Gospel Tract Distribution in Alexandra Park

A panoramic view of the venue in Alexandra Park, Pietermaritzburg On Sunday 27 November 2016, I went to Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg to distribute Gospel literature at the “1st Annual Christmas Festival.”

'1st Annual Christmas Festival' poster Had some conversations with various faiths and denominations, inter alia Christians, Orthodox, Muslim, Hindus, an Indian Anglican that agreed that Anglicanism is very close to Roman Catholicism, and a very fruitful conversation with a Zimbabwean named Naison, whose wife is a ‘Methodist’, and who is looking for a place to fellowship! Judging from the various people groups who attended this secular “Christmas Festival” it would appear that the true Gospel of the true Christ was missing! It was just another commercialised money-making secular event that pampered to the world with their advertising an “inflatable water theme park, beer garden, snake shows, live band and night market”! All these activities pamper to the flesh! The Lord Jesus Christ is no-where to be seen in events of this nature! You cannot put the true CHRIST back into “Christmas” for He never was in it to begin with!

Set-up on Park Drive This event surely needed the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! So i set-up on Park Drive to engage the ‘whosoever’ would be attending this event. Also had the privilege of a Hindu lady threaten taking the “Reincarnation . . . or Resurrection? ~ A Message to Hindus” tract to The Witness newspaper seeing that she is a Hindu as she pointed out! Writer did ask that if she did so that she must make sure that they quote the full tract in context! Please pray for Hindu communities to come out of idol-worship bondage! For GOD the Creator says,

4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 
5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 
6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. ~ Exodus 20:4-6

A sample of our own printed tracts

TISHRI 15 . . .

OR

DECEMBER 25?

~ ‘Christmas’ is a Pagan Tradition ~

 

~ With Compliments ~

Repent and Believe South Africa CC logo

Gary Stephen Crous

Cell: +27 (0) 72 221 1233

E-mail: luke9.23evangelism@gmail.com

Website: http://www.luke923evangelism.wordpress.com

Introduction

The physician Luke’s account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes very pertinent information that none of the other Gospel writers have included in their accounts. It is not that Matthew, Mark and John had overlooked this information – it just appears that Almighty God gave Luke the insight of recording the historical and legal information for our benefit.

To say Scripture is silent concerning the birth of Jesus Christ is to not take the Author of the Scriptures, YEHOVAH, at His Word. Man is to live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Mat. 4:4; Deut. 8:3), and he can truly know when the Christ child JESUS entered into this world – when God took on human form (John 1:1,14). From examining His Scriptures we can know when Christ was born. We will start with an important piece of information given to us as recorded by the apostle Luke in verse 1:5 of the Gospel – the word “Abia” (or “Abijah”). This is our referenced starting point and it is from here that we will calculate towards the birthdate of the Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The Course of Abijah

From Scripture, the Levite priests of the sons of Aaron were allotted to serve at the Temple as recorded in the Law of Moses and these courses were divided into twenty-four divisions, as recorded in 1Chronicles 24:1-19.

Each course served for two weeks of each year, once in the first half and once in the second half of the Hebrew year.  The Temple priests also served collectively for three weeks during the year as commanded by God during the three pilgrimage festivals as recorded in Deuteronomy 16:16 “in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles”.

The Jewish Calendar

To calculate when the course of Abijah would appear in the year we need to first understand the Jewish calendar. The time period when Jesus Christ was born into this world, the Jewish calendar would be using the post exilic sacred months as recorded in the diagram hereafter.

The year starts off in the Hebrew month of Nisan (March/April) and the months are based on the lunar calendar of 30 days per month. The Jewish calendar would therefore equate to a 360-day lunar year. In accordance with the courses that the priests would appear in the Temple, the calculation would be:

MONTH

PRE- / POST EXILIC

OF YEAR SACRED / CIVIL

MODERN

EQUIVALENT

MONTHS

Abib / Nisan

1 / 7

March / April

Ziv / Iyyar

2 /8

April / May

Sivan

3 / 9

May / June

Tammaz

4 / 10

June / July

Ab

5 / 11

July / August

Elul

6 / 12

August / September

Ethanim / Tishri

7 / 1

September / October

Bul / Heshvan

8 / 2

October / November

Chislev

9 / 3

November / December

Tebeth

10 / 4

December / January

Shebat

11 / 5

January / February

Adar / Adar I

(Leap Year)

12 / 6

February / March

24 Courses multiplied by 2 Temple duties a year equals 48 weeks, plus the three pilgrimage weeks which totals 51 weeks.

The 51 weeks equate to 357 days which fits within the 360-day lunar year calendar.

As a result, the course of Abijah, i.e. the eighth course (1Chr. 24:10), would serve the tenth week during the first half of the year, as a result of the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread being celebrated starting on 14th/15th Nisan (Lev. 23:5-8) and the Feast of Weeks [Shavuot (Pentecost)] (Lev. 23:15,16).

Zechariah had his vision while serving in the eighth course of Abijah, which fell in the tenth week of the year, calculating from the month Nisan. As with the manner of women, we add two weeks to comply with the purity laws (Lev. 15:19,25) which brings the conception of John to be in or about the 12th week of the year. If John was born about thirty-nine weeks (nine months) later (for we are not sure of the exact day of conception calculated at about 39 weeks from Elisabeth’s last menstruation cycle) during the fifty-first week (12 + 39 = 51) that brings us to the birth of John at the Passover festival. Therefore, in God’s providence John the Baptist was born at Passover at the very time that Elijah was to appear.

The Seder Table and Elijah

During the Passover feast, Jewish tradition has a chair left open and a wine goblet set at ‘Elijah’s place’ at the seder (lit. set order) table, each year awaiting his arrival. A quote from a book titled Christ in the Passover sets out a traditional Jewish Passover seder table:

“Also at the seder table, beside each place setting are small wine goblets – small because four times they will be filled with sweet, red Passover wine during the seder. The custom of drinking four cups dates back to ancient Temple times . . . these four cups correspond to the four verbs in Exodus 6:6-7, describing God’s redemption: I will bring you out; I will free you; I will redeem you; I will take you to be My people.

“Two of the wine goblets at the table are usually larger and more ornate than the rest. They have silver, intricate pictures of the Bible history crafted into the metal. One of these goblets sits at the head of the table for the ruler of the feast; the other occupies a prominent place at the foot of the table, before an empty chair. It awaits the lips of Elijah, who, according to Malachi 4:5, is to announce the coming of the Messiah. The prophet is the invited guest of honor at every seder, for, should he come, it would indeed be the most festive of Passovers! The Messianic hope prevails more strongly at Passover than at any other time, for Midrashic tradition says: “Nisan is the month of redemption; in Nisan Israel was redeemed from Egypt; in Nisan Israel will again be redeemed” (Exodus Rabbah 15:12 Cf. chap. 6, 64-66).” (Christ in the Passover, Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Moody Publishers, Chicago, pages 82-83).

During the Passover, a child opens the house door to see if Elijah has “arrived”, to accept the invitation to come inside and announce the coming of the Messiah, and this is done every year as they await his “arrival”! We read in Scripture that John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17). At the transfiguration of Christ, Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus and His disciples Peter, James and John, reading in Matthew 17:10-13

10And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12But I say unto you, That Elias is come already [see Matthew 11:14], and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. [See also Mark 9:10-13 and Luke 9:33].

From the preceding calculations, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit six months (about 26 weeks) after John the Baptist’s conception. For God’s Word says thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her” (Luke 1:36). Therefore, Christ Jesus was conceived about the 38th week around the festival Hanukkah. This means the “Light of the world” [John 1:9] was conceived during the festival of lights! Conceived, not born in flesh entering into the world, as the ‘Christmas’ man-made tradition dictates – there is a huge difference here!

To fulfill prophecies, God, being a God of divine order, is exact and precise in bringing His Word to pass, so too was the birth of His Only Begotten Son precisely “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).

Therefore, concerning God’s precise mandate and ordination of all things, Jesus was born thirty-nine weeks later (around week 76 from the preceding year’s month of Nisan; that is week 25 of the following year) which brings us to the autumn Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) in the month Tishri (i.e. September/October). God fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah (7:4) when He revealed Himself as God the Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin and entered into this world as the God-Man? – “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) – “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Mat. 1:23).

The Feast of Tabernacles

It all points to the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot, Booths). A combination of two aspects – firstly, the taxing that Caesar Augustus decreed (Luke 2:1-4), and secondly, every Jew was required to come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 16:16), and this would have resulted in Jerusalem being “booked out” where the Temple was situate as well as Bethlehem just five miles away. Therefore, it would be understandable that “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). We must remember that Jews attending the Feast of Sukkot would be residing in booths for the duration of the festival according to the Jewish Law.

In Genesis 33:17 ~ 17And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth*. [*That is Booths]

The Hebrew word for “booth” is [+] 5521 sukkâh, sook-kaw’: feminine of 5520; a hut or lair– booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent. A specialized usage is employed for booths constructed for the fall harvest festival (Lev. 23:42,43) which is known as the chag hassukkôwth, the Feast of Booths (Deut. 16:13,16). This reminded the Israelites that they lived in booths when the LORD brought them up from Egypt (Lev. 23:43).

Therefore, Joseph and Mary stayed in a booth during the Feast of Booths at the time of Jesus’ birth and not in a cave nor in a stable. His birth was on the first day of Sukkot, “The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD” (Lev. 23:34), and He was circumcised on the “eighth great day”. Shemini Atseret (“Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly”) is observed immediately after Tabernacles on 22nd Tishri, as laid down in the Pentateuch: “on the eighth day shall be a holy convocation . . . it is a solemn assembly (Atseret);” (Lev. 23:36; cf. Num. 29:35). The term Atseret was the original “Simchat Torah” (Rejoicing of the Law) which celebrated the Law of Moses. The Son of man entered the covenant (circumcised) on the day of “rejoicing in the Torah.” Sukkot is symbolic of God dwelling in a “tabernacle” (body) with us. John 1:14 reads ~ 14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The Greek word “dwelt” is [+] 4637 – skēnoō; to tent or encamp, i.e. (figurative) to occupy (as a mansion) or (special) to reside (as God in the tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion):- dwell.

The Shepherds of Bethlehem

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. ~ Luke 2:8

The word “abiding” is the only time that this word is used with the Greek word agrauleō [+] 63 – agrauleō; to camp out – abide in the field. The shepherds were camping out which would not be the case if they were in the Gregorian month of December. Winter would have set in and the latter rainy season would have commenced from late October and it would be unlikely that the shepherds would have their flocks out in the fields at night. When the rainy season started in the late fall, temperatures would also be freezing, the shepherds would have already brought their sheep in from the fields and sheltered them. The shepherds always bring their flocks in from the mountain slopes and fields no later than October 15th!

The Bible also states that winter is a rainy month: 11For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; ~ Song of Solomon 2:11. And in Ezra 10:9,13 we are told in “the ninth month” there was “the great rain” and “a time of much rain.” The ninth month referred to is Chislev (November/December).

Swaddling Clothes

Also note the “clothing” that the baby Jesus was wrapped in at the time of His birth which would not be appropriate for the middle of winter. We read pertaining the swaddling clothes:

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. ~ Luke 2:6,7

The Greek word for “swaddling” is [+] 4683 – sparganoō from sparganon (a strip from a derivative of the base of 4682 meaning to strip or wrap with strips); to swathe (an infant after the Oriental custom):- wrap in swaddling clothes. This reveals that Joseph and Mary were not only poor by the offering that they offered at the Temple, “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24 and Lev. 12:6-8), but the clothes were also strips of wrap. From the evidence, the birth of Jesus Christ could not have been in the middle of winter.

The Wise Men

Another misconception about the practice of ‘Christmas’ is depicting the “three wise men” at the birth of Christ handing over three gifts to Jesus. This shows the inaccuracy that the world portrays during Nativity scenes, school and church productions of Jesus’ birth and on ‘Christmas’ cards, alike. We need to consult the Scriptures in Matthew 2:1-12, 16-18 to see the correct events as they happened concerning them coming to worship King Jesus. It would have taken them months to travel before arriving in Jerusalem, where they asked king Herod where is he that is born King of the Jews. When king Herod heard this – in order to fulfill Scriptures – “he demanded of them where Christ should be born” (Mat. 2:4b).

The shepherds were the first to see the baby Jesus lying in a manger and they broadcast the good news (see Luke 2:17,18) – the first evangelists!

A false depiction is given of the “three wise men” around the manger when the historical facts relate to two descriptions of Jesus. In the manger the word for “babe” is used [+] 1025 brephos, bref’-os; of uncertain affinity; an infant (properly unborn) literal or figurative:- babe, (young) child, infant. However, when we read the account of the wise men meeting Jesus, He is a “young child in a house” and the Greek word for “child” in Matthew 2:11 is [+] 3813 paidion, pahee—dee’-on; neuter diminutive of 3816; a childling (of either sex), i.e. (properly) an infant, or (by extension) a half-grown boy or girl; figurative an immature Christian:- (little, young) child, damsel.

At least two years had elapsed from the time the star first appeared to the wise men, and them informing king Herod, for when Herod saw that he was “mocked” by the wise men who did not report back to him, he fulfilled an ancient prophecy recorded in Jeremiah 31:15 when he “slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” So when the wise men saw Jesus he was not a babe, but a young child.

Conclusion

Based on all the true facts given in this document we should have absolutely nothing to do with a man-made pagan tradition such as ‘Christmas’. We are never commanded in God’s Word to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we are commanded:

23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. ~ 1 Cor. 11:23-26

Soli Deo Gloria

________________

Footnotes:

[+] Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance

Published by Repent and Believe South Africa

Please visit the website for more information.

This tract may be copied for free distribution if it is copied in full

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One Response

  1. Please read: “Happy Birthday Lord Jesus” at this link.

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