1 January 2011 (Shibi'i/Sukkot)|
Day #291, 5934 AM
Hogmany & the New Year
They're Not What You Think They Are
Billions of people around the world are today submitting themselves to the authority of the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar on 1 January. 'Huh? Are you nuts? He's been dead for over two thousand years!' Well, yes, he has, but the day most of the world celebrates New Years Day was invented by Julius Caesar. He decided 1 January would mark the beginning of the New Year and he went and dedicated it to the Roman god Janus, the pagan Roman deity of gates, doors and new beginnings. So, congratulations, if you're observing 1 January as a holiday, you are honouring the pagan deity Janus and accepting Julius' calendar.
Whatever it is you're doing, you're not following the calendar of the Elohim (God) of the Bible, and He has a lot of unpleasant things to say about people who claim to be following Him but who insist on following the traditions of false gods:
"Thus saith Yahweh, Learn not the way of the heathen...for the customs of the people are vain" (Jer.10:2-3, KJV).
And if that isn't a big enough problem, it was actually 14 January on the Gregorian calendar...which is why some of the Eastern Orthodox Churches still celebrate it on that day...two weeks later. And in the old Roman Calendar before Julius, New Year's day was on 1 March.
There is an authentic biblical New Years day which we are commanded to mark but that isn't until the Spring - on the first day of the first month known as aviv (around March/April). From that day we are supposed to calculate the whole calendar for the year ahead and so know which days we are to gather as congregations to worship Yahweh-Elohim, our Heavenly Father. It was on these days that both Yah'shua (Jesus), the apostles and the first disciples gathered throughout the year to keep Yahweh's commandments.
In the days of Daniel Yahweh warned that His calendar would be changed by the Fourth Beast and so
The fourth beast is universally accepted as being the Roman Empire. This, then, was a prophecy that the Divine Calendar would be changed by the Roman system, the system which rules Europe, the West and most of the world...at least as far as times and seasons are concerned. The reason 1 January is the universal New Year is only because a pagan emperor said so, dedicating the day to a filthy demon called 'Janus' (from which we get 'January'). The Roman Catholic Church would continue this changing of divine law in its establishment of false dates for the birth of Messiah (at Christmas, a fusion of pagan festivals such as the Roman Saturnalia). Indeed you can no more put Yahweh into Janus than you can put Christ into the Saturnalia/Christmas no matter who says you can and no matter for how many centuries it has been going on.
"He shall speak pompous words against the Most High (Yahweh), shall persecute the set-apart ones (saints) of the Most High, and shall intend to change times (zemam, seasons) and law (dath, decrees)" (Dan.7:25, NKJV).
The Roman Empire has so mutilated the Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) that it is hard to recognise it anymore. When it come to the divine calendar and the times we are supposed to worship Yahweh together, Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Mormons, and even most Messianics have got it completely wrong - they are still honouring the gods of Rome!
The correct New Year's Day is important because it's how we properly mark the year ahead. Not only is 1 January 3-4 months too early, but the Roman system measures weeks and months in completely the wrong way. This is something I am going to talk more about over the next few weeks while we wind up the winter season in the northern hemisphere but for now let us at least recognise that 1 January is just another ordinary day for Yahweh's people even though it may occasionally fall on a sabbath day.
In some parts of the world like Scotland, Hogmany - which takes place on New Year's Eve - is even more important than Christmas when it comes to partying and the exchanging of gifts (orginally known as 'handselling'). Hogmany descends from the pagan Viking Scandinavian calendar when it was known as Hög min dag or 'great lovely day', the feast immediately before Yule. The reason Hogmany became so prominent in Scotland was because Christmas was (rightly) banned by the Scottish Presbyterian Church as a 'Popish' or 'Catholic' feast from the 17th century to the 1950's. It was therefore at Hogmany that Scottish families gathered for partying and exchanging presents, effectively moving Christmas to 31 December, as well as lighting large pagan fires. The parties themselves are reminiscent of pagan partying long ago.
If you're Scottish you hopefully don't need me to remind you that celebrating Hogmany is no less wicked than celebrating Christmas...neither honour Yahweh and both blaspheme Him. Give it back to the pagans, along with 'New Year's Day' so-called, to whom it rightfully belongs. I realise there is some heart-wrenching to be done - Auld Lang Syne, like so many Christmas carols, is truly beautiful, but they do not honour the True Elohim (God). Even as a boy before I became a believer, I could not sing Auld Lang Syne, however stirring the melody, however beautiful the sentimental lyrics of Burns, just as I could not observe Christmas except with the greatest reluctance. Something deep within me told me they were wrong however beautiful the outer forms.
All false celebrations tug at deep psychic heart-strings but those that pull the strings are not what or who you necessarily think they are. But Yahweh calls all true believers to be done with paganism and to become purified - you cannot serve two masters! If our identity is tied up in the remote pagan past, then we need a change of identity to follow the true Master, and to become separate, like He commanded:
It is these false observances, amongst other things, which keep us tied, and in bondage, to the world and the dark powers that rule it.
"Come out from among them and be separate, says Yahweh. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you" (2 Cor 6:17, NKJV).
Do these things give offence? Most certainly! Indeed, one brother wrote to me today and said this:
"For we...wrestle...against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:11-12, NKJV).
So when your flesh is offended, rejoice! It means you know what to do! So do it!
"...keep on offending me, I love it, it keeps me moving..."
I guess I am spoiled for not only does a member of my family have a birthday on 26 December (Boxing Day) but another has a birthday on 1 January! As for the rest of you, do what is right!
Comments from Readers
 "'On that day of judgment, says the Lord (Yahweh), 'I will punish...all those following pagan customs (lâbash nokrîy malbûsh)'" (Zeph.1:8, NLT) (SW, Germany, 31 December 2010).
 "Excellent article!" (RMcC, USA, 1 January 2014)
 "I just love your articles, brother Christopher. They tell the TRUTH with all the historical and Biblical references. But something I've noticed and learned over the last 7 years since the Father called me OUT of the pagan church system and SHOWED me the truth and lies of the practices and traditions, is that it seems that MOST of those still in the church system, some of which KNOW the truth, just do not seem to care one iota about how the God they claim to love and worship feels about this matter. I even see some within the HRM (Hebrew-Roots Movement) still following these same traditions, with both Xmas and Hanukkah. I find this fact both disturbing and depressing, because those of us who are doing our utmost best to 'come out of her' and repent and return in obedience to the Father's ways, KNOW that the judgements that are indeed upon us, COULD be averted or stopped IF MORE of His people would HUMBLE THEMSELVES, REPENT and TURN FROM their SIN and THEN PRAY ... THEN He would surely HEAR their prayers, FORGIVE their sins and HEAL our lands. It saddens me when I post or share anything explaining these truths and people just shrug it off and ignore it because 'it's not what it means to them'" (JS, USA, 30 December 2016)