(Deuteronomy 22:9-11) “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled. “You shall not plough with an ox and a donkey together. “You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.”
A dear brother in the LORD from America whom I correspond with regularly sent me an email in which he mentioned that his pastor had a decorated Christmas tree at the front of the Church and mentioned the pagan belief behind Christmas trees and thought it strange that his pastor, an evangelical minister should have one in the sanctuary. What is the background to Christmas Trees? If they are a pagan symbol then why would one be standing in the local assembly of believers? This dear brother made me think again about something that I had not really thought about.
According to a report in the ABC News online it stated; “Evergreen trees and plants have been used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years, long before the advent of Christianity.” The article went on to say; “Pagans in Europe used branches of evergreen fir trees to decorate their homes and brighten their spirits during the winter solstice. Early Romans used evergreens to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia, while ancient Egyptians used green palm rushes as part of their worship of the god Ra. Evergreen fir trees covered in snow Pieces of evergreen fir tree were first brought into people’s homes to brighten spirits during the winter solstice. The idea of bringing the evergreen into the house represents fertility and new life in the darkness of winter, which was much more of the pagan themes. This is also where the ideas of the holly and the ivy and the mistletoe come from because they’re the few flowering plants at winter so therefore they hold special significance. So the idea of bringing evergreens into the house started there and eventually that evolved into the Christmas tree.”
Modern Christmas trees emerged in western Germany during the 16th century as Christians brought trees into their homes and decorated them with gingerbread, nuts and apples. “It’s the 17th century that we really get the decorating happening, and we get a movement into the festivals and the big royal courts having these trees with the gold leaf on them, having paper decorations with candles,” While the Christmas tree originated in Germany, it was Britain’s Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who popularised it in the 1840s and 1850s. Victoria’s mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was German so she grew up having a decorated tree at Christmas time. But the idea of decorating a whole tree was not common among Brits until a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree in Windsor Castle was published by the Illustrated London News in 1848.
Victoria and Albert were popular royals and soon every British home had a tree decked out with decorations, candles and sweets. The same image was published two years later in the United States in Godey’s Lady’s Book — though Victoria’s tiara and Albert’s moustache were removed to make the image more American. It was the first widely circulated picture of a decorated evergreen Christmas tree in the US and soon the Christmas tree was in vogue.” (Extracted from ABC News Online 2016)
While there are some varied opinions as to the origin of Christmas trees including some Christian Bible teachers who say that it originated in Germany in the 16th century there is other historical evidence that the practice of decorating Christmas trees has a pagan origin. Today we see Christmas trees everywhere at this time of year and we all like to see them decorated but in the euphoria that is part and parcel of the Christmas season we must keep in mind that even Christmas has a pagan source originally before it was ‘Christianised.’ The Lord Jesus was not born on December 25th. If the Christmas tree has a pagan origin then we need to reconsider whether it is appropriate to have one in our homes as believers or standing at the front of a church.
Even though many see it as a harmless and rather a fun thing to do especially for the children if it has a pagan source then it may well be ‘a portal’ through which occult power can enter. God’s Word is clear that we must be careful about adopting those practices and objects that may be associated with pagan worship which is the worship of demons according to scripture. (Deuteronomy 32:16-17) (1 Corinthians 10:20) In the Torah in Deuteronomy 22:9-11 we see three things related to mixing pagan practices with Biblical practices, something that God has forbidden in scripture.
Let’s look at this… “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled. “You shall not plough with an ox and a donkey together. “You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.”
Firstly: The “Vineyard” represents the local fellowship of believers, the faithful Body of the Messiah (the faithful assembly/church) and the “seed” symbolizes the Word of God (Luke 8:11). When the seed of God’s Word is mixed with the “seed” of those teachings and practices that are not affirmed in the Word of God the end result will be a “crop failure” producing no real and lasting spiritual fruit. There may be results but there will be spiritual defilement. God hates the mixture.
Secondly; we see that the ox ploughing the field represents the teacher treading out the spiritually nutritious grain of God’s Word but it is hampered because the ox is yoked to the donkey which represents one who does not know the Word of God and is insensible towards its teaching and lacks spiritual discernment. When Biblical truth is laid side by side with error or with the traditions and philosophies of men you have a mixture that cannot produce any real and lasting spiritual fruit. The blessed Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth who leads us into all truth and not into error. God hates the mixture.
Finally; you have wool and linen woven together. The “Linen” represents the righteous life of the saints empowered by the righteousness of the Lord Jesus. (Revelation 19:8) It is a fine and expensive fabric. The “wool” represents something that is not pure and righteous by God’s Biblical standards. This mixture of linen and wool has to do with the way God’s people are living every day. We cannot be serving the LORD, and embracing things in the world that may be of a spiritually dubious source while continuing to serve the LORD our God. We cannot have one foot in the world as it were and one foot in the Kingdom of God. A famous preacher once said; “A ship in the water is okay but water in the ship isn’t” The apostle James tells us that friendship with the ways and things of the world is to be at enmity with God. (James 4:4) God hates the Mixture!
This is why we must seek first the kingdom of God and the righteousness He imparts, and all the things we need will be added to us needed for life and godliness through our knowledge of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus. (Matthew 6:33) (2 Peter 1:3) I love the Christmas season and the Christmas Carols and I do like the decorations and Christmas lights even on the trees but that dear brother who emailed me has started me thinking about how the unsaved view Christmas with decorated Christmas Trees. While the Christmas tree in itself is just a tree and the decorations just decorations we need to be aware that anything used in our homes or in our Churches that have their source in pagan worship or origins it can be ‘a portal’ through which demonic activity can enter into our churches and even into our homes and hamper our daily lives.
I am not an extremist in the area of demonology and there are those who go overboard with this kind of thinking but I realise that the enemies we fight everyday are not of human origin. As Paul writes; “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Let’s enjoy this special season of the year by all means and yes enjoy the lights and the decorations and the music but keep in mind that the Christmas tree itself may well be of a pagan origin and if its original source is in fact a product used in pagan worship it may well be ‘a portal’ through which the spiritual forces in the unseen realm can gain access into our homes and into our Churches. In my view it is preferable not to have a decorated Christmas Tree in the local assembly of the believers .God hates the mixture because He loves us and wants us to love Him first and foremost and desires to have unbroken fellowship with us as His blood brought, blood washed children and knows the spiritual damage that can result from seeking to mix the ways of God with the ways of the world.
In this light then as we enjoy this Christmas season let’s keep in mind that much that we see and hear concerning Christmas as it is celebrated in the pagan world is of a spiritually dubious source. We would do well to remind ourselves at this special season of the year as we celebrate and remember the incarnation of the Son of God that God hates the mixture.