The Land of Merchants

Nostalgia-Xmas - Vintage Santa Demon ToySACRED FRENZY

If Americans were to be completely honest, Santa, not Jesus, signals the beginning of the Christmas “holy day” cycle. Whether we believe in Santa or not, he is real. Santa is a compelling figure, who commands our attention during the grand festival of consumption. Christmas would simply not be Christmas without its commercial winter wonderlands in department stores and malls where Santa sits enthroned among his helpers and followers. In fact, Santa’s arrival marks the beginning of our devout consumption.

Santa Claus was sold to the American public around 1822. Our modern red-suited icon began in New York City with John Pintard’s efforts to establish St. Nicholas Day. His version never completely took, but two of Pintard’s friends helped him out. Washington Irving weaved a beguiling setting for a benevolent, yet mischievous figure, which was later heralded by Clement Clarke Moore’s poem A Visit from St. Nicholas (better known as A Night Before Christmas). In Leigh Eric Schmidt’s book Consumer Rites, he links the rise of the American Christmas as the primary gift-giving holiday with the creation of Santa Claus as a cultural myth and icon.

Night Before ChirstmasAmerica’s Christmas festival, which has been exported throughout the entire world, is such a pervasive and inescapable part of our culture that it all but consumes our calendar from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. It consumes huge chunks of our wallets too. The Christmas season signals the time to acquire, and we do. Russell Belk, a professor of business at the University of Utah, reports that by the time the Christmas shopping season was over in 2006, an average of $500 for every man, woman and child will have been spent in America.[1]

Christmas is such a significant part of America’s economy that many retailers live or die according to the profits connected to the Yuletide season. Cable business news shows inform us about the progress of the annual Christmas shopping spree on a daily basis. One commentator has noted that America’s Christmas is bigger than the gross national product of Ireland. So deeply enmeshed are America’s economy and her calendar, that our holidays are scarcely recognizable without the trappings of the marketplace. Just look at how Christmas and Easter provide the occasion, timing and inspiration for shopping. Notice how sales are announced around various holidays.

Nostalgia-Xmas - Haddon Sundblom 1931Also, note for now that Babylon is referred to as “the land of merchants” in Ezekiel 16:29.[2]

You also multiplied your harlotry with the land of merchants, Chaldea, yet even with this you were not satisfied.How languishing is your heart,” declares the Lord GOD, “while you do all these things, the actions of a bold-faced harlot. When you built your shrine at the beginning of every street and made your high place in every square, in disdaining money, you were not like a harlot. (Ezekiel 16:29-31 NASB)

Perhaps you can recognize the marketing/making of Christmas in “the land of merchants” title given to Babylon – specifically Chaldea – the place where sorcery, sun god worship and its associated “land of merchants” status originated.[3] We are first told in Ezekiel 16:29-31 that the land of merchants is a place where God’s people multiply their harlotry against the Lord; but they still are not satisfied. It can be recognized by its shrines that are built at the beginning of every street and in the high place in every town square. Is there any other time when America’s streets and town squares are so lavishly decorated? Evergreen boughs, wreaths, lights, ribbons, banners, and trees come to mind. Additionally, this scripture tells us that the harlotry associated with “the land of merchants” status has a general disdain for frugally spending money when it comes to its worship.

Shopping - Pile of PresentsIt takes only a cursory glance to see “the land of merchants” connection to Christmas. In my opinion, Stephen Nissenbaum has written one the best historical accounts about Christmas. He became a Pulitzer Prize finalist in History in 1997 after he wrote The Battle for Christmas. He documents: “Christmas was consciously used by entrepreneurs as an agent of commercialization, an instrument with which to enmesh Americans in the web of consumer capitalism.”[4] It’s obvious to the most casual observer that Americans are materialistic about Christmas. Our preoccupation with material things appears to be the name of the game. We seem to be caught up in a sacred frenzy. As the ancients participated in rituals at temples and shrines, Americans participate in similar rituals at malls and department stores. [5] For many Americans, Christmas is not a Christian holiday, but a secular one.

I see Christians wrestling to balance what we call the true spirit of Christmas with the spending demands, which come with the season. The true spirit of Christmas has always been rooted in the land of the merchants, and its fruits of spending oneself or one’s money has always been intimately involved in its celebration. The observation of a news commentator is more than telling: “Retailers are hoping the holiday spirit overtakes the people and they will spend more than last year.”[6]

Shopping - Coca Cola Refreshing New FeelingMaking money is essential for everyone’s survival. Capitalism is not bad in and of itself. Many important benefits are a result of it, including: allowing people to rise out of poverty, extending human life, and encouraging wonderful innovations. I am not against capitalism. I am against people manipulating and being manipulated with a mask of spirituality, especially if that façade is Christian.

THE SOURCE OF SUN WORSHIP

In keeping with the Lord’s statement: “Come out of Babylon, and lay down Christmas,” we should find that Babylon is where sun worship originated. (Please refer to “My Last Christmashttp://wp.me/p158HG-4E .) Antiquity reveals that December 25th has been reserved to celebrate the sun god’s birthday throughout the world;[7] and as modern-day Americans know, it is also the date we celebrate Christmas. Although the twenty-fifth no longer designates midwinter, due to the Roman shift to our Western calendar, it still retains its “glory” as the birth date of the sun gods. (Please see “Where Christmas Comes From – Part 1” http://wp.me/p158HG-1t and “Where Christmas Comes From – Part 2”  http://wp.me/p158HG-2m .)

Chaldea - Hanging Gradens of BabylonLet’s concentrate on the earliest seat of sun worship, which was in the ancient city of Chaldea.[8] Nimrod founded the four oldest cities of the world: Babel (Babylonia), Erech (Uruk), Accad (Akkad), and Calneh (Nippur). Corporately, they all made up the land of Shinar (Gen 10:10), which is a code name for ancient Babylonia.[9] The ancient city in the southern region of Babylonia, which came to be considered Babylon, was called Chaldea. That’s why, for clarity sake, one can substitute “Chaldea” for “Babylonia” when we read scripture; but when the Bible designates “Chaldea,” it is more precisely pointing out the place where sun god worship and its associated land of merchants’ status originated.

Chaldea arose from Sumeria and Biblical Accad. [10] It was the place where sun worship was first prevalent. Couple this with the fact that Nimrod’s deific name, Marduk,[11] was known as the Assyrian/Babylonian sun god,[12] and we can extrapolate that sun worship began in Babylon. I know that when the Lord says, “Come out of Babylon, and lay down Christmas,” God is revealing that Babylon is at the root of our Christmas worship.

Chaldea  illus_64. Winged Spirits Before the Sacred Tree by gutenbergTherefore, the first people-approved earthly king, Nimrod, initiated exchanging the glory of the immortal God for an image made to look like mortal man. In this case, the mortal man was Nimrod. The image he made was an image of self displayed as Marduk. What a picture of the Kingdom of Self being perpetuated by a prideful man.

BY BABYLON’S SORCERY

Chaldea was not only the seat of earliest sun worship, but it was also the primordial center of sorcery: “for all the nations were deceived by your sorcery” (Rev 18:23NASB). The definition for “sorcery” that I will be referring to is stated in The Prophet’s Dictionary: “The practice of manipulating creation, humans, or events to provoke manifestations of what is desired by the occultist.”[13]

Chaldean Astrology TalisThe title “Chaldeans” was used for Babylonian experts in divination and magic; and its label goes way back to early Babylonia, if not further. They were the highest priestly caste of the ancient pagan world. Their superior occultic powers and mysterious knowledge were famous throughout the ancient world. Chaldeans were renowned for sophisticated systems of divination; they used various manipulative means of accessing supernatural knowledge, like: omens, augury, dream interpretation, spell binding and casting, horoscopy, and sorcery. “Magic was their main divinatory tool. The Chaldean mindset was set toward nature worship. How it operated and its times and seasons of operation were essential to the success of their magic formulae.”[14]

“Magic includes sorcery, witchcraft, incantations, enchantments, wizardry, spells and spell casting, and demonism of all kinds.”[15] During the 2007 Christmas season, the ABC Family TV channel kicked off its 25 days of Christmas with three Harry Potter movies. The first one was entitled: Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone. It was advertised as the magic of Christmas.[16] Practitioners of magic claim that there are two types: white magic and black magic. White magic is supposed to be harmless, while black magic is harmful. Harmless white magic seems to coincide with little white lies, like: Old St. Nick putting his finger to the side of his nose and up the chimney he goes, or Santa knowing who is naughty or nice, or his eight flying reindeer. On the surface white magic appears innocent (even though they are lies) until one realizes that the operation and object of the two are essentially the same. The only difference is the varying degrees of manipulation for both aims at using the supernatural for purely selfish reasons. Their object is to use people. Their operation takes what is not given to conjure up what is not earned. They seek to influence a person through oppressive or coercive actions,[17] and for this reason alone, magic can be classified as harmful to those controlled.

Book - The Battle for ChristmasThe Battle for Christmas makes a profound case for how Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, and gift-giving traditions were brought into America’s culture to control people’s beliefs, and therefore, their behavior. Control and manipulation was used to intimidate the raucous elements of American society.

Prior to the introduction of Santa Claus or the Christmas trees as pervasive fundamental practices, Christmas was a rowdy carnival celebration. It was reminiscent of our modern-day Halloween in many ways. Hallmarks of the carnival Christmas included: lawlessness (i.e. inversion of the social order); aggressive, sometimes threatening, begging; clamorous noise; and much alcohol with its accompanying vices. It should come as no surprise that when one digs deep enough into the founts of Christmas, the Mardi Gras (i.e. carnival) spirit is at its root. The carnival Christmas was the norm in America and Western Europe prior to the 1820s; and it was ruled by the Lord of Misrule.[18]

Lord of Misrule 2Even though our modern-day Christmas celebration became domesticated during the 1820-1840s, the spirit of lawlessness remains part of Christmas for it is the Lord of Misrule’s holy day as many of its fruits attest. Christmas has always been a holiday of excess. Evidence is produced by merely looking at our own households; and the selfish, greedy, and spoilt dispositions Christmas encourages within our own children and grandchildren.

Christmas merely morphed into a supposedly better and acceptable form. Instead of an outward societal endorsement of carnival, Christmas turned inward toward the home and children. Materialism, consumerism, and domestication appeared as its new fruit, which seemed to look all good and well on the surface; but in reality, Christmas became domesticated because the wealthy men of New York City (i.e. Patricians) wanted to stop the poor from hassling them during the winter holiday season so they instituted Santa Claus.[19] In actuality, we can see more clearly the most ancient Shamanistic (i.e. witchcraft) roots of the Lord of Misrule through his newly cast image of Santa. More on this subject will be revealed later. Just mentally check for now that since the fourth century, when the grossly sensual roots of Christmas periodically got out of hand, efforts were made by the religious and some non-religious to sanitize it.

Victorian - Father ChristmasBasically, these Patricians subtly manipulated the poorer masses with a charming emotional cocktail of Old Saint Nick, his eight tiny reindeer, and stockings hung by the chimney with care. These wealthy men wanted to keep the masses from intimidating them once a year, so they turned the tables by shifting popular culture to make their rowdy carnival tradition outmoded. The raucous masses were unsettled when the wealthy forged Christmas into a renewed façade of tranquility. Children replaced the poor as Christmas’ primary focus.

According to the social historian Nissenbaum, the Christmas tree tradition is a direct out-growth from parents being concerned over putting children at the center of Christmas. We are told that the Christmas tree tradition came to America through several possible sources. Ultimately, the Christmas tree was brought to the domesticated Christmas to manipulate the behavior of children at Christmastime. (Please see “Where Christmas Tree Comes From” http://wp.me/p158HG-5i and “How did the American Christmas Tree Become So Popular?” http://wp.me/p158HG-6i .) As a side note, Santa Claus was, and still is, used to manipulate children’s behavior too. Remember, he knows if you are naughty or nice. With the introduction of the Christmas tree in America, the focus of Christmas was supposed to shift from the children to the tree.

Shopping - Christmas Gift Book 1909Unbeknownst to most Christians, the evergreen element returns us full circle to Christmas’ original root. Today, the ancient idol that’s a tree is the most common Christmas symbol in America. With much satisfaction, we erect the beautifully adorned images in our homes, businesses, schools, churches, and town squares. In antiquity, a fir, palm, or evergreen tree were used in conjunction with celebrating various pagan sun gods birthdays, which I just mentioned fell on the ancient winter solstice – December 25.

Just as Santa can not hide Christmas’ commercial root, so our beautiful Christmas trees cannot hide its idolatrous root. Note that the commercial segment of Christmas is connected to political Babylon while the idolatrous part is linked to religious Babylon.

Shopping - Vintage Window ShoppingOur seemingly joyful and harmless celebration of Christ’s birth is more than what we have assumed it to be. Christ’s birth is Biblical; and therefore, to be honored. But as you will discover – historically and Biblically – Christ is definitely not the reason for the Christmas season. Recently, Christians have heard many cases against Christmas, and have brushed these “attacks” off as mere secular hogwash. Truly, the quickest way to find out if the Church is off in any area is to ask anyone outside of it. The reality is… the integrity of our Christian message has been compromised. Every other group seems to be able to see our hypocrisy before we do. Blindness has a way of keeping people from seeing. Thank God that the veil is taken away whenever anyone turns to the Lord (2 Cor 3:16). Christians are no bigger hypocrites than any one else; but don’t you think that we should cleanse our hands and our hearts from anything that grieves the Lord’s heart. My book SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up is a clarion call for Christians to put on our thinking caps, and re-examine the Christian significance of Christmas. A sincere examination will require intellectual honesty.

Revelation 18 tells us that Babylon will be thrown down with violence, and it will no longer be found. Translation: Its roots of sun worship, sorcery, and manipulative merchandising will come to a painful end sooner or later. “And the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery” (Rev 18:23NASB). Our heavenly Bridegroom will bring His Bride out of Babylon only by her consent.

Bride - Orange—————–

Copyright Dec. 20, 2012 – Author: Robin Main.

Twitter: @SANTATIZING, Facebook: http://facebook.com/santatizing, Website: www.santa-tizing.com, Email: santatizing@gmail.com

BookCoverFrontThe information in this article and more details can be found in Chapter 2 “The Land of the Merchants” & Chapter 3 “Babylon and Beyond” in 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).


[1] Christmas gone wild Take cheer: Holiday has been out of control for centuries by Matt Crenson, The Coloradoan, December 24, 2006, p.C1-C2

[2] Here the KJV actually translates the Hebrew more accurately with Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith” (Ezekiel 16:29 KJV). The Amplified Bible states: “Moreover, you multiplied your harlotry with the land of trade, with Chaldea, and yet even with this you were not satisfied” (Ezekiel 16:29 AMPL). The Complete Jewish Bible says: “You multiplied your acts of fornication with the land of traders, the Kasdim, and still weren’t satisfied.” The New American Standard Bible declares: “You also multiplied your harlotry with the land of the merchants, Chaldea, yet even with this you were not satisfied,” The NIV translates the Hebrew phrase for  … as ‘a land of merchants’. Although there is no direct Hebrew word for ‘merchants’ in this phrase there is justification for the NIV translation. The Hebrew word … or ‘Canaan’ is used in this phrase. The land of Canaan was inhabited in ancient times by the Phoenicians who traded along the Mediterranean Sea holding centers of trade in Canaan and Carthage in North Africa. Translating the phrase to describe Babylon as a land of ‘merchants-traders of goods’ would not do injustice to the text and may fit the context. Also see Revelation 17 & 18 where the fall of Babylon is equivalent to the ‘fall of merchants’.

[3] Sorcery, sun god worship, and trade (i.e. merchandising) are common themes that are associated with a specific Babylonian name – Chaldea – when one studies ‘Babylon’ through historical accounts or the Bible.

[4] The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum, Chapter 4, p. 144

[5] The Sacred Santa, Religious Dimensions of Consumer Culture by Dell deChant, Forward, p. xiv

[6] FOX News, Shepherd Smith on November 19, 2007

[7] The Pagan-Christian Connection EXPOSED, Truth vs Tradition – The Heavyweight Battle of the Ages by Michael J. Rood, p. 61-62

[8] The Prophet’s Dictionary by Paula A. Price, Ph.D., Chaldea, p. 118

[9] Ibid, Nimrod, p. 358: 937. Nimrod – The son of Cush and founder of the four oldest cities of the world. They were Babel (Babylonia), Erech (Uruk), Accad (Akkad), and Calneh (Nippur). These were all in the Bible described in Genesis 10:10 as the land of Shinar, a code name for ancient Babylonia. In addition to being Ham’s grandson, Nimrod was also the great-grandson of Noah, which reveals that this antediluvian patriarch was also a Babylonian (more of this definition will be shared later in this chapter).

[10] Ibid, Chaldea, p. 118

[11] Ibid, Nimrod, p. 359: 937. Nimrod – (definition continued) Nimrod and his offspring progenies were insolent, violent, and proudly independent of the Maker. He took his skills, gifts, and talents much like his surrogate father, the devil, and used them to turn on the Most High Lord and make himself a god instead. The name Merodach (Marduk) is synonymous with Nimrod and so designates the wild ruthless hunter as a deity himself. The words for his history, as simply stated as the Bible presents them, refer to one who used violence to profane, pollute, and desecrate the holy and sacred. Nimrod did this by instituting Marduk and Ishtar worship, among many other deities of the Babylonian pantheon. He injected full-scale ritual sexuality and idolatry into the mainstream of human culture (more of this definition will be shared later in this chapter).

[12] Ibid, Marduk, p. 328: 826. MardukA) Name of an ancient Akkadian and Babylonian deity credited with creation by both peoples B) Also, Assyrian and Babylonian sun god. With Ishtar, Marduk was symbolized by leonine images. The association sprung from the belief that the two deities were feared as guardians among the gods. C) Also, called Merodach, a deific name for Nimrod of ancient Babylon. p. 332: 846. Merodach – Marduk, the name of the Akkadian god after whom Nimrod patterned himself in the religions he pandered among the ancient Babylonians.

[13] The Prophet’s Dictionary by Paula A. Price, Ph.D., Sorcery, p. 522

[14] Ibid, Chaldean, p. 118-119

[15] Ibid, Magic, p. 319

[17] The Prophet’s Dictionary by Paula A. Price, Ph.D., Manipulation, p. 325-326

[18] Please refer to the SANTA-TIZING Glossary.

[19] The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America’s Most Cherished Holiday by Stephen  Nissenbaum, Chapter 4, p. 134

About Robin Main

Robin's premier quest is to love people and love God with all her heart, soul & strength, because without love we all are nothing. After making a vow to Jesus's face during a personal epiphaneous appearance, she wrote a book -- SANTA-TIZING: What's wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up" to share the mysteries she discovered while searching for where Christmas comes from. There are revelations in SANTATIZING that you will not find anywhere else. So throw away the template for Christmas books and come walk on the kingdom side in an examination of America's most loved holiday. Critical thinking is a must while looking through this lens of history and Scripture. You'll be intrigued and enlightened. What's wrong with Christmas? Plenty. This book shines light on various troubling issues in celebrating a Christian Christmas. How to clean it up? This will be determined by you and your family. Since we have an abundance of traditions, memories, and reasons to stay just the way we are (and possibly miss out on becoming part of His Pure & Spotless Bride), SANTA-TIZING primarily explores the valley of the shadows. Please know that in God's Kingdom no person is forced to do anything against their will. Give em heaven!!!
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