Christians And Christmas
“The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it" (1 Cor. 10:26).

It is often said that Christians should avoid Christmas and Easter because they have historical connections to pagan rituals. However, because 1 Cor. 8-10 tell us that it is OK to eat the meat that pagans have sacrificed to demons, it naturally follows that whatever the pagans have done in any other ritual should not influence us either.

Regarding the meat sacrificed to idols -
1 Cor. 8:8-9 say that we have freedom to choose whether or not to eat this meat because “food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do”.
Also, 1 Cor. 10:25-26 say, “eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it".

These verses quite clearly tell us that we are free to eat the meat that the pagans have sacrificed, however, a letter to the Gentiles seems to contradict this, telling them “to abstain from food polluted by idols” (Acts 15:19-21). The reason for this letter was to keep the peace with the Jewish Christians who, all their lives, had been under the law of Moses as v.21 tells us: “For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath”. The Jews had always followed the law of Moses, eating the meat which they had sacrificed on the Temple altar in worship to God. For this reason, they thought that if they ate the meat that the pagans had sacrificed to idols then they would be participating in the worship of pagan gods but Paul said that meat and idols are nothing (1 Cor. 10:18-19).

Eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols by other people is no problem. The person who eats this meat is simply having a meal but the pagan who personally offers up this sacrifice is worshipping demons (1 Cor. 10:20-21) just as the Jew who personally sacrificed on the Temple altar was worshipping God.

The apparent contradiction is further cleared up by 1 Cor. 8:4-13 and 1 Cor. 10:27-33 which tell us that we should not eat sacrificed meat if it upsets the conscience of a weak brother. 1 Cor. 8 says that stronger Christians, having the knowledge that idols are nothing, knew they had the freedom to eat this meat (vs.4-9). However, if a weak brother without this knowledge saw a stronger brother eating it then he may be led to think that he is taking part in sacrificing to idols and be encouraged towards idolatry; his conscience would become defiled (v.7) and he would be destroyed (v.11). For this reason, this meat should not be eaten in front of weaker believers as it can cause them to fall. Even though the meat is nothing but food to stronger believers, it may a stumbling block to the weak so we should avoid eating it in their presence (vs.9-13). So, the instruction not to eat meat sacrificed to idols, in Acts 15:19-21, is for the sake of weaker Christians and does not contradict the verses which tell us that we have freedom to eat it (1 Cor. 8:4-9 and 1 Cor. 10:27-30).

So, regarding Christmas and Easter, it can be seen that what the pagans have done in the past, or are doing today, should not influence us and we should not fear these celebrations any more than we fear eating meat that others have sacrificed to idols. Celebrating Jesus' birth and death by having a Christmas tree or an Easter egg is not participating with demons despite anything the pagans may have done throughout history. Christmas trees, like idols, are dead things; they are nothing.

Regarding Isa. 44:12-20 and Jer. 10:3-5, these verses have nothing to do with worshipping under trees; they merely talk about idols made from the wood of trees and men bowing down to blocks of wood. The issue is not about trees but about worshipping idols which happen to be made from trees.

From these passages, two things are clear -
(1) We have the freedom to choose in these matters and
(2) We should not allow our choices to cause a believer to stumble.

Rom. 14 tells us that nothing, including a Christmas tree, is unclean in itself but if someone regards something as unclean then it is unclean to him so he should avoid it. Also, this chapter tells us not to judge one another regarding eating, drinking or sacred days and rather than judge in these matters we should seek to be loving and peaceful. So, instead of being divisive over these disputable matters, v.22 says, “whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God”.


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Mick Alexander
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Comment by Mick Alexander on January 30, 2016 at 3:24pm

Hello Ann,

Regarding 1 Cor. 10:25, sorry but I trust the many English translations that I have. I don't read Greek but those who translated the NIV, KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV etc do and, considering that they all say the same thing, I believe them. You are asking me to take your translation and reject all other English translations but I'm afraid that I can't go along with that. Besides that, 1 Cor. 8:4-8 agrees with my understanding of 1 Cor. 10:25.

Common sense tells us that God does not approve of cannibalism but I can't think of a scripture that says it directly. In Genesis, when God originally outlined the food for man, He did not include human flesh. Where the Bible talks about eating human flesh, it is under wicked circumstances brought on by God's judgment so, given these facts, I don't believe it is right to eat human flesh.

Excrement is food to some creatures but the Bible doesn't tell us not to eat it however, once again, common sense tells us not to.

God bless,
Mick

Comment by Sis Ann Brown on January 30, 2016 at 2:42am

Mick Alexander:


   Since I am posting the  DIRECT translation of the Greek text written by Paul, for which I left you a link where you could access it, it is evident that I am quoting Paul, you are quoting the English translation.

Remember the Bereans "searched the scriptures" not the translations to see if what Paul said was so.  We today should do the same thing.

 I hope you realize that the translation is not the scripture.  The scripture is in the original language.  The translations vary with the translator.

   Here it is again, and decide if you want to read the Greek that Paul wrote vs the English translation:

1 Cor. 10:25 literally says (check the Greek through the link below):

"Everything in the meat market being sold EAT NOTHING, inquiring on account of conscience."


http://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_corinthians/10-25.htm
~~~~

So based on your translation of this text would you eat "HUMAN FLESH" placed before you by an African or a person from New Guinea?  

 Apparently so since you don't believe that a person should ask questions about the food placed before them. 

It remains the prophecy of Isaiah, that swine eaters will be destroyed, at the FUTURE judgment on this earth of sinners. 

The word "abomination" referring to the "homosexual" is used also for those who eat "unclean meat".

This is why in Revelation 21:8 we read that the "abominable" will be destroyed. 

The Lord tells us that among other things, eating things that He has forbidden us to eat makes one "abominable."

Regarding your text in Mark 7:19, if you would check the "original Greek" for which I will provide the link:

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/7-19.htm

The words:

(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")

is not in the original Greek text.  It was added by the translations.

Jesus never spoke those words!


Once again, what God has declared, Jesus and Paul confirmed, John & Isaiah tells us the punishment for transgressing the Biblical dietary laws. There are no contradictions in the Bible just in men's translations.

Oh, please let us know if it is ok to eat Human Flesh, based upon the verses you provided....

Comment by Mick Alexander on January 29, 2016 at 3:18pm

Hello Ann,

Sorry to say that I don't agree in the least. You have misquoted Paul. He said in 1Co 10:25, "Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience". He then went on to say that if it bother's someone's conscience the don't eat it. It should not bother our conscience as idols and meat are nothing but if it bothers someone else then we should not eat it otherwise we may cause him to fall.

Paul said in Rom 14:14 that nothing in itself is unclean.

In Mar_7:19 Jesus said, "For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.")

God bless,

Mick

Comment by Sis Ann Brown on January 29, 2016 at 12:27pm
Mick Alexander:

   To establish a doctrine all relevant texts must be considered to come to a conclusion.  People for centuries have tried to reinterpret various NT texts to undermine the law regarding the clean and unclean foods determined by God, which Jesus says we are to live by.

No sane man who purchases an automobile, will ignore consulting the owners manual which lists the type of oil and gasoline is to be used in the vehicle.


  Our creator did the same for us, the meats we are permitted to eat are listed in the Bible.  Even Noah knew the difference between "clean and unclean meats" before the flood. 

Genesis 7:
1 Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. 

2 Take with you seven pairs of all

*clean animals*

 the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are

*not clean*,

the male and his mate,
~~~~

So the distinction between "clean and unclean" originated before the laws of Sinai, as did many other laws. Dietary laws are one of the original laws of our Creator.

They are not Mosaic, or Jewish, they did not originate in the "Old Covenant."  They PRECEEDED it, just as did marriage, the law forbidding homosexuality and some say regarding the TITHE.   So Jesus did nothing,to change or abolish nor was there a declaration in the scriptures, that states these laws were ever changed.

To confirm what I am saying, as part of God's final judgement we read of when He returns about the destruction of those "eating swine/pig flesh":
~~~~~
God's Final Judgments against the Wicked

Isaiah 66:

15   For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

16  
For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.

17
  
They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, 

****eating swine's flesh***  

and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.
~~~~~
Isn't it interesting that Paul wrote:

"I believe in everything written in the "Law and the Prophets". 

 Which means that Paul believed that swine and other "unclean flesh" should not be eaten according to the law the Torah and the Prophets. Therefore Paul also believed that swine eaters would be destroyed according to the prophet Isaiah.   If in Paul's writings we find a contradiction, then something is wrong, with the interpretation, or was Paul lying?

Those who also believe in the 'Law and the Prophets" and the Apostolic writings, must agree that this issue regarding what we can eat has been established and confirmed by Messiah, Peter and Paul. Any texts which appear to be translated contrary to the word of the Lord which Messiah tells us to live by are as a result, words of Paul which seen to contradict the Law and the Prophets, are those which Peter warns people to not twist to their own destruction.  Yes, Is. 66:17 says swine eaters will be destroyed.  The NT does not contradict the Old.

The verse you posted in 1 Cor. 10:25 in the English translations is diametrically opposite from the Greek text.  The Greek confirms the OPPOSITE of what you have posted.  Your position would allow a Christian man to eat HUMAN FLESH, as Paul may have run into in her journeys!

1 Cor. 10:25 literally says (check the Greek through the link below):

"Everything in the meat market being sold EAT NOTHING, inquiring on account of conscience."

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/1_corinthians/10-25.htm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So we are not to eat ANYTHING without asking questions.  We are not to eat, BUT TO ASK QUESTIONS first..
 
We can go to meals of the heathen, but we are not to eat whatever is set before us but to ask whether it is 
food we can eat as set forth by YHWH and the Law and the Prophets.
 
Remember Adam and Eve's FIRST SIN was eating food that was forbidden.
Interestingly men continue to do the same today, rebelling against the holy word of God...
Comment by Mick Alexander on January 27, 2016 at 9:49pm

Hello Ann,

Both Rev. 2:14 & 20 mention believers eating sacrifices to idols and being involved in sexual immorality. People were being led by Jezebel and Balaam into getting involved in the sacrifices, part of which was fornication with the pagan temple prostitutes. These people were directly involved in the sacrifices and immorality.

In contrast to being directly involved in the pagan temple worship, Paul said in 1 Cor 8-10 that it was OK to eat the meat that the pagans had sacrificed.

There are two scenarios here:
1) Eating the meat and involvement in immorality. That is, being directly involved in the sacrifice rituals, as in Rev. 2:14 & 20.
2) Simply eating the meat that other people (the pagans) had sacrificed and no involvement in the pagan rituals.

The first is sinful. The second is just having a meal with no care of what the pagans may or may not have done with the meat.

God bless,
Mick

Comment by Sis Ann Brown on January 27, 2016 at 6:53pm

We read in John's message in:

Rev. 2:20 
"Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and

***to eat things sacrificed unto idols."***
~~~

So how do you reconcile these seemingly contradictory texts?

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