Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day - is it of God?

The post below is reprinted in its entirety with permission from its author, Ken Murray -
https://www.facebook.com/notes/ken-murray/new-years-day-is-it-of-god/10205845683765624

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Here is my latest email Newsletter to Central Asia and many people in other areas of the World...

Hello fellow brethren in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and elsewhere around the World,

The “Silly Season” of this World, following ancient pagan customs is now past, for the moment, until of course “Valentines Day” takes hold of people’s attention in February.

It is a relief for us Christians who love God and God’s true Holy Days, that He has commanded us to keep, that this current hedonistic pagan season is over.

We will be looking forward to the true start of the new year, when God says it begins in the Northern Hemisphere’s Springtime and not as Satan likes it, in the Northern Hemisphere’s dead middle of winter.

Meantime, we have this very enjoyable Sabbath day to relax and be spiritually refreshed.

So let me ask you a question: New Year’s Eve – is it of God?
In my last newsletter to you, I wrote about the pagan Saturnalia festival historical connections to Christmas and how it was syncretised by the Roman Catholic church into their philosophy of christianity.
What about New Year’s Eve?
Is it of God?
Would Jesus Christ keep New Year’s Eve?

Christmas to New Year – 8 day Counterfeit of God’s Holy Days
Very few people are aware of how the eight days of Christmas to New Year’s Day are also a counterfeit by Satan of God’s “appointed” Holy Days of the 7 days of the Feast of Tabernacles and the 8th Day or Last Great Day.  Read on to find out more.

How did the celebration of New Year's Eve begin?
Why is the beginning of a year placed in the dead middle of winter?
Where did the many customs surrounding it originate?
Is New Year’s Eve celebration, something that a true Christian should be observing?
Is the 1st January the true beginning of a new year or has God commanded a different time of the year?
Is it God who has the authority to determine when a new year truly begins or mankind?

New Year’s Eve festival is an ancient Pagan Custom
New Year's is one of the oldest and most universal of all pagan traditions.
The custom of celebrating it has remained essentially unchanged for 4,000 years.
"Mesopotamia," writes Earl W. Count, "is the very ancient Mother of Civilization. Christmas began there, over four thousand years ago, as the festival which renewed the world for another year. The 'twelve days' of Christmas; the bright fires and probably the Yule log; the giving of presents; the carnivals with their floats, their merrymakings and clownings, the mummers who sing and play from house to house; the feastings; the church processions with their lights and song -- all these and more began there centuries before Christ was born. And they celebrated the arrival of a new year." ("4000 Years of Christmas", Earl W. Count, pages 20-21.)
That is how it began. The celebration of New Year's began in ancient Babylonia in Mesopotamia. It was a pagan custom of ancient sun-worship 2000 years before the birth of Jesus.

The celebration of New Year's festival is never once commanded in the Bible
Jesus and the apostles never observed New Year’s Eve. Moses was inspired and commanded by God to forbid such customs of the heathen:

Deuteronomy 12:30-31
"Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying 'How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.' You shall not do so unto the Eternal your God: for every abomination to the Eternal, which He hates, have they done to their gods ...." (Deuteronomy 12:30-31)

So, does it really matter?
Is it alright to compromise with God?
After I wrote about the falsity of Christmas, an old past College friend of mine, responded and wrote to me:

“God loves pagan festivals! His love excludes no one, nor their festivals.”
But is that true that God loves paganism?
Along with what Moses would say to him, as we have just read in Deuteronomy 12:30-31, here is what Ezekiel would say to this man:
Ezekiel 11:12: "And you shall know that I am the Lord: for you have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you."

Here is what Jeremiah would reply to this man:
Jeremiah 10:2-4  “Thus says the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
Jer 10:3  For the customs of the people are vain…”

Here is what Isaiah would reply to this man:
Isaiah 55:7-9  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
Isa 55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

When it comes to the choice to keep the ways of this world, such as Christmas or the truthful Way of God in the right spirit, we need to remind ourselves of these verses in Ezekiel, Jeremish, Isaiah and Proverbs.
Proverbs 14:12; 16:25:  “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

So, don't say "it doesn't matter." It does matter to God whether we compromise and adopt the customs of the heathen about us.

New Year’s is a Pagan Roman Feast
Over history. the New Year's festivities that had originated in Babylon found their way to Greece and finally to Rome. The Romans called it "Saturnalia" -- in honour of their false god of Saturn.
Among them it was extremely popular, just like today, it was a time of revelling, drinking bouts, partying and orgies.

It was Julius Caesar, Emperor of pagan Rome, who instituted the New Year's festival on January first. In 46BC Caesar developed his Julian calendar centred on the Sun not the Moon.
He transferred to the first day of January all of the licentious customs surrounding the Roman Saturnalia mid-winter season.
"The first day of the Saturnalia shifted during the lifetime of Rome ... it began around the middle of December ... and continued until January first. In its midst was December twenty-fifth, the day, as the Romans calculated, when the sun was at its lowest ebb ...." ("4000 Years of Christmas", Earl W. Count,  page 28.)

“In early times, the ancient Romans gave each other New Year’s gifts of branches from sacred trees. In later years, they gave gold-covered nuts or coins imprinted with pictures of Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. January was named after Janus, who had two faces—one looking forward and the other looking backward” (World Book Encyclopaedia, 2001).

“In 46 B.C.E. the Roman emperor Julius Caesar first established January 1 as New Year’s day. Janus was the Roman god of doors and gates, and had two faces, one looking forward and one back.  Caesar felt that the month named after this god (“January”) would be the appropriate “door” to the year.  Caesar celebrated the first January 1 New Year by ordering the violent routing of revolutionary Jewish forces in the Galilee.  Eyewitnesses say blood flowed in the streets.  In later years, Roman pagans observed the New Year by engaging in drunken orgies—a ritual they believed constituted a personal re-enacting of the chaotic world that existed before the cosmos was ordered by the gods.” (U.S. News and World Report December 23, 1996)

But how did such a pagan festival day ever get syncretised into this World’s so called "christian" calendar?
Here is the answer from church history around 375 A.D, when Emperor Constantine imposed the catholic version of "christianity" on the Roman world.
"There were many immigrants into the ranks of the Christians by this time," writes Earl W. Count. "The Church Fathers discovered to their alarm that they were also facing an invasion of pagan customs. The habit of Saturnalia was too strong to be left behind. At first the Church forbade it, but in vain" ("4000 Years of Christmas", Earl W. Count, page 31).
Rather than resist the influence of pagan customs, the Catholic Church fathers compromised and simply syncretised it into their own philosophical version of Christianity.
"The Church finally succeeded in taking the merriment, the greenery, the lights, and the gifts from Saturn and giving them to the Babe of Bethlehem .... The pagan Romans became Christians -- but the Saturnalia remained!" ("4000 Years of Christmas", Earl W. Count,, page 31.)

There is something even more insidiously diabolical in the Catholic history of New Year’s Day, which you will see, as we continue exposing this phoney New Year’s Day. You will see how it was used for evil and not good.

New Year’s Day the Catholic “Feast of the Circumcision”
New Year’s day did not become a holy day for the Roman Catholic Church until 487AD when it was declared to be the “Feast of the Circumcision”:
“Our “New Year’s Day, “the “Feast of the Circumcision,” was called the octave of Christmas as early as 487, AD, and was instituted by the Church to commemorate the ceremony of the Jewish law which the Saviour submitted. In the time of Numa the old Roman heathens dedicated the day to Janus, the double-faced deity…” (Savage J., editor. The Manhattan and de la Salle monthly. New York Catholic Protectory, 1875 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Jul 13, 2006, p. 2)

“The Feast of the Circumcision has been observed in the Roman church since 487AD and in the Anglican church since 1549AD.” (Douglas GW, Compton HD. The American book of days: a compendium of information about holidays, festivals, notable anniversaries and Christian and Jewish holy days, with notes on other American anniversaries worthy of remembrance. H. W. Wilson Co., 1957 Original from the University of California Digitized Sep 25, 2008, p. 2)

8 Days Counterfeit of God’s Holy Days
The 8 days of Christmas to New Year’s gave the Catholic, as well as Anglican, Church an 8 day festival with a ‘holy day’ at the beginning and the end, similar in that respect to God’s Feast of Tabernacles and 8th Day – Last Great Day (Leviticus 23:34-35).
The Roman Catholic church determined that if Jesus was born on December 25th (even though he could not have been), then they reasoned wrongly that Jesus was circumcised 8 days later, and therefore He would have been circumcised on the 1st January, hence their wrong rationale for New Year’s being ‘the Feast of the Circumcision.’

It should be added that there is no indication in the Bible that Jesus’ circumcision should be celebrated.

New Year’s Day “Feast of Circumcision” used for evil purposes by the Roman Catholic church
In the Roman Catholic church, Jesus’ circumcision was believed to have “initiated the reign of Christianity and the death of Judaism.”
As a result of this Catholic labelling, throughout the Medieval Period, the first day of January was blatantly anti-Jewish.
On that day, synagogues were ransacked or burned, Jewish books were publicly burned, and Jews were tortured and killed.
In keeping with this anti-Jewish trend, Pope Gregory XIII decreed on New Year’s day, 1577, that all Roman Jews were to attend a special Catholic “conversion service” which was to be held in Jewish synagogues every Friday night.
A year later, on New Year’s day, Pope Gregory signed into law a tax on Jews to pay for a “house of conversion” used to convert Jews to Christianity. Again, in 1581, on 1st January, Gregory ordered the confiscation of all sacred literature from the Jewish community, leading to the death of thousands of Jews.
In Catholicism, each “Saint” is awarded a particular day on which to be honoured.
31st December, New Year’s Eve, is “Saint Sylvester Day,” and celebrations dedicated to his memory are held on that night.
Who was this so-called saint Sylvester?
Sylvester was the Roman Pope who reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 AD).
Prior to the council, Sylvester managed to convince Constantine to ban Jews from Jerusalem. Then, during the council, Sylvester “arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation.”  (http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/newyearshistory/
 
 ).

The idea of celebrating any kind of “New Year’s day” is clearly without scriptural backing.
The fact that our modern celebration of January first as New Year’s day is linked directly to paganism and prejudice should pull us up in our tracks, and cause us to reject observing such pagan customs, that God loathes.
New Year’s is just one more example of man’s rejection of the Word of God while illicitly taking from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

When Does God Begin the New Year?
We need to remember that it is God Almighty who created the Universe.
He set the heavenly bodies in their courses at Creation. It is by His "master-clock" that time is determined.
The first month of God's sacred calendar is called, in the Bible, "Abib".
It means the month of "green ears." Later, the Jews called it "Nisan" which is a Persian Babylonian word having the same meaning.

God's sacred calendar year begins in the spring, not in the dead middle of winter.
Notice Exodus 12:1-2, "And the Eternal spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the FIRST MONTH OF THE YEAR TO YOU."
Yes, only God has the authority to set the date of the beginning of the new year.
The earth's rotation regulates the length of a day and the lunar phases indicate the length of a month. The orbit of the earth around the sun dictates the length of a year.
It was in the month of Abib (Hebrew) or Nisan (Persian) that Israel came out of Egyptian captivity under Moses (Exodus 34:18). The Hebrew month Abib overlaps the months of March-April on the pagan Roman calendar in use today.
Satan, however, has cleverly deceived the world into believing the new year begins on 1st January.
God placed the beginning of the sacred year in the early spring to mark the beginning of the seasonal harvests. The two annual harvests in Palestine foreshadowed God's Plan for the twofold spiritual harvest of people to be born into His Kingdom as part of God’s Family.

The Bible speaks of a great false religious system which will "think to change times and laws" (Daniel 7:25).
This system has deliberately thought to change the beginning of God's calendar year in an attempt to hide God's Plan for the salvation of mankind. But mankind has no authority to change God's "master-clock."

Pagan symbolism ingrained into New Year’s Eve festivities
New Year's Babe?
"Actually, the New Year’s Babe is far older than he looks. In ancient Greece, it was customary at the great festival of Dionysus to parade a babe cradled in a winnowing basket. This was taken to symbolize the annual (or periodic) rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. The ceremony is portrayed on a sarcophagus now in the Fitzwilliam at Cambridge, England. Two men, one bearded, the other in the flower of youth, are shown carrying the infant in the winnowing basket… (New Year: Its History, Customs, and Superstitions, p. 67)
The symbol of a baby for the new year was common in pagan practice, and the Catholic church disallowed it for centuries. Eventually these religious leaders gave in to the pressure, allowing infants to be used during celebrations that took place during this time of year, but with one adjustment.
The New Year's Babe was transformed by the Catholic church into the Babe of Bethlehem, a symbol of Christ.
The New Year’s babe is no less than a symbol of Dionysus, a Greek god of wine! It was in his honour that the Greeks held the festival of the wine-press in January. It is no wonder that New Year’s Eve parties have become an excuse to drink. More than any other holiday, New Year’s Day holds the record for the most alcohol consumed on any one day!
As sophisticated as we might think our society is in our modern age, we are still worshiping the god of alcohol!

"Father Time"
Another symbol of New Year's celebrations is equally pagan! It is the familiar figure of a white-haired man carrying a scythe. What does he represent? The ancient Greek god Cronos. It is from the name "Cronos" we derive our "chronograph" which measures time.
Among the Greek gods, Cronos originally cut a swath of human sacrifice, with his sharpened scythe! The "silent reaper" anciently "reaped" little children in horrible episodes of mythical cannibalism. This Greek rite of human sacrifice was adopted by ancient Rome, where human sacrifice was practiced at least until 300AD.
Strange as it seems, the professing Christian world praises and practices customs and days of pagan origin, thinly cloaking them in "Christian" sounding names! You too, may have accepted these vain traditions of men, never realizing they are pagan to the core and certainly not condoned by God
In fear of a prophecy that he would be in turn be overthrown by his own son, Kronos swallowed each of his children as soon as they were born.

In art, Cronus was depicted eating a baby or carrying a sickle used to gather the harvest.  This was also the weapon he used to kill his father.
Do you seriously believe that “God loves pagan holidays”, as my dear friend from my old College days, believes?

"In VAIN do they worship me," said Jesus Christ, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men!"
Jesus said it is possible to worship God,  to venerate the name of Christ, but still do it all in vain.
"Full well you reject the commandments of God, that you may keep your own tradition," He continued, "... making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered!" (Mark 7:7, 9, 13)

The Modern Attitude of Compromise
Many people will confess, when forced to, the pagan origin of these days.
Sadly, they stubbornly refuse to stop observing them!
They seemingly just do not care, but foolishly follow the crowd.
There is a general “don’t care” attitude in the world today, along with a total disrespect for God and God’s instructions of how we should live our lives wisely.
God is their Judge!
Excessive alcohol and drug use as well as promiscuous behaviour, has become common at New Year's Eve events.
Today, New Year's Eve has become a time for people to wallow in excesses of liquor and drugs and illicit sex.
The modern attitude, just like the ancient Romans, seems to be, "have a wild time on New Year's Eve, and turn over a new leaf on New Year's Day."

Most people seem to have foolishly and ignorantly convinced themselves that God is out of the picture for good. They falsely believe that God is not concerned with their modern revelling, drunken parties, and fornication.

New Year's resolutions are simply empty and meaningless, usually trifling matters of jest. Few people make a lasting change.

Will God intervene and put an end to Paganism in our Nations, just as God did to Israel?
Read, in 2Kings 17:15-18, the reason why God Almighty took ancient Israel into captivity:
"And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them!"
The Northern 10 tribes of Israel never returned as a nation to the land of Palestine.

What was the result of Israel following the customs of the heathen nations around them?
"Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight .... and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight .... so was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. (II Kings 17:18, 20, and 23.)

History is getting ready to repeat itself.
Revelation 18:2-10:
"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he said mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen.
"Her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues!"

So, let me ask you a question?
Will you be keeping Satan’s deceitful Christmas and New Year’s Eve this year or will you stay faithful to God and “worship God in spirit and in truth”? (John 4:23-24)

Want to learn more about God’s wonderful Holy Days, rather than the phony holidays of this World?
If you would like to know more about God’s true Holy Days compared to this World’s deceitful “worldly christian holidays”, why not read the following Bible study guides:
God’s Holy Days or worldly holidays?
http://www.ucg.org/booklet/holidays-or-holy-days-does-it-matter-which-days-we-observe/
 

AND:
“God’s Holy Day Plan” at:
http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gods-holy-day-plan-promise-hope-all-mankind/
 


Keep in touch.
Warm regards,
Ken Murray
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