(Disclaimer: Apologies, in my attempt to record a YouTube video about this topic I had several technical issues over the course of 7 hours on Dec. 31st and so, I find myself sharing with you here. I can only hope that although this is after the time. I pray that in reading this you may share this info with others and maybe together as the Body of Christ we can share the Gospel and show the world one more example of traditions that indeed cause an offense unto God and His Ways. I believe it’s not the intent of believers to force-feed anyone on the contrary in being faithful we go forward…sometimes there are unforeseen things that look to frustrate progress nevertheless, we look to ask the question, “Now that we know the truth of the world and The Truth of God, what will we do with it? We all have a choice.)
Well…out with old and in with the new…as well-wishers were wrapping up their day and tying up loose ends…others were clamoring for last-minute “essentials” for their upcoming festivities. Others may have been relaxing, unwinding, and waiting for the countdown…and yet as many were preparing to ring in the new year, I wonder how many actually know how the tradition got started? More importantly, how many make the same time or more for God in observing His Holy Days? Unfortunately, many for one reason or another may not embrace the heritage of God and yet oftentimes don’t think twice about the time, money & effort that’s put into the world’s holidays.
Many of the New Year’s Eve traditions have ancient pagan roots and have similar celebratory concepts globally. Apparently, these traditions are evolved rituals that were designed to ward off evil spirits as the ancient pagan people groups thought the beginning of the year was the darkest time of year, due to the season.
We’ll go over a few scriptures but first, let’s go through a brief caption of 10 modern festivities that are rooted in old traditions and paganism: citation: LiveScience.com article “Here’s How 10 New Year’s Eve Traditions Got Started” by Tia Ghose, pub. Dec. 30, 2017.
Kissing at the stroke of midnight was a form of bringing good luck and originated as an English tradition of offering blessing or protection called “saining” during the time of Yuletide. [ a Germanic festival that became known as Christmastide in Europe, then eventually Christmas as more commonly known here in the U.S.]
Popping Champagne corks dates back to the 1500s and derive from the [Catholic] religious ritual of wine consumption during the Eucharist [as the blood of Christ].
“Auld lang syne” is a classic Scottish poem from 1788 that became popular in the US in 1929. In Great Britain, it was a common funeral song.
The Giant Ball Drop is actually a replacement for fireworks and comes from the use of chronometers which were considered “time balls” or timepieces by sailors at sea. The tradition isn’t limited to the well-lit orb, there are other variations in different states like the use of glowing potatoes or a walleye fish replica.
Fireworks are an ancient 7th-century invention from China usually used in conjunction with noisemakers to ward off evil spirits during the new year, known as a transitional time period.
Superstitions around the world range from the avoidance of eating certain foods to boiling certain kinds of peas to bring luck/fortune, and reserving wine grapes to make and drink wine on New Year’s Eve.
Demonic Figures are a New Year’s Eve tradition in the Japanese village of Oga. Villagers dress up going door to door with the intent of scaring the children and newcomers into working hard and studying. Others would be a defense for the scared individuals to the demonically dressed persons.
Prosperity is symbolized as a foundational part of the well-wishing of the New Year traditions. Did you know some people groups eat certain foods during the new year to represent monetary blessing and certain patterns like polka dots are worn to symbolize prosperity?
Global traditions range from eating a single grape for every church bell chime at midnight & burning mats, to fire cleansing rituals and leaving money on porches to name a few.
New Year’s Resolutions dates back to Ancient Babylonia where Mesopotamians celebrated the 12-day Festival of Akitu on March 1st…the date was later changed to January 1st after 153 B.C.E.
New Year observances are a common thread among most of the population worldwide. Surely there are multiple calendars reflecting different beginnings. The Georgian calendar is not much different as it derives from the Roman republican calendar. With the intermixing of the winter solstice and spring & autumn equinox observances. There has been a clear evolution of pulling from ancient civilization paganistic rituals & celebrations that included child sacrifice, royal humiliation, ritual plowing, and as mentioned earlier hiding from evil spirits.
Akitu Festival is the new year festival honoring the demonic deity Marduk marking the beginning of the season. It was a week-long holiday of celebrations.
The Egyptian Festival of Drunkenness honors the pagan god Sekhmet which has a mythological of passing out from drinking a blood-colored beer thinking it to be human blood only to pass out before destroying all of mankind. Egyptians welcomed the new year with drinking to celebrate the preservation of the human race.
According to Listverse.com ” 10 Ancient New Year Traditions and Stories” by Debra Kelly (fact-checked by Jamie Frater, Dec. 31, 2013),
“A handful of people would remain sober, and it was their duty to walk through the city after the drinking part of the celebration, rousing others from their drunken stupor by banging drums.”
Sounds familiar? Almost like New Year’s Eve in the middle of Times Square with police maintaining order after the ball drop and attempting to get people to clear out in an orderly fashion.
The article also goes on to say, ” They would then attend religious ceremonies and ask the gods to renew their protection for the coming year.”
Hmm…sounds like New Year’s Eve at the local church to me…
Then there’s the Persian Nowruz holiday still celebrated around the world, thought to be one of the longest celebrated holidays. It was even observed by Cyrus the Great in 550 B.C. as well as the ancient Kingdom of Aratta.
Nowruz was observed on the day of the vernal equinox and lasted 13 days. On the last day, holidays go-ers would throw away bad luck and misfortune and welcome in the good luck and good fortune with the new season.
Feast of Circumcision is an early CHRISTIAN meaning a Roman Catholic non-biblical feast. The date of festivities was changed to Jan. 1st by Julis Ceasar. when he adopted the Julian calendar in 46 B.C. The Feast of Circumcision is a mix of paganism and the Law of Moses, in which all male children were to be circumcised 8 days after birth. This holiday now dated Jan 1st overlaps similar pagan new year celebrations.
Hogmanay is an ancient new year celebration out of Scotland. Ancient pagan holidays were being taken over by CHRISTIAN traditions in the Middles Ages. Holidays like Christmas were discouraged as they were new practices of gift-giving and other festivities.
A Stonehaven tradition, lighting rags and paraffin on fire in the streets and also carrying them as well as bonfires and nighttime processionals have a modern twist with large crowds and fireworks. Fire was an ancient symbol and was an attribution of power to pagan sun gods.
The Festival of Janus, a two-faced pagan god that is used to name the month of January, is one of many ancient Roman deities. The two faces are represented as one looking forward and one looking back and are honored on the first day of the year.
Romans in honoring the Janus figure spent the day looking back by reflecting on the past year and also looking forward in planning for the new year.
Other Janus traditions included: gift-giving, resolving quarrels, keeping from cruel thoughts, and being nice to one another.
Here are a few more ancient new year contributors:
Lady Day – Britian
Nemontemi and Quahuitlehua – Aztec
Legend of Nian / Chinese New Year – China
Krios and Iasion – Greece
Just to note, the Aztecs were known for many things including child sacrifice which includes drownings in water as pagan god worship and sacrifice. This was done to gain favor with “rain gods” at the beginning of the year for a fruitful harvest.
In Carthage, there has been a major discovery of cremated infant bones in a mass grave site according to a Live Science.com article ” Ancient Baby Graveyard Not for Sacrifice Scientists Say” by Tia Ghose, Sept 19, 2012
Now we can more understand the root of the strange and out-of-place 90s dancing baby meme the does the Ooga Chaka chant after the ball drop that mysteriously appears on television in the middle of the New Year’s singing and celebrations.
COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 NKJV:
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”
THE NICOLAITANS are a foreshadow of the Modern-day Christians.
Nicolaism was an early Christian sect mentioned twice in the Book of Revelation of the New Testament. The adherents were called Nicolaitans, Nicolaitanes, or Nicolaites. They were considered heretical by the mainstream early Christian church. citation: Wikipedia
NICOLAITANS nĭk’ ə lā ə tənz (Νικολαιτής, -αί). A term appearing in the Revelation (2:6, 15) describing members of Christian congregations who held a doctrine that the Lord hated. Link citation: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Nicolaitans
The Nicolaitans were followers of Nicolaus of Antioch.
In the LCM Blog article mentioned below, the history of Antioch is explained in further detail.
Two key points to note are:
- Antioch is a pagan city named after an anti-Christ Figure, Antiochus IV Epiphanes a Hellenistic King. His son, King Antiochus III the Great. also is mentioned as the other possible figure for which the city is named. Hellenistic pagan citizens called the disciples “Christians” not God.
- Nicolaus of Antioch sounds quite similar to…Saint Nick….and…SATAN (I mean) SANTA CLAUS???? Just a thought…
In my previous LCM Blog post, “Are You A Christian or A Follower of Christ“, I mentioned the comparison of Nicolaitans and the Modern Christians of today. As well as why those who truly love and follow our Messiah Yeshua aren’t actually Christians. In fact, God has named His People with many names, He NEVER called us Christians nor are we to follow the ways of the heathen and certainly not do as they do. According to scripture, The Lord referenced the following names as holy and appropriate for His Children…
SONS & DAUGHTERS
…and the list goes on.
We’ve gone through a lot of historical information and now it will do us well to reference God’s Word. In our life’s journey…a pruning of olives into oil and a process of sanctification…May His Holy Spirit bring us into remembrance of all things.
Jeremiah 10 NKJV (Please read the entire chapter for the full biblical context)
Key Verses 1-4:
Idols and the True God
10 Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2 Thus says the Lord:
“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are [a]futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
This passage shows the evidence of the pagan customs in ancient times. We as believers are warned not to follow the traditions of men, nor be in awe of the signs of heaven. For it is idolatry and adultery when observing, honoring, or attributing power to idols of iron and stone and celebrating these idols through holiday festivities.
Matthew 18:6-9 NKJV
Jesus Warns of Offenses
6 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
In this passage, Yeshua Himself is warning us that just like a hand, foot, or eye is important and of value, we must be willing to remove or give up those things in life that were once considered important and of value, IF it is an abomination unto God and keeps us outside of His Will and Covenant…like holidays for instance.
All to the Glory of God
1 Corinthians 10:23-33 NKJV
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
1 Corinthians 6:12
12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
May we be wise to take heed to The Lord’s correction for He chastens who He Loves. (The Discipline of God, Hebrews 12:6-11)
2 Thessalonians 2:4-13 NKJV
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
May we be open and willing to receive the Truth of God that The Eternal Life will know us in that Great and Terrible Day. (Joel 2)
May we maintain a posture of humility that we may be teachable. (Matthew 11:29-30)
Follow Yeshua only…The Holy Spirit is The Teacher and Comforter.
Be holy for He is Holy.