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The First Christmas

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:56 pm
by Paidion

No, the first Christmas wasn't the birth of Christ. In fact, the birth of Christ wasn't a Christmas (Christ's mass) at all.

The first Christmas took place in the fourth century when the catholic (universal) church held three masses in honour of the three births of Christ:
1. His birth before all ages (Revelation 3:14)
2. His birth from the virgin, Mary (Luke 2:7)
3. His birth in the hearts of the faithful (Galatians 4:18)

Re: The First Christmas

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:56 pm
by steve
I wonder how they got the concept of a "birth before all ages" from Revelation 3:14.

Re: The First Christmas

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:23 am
by darinhouston
I suspect it's due to various translations of arche tes ktiseos tou Theou (ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ) as "beginning of God's Creation."

Re: The First Christmas

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:03 pm
by Homer
Then the question would be was Christ the beginning of creation (i.e. first thing God created) or was Christ the origin (source) of all that has been created?

Colossians 1:15-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
15. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

It seems to me that the passage in Colossians is contradictory if understood as an actual birth, which is understood to require a woman to give birth. It does make sense if understood as the status of preeminence, a reference to position rather than sequence:

Exodus 4:22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
22. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.

Israel was not the first nation.

Re: The First Christmas

Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:00 pm
by darinhouston
That's one of the questions. But I'm not sure those are the only two choices.

Arche does, indeed, refer to preeminence or position sometimes and I do think that's likely in view here more so than pre-existence (or even source, which also implies pre-existence). As in "Chief/leader/purpose/design/template"

Romans 8:38 is a good example.

Re: The First Christmas

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:25 pm
by Paidion
I have counted the meaning of the Greek word "αρχη" in the New Testament as clearly "beginning" 34 times, as "ruler" or "rulers" 9 times, as "corners" twice, and as "domain" once.

The word occurs 3 times in Revelation (NAS95 translation):

Rev 3:14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
Rev 21:6 Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
Rev 22:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

In the second and third instances, it would make no sense to translate the word as "ruler." Since the writer is writing about Jesus in all three instances, the word most likely means "beginning" in all three.

I was expecting all 22 translations in my Online Bible Program to render the word as "beginning" in Revelation 3:14. However only 13 of then did so.
The other 9 translated it in some other way. Only one of them, the NIV, translated it as "ruler."