"Somebody Cooked Your Goose - Part One"
A Christmas Study by Tricia Tillin
Christmas is a subject that intrigues, interests and sometimes inflames Christians on both sides of the argument. Those outside Christianity would think it strange that we even have an argument for and against, but throughout the centuries the debate has rolled on, without a firm conclusion. Should we as Christians celebrate the festival that has become known as Christmas?
The bible can be interpreted in various ways on this topic, but is not totally conclusive. The danger lies is being reactionary or harsh. At the end of the day, the bible commands respect for others as well as obedience to God:
Index to the Four Parts
It is almost impossible to be impartial about Christmas. So much of the celebration is now fixed for us by popular entertainment, commerce and the Church that the most we can do is to avoid the worst examples of bad taste and put our own particular mark on the food and decorations.
There is a kind of inevitability about the season that begins to take hold around the end of October, and we find ourselves, even if unwillingly, caught up in the fun, the excitement and also the orgy of spending and superficial jollity. Little time remains for a candid look at the truths behind the make-believe.
As I watched a glitsy, sparkly Christmas advert on TV this year, despite all my misgivings and despite not having any money to spare, I felt an almost irresistable draw to go get decorations for the house and more presents for the family. My husband said he felt it too. What's going on? What is it that lures us into these feelings, even against our better judgement?
We are all children at heart, and have been children; all our associations with the season are good and produce good memories. We were treated extra kindly, given presents, wore new clothes, went to parties, stayed up late, were indulged and petted and made to feel special. We love to repeat old routines of this sort; it provides for many a sort of anchor to the past, to childhood, when dreams could still come true, and it seems to hold out hope for the future too, in that the better side of man might one day prevail.
This is especially true of the media. It becomes almost a crime to mention a mean or selfish act at Christmas. Hostility must be forgotten; goodness and kindness must flourish. The real world no longer seems to exist. Yet, we all know that the usual hooliganism, robbery, drunkenness and vice will soon afterwards be reported, and the figures for suicide and divorce will rocket as ordinary mortals try to reconcile the fantasy with their reality.
The "magic" of Christmas?
The enormous pressure on families to spend more than they can afford, coupled with the encouragement to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ at any price, is no part of a genuine Christian festival.
But where Christian sentiments do exist, they not only struggle against a tide of materialism in the world but also fail to find any spiritual depth in the Church. The Church’s offerings for the festival are usually trivial and worldly, amounting to little more than a nativity play for young children, which emphasises the fantasy elements and is devoid of real content.
Despite any amount of effort, the Church seems incapable of relating the goings-on of Christmas to the believer’s walk in Christ. The more secular aspects of Christmas take over the Church, instead of the other way round.
Many churches have Christmas trees, and even sing in worship to them! "O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree…."!!
Why is this? Is it because the bible says little to nothing about the actual birth of Jesus and does not encourage us to celebrate his "birthday"? Is it because the world's "winter festivals" are now and always have been the main focus, instead of a genuine Christian worship?
We Christians, who would be very nervous at the idea of letting our children dance around a Maypole, who would discourage them from dressing up as devils at Halloween, who would certainly not attend the Druidical rites of the winter solstice at Stonehenge - we at the same time are almost unthinking in our acceptance of the practises of Christmas just because of the pleasure and fun they bring.
Isn't this a hypocritical stand to take? We, who are generally so careful to avoid pagan practises, and who pride ourselves in being biblically accurate, somehow switch off our powers of discernment at Christmastime, and "anything goes".
Aspects of Idolatry
In this study, I do not intend to be judgemental. The aim is to educate, not disapprove or condemn. But let's be aware of what is going on.
I hope to cover intensively the various aspects of the Christmas mythology, and to show that almost every part of the Christmas celebration is a throw-back to its pagan origins. This is not to say that every Christian should abandon Christmas entirely, but as with all things, knowledge is power, and once we KNOW what the symbols and activities mean, we can make an educated decision as to the extent of our involvement. For instance, I would send (suitable) cards, but not have a tree in my house. In our house also, we have a crib scene but nothing portraying Santa. It's each person's individual choice.
I will cover this more fully in the conclusion section, because the bible DOES give us solid guidelines in this and every other matter. And so we begin:
The excuses offered by the Church for this festival are thin to say the least. We hear that "it's a good time to witness to unbelievers who come to Church" or "it's for the kiddies" and "it's the birthday of Our Saviour". But do we want to witness with a festival that is so easily exposed as unbiblical? Do unbelievers grasp the true meaning of the gospel or that we are hypocrites and uneducated? Can't we witness the genuine gospel and do it all year round? Is it really wise to lie to children? And is December 25th really the "birthday" of Jesus?
When we examine the biblical evidence, the facts can be disputed. Many Christians these days accept that Jesus was not born in winter, nor was his birthday celebrated in the way we do ours. Even this tenuous link to the Winter solstice is broken therefore. We are left with NO viable reason to indulge in a Winter Festival and call it Christian.
Most educated Christians already KNOW that December 25th is not the birthday of Jesus Christ. But that fact doesn't seem to matter.However, there are good reasons for avoiding December 25th. What meaning does it have for the Antichrist, and Lucifer the "god of this world"? It commemorates one of the most heinous crimes committed against the people of God!
In the year 169BC, the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163) outlawed Judaism and on December 25th, profaned the Temple! He had pigs slaughtered on the altar, pigs being sacred to his god Zeus (Jupiter). (Later we will be considering why it is traditional to eat pork as well as kill birds on December 25th.)
In the temple, too, was erected something that horrified the Jews (those who remained faithful to the Covenant and Law that is, for many had been swayed into worldly ways by the Syrian and Greek empires). It was a statue of Zeus/Jupiter (and also in a way, of Antiochus, for he believed himself to be an incarnation of the god - compare what the Lawless One will do in 2 Thess 2:1-4:)
" Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
... and read the Jupiter connection to the endtimes prophecies HERE.)
This exact day - December 25th - may also have been chosen because it was already a well-known and important birth-festival for a number of gods. See this page for details.
Hannukah or the Feast of Dedication
It is also true that the Jewish temple was cleansed and restored on the same day, December 25th, three years later, giving rise to the Festival of Hannukah (See this mentioned in the bible as the "Feast of Dedication" In John 10:22).
It would be comforting to conclude that the Christmas date of the "birth of the Light of the world" came solely from the Hannukah lights around December 25, although this date is not a fixed one in the Hebrew calendar. For instance in 2010 Hannukah began on December 1st and in 2013 it will begin even earlier, November 27th.
However I feel that this fesitval has become influenced by the "birth of Sol Invictus, the LIGHT, the SUN" and this is why lights and candles are so prominent in December.
The first person who spoke of lights as an integral part of Hanukkah was Josephus, and he wrote nearly two hundred years after the events had occurred. Josephus refers to Hanukkah as the "Feast of Lights". From our historical information we know that Hanukkah lights became an important part of the festival sometime shortly after the life of Christ, and continued after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.Don't forget that around this date is the Winter SOLSTICE, and ancient people looked for the rebirth of their life-giving sun shortly afterwards.
But not only the candles and Christmas lights, but almost ALL the paraphernalia surrounding Christmas comes from our idol-worshipping ancestors and not the bible. Such things as the tree, mince pies, the goose, Santa, the reindeer, holly and ivy, the Yule Log - these are rooted in paganism.
Is Christmas a Christian Festival?
Christmas has become big business, and undoubtedly it is a festival of self-indulgence for many, but, despite this, can Christmas still be a holy festival, full of meaning for those who celebrate it as the birth of the Lord Jesus?
Can the religious aspects of crib and carols, nativity plays, candle-lit services and midnight mass raise Christmas to a higher level, above the bleep of electronic toys and the clinking of glasses? Unfortunately not; and this is nothing new, for the Church has been fighting a losing battle against the rites of the Winter Solstice for many centuries.
Children, when asked what is the most important part of Christmas, always answer "the presents" and they tell you that the person we remember at this time of year is "Santa". As you see, the cute idea is that little children pray to Santa to receive gifts, not God!
Year after year we hear the annual lament that the Christian aspects of the festival have taken second place. No wonder, for Christmas IS, after all, a pagan festival.
The Early Church
Let us look for the origins of our Christmas festival in the days of the early Church. The fact is that no annual festival of Nativity was held at first. The date of Jesus’ birth was not known, and if anything was of recurring importance to early Christians, it was the resurrection and not the birth of Jesus.
Furthermore, a nativity festival would not have been held in mid-December for Jesus was born when the sheep were in the fields (Luke 2:8) and when it was possible for common folk to make long journeys on the country-roads, certainly not in mid-winter. (Luke 2:3,4)
By the third century after Jesus, the Eastern Church had begun to celebrate Epiphany on 6th January, and this commemorated the baptism as well as the birth of Jesus, but the festival held on 25th December which spread from Rome to the rest of the Church was originally the pagan Saturnalia and its associated festivals. It was held by the Romans in honour of the god Saturn, and it was, itself, a mixture of earlier Babylonian and Egyptian rites.
All over the world, the Winter Solstice (around 21st December) was celebrated as the death and rebirth of the sun god, and when the Church of Christ began to lose its zeal and power, wavering half-convinced believers yielded to the temptations of these wild, merry-making feasts which formerly brought a little jollity and license to their lives. Some even went so far as to sacrifice again to the pagan gods and goddesses. Faced with this danger, the elders of the Church decided, not as you might suppose, to redouble their warfare against the infiltration of the enemy into their camp, but to incorporate the pagan festivals into the Church and "christianise" them in the hopes of attracting believers back into the Church.
When Constantine, the Emperor of Rome in AD300, began to tolerate Christianity as a state religion, he opened the way for sun-worship to be established within the Church, for he himself was reputed to be a member of the ‘Sol Invictus’ cult and acted as its chief priest all his life. He supposedly adopted Christianity in 312 AD; he died in 337 AD. He is seen on a coin opposite. (1)
It seemed convenient and attractive for Christians at that time to combine many pagan rites with Christian doctrines, and Constantine supported them by declaring in 321 AD that the ‘venerable day of the sun’ (Sunday) was henceforth to be the day of rest and worship, and by aligning the Nativity festival with the festival of Natalis Solis Invicti (the birth of the Unconquered Sun) on December 25th.
This brought the Church into line not only with the sun worship of the Romans, but with the Greek saviour-god Dionysus, the Persian cult of Mithras, the Babylonian worship of Ishtar and Tammuz and the Egyptian rites for Isis, Osiris and Horus. Truly, Christmas was an interfaith triumph!
Satan presents himself throughout mankind's history as the SUN-GOD, the centre of the universe (so he believes). But see this 4th century mosaic from St Peter's in Rome with Christ blasphemously portrayed as the Sun God with sun-rays and heavenly cloak.
Throughout all recorded history, in every culture and nation, the death and rebirth of the sun-god has been celebrated as a pivotal moment in religion.
Naturally, this celebration occurs when the sun reaches its furthest distance from the equator and thus appears to "die away", and can it be a coincidence that this happens around 21st/22nd December, when Christmas-time begins?
At first, godly men tried to suppress the incoming paganism. As early as 230 AD, we see Tertullian (2) bitterly lamenting that, "By us, who are strangers to sabbaths, new moons and festivals, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia and the Matronalia are now frequented; gifts are carried to and fro, new year’s day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets are celebrated with uproar."
However, such men were like King Canute on the shores of the sea. The tide of ungodly worship could not be stopped.
At the same time, the Church authorities and theologians were busy allegorising and christianising the pagan rites. This is stated with frankness by an early Syrian writer who says,
"The reason why the Fathers transferred the celebration of 6th January to 25th December was this: it was the custom of the heathen to celebrate on the same 25th the birthday of the sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and festivals, the Christians also took part. Accordingly, when the Doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians has a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day... Accordingly, along with this custom, the practise has prevailed of kindling lights until the 6th..."
The Roman festival of Saturnalia began on 17th December and lasted about seven days, until the 24th. It was a time of unrestrained gaiety and noisy revelry, when slaves were liberated for the season and all sorts of crime and foolishness was overlooked. The people indulged in feasting, drinking and the mad pursuit of every kind of sensual pleasure.
Houses were decked with evergreens, and presents were given; a special mid-winter candle was burned, and the people exchanged candles as gifts.
In very ancient times, human sacrifice was an integral part of this celebration. Each manifestation of the god - Osiris of Egypt, Dionysus of the Greeks, Odin and Freya of the Scandinavians - was entreated and placated by human sacrifice. A far distant echo reaches us today (as we shall see) in the form of the Yule Log blazing in the hearth.
The god of Saturnalia was Saturn (or the Greek god Cronos) who was celebrated as the king of the Golden Age when all was abundance, harmony and equality. There was at that time, it was said, no slavery, and want was unknown. (This is a counterfeit of the King of Peace - Jesus the Messiah - who will reign over the world in the Millennium.)
King of the Feast
At the commencement of the feast, a man was chosen to represent Saturn during all the festivities. He was allowed to take whatever liberties he chose, to enter any building and to play the fool with anyone, high or low. The giving of absolute authority to this chosen one was meant to represent the authority of the King. (Some representations of this figure appear today in a deck of cards as the Joker, and as the Mediaeval Court Fool.). However, in olden days, many years before the time of Emperor Constantine, this chosen ‘king’ would have been slain as a human sacrifice at the end of the revels, for the ancients perceived (by satanic wisdom) that a man must die for the people
The theme of human sacrifice (or later substitutes for it) runs through all the winter festivals of the world. When it became inappropriate to use a human representative of the god, an animal substitute was sacrificed instead. Later still the practise continued with effigies of various sorts.
The animal sacrificed by and for Mithras (the god who most rivalled Jesus in early years) was a bull - for the word meant ‘prince’. That the pagan priests understood its hidden meaning is clearly shown by the ghastly practise of baptising worshippers in the bull’s blood, which was supposed to cleanse them from their sins.
Some sacrifices are associated with trees. For example Attis, a beautiful shepherd of Phrygia, was supposed to have died under a fir tree, and was transformed into that tree. Thus, to honour him, annually a man robed in white was tied to a tree and slain.
In later time an effigy was used, which today has become the "angel" that we impale on the top of our Christmas tree.
The Greek counterpart of Attis was Apollo, (the beautiful shepherd and sun-god) and in the legend of Apollo it is his challenger who was tied to the pine tree and flayed. He was later revered in a cave nearby, from which the river of his name gushed forth. There is deep meaning here which will be followed up in later chapters.
Since the beginning of the Church, there has been a sharp division of opinion on the subject of pagan customs, including the festival of ‘Christmas’. On one side were those who wanted to ‘christianise’ the practises in order more easily to win over the heathen as converts, and on the other side were those who abhorred idolatry in all its forms and sought to eliminate the customs root and branch.
For example, Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (339-397) says of December 25th, the Roman Birthday of the Unconquered Sun, "Well do Christian people call this holy day on which our Lord was born, the day of the new sun".
Augustine, the Roman Catholic missionary to this country around AD 600 received detailed instructions from his Pope, Gregory the Great, which led to the nominal conversion of the greater part of the island, not without the opposition of the British Church which had been established here since the first century AD. He says,
"Do not pull down the fanes (idol temples).. .purify them with holy water, set relics there and let them become the temples of the true God... Because they are accustomed to slay many oxen in sacrifice to demons, they may make for themselves bowers of branches of trees around those (former) heathen temples ---nor let them now sacrifice animals to the Devil but to the praise of God kill animals and eat --- for from obdurate minds it is undoubtedly impossible to cut off everything at once..."
However, at the same time as this, Bishop Martin of Bracea decreed that it was "unlawful for the faithful to observe the heathen festivals and to adorn their houses with laurels and green trees" and Caesararius of Arles in the 5th century wrote, "the heathen, and what is worse, some who have been baptised, put on counterfeit forms and monstrous faces - some are clothed in the hides of cattle; others put on the heads of beasts..."
On the same subject, Archbishop Theodore recommended penances for anyone who "at the Kalends of January (New Year) goes about as a stag or a bull, putting on the heads of beasts, because this is devilish". Do people still do this? As the photo below demonstrates, yes this practise is alive and kicking.
The Protests of the Protestants
With the sanction of the Church, the Twelve Days of Christmas became the major national holiday, and they were days (as Wycliffe, the early Reformer, said) "of gluttony, all manner of harlotry and lechery", as was the Roman Saturnalia in its time.
Perhaps it is significant that the suppression of these excesses came with the Reformation. John Knox (seen as a statue here) put a stop to the festivities during the revival in Scotland. The Puritans were so opposed to the feast and all its pagan associations that by 1647 it was decreed that all festivals "heretofore superstitiously used" were no longer to be kept.
In 1652, the "Terrible Remonstrance against Christmas Day grounded upon divine scriptures" was presented to Parliament, which decreed that "no observation shall be had, nor any solemnity used or exercised in churches upon that day in respect thereof".
This, of course, only drove the celebrations underground for a time, and as soon as the King was restored to the throne, the people continued to enjoy the season as much as they wished.
The Dissenters who tried to suppress the Christmas customs did so because they recognised and deplored not only the idolatrous nature of the rites, but the way the Roman Church had made use of them to deceive and ensnare its members. They knew that the customs of Christmas had little or nothing to do with Jesus Christ, but that the Church system - far from eliminating idol worship - had upheld and encouraged it under the guise of religious ceremonies.
From the feast of the dead in November, re-named All Souls, to Candlemas in February, which kept alight the fires of the Celtic festival of Imbolc, the Church has preserved almost every pagan feast and activity only thinly disguised and christianised.
The Winter Solstice was considered to be the birthday of many gods, including Mithras, Apollo, Dionysius, Odin and Attis. However, we can trace back all these various legends to the one demonic lie, that the god of light dies and is reborn for the good of mankind. For this reason I believe that the Antichrist may have his birthday celebration or epiphany (appearance) at or near Christmas Day. Especially since the "abomination that desolates" was first placed in the temple on December 25th - and it will happen again!
From pre-history in Chaldea, to modern-day story-telling, we see the symbolism of the pure mother, the saviour child, and his death and resurrection for the redemption of mankind. These hero stories are pagan adaptions of the truth for the purposes of misleading mankind
The Sun and the Son
At a time when the sun was the most vital factor of life for man, it was easy enough to focus attention on the sun itself rather than the God who created it. When the life-giving sun "died" in winter, superstition drove people to perform rites to ensure its rebirth. But behind these natural facts lay something far more sinister - the ongoing agenda of Lucifer to focus man's attention and adoration upon himself as the coming "saviour" of the earth.
He used the gods and myths to invent a false incarnation, death and resurrection - and even a virgin mother - to supplant the truth about Jesus the Messiah. Many religions around the world have this garbled false version of the birth and rebirth of their hero god.
The Story Told Today
It may seem incredible, but even in England today the story most dear to satan’s heart is re-told in an unconscious form in the Christmas Mummer’s Plays so common in former times and now being revived.
While the characters, words and actions vary from place to place, the basic story remains the same: a character called the Turkish Knight, the King of Egypt or the Bold Slasher, (who is usually the son of another character) has a fight and is killed. There is lamenting for his death, often expressed by the Father, and then Bold Slasher or the Egyptian King (or whoever) is raised to life again to great rejoicing. In Gloucestershire, the father of Bold Slasher says these words:
"Horrible, terrible, what hast thou done? Thou hast killed my only, dearly beloved son"
The jealousy of satan is such that he has taken all the elements of the truth and twisted them into his own idolatrous system, for in certain regions, so reports Philo of Byblus, the son of Cronos was called Jeoud, which means ‘the only begotten’ and this son was supposed to have been dressed in royal robes and sacrificed at a time of great crisis to the nation.(3).
The Miraculous Child
At Christmastime we celebrate above all the birth of a Child. For the Church, this festival is about the birth of the Messiah, but long before the birth of Jesus there had been yearly celebrations of the birth of the holy child, the saviour of the world. Satan tried to pervert mankind into accepting his false gods as miraculous saviours, and his myths as redeeming truths.
The myth of the god who was murdered, then raised to life again, became for generations of pagan worshippers a cycle of death and rebirth in which a baby typified new life returning to the earth.
The sun-god entered into the underworld for the Winter, then was reborn in Spring. All new life, hope and faith was wrapped up in the reappearance of the saviour-child, who would end the dark, cold, barren days of the world's "winter" and bring fertility and comfort once more.
So it is that Christmastime is still called YULE-TIDE, for that word is just the Chaldean name for a little child (Chaldee Eol, Hebrew UL).
The Anglo-Saxons knew Yuletide as ‘Child-day’ and what we call Christmas Eve was to them ‘Mother-night’ long before they came into contact with Christianity.
About AD 730, the English historian Bede wrote that the Anglo-Saxon calendar included the months geola or giuli corresponding with either modern December or December and January.He gave December 25 as the first day of the heathen year and wrote that the Anglo-Saxons celebrated all night long to honor the Germanic divine "mothers":
They began the year with December 25, the day some now celebrate as Christmas; and the very night to which we attach special sanctity they designated by the heathen term Mōdraniht, that is, the mothers' night — a name bestowed, I suspect, on account of the ceremonies they performed while watching this night through.
We commonly see icons and pictures of (supposedly) the Virgin and Child at Christmas. But why are those representations of Mary not - as one might expect - dark and Jewish looking, but fair-haired and blue-eyed?
They are often shown with sun-like halo discs around their heads. But why do mother goddesses all around the world look just the same? Here are a few:
- 1) Ankh Nes Meryre and Son Pepi.
- 2) Cyprus.
- 3) Madonna Guanyin, Goddess of mercy
- 4) Matrika from Tanesara of India
- 5) Yasoda and Krishna.
- 6) Mother and son 2000-1850 B.C.
- 7) Mexico, Jalisco 200 B.C.- 500 A.D.
- 8) Maya.
- 9) Mexico, Colima 200 B.C.- 500A.D.
- 10) Mykene, Greece
- 11) Sun Goddess, Arinna.
- 12) Virgin Mary (not the real bible Mary)
The Virgin Mother
The Phoenician goddess and child mentioned in the bible, Astarte and Tammuz, were a major factor in leading the Israelites astray. Amazingly enough, though the rites of Astarte and the other like goddesses reached the very depths of sexual degradation - as they do in satanism today - and her attendants were cult prostitutes, the hidden mystery of her true nature was preserved in that she was known as the ‘Holy Virgin’.
Artemis, in Greek mythology, is associated with chastity, marriage, children, wildlife, and, as a complement to the sun god Apollo, with the moon. The Romans identified her with Diana. (The SUN god often had the MOON goddess as a consort. The goddess is frequently also his MOTHER.)
Satan knew that the promised Seed was to be born of a virgin, and he arranged for his counterfeits to be worshipped as such. The very word used by Isaiah in prophesying the birth of Jesus (Is 7:14. Almah = unmarried woman) is applied to the goddess Venus, for she was called Alma Mater, Virgin Mother.
Our Scandinavian ancestors called one of their gods Heindal, who was the "son of the virgin of salvation". Jesuit missionaries were amazed to discover in China a mother and child worshipped exactly as in their Church, the mother being called "Virgo Deipara" or the Virgin Mother of God.
Minerva, the Roman version of Athena, (the Lady), was represented as a virgin, yet in Crete she was known to be the wife of Helios, the Sun, and the mother of Corybantes. And Proserpine was addressed thus in the Orphic Hymns:
"Associate of the season, essence bright,
All ruling Virgin, bearing heavenly light"
The Roman Catholic Virgin’s title - Madonna - gives us another clue to her origins, for all over the world the goddess was known as "The Lady". Just as Baal meant the Lord, so Baaltis meant the Lady; As Adonis meant Lord, so Athena meant Lady, from the same root word. Juno, the Roman Queen of Heaven was in Greek called Hera (Lady) and the title of Cybele or Rhea in Rome was Domina (Lady).
It should also be remembered that, in the Bible, (Jer 7:18) the Assyrian version of the goddess was titled "Queen of Heaven", a title now given to the Virgin Mary.
This mother-and-child duo is seen everywhere in Catholic churches and shrines, and particularly so at Christmas. However, at Christmas when we would expect the focus to be upon Jesus Christ the Messiah, often the attention is upon the Virgin Mother. The media (in the UK at least) speak rather sneeringly of "the christ-child" or "little baby Jesus" reducing Him to a helpless infant while Mary is worshipped as perfect and adorable.
There is something else that draws the pagan and Christian nativity even closer together, and this is the way in which the birth of Jesus is portrayed in the Eastern Church.
Instead of the stall, the crib, the cattle or anything else in the biblical account, the mother and child are shown at the mouth of a cave. It might be argued that this picture is taken from the Apocryphal Gospel of James, which gives the following account of the birth of Jesus:
"And they came to the midst of the way, and Mary said unto him: Take me down from the ass, for that which is within me presseth me, to come forth. And he took her down from the ass and said unto her: Whither shall I take thee to hide thy shame? for the place is desert. And he found a cave there and brought her into it, and set his sons by her, and he went forth and sought for a midwife of the Hebrews in the county of Bethlehem" (Chap 17:3- 18:1) (The midwife’s name was said to be Maia)
This alone would have been deviation enough, but when the various birth narratives of the satanic messiahs are examined, a strange coincidence arises, for they were often born from the earth, or in a cavern.
Gods born in the cave
The closest rival to Jesus was Mithras. He became a chief god of the Romans, who brought his worship to this country after their invasion. Mithras was said to have been born in a cave, and his birth was witnessed by shepherds who sacrificed a lamb to the infant.
The worship of Mithras almost always took place in an underground sanctuary. Worthy of note is that his birth was attended by two men holding torches, and this perhaps accounts for the strange fact in the apocryphal Gospel of James that "Joseph left Mary in the charge of his sons". Hermes, likewise, was born in a cave, and the name of his mother was that of Mary’s supposed midwife, Maia.
The Greek god Zeus, the father of Dionysus, was born and raised in a cave to protect him from the wrath of his father who was fearful of being deposed by his son.
At Eleusis, there was an annual re-enactement of the marriage of Zeus and Demeter when her priestess and a man chosen to play the part of Zeus would descend into a cavern while the throng of worshippers waited in anxious suspense for the result of their mystic intercourse on which they believed their salvation depended. After a time, the man would reappear to exhibit to them an ear of corn (the Seed), proclaiming, "The Mighty One has brought forth the Mighty".
In Egypt and Syria the priests would retire to an inner shrine until midnight at which time they would come forth showing a new-born baby and crying, "The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing!" Does this not in some ways mimic the traditional Christmas Church service, Midnight Mass? In Yorkshire, a tradition was kept up until the 17th century of crying YOLE (child) at the end of the Christmas service. Here again we can see the overlapping of pagan and Christian feasts.
Did our Lord ascend from the PIT?
For a Christian the cavern or underground cave symbolises the tomb and underworld. Our Lord did not originate from the darkness below, but descended from the glory of heaven! He was not born from the Pit, but came to conquer the forces of death! But the false christ of the Christmas celebration comes from a hole in the earth, and this speaks of his ascent as a god from the pit.
In Revelation 13:11, we read: "I saw another beast coming up out of the earth..." This, of course, is the False Prophet, the third member of the satanic trinity who corresponds to the Holy Spirit. So, when we know that the Egyptian god Nub or Nun was born out of a hole in the earth, we understand why he worshipped as a prophet, a wonderworker and an adept in magic.