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FOR MANY years Christmas and other major holidays, such as Easter, Halloween, etc., have been portrayed as having a Christian origin. But is this true? Is it possible that we have been deceived into believing that pagan customs and traditions of the past have their roots in the Christian church? Is it possible that many well-known Christian holidays or so-called "holy days" have their origins in something or someone other than Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life? Are innocent believers giving life to ancient satanic practices? In other words, are many faithful but misinformed Christians paying homage to false gods by honoring pagan holidays and customs, but at the same time thinking that they are pleasing the true and living God?
As we continue in this presentation, let us do so with open minds. While most Christian holidays have many advocates in support of them, surely this does not make them right or authentic. Again and again history has proven that even if the majority supports something, that does not necessarily make the thing right. On the contrary, time has shown that on most occasions the majority is wrong while the minority is right. Said Christ while still here on earth with His disciples:
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matt. 7:13-14.
As always, the true and sincere children of the Lord are required to be open-minded and humble under all circumstances, including instances like this where they may be brought in contact with views that may differ from their own. None of us can afford to be prejudiced or proud, but instead, in harmony with the instructions of our beloved Master, we should seek to always display the humility, faith, and willingness to learn "as little children" (Matt. 18:3).
Therefore, neither the overwhelming number of supporters nor the apparent sacredness of the holidays herein discussed are any real basis for them to be considered true and acceptable in the sight of God. The sacred writings declare that the beliefs, doctrines, principles, and practices upheld and promoted by the true followers of Jesus Christ must always find their origin and basis in the Word of God; otherwise they are not true but erroneous, and therefore cannot be pleasing and acceptable in God's sight.
"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isa. 8:20.
The Bible speaks of the ancient people of Babel (the Babylonians) as having a great leader by the name of Nimrod. Nimrod was one of the ringleaders, if not the main ringleader, in the apostasy that led up to the building of the tower of Babel, which was eventually destroyed by God. Of this notorious man, the Scriptures declare:
"And Cush [one of Noah's grandsons] begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." Gen. 10:8-10.
In light of the Hebrew word used in the original translation, the phrase "before the Lord," in reference to Nimrod in the above text, is really to be understood as meaning "against the Lord." In other words, Nimrod was not really a mighty hunter in God's favor or a friend of God, but instead this grandson of Ham was a proud and sinful man whose mighty prowess and skills enabled him to achieve great things. Regarding the biblical phrases, "a mighty one" and "before the Lord" we read:
"The expression [a mighty one] denotes a person renowned for bold and daring deeds. It may also include the connotation of 'tyrant'. . . The LXX renders this phrase [before the Lord] 'against the Lord.' Although the hunter Nimrod acted in defiance of God, his mighty deeds made him famous among his contemporaries, and in future generations as well." SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 275.
Nimrod became more and more famous among the people. He was highly regarded by the people who separated themselves from the true God and settled in the plains of Shinar. There he later established many different kingdoms, including Babylon. Nimrod's accomplishments led him to choose his own will above that of God. Thus he became a great rebel "against" the Creator, even in a public or open manner.
This notorious leader, Nimrod, had a wife by the name of Semiramis. Semiramis was a beautiful woman, but she was very vile and evil-minded like her husband Nimrod. The influence of these two people (Nimrod and Semiramis) led many to turn away from the good example of Shem (one of the three sons of Noah). Thus many people fell into great apostasy.
As a result of this apostasy many pagan customs and traditions were introduced. In Babylon temples called Ziggurats were erected for idol worship. Through these means many pagan customs were nurtured and promoted far and wide. Some of these practices are still observed today, including the recognition of December 25 (Christmas) as a special day. Yet most of these practices date as far back as the time following the fall of the tower of Babel.