Unsealed Prophecy

The Gog Magog battle.

Iran (Persia) is in the news again and almost on a daily basis. Yesterday it was announced that Russia has lift its ban on delivering the S-300 missile system to Iran This system can protect Iran’s nuclear sites from attack. You can read about it HERE. With this news there is lots of speculation that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. There is also speculation that the Eze 38/39 battle may be close.

I have posted a study on the timing of the Eze 38/39 battle in Jan 2011 (How time flies!!) I will repost it here for your consideration:

Were does Eze 38 (Gog/Magog) fit in the timeline?

A difficult prophecy is Eze 38 and 39. The troubling part is were does it fit into the timeline? The majority of people see the Gog/Magog invasion before the last 7 years or the 70th week starts. The main argument is the following verse:

Eze 39:9  And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:

The argument for it happening after the 70th week started is also strong. I am starting to think that the Gog/Magog war may be the same as Armageddon or maybe overlapping Armageddon, but definitely in the last 3.5 years.

Consider the following verses:

Eze 38:8  After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.

This shows us that it is a latter years (last days) war.

Eze 38:20  So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

VS

Rev 16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

This sounds to me like a verse that could have been taken out of Revelation and something that will happen during the wrath of the Lamb. Notice the mountains that shall be thrown down.

Eze 38:23  Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Eze 39:7  So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.

Eze 39:21  And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
Eze 39:22  So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.

Eze 39:28  Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.
Eze 39:29  Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

The above verses says it all. After the battle EVERYONE shall know the LORD God. His face shall not be hidden from them again! Does it sound like there can be a “Time of Jacob’s trouble” after this event? I honestly doubt it. This is final judgment stuff.

Zec 12:9  And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zec 12:10  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zec 12:11  In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

The above Scripture makes it clear who the One will be that will fight the battle for Israel. It is Jesus Christ, the Lord God, the One who they have pierced.

Now the only Scripture that “proofs” that the Gog/Magog war will happen before the start of the 70th week is Eze 39:9, and that is a shaky proof. The argument for it is that the Jews will have to burn up the wood before the 1000 year reign of Christ start. My question is, do you really think that there will be no fire allowed on earth in that time? Do you really think that the Jews in physical bodies living under the Messiahs reign will never cook, heat water or melt metal for plows? Life will go on when Jesus reigns from Jerusalem. It will be a time of peace, but people will still need fire. So they will get the 7 years to burn the wood very easily.

As we see the world turning its back on Israel, Russia and Iran getting closer together and while the 7 year ENI is in place, we might be in a time were all of these prophecies are on the brink of fulfillment. To first watch for a Gog/Magog invasion with a 7 year time for burning wood after that might be risky and catch us off guard.

Comments welcome.

Wickus

 

Correction: Izzy Avraham

It has come under my attention that I have been posting false information on an individual. I have received and published a mail on 29 October 2014 stating the following:

11) “Izzy Avraham” alias (Curtis Johnson) (Tassel wearing Gentile who pretends to be Jewish/Israelite/Ephraimite) Johnson also practices the occultic art of Jujitsu…

Well, Izzy Avraham contacted me regarding this and gave me proof that he is indeed who he says he is. He is indeed Jewish and not a pretender. He also told me that he does practice a fighting art, but its not Jujitsu and it does not have anything to do with Eastern mysticism or Eastern religion.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused Izzy.

End of the age – 2018?

I want to share with you a hypothesis by Ted Montgomery. As he is not dogmatic but skeptical if this hypothesis is correct, please do not criticize but rather read and pray for wisdom. Please read it by following the provided hyperlink and feel free to comment here.

 End of the Age: 2018?

The Breakdown Of U.S.-Israeli Relations Brings Us Several Steps Closer To World War III

By Michael Snyder:

In the past 40 years, we have never been closer to World War III than we are today.  If you ask Americans to name what area of the globe they believe World War III will begin, the number one choice by a landslide would probably be the Middle East.  And thanks to the stunning breakdown of U.S.-Israeli relations, we are now closer to that war than we have been in decades.  Since the 1970s, the United States has served as the major buffer between Israel and her Islamic neighbors.  Israel has trusted the United States to protect it, and Israel’s enemies have known that an all-out assault on Israel would be fruitless because the U.S. military would step in.  When a minor conflict has erupted in the region, the United States has always rushed in diplomatically to settle things down.  But now the relationship between the Israeli government and the Obama administration is near a breaking point, and tensions in the Middle East just continue to intensify.  At this moment, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu no longer trusts Barack Obama to do what is right for Israel, and it is an open secret that Obama pretty much despises Netanyahu.  And during his speech to Congress on Tuesday, Netanyahu once again made it abundantly clear that his government will never, ever allow Iran to get nuclear weapons.  If Israel believes that Iran is even getting close, Israel will attack.  But instead of trying to prevent this from happening, Barack Obama is negotiating a deal with Iran that would give the Iranianspretty much everything that they want and would allow them to build all the nukes they desire in about ten years.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that this is a “bad deal”, and he is right.

The U.S. relationship with Israel is one of the most touchy political topics in the country today, and it is going to become even more of a hot button issue as time goes by.  There are millions of Americans that passionately love the nation of Israel, and there are also millions of Americans that are vehemently anti-Israel.  It is amazing that a nation that is about the size of New Jersey and that only has a little bit more than one-tenth of one percent of the global population can perpetually be at the center of global controversy.  Of course those of us that are Christians know that the Bible said that this would happen in the last days, so the truth is that none of us should be surprised.  No matter how much effort global leaders put into achieving “peace in the Middle East”, it never seems to happen, and now things are poised to go to a dangerous new level.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out his case to Congress during a very forceful 40 minute speech

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday that a proposed agreement between world powers and Iran was “a bad deal” that would not stop Tehran from getting nuclear weapons — but would rather pave its way to getting lots of them and leave the Jewish State in grave peril.

In a dramatic address to the U.S. Congress at what he said was a “fateful” crossroads of history, Netanyahu openly sided with President Barack Obama’s Republican critics and sparked an immediate and furious reaction from the White House, as relations between Washington and Israel spun into their deepest chasm for many years.

If Israel has lost all trust in the Obama administration, that makes it much more likely that it will choose to take unilateral military action against Iran.

With that in mind, consider the following quotes from Netanyahu’s speech…

-“The greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.”

-“That is exactly what could happen if the deal being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal would not prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.”

-“I know this won’t come as a shock to many of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, but it also plays a pretty good game of ‘hide and cheat’ with them.”

-“The ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.”

-“If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs, and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.”

-“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation, and terror.”

-“Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”

-“That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”

-“I can guarantee you this: The days when the Jewish people remain passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.”

And near the end of his speech, Netanyahu referred to the Holocaust when he spoke to Elie Wiesel who happened to be sitting in the audience…

Praising the presence in the audience of concentration camp survivor, author, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Nazi-hunter Elie Wiesel, the prime minister told him, “Your life and work gives meaning to the words, ‘Never again.’”

Does that sound like a man that is just going to sit by and watch Iran build nuclear weapons?

Reaction by members of Congress was mixed.  Many Republicans were thrilled by Netanyahu’s address.  But many Democrats were outraged, and Nancy Pelosi was nearly brought to tears

“I was near tears throughout the prime minister’s speech — saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations,” said Nancy Pelosi, the leader of Democrats in the House, referring to the group of world powers negotiation with Tehran, “and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.”

Most Americans don’t realize this, but an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear facilities could be closer than almost any of us would dare to imagine.

In fact, just a few days ago there was a report that a planned strike in 2014 was aborted at the last minute after Barack Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli jets…

According to Al-Jarida, the Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel’s back.

The report claimed that an unnamed Israeli minister who has good ties with the US administration revealed the attack plan to Secretary of State John Kerry, and that Obama then threatened to shoot down the Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

But next time, it might be different.  As I discussed in a previous article, there are reports coming out of the Middle East that indicate that Saudi Arabia plans to allow Israel to use their airspace to strike Iran.

In addition, new evidence of a secret nuclear facility near Tehran that Iran had not told anyone about has been revealed in recent days.  If it turns out that Iran’s nuclear program is actually far more advanced that they have been admitting, that will send the probability of an Israeli strike absolutely soaring.

For years, Iran and Israel have been on a collision course, and now time is running out.

And when war does erupt in the Middle East, the death and destruction could be on a scale that is absolutely unimaginable.

So let us pray that peace prevails for as long as possible.  Unfortunately, thanks to the foolishness of the Obama administration, the period of peace that we have been enjoying does not look like it is going to last too much longer.

The greatest mystery

http://bible.com/1/psa.8.3-4.kjv

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

What a great promise

http://bible.com/1/jhn.10.28-29.kjv

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

Who is right?

RightWrong-451x300 Matt 2:1-6
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Matt 2:13-15
And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Matt 2:22-23
But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

————————————————————-

Wow, what confusion. By reading the above Scripture I can understand why few recognised the birth of Christ Jesus. I can just hear the arguments about where to expect Him:

“He will come from Bethlehem.”
“No, expect Him to come from Egypt!”
“No, He is a Nazarene from Nazareth!”

Three valid arguments all supported by Scripture but also three opposing views. Were will He come from? Who was right in the end? All of them!

Fast forward to today and we see the same thing. We see arguments for an Western Europe beast system and arguments for an Eastern Europe/Muslim beast system. We also see arguments for a Roman Catholic beats system. All of these arguments can be supported by Scripture and everyone holding to a specific view is sure that he is right. Now who is correct? Maybe all of them? Can we ever be hundred percent sure before the fulfillment or must we wait for hindsight to be sure?

Folks, one thing I am sure of is that we are closer to the return of Christ than most will ever realize. I think the time for arguing on who is right and why the other guy is wrong is over. I think that we must keep our eyes on the signs that God said will happen in the end. Keep your eyes on His time piece Israel. Israel is alone in this world. She is surrounded by enemies. Soon Israel will be surrounded by armies. Soon those in Judea will have to flee. Soon persecution will be at your door.

Soon we will be with Him. Maranatha.

David Wilkerson – Economic Collapse, Russian Invasion & Other Warnings

Happy 2015! Or will it be?

Here is some sobering warning from David Wilkerson compiled by Ray Gano of Prophezine. This is really something to read and consider.

——————————————————————————————————-

David Wilkerson was a very forward thinking pastor, a real watchman on the wall. He was very outspoken and acted to warn the church his whole life time until his death in 2011. One of the reasons that I have studied a lot of his writings is that he has been warning about a coming collapse of the U.S. economy and the destruction of America for over 20 + years.

He believed that in an economic collapse there will be riots and fires all across major cities in this nation. This will be a time of great apostasy and persecution in the church like never before.

After the economic collapse of the United States the nation will be at its weakest point. He believed that a targeted nuclear holocaust could sweep this nation followed by a Russian invasion of America.

When Israel sees the destruction of America he believed that Muslim nations would then work to invade the Holy Land.

To this day I still find his warnings important. He spotted things on the far horizon where other Watchmen on The Wall did not. Fast forward to today, and many of his warnings have come to pass.

What I ask is will some of his other warnings also come to pass?

Here are his warnings and the years that he presented them.

David Wilkerson’s Warning in 1973

  1. “Worldwide recession caused by economic confusion”
  2. “At most a few more fat flourishing years, and then an economic recession that’s going to affect the life style of every wage-earner in the world. The world economists are going to be at loss to explain what’s happening. It’s going to start in Europe, spread to Japan and finally to the United States.”
  3. There will be a move toward a worldwide, unified monetary system. The US dollar will be hit bad and it will take years for it to recover.
  4. The only real security will be in real estate (until a somewhat later stage, at which point this apparent security will also disappear).

“Nature having labor pains”

  1. Environmentalists will come under heavy criticism.
  2. There will be major earthquakes.
  3. There will be a major famine.
  4. Floods, hurricanes and tornadoes will increase in frequency.
  5. “A new kind of cosmic storm appearing as a raging fire in the sky leaving a kind of vapor trail.”

“A flood of filth and a baptism of dirt in America”

  1. Topless women will appear on television, followed by full nudity.
  2. Adult, X rated movies will be shown on cable television. Young people will gather at homes to watch this kind of material in groups.
  3. Sex and the occult will be mixed.
  4. There will be an acceptance of homosexuality, and the church will even say that it is a God-given gift.

“Rebellion in the home”

“I see the new number one youth problem in America and the world as hatred towards parents.”

“A persecution madness against truly Spirit filled Christians who love Jesus Christ”

  1. There will arise a world church consisting of a union between liberal ecumenical Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church, using Christ in name only.
  2. There will be a hate Christ movement.
  3. There will be a spiritual awakening behind the Iron and Bamboo Curtains.

Others

  1. There will be another wave of riots.
  2. There will be a fall in moral conduct.
  3. There will be a new drug that will be popular with teenagers that will break down resistance and will encourage sexual activity.
  4. Homosexual and lesbian ministers will be ordained and this will be heralded as a new breed of pioneer.
  5. There will be nude dancing in church, but this will never be widespread.
  6. There will be occult practices in churches.

David Wilkerson’s Warning in 1985

America is going to be destroyed by fire! Sudden destruction is coming and few will escape. Unexpectedly, and in one hour, a hydrogen holocaust will engulf America and this nation will be no more. It is because America has sinned against the greatest light. Other nations are just as sinful, but none are as flooded with gospel light as ours. God is going to judge America for its violence, its crimes, its backsliding, its murdering of millions of babies, its flaunting of homosexuality and sadomasochism, its corruption, its drunkenness and drug abuse, its form of godliness without power, its Luke warmness toward Christ, its rampant divorce and adultery, its lewd pornography, its child molestations, its cheating, its robbing, its dirty movies, and its occult practices. An attack from Russia, and “The great holocaust follows an economic collapse in America.

David Wilkerson’s Warnings in 1992

Thirty days of chastisement will fall on New York City such as the world has never seen. God is going to let down the walls. There will be unimaginable violence and looting. The violence will be so ferocious, it will shock the whole world. Our streets will be lined, not just with the National Guard, but with militia. A thousand fires will burn at the same time throughout the city. The Los Angeles fires were confined to a few sections of that city, but New York will be ablaze in all its boroughs. Fire trucks will not be able to handle it all. Trains and busses will be shut down. Billions of dollars will be lost. Broadway shows will stop completely. Businesses will flee the city in an unstoppable hemorrhage. Such things are expected in Third World countries, but not in a civilized nation like the United States. Yet, in not too long a time afterwards, New York City will go completely bankrupt. The Queen City will be cast into the dirt, becoming a city of poverty. What I saw coming will be much more severe. Indeed, if America rejects God’s call to turn back to Him, we’ll face the same judgments Israel faced. And they will hit not only New York but also every region in the country. Even the heartland won’t be spared. The nation’s economy will collapse, and violence will erupt. Fires will consume our cities, and tanks will rumble through the streets. pray that God would give our President the same spirit that Josiah had, to tremble at his Word.

David Wilkerson’s Warnings in 2009

An Earth-Shattering Calamity is about to happen. It is going to be so frightening. We are all going to Tremble, even the godliest among us.

“For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago in August, 1965. There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting — including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath.

Persecution… Jews and Christians

A German author travels deep into ISIS territory and comes out with a grim assessment: ISIS is “preparing the largest religious cleansing campaign the world has ever seen.”

Read the article on CNN by clicking HERE.

How Did Christmas Become A Festival Of Greed?

How Did Christmas Become A Festival Of Greed?

By Michael Snyder

For most people, Christmas is all about the presents. But how did such a supposedly sacred holiday become a festival of greed? Not many people know the history behind Christmas gift giving, and it will probably shock you. This year, Americans will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 billion dollars on Christmas, but most people have no coherent explanation for why they are buying all of these gifts. Those that are Christian will tell you that they are doing it to celebrate the birth of Christ, but as you will see below, gift giving on this holiday originated long before Christ was born. Others will tell you that they are just following tradition, but most of them have absolutely no idea where the tradition of Christmas gift giving originally came from. And the truth is that most people simply don’t care about the history. They are just excited about all of the stuff that they are going to get on December 25th. But if you are curious to learn how Christmas became a festival of greed, just keep reading…

In early America, there was no Christmas gift giving. In fact, the Puritans greatly disapproved of celebrating the holiday, and in some areas the celebration of Christmas was actually banned by law.

For example, if you were caught celebrating Christmas in the state of Massachusetts from 1659 to 1681 you could be fined five shillings

On May 11, 1659, the Massachusetts Bay Colony legislature even went so far as to officially ban Christmas and gave anyone found celebrating it a fine of five shillings. The legislature stated the ban was needed For preventing disorders arising in severall places within this jurisdiceon, by reason of some still observing such festivalls as were superstitiously kept in other countrys, to the great dishonnor of God & offence of others, it is therefore ordered … that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by for-bearing of labour, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shillings, as a fine to the county.

The ban remained in place for 22 years until it was repealed in 1681 after a new surge of European immigrants brought a demand for the holiday. Even though the ban was lifted, Christmas was not warmly embraced by the puritans and it remained a dull and muted holiday over two centuries later.

But weren’t the Puritans Christians?

Didn’t they want to honor the Lord Jesus?

Of course they were Christians. They took their faith incredibly seriously. But they also knew their history a lot better than we do.

Most Christians do not realize this, but Christians did not celebrate anything in late December for the first 300 years after the time of Jesus. The only people that celebrated anything at that time were the pagans.

By now, most of you are probably aware of the great Roman celebration known as Saturnalia. But most people don’t know that our tradition of gift giving can be traced back to that holiday. The following is how Wikipedia describes this ancient pagan festival…

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held on the 17th of December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to the 23rd of December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnivalatmosphere that overturned Roman social norms:gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called it “the best of days.”

Most people do not realize this, but the priests of Saturn would even carry wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the pagan Roman temples.  These processions probably looked at least a little bit similar to our Christmas parades today.

So precisely who was Saturn? Here is more from Wikipedia

Saturn (LatinSaturnus) is a god in ancient Roman religion, and a character in myth. Saturn is a complex figure because of his multiple associations and long history. He was the first god of the Capitol, known since the most ancient times as Saturnius Mons, and was seen as a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. In later developments he came to be also a god of time. His reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. The Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum housed the state treasury. In December, he was celebrated at what is perhaps the most famous of the Roman festivals, the Saturnalia, a time of feasting, role reversals, free speech, gift-giving and revelry. Saturn the planet and Saturday are both named after the god.

Eventually, the Romans began holding a festival at the end of Saturnalia on December 25th called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, which means “the birthday of the unconquered sun”.  Throughout the empire, the “rebirth of the sun” was celebrated with great revelry.  The winter solstice was past and now the days were starting to get longer again.  It was a seemingly logical time to honor “the rebirth of the sun god”.

When the Roman Empire legalized Christianity in the early 4th century, the Roman government began to put a lot of pressure on church leaders to fit into the broader society. So eventually the birthday of the Son of God was moved to the time when the rest of society was celebrating “the rebirth of the sun god”.  December 25th was first celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in about 336 AD, and in the year 350 AD Pope Julius I officially decreed that Christians would celebrate that day from then on. At first, the new holiday was slow to be adopted by Christians and it was not widely observed until about the year 400.

And of course Jesus was not actually born in late December.  The evidence that we have indicates that he was most probably born in the fall during the Feast of Tabernacles.  The only reason people celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th today is because the Catholics of the 4th century wanted to appease the pagan Roman government and the pagan culture at large.

Over time, the practice of gift giving during late December faded, and by the early 19th century the big tradition was actually to open presents on New Year’s Day. But then merchants saw an opportunity. According to historians, advertisements for “Christmas presents” began appearing in newspapers in the United States in the 1820s

Buying gifts to celebrate Christmas is steeped in tradition, dating to the 1820s when newspapers began to advertise items for Christmas presents, according to the Connecticut Historical Society.

“This holiday market place is part of the larger birth of the consumer culture that extends itself to all aspects of our social life,” said Leigh Eric Schmidt, author of “Consumer Rites” (Princeton University Press, 1995).

Schmidt, a professor of religion at Princeton University in New Jersey, said if the nation had continued the practice of giving gifts only as mementos for New Year’s, Christmas would not have evolved into the huge retail venture it is today. There would have been more focus on the religious aspects of the holiday. But all that changed when gift-giving became a way to honor family relationships.

And at first, Christmas in America was nothing like the festival of greed that it is today.  Gifts were usually small, modest and personal. The following is one description of the tradition of Christmas gift givingduring that era

In the 1820s, ’30s and ’40s merchants had noticed the growing role of gifts in the celebration of Christmas and New Year. Starting in the mid- to late- 1850s, imaginative importers, craftspersons and storekeepers consciously reshaped the holidays to their own ends even as shoppers elevated the place of Christmas gifts in their home holiday. However, for all the efforts of businessmen to exploit the season Americans persistently attempted to separate the influence of commerce from the gifts they gave.

What emerged was a kind of dialogue between consumers and merchants. Many gift-givers, for instance, ranked handmade gifts over purchased or totally manufactured ones. Retailers responded by marketing partially assembled goods to which givers applied the finishing touches. Americans also moderated the relationship between commerce and giving by wrapping the gifts they gave. The custom had once been merely to give a gift unadorned and uncovered, but a present hidden in paper heightened the effect of the gesture, fixing the act of giving to a moment of revelation. Wrapping also helped designate an item as a gift. As gifts came increasingly from stores, factories and homes of cottage labourers, paper and string helped redefine an object to meet its social use. The commercial work comprehended the importance of this symbolic transformation of goods. Grander stores began to wrap gifts purchased from their stock in distinctive, coloured papers, tinsel cords and bright ribbons, as part of their delivery services. Thus, while paper might have blurred a present’s association with commerce in some cases, in others it advertised a material status associated with patronizing the ‘right’ store.

Over time, Christmas gifts came to be associated with a mythical gift giver in cultures all over the globe.

Of course in the United States this mythical gift giver is known as “Santa Claus”, but in other areas of the planet the traditions are very different

Current tradition in several Latin American countries (such as Venezuela and Colombia) holds that while Santa makes the toys, he then gives them to the Baby Jesus, who is the one who actually delivers them to the children’s homes, a reconciliation between traditional religious beliefs and the iconography of Santa Claus imported from the United States.

In South Tyrol (Italy), Austria, Czech Republic, Southern Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Switzerland, the Christkind (Ježíšek in Czech, Jézuska in Hungarian and Ježiško in Slovak) brings the presents. Greek children get their presents from Saint Basil on New Year’s Eve, the eve of that saint’s liturgical feast. The German St. Nikolaus is not identical with the Weihnachtsmann (who is the German version of Santa Claus / Father Christmas). St. Nikolaus wears a bishop’s dress and still brings small gifts (usually candies, nuts, and fruits) on December 6 and is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht. Although many parents around the world routinely teach their children about Santa Claus and other gift bringers, some have come to reject this practice, considering it deceptive.

This article may upset some people because their Christmas traditions are so deeply cherished.

But there is no reason to be upset.

If you are going to do something, you should know why you are doing it.

Knowing our history empowers us to take control of our lives and to make better decisions.

As a Christian, I never knew any of the history behind Christmas when I was growing up.  So I could never explain the reasons for why I was doing the things that I was doing to others.

And no holiday should ever be a festival of greed.

So whatever you are celebrating this time of the year, make sure it is for the right reasons and not the wrong ones.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 281 other followers