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16 Hope of Israel Ministries BIBLE Correspondence Course Lesson 1

winter season and the Sun god. 1t is also clear marriage, though both of these elements were
that before the middle of the fourth century secondary to the main element of the Christian
many churches celebrated both the baptism of feast -- the coming of the Messiah. In view of the
the Messiah and his nativity on the same day, importance of this coming and the manifestation
January 6. Records show that the Epiphany was of the Messiah’s spirit-filled nature, by John and
in general observance by A.D. 311. After the at Cana, it was natural that the visit of the Magi,
separation of the nativity from the Epiphany the the third manifestation, should also be
eastern church concentrated on its significance celebrated at the same time.
as the feast of baptism, whereas in the west it
became chiefly associated with the visit of the We can conclude that December 25,
Magi to Bethlehem. The twelve day interval although it is one of the days calculated to be the
between the feast of the nativity on December 25 birthday of Yeshua the Messiah, has no special
and that of the Magi on January 6 is not merit over any of the others. Furthermore, the
significant. There is no indication or implication calculation relies on the assumption that
that twelve actual days elapsed between these Zacharias was the high priest, but he was not.
two occasions. The Epiphany celebration of the Magi’s visit
again produces absolutely no proof that January
Why was January 6 chosen for the 6 was the actual date on which they paid
ceremony? Nobody knows for sure. Epiphanius homage. We must therefore regard Christmas
tells of the feast which used to be held in Day, December 25, as the official rather than the
Alexandria at the Temple of Kore on January 6. actual birthday of the Messiah. The date of the
The night preceding this day was spent in real event is still shrouded in mystery for most
singing and in attending to the images of the people.
gods. At dawn the worshipers descended into the
Blessing of the Mistletoe -- modern paganism in
crypt and brought up a wooden image which had
the sign of a cross and a star of gold marked on
the hands, knees and head. This was carried
around and then returned to the crypt to celebrate
“the Maiden giving birth to the Aeon."

January 6 was also associated with
pagan water ceremonies. Water drawn and
stored on that day had special powers and was
supposed to improve with age like wine.
Epiphanius goes further and says that the water
actually became wine and he linked the pagan
ritual with the marriage at Cana in which the
Messiah actually turned the water into wine. An
ancient belief was that water was especially
dangerous at the turn of the year and it became
propitious once more when the days started to
lengthen and the Sun returned to the sky.
Epiphany used to be the time for blessing the
water for baptism and was the feast of the two
incidents in the life of Yeshua connected with
water, his baptism by John and the Cana

The Pagan Origins of Christmas
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