This time of year is great for me.
Last Friday was my ‘Hebrew Birthday,’ the 14th day of the 9th “Khodesh,” or renewed crescent cycle, the ‘biblical month.’ I was the only one who ‘celebrated’ it, as I was the only one really aware of the disparity in the dates.
Next week is my ‘gregorian’ birthday, when most of the celebrating of my making it through another year is done. But, also next week, on Monday night, Khanukah begins. We will celebrate the conception of Messiah Yeshua, the Jewish defeat of Greeks and their imposition of greek culture and language, through oppression, and the Miracle of Oil for the Menorah and the Dedication of His House. We will eat TONS of fried food, some of my favorite foods altogether, for EIGHT NIGHTS. These are the things that make this time of year wonderful for me.
But, sometimes, over the last fifteen or so years, there is a bit of contrast with all the celebrating we attempt. Because many, who ‘knew’ me before I turned to begin to do His Torah the way Yeshua does, do not understand why I no longer participate in that other holiday, you know, the one EVERYONE knows about, that the whole world ‘celebrates’? Yeah, that one.
And periodically I have chosen to attempt to explain my reasons. But, as a very upfront, even blunt person, I have simply stated facts, in my view, and have lost ‘friends’ over this very thing. And I don’t think it is anything that should drive anyone out of my life, even if that relationship is only digital in this space-time continuum.
So, before I try to summarize things, I want to say this: I do NOT hold anyone in derision for celebrating christmas, or any other holiday. Before I began to walk His Walk, I also celebrated it. And as much zeal and affection as the most avid celebrants have for it, I also had, to the point of having written a very beautiful hymn about it while on board a U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarine during the season, some thirty-one years ago.
Did I ‘turn my back’ on Yeshua? Of course not! I turned more fully toward Him.
I always knew He is Jewish. And I always suspected I was, even before I knew for certain how much Jewish blood is actually in my veins. But, it was not about ‘becoming Jewish’ that caused me to turn away from this widespread holiday. It was about seeking TRUTH. [I emphasize, I do not yell. Here, my stubborn nature emerges, as I refuse to bend to the new convention].
Most people know Yeshua could not be born on Dec 25. But, as a student of History [and eventually a Historian, an M.A. in History], I cannot overlook plain and simple facts.
No shepherds guard their flocks at night in the very dead of winter. Anywhere. Beit Lekhem is cold and grassless on Dec 25.
This simple fact alone gave me pause. It didn’t make sense.
But, further study of scripture itself revealed SO MUCH OTHER information concerning the timing of Yeshua’s conception and birth.
I am only summarizing, for brevity’s sake, but the scriptures are rife with facts, clues, and overtones that make all this very, very plain to me.
First, the birth of Yokhanan HaMatbil is directly related to Yeshua’s birth. He was conceived exactly six months before Yeshua was conceived, and therefore we deduce rightly that he was born exactly six months before Yeshua.
We have some very key timing information concerning Yokhanan’s conception. His father was a Kohen, serving in the Beit HaElohim when he saw the Messenger, who told him his wife would conceive and bear a son. We are told the timing of his cycle of duty, by our learning his father was a Kohen in the order of Avi-Yah. This is the EIGHTH course of the priestly courses established by King David in the books of Chronicles. This puts him in the temple in June [Gregorian timing, for ease of understanding; I will refrain from confusing people with the biblical months in this post]. This means that Yokhanan was born during Passover, in March, and since Yeshua is born exactly six months later, He is born on the 1st of Sukkot, in late September. Due to the biblical calendar, these dates float/change on our Gregorian calendar. But, they are always the same on the Biblical Calendar: the 14th of Khodesh 1 and the 15th of Khodesh 7.
Yeshua was born during Sukkot, which most know as ‘tabernacles.’ He ‘tabernacled’ among us, many say.
Since he was born at that time, based on facts of Scripture, we can see hints and overtones as well that affirm it.
The “Light of the World” is lit in the Beit HaElohim only during sukkot. It is lit in the court of the women. It is ‘high’ above the walls of the “House”, and can be seen from Beit Lekhem. Miryam was a virgin, giving birth to the Light of the World, without the help of a man. Sukkot is “The Season of Our Joy!” And is the most exuberantly celebrated of all the seven feasts of G-d. It is also the only feast to which all the nations of the world are invited, and in which offerings are made for all the nations. “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which will be to the entire world. For this day is born to you in the city of David [Beit Lekhem], a Moshiah, who is יהוה HaMashi’akh.” The light of the world, which was shining over the shepherds, is lit before sundown, and the Kohanim used ‘swaddling’ to make the torches in order to light those huge lights; ‘swaddling’ was strips of cloth used on the ends of torches; the kohahim made them from the old robes of the Kohanim. But, all torches had ‘swaddling’ on the ends of them to hold the oil that creates the fire. And thereby the light. “And this is a sign for you: you will find the babe wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a sukka.” [Our Aramaic Peshitta Brit Khadashah uses an obscure word here for ‘sukka’] So, the torch cloths would be wrapped around the “Light of the World”, who would be lying in a Sukka. A Sukka is a booth that all Jews built in order properly to celebrate Sukkot. The Jews built ‘booths’ in the desert in which to live during their wanderings. The Sukka commemorates that time. This is the time during which a great pillar of fire ‘lit up’ and warmed the Jewish people for forty years; the very Presence of יהוה . Yeshua was placed in a sukka, because there was no room for them in any ‘inn’. This is NOT because of the tax… The Jews were given over a year to pay that tax; they did not all do it at once. Yosef used the timing of Sukkot in order to go from Natzrat to Beit Lekhem to pay his tax, but ALSO to keep the feast! Sukkot is a feast that all Jewish men must make pilgrimage to Jerusalem for. He was killing two birds with one stone. Beit Lekhem is walking distance to Jerusalem. Sukkot is seen throughout the Prophets as the time of the Shalom of יהוה on earth. [Zekh 14, and other places]. “And suddenly there appeared with the Malakh a host of heaven, praising Elohim and saying, “Glory to Elohim in the highest, and on earth Shalom, and good hope for the sons of men.”
So, with this information, [and more, but time does not permit] I was convinced that Yeshua’s birth COULD NOT happen in mid-winter. As a historian, and a literalist, based on that information alone, I could no longer celebrate His birth on the wrong day. Also as a historian, I wanted to learn ‘why’ did they pick that day?
I’ve given you the sugar. Now here’s the medicine. I hope you don’t throw up, or kick the nurse.
December 25th was and is the universal pagan day of celebrating the birth of the sun-god, whose ‘father’ is married to the second part of a trinity, a female goddess, and they copulate in the spring, and give birth to the ‘inconquerable sun’ on dec25. The three deities in this trinity go by different names in the many cultures that celebrate it. To celebrate, the ancient pagans slew babies under evergreen trees. They died eggs in their blood and hunted for them during the spring Equinox, to create the fertility necessary for the December births, to keep the cycle of fertility going. The spring day is the day of Ishtar. It only very rarely coincides with the actual Passover. During Roman times, in their version of this pagan, winter season, for twelve days, they celebrated with fertility rituals [sexual deviance], giving gifts, drunkenness, and persecuting/killing Jews. The most heinous rites were common among all pagan communities, though they went by different names. EVERY ancient western and near-eastern society participated in this, including Israel in their time of disobedience. These rites are seen condemned by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. By the time of Yeshua, Israel had been purged of these rites, through great suffering in the form of punishment from G-d: conquered by foreign armies, starvation, slavery, expulsion from the land, and more. Khanukah actually celebrates being freed from having these rites again forced on the Jews.
And that is the main reason I re-write this explanation this year.
I do NOT set myself up as one who would infringe your right to celebrate your holiday. Neither to greet someone with whatever greeting you wish. You are indeed free to do whatever you want.
But, I ask for mutual respect of my right NOT to celebrate it, and TO celebrate Khanukah, and my desire not to be wished well on a day or for a day that holds no value to me whatsoever, but in fact is offensive to me. Being greeted as such by strangers is understandable; but, I ask my friends to refrain. I seek to follow truth. 12/25 is being portrayed as the day of Yeshua’s birth: it is NOT the day of His birth, and facts prove that. And, even those who say they are celebrating His birth are blending that celebration with rites of pagans who did the most abominable things with those rites. Most people do so in their ignorance. And I certainly am alert and judicious enough to know that NO ONE that I know would advocate the slaughter of babies under evergreen trees; but, I cannot commemorate it, even with a hint. Never mind the facts that led me away from it in the first place; now I loathe to see a tree. For my own reasons. Especially since so many babies die every day in this country, and no one blinks. But, many, who now know the information, persist in perpetuating the abominations that יהוה Himself speaks against. Some may choose to equivocate, and say that “Jesus is God” but then deny that He said NOT to do those things, when G-d said:
“You shall surely destroy all the places, wherein the nations that you are to dispossess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every evergreen tree. [The Kananite version is Molekh and Asherah] And you shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their Asherim [trees used during winter pagan rites] with fire; and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods; and you shall destroy their name out of that place. You shall not do so unto יהוה your Elohim.”
Israel went into the land, and was to purge it of peoples who celebrated these pagan fertility rites. They did not completely rid the land of those peoples, and those rites, and they ended up celebrating them themselves. The same is true of America. The original founders made this holiday ILLEGAL, in every colony. It remained so until the 1840s; but then, with a heavy influx of immigrants people started giving in, and now the season practically consumes 95% of the population for a whole quarter-year. It’s so very disappointing.
Do yourself a favor: LOOK FOR THE MESSIAH in it? How prevalent is HE in the rites and celebrations?
His birth was indeed a momentous event; but, the MIRACLE of it happened at Khanukah. Which happened to fall on the 25th day of the ninth month, which coincided with the tenth month of rome [deca-ember], our Gregorian 12th month. Yeshua was CONCEIVED at this time of year: the ‘candle’ of the Light of the world was stoked by the Ru’akh causing Miryam to conceive at this time.
If anything has pricked your heart, I ask you to consider it prayerfully. Again, everyone is indeed FREE to do what they will. Everyone is also free to reject G-d and His Truth, but that does not mean that He wants them to. I believe what I believe with my whole heart, and I pray for all of you to come into His Truth. I do see this as error against His Word. And I do believe it needs to be corrected by HIS PEOPLE, AGAIN!
Now, for some more sugar.
If I did not love people, I would not risk losing their friendship/approval for telling them these things.
This is the last I will think of that other holiday this year. I am so looking forward to Khanukah. The purity of it, symbolized in the oil, is such a balm against what I know about what everyone else is doing, and the sadness it would otherwise bring me. I KNOW that HE is calling HIS PEOPLE out of these behaviors, as HE does in EVERY GENERATION. I just pray that those I love respond. Soon.
“You therefore, my beloved, seeing that you know these things beforehand, beware, lest you follow the error of those without Torah, and fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in compassion and in the knowledge of Adoneinu and Moshi’einu, Yeshua HaMashi’akh, and of Elohim HaAv. To Him be glory both now and forever, and through all eternity. Amein.”