sermonette: Christmas and Sun Worship
Common Elements of Paganism
Given 21-Dec-02; Sermon #589s; 18 minutes
Next Wednesday, as you know, is Christmas. What was that groan for? You're like me, then—you haven't finished your shopping, is that it? Over the fifteen years or more than I've been giving sermonettes, I have spoken about Christmas several times. But instead of recycling a past message, I wanted to come at this pagan holiday from a different angle today.
In my clippings folder—and every speaker I think has one of these, where you clip ideas from the paper and you stick them in there, and then your forget that they are in there—I found one about a month ago from 1991 from the Gwinnett Daily News. It's so old that that paper is now even out of business. But this little paragraph, dated November 2 of 1992, is headlined, "Religious Holiday Starts." It is datelined Port au Prince, Haiti. It goes like this:
Haitians took respite from political turmoil Friday to begin two days of religious celebrations, blending Roman Catholicism with voodoo and somber remembrance of the dead with bawdy fun. At Port au Prince's main cemetery, dancing celebrants snaked between the tall crypts, laughing and shouting, often profanely, in homage to Gede, the voodoo spirit of the dead. Some waved pornographic photos and condoms because of the spirit's reputed enjoyment of procreation. Patients were observing the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day on Friday and All Souls Day on Saturday. Voodoo adherents celebrate All Soul's day as the day of the dead and commemorate their dead ancestors on both holidays.
It's totally amazing to me that Halloween and All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead all fall on the same day. I mean, that is such an amazing coincidence, I think. But what does it have to do with Christmas? Well, a common thread that I see running through most religious festivals of the so-called "Christian" world is the fact that they were lifted directly from pagan festivals, and they involve sex, if you think about it. From Halloween—a version of which I just read to you; they are dancing through the cemetery waving pornographic photos and condoms—to Easter—what is the Easter bunny but a fertility symbol?—to Mardi Gras—I think you've all heard the stories of women flashing their breasts for a handful of beads—to Valentine's Day to Christmas. Somehow Satan has scammed the world into believing that all of this is in worship of the Son of God. Hiding in plain sight, I think you might call it—observing these pagan days—because it is all in worship of the sun.
In the time that I have today, what I like to do is give you a small outline of sun worship and its tie-in with Christmas. Imagine my surprise last Sabbath, when I logged on for the streaming and I had a few minutes and I went to the church website, and on WorldNetDaily, the first article had plagiarized my entire sermonette. It's called, "Christmas in America Becomes Battleground," and it's on WorldNetDaily. I do not know if any of you have read or not; if you haven't, it dovetails well with what I have today, so I would suggest you do read it.
As we all know, or should know, Noah begat Ham, Ham begat Cush, and then Cush begat Nimrod. You can read this in Genesis 10. You do not need to turn there, but in Genesis 10:8-9 it says that Nimrod "began to be a mighty one on the Earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord." In the days after the flood, the animals multiplied much faster than the people, and the people were afraid of these wild animals. Nimrod learned to hunt, to kill these animals, and he taught others to do so as well. He trained men of like-mind into an army of sorts, and he expanded his authority and his power to far flung areas. He became a king of the people. His queen was Semiramis. She was his wife; some people believe she was also his mother. I do not know that I have found enough proof to go that route, but it's not clear to me.
But in any event, he was killed. Nimrod was killed, possibly— quite possibly—by Shem on God's behalf. The Bible is silent as to his manner of death, but ancient legends tell us that he met a violent end, and his body was cut into many pieces and the pieces sent throughout his kingdom. This caused great sorrow and wailing among his followers. As queen, Semiramis, had come to love that position of power, and she worked real quickly to solidify her base—to keep that position.
As a sidelight, Semiramis was reputedly a very beautiful woman. One story I read told of a revolt—an uprising among the people—and her mere appearance in front of people was enough to quell immediately the uprising. She was supposedly very beautiful.
Anyway, after Nimrod's death, she bore a son, and she was able to convince the people that this boy was the reincarnation of Nimrod. It's doubtful to me that this was even Nimrod's child. But she went on to have many other children with never another husband, and she was able to convince the people that they were supernaturally conceived.
So, Satan was able to take God's patriarchal design and turn it into a worship of the mother and the son. Many ancient coins and carvings show pictures of the mother and child. The reason I'm not sure exactly how this all fits is one coin that I saw showed Nimrod suckling at the breast of Semiramis, the wife, the mother—you know, it's kind of an incestuous thing no matter how you look at it.
But this worship of the mother and child (or, the mother and child/husband) was carried throughout the world. As these traditions moved and spread, the names were changed to fit the different languages. So, therefore, Nimrod can also be known as Tammuz, Adonis, Bacchus, Osiris, Belus, Cronus, Saturn, Baal—and that's just a few of the list that I came up with. Other names for Semiramis could be Astarte, Isis, Esharra, Sybil, Fortuna, Ceres, Venus and Ra.
I mentioned earlier about Nimrods death. In ancient mythology, Venus weeps for Adonis. Ancient literature tells us of Egyptian women mourning Osiris. Phoenician women cried for Tammuz. And in Rome, the women cried for Bacchus, and name "Bacchus" means "lamented one."
So with that in mind, let's turn Ezekiel 8. Let me show you something that I found to be very interesting. This is a prophecy in Ezekiel's day. It is a prophecy of the future; it's a prophecy for our time:
Ezekiel 8:1-3 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house [that would be Ezekiel] with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there. Then I looked, and there was a likeness, like the appearance of fire—from the appearance of His waist and downward, fire; and from His waist and upward, like the appearance of brightness, like the color of amber. He stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my hair; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which provokes to jealousy.
Again, this is God showing Ezekiel a vision of the future, a time when Israel is worshipping other gods to such an extent that it provokes God to jealousy.
Ezekiel 8:13-14 And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.” So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.
In the margin of my King James, it says this was in a lewd and idolatrous manner, lamenting the death of Tammuz or Adonis, also supposed to be Baal. This is the worship of the sun god, but this is not what was happening in Ezekiel's day. This was a vision of our time.
In verse 16, he sees something that is even a greater abomination than that:
Ezekiel 8:16 So He brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.
Again, this was a prophecy of our day. They were worshipping the sun. Certainly, ancient Israel was involved in idol worship, in worship of the sun. But this is, as I said, of our day.
In that article I mentioned on WorldNetDaily, they quoted from the famous TV evangelist Jerry Falwell. I've never seen him speak, but I've seen him interviewed, and I must admit that my opinion of him in the past would be that he was somewhat of a cartoonish buffoon. I read that article and his quotes, and I realized I was much too generous in my assessment of the man. In this article, he says,
I believe the celebration of Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to honor Christ and share the gospel, and I plan to celebrate it on the other side. [I thought that was the weirdest turn of phrase.] The Christmas tree and Santa Claus don't bother me. If we can use anything to get people under the sound of the gospel without violating Scripture, it's a good thing.
It's this type of attitude that Ezekiel in his vision said was provoking God to jealousy.
How do we transition from the worship of the mother and the son to the worship of the sun? The simplest explanation that I came across—you're probably all familiar with the book "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hislop. It must have been written in the 1890s or maybe even earlier than that. But in his appendix in the back of the book, where he goes into more detail about certain things, I found this. What he was talking about was when Christian missionaries in the early nineteenth and twentieth centuries went to far-flung areas of the world to bring the knowledge of Christ, they found these people already worshipping a mother and child, and involved in sun worship.
Quoting from page 304 in the appendix,
Almost all the tartar princes trace their genealogy to a celestial virgin impregnated by a sunbeam or some equally miraculous means. In India, the mother Assuria, the sun god, is said to have become pregnant in this way. A beam of the sun having entered her womb, in consequence of which she brought forth the sun god.
Paraphrasing a little bit further about what he had to say, he mentions that the Greek writer Homer, in his book "The Odyssey," speaks of Orion, the mighty Hunter Orion, and he was supposedly married to Aurora. Orion, according to Persian accounts, was Nimrod. Nimrod also went under the name Ninus, and he was worshipped as the son of his wife, and then he was later deified as a sun god.
To interject here, in Spanish, el nino is "the son." They use it at Christmas time to mean the Seed, the Son, the Child of God, the baby Jesus, as they sometimes say. And El Nino is not a far stretch from Nimrod or Ninus.
Anyway, Orion was married to Aurora. Aurora means, "pregnant with light." But how does the idea of being pregnant with a sunbeam come about? Hislop had a very good point. He mentioned that one of the names of the sun—the most common name of the sun in the Chaldean language was "Zuhro." And the word for the seed, the son, is "Zuro." They are almost identical. I grant you, it's a bit confusing, but that's what Satan intended—to cloud the origins of these things, of this paganism, to meld it with Christianity, to give it a cloak of legitimacy, to give these holidays that appeal.
But Satan knew of the prophecies. He knew of Isaiah 9:6: "Unto us a Child is born." He knew that this was coming, and so this was a preemptive strike. This was to get it inserted before it actually happened. And so, as I said, when these missionaries went around the world, they found that these societies already had this. Is it merely a coincidence that that these sun deities, these sun gods such as Mithra, Osiris, Horace, Hercules, Bacchus, Tammuz, and Indra were all born on December 25? What a busy day at the maternity ward that was, huh?
December 25, under the old Roman astronomical calendar, was the winter solstice. Another thing about these different societies, with their different gods all worshipping the same god, that all goes back to Nimrod—during the twelve days surrounding the winter solstice, all rules were off. If you think it's hard to resist humming "Jingle Bells" in your head going through Walmart now, how would you have resisted what they did? There were no rules. It was one drunken orgy after another.
Well, when the first century church more or less disappears from our view in history, and then it comes back into view—it comes out of the mist of history in the third century—the church that we see coming back out of the third century is not the true church. It is a church that does not so much merge with paganism as it basically just appropriates wholesale everything that came out of paganism.
I found a really good quote in a book by Franz Cumont, "The Mysteries of Mithra." It says that the followers of Mithra—it's another name for Nimrod; it's a sun god—held a type of Lord's Supper. They worshipped on Sunday. They believed in heaven and hell. They believe in the immortality of the soul, and they celebrated the birth of the sun god on December 25. That's not a lot different than the local church on the corner, is it?
Let me read a paragraph from Gordon Laing's book, "Survivals of Roman Religion":
Cults of the sun attained great vogue during the second, third and fourth centuries. Sun worshippers indeed formed one of the big groups in that religious world in which Christianity was fighting for a place. Many of them became converts to Christianity and, in all probability, carried into their new religion some remnants of the old beliefs. The complaint of Pope Leo in the fifth century that worshippers in St. Peter's turned away from the altar and face the door so that they could adore the rising sun is not without its significance in regard to the number of Christians who at one time had been adherents of some form of sun worship. It's of course impossible to say precisely in what way their influence manifested itself. We do know, however, of analogies between Christ and the Sun. He was designated the Sun of Righteousness. And our Christmas falls on the date for the festival of a popular sun god in Rome.
Mr. Laing is a historian. He's dancing all around the issue, but he was also telling us. He says, "In all probability, the converts carried some of their old beliefs into Christianity." But then he tells us they did. Then he says it's impossible to say how they influenced Christianity. Then he tells us how they did it.
Let's finish up in Numbers 25:1-5. Israel has always been easily seduced.
Numbers 25:1 Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab.
There is that lure of sex again. I don't know why this did not dawn on me at first, but it does not say "the men." It says, "the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab." How where the women involved? Was it lesbianism? No, I think it was temple prostitution. The women saw, the men saw, and they both were involved.
Numbers 25:2-4 They [the Moabites] invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people [again, "the people"—all of them] ate and bowed down to their gods. [They partied. They were involved in licentious behavior.] So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor [that's Nimrod; that's the sun god], and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and hang the offenders before the LORD, out in the sun . . .
Why did He add that? When else do you hang someone? Do you do it at night? Do you do it at midnight? You always—well, I don't hang people, but I assume you do it during the daytime. But it says, "out in the sun." This was a direct jibe at the sun god they worshipped: "Hang these people that worshipped him right out in front of the sun god; let's see what he's got."
Numbers 25:4-5 . . . that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.”
So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Every one of you kill his men who were joined to Baal of Peor.”
How does God feel about those that celebrate Christmas, especially those that know better? He says, "Kill the ones joined to Baal of Peor."
I think I'm just going to skip that Christmas shopping after all.