What has happened is very clear to me. The Christians coming out of all their false teaching, desiring to return to their Hebrew roots have become the front-runners leading the charge on the evils of Christmas. In their efforts to distance themselves from any more lies, they’ve also aligned themselves with Judaism. For centuries, Judaism has had a war on Christmas obviously because of their rejection of Christ. He was their enemy and anything to do with Him was also an enemy. This is somewhat understandable since Christianity has falsely taught a Torahless Messiah. Who can blame them?
Messianics who’ve never celebrated Christmas prior to their understanding of Messiah are not as emotional about this issue as the Hebrew roots folks. Don’t get me wrong, the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM)’s motives are honorable and their hearts are desiring to serve YHVH without more error. But remember that they are aligning themselves with Judaism, a teaching that has always denied Y’shua. To deny His birth, or the celebration of it is part and parcel of the whole package. To be clear, HRM is not denying Y’shua’s birth just denying that it should be commemorated or celebrated. Judaism has certainly had an influence in their argument.
This article is hopefully, encouragement to all of you who have felt the condemnation coming from the HRM or coming from those opposed to a celebration of the Savior’s birth. It’s an emotional issue whereby disapproval and denunciation of those who celebrate Christmas is getting a very loud voice. This side of the argument is rarely expressed. Search the matter yourself. Here are the results of my search and maybe, just maybe one or two of you who now condemn Christmas will have a change of heart. My opinion matters not in this debate. What does the bible say?
Mal 1:11 In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to Me, because My name will be great among the nations (goyim, gentiles, heathens) ” says YHVH Almighty.12 “But you (priests) profane it by saying, ‘YHVH’s table is defiled,’ and, ‘Its food is contemptible.’
Can anyone other than YHVH declare creation unclean? Or a day defiled? Or an offering unacceptable? No. Man cannot elevate himself to the position of YHVH. Man is not the Creator. YHVH says “the silver is mine and the gold is mine” and the Psalmist reminds us that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”. YHVH decides how He is to be worshipped and if the argument of celebrating the fulfillment of the promised Messiah stopped right here at the above verse in Malachi, it would be enough. There is really no reason for further explanation of what has happened in the HRM…..its a matter of humility and right positioning to our King or in their case, very wrong positioning. Paul spoke of this in 1Cor 10 when he reminded us to not inquire what a pagan has done in their religious practices. No one is able to defile what YHVH declared as “good”. A day belongs to Him….all days belong to Him…..and it matters not what satan or anyone else has ever or will ever do on that day. The day still belongs to YHVH. Redemption of these principles can either be realized by those who have the heart of Torah or the continuing condemnation resulting from disobedience to scripture can identify our spirit. Continually ignoring this teaching will insure a rejection by YHVH. He decides what is acceptable to Him………we don’t. And when we are participating in sin by declaring a day as “pagan”, a day that He created, a day that no enemy has any ability to defile, His word tells us that He will reject our offerings and our sacrifices.
I cannot reinforce this enough. Just because the HRM and others with a loud voice say it is so…..DOES NOT make it so. We are not called to follow man. We are certainly not called to hitch our wagon to the next man in the pulpit. We have no need of man to teach us but the Holy Spirit alone. Please do not let others do your thinking for you. It is quite unbelievable to me that the celebration of the fulfillment of this prophecy, YHVH born in the flesh, is forbidden to be celebrated by this arrogant movement as if it is biblical. The argument doesn’t make sense from the start and certainly profanes His Name as Malachi wrote.
For further affirmation, here are the faulty arguments against the celebration of Christmas:
We should not be celebrating anything other than the feast days.
While it is true that Christians have outright denied the recognition of or the celebration of YHVH’S appointed feast days and we are striving to reverse this fact, to make a theological statement of denying celebrations other than the appointed feast days would have to be founded upon scripture declaring so. After all, we agree that it’s not our word that matters but YHVH’s. From Genesis to Revelation, you will find celebrating, feasting, gift giving, enjoying the fruits of your labor, etc. They include not only man, both secular and spiritual, but also the angelic hosts involved in celebration. The reasons for celebration are vast. Pagan rituals certainly are part of what we read but we also read about a party (feast) for Isaac’s maturity. Joseph had a big feast in honor of his brothers and lavished them with the treasures of Egypt. The prodigal son was thrown a huge party. Ecclesiastes speaks of feasting and celebrating the blessings given by YHVH and the ability to do so, to celebrate, is also a gift from our Heavenly Father. Purim and Hanukkah are the product of those interpreting YHVH to put His blessing on celebrations even other than His appointed feasts. So from cover to cover, we can already determine that celebrations other than appointed Feasts were done. Does YHVH approve of these celebrations? He gave us the ability to reason and His Word is trying to instruct us isn’t it? Was Israel chastised for celebrating? Did they receive judgment for a supposed sin of celebrating other than Feast days? Of course the answer is “no” and we can reason through the debate that YHVH is always willing to accept our praise and worship and thanksgiving as long as we are striving for righteousness. This is what Ecclesiastes is talking about when it makes mention of the ability to celebrate is a gift from YHVH. What He does not accept is anything we call worship, sacrifice, praise, honor, thanksgiving, etc when we are walking in sin at the same time. I think we all get this so to make the statement above and condemn all celebrations other than feast days is to deny what the bible declares to us.
Also, to condemn all celebrations other than feast days and then celebrate birthdays, annual holidays, Thanksgiving,, 4th of July, awards banquets, anniversary parties, etc would be hypocritical on our part. The attack on Christmas seems to be targeted and it seems those who make this argument of a supposed sin of celebration other than Feast days want to only apply their argument to Christmas. Remember Y’shua spoke of hypocrites when He spoke of the Pharisees. Here’s my paraphrase of Y’shua’s words “They read from Moses’ seat (Torah) so do what they say but do not do what they do. They add to My word and change it and twist it and refuse to understand the spirit of Torah. They attempt to circumcise their flesh but not their hearts. They’re making up things as if they are from Me and subjecting the people to their own laws and their own interpretations. I’m planning on breaking their laws and blowing their arguments out of the water so everyone will know that My Torah is from Me and everything else is from man. I expect you to follow Me and rebuke man when He repeats the sins of the Pharisees.” And that’s exactly what He did and it’s exactly what we are to do.
If it’s not in the bible, it shouldn’t be done.
What do you say to someone who says this? Are we forbidden to think? As we just established, celebrating is indeed in the bible. Also in the bible is celebrating for many reasons, certainly other than just the feast days. Commemorating events is in the bible. We even read about the Israelites putting up monuments for the remembrance of events. Looking forward to the promised Messiah is throughout the bible. Ahhhhh, but here’s the rub. Once that promise was fulfilled and He was born, it’s to be forgotten or ignored. We’re not allowed a celebration. We’re not allowed a commemoration. And we’re certainly not allowed to replay Luke’s story, make any kind of setting (nativity) as a reminder in a Christmas play. It’s as if time stopped with the writing of the gospels and men must check their brain at the door. Again, what do you say to someone who has such a short sighted view of scripture? Do their teenagers go to prom (not in the bible)? Do they shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July (not in the bible)? How about going to the state fair? Baby showers? Brushing your teeth? Should I go on??????
We are not to look like the nations around us and not to do what they do.
Absolutely correct! Scripture declares this but scripture also shows us the specifics of what that means. Do we all, both secular and spiritual go to restaurants? Do we all go to movies? Do we all celebrate certain national holidays? What about driving cars? Playing sports? I could go on and on and of course the answer is “yes”. If the nations around us are engaged in these things, should we not be? Isn’t that the criticism about the celebration of Messiah’s birth? According to HRM, this argument ONLY applies to Christmas and not any of those other things I listed. Hypocritical again? The WAY we celebrate should be a defining marker. The movies we choose to attend, how we conduct ourselves while we are out in public and what constitutes our idea of “celebrating” should identify us as a Follower. If we are the one getting drunk on the 4th of July, or vulgar at a sporting event, then regardless of our freedom to celebrate days other than feast days as we just established in point 1, we are not conducting ourselves as we should. YHVH has given us some clues as to what it means to not look like the nations around us. I’m going to list some of them in the next point but first off, our identifying marker no doubt, is the keeping of the Sabbath. This is what sets us apart. It is not because we’ve decided it to be so. He’s decided to make that our identity. And it’s the keeping of the Sabbath physically and in our hearts that will change our hearts toward the Spirit of Torah and not just the letter of Torah.
We are not to participate in pagan ways.
This is where we really need to understand what the bible is saying to us. Of course we would all agree that bowing to an idol, the sacrificing of our children, drinking blood, etc are never to be done or condoned by a Follower. Neither should we set leaders over us (vote) who condone anything associated with these and many other types of behavior. However, when YHVH tells us to not make an image of anything under heaven or earth, He doesn’t stop there. If He did, we would be in big trouble because we have images all over our houses, our buildings, our clothing, our advertisements, etc. But in being a good student of His word, we read the rest of what He’s saying. Do not make an image “to bow down to it in worship”. So now we realize what He’s telling us. The image making isn’t against Torah. The image making for the purposes of idolatry and the act of worship to that image is idolatry.
Another example is the shaving of the sides of the head. Is getting a hair cut wrong? Is a bald man in violation of Torah? No, we have to read on. The passage states that this ritual was involving the dead therefore, in keeping with idolatry and the worship of another god. It’s the same with cutting the corners of your beard. This was also done as a ritual to another god; also idolatry. Should Hare Krishna guys shave their heads? Absolutely not but the reason is because they are involved in idolatry. We should not identify ourselves with them in any way nor strive to practice what they do.
There are more examples in scripture like tzit tzit, writing the commands on the doorposts and gates, building parapets, burying waste, etc. that must be understood in the spirit of Torah, but the take away should be that the act itself is not the purpose of the command. We can certainly get on our knees and tend to our hydrangeas but we cannot get on our knees in front of an idol we are giving any kind of consideration to. We can shave our heads or cut our hair closely but not if we are doing this as part of a ritual to another god. We can have a beard, not have a beard, wear a beard any way we want as long as what we’re doing is just for our own purposes and not idolatry. Therefore, we have to stretch our brains to make sure we assign this teaching across the board to everything else in this world. It’s about the motive of our heart, what are WE doing when we are on our knees, when we groom ourselves, when we place images on our bookshelves or paint them in beautiful landscapes, frame them and hang them on our wall. This would apply to adorning our houses. Holly, evergreen boughs, wreaths, trees, all are not violating scripture by themselves. In fact, they were used to adorn the temporary structures during the Feast of Tabernacles. They are just part of creation. But if we bow down and worship them, that is another story.
To make any of these acts or practices in and of themselves against scripture by saying that if a pagan did this, therefore we should not, then where does it stop? What things haven’t pagans done? They certainly go to movies. They go out to eat. They have homes and cars and nice things around their house and hanging on their walls. Why would we not include all of this if we are interpreting it to be the act itself instead of the motive behind it? The bible defines for us what YHVH means and we should not twist what He has already said. However, the HRM is emphatically doing just that. Why? I’m not sure of the motive but I am sure of the result; condemnation and lording over another. Both of which should not be part of the Body of Messiah.
Christmas trees are idols as spoken by Jeremiah 10 and therefore should not be in our home.
We’ve already established that the tree itself in our home is not against Torah. But to relate any argument of a Christmas tree to Jeremiah 10 is an utter lie. Anyone who can read, will see that the bible is not talking about a Christmas tree but the carving of idols where they would then bow down and worship. This point should make us very angry because it is a blatant twist of YHVH’s word and I can barely tolerate reading anything coming from one who uses this passage to make this point. Remember the first time a slight twist of YHVH”s word was made in the garden?
So, a tree brought into our home, adorned with lights for the purpose of beauty, a party or any other reason (other than idolatry) is not wrong unless it is established that the celebration of Christmas is declared to be worship of an idol from a biblical standpoint. Therefore any part of the celebration would be participating in idolatry, or a worship of another god and of course, a moot point. However, it’s going to be very difficult to link the celebration of the Savior’s birth to the worship of another god in the hearts of millions of people. Just because HRM says so, does not make it so.
Lets take this to the absurd to prove a point. Do we realize that some Hindu practicing pagan worshipper is bowing down to a cow right this minute? But does that stop us from bringing beef into our homes? What’s the difference in bringing a steak in and a tree? According to HRM, if the object was ever used by a pagan in his worship practice, the object is now defiled. What about the offering of meat to the idol “allah” in the Muslim practice of halal? Has the Hebrew Roots Movement condemned the eating of meat since we cannot be sure if our cut has been a part of this pagan practice or not? Yet I think you will find the argument breaking down at this point if you press further. After all, it does sound absurd that YHVH would require us to know whether any of His creation has ever been used in pagan worship so man can turn around and condemn the use of it. Just the opposite is true, in fact. As we’ve briefly discussed, Paul said don’t even ask! (1Cor 10)
Christmas is a catholic invention.
Well of course that’s not true because our Savior was indeed born. He actually DID come to earth. But if we’re talking about the word itself “christ” “mas”, I’m just not sure. I’ve certainly read about the connection to a catholic mass as you have too. The term “mass” as used by the Catholic church is from the Latin word “missa” which means dismissal. That seems odd if we choose to make the connection of “mass” to “mas” in Christmas, doesn’t it? But, I’ve also read that there is an ancient word “mes” that simply means “son” ( the word mes “son” or mesu “be born”- behindthename.com). This is where the word “messiah” gets it’s origin. What we have to remember is that the Catholic church we identify later on is not the one first established. The first church was of Jewish origin with a very Jewish mindset. Church fathers, even those who desired to maintain a Levitical system as all of our churches do today, simply had a term for the day they recognized for the celebration of the birth of Messiah. You will find the term specific for the celebration of the birth of Messiah in the cited material at the end of this article. Not one time is the word “mass” used. The historical words are “feast” or “festival” associated with this celebration in the early church writings so at that point, anyway, the celebration was not “Christ” “Mass” or the historians would have used the term. The point of banning Christmas because of the word, should really be inconsequential to the argument about whether to celebrate the day itself. An interesting side bar is that with the understanding of a Jewish mindset of the early church, the tendency of these men would have been to relate the birth of Messiah to one of the feast days if indeed He was born around the time of YHVH’s appointed feasts. However, no such record exists of that happening.
Christmas was a way to allow Christians to celebrate Saturnalia.
This might only be a point of interest IF Saturnalia and Christmas coincided on the calendar. There is not one shred of evidence that Christmas was ever on December 17th when Saturnalia was celebrated. And even when the day of feasting turned into a week of feasting, Saturnalia ended on the 23rd of December. Anyone with a brain would realize that 2 days later, when the Christians are gathering in congregations to celebrate the birth of their Messiah, it doesn’t mean they were participating in Saturnalia. It certainly doesn’t mean that the early church dated the birth of the Savior to coincide with a celebration that’s already finished it’s celebrating. In fact, the pagans would have said “you’re a week late, we’re done, everyone’s gone home and back to work, it’s over and you missed it.”
Christmas was a celebration of the Festival of the Unconquered Sun.
Not true either. That celebration did not show up on any calendar date of December 25th until 354AD. Early church writings (listed at the end) declare a celebration of the birth of Messiah earlier than this period so this point needs to be dropped from the conversation. However, you will find this argument spreading throughout HRM. Very few of us are willing to search out the matter because it is easier to jump on the bandwagon especially if we are in agreement of not celebrating Christmas. However, Proverbs reminds us to thoroughly search a matter before making a determination. Shouldn’t we do that?
The Festival of the Unconquered Sun was indeed a celebration of the “birth” of the sun. We know this day is December 24th/25th on our Gregorian calendar. The sun dies on the 21st and 3 days later is reborn (unconquered) when the days start to become longer once again. Sun worship was taking place for hundreds, if not thousands of years before our Savior was born by many pagan cultures and called by many different names. There is historical evidence in the 4th century of an official day of celebration taking place on December 25, after Rome declared the Festival of the Unconquered Sun to be a national holiday. But knowing that the sun is a sign to us given by our Creator, and using reasoning, who would be copying whom? Were the church fathers copying the pagans or is it possibly the other way around? If early writings declare to us that Christmas was already being celebrated as early as the first century on December 25, then when a pagan holiday shows up on the calender on that date in 354, what do you suppose is going on?
Also, much credit is given to the Roman Emperor Constantine for dating Christmas on December 25 to coincide with this Unconquered Sun celebration. Constantine’s reign was in the early 4th century so the dating does not add up. Neither of these arguments prove factual when the evidence is presented from historians but that doesn’t seem to matter to some. Hundreds of websites use both of these arguments all the time and people hang on their words without any research.
But here’s the interesting truth. YHVH placed the sun and the moon and the stars in the heavens as signs for us. Satan did not do that. He and his followers do not have any type of power to declare anything about the sun, moon and stars. If YHVH says the sun. moon and stars are signs, they must truly be signs. What do they tell us? We know that the stars declare the gospel. We know that the moon declares a new month. Would it be surprising to anyone if the birth of the sun is the time of the birth of the Son? In fact, historical writings tell us that they believed John was born after the summer solstice when the sun begins to shine less or “die” and our Savior was born at the time of the winter solstice when the sun is reborn. If this is true, it sure brings new understanding to John’s words “He must become greater; I must become less”.
Astronomers have verified that the sun has 12 companions (constellations) surrounding it and we know YHVH appointed 12 tribes of Israel and 12 disciples. As we move through the seasons, the sun dies as winter begins and remains dead for 3 days before beginning it’s birth or resurrection on December 24th/25th. Again, the incredible foretelling of our Father’s plan is indeed written in the heavens. But that should also tell us that this plan or any part of it does not belong to Satan. Just because pagan cultures have denied YHVH to give their worship to another, does not in any way change the truth of what our Father has done and set in the heavens for us to know. We have no proof of Y’shua’s actual birth DAY and scholars from the first century on, have tried to determine it. What we can say for sure is that a scholar living in that culture who understands the signs, hearing those stories, knowing and talking to the ancestors of those people, studying the Torah in that time period would probably be a more accurate barometer of truth than an HRM student living in this century. Understanding that fact would then allow us to realize that there are no writings, no evidence, no quotes, no history of the birth of Messiah being celebrated on any other day other than December 25. Not in March, not in September or October at the feast of Trumpets or Tabernacles, not at Pentecost, etc, no other evidence suggesting another date. If there was evidence, I’m sure it would be brought to the table. Certainly there has been speculation about other dates of the birth of Messiah but no evidence of a recognition or celebration of His birth other than December 25. That’s interesting isn’t it? If He were born at another time, wouldn’t there be a record of someone celebrating it or at least acknowledging the day by way of commemoration? Wouldn’t Tertullian or Theophilos, Hippolytus or Josephus have recorded something about a group of people believing and celebrating Messiah’s long awaited appearing in the Fall perhaps or the Summer? Of course the lack of evidence is not evidence but it is interesting nonetheless.
Since we don’t know the actual day of Messiah’s birth, we shouldn’t celebrate it.
Really? Do you always have your child’s birthday party on the actual day of his birth or have you, many, many times, had a party on the weekend? Does the date of the celebration somehow soil or make the celebration unclean? If we celebrate on the exact day, it’s sanctified, but if we celebrate on another day, it’s defiled?
I wonder if this same stubbornness holds true with those who are celebrating Thanksgiving? When was the actual date of the feast the pilgrims had with the indians? What about Hanukkah? Thanksgiving changes every year. As for Hanukkah, when no one can ascertain the correct Hebrew date for the new year, let alone any of the Feasts to follow (read next paragraph) does that make a difference?
I would also like to remind you of the debate of those coming to the knowledge of our Hebrew roots pertaining to timing. It’s one that few have settled. The few that think they have determined exactly how YHVH meant to declare a new month, are only speculating. The debate is whether a new moon which determines a new month is simply “known”(by science), “sighted” or “must be sighted by two witnesses and declared by Sanhedrin”. Then you have all the other issues mixed in along with this debate. When does the year have 12 months and when does it have 13. Is the first day of the first month declared when barley is ripe in Jerusalem or when there is a new moon closest to the equinox? Remember that if the first day of the first month is off, the whole year is off, therefore the Feast of Trumpets and Feast of Tabernacles is off. They could be off by a month or by a day or two if we go with the “sighted” moon theory of determination. None of these things are spelled out clearly in scripture which makes it even more difficult to determine. Does this lessen the motivation in our hearts to be a part of the feasts YHVH declared? If we’re off by a day or two or even a month, does that forbid us in some way?
Do you suppose that our enemy would like us to get caught up in a heated argument about exact dates, get so frustrated, understand that we may never really know, get discouraged and decide to throw it all out? We’ll just forget celebrating because after all, we can’t be sure if we’re correct on the date anyway? I know our enemy desires that outcome. He desires that process when we begin to study any of the difficult truths of scripture. If it’s not easy and spoon fed to us by another, then we’re going to go with what’s easiest. Even if what’s easiest has been spoon fed to us by another as well. It’s a daunting task to get into scripture to search out these things and whether they can even be found, I don’t know. But I do know that those who are commanded to search (ALL OF US) are not doing it. Too many of us are letting HRM declare things and we’re not checking ourselves. We’re not using reasoning and discernment to rebuke the sin of the Pharisees. Are we really going to lay down our following of man in evangelical Christianity to then begin following man in the HRM? Why would we do that?
The world is caught up in Santa Clause and we should have no part in that even if it means we stop celebrating Christmas.
There is some truth to this one. Paul told the Corinthian church that he wouldn’t even let the eating of meat be a stumbling block to someone coming to the knowledge of the truth. Does that mean Paul never ate meat again in his whole life? Or maybe does that mean that when he was with those who had little faith or weaker faith, he became blameless in their eyes? He didn’t do what he knew he had the freedom to do because it would turn them away from the gospel. He didn’t do certain things in their presence.
I think there is a great lesson to be learned here. The obvious lesson is that we are not to be a stumbling block. We are to conduct ourselves in a manner that would respect the person we are trying to minister to; the one whom YHVH has placed before us. But the other lesson is to be aware of what determines someone to be weak in faith. Are the “rules” ruling their life? Do the “don’ts” have a condemning spirit attached to them with little ability to reason? Are lines drawn in the sand over non salvation issues? I would have to say “yes” to all of these things in HRM. Most newly informed Torah followers have little desire to reason. It’s difficult. They’ve been sitting under a man for years and they simply replace their Christian pulpit with an HRM pulpit. They latch onto an idea, provide all the proof texts and arguments that they’ve listened to but REFUSE to search it out and reason.
As far as Santa Clause, we could go into all the history of St. Nicholas and his desire to spread the gospel, at least his desire to spread the spirit of the Torah in his giving, thanksgiving, the need to be mindful of our sin, etc, but that would muddy the waters. In his defense, I would have to say that I doubt his heart, or his motivation was to be worshipped by us centuries later. I do not believe this guy meant to happen, what has happened, but Satan will twist whatever we allow him to twist.
I do think we need to realize what parts of this biblical event of Messiah’s birth that Satan has been able to twist with great success. We should never make Christmas about anything other than what it is. To lie to our children, to promote anyone other than our Father and His promised Messiah is certainly taking part of the twist of Satan. But to throw out the real reason to celebrate the coming of the Messiah because Satan has been successful in his distortion, is labeling ourselves as the ones Paul is referencing, “weak in our faith”. We are not able to discern YHVH’s sovereign work and the celebration of that work from Satan’s ability to have men totally distort and redirect the thoughts of others. This will always happen. It always has happened. But Paul reminded us to not even ask if the meat has been offered to idols (1Cor 10). An idol is nothing and any power we assign to it is like saying that an idol has the ability to create something YHVH declared as good into something bad. Meat, trees, wreaths, haircuts, blessed events are not able to be declared “bad” by an idol worshipper. “For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”. But do you think HRM starts out their argument from this position? No, they don’t even end their argument from this position. They ignore the commands of 1Cor 10 and they ask whether any and all parts of the Christmas celebration at any time in history, have ever been or will ever be something a pagan will or has ever done. Thereby declaring that the pagan has the same power as YHVH and can declare the things of the earth “bad”. Where are the people who are supposed to examine their words and hold them accountable to the truths of scripture? Lazy……..and unable to discern…..that’s where.
YHVH didn’t want us to celebrate His birth or He would have told us the date.
Okay, got me on part of this one. He did not tell us the day of His Messiah’s first appearance nor did He tell us of the day of His second. But He did tell us to anticipate both. In fact, He did tell us to celebrate the Savior’s arrival because it is the fulfillment of Torah. For centuries, the prophets spoke of the coming Messiah and the people looked forward to their Deliverer. What was this person going to accomplish anyway? What was going to happen that would cause such a change that they should anticipate His arrival and examine the men throughout those centuries claiming to be Him? Was it just that a second adam, not just another man, was going to die on a cross and the story is moving right along on it’s intended path? Or was something world changing, life changing, heart changing going to happen?
I think we know the answer to this. The renewed Torah covenant is not like the 1st one as Jeremiah 31 says. The Spirit of the LIVING God will now reside in a new temple; us. This is unlike anything ever before. Instead of “with” us, He is “in” us. His Torah resides in our heart. We desire to obey and please Him. The only reason man would have longingly anticipated this event to happen or to come in their own personal lifetime would be because they understood the vast destruction of sin in their own life and the lives of those around them. “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts”, as Isaiah said.
Imagine what it must have been like to be one of the shepherds in the field. Imagine seeing the heavens open up and angels who usually knock people to the ground when visible, praising, singing and celebrating the birth of Messiah. Imagine being Simeon or Anna, understanding what their hearts must have been like already, to have been chosen for an introduction. Why so few involved in this first celebration we read about? Where was everyone? The star was certainly visible. The people certainly knew the prophecies. Why so few? Didn’t the angel say they were bringing good tidings of great joy for ALL men? Did the angels mean only some men? Or temporary joy, but certainly not joy that would remain 2000 years later? Maybe it’s the same reason so few today really understand the spirit of Torah. We would rather go along with the predominant crowd, even though we pick the crowd as HRM, doesn’t make it any more acceptable. Their crowd in 2BC was Pharisee ruled. If the Pharisees declared it, it must be true. The Pharisees were looking for a lion, a king, not a sacrificial lamb. They did not understand the events of Torah. They certainly didn’t understand the spirit of Torah and Y’shua broke THEIR laws (man’s reasoning) all the time. In this generation, we also have a pharisaical group desiring to restore a Levitical system and an earthly temple whereby they will rule over other men. Aren’t they doing the same thing when they put their twist on scripture or ignore Paul’s teaching to not give idols any power?
We must realize that when the Savior was born, He had not yet declared Himself as God. He hadn’t started His ministry. He had performed no miracles. He provided no proof to the world that He was the promised Deliverer. Why would we think the world at that time, would inquire about Mary’s son’s birthday and recognize it in any way? But that’s the argument coming from HRM. Since no one we read about in the bible (NT) inquired about the date to give it any kind of recognition, no one else should. But how can we say this is true? Evidence in historical writings within the first few hundred years suggest just the opposite. After Y’shua’s death and certainly after His resurrection and even more certainly, after the Holy Spirit indwelt men, the world (who were watching) KNEW He was Messiah. Would it have been sinful for Torah observing, born again men to go back and recognize the day that the promise of Messiah was fulfilled….especially to prove the scripture’s fulfillment? Should they just have forgotten that date or the searching out of it even though they anticipated His arrival for 4000 years? That really doesn’t make sense does it? These men were Jewish or they were Torah observant Israel, however you want to describe them. They observed the Feasts of YHVH. This celebration, Christmas, paled in comparison to the Feasts and took nothing away from that fact. The Spirit of Torah was alive inside them causing great joy. Of course they would want to commemorate YHVH’s plan. And I even suppose Mary, some inconsequential shepherds and some bearded astrologers had a few campfire stories to tell of a night so long ago. Can’t we place ourselves in this situation and know that that night would be forever burned in our memory? We would not want to forget nor would we want the world to forget.
To the HRM and those of you on the other side of this argument, let me ask a few questions: When the angels declared this news to be “good tidings of great joy for all men”, is there any way we could interpret their meaning of “all men” to be a reference of only the few people who were introduced to the newborn baby in that first century? Was the celebration supposed to stop with only the wise men, the shepherds and a handful of others?
What exactly were the “good tidings”? What was the news that the angelic hosts declared would cause “great joy”?
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
The birth of the Savior, did we get that? His birth………..A cause for a lasting celebration if you ask the angels.
Can’t forget the argument about shepherds not grazing their flocks in winter so Y’shua could not have been born in December.
Almost doesn’t seem worth the time for this one except to say that the latitude of Israel is like southern Georgia/northern Florida/central Texas whereby winter is mostly mild. However, none of that would matter when it came to YHVH organizing the events of the birth of His Son. Whether it was monsoon season or the drought of summer, the hand of YHVH would intervene if He wanted His Son born at a certain time don’t you think? My father died on December 22, 1971. I walked home from school that day and it was quite warm. His funeral was December 24 and it was in the 70’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma, latitude north of Israel. I remember this vividly as I played jacks with my friends out on my front porch in shorts. It has since dawned on me why YHVH might have done that and why it has been in my memory banks ever since. Are we really going to continue with an argument that our supposed imagination of the temperature of Israel in 2BC would forbid the Savior’s birth on a certain day or a certain season of the year? Are we going to insist that a time of year be off limits for YHVH’s sovereign work, that He must bend to our reasoning, before lifting our condemnation of those believing it to be December 25th?
Complete disregard of the physical evidence proving Luke’s account; the star.
I just don’t get this one except to say I listed it last because the only reason I can come up for continually ignoring the star is pride. Secular science and spiritual scholars have determined by astronomical calculations, what they believe is the only possibility for this phenomenon. And yes, it happened on December 25, 2BC. I guess we could argue all day about the relationship of the date this star stopped over Bethlehem to the date Messiah was born but that would be a worthless argument. We aren’t going to accomplish anything because we’ve already determined that no one knows any more than has been presented. What we can assuredly say is that the date of this star stopping over where the Messiah lay, was the date that YHVH chose to introduce those men who came from afar looking for Him. Accidental? Two years later? Not in Bethlehem? Certainly not the night He was born? House? Barn? Be my guest and beat your head against a wall on all these questions and you’ll get no closer to an answer. What we do know is that it happened. It was enough to cause a great unprecedented celebration. Can we even wrap our minds around a multitude of heavenly hosts appearing in the sky, singing and praising YHVH and what that scene must have been like? Never has that ever happened before nor will it happen again until Y’shua comes a 2nd time. We may never know all of the details but we know the world changed. We know because we are the evidence of that change. The living God resides in us and gifts us with the ability to understand Him, to search for Him, to share Him in the way He meant to the world. And when we fail miserably in our efforts, we know it is pride that has usually caused our failure.
As for those who’ve wrongly condemned Christmas and declared errors to family and friends, now have egg on our face. We know it makes us look foolish. We’re embarrassed by our stubbornness and our lack of searching to begin with. We’ve been led by error and we were happy to be so. But……………the Spirit that lives within us, if indeed He does, will overlook all of that to right themselves in the eyes of YHVH. The Follower will seek to share the truth, the “full of faith”, not “weak in faith” truth about the birth of Messiah……Christmas….. and the reason for good tidings of great joy that shall be to all men….enough to cause a celebration all these years later.
The bottom line is that if we choose a date to celebrate and all we have to go by is the evidence, the most unbiased, historical, biblical and scientific date to celebrate the birth of our Savior is December 25. (make sure to read all cited material at the end) Haggai’s prophecy is certainly speaking of the coming of Messiah. He writes, “Do consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month; (December on our calendar) from the day when the Cornerstone of YHVH’s temple was laid, consider. Is the seed still in the barn. Even including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree, it has not borne. Yet from this day on I will bless.” Haggai wrote these words well before the rebuilding of the 2nd temple and yet this date corresponds to its release from desecration by Antiochus IV hundreds of years later. The rededication is celebrated as Hanukkah or Feast of Dedication spoken of in John 10, the same celebration that Y’shua attended. However, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are the last words of YHVH (old testament) and tell us how His plan of ultimate redemption is to unfold. They do indeed describe future events from their perspective that are history to us, but they also speak of the great redemption yet to come for all of Israel. Haggai is speaking of THE Cornerstone, Himself and it’s undeniable that Y’shua is the fulfillment of this prophecy. If we didn’t bring forth one argument to refute the claims of coinciding pagan worship on this date, it would not matter. YHVH is not limited to accomplish His work only when some pagan some where is silent. It is a ridiculous supposition for the HRM to make and it is not in keeping with what scripture teaches us. If you are one who is reducing YHVH to the limitations of man or angels, their schedules or their rituals, I suggest you realize what you’re saying and the place you’re giving to the Creator. Isn’t this why Paul was making his point? Do we really want to continue teaching “weak in faith” Followers that we are subject to every whim and action of a pagan’s worship practices?
Call it what you want if you don’t like the word Christmas. Recognize that Satan has taken the celebration and twisted it for millions of people just like he does everything else. YHVH’s plan was always the coming Messiah. He is the fulfillment of everything spoken in the Torah. If Satan could not prevent that event from happening, then he sure would like to have us forget it or at least turn the remembrance of it into something totally different. Maybe you’ve been complicit in twisting the truth of Christmas. Maybe for you and your family, you were indeed caught up in the nonsense, Santa, elves, partying, unrighteousness. Repent where you participated and don’t continue to perpetuate anything that is false. Restore what is true but do not continue condemning a celebration that YHVH does not condemn. If we must determine the exact, precise date of His birth before we rejoice in His plan, we’re missing the greater celebration here. To get caught up in the attack on Christmas because of some unknown and unprovable details is to deny the fulfillment of Haggai’s words about the Cornerstone being laid on the 24th of Kislev (December), “Yet from this day on I will bless”. YHVH caused a great celebration that night and the remembrance of it is a blessing to all the world and proof that YHVH’s word is true. Messiah’s first appearance was certainly unprecedented and it will only be trumped by His second. That should cause great celebration indeed!
The historical evidence should speak the loudest in this debate. Below, you will find the research of many scholars and the writings from early church fathers. In particular, one of these men had access to the census records spoken of in Luke, when Rome invaded Jerusalem. Additionally, it must be realized that we cannot make a declaration that the early church fathers had any ulterior motive to select a wrong day but every intention to make as accurate a determination as possible with respect to our Savior’s birth. The HRM ignores such evidence and makes hypotheses of the last few hundred years the central weight of their condemnation. That is neither a reliable look at the evidence nor is it an unbiased recognition of historical fact.
Excerpt from http://www.dec25th.info
St. Augustine – A.D. 354-430
Augustine was bishop of Hippo and one of the most influential writers of the early church; his imprint remains even to this day. Augustine is not the earliest source for the Dec. 25th birth of Christ, but he announces a principle regarding the universal practice of the church that is important at the outset, so we will take his evidence first. In his 118 Epistle to Jannuarius, speaking of the yearly feasts then observed, Augustine states:
“Those feasts concerning which we have no express scripture, but only traditions, which are now observed all the world over; we ought to know that the keeping of them was commended unto us, and instituted (or commanded) either by the apostles themselves, or general councils, of which there is a most wholesome use in the church of God; such are the feast of our Lord’s Passion, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, and the coming down of the Holy Ghost, which are now kept holy with a yearly solemnity.”
In the following epistle (119), Augustine then says:
“It chiefly behooves us that upon the day of our Lord’s nativity, we should receive the sacrament in remembrance of him that was born upon it, and upon the return of the year to celebrate the very day with a feasting devotion.”
“The return of the year” appears to signify the winter solstice, when the days begin to grow longer. However, the point we should consider here is Augustine’s statement that whatever was practiced universally throughout the church in the whole world was presumably set in place by the apostles or by a general church council. But as no council established the Feast of the Nativity, it exists by tradition, and this presumably from either “word or epistle” (II Thess. 2:15; 3:6; I Cor. 11:2, 23) handed down from the time of the apostles. Although ordaining no set form of commemoration for the Nativity, yet certainly the apostles would have known the date of Christ’s birth, as would his mother and brethren, all of whom were active in the primitive church. Therefore it should not stretch our credulity to believe that the Dec.25th birth of our Lord was set in the church by those early sources and has been handed down without interruption ever since. Concerning the date of Christ’s birth, Augustine states:
“He was born, according to tradition, upon December the twenty-fifth.” (On the Trinity, 4.5, Post Nicene Fathers 3.74)
Regarding the Baptist’s June birth, Augustine said:
“John came into this world at the season of the year when the length of the day decreases; Jesus was born in the season when the length of the day increases.” (Sermon In Natali Domini xi).
Thus, Augustine places John’s birth at the summer solstice and Jesus’ birth upon Dec. 25th, at the season of the winter solstice.
Theophilus, Bishop of Caesarea – A.D. 115-181
Theophilus lived in the time of Emperor Commodus; he lived within 100 years of the apostles, and was bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, the very fount whence sprang our faith.
“We ought to celebrate the birth-day of our Lord on what day soever the 25th of December shall happen.” (Magdeburgenses, Cent. 2. c. 6. Hospinian, de orign Festorum Chirstianorum)
Hippolytus of Rome – A.D. 170-240
Hippolytus of Rome provides one of the earliest known references to the December 25 birth of Christ in his commentary on Daniel. Chrysostom says that the Feast of the Nativity was kept “from the beginning” by those in the west, and we find corroboration of this in Hippolytus:
“The first coming of our Lord, that in the flesh, in which he was born at Bethlehem, took place eight days before the calends of January, a Wednesday, in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus, 5500 years from Adam.” (Commentary on Daniel 4:23)
The eighth before the calends of January is the twenty-fifth day of December, and the forty-second year of Augustus was 3/2 BC.
Apostolic Constitutions – Circa A.D. 70-250
The Apostolic Constitutions are a compilation, whose material is derived from sources differing in age. Early writers were inclined to assign them to the apostolic age, and to Clement Romanus (A.D. 70), but they are now generally assigned to the second or third century. In the Fifth book, Sec. III, we find:
“Brethren, observe the festival days; and first of all the birthday which you are to celebrate on the twenty-fifth of the ninth month.
The ninth month counting from Nisan (April) is Casleu in the Jewish calendar, which answers to December in our own.
Diocletian A.D. 244-311
Nicephorus wrote an ecclesiastical history in which he reports Diocletian’s destruction of a church on Dec. 25th, filled with worshippers celebrating the Lord’s Nativity:
“At Nicomedia (a city of Bethenia) when the festival of Christ’s birth-day came, and a multitude of Christians in all ages had assembled together in the temple to celebrate that birth-day. Diocletian the tyrant, having gotten an advantageous occasion whereby he might accomplish his madness and fury, sent men thither to enclose the temple, and to set it on fire round about, and so consumed them all to ashes, even twenty thousand persons.”
This event is usually dated to A.D. 302. Selden (Theanthropos, pp. 33, 34) confirms Nicephorus’ report, saying that in ancient Greek and Roman martyrologies this event is dated to Dec. 25th.
Roman City Calendar A.D. 336
Further evidence for December 25th is found in the Roman city calendar for the year 354. This calendar lists burial places of the martyrs (Depositio martyrum) arranged in the order of the days of the year on which festivals were held in their honor. It is believed by some that the calendar first dated to 336, but was later revised and extended to the year 354. The sequence of festivals in the church year begins with the item:
“VIII Kal. Ian. Natus Christus in Betleem Judeae”
The eighth day before the calends of January is December 25th. Thus, in the year AD 336, the festival of the birth of Christ was held on Dec. 25.
We note that in each of these cases the tradition that Jesus was born on December 25th stands upon scripture or the received testimony of earlier ages and nowhere upon the “Christianization” of the pagan solstice or festival of the “unconquered sun” (sol invictus) as is so often suggested. The circumstance that Jesus was born at the time of the solstice should no more disturb us than his resurrection at the vernal equinox when pagans celebrated the rebirth of the earth following the pall of winter death. To the contrary, we should glory at the appropriateness and poetic beauty of a winter birth when the dark of sin and death began to recede before the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2) and light of salvation.
Excerpt from http://www.wikipedia.org It is commonly claimed that the date of 25 December for Christmas was selected in order to correspond with the Roman festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun”, but this view is challenged.
The idea that Christians chose to celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December because this was the date of an already existing festival of the Sol Invictus was expressed in an annotation to a manuscript of a work by 12th-century Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi. The scribe who added it wrote: “It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day.”
This idea became popular especially in the 18th and 19th centuries and is still widely accepted.
In the judgement of the Church of England Liturgical Commission, this view has been seriously challenged by a view based on an old tradition, according to which the date of Christmas was fixed at nine months after 25 March, the date of the vernal equinox, on which the Annunciation was celebrated. (that is 25 December)
The same point is made by Hijmans: “It is cosmic symbolism…which inspired the Church leadership in Rome to elect the southern solstice, December 25, as the birthday of Christ … While they were aware that pagans called this day the ‘birthday’ of Sol Invictus, this did not concern them and it did not play any role in their choice of date for Christmas.” He also states that, “while the winter solstice on or around December 25 was well established in the Roman imperial calendar, there is no evidence that a religious celebration of Sol on that day antedated the celebration of Christmas”
Article from http://www.wnd.com The extrabiblical evidence St. John Chrysostom (347-407 A.D.), whose status in eastern Orthodoxy is comparable to that of Augustine in western Roman Catholicism, argued strongly for a Dec. 25 birthdate because of the course of Zacharias’ priestly service. But he also based his conclusion on the findings of Pope Julius. Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem (348-386 A.D.) had asked Pope Julius to ascertain the date of Christ’s birth “from the census documents brought by Titus to Rome” after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Julius then determined the date of Christ’s birth to be Dec. 25.
Julius, Cyril and Chrysostom were not alone in their reliance upon the census documents. Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.), in a detailed statement of the Christian faith addressed to Emperor Marcus Aurelius, stated that Jesus was born in Bethlehem “as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing.” (Apology, I, 34). Likewise, Tertullian (160-250 A.D.) wrote of “the census of Augustus – that most faithful witness of the Lord’s nativity, kept in the archives of Rome” Contra Marcion, Book 4, 7).
Unfortunately, we do not have access to these census records today. But perhaps the better part of wisdom bids us to assume that these church fathers had access to information that we do not possess, and that they knew what they were talking about.
For starters, early in the fourth century (300s), St. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, wrote Pope St. Julius, bishop of Rome, to inquire about the date of Christ’s birth. One might think that if anyone was qualified to answer the question it would be St. Cyril himself; primarily because he was the bishop of Jerusalem, just twelve miles away from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ. Nevertheless, it just so happened that the city of Jerusalem was pillaged in 70 A.D. by the Roman army, led by General Titus, in order to repress an uprising of Jewish zealots. In the process, the Temple was destroyed and its records- along with the census documents – were brought back to Rome only to be filed among the Roman archives. Less than three hundred years later, these documents were evidently still in existence. Interestingly enough, Pope St. Julius was the acting bishop of Rome after Christianity had been legalized. As such, he had privileged access to the Roman archives. St. Julius wrote back to the Saintly Bishop of Jerusalem and assigned December 25th as the birth date of Jesus Christ. “St. John Chrysostom [Bishop and Father of the Church in the 400’s] quotes the same authority of the Roman archives as the source of the date of Christmas.”
As regards to the likelihood shepherds overseeing their sheep on a cold December night, we learn the following: It just so happened that right outside the town of Bethlehem was a watch tower called the Migdal Eder. This was a special watchtower that overlooked a pasture of sheep. But these sheep were no ordinary sheep. The sheep at the Migdal Eder were specially groomed for the Temple sacrifice “throughout the year.” This pasture land happened to be alongside a road leading to Jerusalem. The Migdal Eder shepherds were trained to keep these sheep unblemished, that is, with no broken bones or any other kind of infirmity. Unblemished lambs for sacrificial offerings, of course, were required by the Law of Moses. These providential circumstances, no doubt, foretold that the Christ-child would fulfill the Messianic role as the “Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.”
Interestingly, it is believed that the Angel announced the glad tidings of the Saviors birth to these special Migdal Eder shepherds on Christmas night. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that after having witnessed the angelic apparition and having visited the baby Jesus in “swaddling clothes,” these shepherds got to talking at the Temple when they transported the sheep there. Perhaps, this is why St. Simeon and the prophetess Anna (Luke 2) recognized the Christ-child as the long awaited Messiah when he was presented in the Temple forty days after his birth. After all, the following prophecy from Micah was well known within the Jewish community: “But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.”
Article by John Stormer In Luke 1:5 and Luke 1:8, we are told that Zacharias was a priest of the course of Abia and that he fulfilled his priestly duties in the order of his course. To understand the importance of the course of Abia and its bearing on the date of John the Baptist’s conception, it is necessary to turn to 1Chronicles 24:1-10. This passage describes how a thousand years before Christ, King David established the courses for priestly service in the coming temple. Twenty-four courses were established and numbered by drawing lots – twelve courses for sanctuary service and twelve for the government of the house of God.
Members of each course would serve during a month starting with the Hebrew month of Nisan. (Because of the way the Hebrew calendar fluctuates, the month Nisan can start anytime between early March and early April.) The sons of Abijah (the Old Testament spelling for Abia) were in the eighth course. Priests of Abia like Zacharias would, therefore, have each ministered for some days during the eighth month which in some years because of the fluctuation in the Hebrew calendar started as early as the fifth day of our month of October. Zacharias would have returned home when his days of service were accomplished and John the Baptist could have been conceived sometime between October 15 and the end of the month.
After conception the scripture says that Elisabeth hid herself for five months. Then in the sixth month of her pregnancy (which, based on the above calculation, would have started about March 15 and continued until April 15) the angel announced to the Virgin Mary that the Lord Jesus would be conceived in her womb by the Holy Ghost. If this took place on or about April 1 a “normal” gestation period of 270 days would have then had the Lord Jesus due on or about December 25.
IN the account of His birth in Luke 2:8, we read: ”And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” My son-in-law, who has a degree in agriculture, after hearing the above presentation, told me, “Certainly, the Lord Jesus was born at Christmas. The only time shepherds spend the night in the fields with their sheep is during the time when the lambs are born. The ewes become ’attractive’ to the rams in the month after June 21, the longest day of the year. The normal gestation period is five months so the ewes start lambing about mid-December.” He added: Isn’t it natural that the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world would be born when all the other lambs are born?
This “coincidence” was too amazing for me to accept until I checked it out. A former teacher from the school where I am the administrator is married to a Montana sheep rancher. She confirmed what I had been told. She said, “Oh, yes! None of the men who have flocks are in church for weeks at Christmas. They have to be in the fields day and night to clean up and care for the lambs as soon as they are born or many would perish in the cold.” Isn’t that neat? God’s Lamb, who was to die for the sins of the world, was born when all the other little lambs are born.
From bethlehemstar.net THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM FASCINATES. For millennia, believers, scoffers and the curious have wondered at the Biblical account of the Star. The Bible recounts unusual, or even impossible astronomical events at Christ’s birth. For many doubters, the account of the Star is easily dismissed as myth. For many believers, it’s a mystery accepted on faith. But what happens if we combine current historical scholarship, astronomical fact and an open mind? Judge for yourself…
The nine qualities which must be present before any celestial phenomena could be considered to be the Biblical Star of Bethlehem. Knowing the qualifications, we can now disqualify most astronomical phenomena as being the Star.
We now know much about the Star.
- It signified birth.
- It signified kingship.
- It had a connection with the Jewish nation.
- It rose in the east, like other stars.
- It appeared at a precise time.
- Herod didn’t know when it appeared.
- It endured over time.
- It was ahead of the Magi as they went south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.
- It stopped over Bethlehem
It’s not enough to have a kingly name and reputation, of course. To be Matthew’s Star, Jupiter as viewed from Earth would have to do peculiar things. More precisely, as considered by a magus viewing from the Middle East during the years 3 and 2 BC, Jupiter’s movements would have to satisfy all nine identifying characteristics of the Star. In September of 3 BC at the time of the Jewish New Year, Rosh ha-Shanah, Jupiter began to do just that.
To qualify as the Star, Jupiter would have to have been ahead of the Magi as they trekked South from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Sure enough, in December of 2 BC if the Magi looked south in the wee hours, there hung the Planet of Kings over the city of Messiah’s birth. All but one of the nine Biblical qualifications for the Star have now been plausibly satisfied. The ninth qualification would require that Jupiter stop over Bethlehem. How could a planet do that? And did Jupiter do it?
On December 25 of 2 BC as it entered retrograde, Jupiter reached full stop in its travel through the fixed stars. Magi viewing from Jerusalem would have seen it stopped in the sky above the little town of Bethlehem.