Sunday, January 16, 2011

On Nimrod and Christmas Trees - part III

This is part three of a series where we have been investigating Nimrod and Christmas trees. I apologize that these posts are so academic and dry. There’s only so much a person can do with this topic. If you can stand it, they’re really informative! (If you can’t, then just absorb the summary.) But I intend for this last post to be different than the two previous.

This all started when we got an anonymous comment back on December 28 asking, “I am wondering where the information came from then, about Nimrod dying on Dec.25th, and he announced that people would put up a tree and decorate it every year on the day he died.” So that’s what we’ve been investigating.

In part 1, we learned that there was a tree involved in the annual festival honoring Cybele and Attis – but this was a funeral in March, not a birth-celebration in December. The tree was a pine, but that is where the similarities end.
In part 2, we learned that there was a tree mentioned in the ancient myth of Osiris, but determining what kind of tree that was is quite difficult. The leading contenders are Heather and Sycamore. The tree wasn't decorated; it held up a palace roof for the king of Phoenicia. Also, neither the birthday nor date of death involved were in December. Not by a long shot.
In this post, I would like to do a little textual criticism on Herbert Armstrong’s “The Plain Truth About Christmas” and Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons.”

We were led to a quote from Armstrong’s “The Plain Truth About Christmas” which says this:
After Nimrod’s untimely death, his so-called mother-wife, Semiramis, propagated the evil doctrine of the survival of Nimrod as a spirit being. She claimed a full-grown evergreen tree sprang overnight from a dead tree stump, which symbolized the springing forth unto new life of the dead Nimrod. On each anniversary of his birth, she claimed, Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it. December 25th was the birth of Nimrod. This is the real origin of the Christmas tree.
-Herbert Armstrong, “The Plain Truth About Christmas”, 1970, p. 10
But this isn't true. None of it is.
Though we have every opportunity to find the truth and correct this error (the truth of these things is several hundreds of years old and should be no surprise), the errors are still quoted to this day among various Armstrongist splinter groups. Truth? I think not. God’s truth? God forbid a lie should be called after God’s name!
This supposedly “real origin of the Christmas tree” is fake; it’s made up… but not by HWA. It wasn’t even honestly quoted. HWA took it without reference from page 98 of Alexander Hislop’s book “The Two Babylons.”

Even so, HWA misquoted Hislop (purposely or not, I do not know) because HWA says an evergreen tree springs up from the stump while Hislop says a palm tree springs up beside the stump. Hislop provides a hand-drawn illustration supposedly of a coin from Tyre which he used to manufacture this story (see figure 27 on p. 98.)

This drawing is supposedly the proof. One cannot claim accuracy of the supposed proof then deviate from the supposed proof. If the supposed proof says "palm tree next to stump" then that is the only way the story can possibly go. One cannot base everything they have off of this drawing then not agree with the drawing. Pine tree is not part of this drawing, therefore either palm tree is the only possible correct option or the entire thing is wrong.
I say the entire thing is wrong because this proof is no proof. But either way, Armstrong loses.

Hislop attempts to escape this reality. Palm tree, fir tree, it’s all the same to Hislop. Throughout the book he ties every tree to the Christmas tree. He goes on to claim it’s the idea that matters, not the species of the tree.
The Christmas tree, as has been stated, was generally at Rome a different tree, even the fir; but the very same idea as was implied in the palm-tree was implied in the Christmas-fir; for that covertly symbolized the new-born god as Baal-berith, ‘Lord of the Covenant,’ and thus shadowed forth the perpetuity and everlasting nature of his power, now that after having fallen before his enemies he had risen triumphant over them all.
-Alexander Hislop, "The Two Babylons", 1858, p. 98
This is an outrageous claim so large that every tree on earth is now a Christmas tree! Notice how he leads the reader by calling the tree a Christmas tree. This is no proof, but an assertion.
And what of the trees used at the Feast of Booths (NEH. 8: 14-17)? They also contrast the temporary nature of this life with the eternal nature of God. They fit Hislop’s description of a Christmas tree. Are they a Christmas tree too, then? Ridiculous!
Hislop thinks any tree is a Christmas tree. Palm, pine… it’s all the same. And no one has a problem with this?
The Christmas tree, now so common among us, was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir; the palm-tree denoting the Pagan Messiah, as Baal-Tamar, the fir referring to him as Baal-Berith.
-Alexander Hislop, "The Two Babylons", 1858, p. 97
Are we seriously to believe that the Egyptians cut down palm trees and brought them into their mud-brick homes to decorate them like Christmas trees? I can find no corroborating evidence of this claim anywhere. Nor will I. It doesn't exist because this never happened.

How can I be so bold? Just look at the details! Hislop didn’t get the details right.
He doesn’t get the name of the god right - Egyptians didn’t worship Baal-Tamar, which is the name of a place in Benjamin not a god, nor did they worship Baal-Berith, who is a Canaanite god. He doesn’t even match the correct language with the correct nation - Egyptians did not speak Hebrew or Canaanite.
Evidence for this will never be found because it never happened. He made this all up.

Do you realize how convoluted this is? He uses a drawing allegedly of a coin from Tyre to turn all trees into the Christmas tree because a Greek man's mother was a Myrrh tree and an Egyptian god was cut to pieces then a palm tree grew next to a stump which supposedly was a Caananite god. 
It's barely even comprehensible. But that didn’t stop him or HWA from proclaiming it to be God’s truth.
Shocking as these facts are, they are the plain facts of history and the Bible!
-Herbert Armstrong, “The Plain Truth About Christmas”, 1970, p. 13
So HWA, plagiarizing (sometimes incorrectly) from the oft maddeningly confused Alexander Hislop, would tell us that the Christmas tree came from this story conjured from a coin, and anyone with a Christmas tree is now a pagan - a pagan Nimrod-worshiper specifically. From what I’ve seen, I must totally reject this.

So far, I’ve given you what proof we have, and it doesn’t match what Hislop and Armstrong said. Has anyone thought to demand proof from the ministers that parrot such things? Why is it that this always comes back to Hislop? I’ll tell you, it’s because Hislop made these things up. He is the source!

When a minister preaches Nimrod and Semiramis, ask for his sources. Don’t even let them tell you about the trees used in the worship of Attis or Adonis or Horus. You should know better than that! If he gives you Herbert Armstrong, you know Armstrong’s source is Hislop. If he gives you another name from someone else in one of the COGs, get their sources. No doubt you will see a chain back to Armstrong and Hislop. Perhaps they give you another name, like Ralph Woodrow who wrote “Babylon Mystery Religion.” Check Ralph Woodrow’s sources for that book; they’re all Hislop. Ralph Woodrow has since disavowed that book and refuted his own material! Maybe your minister will give you a name you’ve never heard of who is preaching Nimrod and Semiramis. Check their sources! I bet I know what you’ll come up with.
If there are 50,000 people all saying Nimrod is this or that thing, it doesn’t make it so. Either it is so, or it is not. Relying on the logical fallacy of Argumentum Ad Populum doesn’t make it any more or any less true. But if there are 50,000 “experts” all claiming Nimrod is this or that thing, and they can all be traced back to this one source – Alexander Hislop – then Hislop is really the one by which the idea stands or falls. If Hislop falls, then all of these “experts” who rely on him fall with him.
He has fallen!

But most Armstrongists don’t check. They won’t check! 
You might think I'm being outrageous, but I talk to people regularly about this stuff. There are people who would rather die than give up this most beloved lie about Nimrod. It lifts a person up in their own eyes. It’s far too convenient a club to bash others with. It’s too easy an excuse for too many other things. The implications of rejecting Hislop are too scary. It’s easier to call someone a Nimrod-worshipper than to answer their hard questions. It is easier to respond with venomous attack than to accept that we were wrong. “You’re a pagan, I’m one of the elect, and I’m done with this conversation.” [Yes, someone said that to me. I paraphrase, but that is the gist of what was said.]

If you really are after the truth – God’s truth – then you know as well as I do this is not the kind of person you must be.

This, I hope, will be the last I have to worry about this topic. Oh, this isn’t the end of it. Not by a long shot. But I hope it is the end of it for me... and for you.

I know that I will not convince everyone. I have met several people who let truth slide off like water from a duck’s back. They believe a lie as if it was the truth, and anything that contradicts the lie is explained away. There are two ways to be fooled: one can accept a lie or one can reject the truth. The truth is right under their nose and they toss it aside because they love the lie. They say that history is unreliable, that it was altered by Satan to hide “the truth,” and that the real “truth” is something God doesn’t want the world to know. We discuss this sort of attitude in the article "Pattern of Dishonest Documentation".
And no one has a problem with this? God wants people to be deceived?? I can’t accept that. There is one who wants people to be deceived, but that isn’t God.

How can we say history is unreliable, and then reinterpret history? Isn’t that also unreliable? Isn't that... hypocritical? 
How can we use an “unreliable” history book to look up a name like Osiris or a Christmas tree in the first place, then immediately turn right around and say that history was a lie? How can we believe history books enough to say there really was an Osiris myth, but not enough to believe what they say about Osiris?
Do we say, “God simply revealed the truth to Herbert Armstrong’s mind”? Then why did HWA take his information from Alexander Hislop (without reference)? Herbert Armstrong’s information isn’t his – he plagiarized it. A guy draws a coin and makes up a story – a story contradicted by every available scrap of information we have – and we call it “truth.” Another man plagiarizes this and we call it “inspired.” And no one has a problem with this? Forgive me, but I cannot in good conscience proceed on this type of information.

Are we not implored to prove all things? How do we prove that Alexander Hislop was correct when it goes against absolutely every record on earth? It cannot be done. What we can prove is that Hislop was dreadfully wrong. People just need to be honest enough with themselves to accept it. Would we rather make up facts than face facts?

So I know this study isn’t the end of it, but please excuse me if I find this 'Nimrod and Christmas trees' thing to be something I can no longer participate in.

A very dear and highly treasured friend of mine made this comment in response to our research on Christmas, “What you've done by the grace of God has truly inspired me to embrace Christmas without an ounce of guilt anymore, ever. It’s gone.” Praise the Lord!
Let me tell you how high an honor this is for me. I deserve none of it, and pass the credit and praise to the One to whom all praise and credit is due, but this is what I think it is all about. This comment is the very definition of grace.

Do you think I write this because I want to champion a holiday? No! My goal is not to get people to start keeping Christmas. My goal is to free people from the shackles of the lies so they can have an unencumbered relationship with the Lord. 
If the truth makes one feel free to observe Christmas after that, that’s their business. And if one does not want to keep Christmas, that's their business too. But please, there is no reason to use falsehoods to justify your choice or to attack faithful Christians. If you keep it, keep it. If not, then not. Either way, just do it in faith with thanks to God.

(ROM. 14: 5-6a, 10) 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.
10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

People who have the misfortune of falling under the influence of the “truth” of Armstrongism have lasting issues with guilt. Even when they step into to the New Covenant many of the past errors still need to be un-learned and the guilt remains.
There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that leads to repentance, and the kind that leads to beating ourselves up (and others, and God.) This guilt that causes us to hide from God, distance ourselves from our family, point the finger and judge other faithful Christians, look for excuses, bite and devour one another, propagate falsehoods in the name of “truth” - this guilt is not from God. Jesus removes guilt through truth. His word is truth, and the truth will remove the unnecessary guilt.
Freedom - this is from God.

Here in this study we have seen and proven that certain men have been very, very wrong for a very long time. They have spread guilt and fear, often on purpose as a means of control. Do we honestly think the things we’ve learned in this study were hidden from such men? Do we honestly think they’ve done the research yet didn’t see what we’ve seen here? 
If they didn’t do the research, then they are ignorant and have no business talking about what they do not know. But if they did the research, then they saw. They saw and still they chose to copy a man who copied a man who didn’t do honest research. The truth is… they were wrong. For all their bluster and all their great swelling words, they were wrong. For all their threats and their fiery indignation, they were wrong. 
There is nothing to their stories. The guilt is all imaginary, in their minds and in ours. Let it go.

I beg you, in truth, prayerfully go before God and ask Him to lift this needless guilt from your shoulders. Be free of these unnecessary burdens imposed on you wrongfully so that you can run the race unencumbered.
Embrace the truth, dearly loved by Christ, and be truly free.

(JON. 8: 31-32, 36) 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
36 "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."



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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; ) Acts 17:11
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21 comments:

Dallas McDermott said...

Jeremiah 10:2-4
"2Thus saith 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.

3For 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.

4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not."

The G-d of Israel says don't do it
so - don't do it. Either obey or rebel.

xHWA said...

Dallas,

Thanks for commenting. God's blessings to you.
We don't doubt you're sincere, but we don't think it's nearly as simple as quoting Jeremiah 10: 2-4 and concluding "obey or rebel." In our defense, please read our article regarding that.
Thanks!

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2010/12/jeremiah-10-and-christmas-trees.html

Anonymous said...

Hi X, Great article but there is another source other than Hislop or Armstrong that says Christmas started in Babylon it is called 4000 years of Christmas but in Hislop's work I noticed He said Saturn was the same as Jupiter who was the same as Mercury who was the same as Apollo. He ties every god to Nimrod. Apollo, Jupiter it's the same thing anyway. According to Hislop: what's the difference between sex in a wedlock and out of a wedlock? It's the same thing!

Anonymous said...

Hi x. Great article. Indeed there are some other sources which claim that Christmas started in babylon. You might want to check out 4000 Years of Christmas by Earl Count.I'm not saying your article is false. No way! I'm just saying you might want to check this out.

Anon

xHWA said...

I will def have to check that out.

xHWA said...

I haven't been able to get a copy in such a short amount of time, but I have been able to read a few reviews.

It is as I had feared. The author attempts to tie Christmas to Zagmuk. I have already dealt with Zagmuk in the post. I do not consider Zagmuk to be a precursor to Christmas or Saturnalia.

Also, Mr. Count ties Saturnalia to the winter solstice when Saturnalia was not a winter solstice celebration. Tying it to the solstice is improper, in my view. Again, I have already commented on this in the post.

These are simple errors, things that he whould have known and avoided had he really searched out the history as he should have. It appears as if he mizes up calendars and dates -- for example in assuming all civilizations had a January 1 New Year as the Romans did (even the Romans didn't originally have a January 1 New Year). I hope he doesn't keep this up throughout his book.

I do intend to keep trying to find this book, but I anticipate if I read the book I will find Mr. Count pointing out some surface similarities in history, but unable to prove an actual link. That's just my guess from reviews. We'll see how that pans out.

xHWA said...

Correction:
My comments on Zagmuk and Saturnalia appear in another post than this one. They are actually in the "Plain Truth About December 25th" post.
My apologies for any confusion.

Anonymous said...

Dear X,
Glad you have responded. Yes I know zagmuk was a spring festival in abib after the full moon. X, did you know that not all sun deities were male as hislop would have us believe? For example in Semitic culture the sun "shamash" was female, also in chinese mythology the sun is also female. It's amazing how many websites are still preaching hislop as the bible's truth even to the point of DEFENDING him! on top of my head though, one notorious website "ChristmasIsALie" actually defends hislop. I don't know why these people think the sun deity was the chief deity.

In Christ, Dillon.

xHWA said...

I did not know that. Interesting stuff.

Dillon said...

X, I think Hislop got the idea of an Osiris winter birth/death from Wilkinson's book of Egyptians, where it says that the goose was a sacred animal of Osiris and could only be eaten in the depth of winter. There is a celebration of Isis in December but I'n not sure if there is any real connection to Christmas.

xHWA said...

Excellent comment, Dillon.

I honestly don't recall what Hislop claimed about where he got the idea of Osiris' winter birth. I'll have to look that up again. It's been too long.

I've abandoned the Osiris winter birth/death claim so far as any connection to Christmas goes. It appears baseless.

I am completely unaware of any festival that could be translated from the Egyptian calendar to the Julian or Gregorian calendars that was regularly "December 25" or such. I have seen not a few websites with huge lists of Egyptian holidays and what day they supposedly fell on according to our calendar. I don't trust these claims, though.
The Egyptian religious calendar was such a mess they couldn't even use it as a basis for their own collection of taxes. They had to reset the calendar yearly. I just don't think it would be likely to ever match the Egyptian calendar to ours so accurately as to claim anything they did always fell on a certain day of our calendar.

As for Isis' birth, I do know that in at least one popular version of the Isis myth she was born during the heriu renpet days, which came at the end of the year, and the end of their year was (roughly) in June.

I have found nothing trustworthy so far that links her birth to the winter solstice. Isis is much more closely linked to the star Sirius, and it rises in June.
I have read that the goddess Wadjet had a festival near the winter solstice. And I'm not even entirely certain about that, because some reliable sources say her festival was not near the winter solstice, but rather the summer solstice.

Any who...
I'll check on the Hislop/Wilkinson thing.

Dillon said...

X, yes the winter solstice was related to a goddess most of the time but not Osiris or Horus, sources tend to differ on Egyptian mythology. On top off my head though, the sun god was NOT the central deity in Egypt or Babylon. Osiris was the Nile god and all vegetation rested upon him. God's plague on the Nile turning to blood was an enmity between Osiris and Him. Egypt had many different religions, all of which contradicted each other. There was no single, organized, Egyptian religion as far as I have researched. I recommend a book, "The Ennead" by Stephen Andrew Missick. The Going Forth of Wadjet was celebrated on December 25 with chants and songs. God Bless.

xHWA said...

Dillon, again we are in agreement.

Well, I disagree that the going forth of Wadjet was on December 25, but I already went over that.

Anywho, good stuff.

Daryl said...

Hmm, makes me wonder about Helios, the sun god and Zeus. Was a pine tree involved in any of Helios' myths? What about gods like Adonis?

xHWA said...

Hello Daryl,

I am not aware of any tree involved in the worship of Helios.

As for Adonis, we briefly mentioned him in Part I of this series:

"Ovid, in "Metamorphoses" book ten, does say Adonis was born when his mother was transformed into a Myrrh tree as punishment for her sins, but that doesn't match what Hislop has written.
Ovid also says Adonis was gored by a boar and turned into windflowers, and neither an evergreen nor a tree stump are mentioned in his death at all, so that doesn't match what Hislop has written either."

I have never encountered anyone trying to match the Christmas Tree to worship of Adonis.

Anonymous said...

The words “green tree” (evergreen tree) are used 10 different times in the Bible in connection with idolatrous worship and, in four cases, with child sacrifice. Baal worship required firstborn children to be burned alive by “passing through the fire to Molech” under a grove of evergreens. Can it be a coincidence that four different scriptures directly place child sacrifice and the evergreen tree in this same context? People who want to say that, yes Christmas may have pagan origins, but we have "Christianized it," need to remember that it was a time of child sacrifice. That can never be sanitized or made acceptable! CHILD SACRIFICE AND EVERGREEN TREES

1. Isaiah 57:5 “Enflaming yourselves with idols, under every green tree slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks...” The valley it is speaking of here is most likely The Valley of Ben Hinnom and according to Biblical Archaeology Review, this particular place of child sacrifice was near some overhanging cliffs. Molech was located there, which was a molten idol with a cow’s head at the top and a fire pit below. Outstretched arms held the victim. There was a pulley system that slowly raised the arms up to heaven and the child was dropped into the fire pit below! The sacrificial alter was located in a grove of evergreen trees. This scripture clearly depicts the act of child sacrifice. Most people would be appalled if they knew the origin of the tradition of “gifts” under evergreen trees. Then, even as now, this winter solstice holiday was perceived as a time of great “peace on earth”. Baal was supposedly satiated with these yearly sacrifices and all was well in the world.

2. II Kings 16:3,4 “he...made his son pass through the fire according to the abominations of the heathen.... and he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills and under every green tree.”

3. II Kings 17:10,16, 17 “and they set them up images and groves in every high hill and under every green tree.” “...and made them molten images, even two calves and made a grove (Asherah pole), and worshipped all the host of heaven and served Baal.” “and they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire...”

4. II Chronicles 28:3,4 “Moreover he burnt incense in the Valley of Hinnom and burnt his children in the fire....” “he sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.” The gifts under the tree were to a god of murder children. Why would any Christian or non Christian embrace such a horrific tradition? If God says we are not to worship like the heathen or partake in their customs and traditions, how is this different? The tree originated from some pagan belief, so why are Christians so quick to defend the tree and other Christmas traditions? We are command to worship God in spirit and in truth. Nothing about Christmas is truth. Jesus wasn't born on December 25th, Santa isn't real and his helpers and reindeer aren't real. Gluttony is accepted, debt is accepted, greed is accepted into a day that is suppose to be "Christian". I see nothing of value in Christmas. If we as Christians are really concerned with celebrating Jesus' birth, then why not celebrate it like a normal birthday and close to the month He was born? Why not celebrate it in September or October? Why do we put up a tree for His birthday when we don't celebrate birthdays with trees? The fact is, all of these customs originated from paganism and you can't get away from that. The fact is, even those some of the false gods weren't born around December 25th, it is still an important day surround false gods. Jesus wasn't born on December 25th but most Christians celebrate Jesus' birth, with a lie, on December 25th. There is nothing Christ-like about Christmas. My question is, are you defending Christmas or the truth? Is your justification coming from the truth of God or the errors of Hislop and Armstrong?

~Your Sister, Rebecca

xHWA said...

My sister Rebecca,

Thanks for commenting!

I couldn't help but notice that none of your referenced verses actually mention evergreen trees. They mention green trees, but every tree is green at some point. You seem to believe that your verses speak of evergreens specifically. I don't see any evidence for that.

Do I think it's a coincidence that all four of those verses mention burning and trees? No. I think wood comes from trees, and wood is commonly used in burning things. It is perfectly natural to find these things in the same verses. I honestly do not find anything convincing in this as an anti-Christmas argument.

God commanded Israel to use greenery in His worship. If you are in any way claiming that using trees or greenery in the worship of God is wrong, then I just can't agree with you on that. I sincerely hope that you aren't claiming that burning wood is a sin. (That may sound silly, but we get all kinds here, and I've heard worse.) And if you are, then you're going to have to either refine what you are claiming or else stop using wood altogether.

It does seem to me that you are looking for a case against Christmas specifically, however. As if to say, "trees, therefore Christmas." It does not follow that people used wood to sacrifice their children, therefore Christmas is wrong. This is what we would call "non sequitur" or in other words "does not follow." We cannot get from "wood" or even "trees" to "Christmas". There is just nothing to connect the two. Christmas isn't by any means the only thing that uses trees. You would do well to prove that these were Christmas trees, or there really isn't anything solid in the claim. Not only is the reasoning poorly formed, but it relies on gross distortions of facts. Honesty in evidence is very important.

I think you should also know that people didn't usually just put kids on a fire. What they did was build a metal idol with outstretched arms, heat the idol with wood, then put their kids on the heated metal. That is how they burned them. This, as you can see, bears no resemblance to Christmas.

We here at ABD do not claim that "Christmas may have pagan origins" at all.
I do recommend to you that you read our articles Jeremiah 10 and Christmas Trees, and http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2010/12/plain-truth-about-december-25th.html

Dillon said...

Hi Rebecca,

Glad to hear from you, you said that "every green tree" means evergreen tree. This is a wrong interpretation using a play on English words. "Every" means all. The word "green" here means flourishing, not color as most trees are already green. The Hebrew word for fir is Berowosh and it is not located in any of the passages you mention. You have a deficit Hebrew vocabulary, trying to interpret Bible verses with a contemporary intellect. The trees you mention in those passages were not decorated nor were they part of the worship process. In Israel's desert climate, not staying under a shady tree was asking for a case of sunstroke. With your logic we could also condemn green deciduous trees too! You said that greenery is forbidden by God. Really? Did you know that palm trees were and still are used by pagans in their rituals? If you say yes, why did people use palm branches to honor Jesus? Why didn't Jesus reject the palms?

"But it's palm, not fir," you say, "where does the Bible put fir trees in a positive light?"

I can show you three such instances in Scripture where firs are spoken of in a positive light. If evergreens are so sinful, why did God use fir to beautify the place of His worship (Isaiah 60:13)? If fir is an abomination why does God compare Himself to one (Hosea 14:8)? If firs are an abomination why does God use it as a positive sign (Isaiah 55:13)? Moreover why does God decorate His firs with shimmering objects (snow) every winter? Oh and by the way, palms ARE evergreen, so would the passages you mention apply to palms as well?

You seem to think that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles. Such an idea is wrong for several Biblical reasons: First reason is that the FOT is to be kept in Jerusalem ONLY and nowhere else. The Feast was to be kept where YHWH had placed His name and Bethlehem was not that place. The venue of Jesus' birth was Bethlehem NOT Jerusalem. Second reason was that the FOT was to be kept in a makeshift sukkah for eight days. This was not the case with Jesus' birth. Mary and Joseph made an attempt to stay at an "inn" at BETHLEHEM NOT Jerusalem, and such would have been forbidden for the FOT as the Jews were supposed to stay in a sukkah during the Feast, not under a conventional building. You seem to think that winter in Judea is as the same in London. Not so. Shepherds were outcasts from Jewish society and would have stayed outdoors most of their lives and lived in open caves. You seem to think that the sheep were brought in from cold weather like English sheep are. You should be reading Genesis 31 where Jacob (a shepherd) is complaining to Laban about the cold weather while shepherding out in the fields. Have you ever visited Bethlehem during Christmas time?

"Reindeer aren't real."

Really? So what is a caribou? Google it and see for yourself. In fact, reindeer can be found in Northern Asia, Europe, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. In North America, reindeer are called “caribou.”
Reindeer live together in herds. Large herds may contain thousands of reindeer. Reindeer are a nomadic species, which means they constantly move from place to place. In one year, a herd of reindeer can travel up to 3,000 miles!

As for the Santa thing, there's no fat guy living with elves at the North Pole, so yes I agree. But there are caribou living at the North Pole. And by the way caribou are reindeer and are made by God as are other animals like polar bears. I'm glad that you understand that Hislop and Armstrong are liars.

Anonymous said...

I've read all three parts and there still is a thought nagging in my head,"What if Christmas trees were really invented by Nimrod?" What if Hislop was right on that point? I'm feeling guilty. "What if? What if?What if" are the thoughts raging through my head. Please be patient with me as I have anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I want to get rid of these thoughts of guilt as soon as possible. Please help.

Daniel.

xHWA said...

Daniel,

Our hearts go out to you!! The anxiety is completely understandable. Trust me, we all went through it. I hope you are OK with me adding you to my prayer list?

I'll be completely honest with you, it takes years for it all to clear out. The good thing is that you recognize that you have this anxiety and you are willing to face it head on. Asking for help is not a bad thing. It's a GOOD thing! Many people just try to push it down and make it go away because they don't want to deal with it. But you are willing to face it. Very brave! And we are willing to stand by you.

Regarding Hislop, I ask you to please read Ralph Woodrow's book, "Babylon Connection". This is the best resource on Hislop that I have ever found.

I ask you to consider how many verses there are in the Bible about Nimrod. If you look it up, you will see that he is mentioned by name in two verses, and the total that we know of him is about 5 verses.
Then consider that these verses are the entire record we have of him. In all of history, we might be able to eek out a few things that might speak about this person, but this is a big *might*. Nothing direct. Nimrod, most likely, was not his name. Therefore, we cannot really know who this person was.
Now, if that is the case, if these 5 verses are the sum total of the historical record which we have that describe a person who we cannot
know precisely who he even was, how on earth can Hislop (who wrote his material before Babylon was even unearthed, and very shortly after the Babylonian language was deciphered) know so much about him? He cannot! His material is made up. It's all fiction.

Please do read Ralph Woodrow's book. I'll buy it for you if you can't afford it. You will see for yourself how ridiculous Hislop's claims were and how infantile his "research" methods.

God bless you, Daniel. You are more than welcome to email me and we can talk in private, confidentially.


Martha said...

Daniel,

Blessings to you! I would encourage you to be patient with yourself. I know you wish you could just move on without anxiety, but xHWA is correct, it takes time.

We just went through our second Christmas season after leaving the COGs. Our first Christmas we did very little and had a LOT of anxiety about it, even though we had gone through xHWA's research as well as others. Mentally we had moved on, but emotionally we had not. I wrote the post "Crazy About Christmas" detailing my inner turmoil.

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2013/12/crazy-about-christmas.html

This year, we did more for Christmas, for a number of reasons. Our family focused on Christ. But we had a tree and exchanged a few gifts. There was little inner turmoil, except for anxiety about facing potential criticism from our COG family. I can't say I have a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings about it, but it's progress. I'm hoping within a few years that my feelings will progress from neutral to positive.

Really, it's a good thing that you want to understand and process these things. Stuffing and feeling guilty isn't going to help you move on, emotionally. Doing what you're doing is the best thing in the long run. And we're here to help, to pray for you, and to talk confidentially if you want. Feel free to email me anytime, too.