Christmas Candles, Lights and Lanterns |

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2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.


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Candles, Lights and Lanterns

Lights, lights, and more lights. What is with all of those lights? In the United States, there is not a time of the year more lit up than Christmas time. Artificial lights are placed on most houses. Even many public buildings and roadways are aglow with lighted decorations for the holiday season. Candles are customary at this time of year as decorations and as gifts. According to the United States Census Bureau, the value of candle shipments was $1.7 Billion in 2014 ("AM1431VS101"). According to The Everything Candlemaking Book by M. J. Abadie, 35% of candle sales take place during the Christmas season.

"The U.S. market is typically separated into seasonal (Christmas, holiday) business at roughly 35 percent, and nonseasonal business at about 65 percent" (Abadie).

Abadie goes on to state "Candle shipments increase substantially during the third quarter of the year because of the seasonal nature of candle sales during the end-of-year holiday celebrations (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa), since candles play a large role at this time of year — they are used for religious purposes, and as gifts and decorations" (Abadie).

According to the Federal Register, there are an estimated 100 million holiday light strands imported each year with a value of about $500 million.

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported that in 2013, the import value of products that would be covered by the draft proposed rule was about $500 million, comprised of roughly 20,000 'entries' or product shipments. If the average import value per unit were $5.00 (based on the range of retail prices observed by staff), then the number of units imported annually may be up to 100 million. CBP also reported that about 550 firms were engaged in the importation of seasonal and decorative lighting products during 2013. Adjusting to exclude shipping companies and other third parties, the total number of firms importing seasonal and decorative lighting products into the United States was probably about 500, with the largest number of shipments originating from the People's Republic of China" ("Substantial Product Hazard List: Seasonal and Decorative Lighting Products").

Keep in mind, these are only the new lights entering the market each year. The number of holiday lights already in use is many times higher than that number. Why does the celebration of Christmas involve so many lights and candles?

The answer to this question is darker than we might like to believe. Christmas gets the rituals associated with lights and candles from the Saturnalia (festival in honor of Saturn), the Sol Invictus (birthday of the sun), and the Kalends (New Year). Macrobius tells us candles were given in lieu of human sacrifice at the Saturnalia.

"They wiped out the Sicels who were dwelling there, seized the land, followed the oracle by dedicating a tenth of the booty to Apollo, and set up a shrine to Dis and an altar to Saturn, whose holiday they called Saturnalia. And though they long believed that they were appeasing Dis with human heads and Saturn with men as victims, because of the oracle's words,

 . . . and heads to Hades, and send a man [phôta] to the father,

They say that Hercules, returning through Italy with Geryon's cattle, persuaded their descendants to replace those ill-omened sacrifices with favorable ones, offering to Dis not human heads but masks with skillfully fashioned human faces and honoring Saturn's altar not by slaughtering a man but by kindling lights—for phôta means not only 'man' but also 'lights':hence the custom of exchanging candles during the Saturnalia"
(Macrobius vol. I 81).

This quote tells us the pagans were at one time sacrificing people to Saturn. Later, rather than sacrificing a human, they would instead offer up lights or candles to Saturn. More than once, Macrobius mentions the replacement of lights for human sacrifices associated with the rituals in honor of Saturn. Here is another quote from later in the same book.

"Namely, that when a more auspicious reading of the oracle showed that 'heads' meant 'figurine heads' not 'human heads' and that phôs could mean both 'person' and 'lights,' the Pelasgi began to light candles to Saturn and to bring a kind of mask, in place of their own heads, to the shrine of Dis [Hades] contiguous with Saturn's altar" (Macrobius vol. I 133-35).
Image showing the image for the month of December in Calendar from Chronography of 354.
Image of calendar from Chronography of 354
(The Chronography of 354 AD. Part 6)

We can also turn back to an image from the Chronography of 354 to show fire was an important part of the December festivities in fourth century Rome. There was an illustration for each month on the calendar. The illustration for each month depicted items which were relevant to that month. The illustration for December shows a man holding a torch which tells us torches, fire, or light was significant to the celebrations in December.

The use of fire at the Kalends appears to have begun as bonfires as we see in this next quote.

"The day (as indeed the whole month) was specially consecrated to Janus the God of new beginnings. . . . Janus was greeted at daybreak. . . . great bonfires were kindled to celebrate the occasion" (Robinson J. Armitage 20).

The use of bonfires may have later been reduced to the use of the yule log through the incorporation of other rituals from other pagan holy days. The merging and changing of pagan holidays has been a common theme throughout history. We will look at the yule log in a later chapter. The yule log remains a part of Christmas and the holiday season for some, but it has been replaced in large part by the much more popular candle.

"In England the Yule log was often supplemented or replaced by a great candle" (Miles 258-59).

Candles were given in lieu of human sacrifice at the Saturnalia.

As we saw above, the month of January was "consecrated to Janus the God of new beginnings." This is because January is the first month of the pagan year. Note, this is not the first month of the Biblical year. The Biblical year begins with the month of Nissan or Abib which usually falls in March or April on the Gregorian calendar (see Exo 12:2, Exo 23:15, and Est 3:7). The first month of the pagan year was chosen because it arrives after the winter solstice. This is an important event for those who worship the sun.

The winter solstice is simply the shortest day of the year. The word solstice comes from the Latin words Sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). This is because as the shortest day of the year approaches, the path of the sun across the sky gets lower and lower. On the shortest day of the year, the sun's path reaches its lowest point on the horizon. It will start getting higher on the horizon the next day. When this happens, the sun appears to stand still meaning its path does not get any lower or any higher on the horizon. This was an important event in antiquity because it meant longer days were coming. Society was agriculturally based. As a result, people were much more in tune with the seasons. They had to grow enough food in the summer to sustain them and their livestock through the winter. Life in the winter was much harder and more uncomfortable for them. They saw the longer days after the winter solstice as a reason to celebrate, and they credited their pagan god Sol (the sun) with giving them this additional light. We saw in the Chronography of 354, in Chapters 2 and 3, the pagans celebrated this renewal of light, and the coming of the New Year, as the "Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun" on December 25th. The winter solstice occurs on or about this date in the Northern Hemisphere. The actual date of the winter solstice changes over time. For example, the winter solstice fell on December the 21st in 2014. In 2015, it will fall on December 22nd, and in 2016, it will again fall on December 21st. The date of the winter solstice began merging from the 26th of December to the 25th of December in 449 B.C. It was consistently falling on the 25th of December from 357 B.C. to 318 B.C., and the last time it occurred on the 25th of December was 214 B.C. However, the date of celebration has been static on the 25th of December since at least the middle of the fourth century as we saw in the Calendar from the Chronography of 354.

Bonfires, yule logs, and candles have been the pagan way to usher in the New Year for a very long time. The candles were sometimes seen as a means to ensure the sun did not keep descending but instead started to climb as the year began to progress towards summer.

"Candles seem also to have been given away, perhaps as symbols of, or even charms to ensure, the return of the sun's power after the solstice" (Miles 165-66).

We may be tempted to think the early pagans only worshiped in this manner because they did not understand the sun was on a set cycle, and they did not realize it would bottom out, so to speak, on the winter Solstice. This would be an error in judgment because, as we have seen, the last time the winter solstice actually fell on December 25th was in 214 B.C. However, for the next six hundred years, they continued celebrating the birth of the sun on December 25th even though the winter solstice had already occurred. For that matter, the pagan world and the Christian world both still celebrate the same day based purely upon tradition. There is no Biblical authority for the Christian to celebrate December 25th as a Holy day. For pagans, it has been over twenty two hundred years since one of their own last witnessed the winter solstice occur on the 25th of December.

The use of lights in connection with Christian worship was very much frowned upon up until the nineteenth century when the resurgence of Christmas celebrations began to explode all over the world. Here is a quote from that era which relies on previous quotes from church leaders to make this point: the use of lights in Christian worship is a throwback to paganism and in no way glorifies our Lord and Savior.

"It may be safely affirmed that for more than 300 years there was no ceremonial use of lighted candles, torches or lamps in the worship of the Christian church. This is evident from the language of early writers, when they have occasion to refer to the heathen practice of burning lights in honour of the gods. Tertullian, for example, A.D. 205, ridicules the custom of 'exposing useless candles at noon day' (Apol. xlvi.), and 'encroaching on the day with lamps' (ibid. xxxv.) 'Let them,' he says 'who have no light, kindle their lamps daily' (De Idolol. xv.). Lactantius A.D. 303: 'They burn lights as to one dwelling in darkness . . . Is he to be thought in his right mind who offers for a gift the light of candles and wax tapers to the author and giver of light? . . . But their gods, because they are of the earth, need light that they may not be in darkness; whose worshippers, because they have no sense of heaven, bring down to the earth even those superstitions to which they are enslaved' (Instit. vi. 2). Gregory Nazianzen, about 70 years later, says, 'Let not our dwellings blaze with visible light; for this indeed is the custom of the Greek holy-moon [probably a reference to Artemis, a Greek moon goddess]; but let not us honour God with these things, and exalt the present season with unbecoming rites, but with purity of soul and cheerfulness of mind, and with lamps that enlighten the whole body of the church; that is to say, with divine contemplations and thoughts,' &c. (Orat. v. § 35). The reader will observe that the objection is not to the use of lights in idolatrous worship only, but to all ceremonial use of them, even in the worship of the true God" (Smith, W. and Cheetham 993).

How incredibly sad our Lord and Savior, the Light of the world, has become associated with the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year.

Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Festival of Lights

The primary focus of this writing is Christmas. Nonetheless, we would surely be negligent in our quest for truth if we failed to examine both forks in the road upon arrival at the junction of Christmas season and lights. For, many Christians leap from Christmas to Hanukkah upon learning Christmas is not at all Christian. There are several variations in the spelling of Hanukkah, such as Chanukkoh, Chanukah, and Ḥanukah. These spellings all refer to the same holiday known as the Festival of Lights.
Hayyim Schauss was a respected educator, translator, author, and expert in Jewish religion and studies. Here is what he had to say about Hanukkah.

Chanukkoh bears no aura of sanctity

"Chanukkoh is observed for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev. It is not one of the great Jewish festivals, and bears no aura of sanctity. No special ceremonials have been built around it. There is no cessation of work, except briefly for the women of the household, who cease their labors during the short time each evening when the Chanukkoh lights burn." (Schauss 208).

Since man began to populate the earth, God has warned His people not to learn the ways of those infected with idolatry. However, the common thread tying each generation to their ancestry is man’s careless dismissal of our Creator’s warning. The hands of paganism press the threaded needle through generation after generation, smothering humanity’s family tree under a web of deceitful idolatry. Hanukkah’s alternate moniker, Festival of Lights, demonstrates idolatry’s heathenish hold on God’s chosen people.

"The explanation would be quite simple, were it not for the Chanukkoh lights. This ritual, which in time became the main observance of the festival, is the most difficult and beclouded point in the history of Chanukkoh." (Schauss 223).

There are those who claim even our Savior kept this winter festival in the temple at Jerusalem. The theory rests on two verses which place Christ at the feast of dedication. The feast of dedication has been equated to Hanukkah.

Joh 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
Joh 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.

We will look at this claim regarding Christ in a moment, but first we will gather more information about the holiday.
There is a tradition of holding feasts of dedication recorded in the Bible. However, these are not annual events. The feasts of dedication recorded in the Bible took place when the first tabernacle was constructed under the direction of Moses, the first temple was built under the direction of Solomon, the walls around Jerusalem were rebuilt as recorded in Nehemiah, and the temple was rebuilt as recorded in Ezra.

EventBiblical MonthGregorian Month
The building of the tabernacle under the direction of MosesFirst Month (Exo 40:17)March - April
The dedication of the first temple built under the direction of SolomonSeventh Month (1Ki 8:2 - 1Ki 8:63)September - October
The rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem as recorded in NehemiahSixth Month (Neh 6:15 - Neh 12:27) The dedication possibly took place at a different time.August - September
The dedication of the second templeBetween the 3rd of Adar and the 14th of Abib (Ezr 6:15 - Ezr 6:19)No earlier than February - no later than April

The feast of dedication recorded in John 10:22 occurred in winter. The only one of these events which could have occurred in winter is the dedication of the second temple. Based upon my rough calculations using a Hebrew to Roman date converter, the dedication of the second temple could have taken place on February 19, 516 B.C. Scholars who have spent considerable time studying this subject may disagree with my proposed date, and I would not argue the point. We can know for certain, however, the dedication occurred no earlier than February and no later than April because the temple was completed on the third day of Adar (no earlier than February regardless of year), and then the people kept the Passover (no later than April regardless of the year). Scripture shows the temple was dedicated after its completion and before the Passover. This is the only option if the feast of dedication, from John 10:22, is an annual celebration commemorating one of the temple related dedications mentioned in the current King James Bible.
Jewish tradition, secular sources, and the apocryphal books, which accompanied the 1611 version of the King James Bible, tell us the feast of dedication is an annual celebration, and it takes place on the anniversary of the date the temple in Jerusalem was re-dedicated after it had been defiled by Antiochus IV ("1611" 1Ma 4). This information is not in the current version of our Bible. Therefore, we must turn to these other sources for more information on this subject. These events began about 167 B.C.

"When Antiochus returned from Egypt in 167 he took Jerusalem by storm and enforced its Hellenization. The city forfeited its privileges and was permanently garrisoned by Syrian soldiers.
The Greeks and those friendly toward them were united into the community of Antiochians; the worship of Yahweh and all of the Jewish rites were forbidden on pain of death. In the Temple an altar to Zeus Olympios was erected, and sacrifices were to be made at the feet of an idol in the image of the King. Against that desecration Judas Maccabeus, leader of the anti-Greek Jews, led the aroused Hasideans in a guerrilla war and several times defeated the generals Antiochus had commissioned to deal with the uprising. Judas refused a partial amnesty, conquered Judaea with the exception of the Acra in Jerusalem, and in December 164 was able to tear down the altar of Zeus and reconsecrate the Temple."

Hanukkah is the anniversary of this re-consecrating of the Temple. There is really no reason to question this; history appears to validate the claim. Although, we are correct to question why lights have become a primary focus of the celebration. What do lights have to do with re-consecrating the Temple? How and why Hanukkah came to be known as the Festival of Lights is up for debate. According to current tradition, there was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day, but the oil lasted for eight days during the re-dedication of the temple. This, however, is not the only explanation which has been given for the connection between Hanukkah and lights. In the past, there have been other attempts to explain the connection between Hanukkah and the many lights which embody the holiday.

"But not in all Jewish circles were the Chanukkoh lights explained by the miracle of the flask of oil. In some circles they were explained otherwise. 'Why are lights kindled on Chanukkoh?' the Midrash asks, and the answer is: 'When the Sons of the Hasmonean, the High Priest, defeated the Greeks they entered the Temple and found there eight iron spears. They stuck candles in these spears and kindled them.'" (Schauss 226).

We have now seen two different explanations for the lights at Hanukkah. However, neither of these is the reason given nearer to the time the events unfolded.

"In neither of the two accounts, however, is there anything said about the name of the festival, and neither one mentions the kindling of the Chanukkoh lights. They say only that the lamps of the Menorah were kindled. But this was no special Chanukkoh ritual; the lamps of the Menorah were kindled every day of the year in the Temple. The burning of special lights in honor of the festival is first mentioned about two centuries later. The first one to speak of it is Josephus Flavius. Following the account in the first book of Maccabees, he tells of the renewal of the Temple services, and then he adds, 'From that day to this we observe this festival, and call it Lights.' Josephus also strives to give reason for the name of the festival because freedom glowed and lighted up Jewish life unexpectedly. We see from this that in Josephus' time, in the generation of the destruction of the second temple [70 A.D.], the Chanukkoh lights were not yet an old or deep-rooted ceremony and the custom was not yet generally understood. An explanation for the lights was still being sought. This is further demonstrated from the fact that in those days there was no specification for the number of lights to be kindled each day of the festival" (Schauss 221-22).

In previous chapters, we have seen Christmas replaced earlier pagan holidays like the Saturnalia, Kalends, and Sol Invictus. In like manner, Schauss now tells us Hanukkah replaced an earlier holiday.

"The very fact that legends were created in an effort to connect the festival with the lights arouses suspicion. Had this connection existed from the beginning, from the time that Chanukkoh became a festival, there would have been no need to invent tales about them. All these facts call for explanations and, in accordance with what we know of the custom, there can be but one explanation that the Chanukkoh lights, originally, had nothing to do with Chanukkoh, but originated with an older festival that occurred at the same time of the year and that was forced out by the new Chanukkoh festival." (Schauss 224).

Finally, Mr. Schauss tells us Hanukkah is another holiday associated with traditions based in paganism.

"The original festival had to do with fire and light. It was no doubt a nature festival, one of those semi-holidays with a heathenish background that was bound up, not with the official Jewish religion, but with the folk belief as, for instance, the Fifteenth Day of Sh'vot, Lag Bo-Omer, and others" (Schauss 225).

Mr. Schauss does not tell us which heathen holiday Hanukkah replaced. However, there are clues in the nature of the tradition and the time of year the celebration occurs. Anytime we see fire or light used as a primary component of celebration near the time of the winter solstice, we should consider the possibility of a connection to sun worship. We can gain another clue by examining how those who instituted Hanukkah arrived at the date for its observance. According to both the first and second book of Maccabees, pagan tradition dictated the date on which Hanukkah is celebrated. This is because the re-dedication of the temple took place on the exact anniversary of its defiling.

"1Ma 4:52 Now on the fiue and twentieth day of the ninth moneth, (which is called the moneth Casleu) in the hundreth fourty and eight yeere they rose vp betimes in the morning,
1Ma 4:53 And offered sacrifice according to the law vpon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made.
1Ma 4:54 Looke at what time, and what day the heathen had prophaned it, euen in that was it dedicated with songs, and cittherns, and harpes, & cimbals.

2Ma 10:5 Now vpon the same day that the strangers prophaned the Temple, on the very same day it was cleansed againe, euen the fiue and twentieth day of the same moneth, which is Casleu."

This quote shows Hanukkah falls on the very date the temple was desecrated. Therefore, one must consider the possibility some Hanukkah traditions derive from the very pagan holiday for which the temple was defiled in the first place. After all, many of the Jews of the day were sympathetic toward the Hellenization of Judah. In fact, the Hellenized Jews were in control of Jerusalem in the time leading up to the conflict which led to the desecration of the temple.

There arose, then, a Jewish aristocracy that was in favor of Syria and that strove to introduce Hellenistic ways into Judah. This Hellenistic-aristocratic party was the governing party in Jerusalem under Syrian rule. It was only on this group that the Syrian government could rely. (Schauss 212).

We can gain another clue from the second book of Maccabees which tells us the Hellenization of Jerusalem included renaming the Temple in honor of Jupiter. The earlier quote about Antioch stated Zeus. Jupiter is identical to Zeus.

"2Ma 6:1 Not long after this, the king sent an olde man of Athens, to compell the Iewes to depart from the lawes of their fathers, and not to liue after the Lawes of God:
2Ma 6:2 And to pollute also the Temple in Ierusalem, and to call it the Temple of Iupiter Olympius: and that in Garizim, of Iupiter the defender of strangers, as they did desire that dwelt in the place."

Those who study heathenism from an astrological viewpoint find Jupiter was born on the winter solstice. Certainly this is reason enough to sacrifice at his altar on the winter solstice.

"Jupiter, as well as Bacchus, was born at the winter solstice, the Sun then being in the sign Capricornus." (Duncan 76).

Were those who defiled the temple sacrificing on a specific holiday? Historians have long pointed to the book of Maccabees as evidence the perpetrators were indeed preparing for a specific day. This is because they set up the "abomination of desolation" upon the Altar and built pagan altars throughout Judah on the fifteenth day of the month (1Ma 1:54). They then waited for ten days, until the Twenty fifth day of the month, before sacrificing on the altar (1Ma 1:59).

"1Ma 1:54 Now the fifteenth day of the moneth Casleu, in the hundreth fourtie and fift yeere, they set vp the abomination of desolation vpon the Altar, and builded idole altars throughout the cities of Iuda, on euery side:
1Ma 1:55 And burnt incense at the doores of their houses, and in the streetes.
1Ma 1:56 And when they had rent in pieces the bookes of the Lawe which they found, they burnt them with fire.
1Ma 1:57 And wheresoeuer was found with any, the booke of the Testament, or if any consented to the Lawe, the kings commandement was, that they should put him to death.
1Ma 1:58 Thus did they by their authority, vnto the Israelites euery moneth, to as many as were found in the cities.
1Ma 1:59 Now the fiue and twentieth day of the moneth, they did sacrifice vpon the idole altar, which was vpon the Altar of God."

The evidence here shows the pagans were preparing for a specific day. This combined with the fact the anniversary of the date (Hanukkah) always falls on or near the winter solstice leaves little room for doubt — the pagans were celebrating the winter solstice. The winter solstice has always been an important date in paganism and is routinely associated with many pagan idols including Zeus (also known as Jupiter). The next quote by Lucian describes a meeting of the gods on the winter solstice. In this meeting, Zeus is specifically named.

"It has seemed good to the Senate and People that an Assembly be convened upon Olympus at or about the time of the winter solstice for the purpose of electing a Commission of Inquiry the Commissioners to be duly-qualified Gods seven in number of whom three to be appointed from the most ancient Senate of Cronus and the remaining four from the twelve Gods of whom Zeus to be one and the said Commissioners shall before taking their seats swear by Styx according to the . . ." (Lucian "The gods in Council").

Lucian’s work is of a satirical nature. Nonetheless, his words give us a glimpse into pagan beliefs during his time because they corroborate so much other evidence. There can be no doubt the holiday being observed by the pagans who defiled the temple was related to the winter solstice and thereby sun worship. The fact Hanukkah lights predate the re-dedication of the temple demonstrates at least this ritual is a carryover from a similar pagan holiday. In fact, the tradition is likely connected to the very rituals involved in desecrating the temple. Jewish leaders have struggled to explain the lights for two thousand years. They certainly realized long ago the lights are of pagan origin.

"Nothing is said in the Mishnah about the kindling of Chanukkoh lights. . . . We get the impression, then, that the Chanukkoh lights were not popular with the Tannaim, the teachers of the Oral Law whose teachings are contained in the Mishnah; they were not eager to deal with the problem." (Schauss 223-24).

The Bible shows Baal or sun worship has long been a snare to the people of God. All evidence points to one conclusion: nothing has changed. Like Christmas, Hanukkah rituals are descended from sun worship. There can be no doubt some Hanukkah and Christmas rituals share a common pagan origin. The last two thousand years have seen Christmas and Hanukkah share various rituals. Some became more popular among Christians, and some became more popular at Hanukkah. For example, playing with tops has lost popularity at Christmas but remains a staple at Hanukkah. On the other hand, the reversal of roles has faded from Hanukkah, but traces of the practice linger in several Christmas traditions. One example of reversal of roles at Hanukkah comes from the seventeenth century tradition of Jewish men dressing as women. This custom no longer exists in Hanukkah rituals. Some traditions remain central to both Christmas and Hanukkah. The focus on children is one. Another is the obsession with lights during both festivals.

"But nowhere in the original accounts was there any reference to the oil that miraculously continued to burn for eight days. Only around the beginning of the Christian era , at a time when many Jews were becoming assimilated into Hellenic culture, did Chanukah become a 'miracle of lights.' . . . it imitated the Greek solstice celebration, which similarly entailed the burning of lamps (and would itself later be metamorphosed into the ritual of Yule logs and Christmas lights)." (Nissenbaum 313-14).

Why was Hanukkah celebrated during the years when the Jewish people were spread out all over the world after the second temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.? The temple was not simply defiled as it was in 167 B.C., the temple was destroyed. It no longer existed. Why do people of any faith celebrate Hanukkah now? The temple is gone. The Jewish people have part of their homeland back, but they are not in full control of the Temple Mount and are not free to rebuild the Temple. There are restrictions placed upon Jews and Christians visiting the Temple Mount which are not placed upon Muslims. Jewish people are routinely removed and banned from the Temple Mount for simply praying there.

"One day after 13 Jews were removed from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount for illegally praying at the contested holy site, the Jordanian government on Monday warned Israel of 'serious consequences' if the area’s delicate status quo is breached.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly and categorically denied the inflammatory accusations, assuring the Muslim world that Israel has no intention of altering the status quo at the contested site, which allows unlimited Muslim prayer and limited Jewish visitation.

Glick emphasized that the government has nonetheless taken great pains to maintain the site’s status quo. 'Israel is very strict that all Jews ascend without conducting any religious activity,' . . .
(Eisenbud "PMO").

These restrictions are placed on Jewish people despite recent court rulings which support the Jewish people's right to pray on the Temple Mount.

"The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court reaffirmed earlier this month that it is legal for Jews (and, therefore, Christians) to pray atop the Temple Mount, despite violent Muslim opposition.
That legal clarification came as part of a decision in the case of activist Yehudah Glick, who sued the Israel Police for banning him from the Temple Mount for a period of two years after he was filmed quietly uttering prayers while visiting the holy site in 2011."
("Jerusalem Court").

The Light of the World stood in their midst, but they chose the Festival of Lights over Him.

Today, there are pagan shrines on the Temple Mount operated by the Catholics and the Muslims. The Temple Mount is desecrated. Why celebrate a holiday which honors the re-consecration of the temple when the entire Temple Mount is now desecrated, and the people who should rightfully have control of the area do not even have full rights to visit the area where the temple once stood? A non-religious comparison would be if United States citizens lost their independence and were kicked out of North America but continued celebrating the fourth of July with picnics, apple pie, and fireworks. How can one go on celebrating a holiday which supposedly honors the re-consecration of the temple when the temple is now gone, and the people are denied the basic right to simply pray at the site where it once stood? Only pagan tradition can compel people to engage in such bizarre and irrational behavior.

One may be tempted to think God approves of the feast of dedication because the feast is mentioned in the Bible. This logic is not accurate. There was also a dedication of the image of gold built under Nebuchadnezzar.

Dan 3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

This verse demonstrates God does not approve of dedications or festivals simply because they are mentioned in the Bible. Easter is also mentioned in the Bible (Act 12:4), as are other pagan feasts disguised as feasts of God (1Ki 12:32). Jupiter (Act 14:13), Dagon (Jdg 16:23), and Baal (Jdg 2:13) are also mentioned in the Bible. This does not mean we should keep these festivals or worship these idols. The feasts of God declare the glory of God. They contain meaning and symbolism which point to the works of God. They celebrate the works of God. Hanukkah celebrates the works of man. Hanukkah was celebrated as a second Feast of Tabernacles at one time.

"It [Chanukkoh] was first observed as a festival of joy, with the singing of Hallel and the waving of palm branches, just as Sukkos [Feast of Tabernacles]. It was made a second Sukkos because, in the three years that the Temple service was halted, it was impossible to observe Sukkos. This explains several Sukkos-traits that remain in the festival to this day, as the eight-day duration of the holiday and the inclusion of Hallel in the daily religious services during the festival." (Schauss 222).

They would have extinguished the Light of the World and then returned to lighting their candles.

The Bible is clear. Religious festivals set up by men are not of God. Jeroboam ordained a similar festival in 1Ki 12:32 - 1Ki 13:5. God clearly showed His disapproval of the feast devised in the heart of Jeroboam by sending a prophet to speak against it and by destroying the altar Jeroboam had set up.

Did Christ celebrate Hanukkah or the feast of dedication? There is no Biblical support for keeping an annual feast of dedication, and to say Christ kept a feast of dedication, is very misleading to say the least. If we return to Joh 10:22 and Joh 10:23, we see why. Scripture tells us, when Christ walked in the temple in Solomon's porch, the Jews came around Him asking Him to tell them if He was the Christ. When He had answered them, they took up stones to stone Him.

Joh 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

Christ had another short conversation with them where He asked why they wanted to stone Him, then they again tried to take Him, but He escaped.

Joh 10:39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
Joh 10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.

This hardly sounds like our Savior was engaging in a feast. What is striking about this verse is whatever the reason for the dedication, it meant more to the people in the Temple than their own creator who stood in their midst. They were in tune with some sort of dedication, but they could not recognize their very own Creator. The Light of the World stood in their midst, but they chose the Festival of Lights over Him. In fact, they attempted to stone Christ. If they would have had their way, they would have extinguished the Light of the World and then returned to lighting their candles.
I suspect if Christ were to come on Christmas day or on Hanukkah in these days, He would have a very similar experience. There is nothing in lighting a candle or hanging lights on a tree or building which will bring us closer to God. These customs are the customs of pagans. Our Bible tells us not to have fellowship with unrighteousness.

2Co6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Should we be surprised the world has embraced the literal light rather than the spiritual light?

2Co11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

The ways of this world can be very attractive at times. The lights can indeed be very pretty. But to what end are they? Shall we risk being unable to comprehend our Lord and Savior when He appears, like the Jews in the first century, because we are focused on manmade traditions and rituals? Perhaps in this example, we should learn from the moth. He is destroyed by the very same lights he cannot resist. Let us resist the lights and the traditions which bring us no closer to Christ. Why should we associate our Savior with the darkness of this ritual which is a history of human bloodshed in honor of a pagan god named Saturn? Let us cast off this relic of paganism which has such a dark past.

Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Let us forsake the candles and remnants of sun worship and embrace the Light of the world so He may be a beacon within us.

1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Lights on a house or on a tree do not bring us closer to Christ, nor can they in any way cleanse us from our sins. We must be careful to ensure our focus remains on Christ and not on the traditions of this world.

Luk 11:33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.
Luk 11:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Luk 11:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

The lights associated with this season have a dark past as we have seen. Perhaps, we might be deceiving ourselves if we come to believe hanging a light string somehow glorifies our God. Is this not the reason Paul was sent to us — to turn us from the darkness of paganism toward the Light of God?

Act 26:17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Act 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

We have been burned by the remnants of sun worship long enough. Surely, the time has come for us to forsake the relics of heathenism and embrace our loving creator.

Rev 7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

The promises are glorious.

Rev 7:17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

We have need of one light and that Light is the Lamb of God.

Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

All of God’s Holy days in the Bible occur in the spring and fall. These are the lightest times of the year. None of God’s Holy days occur during the winter which is the darkest time of year. God is light and His Holy days occur in the light.

1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

A Candle or The Light of the World?

1. Christmas lights and candles are a multi-billion dollar a year industry.
2. Christmas rituals associated with lights and candles come from the Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, and the Kalends.
3. The use of lights at Christmas originate directly from the darkest of all pagan rituals: human sacrifice.
4. Bonfires, yule logs, and candles were burned in honor of the pagan god Janus at the Kalends.
5. Sun worshipers gave away candles as a means to ensure the return of the sun after the winter solstice.
6. Pagans and Christians both still celebrate the 25th of December based purely upon tradition. For Pagans, the winter Solstice has not fallen on the 25th of December for over 2200 years. For Christians, there is no evidence Christ was born on December 25th.
7. The use of lights or candles was so engrained in pagan worship, their use in connection with Christian worship was frowned upon up until the resurgence of Christmas celebrations in the nineteenth century.
8. The use of lights in Christian worship is a throwback to paganism and in no way glorifies our Lord and Savior.
9. Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is not a good alternative to Christmas because its traditions are also rooted in paganism.
8. Countless Bible verses tell us to turn from the darkness of paganism toward the Light of God.
9. God's Holy days never occur in winter. They always occur in the lightest months of the year.

Man appears forever unwilling to turn his back on the sun and trust only in the One who created it. Our quest for truth will now lead us away from the visual domain and into the audible realm.


God Made Logo
Christmas Book chapter 12

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