Saturday, December 20, 2014

Should Christians Wish People a Merry Christmas or Not?

Many people, agencies, and corporations are trying to make saying “Merry Christmas” a crime these days. Recently a Walmart manager threatened to call the police on a group of children who came in to flash mob the place by singing Christmas carols. How ironic, considering that Walmart now puts out the Christmas merchandise even before Halloween is over. Most Christians (there are those who believe Christians shouldn't celebrate Christmas anyhow, as it is a co-opted pagan celebration, so this probably wouldn't bother them) are naturally outraged by this verbalized restriction of their freedom to celebrate their religious belief, as it appears nobody has a problem with other religions celebrating their holiday. It is just Christian holidays that seem to be an offense. I am all for religious freedom and the anti-Christian stance that this country is beginning to take bothers me enormously. I feel it is a danger to Christians. However, I am looking at this in a different light. A great deal is made of being free to say “Merry Christmas” and we should be free to do so, but should Christians be wishing each other this phrase anyhow? Let us take a look at what it is actually saying.

The first word in the phrase is “Merry.” By itself this word is no problem. It means be light-hearted, festive, cheerful, jolly, and carefree. It invites the idea of frivolity and playfulness. The problem comes in when this word is coupled with the word “Christmas.” I don't know if people really understand that this word does not mean “the birth of Christ” but is just a coupling of the words “Christ” and “mass,” and when you say “Christmas” you are really saying “the mass of Christ.” A mass is a Catholic ceremony that celebrates the death of Christ, not His birth, most particularly by transubstantiation, or the eating of what they believe is the literal body and blood of Christ. So when you say “Merry Christmas” what you are really saying is “have a festive and joyful time celebrating the death of Christ by literally eating His body and blood.”

Now I don't know about you, but I have a problem with this on several levels. First, as most everyone knows at this point, the twenty-fifth of December is not the birthday of Christ. Many scholars believe He was born during the Festival of Tabernacles in the fall, which makes sense given that the Scriptues imply He was about to celebrate His 30th birthday when He began His ministry, and He died in the spring after three and a half years of ministry. That would put His birthday in the fall around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. So why are we celebrating it on December the twenty-fifth? Because the Catholic church, way back when, took many pagan things and Christianized them for the sake of compromise between the pagans and Christians. One of those things was turning the birthday of Mithras or the last day of the weeklong celebration of Saturnalia, the Roman festival in celebration of the god Saturn, into the birthday of Christ. I am not going to get into that argument here, for all days belong to God including the birth days of pagan gods, and if we celebrate a day unto the Lord, Paul has said that is fine. Romans 14:5-6 “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.”

The next problem I have is that I do not believe in the celebration of mass, for I do not believe in Christ having to die over and over. Christ died once for all time for our sins. To say that He is crucified anew every time mass is celebrated is saying that He did not die once and for all. The Scriptures do not agree with this teaching.

Romans 6:10 “For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.”
Hebrews 7:26-27 “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”
Hebrews 9:28 “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
Hebrews 10:10-12 :By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
1 Peter 2:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”

Christ died once and cannot be crucified again and again by the priests. It clearly says in Hebrews that He does not need to be daily offered up as a sacrifice, as the priests once did at the temple, and as the priests in Catholicism do every day. Once was enough. So we should not be celebrating mass, as that is what it means.

Next is the actual celebration of the mass, which is the eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ. That is what transubstantiation means. Literally and miraculously turning the wafer and wine into the body and blood. Pagans practiced the “eating of the gods,” where they believed that when they ate a wafer and drank some wine, it became the body and blood of their god. This was a Babylonian practice that pre-dated Christianity by a long time and like other pagan practices was incorporated into the rituals of the Church. If people were to bother studying the Scriptures, they would find that this is a blasphemy to God. The one thing that He clearly specified in the Old and New Testament was that we are NOT to drink blood, ANY blood, neither animal and especially not human. To drink the blood of Christ would be to drink the blood of God Himself, which is total blasphemy. Nor should we be eating the body, as that is cannibalism. When cannibalism is presented in Scripture it is the result of God's wrath upon a people and the result that ensues in their desperation for food. It is not something that God approves and endorses. It is an evil human act which comes as a byproduct of God's vengeance and anger being enacted upon a people.

When Christ held what is now called the Last Supper, He was celebrating the Passover seder. In that seder He performed the ritual of breaking the bread (which is now part of the ritual of the afikomen) and said that it was His body which would be broken for them. Obviously as He was not yet dead, it could not be His actual body, but was a representation of His body. He did the same thing with the wine, which was the Cup of Redemption in the seder, indicating it represented His blood which would be their redemption. He was instilling a new symbolism into the already well-known annual ritual that would, in an abbreviated form, become a part of the Church's ordinances to this day. If there is any argument on this interpretation, Christ himself made it clear that this was to be figuratively taken, when earlier He told the disciples He was the Bread of Life, and if they ate of it they would live forever. John 6:51-58 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”

Now clearly the Jews and the disciples believed that Christ was speaking literally, and there was a brouhaha over it. Why was that? Because what Christ was proposing, if literal, was in direct violation of God's very own laws. Now, would Christ be telling them to do something which was strictly forbidden, and still is, by God? Of course not. And He makes that clear to the disciples later when He was with them and they still weren't understanding what He meant.

John 6:61, 63 “When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Christ saw they were not understanding and asked them if they were offended by what He had said. Of course they were, so He made it clear that He didn't mean it literally, for He says that eating His literal flesh would not do anything for them. He meant that spiritually or figuratively He was the Bread of Life and only in accepting Him as the way to eternal life (figuratively eating His flesh and blood or in other words taking Him internally into their hearts and lives) would they live forever. Would eating anything give us eternal life? Of course not. As Christ said, what you eat comes out the other end. It doesn't profit anything except to keep the body going. It does nothing for the spirit. He states, very clearly, that the words were spiritual or symbolic, not to be taken literally. I always advocate taking God's Word at face value except for when God Himself indicates otherwise by interpreting a vision or symbolic representation for us, so that we know it is symbolic and for what that symbolism stands. In this case Jesus is very clear that the words were not to be taken literally, but spiritually. As He has already indicated in this passage that when He refers to His body as the Bread, it is symbolic, we have already been told in advance that this is how He means it at the Passover seder. So the bread and wine are only symbolic of His body and blood.

Since the entire idea of a mass has now been shown to be unscriptural, we should not be advocating it by wishing it to people. In so doing, we are encouraging them to participate in a ritual which God finds an anathema. To wish them a “Merry” Christmas is to say that not only should they participate in said ritual, but should do it with frivolity and merriment, as if Christ's death were a trivial, fun thing.

So, when someone tells you that you shouldn't wish someone a Merry Christmas, maybe they aren't so wrong after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment