The festivals of the Christian calendar (principally Christmas and Easter) are based on the Gregorian calendar. This is a solar calendar (differing from the solar year by just 26 seconds) and is a refinement of the earlier Roman Julian solar calendar, link. But the Julian calendar was itself a revision of the Roman and Greek calendars which identified pagan solar festivals around the winter solstice and Spring equinox. Even days of the week and months of the year are from pagan Rome and Greece, link.
By contrast, the Hebrew calendar is based upon cycles of the moon (essentially a lunar calendar). It starts with the first month of the year, Nissan (March-April) and ends with the 12th month of the year, Adar (February-March). The important point is that it is biblical (Exod 12.2, Lev 23) and defines various God-ordained festivals at specific months of the year, link.
Is the Christian Calendar Biblical?
Why should Christians follow festivals rooted in pagan solar festivals? After all, God did not give man specific dates to celebrate the mission of Christ, link. There is no warrant in Scripture for the observance of Christmas and Easter as holy days. Jesus Himself told believers to proclaim His death as a sign of the new covenant (Mat 26.26-29, 1 Cor 11.23-26), but He gave no specific date to do this. Charles Spurgeon agreed and said:
We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas
And regarding Easter Spurgeon said:
See how they observe Good Friday, a sad, sad day to many; yet our Lord has never enjoined our keeping such a day
Further more, since Christianity has Jewish roots, why does the church largely ignore the Hebrew (Jewish) calendar? By ignoring the Hebrew calendar and the embedded mystery of the Hebrew feasts, the church could be accused of spiritual naivety! There is something deep and wonderful here. So by adhering to a pagan-based solar calendar is the church losing out? Moreover, is it being misled?
The Christian Calendar: Christmas
Did you know …
- The birth of Christ was not celebrated or observed, neither by the apostles nor by the apostolic church
- The Roman winter solstice was marked on December 25th on the Julian calendar
- December 25 celebrated natalis solis invicti, the Roman “birth of the unconquered Sun”
- The early church wanted to “Christianize” these pagan holidays, link, link
- The Roman Catholic Church later symbolised the pagan sun-god in the round sun-like wafer used in the Eucharist
- Modern Bible translations still present Jesus Christ as the “Sun” of righteousness (Mal 4.2, NKJV), replacing the sun god, Sol Invictus, link
- In Rome the fir tree (today’s “Christmas tree”) related to Baal-Berith, a pagan Messiah and a form of Ba’al-worship practised by ancient Israel, link
- The Puritans banned Christmas because of its pagan origin, link
The Christian Calendar: Easter
Did you know …
- The term “Easter” is found in Acts 12.4 (KJV only)
- Some claim this is a correct translation and that Easter here actually referred to a pagan festival involving the worship of the goddess of fertility, Ishtar (pronounced “Easter”), link
- The mythical Spring Goddess Ishtar is also variously named Eostre, Astarte, Ostera, and Eastre, link, link
- The Western term “Easter” was derived from the Anglo-Saxon form of Ishtar, ‘Eostre’ – the name of the goddess of spring, International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia
- The pagan festival involved the worship of Tammuz (her son) and took place at sunrise on Easter morning. It was an abomination (Ezek 8.13-16)
- Ishtar has been linked to the “queen of heaven” (Jer 7.18), link
- The pagan festival involved a celebration of reproduction and common symbols of Easter festivities were the rabbit and the egg
- The early church used the Jewish Passover (Nisan 14 on the Hebrew Calendar) to commemorate the sufferings of Jesus, the true Passover Lamb, link
- The First Council of Nicaea (325 AD) moved away from the Hebrew Calendar and changed the Easter date to align with the solar calendar, link
- Today some Christians follow the early church tradition and observe a ‘Christian Passover’, a form of the Jewish Passover but with the freedom Christ gives from ritual (1 Cor. 5:7-8), link
Time for the church to return to her Hebrew roots?