated, prove its origin."
We can summarize by saying that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to commemorate the birth of our Lord, and God the Father evidently deemed it unwise to make the date known. Hence, it will always remain unknown and is not to be ceremoniously remembered and celebrated. (In fact, God has warned us about getting entangled with any special days [Gal. 4:10]). Notice though, that we are commanded to remember Him in His death (but no special day was specified for this either):
".... This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:18,19; 1Cor.11 :23-26).
To commemorate His death is Scriptural. Any day of the year will do. To commemorate His birth is non-Scriptural, even extra-Scriptural (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18,19), whether one chooses December 25th or any other day. If God had desired us to remember Christ's birthday, He could have left us the precise date. But if He had, He would have vindicated every astrologer in the past 2,000 years. In occult circles, the anniversary of a person's birth is the most important metaphysical day of the year. The Bible recognizes no such significance. It is intriguing that there are only two birthday celebrations recorded in the entire Bible and they were both those of ungodly kings -- and both resulted in an execution (Gen. 40:16-22 and Matt.14:6-10 / Mark 6:21-27)!
The Apostle Paul says: "God forbid that I should glory in anything except in the cross [not the manger] of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal.6:14). We find no salvation in the birth of the Lord Jesus by itself, for salvation was only made possible through His death (i.e., His shed blood) and resurrection. Our focus should be on the cross and our ascended Savior, not in a cradle.
Those who love Jesus should
certainly rejoice that He was born and lived amongst us as a man. But if we
truly want to glorify Him and bear testimony of who He is, we must stop marring
that blessed gift with the debauchery of paganism. If we want to honor His
birth, let it be done as He would have done it: year-round unselfishly serving
our fellow man as an unending act of love for our God. Let us put away all of
the mixture of pagan customs and take up His mantle and His pure worship, and
show the confused world that there is a difference.
BIBLIOGRAPHY / SOURCES
Assemblies of Yahweh. The Case Against Christmas. Sacred Name Broadcaster, Bethel, PA,23pp.
Becker, R.F. The Truth About Christmas. Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 36 pp.
Blanton, Raymond. The Christmas Lie. Highways & Hedges Tracts. Liberty. SC, 13 pp.
Huday, George. The History of the Christmas Card. Putman Pub., New York, 1954, 304pp.
Dager. Albert James. "The Origins of Christmas Traditions," Media Spotlight Special Report Redmond, WA, 1985.
Dickey, D.J. & Sheller, Earl "Should A Christian celebrate Christmas?” Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Vernonia, OR, 10/89: three-part sermon series -- each on a 90-minute audio cassette tape.
Dossey, Donald, Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun: Mythical Origins, Scientific Treatments & Superstitious "Cures," Outcomes Unltd. Press, Asheville, NC, 1995 (paper cd.), 232pp.
Elwell. W. A. (Ed.). Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI. 1984, pp. 218-221.
Halff, Charles. The Truth About Christmas. The Christian-Jew Foundation, San Antonio, TX, 13pp.
Halff, Charles. “Is Christmas a Jewish Holiday?” Message Of The Christian Jew. November-Desember 19993, pp. cover, 1,2 & 7.
Helgerson, John C. Considering the Christmas Issue. The Church of the Open Bible, Burlington, MA, 12/31/90.
Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons: Or The Papal Worship. Loizeaux Bros., Neptune, NJ, 1959:Second Edition, 330pp.
Kohler, John, Our Baptist Heritage, Heritage Baptist Church, Salem, IN, Vol. 2, No: 3. 11/92.8pp.
McCurry, Robert. The God Man Has Made. Heritage Press, Sharpsburg, GA, 8pp.
Pink. A.W. Xmas. Chapel Library, Venice, PL. 6pp.
Schneider, Michael. Is Christmas Christian? Chapel Library, Venice, PL, 15pp.
Spurlin, Ed. Where Is The Christ in Christmas. Voice in the Wilderness, Milford, NH, 11/92, 8pp
Spurgeon, C.H. "Joy Born At Bethlehem," A Sermon: Delivered on Lord's Day Morning, December 24th, 1871. Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, pp. 697-698.
Unknown. My Lord Has Not Told Me To Do It: The Christian and "Christmas. " Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 4 pp.
Unknown, 10 Reasons Why Christmas Is Unscriptural. Chapel Library, Venice, FL, 8 pp,
Vine, W.E.), Gospel Tract Publications. The Collected Writings of W.E, Vine, Volume 5. Glasgow, Scotland, 1986, pp, 436-439.
Willcock, Shaun. The Pagan Festivals of Christmas and Easter. Bible Based Ministries, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 1992, 76pp.
Wilson, Greg. Lets Keep Christ Out of Xmas. Landmark Independent Baptist Church, Homestead, FL, 4pp.
LIES IN DISGUISE
By Hannah Whitall Smith
Battling With Temptation!
There are many questions surrounding the topic of temptation. Many ask - is it sin? Can I really overcome? Will I ever stop being tempted? We believe this article will shed some much-needed light on this important subject.
Hannah Whitall Smith was a woman of
unwavering faith who practiced what she preached. She was a Quaker minister, the
author of several books, and a public speaker. Hannah was also a founding member
of the Keswick Movement - a holiness movement started in 1874 in Keswick,
England. Hannah had seven children but only three of them lived to adulthood.
She was born in Philadelphia in 1832 and moved to England with her husband 56
years later. She died there in 1911, at the age of 79. This article was edited
and paraphrased from Chapter 10 of her classic book, The Christian's Secret of
a Happy Life, which has over a million copies in print.
Many great mistakes are made concerning the problem of temptation. First of all, some people seem to think that after becoming a Christian, temptations will cease. They think God promises deliverance not only from yielding to temptation, but also from being tempted.
Next, some make
the mistake of viewing temptation as sin. They blame themselves for suggestions
of evil, even though they detest them. This brings them into condemnation and
discouragement. And since a discouraged soul is easy prey for sin, they often
fall due to the very fear of falling.
Are Committed Christians Still Tempted?
To solve the first misconception it's only necessary to refer to the many scriptures stating that the Christian life will be full of warfare. Actually, rather than decreasing, temptations generally increase in strength tenfold after we've entered into the deeper Christian life. It's there that we're called upon to wrestle against spiritual enemies whose power and skill to tempt us is far superior to that of any enemies we've encountered before. But no amount or type of temptation should lead us to think we haven't really found a true relationship with Christ.
Strong temptations are often more a sign of great grace than of little grace. When the children of Israel first left Egypt, the Lord did not lead them through the country of the Philistines, even though it was the nearest way, "... , Lest the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt." (Ex.13:17) But later, when they learned how to trust God better, He permitted their enemies to attack them. Even in their wilderness journey they met few enemies and fought few battles compared to those they encountered in the Promised Land. It was in the Promised Land that they found seven great nations and 31 kings to be conquered - besides walled cities and giants to be overcome!
The Israelites couldn't have fought their enemies without entering the land where those enemies lived. Therefore, the very power of your temptations, dear Christian, may be one of the strongest proofs that you really are in the land of promise you've been seeking to enter!
Is Being Tempted A
The second misconception is not as easy to deal with. It seems hardly worthwhile to say that temptation is not sin, yet much distress comes from not understanding this fact. The very suggestion of wrong seems to bring such pollution with it that the poor tempted Christian feels horrible - and very far from God - about having such thoughts.
It's like a burglar who breaks into a house and when the owner begins to resist him and drive him out, he turns and accuses the owner of being the thief. This is the enemy's scheme for entrapping us. He comes and whispers suggestions of evil to us - doubts, blasphemies, jealousies, envyings, and pride - then turns and says, "Oh, how wicked you must be to think such things! It's clear you're not trusting God - if you were it would be impossible for these things to enter your heart." The enemy's reasoning sounds so believable, we often accept it as true. This brings us under condemnation and fills us with discouragement - and the enemy knows that when we're discouraged it's easier for temptation to develop into actual sin.
One of the most
fatal things in the life of faith is discouragement. One of the most helpful
things is confidence. A wise man once said that in overcoming temptations,
confidence was the first thing, confidence was the second, and confidence the
third. We must expect to conquer! That is why the Lord often said to Joshua,
strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed... Only be strong and very
courageous." (Josh. 1:7, 9) And it's also the reason He says to us,
your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." (John 14:27) The power of
temptation is in the fainting of our own hearts. The enemy knows this well and
always begins his assaults by discouraging us if he can in any way.
Discouragement sometimes arises from what we think is a righteous grief and disgust at ourselves. We are shocked that such things could be tempting to us. But actually, this mortification is coming from the fact that we've been secretly congratulating ourselves, believing that our tastes were too pure, or our separation from the world was too complete, for such things to tempt us. We're discouraged because we've expected something from ourselves and that "something" is not there. This mortification and discouragement may look like true humility, but it's really a far worse condition than the temptation itself. It's only the result of wounded self love. True humility can bear to see its own utter weakness and foolishness revealed, because it never expected anything from itself. True humility knows its only hope and expectation must be in God. Therefore, instead of discouraging the humble soul from trusting, such revelations drive it to a deeper and more utter trust. But the counterfeit humility that self-love (or pride) produces plunges the soul into the depths of discouragement without faith and can drive it into the very sin about which it's so distressed.
Here is an
allegory which illustrates this wonderfully: Satan called a meeting of his
servants to talk about how they could make a good man sin. One evil spirit said,
"I'll make him sin by setting the pleasures of sin before him. I'll tell him of
sin's delights and the rich rewards it brings." "That won't work," said Satan.
"He's tried sin and knows better than that." Then another demon said, "I'll make
him sin by telling him of the pains and sorrows of virtue.
"If the devil prefaced
each temptation with, `I am the devil, your relentless enemy; I
have come to make you sin,' I suppose we'd hardly feel any desire to yield to his
I'll show him virtue has no delights and brings no rewards." "That won't do
either," cried Satan, "for he walks in virtue and knows Wisdom's ways are
‘pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.”’(Prov. 3:17) "Well," said another
evil spirit, "I'll make him sin by discouraging his soul." "Ah, that will do
it!" cried Satan. "We'll conquer him now!"
An old writer
said, "All discouragement is from the devil." I wish every Christian would make
this a motto and realize he must flee from discouragement just as he'd flee
sin. But if we fail to recognize the truth about temptation, this is impossible.
The Bible says, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation" and we're
exhorted to "count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations." (James
1:2) Temptation, thus, cannot be sin.
It's no more a sin to hear the whispers of evil in our souls than it is to hear the wicked talk of bad men as we pass them in the street. The sin comes, in either case, only by our stopping and joining in with them! If we keep turning these evil whisperings over and over in our minds, rolling them under our tongues, and dwelling on them with half consent of our will as being true, then we sin! But when the wicked suggestions come, if we turn from them at once, as we would from wicked talk in the street, we do not sin. We may be enticed by temptations a thousand times a day without sin. But if we begin to think these enticings are actual sin, the battle is half-lost already, and the sin can hardly fail to gain a complete victory.
A Victory Story
A dear lady
once came to me in great distress because she didn't understand the truth
She grasped the truth, and the next time these blasphemous thoughts came, she said to the enemy, "I've found you out. You are suggesting these dreadful thoughts. I hate them and I'll have nothing to do with them. The Lord is my helper. Take these thoughts to Him, and settle them in His presence." The baffled enemy, finding himself discovered, immediately fled in confusion, and her soul was perfectly delivered.
If a Christian recognizes that a suggestion of evil is from the enemy, Satan knows he'll reject it sooner than he would if he thinks it's coming from his own mind. If the devil prefaced each temptation with the words, "I am the devil, your relentless enemy; I have come to make you sin," I suppose we'd hardly feel any desire to yield to his suggestions. He has to hide himself to make his snare attractive. Our victory will be gained much more easily if we're not ignorant of his devices, but recognize them at his very first approach.
Enduring Makes Us Strong
We make another great mistake by thinking that all the time spent in combating temptation is lost - hours pass in battle and we seem to make no progress. But often we've been serving God far more truly during these hours than in our times of comparative freedom from temptation. For we're fighting our Lord's battles when we're fighting temptation, and hours are often worth days under these circumstances. We read, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation," and I'm sure this means enduring the continuance of it and its frequent recurrence. (James 1:12)
Nothing grows patience as much as enduring temptation, and nothing so drives the soul to an utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus as it continues. And finally, nothing brings more praise and honor and glory to our Lord Himself than the trial of our faith that comes through manifold temptations. We are told that the proof of our faith is "more precious than gold … even though tested by fire," and that we who patiently endure will receive for our reward "the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (1 Pet.1:7, James 1:12) We should not marvel at the opening exhortation in the book of James. "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations: knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
Temptation is something God can turn around and use as an instrument to help complete our perfection. Thus sin's own weapons are turned against itself, and we see how all things, even temptations, can work together for good to them that love God. (Rom. 8:28)
The Way To Victory
The way of victory over temptation is by faith, which is, of course the foundation upon which our whole Christian life rests. Our one great theme must be: "We are nothing. Christ is all!" Once we've discovered our utter helplessness, we learn the only way to deal with temptation is to hand it over to the Lord and trust Him to conquer it for us. But when we put it into His hands we must leave it there, which I think is the greatest difficulty of all. It seems impossible to believe that the Lord can or will manage our temptations without our help - especially if they don't immediately disappear. To go on patiently "enduring" a continuing temptation without yielding to it or snatching ourselves out of the Lord's hands is a wonderful victory for our impatient natures. It's a victory we must gain if we want to please God.
We must commit ourselves to the Lord for victory over our temptations just as we committed ourselves at first for forgiveness. We must leave ourselves as totally in His hands for one as for the other. Thousands of Christians have done this and can testify to marvelous victories over countless temptations. They've actually become "more than conquerors" through Him who loves them.
It's my strong desire for Christians to be delivered from the bondage they fall into when they don't understand the true nature and use of temptation. When temptation is recognized as temptation - and not confused with sin - we can immediately say, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" "We'll know that "when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." (Is. 59:19) Then we can walk through the most aggressive assaults with unclouded and triumphant peace!
By Leonard Ravenhill
The Gospel Of Prayer
There's nothing more transfiguring than prayer. People often ask, "Why do you insist on prayer so much?" The answer is very simple - because Jesus did. You could change the title of the Gospel according to St. Luke to the Gospel of Prayer. It's the prayer life of Jesus. The other evangelists say that Jesus was in the Jordan and the Spirit descended on Him as a dove - Luke says it was while He was praying that the Spirit descended on Him. The other evangelists say that Jesus chose 12 disciples - Luke says it was after He spent a night in prayer that He chose 12 disciples. The other evangelists say that Jesus died on a cross – Luke says that even when He was dying Jesus was praying for those who persecuted Him. The other evangelists say Jesus went on a mount and He was transfigured - Luke says it was while He was praying that He was transfigured. There's nothing more transfiguring than prayer.
The Scriptures say that the disciples went to bed, but Jesus went to pray - as was His custom. It was His custom to pray. Now Jesus was the Son of God - He was definitely anointed for His ministry. If Jesus needed all that time in prayer, don't you and I need time in prayer? If Jesus needed it in every crisis, don't you and I need it in every crisis?
The story goes that a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village saw an old man sitting by a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one of the visitors asked, "Were any great men born in this village?" Without looking up the old man replied, "No, only babies." The greatest men were once babies. The greatest saints were once toddlers in the things of the Spirit.
C. H. Spurgeon was converted at the age of 16 and began preaching in London at the age of 19. When he was 27, they built him a tabernacle seating 6,000 which he packed twice on Sundays - that's 12,000 - and once on Thursday nights. How? He waited on God. He got alone with God. He studied... and he prayed.
God makes all His best people in loneliness. Do you know what the secret of praying is? Praying in secret. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matt.6:6) You can't show off when the door's shut and nobody's there. You can't display your gifts. You can impress others, but you can't impress God.
1Samuel 1:1-15 gives an account of the yearly trip Elkanah and his wife, Hannah, made to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. During this time, Hannah had been distressed that she was not able to bear a son for her husband. This passage of Scripture gives quite a descriptive account of her time in prayer concerning the barrenness of her womb. It says that Hannah wept.
More than this, she wept until she was sore. She poured out her soul before the Lord. Her heart was grieving; she was bitter of soul, provoked, and of a sorrowful spirit.
Now that's a pretty good list of afflictions - sorrow, hardship, and everything else that came upon this woman. But the key to the whole situation is that she was a praying woman. In 1Sam 1:20 it says that she reaped her reward. “Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.”
Now I say very often - and people don't like it - that God doesn't answer prayer. He answers desperate prayer! Your prayer life denotes how much you depend on your own ability, and how much you really believe in your heart when you sing, "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling..." The more self-confidence you have, the less you pray. The less self-confidence you have, the more you have to pray.
What does the Scripture say? It says that God takes the lowly, the things that are not. Paul says in 1Corinthians 1:28 that God takes the things that are not to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no flesh should glory in His presence. We need a bunch of "are nots" today.
The Language Of The Poor
Prayer is the language of the poor. Over and over again David, the King of Israel, says, "Bow down thine ear, O LORD hear me: for I am poor and needy." (Psalm 86:1) And do you remember that one of the greatest psalms he wrote says, "This poor man cried and the Lord heard him..." (Psalm 34:6)
The apostle Paul overwhelms me with his spirituality, his pedigree, his colossal intellect. Yet he says that he's very conscious that when he's weak, he is strong. He was always trying to prove to himself and to others that he was a nobody.
True prayer is a two-way communication. I speak to God and God speaks to me. I don't know how the Spirit makes communication - or why God needs me to pray - but that's how God works.
"Get Up And Pray!"
One day I was at a conference with Dr. V. Raymond Edman of Wheaton College, one of the greatest Christian educators in this country. He told us of an experience he had while he was in Ecuador as a missionary. He hadn't been there long before he was sick and dying. He was so near death that they had already dug his grave. He had great beads of sweat on his brow and there was a death rattle in his throat. But suddenly he sat straight up in bed and said to his wife, "Bring me my clothes!" Nobody knew what had happened.
Many years later he was retelling the story in Boston. Afterward, a little old lady with a small, dog-eared, beaten-up book, approached him and asked, "What day did you say you were dying? What time was it in Ecuador? What time would it be in Boston?" When he answered her, her wrinkled face lit up. Pointing to her book, she said, "There it is, you see? At 2 a.m. God said to get up and pray - the devil's trying to kill Raymond Edman in Ecuador." And she'd gotten up and prayed.
Duncan Campbell told the story of hearing a farmer in his field who was praying. He was praying about Greece. Afterward, he asked him why he was praying. The man said, "I don't know. I had a burden in the spirit and God said, `You pray, there's someone in Greece that is in a bad situation.' I prayed until I got a release." Two or three years later the farmer was in a meeting listening to a missionary. The man described a time when he was working in Greece. He had been in serious trouble. The time? Two or three years ago. The men compared notes and discovered that it was the very same day that God had burdened a farmer, on a little island off the coast of Scotland, to pray for a man in Greece whose name he didn't even know.
It may seem the Lord gives you strange things. I don't care. If the Lord tells you something, carry on with what the Lord tells you.
"Who Shall Ascend To The Hill Of The Lord?"
There's another experience Duncan Campbell told about when he was working in Scotland.
"I couldn't preach," he said. "I couldn't get through to God. The heavens were solid. It was as though there was a 10 ft. ceiling of steel." So he quit trying to preach. He asked a young man named John Cameron to pray. The boy stood up and said, "What's the use of praying if we're not right with God?" He quoted the 24th Psalm, "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?"
You can't approach God unless your hands are clean, which means your relationships with others are clean and your heart is clean. "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? ... He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; ….” (Psalm 24:3-4)
After the boy recited Psalm 24 he began to pray. He prayed 10, 15, 20 minutes. Then he suddenly said, "Excuse me, Lord, while I resist the devil." He turned around and began to tell the devil where to go and how to get there. He fought for all he was worth. You talk about having on the armor of God and resisting the devil! When he finished resisting the devil, he finished his prayer. He prayed for 45 minutes! When he finished praying it was just as though God had pulled a little switch in heaven. The Spirit of God came down on that church, that community, on the dance hall at the other end of town, and the tavern on this end of town. Revival was born in that prayer!
At the end of Malachi it says, " and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly (that's the word I like, suddenly) come to his temple," (Malachi 3:1) Remember what it says about the shepherds? They were watching their flocks by night when suddenly there was the sound of the heavenly host. Do you remember a bunch of men that had been waiting in the upper room? Suddenly the Holy Spirit came on them in that room.
There's a date in history that I love very much. It was Wednesday, August 13, 1737. A little group of people in Moravia were waiting in a prayer meeting. At 11:00 suddenly the Holy Spirit came. Do you know what happened? The prayer meeting that began at 11:00 lasted 100 years! That's right. That prayer room was not empty for a century! It's the longest prayer among men and women that I know of. Even children six and seven years old travailed in prayer for countries the names of which they couldn't even spell.
Why We Don't Have Revival
In an old town in Ireland they'll show you with reverence a place where four young men met night after night after night praying for revival. In Wales, there's a place in the hills where three or four young men only 18 or 19 years old met and prayed night after night. They wouldn't let God go; they would not take no for an answer. As far as humanly possible they prayed a revival into birth. If you're thinking of revival at your church without any inconvenience, forget it. Revival costs a lot.
I can give you one simple reason why we don't have revival in America. Because we're content to live without it. We're not seeking God - we're seeking miracles, we're seeking big crusades, we're seeking blessings. In Numbers 11, Moses said to God, "You're asking me to carry a burden I can't handle. Do something or kill me!" Do you love America enough to say, "God, send revival or kill me"? Do you think it's time we changed Patrick Henry's prayer from, "Give me liberty or give me death," to "Give me revival or let me die"?
In the 30th chapter of Genesis, Rachael goes to Jacob and throws herself down in despair. She says, "Give me children or else I die." Are you willing to throw yourself down before God to seek the spiritual birth of spiritual children in our country?
People say, "I'm filled with the Holy Spirit." If the coming of the Spirit didn't revolutionize your prayer life, you'd better check on it. I'm not so sure you got what God wanted you to get.
We've said that prayer changes things. No! Prayer doesn't change things. Prayer changes people and they change things. We all want Gabriel to do the job. God says do it yourself - with My sufficiency and My strength.
We need to get like this woman, Hannah. What did she do? She wept, she was grieved, she said she had a complaint, she fasted - and she prayed.
Jesus, the anointed of God, made prayer His custom. Paul, with his background and intellect, depended on prayer because he said he was weak. David, the king, called himself a poor man and cried to the Lord. Hannah prayed for a son and gave birth to a prophet. The prayers of a handful of young men sparked revival.
There's nothing more transfiguring than prayer.
Moving through the enemy’s blockades
By Chuck D. Pierce
Now is the Time to Build and Plant!
When the Lord called Jeremiah, He showed him that He had set him over kingdoms and nations, and his ministry would go through phases. He would root out, pull down, destroy and throw down.
Many of you have been tearing down and rooting out long enough. Just as the Lord told Jeremiah that he would build and plant, now is the time for us to do the same!
Building for the future and planting to bring forth increase sometimes can be more difficult than tearing down and rooting out.
I feel this applies to each one of us personally. This also applies to our businesses and even the corporate vision that we are aligned with in ministry. I sense we are entering a period where the enemy will try and block righteousness from proceeding forth in our lives and even in this nation. So many times we know we are to move forward, but actually we feel a resistance that blocks our way.
When seeking the Lord on how to pray, He showed me twelve key principles to help us sidestep the enemy when we feel blocked.
1. Have a desire to worship God in a new way.
In Ex. 14 we see that God intervenes for the people to move forward. He had given them a covenant promise 400 years prior. Each one of you also has a covenant promise. Through the cries of God’s people in their circumstances, He sends a deliverer to lead us forth into our promise.
Sometimes there is a war to get into the boundaries of your promise. The Israelites had to have a release from their situation and circumstances so they could worship in a new way.
After going through 10 phases of confrontation, the people of Israel were released so they could go and worship. Declare that you will be released from everything that is hindering you from worshiping God in a new way. Break out of old patterns of worship!
2. When you feel blocked, exercise whatever authority God has given you.
You know this familiar story. Once the people were released they got to a place where the sea was before them and the enemy was behind them. Even though they were confused and didn’t understand how to proceed,
Moses said to them in Ex. 14:13, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians who you see today, you shall see no more forever.”
There comes a time when God wants to do away with the enemies of your past.
The Lord told Moses, “Tell the children of Israel to GO FORWARD.” So many times when we feel blocked we want to stop. Then He told Moses, “Lift up your rod”, Moses’ symbol of authority. You have a measure of authority that God has given you. Exercise that measure and your way will begin to open up. The Lord will then overtake your enemy so you can proceed into your next phase of victory. Don’t look back at your enemy. This is a time to remain one step ahead of the enemy!
3. Praise causes your dry times to end, refreshing to come, and your path to open up.
In Num. 20, Edom refused passage to Moses and the people of Israel. Even though Moses negotiated with Edom twice, he did not receive favor for the people to pass through on the way to the promise. Sometimes that happens to us. We do everything we know to try and convince an adversary to allow us safe passage, and yet we don’t seem to make any headway. We find in Num. 21 the people get to another place where they don’t seem to be able to move forward and they grow very thirsty without water.
You will have dry times that come on the path to your promise. God commanded the people to do one thing: TO GATHER AND SING! As they began to sing, “Spring up, O well,” the well began to fill with water so they could drink and be refreshed.
A person who will stop and praise will always advance. Corporate worship is necessary for our victories in days ahead. Find your place of corporate worship. Even if you don’t feel like worshiping, worship. God will refresh you, give you strength, and you will be able to advance.
4. Don’t be afraid to address old issues that have never been dealt with fully in your life.
In 2Sam. 5 we find David coming into the anointing that had been promised many years before. His first assignment was to overthrow the Jebusites at Jerusalem. David knew he had to establish a place for God’s presence. The Jebusites should have been overthrown when Joshua and the people crossed into the Promised Land 400 years prior. They were a people that were descendants of Canaan (who had been cursed by Noah).
For David to become captain and ruler and enter into what he had been anointed to do, he had to overcome the Jebusites. Many times there is an old iniquitous pattern in our life or path that periodically surfaces.
We can never enter into all of the benefits of God’s redemptive plan for our lives until this iniquity is overturned. The time is NOW for victory!
5. Allow the Lord to reveal to you unconventional ways to overtake your enemies.
Actually, the Lord said this period of time would be like a “sewage month.” In 2 Sam. 5, David stood back and saw an entry way into Jerusalem. However, it was through the sewage! Don’t be afraid to go through a “mess” to get to victory. If you look carefully, God will show you the entry way into your victory. Take a deep breath and go through your sewage phase and stand in a new place of victory for your future. Jerusalem was David’s place to establish God’s presence. This would be where the Ark would eventually rest. If you are willing to go through your sewage, you will only “stink” for a short period. Then God’s presence will be established in you and His favour will surround you.
6. Watch for the enemy’s backlash.
Once the Philistines heard of David’s anointing, they came to stop him from advancing. The enemy detests when we move forward, and abhors the thought of the anointing of God increasing in us.
The Philistines attacked David. God gave David victory. However, once he had victory, the enemy actually regrouped to come against David again. Do not let your guard down over the next several months.
7. Be willing to be creative in your confrontation of the enemy.
Never presume upon God that you can confront the enemy in the same manner you confronted him in your last season of victory. When the Philistines regrouped against David, he asked the Lord, “Should I go up again?’ The Lord said, “Yes, but not in the same way.” Beware of legalistic strategies that could trap you over the next several weeks. Legalism produces fear and stops God’s creativity from working in us. Legalism also leads us into routine. The Lord told David to “listen for the sound of the wind in the mulberry trees.” Allow the Holy Sprit to supernaturally fill you. Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. There is a sound from heaven that will guide you. The Spirit of God in you will cause you to hear that sound. Listen for the new sound!
Be creative as you advance.
8. When you seem blocked, fast, seek the Lord, and wait for His revelation.
In 2 Chron. 20, we find a confederation of enemy forces coming against Jehoshaphat. Even though fear gripped him, Jehoshaphat fasted and sought the Lord. This caused the Lord to move upon the prophet Jahaziel. He began to prophesy God’s strategy for victory. Listen for the prophetic word. The prophetic word will lead you into success and victory. We war with our prophetic word.
9. Write down the enemy’s threats and then present your case to the Lord.
So many times when the enemy is coming against us we try to go to everyone around us who will listen to our problems. However, we need to present our case to the Lord. In 2Kings 18 and 19 we find that Sennacherib, a type of enemy of God’s covenant, was overtaking everyone in his path. This ruler then threatened to overcome Hezekiah. Many times the enemy will draw your eyes to what he is doing, and will then convince you that you are next in line. Sennacherib sent a letter to Hezekiah. We see Hezekiah presenting this letter to the Lord as a prophetic act. Write down the enemy’s threat against you and hold it up to the Lord. This will produce an order in your thinking, give you strategy, and the Lord Himself will send help to overtake your enemy.
10. Don’t let an atmosphere of unbelief influence you and stop you from speaking faith.
In Luke 4, Jesus had entered into the wilderness and gained victory over the enemy. He then returned from the wilderness with power. However, when He went to Nazareth and declared who He was and that He was anointed to bring forth God’s plan in the earth realm, the atmosphere of unbelief attempted to stop Him from moving forward in Father’s purpose. In the midst of an atmosphere of unbelief, speak faith.
11. Jesus sidestepped the enemy many times.
Learn when to take a different direction. So many times the religious enemy of that day would rise up to stop Jesus from moving forward. In John 8:59 and 10:39, we find Jesus moving out of the enemy’s path.
He hid Himself and escaped out of the hand of the enemy who was attempting to seize Him. If Jesus could make it to His destination, the cross, Jesus in you can cause you to get to your destination. Let Jesus in you reveal your path through the blocked circumstances around you.
12. Expect GOD to move on your behalf!
In Acts 12, Peter had been imprisoned by Herod. There was much persecution occurring around the leaders of the Church. The Church began to pray for Peter. An earthquake occurred. Watch for natural circumstances to work for your benefit. However, notice that when Peter showed up at a house church, they could not believe it was Peter.
When you pray, expect God to move! Even though the enemy will try and block you from advancing toward all that God has for you, do not submit to a blocked path. Submit to God and resist the devil. He will flee and you will advance.