Christmas – A Demon Holiday
L. R. Shelton, Sr.
I want to bring you a message today on the subject, "Christmas – A DemonHoliday." I want to show you what Christmas is and where it originated. Now in a few days the world, and the churches as a whole, will be celebrating what they call "the birthday of Jesus Christ." They call it "Christmas," or "Christ-mass." It is a time when the world is turned over to drunkenness, revelry, debauchery, shame, and misrule. It is a time of exchanging gifts, singing religious songs called "Christmas carols," and the whole world, religious and otherwise, is one madhouse at this time.
The non-religious world will cover up their ungodliness and wickedness with Christmas carols which will be played and sung in every saloon, every gambling hell, every sporting house and brothel over the world. The religious world will give vent to the wickedness of their hearts in these days of debauchery under the guise that they are celebrating the birthday of Christ. Thousands of church members will get drunk at Christmas when they would not get drunk at any other time. Churches will turn their buildings over to Christmas pageants, Christmas programs, Christmas trees, and the exchanging of gifts, with hilarity, and frivolity, in the spirit of a festival. All of these, in their different spheres, will believe they are doing God's will. Christmas Day will be a day of feasting and drinking, dancing and frivolity and drunkenness, as very seldom witnessed at other times of the year. Is this the way to celebrate the birthday of Christ? I certainly wouldn't want you to celebrate my birthday like that. Then how sacrilegious it is to celebrate the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ in such a manner.
Now, what is back of all this? Why have churches swung seemingly all out-and-out and become a partner with the world in such a day of wickedness and drunkenness? It is because the church has lost its testimony of Christ. The church has lost its simplicity in Christ. The religious world is justifying itself with the slogan, "Let's put Christ back in Christmas." Christ never was in Christmas. What hypocrisy! What blasphemy that we would even want to connect the Name of our blessed Lord with such a day of drunkenness! To think of connecting His Name with such revelry and blasphemy and debauchery, is taking His Name in vain. You cannot put Christ back in Christmas, because Christ has no fellowship with Satan or unbelief, and Christmas is not the celebration of Christ's birthday but the celebration of the birthday of the sun god, one of the major idols of old Babylon. Christmas orignated in Babylon, the seat of idolatry, from whence it has spread over the entire world and has fastened itself upon the modem-day church – and it is an abomination in the sight of God. Babylon spread idolatry worldwide, and every idol can be traced back to Babylon. (Read "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hislop for further study).
The Word of God, in the third and fourth chapters of Second Timothy, plainly sets forth a picture of the church in the last days; and whether you believe it or not, we are living in the last days now! Listen to God's Word,
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (3:1).
"For men shall be lovers of their own selves" (Verse 2).
"Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (Verse 4).
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (Verse 5).
"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (Verse 7).
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their
own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (4:3).
"And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto
fables" (Verse 4).
Now, what is a fable? It is a half-truth. In these Scriptures the Holy Spirit gives the Apostle Paul a little prophetic glimpse into the present-day church and, my friend, you and I are living in that time. This is an awful picture that God's Word gives us of the church in apostasy.
Then in Second Corinthians, we find the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth in these words, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him" (11:3, 4). The Apostle Paul was lamenting the fact that even the Corinthians were beginning to slip away from the simplicity that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is largely true today. Not only is repentance the missing note in present-day preaching, not only is the Lordship of Christ the lost doctrine in the present-day church, but the Person and Work of Christ is the missing note in our present-day worship and present-day testimony. The old-time testimony meetings are all but gone, just like the old-time prayer meetings are gone. When have you sat in a testimony meeting when men and women, both young and old, have stood up and testified and told how God saved them in Christ and what Christ meant to them in salvation? How long has it been? You just don't hear it, do you? Some few may tell how God answered their prayers, or how He blessed them materially, or how He healed their bodies, and some will tell what a great experience they have had; but very seldom will you hear any-one tell how God brought them to repentance, how He saved them for Christ's sake, and what the Lord Jesus Christ means to them as the Saviour of their souls.
So the missing note in our present-day worship and testimony is the simplicity in Christ or the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. God never intended for His people to get away from that simple worship of Christ. Before He went back to Heaven, Christ said in Acts 1:8, "After that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:...ye shall be witnesses unto me..." witnesses – not of an experience, not of bodily healing, not of a program, not of a church, not of a doctrine, but – "unto Me" – witnessing of Christ. You seldom hear His Name mentioned today in religious circles, and in worldly circles it is only mentioned in vulgarity or profanity.
When the church tums from the simplicity in Christ, then they must have something tangible to hold to. When you have only an empty religious profession, as we have today, then the church will turn to almost anything. When the Galatian Christians began to turn away from the simplicity in Christ, they began to observe days, and months, and times, and years. Gal. 4:9-11 brings this out, in these words, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." Then we find these words in Colossians, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days" (2:16).
So you see, my friend, when you turn away from the simplicity of the worship of Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you have to have something tangible to hold to. You have to have a church with all its social life, or a religious program, or an outward sign, or an experience, or an image, or a picture, or an altar.
That's true in salvation – when a person misses Christ, he has to have some feeling, some emotion, or some experience on which to base his salvation. All I have today is Christ, and He is all I want. In Christ I have everything. I have gone as far as a poor sinner can go, because everything that God ever gives a poor sinner is bound up in the Lord Jesus Christ. God never gives you one thing apart from the Lord Jesus Christ – and He is all I want. I have had folks write to me, saying, "Oh, Bro. Shelton, if only you had this, or that, or had something else! We know that you are a great preacher. We know you are saved. We believe you are going to Heaven when you die, but–." Well, hold on, brother, that's the end of it – I don't want to go any further. That's all I want – Christ. I have Him, and He is everything.
Now, my friend, do you see why the church has gone all out-and-out and become a partner with the world in such a day of wickedness and drunkenness?
Back of all this drunkenness and revelry is the power of demons, and Christmas as such is a manifestation of the powers of demons. It is a demon holiday. Christmas can easily be traced back, as I said before, to its origin in Babylon, the seat of idolatry. Oh, you may want to say, "We are celebrating the birthday of Christ." But let me ask you a question, "When was Christ born?" "Oh," you say, "He was bom on the 25th of December." Are you sure? Where in the Bible will you find that? And where will you find in the Scriptures that we are commanded, or even instructed, to celebrate the birthday of Christ? Can you find it? My friend, there is not one word in the Bible about the exact day of the birth of Christ, or even the time of the year when He was born. It is a known fact that He could not have been born on the 25th of December. When the angel announced His birth to the shepherds of Bethlehem, they were feeding their flocks by night in the open fields; therefore, it could not have beenwinter. It was not the custom for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than the month of October. So, the birth of Christ could not have taken place at the end of December.
Then, if you will turn to the second chapter of Luke, you will find that at the birth of Christ every woman and child was to go to be taxed at the city whereto they belonged. This could not have been in the winter. Augustus, the king of Rome, would not have called for such a taxing in the depth of winter. Therefore, Christ could not have been born in December. It is admitted by the most learned writers of all religions that the day of our Lord's birth cannot be determined. So Christ was not born on the 25th of December.
That much settled, then why celebrate the 25th of December? Long before the Christian era, that is, before Christ came, a festival was celebrated among the heathen on the 25th of December in honor of the birth of the son of the Babylonian "queen of heaven." On the 25th of December the sun reaches its furthest point south, that is, the earth is furthest from the sun, and on this day, the 25th of December, the sun seems to rest in its course before it turns back and the days begin to grow longer. Therefore, the worshippers of the sun god in their pagan worship, set December 25th as the birthday of the son of the "queen of heaven." This worship of the "queen of heaven," God declares in His Word, is an abomination unto Him and shall be punished with judgment (Jer. 44:l6-18, 23).
During these festivals celebrating the birth of the son of the "queen of heaven," in Babylon, gifts were carried to and fro, banquets were celebrated with all their frivolity and uproar and drunkenness. The burning of candles, the burning of the Yule Log, the exchanging of gifts, the putting up of the Christmas tree (Jer. 10:3, 4), and the mistletoe were all connected with this celebration. It may surprise you to know that each one of these things represented something in this ritual and celebration. To them, the burning of the candles was in honor of the Babylonian god, the burning of the Yule Log was to remember the death of Nimrod, the putting up of the Christmas tree was to remember that Nimrod came back to life again, the mistletoe represented a divine branch come from heaven, and the kissing under the mistletoe bough, the token of reconciliation to man by the divine branch. These customs at Christmas still exist today and show the efforts made by Satan and his emissaries to blind the hearts of men.
Then in the fourth century, to more easily win the heathen to Christianity, the church adopted the 25th of December as the birthday of Christ. They took a heathen Babylonian festival, celebrating the birthday of the son of the pagan "queen of heaven," and gave it a Christian coloring and covering to satisfy unregenerate human hearts and minds that they may accept, intellectually at least, the doctrine of the Christian faith and bring their lusts into their Christian profession! What an abomination! This was a move on the part of the church to meet paganism half-way. A compromise!
In its effort to convert the pagans to Christianity, the church began drifting away from the simplicity in Christ and conforming to the pagan world. In doing so they adopted many pagan customs and practices, one of which was the celebration of the birthday of the sun god that they Christianized by calling it the birthday of Christ, or Christmas. It did not change the hearts of the pagans or heathens, who were converted, so-called, but it brought an end to the Christian church with its simplicity of worship until today the average church is nothing more than a pagan temple. My friend, Christmas was a pagan holiday back when they worshipped the sun god, and that is what you are observing today, a pagan festival, which is still a pagan festival though it wears a Christian name.
During that time, men of God strove to stem the tide, but in spite of all their efforts the apostasy went on until the church, with the exception of a small remnant, was submerged under pagan superstition. Christmas was a pagan festival, and it is still a pagan festival.
"Well," you say, "Bro. Shelton, you are 'agin' everything, aren't you?" I am "agin" everything that is not for my Lord. I am plowing deep and putting all the trash aside – blazing the path, the old path, back to Christ that you may come to know Him as your Lord and your Saviour. The old path of repentance has grown up with briers and thorns. The old path of the Person and Work of Christ or the simplicity in Christ, has grown up. I am trying to blaze these old paths again, that you may come to know Christ as your Lord and your Saviour. If you are not for my Lord, I'm "agin" you. I am taking my stand with Christ; I am against everything that is against my Lord Jesus Christ, and, my friend, Christmas dishonors my Lord. It may not dishonor yours, but it dishonors mine.
Let's turn to Rev. 18:4, where we have a picture of the last form of apostate Christianity and God's warning to His people. I wish you would read that entire eighteenth chapter of Revelation. In that fourth verse we find these words, "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." In this eighteenth chapter of Revelation, the Lord is talking about the city of Babylon, the harlot Babylon, out of which has come all the idolatry, all the pagan worship of the world. As salvation was from the Jewish nation, and from Jerusalem came our Bible, and the Messiah, our Redeemer – the King of kings and Lord of lords, so out of Babylon from Nimrod, the "mighty hunter" (or rebel), has come all the pagan idolatrous worship that the world has known through the centuries until the present day.
As our Lord will cry to His people in the Tribulation Period, so He cries to us today, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (II Cor. 6:17, 18). I plead with every one who reads this message to declare yourself on the side of Christ and His Word. Come out from this paganism and this idolatrous worship, because there is no agreement between the temple of God and idols. You cannot have fellowship with God and with Satan. It is Christ or Belial (II Cor. 6:14-18).
The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among us today – Yuletide, or Yule Day – proves that it is pagan and came from Babylon. The word "yule" is the Chaldean name for an "infant," or "little child."
Do you know what they called this week of festivity in Babylon? They called it, "The drunken festival," or, the Day of Misrule. Those are the exact words they used – 'the drunken festival." They met together to celebrate the the birthday of the son of the queen mother, which was the worship of the sun god. We have this same thing enacted today. Christmas week is nothing but a week of revelry and drunkenness and the meeting together to celebrate the birthday of the son of the queen mother. Therefore, Christendom today is just as pagan as Babylon ever dared to be. Listen again to Rev. 18:4, "Come out of her, my people." Now where do you stand? Are you a worshipper of Christ or a worshipper of the sun god?
Do you see, my friends, how our churches today are pagan, because they are taken up with Christmas – lock, stock, and barrel? I am glad the Lord has opened my eyes to see this pagan worship and has separated me from it. I am drawing the line. I want you to be a separate people. Someone has said, "Bro. Shelton, do you expect to stem the tide?" No. It will go from bad to worse on the whole. The only hope I have is to reach one here, and one there.
Now we ask the question, "Should born-again believers celebrate Christmas?" Let me put it like this: Should born-again believers celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus with millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, and who "despise and reject" Him, and who know nothing about the blood of the Son of God, and care less! Should born-again believers celebrate Christmas with millions who claim to be Christians, yet deny Him in works and testimony! Is it fitting that born-again believers should unite with the enemies of Christ in a worldly round of fleshly gratification!
Will you let me give this word of personal testimony? As a child growing up, the only time I ever saw whiskey in my home was at the Christmas season. That's right! The only time I ever saw drunkenness was at Christmas time, celebrating the so-called birthday of Jesus!
Should we join those who cast our Lord out by celebrating in drunkenness and revelry the birthday of the Lord Jesus? The answer is found in God's Word, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (Ex. 23:2). "That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15). "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (I Thess. 5:22). "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). See also I Pet. 2:11; James 4:4; I John 2:15-17; II Cor. 6:14-18; Rom. 12:9. My friend, "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God" (John 8:47). "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Josh. 24:15). That's my stand. What are you going to do about it?
Some will raise this question, "Don't you think we ought to give the children a good time? They don't understand." Let me ask you this question, "Is it necessary to drag the holy Name of our blessed Lord down to the low level of fleshly gratification and drunkenness to show the kiddies a good time?" A thousand times, No! Let's teach our children the truth about Christmas. God's Word tells us in Eph. 6:4 to bring up our children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Why should we dishonor the Name of Christ in such a manner under the pretense of showing the children a good time? There are 364 more days in the year during which we can give gifts to our children if we want to do so.
Now, let's look at this pagan festival of demon worship from another angle, and that is the "exchanging" of gifts. In exchanging gifts we are not bringing gifts to Christ. No! Who ever heard of anybody giving a Christmas gift to Christ! Very seldom do you give any more to your church at this time. Many times during the Christmas holidays you give less to your church, because you spend more on yourself and on others. Now, isn't that so? Each year a list is kept of those from whom gifts were received, and gifts will be sent to them. This will become an expensive affair over a period of time. Thus a burden is laid upon the shoulders of many of you, which you find hard to bear. I departed from this custom years ago. "Oh," you say, "if I don't send gifts, my friends will think hard of me. They'll call me stingy and miserly; what must I do?" I'd say frankly to you that you should notify your friends by word of mouth or by letter that you are through. Tell them that you have come to see there is no Scripture warrant for observing Christmas; it is pagan worship, it is a demon holiday, and you cannot dishonor your Lord any longer. Now, that's my stand. I don't get angry with folks who observe it – that's up to you. You have to make your own decision. My decision has been made.
Let's look at another side of Christmas, and that is, the sending of so-called Christmas cards with a verse of Scripture on them. Millions of religious people who want to be honest won't send out a Christmas card without a verse of Scripture on it. This is simply a compromise with Satan. Let me say, my friend, this is an abomination in the sight of God. You may ask, "Well, Bro. Shelton, why?" You see, Christmas is a pagan holiday that came out of old Babylon, the city of idolatry. Christmas originally was the celebration of the birthday of the sun god. It is demon worship. The Bible says, "Be ye separate;" "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." He also says, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." Should Christ have fellowship with Belial? Then, why should you want to take God's Word and link it together with demon worship? God forbid!
Suppose you should receive an invitation to a big dance with John 3:16 written at the bottom of that card: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." What would you think? You would say, "What sacrilege! What profanity!" What would you think of a moving picture show using I Pet. 1:18, 19 in their advertisements? You would cry, "What blasphemy!" wouldn't you? But, my friend, Christmas is a demon holiday, and a Christmas card with a verse of Scripture on it is an abomination in the sight of God. I cry out in the same horror at the mixture of the Word of God and demon greetings.
May the Holy Spirit be pleased to open your eyes, as He has mine, and let you see this growing evil, this dishonoring the Name of our blessed Lord by connecting His Name, the Man of Sorrows, with "Merry Christmas." May there be a true confession of our sin to God. May there be a crying unto Him for a deliverance from this pagan worship. Why? Because the coming of our Lord draws near, and it won't be long until we shall hear the cry, "Go ye out to meet him!" (Matt. 25:6). Are you ready to meet Him? How would you like for our Lord to come and find you at a typical "Christmas party," feasting and drinking and making merry, giving rein to the fleshly desires of the old life?
We can be in the world, but not of the world. "Come out from among them," is the cry. "Be ye separate," is the clarion call to everyone who professes the Name of Christ. When you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, what will be your answer? How are you going to answer the Lord Jesus?
I wish every preacher listening to me today would set an example before your people at this time. "Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith. in purity" (I Tim. 4:12). I plead with you preachers, let's set the example. Let's reject the traditions of men and every demon holiday, and let's walk with our Lord according to His Word. Let's live for Christ. Let the world say what they please, and think what they please, but let this be our motto, "As for me and my houses we will servethe LORD" (Josh. 24:15), and "For to me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). Let's not dishonor His Name.
There is no place in God's Word where we are ever commanded to celebrate the birthday of Christ, but I'll tell you what He does command. He commands us to remember His death. The Scripture says, "This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (I Cor. 11:25, 26). The Apostle Paul, writing to the Church at Corinth, said, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (I Cor.2:2). Then again he said, "We preach Christ crucified unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God" (I Cor. 1:23, 24). Then, writing to the Galatians he said, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14).
I wonder what the death of Christ means to you, my friend. I wonder if you have ever thought seriously about your soul's condition. Have you as a lost, condemned sinner ever been made to lie at the feet of Christ, who was crucified, buried, and risen as your Substitute, as your Sin-Offering, and cry for mercy? Can you look up and say, "He was crucified for me, He died for me: He is mine – He is my Sin-Offering. He died my death; He took the stroke intended for me"? My friend, do you know that pardoning grace? Do you know that the shed blood of the Lord Jesus has been applied to the doorpost of your heart? I do. Are you sheltered beneath the blood of the Son of God? I am. Do you know Him? I do. Can you say, "Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; buried, He carried my sins far away; rising, He justified me, and I am waiting for His coming one day"? Do you know Him?
Christ was born to die. He didn't talk about His birthday; never did He point His disciples back to the day He was born, but He was always telling them that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer and be put to death, and the third day He would rise again. How many commemorate His death? The world never commemorates His death. No, sir! The world never put its stamp of approval upon His crucifixion, His burial, or His resurrection. On the contrary, it does everything to ridicule and minimize the Person and Work of Christ. Only born-again believers commemorate the death of our blessed Lord and His resurrection. Every time they come to worship they sing about His death, they speak about His dying, they glory in His resurrection, they look for His coming.
Born-again believers praise the Lord that He was born in order to die for their sins, but you never hear them talking about celebrating His birthday. They do not minimize, or cast a slur, upon His birth, but they glory in the fact that He was Virgin-born. You may hear the born-again one speak much about his spiritual birthday, his new birth, when he was born again and translated into the kingdom of the Son of God. He loves to sing of Christ's birth and of His life, but the old songs of the cross like,
The born-again believer knows that everything he has, or ever will have, is tied up in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Apostle Paul said in writing to the Church at Corinth, "I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified!" Do you know Him? Do you know Christ? Have you been washed in His blood? Do you know what His death means? If not, may the Lord God of Heaven have mercy upon your poor soul!
Jehovah God's command to you today is, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate." Listen, my man, my woman, my boy, my girl, my preacher-friend: "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (II Cor. 6:17, 18).
You might be saying in your heart right now, "Pastor, this message has opened my eyes to the truth of this pagan, idolatrous holiday. Will God have mercy on me? Will He receive me?" Yes, my friend, He says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). In the verses quoted above, He said if you would come out, He would receive you. Remember, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Prov. 28:13).
THE WINE OF OLD BABYLON
Excerpt from 'The Apocalypse' by J. A. Seiss
Read another article on Christmas:
What About Christmas? on Gleanings page.
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