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The World to Come. The Restored Church of God presents David C. Pack. Answering life’s
greatest questions straight from the Bible, and announcing the wonderful good news of
the World to Come.
Millions keep New Year's without knowing why---or where it originated. While some question its
observance, of course most see nothing wrong with such a celebration.
Have you ever considered---much less investigated---why you believe and practice what you do? The
world is filled with endless customs and traditions. Yet few seek to understand---to research---the
origin of things. Most go along with popular practices without question, choosing to do
what everyone else does simply because it is easier. The majority hold the same beliefs
they learned in childhood, assuming what they believe and do is right. They take their beliefs
for granted and never take time to truly study or prove them.
Should true Christians---whose calling and goal is to imitate the perfect life of Jesus
Christ---celebrate New Year's? Should they be caught up in the excitement? What could
be wrong with "ringing out the old and ringing in the new"? What is the origin of this holiday?
What does God say about it? You will be surprised to learn the truth that ministers of professing
Christianity either do not know---or will not teach.
Before looking at what the Bible says about New Year's, we must first examine the history
of this popular holiday. Notice this from the Encyclopaedia Britannica: "The earliest-known
record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 BC in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia
the New Year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the spring equinox (mid March) and in
Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox (mid September)."
Now this from the Encyclopedia Americana: "New Year's Day, the first day of the year.
Among ancient peoples the beginning of the year was determined by one of various events,
such as the spring or autumnal equinox or the winter or summer solstice. In Egypt, for
example, beginning about 2773 BC, the year began with the heliacal rising of Sirius,
which coincided with the start of the flood period of the Nile and came not long after
the summer solstice." The Ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians and Persians began their new year
with the autumn equinox (September 21), while the Greeks, until the 5th century BC, observed
theirs with the winter solstice (December 21).
The World Book states, "Many ancient peoples…performed rituals to do away with the past and purify
themselves for the new year. For example, some people put out the fires they were using
and started new ones." The Celts celebrated the new year on November 1, marking the end
of summer and the harvest, and the beginning of the cold, dark winter ahead. (This was
a precursor to Halloween.) They built sacred bonfires to scare off evil spirits and to
honor their sun god. Also notice this: "In early times, the ancient
Romans gave each other New Year's gifts of branches from sacred trees. In later years,
they gave gold-covered nuts or coins imprinted with pictures of Janus, the god of gates,
doors, and beginnings. January was named after Janus, who had two faces---one looking forward
and the other looking backward." Here is more from the Encyclopaedia Britannica:
"By the Roman republican calendar, the year began on March 1; after 153 BC the official
date was January 1, and this was confirmed by the Julian calendar (46 BC)…In early
medieval times most of Christian Europe regarded March 25 (Annunciation Day) as the beginning
of the year, though for Anglo-Saxon England New Year's Day was Dec. 25."
Since Roman Catholic leaders falsely believed that Jesus was born December 25, they assumed
His mother Mary conceived Him on March 25, 9 months before. Let's read: "March 25th is
called the Annunciation of the Blessed *** Mary…It celebrates the occasion when the
Archangel Gabriel appeared to the young Jewish maiden and announced to her that she was to
be the mother of Jesus…Although the Church began very early to commemorate this event,
the date itself cannot have been fixed before the date of Christmas was established, which
was sometime late in the fourth century. The two dates are dependent on each other, because
they must normally have been 9 months apart…Then, reaching all the way back, people decided
that this was not only the day on which Christ's earthly life began---it was the day everything
began, the day of Creation itself. From here it was a very short step---an almost unavoidable
one---to the idea that March 25th must be the beginning of the year, and from the 12th
century until the calendar reform in 1752, March 25th was New Year's day."
These historical accounts make clear that the history of New Year's Eve and New Year's
Day is deeply rooted in pagan traditions. It originated in the minds of men---pagan
idol-worshippers---and it slowly developed over the centuries.
Now notice what God thinks about New Year's, and any holiday that has its roots in pagan
practices, customs and traditions. You will be shocked.
We begin with Jeremiah 10: "Learn not the way of the heathen…for the customs of the
people are vain." This is a plain command from God---in your Bible. Thruout His Word,
God describes "the heathen" as those who worship nature (the sun, moon, stars, trees, etc.),
or manmade idols, or anything but the One True God. God calls such people and their
practices heathen. Men call them pagan. Christians know that God hates all customs, practices
and traditions that have pagan roots. How serious is God about paganism? Follow
the next few passages carefully. When He rescued the 12 tribes of Israel from Egypt and led
them out of brutal slavery, He commanded, "After the doings of the land of Egypt, where
in you dwelt, you shall not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, where I
bring you, shall you not do: neither shall you walk in… [men's] ordinances." In verses
24-29, God told the Israelites not to defile themselves with the practices and customs
of the surrounding nations. And also, "Therefore shall you keep My ordinance, that you commit
not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that you defile
not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God."
God cursed Egypt with 10 plagues and freed Israel from slavery. He parted the Red Sea
and led them to safety. He fed them manna from heaven, protected them from battle-tested
Gentile armies, delivered them into the Promised Land, and drove out their enemies. How did
Israel treat God in turn? "Our fathers understood not Your wonders in Egypt; they remembered
not the multitude of Your mercies; but provoked Him…at the Red Sea…They soon forgot His
works; they waited not for His counsel: but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and
tempted God in the desert…They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molten image.
Thus they changed their glory [the true God] into the similitude of an ox that eats grass.
They forgot God their Savior, which had done great things in Egypt; wondrous works in the
land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red Sea…they despised the pleasant land, they
believed not His word: but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of
the Lord…They joined themselves also unto Baal-peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
Thus they provoked Him to anger with their intentions."
God had explicitly commanded Israel to cast out and utterly destroy all nations that occupied
the Promised Land of Canaan. Above all, they were not to make political alliances with
them or marry into their families. (Read Deut. 7:1-5, 16.) Why? "For they will turn away
your sons from following Me, that they may serve other gods."
But the Israelites---who thought they knew better than God---decided to do things their
own way. The picture is awful: "They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord
commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works: and they
served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yes, they sacrificed their sons and
their daughters unto [demons]. And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and…daughters,
whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus
they were defiled with their own works, and went *** with their own inventions."
To wake Israel up and get her back on track to being the model nation He had always intended,
God gave Israel over to their enemies. Israel repented. God rescued them. Then Israel pursued
other gods again. God punished them again. Israel repented again. So went the deliverance-idolatry-punishment-repentance
cycle (vs. 40-46), until finally, God had no other choice but to divorce unfaithful
Israel. (Read Jer. 3:6-11.) He used the Assyrians to invade, conquer, relocate and enslave the
northern kingdom of Israel (II Kings 17), which "disappeared" into history, having forgotten
their true national identity. (Even today, the modern descendants of those 10 lost tribes
do not understand who they are.) Later, God sent the southern kingdom of Judah into Babylonian
exile (II Kings 24 and 25). My crucial book America and Britain in Prophecy offers a tremendous
amount of proof explaining who these tribes are, where they have been thru history---and
why this is so important for you to understand. Captivity came because Israel lusted after
pagan customs, rituals, traditions and ways. After examining the previous scriptures, it
becomes obvious that God does not take pagan practices lightly.
True Christians know that "God is not the author of confusion but of peace." The Greek
word for "confusion" also means instability, disorder, commotion, tumult---words that aptly
describe New Year's chaotic history. For thousands of years, men kept changing their New Year
from spring to fall, from March 1st to January 1st (and in some cases, Dec. 25), to March
25th, back to January 1st again---the dead of winter!
Notice Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions: "January 1 was restored as New
Year's Day by the Gregorian calendar (1582), immediately adopted by Roman Catholic countries.
Other countries slowly followed suit: Scotland, 1660; Germany and Denmark, about 1700; England,
1752; Sweden, 1753; and Russia, 1918." Even today, men cannot agree on the date.
Notice: "Chinese New Year is celebrated officially for a month beginning in late January or early
February," and "The Muslim New Year falls on the first day of the month of Muharram
and commemorates the date of the Hegira (July 16, 622 [A.D.], on the Gregorian calendar),
the starting point of the Muslim calendar. Since the Muslim year is a lunar one consisting
of only 354 days, the commencement of the new year fluctuates widely by the Western
calendar." The Vietnamese New Year, Tet, falls sometime between January 21 and February 20.
And, "...the Jewish New Year…is observed during September or early October. Hindus
in different parts of India celebrate the new year on various dates." This is what happens
when people insist on following their own judgment rather than trusting the One who
designed the entire universe and everything in it.
Not only is the history of New Year's confusing and chaotic, but so is the holiday itself.
During New Year's celebrations, people let go of all inhibition---and many times self-respect---and
go wild. They use drugs, overdrink, practice free sex---and with those they barely know.
These sudden actions often yield life-long repercussions. They shoot guns to "ring in
the new year." Common sense is thrown away in order to have a good time. Usually, the
only thing people regret are next-day hangovers. In 2007, the U.S. National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration released a report revealing that the number of deaths as a result of alcohol-impaired
drivers greatly increases between the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The average number
of drunk driving deaths between 2001 and 2005 was 36 a day. This number grows 50 percent
during Christmas and New Year's! Notice also: "On average from 2001 to 2005
(the last year for which complete data is available), about 40 percent of all fatalities
during the Christmas and New Year holiday periods have occurred in crashes where at
least one of the involved drivers was alcohol-impaired…" Another source added, "38 percent of all traffic
fatalities during the Christmas period occurred in crashes involving a drunk driver or motorcycle
rider and 41 percent during the New Year's period…This compares with 31 percent for
the year as a whole." The World Book of 2010 records that when America
was still in its infancy, "Many American colonists in New England celebrated the new year by
firing guns into the air and shouting." Sadly, this tradition still exists in parts of the
United States. Few think about how their actions, combined with gravity, can have a deadly effect.
What goes up (bullets) must come down somewhere. A recent example of this was New Year's Eve
of January 2010, when the Daily Mail of Britain reported that a four-year-old boy was suddenly
killed by a bullet while sitting with his parents at a church service. The wound was
gaping. Experts believe the shot, which came thru the roof of the church, was fired from
an AK-47 assault rifle more than two miles away! On New Year's Eve in 2005, two people
were struck in different parts of downtown Atlanta by stray bullets. One hit a woman
in the head. In Puerto Rico, it is said that so many guns are fired on New Year's that
it can sound like a warzone. Obviously, a holiday this chaotic, violent
and dangerous does not reflect God's command to "Let all things be done decently and in
order." Again, true Christians recognize this about New Year's celebrations---and avoid
them. They know that they must live "by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God"---and
that man cannot rely on himself to determine good from evil because "the heart is deceitful
above all things [God says], and desperately wicked," and also "the way of man is not in
himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." God states, "My thoughts are
not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways…as the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
The Creator designed and gave life to human beings. He knows how they should live. God
has given His creation an Instruction Manual to help men live the way He originally intended
(see John 10:10). That "manual"---the Holy Bible---is God's Word and His truth (John
17:17). It is filled with spiritual laws, statutes, and judgments guided by perfect
spiritual knowledge, wisdom and understanding. II Timothy states, "All scripture is given
by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [that’s teaching], for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly
furnished unto all good works." Only God's Word can accurately distinguish right from
wrong, righteousness (obedience to God's commandments---Psalm 119:172) from sin (breaking God's spiritual
laws---I John 3:4 and Romans 7:17). God's people understand that, as the only
real standard of truth man can live by, Scripture "cannot be broken."
But most people---including most thought-to-be Christians---love and follow the ideas of
men. Jesus knew this, and warned, "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart
is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments
of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…Full
well you reject [meaning you know exactly what you are doing] the commandment of God,
that you may keep your own tradition…making the word of God of none effect through your
tradition." God commands His people not to follow pagan
practices! Let's ask: Are there biblical examples of
God's servants celebrating New Year's? What about David---called a man after God's own
heart? Or Abraham---the father of the faithful? Or Moses---or even Jesus Christ?
The answer to each is no. Nor is there any biblical instruction to celebrate this day.
But that does not stop almost all professing Christians from doing so. Society---including
millions who claim to follow Christ---ignores God, in effect telling Him, "We will decide
what we should or should not do!" GOD'S people actively search the Bible to learn His will.
Their life's mission is to live by God's Word alone---not by the traditions of men, including
all pagan celebrations. People can worship in ways that represent
things far different from what they sincerely believe or intend. When they have observed
a practice for a long time they come to identify with it, as though it were their own. They
become vested in it. When one tries to tell them the truth---even presenting FACTS, EVIDENCE
and PROOF---and in the case of Bible truths, SCRIPTURE---many become hostile---outright
angry!---that any would dare speak against sacred personal beliefs.
The proof is overwhelming that popular holidays are "traditions and commands of men"---condemned
by God! Vast millions keep them, anyway!
In another passage, God makes absolutely clear that He does not want His people mixing His
ways with any false ways. Let's read it: "What thing soever I command you [God says], observe
to do IT: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it." In other words, do exactly what
God says---not more, nor less! When God instituted the Passover to Israel,
He also revealed to them His sacred calendar. He said, "This month shall be unto you the
beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." God's calendar
begins in the spring, between March and April of this world's calendar system. Leviticus
23 reveals all the special Holy Days (annual sabbaths) that Christians are to observe.
They are dictated by GOD'S calendar, not man's. Although the Bible tells us when His calendar
year begins, God does not command---or suggest---or even allow---that His followers ever throw
aside self-control for a night of partying. His people understand the days they are commanded
to observe: Passover and the 7 Days of Unleavened Bread (in the early spring)---the Feast of
Pentecost (or Firstfruits, in the late spring)---the Feast of Trumpets (or Rosh Hashanah)---as
well as the Day of Atonement (or Yom Kippur), the Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth), and the
Last Great Day all in the early fall. God carefully explains when these days are to
be observed within His sacred calendar. Jesus kept them, as did the apostles and the New
Testament Church. The true Church---the only one Jesus established---has kept them for
2,000 years, since AD 31. Take time to review this extensive list of verses.
Most who claim to be Christian believe that these special annual Sabbaths are only for
the Jews. They prefer pagan holidays, instituted in humanly devised calendars. True Christians
know better. These same Christians realize that this world
belongs to Satan. He rules it thru mass deception in the name of Jesus Christ. Here are two
passages you should never forget: "The great dragon...that old serpent, called the Devil,
and Satan, which deceives the whole world," and "The god of this world has blinded the
minds of them which believe not." In Gen. 3, Satan misled Adam and Eve into eating from
the forbidden tree, thus cutting off their offspring---mankind thru the ages---from God.
And Satan is the same evil spirit who misleads man into committing every sin under the sun.
As long as the devil influences the nations of the world, prior to the now imminent Return
of Jesus Christ, mankind will continue drowning in sin---including heathen customs and practices,
which may seem harmless to the average person, but in fact insult God and are a stench in
His nostrils. This Satan-influenced world is about to collapse.
Speaking of the great religious and political system that has deceived the entire world,
God declares, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of
[demons], and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings
of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed
rich through the abundance of her delicacies." Make this passage personal! Determine to learn
and understand who it is that God is speaking of here. My booklet Who or What Is the Beast
of Revelation? will leave you in shock about what you did not know.
Speaking of Babylon in context, God commands all of His people to "Come out of her [the
ways of this world]…that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her
plagues." Jesus told His disciples, "You are not of
the world, but I have chosen you out of the world..." Though they must live in it, Jesus'
disciples today are not---and cannot be---OF this world!
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day originate from this pagan, Satan-influenced world. They,
with many other pagan holidays, were designed to deceive mankind as a whole by appealing
to fleshly, carnal desires---or what the Bible calls works of the flesh. "The works of the
flesh are [obvious, Paul wrote], which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions,
heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like."
To any honest person, much of this list sounds like a description of New Year's.
The next verse in Galatians declares, "They which do such things shall not inherit the
kingdom of God." Those truly serving God have their minds focused on God's kingdom (read
Matt. 6:33)---not fleshly cravings of this world. They strive to "put off the old man"
and actively imitate the perfect, righteous example of Christ. They are to dedicate themselves
to God and His way of life. They allow God's Word to direct and guide every thought and
action. They understand that they come out of the world---I repeat, including its pagan
customs, practices and traditions. New Year's is no exception.
To learn more about what God says regarding His Holy Days and men's holidays, read our
booklet God's Holy Days or Pagan Holidays? For a more thorough look at Christmas and
Easter, read The True Origin of Christmas and The True Origin of Easter. You will be
shocked at the origin of these celebrations, and the large number of clear scriptures that
explain God's view of these traditions. Soon, Satan will be removed from His throne,
and replaced by Jesus Christ, who will establish God's government---the way of righteousness,
peace, mercy and truth---on Earth. When that day arrives, mankind will no longer be deceived
into practicing customs contrary to God's will.
You have heard the truth about New Year's, its pagan origins, its history, and how God
views its customs, traditions and practices. Now, what will you do this New Year?
Until next time, this is David C. Pack saying, "Goodbye, friends."
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