Chanukah or Christmas?
What does the Bible actually say about these two holidays?Does it matter which one you should or should not observe?
Actually, the Bible doesn't specifically command anyone to observe Christmas, Easter or, any of other similar holidays - or, even Hanukkah for that matter. Nor, does the Bible specifically say, "You shall not celebrate Christmas or Easter." Or, does it? Yet, out of the holidays mentioned above, only one is mentioned (and considered) in Scripture as a legitimate holiday - Hanukkah [the KJV does mention Easter, but it was actually a mistranslation (Acts 12:4), of Passover (See the NKJV)]. By all accounts, Scripturally, Hanukkah is considered a legitimate holiday. While, on the other hand Christmas and Easter are not. Nowhere in all of all of Scripture can one find legitimate support for Christmas and Easter. So, why do so many celebrate these non-Biblical holidays?
Ironically, the only mention of Hanukkah found in the whole of Scripture comes from the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) and not the Tanakh (commonly called the Old Covenant by Christians). Not only does it mention Hanukkah, but it also records that Messiah Yeshua was at the Temple at Hanukkah - "Then came Hanukkah;[a] it was winter in Jerusalem. Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade" - John 10:22-23 (TLV). While the traditions of Hanukkah are mainly found in the Talmud, it's origins come from the events that took place during the times of the Maccabees, when the Hellenistic forces of Antiochus Epiphanes, desecrated the Temple, but were later overthrown, and the Temple was reconsecrated. Hanukkah came about as a way to memorialize the great miracles that took place during these times and were celebrated by all Jews - even in the times of Messiah Yeshua - Who was in the Portico of Solomon during Hanukkah (John 10:22).
It is also believed that the prophet Daniel prophesied regarding Hanukkah and the rising to power of Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel chapter 8 verses 9-14. However, this prophecy has only been partially fulfilled. There is another Hanukkah to come when the Messiah Returns and removes the "abomination of desolation" permanently from His Temple (Zech 14:4).
But why is Hanukkah legitimate, and Christmas and Easter aren't?
In the Torah, Adonai commands Israel (and by extension, all of His believers up to present time), “When Adonai your God cuts off before you the nations that you are going in to dispossess, when you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God! For every abomination of Adonai, which He hates, they have done to their gods—they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods" - Deut 12:29-31.
Not only was Adonai warning Israel about adapting to and adopting pagan worship, He was also warning Israel not to apply these days to the worship of the One True G-D is Israel. In other words, Israel was not allowed to adopt the days of pagan worship because they were reserved for other gods. Adonai especially warned Israel, not associate His Name with these days, because of the same reason - these days were reserved for other gods, because these days did not originate with G-D - "You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God!" - Deut 12:31a.
The Scriptures tell us that G-D gave Israel (to include all who came to believe in Him) seven feasts (eight, if you include the Sabbath) for His people to worship Him: 1. Passover, 2. Feast of Unleavened Bread, 3. First Fruits, 4. Feast of Trumpets 5. Yom Kippur 6. Pentecost and 7. Tabernacles. There are also two feasts of the people, which are celebrated today as well, Purim and Hanukkah. Both of which are mentioned in Scripture.
Interestingly, while many celebrate both Christmas and Easter, no where in all of history (Biblical and secular), is there any mention of early believers celebrating Christmas or Easter. Any observance of these days among "Christians" didn't come about until the advent of the Catholic Church in the fourth century. Yet, Jews (especially Messianic Jews), never adopted these days as Biblical. As a matter of fact, these days were considered blasphemous to early believers. At one point they were even outlawed among early settlers in America, because of their pagan origins. Christmas and Easter were adopted by the Catholic Church in an effort to "Christianize" and attract more people. They were also adopted, because the Catholic "Christian" Church wanted nothing to do with those "detestable" Jews:
"... it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul ... Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way" - Eusebius, Life of Constantine Vol. III Ch. XVII (Catholic Encyclopedia).
According to the Catholic Church, they received "a different way" from their Savior, because we Jews "have impiously defiled our hands." In other words, we killed Christ. Thus, Jews (even Messianic Jews) were labeled "Christ killers." And, throughout the ages, the Jews have been looked upon with disdain from many within Christianity. Unfortunately, this "different way" that the Catholic Church was shown is extra-biblical and shouldn't be considered Scripturally legitimate.
Yet, would Messiah really establish "a different way" and abolish not only the Torah, but all the Feasts of Adonai as well (as many in the Catholic Church and in Protestantism claim) - all of which G-D Himself established so that His people, as well as later generations could recognize Him? As it is written, "Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, “Speak now to Bnei-Yisrael saying, ‘Surely you must keep My Shabbatot (Sabbaths), for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, so you may know that I am Adonai who sanctifies you" - Ex 31:12-13. This is highly unlikely. Why would G-D establish us as a Holy Nation, only to send us a Messiah to destroy and abolish what He first instituted? This type of thinking is contrary not only to the Jewish people, but to Messiah as well - "Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill" - Mt 5:17.
Yet, how could these days be done away with? How could what G-D Himself commanded in the Scriptures be simply wiped away? Well, according to Catholic doctrines and catechisms, they have the rightful authority to do so - this is why the Pope is called the Vicar of Christ. According to Catholic doctrine, the Pope as well as the Catholic Church is the physical representation of Christ on earth. Therefore, they have the authority to change or supersede anything found in Scripture. This idea comes from a misunderstanding of Messiah's words to His disciple, Kefa (Peter), which were, "upon this rock I will build My community, and the gates of Sheol will not overpower it" - Mt 16:18b.
At the advent of the council Nicea and Laodicea the Feasts of Adonai, (along with the Sabbath and any other days that resembled "Jewish" worship) were done away according to the authority of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church found in 325 AD, that they were to have nothing to do with the "detestable Jewish crowd." So, the days of worship and celebration that were recorded in Scripture were changed to reflect the sun calendar, in regards to the sun gods, whom Constantine was so familiar with:
"Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Savior a different way. A course at once legitimate and honorable lies open to our most holy religion. Beloved brethren, let us with one consent adopt this course, and withdraw ourselves from all participation in their baseness. For their boast is absurd indeed, that it is not in our power without instruction from them to observe these things" - Council of Nicea.
As early as 1990 the Catholic Press reiterated this decision when it said:
“Sunday is a Catholic institution of the Catholic Church and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles…From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first” – Catholic Press, Sydney Australia, August, 1990.
Now, I don't want this to seem that this is an indictment of the Catholic Church. However, this is historicity. I am simply pointing out the facts of the matter. The same holds true with the advent of the Protestant Church, regarding its so-called separation from the Catholic Church. Actually, not much changed in thinking with regards to upholding the days of the Catholic Church, rather than upholding the days of Scripture:
"If protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping with Sunday, they are following a law of the Catholic Church" - Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 1920.
There is much more that I can say (or write) in regards to these days of Christmas and Easter in comparison to Hanukkah, Purim, the Sabbath and the Feasts of Adonai, but I will save it for a later time. Simply put, Christmas and Easter are not Biblical. "Yes, we know this, but we celebrate them to honor Jesus Christ." But this is not what Scripture allows. Not only does G-D command us not to do so, but there are many examples to show us why we shouldn't observe days reserved for other gods.
The Sin of the Golden Calf:
In Exodus 32, which records the Sin of the Golden Calf, Israel, built for themselves, a molten calf and declared that it was their god (Ex 32:4). Aaron, (Moses' brother), later decided to name the day of the feast of the molten calf, for Adonai instead. However, Adonai disapproved, and many lives were lost (Ex 32:-58).
King Saul and His Sacrifice:
In I Samuel 13, King Saul brings a sacrifice unto Adonai, but it was not at the appointed time that was commanded by Him. After Saul offers up the sacrifice (in the Name of Adonai), he actually loses his kingship and lives were lost as well - "Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly by not keeping the commandment of Adonai your God which He commanded you. For now, Adonai would have established your kingship over Israel forever" - I Sam 13:13.
King David and the Ark of the Covenant:
In 2 Samuel 6, King David is bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem in the unprescribed manner for, Adonai had commanded how the Ark was to be carried earlier - the Ark was to be carried by Levites, with poles and balanced on their shoulders. This was the prescribed manner, commanded by G-D Himself (Ex 25:14 and I Chronicles 15:1-3).
My point is, is that Adonai gave days to observe and to worship Him. These days point to the Messiah, as well as serve as a memorial for what Messiah has done for us (even Hanukkah and Purim), and so that we would be able to recognize the Messiah - since He would have to fulfill these days prophetically (Ex 31:13. No matter how you try to explain it or try to rename it (Incarnation Day or Resurrection Day), Christmas and Easter are not Biblical, and are actually offensive to G-D. G-D does not change, and neither should His days. Messiah did not fulfill Christmas or Easter, because they have nothing to do with Him. Therefore, if they have nothing to with Him (our Messiah), why should we have anything to do with them?