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Wednesday, September 2 2015
Jeremiah 10: The Saturnalia Tree
"Learn not the way of the heathen ... 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 nails and with hammers, that it move not"
An excerpt from the authoritative Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Edition. Note carefully that the custom of cutting down an evergreen tree, setting it up in the home, covered with decorations and lighting at a time of gift-giving in December began long before the birth of the Messiah. It was a pagan winter custom that the Romans carried over into their nationalized version of Christianity.
"In the Roman world, the Saturnalia (mid December) was a time of merry making and exchange of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the "Sun of Righteousness." On the Roman New Year (January 1) houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian. Since the Middle Ages, evergreens, as symbols of survival, have been associated with Christmas."
Millions of people have fond memories of being brought up, albeit well-meaning, generation after generation, with a custom that came to be blindly regarded as Christian. But it isn't - and no amount of defiant declarations of "It's Christian to me," or "It's Christian if we say it is," can turn a lie into a truth.
What does the LORD (see The LORD God Our Saviour) Himself actually say about the pagan custom of decorated evergreen trees - that already existed centuries before the Birth of Messiah? (see also The Tree Huggers Of Israel And Judah)
The prophet Jeremiah was given to record the answer: "Learn not the way of the heathen."
What specifically was He talking about when He said it in that particular verse? "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 nails and with hammers, that it move not."
Tree worship, or the use of trees in idolatry, is foolish, "Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might." Learn not the way of the heathen.
"10:1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 10:2 Thus saith the LORD,
Fact Finder: There really was a "Saint Nicholas." How was he used as the basis of the mythical "Santa Claus"?
This Day In History, September 2
490 BC: The Greek hero Pheidippides died (see Demigod to understand the origin of the term "hero").
47 BC: Cleopatra VII of Egypt declared her son to be co-ruler, with the name Ptolemy XV Caesarion (see The Cleopatra Connection).
31 BC: Octavian, later known as Caesar Augustus (as he is also recorded in the Bible i.e. Luke 2:1-7) defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. Some historians regard this date to be the end of the Roman Republic (see The Politics Of Rome) and the beginning of the Roman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
1547: Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes died at age 62. The "Conqueror" battled Aztec emperor Montezuma in Mexico.
1649: Castro, Italy was destroyed by military forces at the behest of Pope Innocent X.
1752: The last day that the Julian Calendar (named after Roman emperor Julius Caesar) was used in Britain and its colonies. The present Gregorian calendar (named after Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII) began in use the next day.
1807: The British began bombarding Copenhagen to stop Napoleon from using the Danish fleet against Britain.
1859: A solar storm caused outages in telegraph service.
1864: During the U.S. Civil War, Atlanta, Georgia fell to Federal troops.
1870: During the Franco-Prussian War, France suffered a devastating defeat at Sedan when the Germans captured an entire French army along with emperor Napoleon III. The new German Reich chose September 2 - in commemoration of the German victory and French humiliation - as a national holiday. The French response to the German victory was the deposition of Napoleon III and a proclamation of a republican Government of National Defense.
1901: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt stated his famous imperial policy that the then-emerging U.S. empire (ironically, the U.S. has become what its founders rebelled, and warned, against) should "speak softly and carry a big stick."
1935: The "Labor Day Hurricane of 1935" killed over 400 people in the Florida Keys.
1944: Anne Frank, at age 15, was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Dutch-Jewish girl, famous for her Diary of Anne Frank died at the Belsen concentration camp the next year, shortly before it was liberated by Allied troops near the end of the Second World War.
1945: "VJ Day" at the end of the Second World War. Japanese officials signed the terms of surrender with Allied leaders in Tokyo Bay.
1945: Vietnam declared its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The country was later divided into North and South by French imperial forces, triggering the later Vietnam civil war that the U.S. became involved in during the 1960s, before the Vietnamese people were again unified into a single country in the 1970s, free of foreign interference.
1958: A U.S. Air Force C-130 spy plane was shot down by Soviet warplanes in Armenia when after it flew into Soviet airspace. All crew members are killed. No military response was done.
1980: Terry Fox (who lost a leg to cancer) was forced to stop his cross-Canada "Marathon of Hope" run at Thunder Bay, Ontario, after he learned that his cancer had returned.
1998: The UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Jean Paul Akayesu guilty of genocide.
2001: South African heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard died at age 78. In 1967, he became the first to perform a heart transplant on a live human.