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1 Nehushtan: “A Thing of Brass” Numbers 21:4-9 2 Kings 18:1-4.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Nehushtan: “A Thing of Brass” Numbers 21:4-9 2 Kings 18:1-4."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Nehushtan: “A Thing of Brass” Numbers 21:4-9 2 Kings 18:1-4

2 2 The Bronze Serpent Numbers 21:4-9 Sin of complaining Sin of complaining Many killed by fiery snakes Many killed by fiery snakes God had mercy on Israel God had mercy on Israel Bronze serpent on a pole Bronze serpent on a pole Faith to look and be healed Faith to look and be healed

3 3 Nehushtan 2 Kings 18:1-4 Superstitious reverence Superstitious reverence Object of idolatrous worship Object of idolatrous worship – Israel burned incense to it Destroyed by King Hezekiah Destroyed by King Hezekiah Only “a thing of brass” Only “a thing of brass”

4 4 Jesus on the Cross John 3:14-15 Must be lifted up Must be lifted up Believers will not perish – John 12:32-33 Believers will not perish – John 12:32-33 Have eternal life Have eternal life

5 5 Veneration of the Cross “It must have very soon become in the eyes of the faithful a sacred symbol of the Passion, consequently a sign of protection and defence” (St. Paulinus of Nola, Catholic Encycl. ) “It must have very soon become in the eyes of the faithful a sacred symbol of the Passion, consequently a sign of protection and defence” (St. Paulinus of Nola, Catholic Encycl. ) Only a piece of wood! – 1 Peter 2:24 Only a piece of wood! – 1 Peter 2:24

6 6 The Birth of Jesus Luke 2:1-20 Coming of Son of God – Luke 1:30-35; 2:11 Coming of Son of God – Luke 1:30-35; 2:11 False worship of His birth – John 4:23-24 False worship of His birth – John 4:23-24 Men have turned it into another “Nehushtan”! Men have turned it into another “Nehushtan”!

7 7 The Christian and Christmas Is the religious observance of Christ’s birth authorized (approved) by God? Is the religious observance of Christ’s birth authorized (approved) by God? What is the history of this religious holiday? What is the history of this religious holiday? What is the Christian to do at this time of year? What is the Christian to do at this time of year? What are we teaching our children? What are we teaching our children?

8 8 Christmas: God or Man? Bible affirms virgin birth of Jesus Bible affirms virgin birth of Jesus – Announced by angel To Joseph, Matt. 1:23 (Isa. 7:14) To Joseph, Matt. 1:23 (Isa. 7:14) To Mary, Lk. 1:31-35 To Mary, Lk. 1:31-35 – Accomplished, Lk. 2:1-7 – The Word became flesh, Jno. 1:14; Phil. 2:7-8

9 9 Christmas: God or Man? Bible gives no date (Matt. 2:1; Lk. 2:1) Bible gives no date (Matt. 2:1; Lk. 2:1) – Days of Herod the Great (37–4 BC) – Days of Caesar Augustus (27 BC–14 AD) Shepherds in fields, Luke 2:8 Shepherds in fields, Luke 2:8 – Summer months – Winter: Cold & wet, SS 2:11 – Not born in December

10 10 Christmas: God or Man? Speculation on date of birth Speculation on date of birth – Clement of Alexandria: Nov 18, 3 BC / May 20 – Hippolytus: Jan 2, Mar 25 or Apr 2, finally, Dec 25 – Others: Jan 6; Mar 28; Apr 18 or 19; every month has been proposed

11 11 Christmas: God or Man? “But the exact time of his birth is unknown; there is no way to ascertain it. By different learned men it has been fixed at each month in the year. Nor is it of consequence to know the time; if it were, God would have preserved the record of it. Matters of moment are clearly revealed; those which he regards as of no importance are concealed…” (Albert Barnes, Commentary on Luke 2:8 ) Deuteronomy 29:29

12 12 Christmas: God or Man? Speculation on date of birth Speculation on date of birth – “No sufficient data, however, exists for the determination of the month or day of the event.” (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Reprint 1977, III:47) Jesus Christ was not born on “Christmas Day”!

13 13 Christmas: God or Man? No Bible authority for celebration of birth No Bible authority for celebration of birth – Historical record does not authorize it (Num. 21:8-9; 2 Kgs. 18:4) – Baptism of Jesus? Walking on water?... – Silence is not consent Religious observance based on human authority, Matt. 21:23; Col. 3:17; 2:20-23 (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Jno. 9; Gal. 1:8-9) Religious observance based on human authority, Matt. 21:23; Col. 3:17; 2:20-23 (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Jno. 9; Gal. 1:8-9)

14 14 History of Christmas “Mass of Christ” (1038 AD) “Mass of Christ” (1038 AD) Designed to counter pagan festivals Designed to counter pagan festivals – Roman Saturnalia (Dec 17-24): Honored Saturn, a pagan god of harvests Honored Saturn, a pagan god of harvests Marked by gluttony & licentiousness Marked by gluttony & licentiousness – Roman feast of Mithra (Dec 25): Sun god; god of light & wisdom Sun god; god of light & wisdom One of the great religions of Roman Empire One of the great religions of Roman Empire

15 15 History of Christmas “There is no evidence of the existence of a Feast of the Nativity before the 4th century.” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, III:601) “There is no evidence of the existence of a Feast of the Nativity before the 4th century.” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, III:601) “There is no historical evidence that our Lord’s birthday was celebrated during the apostolic or early post-apostolic times.” (The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, III:47) “There is no historical evidence that our Lord’s birthday was celebrated during the apostolic or early post-apostolic times.” (The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, III:47)

16 16 Selecting December 25 Declaration of Liberius, Bishop of Rome, in 354 AD Declaration of Liberius, Bishop of Rome, in 354 AD – “There can be little doubt that the Church was anxious to distract the attention of Christians from the old heathen feast days by celebrating Christian festivals on the same days.” (Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics, III:607)

17 17 Selecting December 25 Liberius, Bishop of Rome (354 AD) Liberius, Bishop of Rome (354 AD) – “The indications are, that the Church in this way grasped the opportunity to turn the people away from a purely pagan observance of the winter solstice to a day of adoration of Christ the Lord.” (Collier’s Encyclopedia)

18 18 Christmas: The Mass of Christ “Human in its origin, arbitrary and irrelevant in its time, and Pagan in its ceremonies, it clearly has no claims whatever upon the true Christian.” W. K. Pendleton Millennial Harbinger, 1848, p. 22 W. K. Pendleton Millennial Harbinger, 1848, p. 22

19 19 Christmas: What about Christians? Cannot take part in religious error 2 Jno (1 Cor. 10:18-22) Cannot take part in religious error 2 Jno (1 Cor. 10:18-22) – Observing OT days as religiously binding was (is) wrong, Gal. 4:8-11 – What about 4 th century additions?! (Matt. 15:7-9) – Don’t join in with religious error 2 Cor. 6:14 – Teach, Matt. 5:13-16 (11-12)

20 20 Christmas: What about Christians? Can Christmas holiday be observed non-religiously? Can Christmas holiday be observed non-religiously? – Circumcision could be, Acts 16:1-3 – Vows of purity could be, Acts 21:20-26 – Meat that had been sacrificed to idols could be eaten without defilement, 1 Cor. 8:4-8; Rom. 14:1-3

21 21 Christmas: What about Christians? Things that violate God’s word do not belong in Romans 14 Things that violate God’s word do not belong in Romans 14 – Religious observance of birth Things that do not violate God’s word Things that do not violate God’s word – Season of goodwill, gifts, seasonal traditions… Rom. 14:5, 23

22 22Christmas Mass of Christ’s birth: Human origin, Lev. 10:1-2 Mass of Christ’s birth: Human origin, Lev. 10:1-2 Seasonal holiday of joy (Romans 14) Seasonal holiday of joy (Romans 14) Do not turn the truth about the birth of Jesus into Nehushtan (“a thing of brass”)! Do not turn the truth about the birth of Jesus into Nehushtan (“a thing of brass”)!


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