Note: The author realizes that many sincere Bible-believing Christians due to family pressures, or due to being unaware of the truth behind Christmas, observe at least some of the customs of the holiday, such as gift giving, and do so with the intent of keeping Jesus in mind. This is not intended as a critique against Christians who have not abandoned every aspect of Christmas. This is a critique of those who mistranslate the Bible, or use mistranslated Bibles, for the purpose of promoting paganism as expressed in the rituals of Christmas.
Jeremiah 10:2-5: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
There was a time when the pagan holiday known as Christmas had actual Christian overtones. This is no longer the case. The modern holiday no longer had anything at all to do with Jesus. Today it is a time for racking up large credit card debts, lying to children about Santa Clause, teaching them commercialism and materialism, singing songs about glow-in-the-dark reindeers, and for gouging at one’s neighbor while fighting the Christmas crowds and traffic. One can go through a drug store card rack and not find a single Christmas card that even mentions our Lord, and manger scenes are being outlawed. Christmas originated as a way to celebrate a pagan holiday by disguising it as a Christian one. Now Satan Clause, flying reindeer, mistletoe, and Christmas trees are all methods to remove Christ entirely from the holiday and return it to its pure pagan roots.
This verse from Jeremiah is one of the most prophetic verses in the Bible in regard to modern times. It is a clear and glaring warning against this pagan holiday and the wicked time of commercialism and materialism that it has become. The Christmas tree is a blatant affront to God, but many, if not most, professed Christians put one up. Most that do not, do not because it is inconvenient, not because they are convicted by the Bible. The modern perversions hide this warning by perverting this passage by disguising the adorned tree as an ordinary idol. I have seen many Christmas trees through the windows of churches all across America, even Baptist churches. This is as strong a statement that they could make about what kind of church they are, and should be a warning to all with any spiritual discernment at all.
The International Children’s Bible does not want poor little Christian children of being involved with the fun of celebrating the pagan holiday like their non-Christian classmates, so they presented it this way:
“The customs of other people are worth nothing. Their idols are nothing but wood from the forest. They are made by a worker with his chisel…”
In order to force this obscuration of the verse they deceive their readers by translating “matsad”, meaning axe, as chisel. A wooden idol may be chiseled, but not cut down with an axe as a tree is. What conniving snakes!
NIV: …they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
This pornographers who own the NIV obscure the verse even worse. Here the tree is cut down and then it is carved as an idol. This requires an axe and a chisel both when there is only one tool in the verse. It is bad enough to lie about the chisel, but to interject both adds a level of incompetence that is mind boggling.
The ever silly Living Bible perverts the verse even more.
“They cut down a tree and carve an idol…”
The Amplified Bible finds a different way to use deceit to obscure the significance of the verse:
“… it is but a tree which one cuts out of the forest [to make for himself a god], the work of the craftsman with the ax or other tool”
Or other tool? Make a god? Where is any of that in the Hebrew?
The NLT has the following display of foolishness:
“… They cut down a tree and carved an idol.”
The word that is translated as tree is “ets”, which does also mean wood, so scholars falsely so called can linguistically argue the translation of wood, but the Bible is spiritually discerned, which leaves such scholars in the dark. The decision to translate it as wood, while inserting references to idols, was made, undoubtedly, by the apostate translators of the new versions in order to disguise and justify this pagan practice that has become so popular. It should be noted that Christmas trees were not sold commercially in the U.S.A. until 1851 and became popularized gradually. Before that its history in Europe began with the Druids and Vikings and eventually spread to Germany. It is the Germans that brought it to America, not the British. Christmas trees eventually did become popular in England, but not during the Era of the King James Bible. The first Christmas tree at Windsor Castle was not until the time of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria in 1841. My point is that the KJV translators did not translate ets as tree that was adorned in this passage in order to make a statement against the practice of erecting Christmas trees, because they had no reason to at that time. They translated it that way because they were divinely guided and God ensured that future generations be warned about Christmas. Of course, they also translated it that way because they were competent translators who knew what the Hebrew says. It should be added that legend attributes the German practice of erecting Christmas trees to Martin Luther. It should be noted that Luther’s Bible translates the Jeremiah verse virtually word for word like the KJV, so this legend is highly unlikely. Luther would have not missed the significance of the Jeremiah verse.
I will never forget listening to a preacher on the radio defend both Christmas trees and Santa Clause fables. This same preacher, Pete Peters, a member of the New Age cult called “Christian” Identity, had just a few weeks later preached against the KJV while promoting the NIV, NASV, and others (unfortunately, I never recognize his voice and sometimes listen to him for several minutes until he says something really blasphemous). The connection is a common one. The perverted modern churches will still use these counterfeit verses to excuse their anti-Christian paganism, but the use of these Bibles still make for a poor excuse. Even if Jeremiah 10 were completely missing from our Bible it would still be very obvious that these trees are a way to distract people from the Christian elements that have formed around Christmas, in spite of it being a pagan-originated holiday. In other words, such church-goers are without excuse. Also note that the ASV, RSV, and a few other modern versions actually translated it more or less correctly. Those Bible hoppers like Peters who shop around in various versions looking for one that suits their own hearts instead of God’s will are still going to be warned against erecting Christmas trees. They will have to hop on over to the NIV or another perversion in order to disregard the warning. If you see a Christmas tree displayed in a church, chances are that church also promotes false Bibles, immodest dress, rock and roll, entertaining over preaching, and other sins of the modern church. Bible believing Christians who stray into such places should be grateful to be given the warning.
1 Dahood, Proverbs, p. 18.
John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent
Bibles in all the languages of the world.