It’s the spirit of the Antichrist, which intends first to change God’s appointed times and then His laws. “He will speak against the Most High and oppress the saints and try to change the set times and the laws” (Daniel 7:25).
Before we travel through time to the actual events that led up to and encompassed the first Feast of Lights (i.e., Chanukah), let’s set the stage. Pay attention, because the atmosphere of our world today is very much like it was back then. The climate was charged with one in authority who denied and opposed all that was sacred. In fact, our chief antagonist –Antiochus Epiphanes IV – was about as wicked as they come. To this day, he’s still known as having been a world-dominating Antichrist.
As we flow through this brief history of Chanukah, please keep a close eye out for not only the Antichrist with the big “A,” but also the one with the little “a.” When I speak of the little “a” antichrist, I’m talking about what we learned about yesterday that the mystery of iniquity is equivalent to the Kingdom of Self. The beast that we like to point to and say is over there and over there and over there has to be first ferreted out within you and me, because the essence of any antichrist spirit (i.e., the beast) is a selfish person who has given his/her affections and will over to the things of this world. The image people worship when they take the mark of the beast:
“But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane… [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-2, 4b AMP)
Antiochus Epiphanes IV is rightly portrayed as an Antichrist, because he polluted God’s altar by offering up the most profane sacrifice possible – a swine – fully knowing what he was doing was against the Law of Moses. An interesting aside is that many ancient cultures offered a pig as a sacrifice once a year at a feast. Those pagan festivals, throughout the world, mainly harmonize with the Winter Solstice and today’s Christmas celebration. Turkeys are traditional for a Thanksgiving feast. What is traditional for Christmas? Ham. In the 1800s, boar’s head was still a standing dish in England at the Christmas dinner, when the reason of it was long since forgotten.
After Antiochus sacrificed a pig on God’s altar, he forced God’s people to bow before a false Greek god (Zeus) under the penalty of death. Many innocent people were massacred. The survivors were heavily taxed. This type of persecution was literally unknown up to its time, because the attitude of polytheism was relativistic. Your truth is your truth. My truth is mine. The pluralism of the polytheistic world told them that one’s person’s religion was as good as another’s. History tells us that the Greek and Roman mythology, which was their religions, blended together, with Zeus becoming Jupiter, Artemis becoming Diana, etc. No one in the ancient world died for their religion. No one, except the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Before the church changed the explanation of time and before the marginalization of the Essential Commandments for all believers (Acts 15 Apostolic Decree), there was another ruler who endeavored to change biblical time-keeping. Antiochus IV issued an unheard-of decree. He outlawed another people’s religion – both the teaching and practicing of Judaism. The Book of Maccabees in the Apocrypha tells us “Not long after this, the king sent an Athenian senator to compel the Jews to forsake the laws of their fathers and cease too live by the laws of God” (2 Maccabees 6:1). The Greeks’ brutal persecution of a people just trying to live a life pleasing to the Most High God triggered the first religious and ideological war in history – The Maccabean Revolt. The book of Maccabees calls this period a “reign of terror.” We would do well to remember that Antiochus, who took the name Epiphanes – God manifest – took four deliberate steps between 169 and 167 BC to Hellenize the people of the book:
- Antiochus first dealt with the seat of Jewish power – the High Priest. He removed the sitting High Priest, whose name meant righteous peace; and replaced him with a Jew who would do man’s (i.e. Antiochus’) bidding. By the way, from this point on the high priesthood in Israel largely became a corrupt institution.
- Secondly, Antiochus tried to dissolve the Biblical calendar for he felt these people were time obsessed. They tried to keep their time holy. If Antiochus destroyed the Jews sense of time, he felt that he destroyed their ability to practice their religion. Therefore, Antiochus forbid the observance of Shabbat, New Moon, and Festivals (Passover, Shavuot, Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, etc.), which set their weeks, months, and years according to God’s timetable.
- Antiochus forbade studying God’s Word (Torah) and keeping kosher (respecting the sanctity of life). Torah scrolls were publicly burnt, and pigs were sacrificed over God’s Word to defile them. Antiochus even forced the High Priest to institute swine sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem, as well as permitting worship of various Greek gods (1 Maccabees 1:41-64).
- Lastly, Antiochus forbade circumcision. To Jews, this was their physical sign of their covenant of faith with God (i.e. Abrahamic Covenant). Circumcision was the most abhorrent to Greeks, who worshiped the perfection of the human body. Greeks saw circumcision as mutilation.
For the purposes of this article, let us focus on this Antichrist’s second deliberate step to corrupt God’s people, which involved dissolving God’s calendar and His people’s sense of time. It is very important to note that a pronounced antichrist figure felt if he could destroy God’s people’s sense of time, he would destroy their ability to practice their holy faith.
Notice also that this was after Antiochus first removed God’s chosen High Priest by replacing him with his own. Prophetically, this is a picture of us setting ourselves up, as god manifest, in our temples (i.e. our bodies) dethroning our Great High Priest, Jesus, from the seat of our hearts. When Antiochus set out to change God’s people sense of time, he prohibited the observance of three things: Sabbath, New Moon, and Festivals. We shall observe that this was the same mistake the Church carried out in subsequent centuries. “He will defy the Most High and wear down the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:25NLT). I believe that this is where the earthly, selfish door opened to enable the eventual institutionalization of the Roman pagan festivals (i.e. holidays) in the Church. Thus, instead of time being sanctified as God designed in His Word, it became triggers for idolatrous behavior.
There is supporting evidence that lends credence to the claim that the Greeks have led the charge to change Biblical time. It is seen with Julius Caesar’s establishment of the Julian year, and additionally, at Constantine’s Council of Nicaea. The Church in Constantine’s day, and after, had a problem with the date of Easter due to their changing God’s set times and ways. In Constantine’s effort to unify a divided empire, he forced the bishops at Nicaea to resolve the Asian Church difference in Easter from the Roman-African Church, by declaring the Quartodeciman practice of the Asian Church heretical. Quartodeciman meant the “fourteenth day.” The Asian Church did as Jesus and His first century believers did as defined in the Bible. They celebrated God’s holy feast called Passover on the 14th day of Nisan followed by the Feast of First Fruits on 17th day of Nisan, which was encompassed by the Festival of Unleavened Bread celebrated on the 15th-21st days of Nisan as prescribed by the Lord Himself and fulfilled in Christ.
Constantine’s practice of setting up a difference-obliterating universalism that swallowed up all religious distinctiveness in a triumphant Christianity sided with the Roman-African practice of choosing the closest Sunday to the first full-moon after the spring equinox as the day all Christian communities should celebrate Easter. Thus, Constantine and his compromising cohorts led the movement that no longer looked to scripture as the last word. This was later affirmed by Pope Paul III, when his Council stipulated that scripture be understood in light of tradition. When Constantine’s Nicene Council declared the Quartodeciman practice heretical, they came against what God prescribed as perpetual in His eternal Word. The exact date that God established His Passover Feast was tweaked by the Church. Now, to come up with the universal time for Easter, Constantine turned to the wise men of Alexandria, Egypt to compute Easter and inform the rest of the world of its given time.Alexandria was the center of mathematical learning in the Hellenistic world, which was the same cultural influence being propagated by Antiochus Epiphanes IV.
Heilbron’s excellent, albeit very technical, book entitled The Sun in the Church informs us: “The Romans began with a calendar that tried to respect both sun and moon, But the arithmetic and the politics of intercalation became so entangled that Julius Caesar had to make the year now called 44 B.C. 445 days long to restore the spring equinox to its traditional [Roman] calendar date of 25 March. He decided to keep it there by detaching the lengths of the months from the motions of the moon.” Remember, that a spirit of Antichrist, manifested through people, will aim to first alter God’s times, and then, His law. Gentiles (i.e. the nations) may not like it, but the key to God’s time(s) was given to the Hebrews, and even then, they had to take their cues solely from Him. The Lord instructed His people to begin a month by sighting the new moon at dusk, which could not be predicted far in advance. The rulers of the Jewish people – the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem – appointed an official sighting committee to determine the onset of the month via the astronomical moon. So, the Hebrews followed God’s instructions, by employing the moon, to specify the times of civil and religious transactions. God’s people had to rely on Him by looking up at His dusky sky to see the sign of His time. The Romans, after Caesar, picked the sun to specify civil and religious time. The Christians mixed the two, by compromising between Jewish and Gentile practices of using the moon and the sun to specify a calendar year.
Notably, there is an eleven-day difference between the solar and lunar year. The number eleven in scripture is said to represent disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration. The “eleventh hour” in Scripture (Matthew 20:6, 9) is proverbial as being contrary, both, to what is right in order and what is right in arrangement. I believe this speaks about orderly time can only be done God’s way. When God made everything on earth according to measure and number, He purposely chose difficult ones for astronomy. “He assigned 29.53059 days for the moon to fulfill its phases, and 365.2422 days for the sun to run from one vernal equinox to the next.” Perhaps. Just perhaps. God want us dependent upon Him to get our time and timing, not on man-made formulas. Time is in perpetual motion. However the days are distributed among the months, they will never sum to a year. Can you say, “We are dependent on God to show us His time?”
To keep the vernal equinox on, or as close to 25 March as possible, Caesar also brought an Alexandian astronomer named Sosigenes to Rome. Recall that Alexandria was the center of mathematical learning in the Hellenistic world. Sosigenes brilliantly came up with the formula for the Julian year, which gave a year 326.25 days. Sosigenes set a year at 365 days, with every fourth year containing 366 days, so the vernal equinox would stay put in the calendar. This Julius Caesar practice of setting a year was so good that we still use the Julian year model in America today. But, was it good enough? Sosigenes made the year too long by about eleven minutes. Eleven minutes? Yes, eleven minutes. A Roman year, set according to the dictates of Julius Caesar, is eleven minutes too long. And a solar year is eleven days too long.
The Roman Catholic Church gave the greatest amount of money to the study of astronomy for six centuries during the late Middle Ages into Enlightment, not because of its love for science; but because the date of Easter throughout the ages was very screwed up. Let go into greater depth by diving into how man’s establishment of Christ’s resurrection, on the basis of the pagan holiday of Easter, resulted in disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration.
The Church insisted on celebrating Easter on a Sunday close to the first full moon of spring. By the way, “there is a hint of the anti-Jewish spirit of the Nicene fathers in their ban of the celebration of Easter in the same week as Passover.” By the twelfth century, the date of Easter was no longer in harmony with the heavens, which destroyed the image of the miracle of the solar eclipse at the crucifixion.
As time rolled on, the errors in the reckoning of Easter compounded. In 1276, man’s computations for setting Easter displayed its incompetence to the entire world by erring by a whole month. The calculated Easter differed from the set date by eight days in 1345, a month in 1356, five weeks in 1424, and one week off in 1433 and 1437. “The professional astronomers then took the matter in hand, calculating not from average, but from real moons.” The Church tried to square its year with the astronomy of the sun, and its Easter to the moon in 1511; but to no avail. Martin Luther recommended that the problem be dissolved by nailing Easter in the calendar like Christmas. When the Catholic-Protestant split happened to the Church, they each followed different calendars. During the seventeenth century, correspondence between Europeans usually bore two dates, for example, “10/20 January.” The Catholic Easter had coincided with the Anglican Easter less than half the time (36 years out of 80) despite placing both of their vernal equinox on the same day of 21 March. In the seventeenth century, the Catholic Easter preceded the Anglican one by one week 26 times, by four weeks 5 times, and by five weeks 13 times. This sounds like an acute case of disorder to me. All mathematicians knew that the discrepancies would only grow worse in the eighteenth century. The civil calendars would diverge by eleven; count them, eleven days rather than ten owing to the Gregorian suppression of the Julian leap day of 1700. The religious calendars of the Church were moving further and further out of step, which is a progressive phenomenon that happens when man makes calculation errors. In hindsight, we could say that when the Church chose to run itself according to an earthly kingdom rather than God’s kingdom, it made a calculated error. “Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them” (Ecclesiastes 9:12NASB).
Christ’s Church has been set adrift upon the sea of Greco-Roman forgetfulness where, in general, we have lost much of our sense of time according to God’s Biblical calendar – according to His time. Easter and Christmastime triggers ancient idolatrous practices in and out of the Church. The ancient festival from which the world derives today’s Christmas Season is the Roman Saturnalia. Saturnalia itself developed from the older rituals of midwinter (i.e. the winter solstice) and goes all the way back to Babylon in the ancient land of Mesopotamia, where the midwinter king’s (initially Tammuz) birthday was celebrated on December 25. As the name “Saturnalia” suggests, the celebration was in honor of Saturn. It is no mere happenstance that Saturn is defined as the Roman god of time as well as agriculture. “He …shall intend to change times and law…” (Daniel 7:25NKJV Emphasis mine). Please refer to “Where Christmas Comes From – Part 1” http://wp.me/p158HG-1t and “Where Christmas Comes From – Part 2” wp.me/p158HG-2m ).
This is not the most ancient path of the Ancient of Days; but the path of antiquity, which glorifies man and feeds his flesh. Materialism, sensual gratification, and carnal pleasure readily apparent at Christmastime cannot, and does not, satisfy one’s soul for these vices are earthly and sensual. It leaves people lusting for more as the manic shopping of December 26th attests. The Kingdom of God is in direct opposition to the Kingdom of Self.
Copyright Dec. 10, 2012 – Author: Robin Main.
* More references for this Antichrist Marks on Time article (and more information) can be found in Chapter 4 – Age-Old Foundation of my book SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up (available on amazon http://www.amazon.com/SANTA-TIZING-Whats-wrong-Christmas-clean/dp/1607911159/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353692179&sr=1-1&keywords=SANTA_TIZING).
 The Sun in the Church by J.L. Heilbron, Chapter 1, p.28
 In Hebrew, the Passover Feast is called Pesach and was initiated in Exodus 12:6-7 – Leviticus 23:5; 1 Corinthians 5:7.
 In Hebrew, the Feast of First Fruit is called Bikkurim – Leviticus 23:9-14; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, which is the actual date Jesus rose from
the dead being the first fruit of many brethren.
 In Hebrew, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is called Hag Ha Mazhah – Leviticus 23:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:7-8.
 Leviticus 23:1
 The Sun in the Church by J.L. Heilbron, Introduction, p.13
 The Sun in the Church by J.L. Heilbron, Chapter 1, p.28
 Ibid, p.26
 Ibid, p.26
 Number in Scripture, Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance by E.W. Bullinger, Part II, p. 251
 The Sun in the Church by J.L. Heilbron, Chapter 1, p.24
 Ibid, p. 26
 In Chapter II, Section I of The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop quotes Zonaras, who finds concurrent testimony from ancient authors that arithmetic, magic, and astronomy came from the Chaldees to the Egyptians, and thence, to the Greeks. Although I greatly appreciate the value of mathematics and astronomy, we need to be aware that their origins on earth did not begin with the Lord initiating their practices.
 The Sun in the Church by J.L. Heilbron, Introduction, p.3
 Ibid, Chapter 1, p.36
 Constantine’s Sword, The Church and The Jews by James Carroll, Part Three, Chapter 19, p. 191
 The Sun in the Church by J.L. Heilbron, p.37
 Ibid, p. 38
 Ibid, p. 38-39
 Ibid, p. 39
 Ibid, Chapter 5, p.144
 Ibid, p.145
 The Winter Solstice, The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews, The Solstice Dream, p.23
 Refer to Genesis 4:1-7. Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground for which the Lord had no regard.