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Jehovah`s Witness/A hypothetical question part 2 a followup



This is a follow up to and answer  Derrick gave me on a question I asked him.  I have done it this way instead of the usual follow up because some time follow up questions are not seen on the forum with out people knowing there is a follow up.  The original question was a few days ago and can be found at  

This is not a question per-say  but a reply to Derricks response  and hopefully clarification of why I asked the original hypothetical question.  I hope to show the reasoning’s  that we have gone through in looking at the ultimate guide, the Bible, to determine what Gods thoughts would be on subjects that did not exists when the Bible was written .


Hi Derrick,

Thank you for the long answer.  You covered more that I expected and did not really cover what I was looking for. You never really gave any Bible principles on how you (or your church)  would respond to that situation.  Perhaps that was my fault for not being clear.

I understand why you could not completely respond to some of the questions because  you  - “believe it is based upon a false scenario as its foundation  - The idea of that question and this follow up, is to let readers see another side to the discussion.   I have several links here to a lot of information for the benefit of readers to look at as to how paganism influenced Christianity.  You might find them of interest as well.

Before I  go on I want to comment on a few small matters first that were of concern to you.

First,  I would like to reassure you that  I am not being  overly concerned with  you  ... “saying that a Christian can decorate their home with a tree “ ...  I am concerned with getting the truth of the matter – from GODS viewpoint – not man’s.   And, yes I agree with you, it is wrong for anyone here  on this forum who claims to be a follower of the Christ to be lying.

The illustration was not specifically attacking the Christmas tree, but, seeing you thought I may have been,  I will make a few brief comments.  I agree that in general practice there is nothing wrong with decorating a tree.  Personally I think decorated trees can be very attractive.  In the heart of the  capital city where I live, our major cultural boulevard  used to have decorated trees with lights all year round  ( I do not know if they still do I haven’t been to that  part of the city in many years).  In the town where I live there is a very large tree (I believe it may be heritage listed )  in the grounds of a stately old home (that is now cinema complex restaurant and offices) that is decorated with lights all year round .

Now in regard to Jeremiah 10:2-5 .  YES, I fully agree with you, that has nothing to do directly with Christmas trees.  It is all about idol worship as you go on to explain.

I do not read all the Questions and Answers that are posted here, and I did not recall seeing that particular discussion about Jeremiah 10.  

The connection that I would make with what is said there in Jeremiah, and the Christmas tree,  is that long before the idea of Christmas,  trees were being used in false religious worship.  I know today that the tree is not a symbol of “worship”, but,  it is used in a religious manner by many people throughout the earth.   The problem is, because it was used in pagan worship raises the question as to if it is OK to “Christianize” it.  That is, - is it wrong to take a pagan symbol that is/was used in religious worship and use it in a what many call a Christian celebration.?

That was  the whole point of my hypothetical question, is it wrong for a  follower of Christ who wants to develop the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16 “But we have the mind of Christ”)  to accept pagan teachings as part of of own culture.  What would Jesus have done?  Would he have accepted pagan ideas as part of the way to worship God?   Are obeying Gods requirements an option for us?  Why do we need to obey Gods standards?  Because it means our life (Hebrews 5:9 “eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”)   Our worship is all in vain if we allow the ideas of men to influence us ( Matt 15:9 “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”)

Yes the hypothetical question was about “Christmas” and its customs, as much as it was about so many other doctrines that crept into the Christian way of thinking from the second century onward.   I now you will disagree with this,and that is your right,   but a careful study of history shows that Christmas, Easter, immortal soul, hell fire, trinity, etc. came from pagan origins, mainly from Greek philosophy

You gave 2 ideas as to how Christmas may have come about. The second one, I had never heard of before, that was interesting.  You agreed with the first one.

Personally I do not agree with the first one. We  obviously have different views on how certain customs were developed and came into the traditions of “the Church”. For the sake of readers,   I want to give a different, balancing, side of the discussion to  the readers.  Over many years I have read a lot of information about what scholars believe to have happened.  The evidence leans most strongly to ward the acceptance of the Saturnalia and other pagan ideas as a Christian celebration in order to please the people. (Make conversion easier)

The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. About A.D. 200, from  Clement of Alexandria.    He is considerd by some to be the first Christan Philospoher to start intoduicng pagan ideas into “the  church”  Now that is an interesting subject to look at.
When The Greeks conquered Egypt  (circa 350 b.c.e.) the first Macedonian “Pharaoh” Ptolemy 1  wanted to unite the Greek and Egyptian cultures by combining several gods into one that all would be happy with, he in effect set himself up as a god like all the Pharaohs before him.  He created a new god “Serapis”   In the 2nd century AD Christians in Alexandria had adopted the icon of Seripas to represent Jesus.  That is an interesting read in history  of the journey as to how that pagan god become a symbol of “the church”  The icon was officially adopted at the council of Nicaea along with other pagan philosophies.

The history of Serapis is reflected in the “hypothetical question” I posted  “Serapis and Christ existed side-by-side and were frequently seen as interchangeable. Some early Christians made no distinction between Christ and Serapis and frequently worshiped both, “
Another site to read    (The home page of that site is a must read on how the philosophy of Plato infected Christianity)
It is so sad the the link between Serapis and Jesus  of “the church” is historically so strong that many people now use this connection to calm that Jesus, as a person, did not exist until the council of Nicaea.  The pagan links  of many “Christian” ideas can not be ignored.   The word of God had been adulterated.
Here are a few  an interesting links for any readers to look at on other Christmas beginnings

By the way that web site that you pointed to was very informative,  it gives one of the Biblical ways of determining the birth of Jesus  in October, (The Bible shows that there are two other Biblical ways to determine that month as well )  That web site said nothing about the idea   that  - “Christians decide to have their own festival to SUPPLANT the pagan one,” .  

The writer of the site did suggest that  “The theory went that Christians could get the heathen to convert by co-opting their holidays.”   but gives no real indication that it is just a theory, when the evidence shows otherwise</b>.   That being said I am not going to try to convince you  that your idea on Christmas is wrong.

Now all that being said.  The point of my “hypothetical question” is, that what I presented is what history shows actually happened.  It was a gradual introduction of “pagan” ideas” over a period of time.  That at some time both the pagan and the so called “Christianized” adoption of the pagan ideas ran hand in hand. There was a lot of divisive influences happening and that is possibly the main reason Constantine called the council of Nicaea, to unit his divided realm

When we  study the  of history of “the Church” we see that what I suggested by this question - Would you threaten those that did not comply with death or banishment?   - is what happened after  many of the  pagan ideas  were officially adopted by  “the Church”.  People were forced to believe or be banished, killed or live in secret  and fear.  That is a fact of history.

I can not give you examples right now of the top of my head without doing a lot of internet research but I want to mention that in watching various TV documentaries of people in South America and some African counties, various “Christian” groups (mainly Catholic) that have tried to make converts out of the native population, have let the “converts” continue practicing their old customs, and incorporate some of them into their  form of “Christian” worship.  That  (sort of) practice I mentioned in the “hypothetical question” is still happening .

History testifies that the first century Christians followed the council given them both by the Hebrew Scripture writers (old testament) and what the Jesus and the apostles taught.  Peter wrote that the first century Christians seems strange to the people of the nations - “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” 1 Peter 4:4 . -  Why is that?

The first Christians came  from the nation of Israel. Jesus was raised as an Israelite, so the teachings of Jesus, and the  first disciples were based on the Gods laws and standard that had been committed to writing.  Just as Gods original chosen people were told to be separate from the people around them -  [(“and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.” Ezra 10:11 ).  Not only were they told to keep separate  form the pagan  traditions they were told to search for the LORD (Jehovah) Ezra 6: 21  “And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel,”    All “the filthiness of the heathen of the land” was not listed, tat suggests a blanket band on all  “ heathen” customs. Now how would the first century Christians understand that council?]  -  The original followers of  Christ also stayed separated from the customs of the  nations around them, and where customs foreign to them were found, would they not search the scriptures to see what they could learn from Gods past dealings ?

When Isaiah was prophesying about Jerusalem future, and release for Babylon, God told the returning Jews “ Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing ; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.”  They were also told  “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found,”  (Isaiah 55:6 ) Babylon was known as a center of false worship.  The departing Israelites must leave behind them in Babylon anything having a taint of Babylon’s false worship. Since they carry the utensils  that came from the temple in Jerusalem, they have to be clean, not merely in an outward, ceremonial way, but primarily in their hearts (Isaiah 52:11 )  

This is echoed in 2 Corinthians 6:15-17    “15  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate , saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you,”  Christ would have nothing to do with any thing connected to pagan worship. It was unclean .  A serious question is  - AT what point does it become OK to start touching the unclean things of Satan???

Reading through the Books of  Jeremiah and Ezekiel (at the time of Jerusalem destruction) we see that God was not please with the way that the Jews had incorporated all sorts of pagan rituals.  So the prophetic words of Isaiah was to remind the people not to get involved with any pagan practices.

In the prayer of Jesus recorded in John 17  he mentions that the disciples “because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. “ (John 17:14-17 )  The use of the word world there is  saying the disciples were not a part of the general populace that did not receive him. They had been taken out of that crown and left all the false  baggage of that life behind.  The general population would have a hatred for Christ followers because they had left the traditions of the world behind them (John 15 : 18,19 “18   If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”)

Why were the Christians not to be part of the world and the things of the world ?

1 John 5:19 “the world lies in wickedness” That is Satan controls the thinking of those that do not want to follow the Christ. At what point do we start to let the things of Satan into our lives and not become contaminated to the point of displeasing God????

The 1st century Christians were also told that “ the world passeth away,”  and they were given this council regarding the things of the world  “15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17 )

We firmly believe that everything that is in the Bible is there for a reason. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17 ) If God punished the Israelites for slowly accepting pagan worship, the returning Israelites from Babylon were warned not to have any thing to do with pagan worship, the 1st century Christians were known for making a break from all pagan practices than why on earth would we want to introduce any of them again into any form of service to God?

2 Corinthians  6:15 tells us that there is NO conection between Christ and Satan “ And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

The “hypothetical question” I posed IS what happened during the “great apostasy” after the apostles had all died. (Acts 20:29, Matthew 7:15 2 Thessalonians 2:3 2 Peter 2:1 )

You mention  Romans 14:4-6 .  That is an interesting passage.  In context Romans it is discussing the Sabbath and if a Christian should set one day a week aside as sacred.  It highlights the fact that we all have a conscience. Our conscience should be trained by Gods word.  There were some that were new to “the way”  who cam from the Jewish system where the Sabbath was their custom.  Even though the Sabbath was no longer a Christian requirement it was not wrong as it had been instigated by God.  Paul is telling the Roman Christians that there is not longer a requirement to set day “X ” as a Sabbath. It is up to the individual to decide when and how they would set a time aside as sacred. The ideal thing would be, that every day be viewed as sacred so that our worship of God is continuous and not confined to just one day a week.

Our conscience  is not giving Christians licence to adopt pagan ways.  The date of December 25 and most of the customs were part of pagan worship of their gods.

You mention Psalm 118:24 and said - “I believe that every day is "the day that the LORD hath made", and Christians can "rejoice and be glad in it" ”.  ( Yes all days should be viewed with joy and as a day to worship [serve] God in a way HE accepts)  The reason you mentioned that is summed up in this statement “You also seem to think that a particular day becomes "tainted", if pagans have a bad celebration on that day ”   Your assumption there is not correct. We do not see the day of December 25 as being tainted.  What is tainted is the introduction of a pagan celebration and changing the name to try to make it acceptable to God.

You made this important comment “b>It only matters that they are not going against the Scripture.</b>” In the context of Romans, keeping a Sabbath  was not going against any one of Gods requirement.   However what does the Bible principles show as to adopting pagan ideologies?  Is that “going against the Scripture”?  For us, Jws, the texts above show that God would not be please with any attempt to introduce ANY pagan rites into a Christian “celebration”.

You briefly mention that there seemed to be a similar situation to what I proposed  in the account of Paul on Mars Hill when he talks the the men of Athens about the “unknown god” that they worshiped.  It is true that Paul did not condemn them for  idolatry he tried to establish common ground. That is what I am trying to do, establish common ground on the basses of what the Bible shows is  GOD's attitude toward pagan idolatry.   We both want to follow  the Bible as our guide. So I am using what the Bible says to establish a pattern of what Gods attitude is.  Paul took the opportunity to suggest that there was a God that the men of Athens had not yet come to know, and he suggested it was the Almighty God that dwells in no human temple. And needs no idols to represent him.

Now historians are telling us that many of the Greek philosophies were cam to be introduced into the Christian ethos. SO my whole argement is, God showed that he was against  the practices of the heathen (pagan) nations that he called them unclean. AT various points in history different philosophies WERE suggested and introduced into Christianity.

Today we are far removed form many of the pagan religions. People have no concept of the pagan connection, and many will say “so what if there is a connection,we are not worshiping any of the pagan gods how can those pagan ideas harm us?”   Hence my hypothetical question as to how would your church  handle the idea TODAY if it was suggested by some of its missionaries that by mixing (introducing) some harmless  pagan customs the people of that land might accept what we teach. Would thyour church reject the suggestion?  That is what SHOULD have happened in the second and third and subsequent centuries but it did not. Instead of rejecting the idea of introducing pagaon thought they were adopted.  Now to day becase they have been around for so long most people reason “well it must be OK then”.

All Gods ways are perfect 2 samual 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler {or reifner} to all them that trust in him.”  If we trust in Gods ways he will refine our thinking.

Psalms 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”

James 1:25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty,  and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

Gods laws are perfect and his standards do not change “For I am the LORD, I change not;” (Malachi 3:6) So how is it ever OK to introduce the “unclean” thing into Gods ways?

Brenton, I am sorry to have let this follow-up sit in my inbox for so long.  The fact is, it is VERY long, and I have simply not had the several hours in any one sitting, that would be required to address it.  If its okay with you, I am going to go ahead and send this "reply", just to keep from getting any more notifications from Allexperts about it.  

However, I do not want you to think that I am not posting it, so here is what I will do.  I will being a reply tomorrow, and work on it over the next few days.  And when I am done, I will copy and paste your identical question, word for word, and re-send it to myself as a new question, along with my reply.  That way, it will appear up higher on the forum page, than it will if I answer this one, after it has sat in my box for over a week.  

So, give me a few more days, and I will get to this.  I notice you thanked me for my long answer, but I doubt my answer was significantly longer than this follow-up....:)

Anyway, thank you for your patience, and I will get this addressed, and posted.  Thank you.

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Derrick Holland


I was raised in the religion known as Jehovah`s Witnesses for 13 years. Since becoming a born-again Christian, I have researched extensively this religion, especially their doctrines and their history. I can answer questions about their doctrines from the perspective of Biblical Christianity. To be clear: Jehovahs Witnesses is the religion of my upbringing, though I myself was never baptized into the religion, nor have I ever been considered as a Jehovahs Witness.


29 years of Biblical research into the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and how they differ from the teachings of the Watchtower.

I would advise each questioner to this forum, to carefully READ the profiles of the various volunteers. There are several such as myself, who are not practicing JWs, but will provide you with an accurate and honest answer, regarding JW teaching. If we don't know the answer, we will try to research and get it for you. There are also some excellent practicing JWs here, who also endeavor to give you a factual and honest answer, based on their point of view. I believe by getting both points of view, the questioner can weigh the evidence for themselves, and make an informed decision. Unfortunately, there are also 3 here who claim to be JWs, but do NOT give honest, or well-researched answers. They will tell you only what they want you to believe, and they often hide facts about the history of their religion, as well as print untruths about other people's beliefs. This is done in an attempt to deceive the unsuspecting reader. It can be easily seen who these 3 are, simply by reading the public posts and "answers" which they write. Their posts will normally be filled with personal attacks, and if you question them about some teaching or aspect of the Watchtower that makes them uncomfortable, they will often reject your question, question your motives for asking it, tell you that you have been reading "apostate" sites, or turn the conversation into an attack on another expert. These ones are better avoided, as there is nothing to be gained by way of positive discussion, as they are not interested in intelligent conversation, or honest dialogue. If after reading the forum, you still have any questions as to who they are, just ask me, and I will be happy to tell you. And I can also provide documentation of their willful dishonesty. One thing is for a forum where people from both sides claim to be "Christians", there should never be any willful lying. Such ones only create a distraction in the forum, and provide nothing of any real value.

High School, some college. Studies of God's Word, the Bible, and how it compares to JW theology. I have found my own personal study and experiences to be far more valuable than any formal education or training. The Bible message is clear...Salvation is ONLY through and by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and no religious organization has a thing to do with it. While attendance at a Bible-preaching, Bible-believing church is a must for spiritual growth and fellowship, no church can grant salvation to its members. Nor is joining a particular group a prerequisite for being saved.

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