Skip to comments.Are the Biblical Holy Days Christian?
Posted on 04/19/2013 9:44:14 PM PDT by DouglasKC
Why do most people keep holidays that are different from the festivals listed and described in the pages of the Bible?
Why do most people keep holidays that are different from the festivals listed and described in the pages of the Bible? When were the biblical feasts abandoned, and why? How can we be sure which sacred days Christians should observe?
Here are the answers!
Jesus Himself set an example for us (1 John 2:6) in observing the sacred festivals commanded in the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 26:17; Mark 1:21; Luke 4:16, 31; John 7:8-10, 14, 37). His apostles and their converts, walking in His footsteps and following His example, continued observing the same festivals (Acts 2:1; 12:2-4; 16:13; 18:4, 19, 21; 20:6; 27:9; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The Encyclopaedia Britannica (13th edition), under Festivals," states that it is "abundantly clear that Christ and His disciples observed the appointed Jewish feasts."
Faithful Christians continued, for several centuries after Christ's death, to follow His and the apostles' examples in keeping the festivals. But this all changed when a politicized and paganized form of Christianity developed within the Roman Empire.
Historian Stewart Easton explains how and when the change occurredwith the help of the Roman emperors. "Constantine [A.D. 306-337], though not baptized a Christian until he was on his deathbed, took an active interest in the [Christian] religion, presiding over the important Council of Nicea ... During the fourth century, under imperial protection ..., the Christian religion ... made rapid progress, even in the rural areas where the old gods had never altogether lost their appeal. When at the end of the century (A.D. 392) [Emperor] Theodosius I decreed that henceforth Christianity was to be the only religion in the [Roman] empire, the countryside perforce had to submit and adopt at least the forms of Christianity. But it would probably have been difficult for any observer to detect much difference ... It is clear that these folk knew little enough of the teachings or theology of Christianity, and the festivals and ceremonies of paganism for the most part were incorporated directly into the new official religion ( The Heritage of the Past: From the Earliest Times to 1500 , 1964, p. 402, emphasis added).
Charles Guignebert, who was a professor of the history of Christianity at the University of Paris, describes the continuation of the process: "Now at the beginning of the fifth century, the ignorant and the semi-Christians thronged into the Church in numbers ... They had forgotten none of their pagan customs ... The bishops of that period had to content themselves with redressing, as best they could, and in experimental fashion, the shocking malformations of the Christian faith which they perceived around them ... They had to be content with ... postponing until a later date the task of eradicating their superstitions, which they preserved intact ... This 'later date' never arrived, and the Church adapted to herself, as well as she could, them and their customs and beliefs. On their side, they were content to dress up their paganism in a Christian cloak" ( The Early History of Christianity , 1927, pp. 208-210, emphasis added). During this timein the early centuries after the passing of the original apostlesobservance of biblical practices, including the seventh-day Sabbath and God's festivals, practically disappeared from the new and growing religion. They were replaced with other practices and a new set of religious holidays.
Prophecy, however, reveals that God will require the whole world to observe these same biblical festivals in the future. For example, Zechariah prophesies that God will require people to attend the Feast of Tabernacles after Christ returns (Zechariah 14:16). Isaiah prophesies that people of all lands will regularly keep the weekly Sabbath during Christ's millennial reign (Isaiah 66:23 ). Isaiah and Micah prophesy of that time: "Many nations shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:2; compare Isaiah 2:3).
Some faithful Christians to this day observe the sacred festivals, the same festivals of God that Christ kept. God instituted these annual occasions to keep His people aware of Christ's mission as the Messiah. These sacred days really are Christian festivals in every respect, and Christians everywhere should observe them.
More Armstrongist and Church of God 7th Day clap trap.
Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
For all the world I can't see why posting an article about keeping the holy days of the Lord Jesus Christ engenders such negative vitriol. Can you explain it?
Because we’re not Jews and are not bound by Jewish ritual law. No offense, really, but get this crap off of here.
I’ll repeat myself. We. Are. Not. JEWS!
I’m not an anti-semite or Jew-hater in any form, but we Christians do not need to keep Jewish holy days. If you’re going to do that, why don’t we argue that Christians should stop eating pork and shellfish because Christ would not have done so?
And I can’t help but detect a hint of anti-Catholicism in your posts. I’ve since learned to smell it from a mile away.
Do you observe Christmas and Easter under the guise of Christian liberty? If so why do you wish to deny others that same liberty? Especially when these are the days our Lord and Savior observed?
What does that have to do with it? These days are in the bible and belong to Jesus.
Im not an anti-semite or Jew-hater in any form, but we Christians do not need to keep Jewish holy days.
I want to do it and I know that doing so benefits us spiritually. You've never done it so how come you get to be the expert?
I observe Christmas and Easter to celebrate the Nativity and Resurrection of or Lord, Jesus Christ, respectively. That’s why.
Have you ever heard of the Judaizers? They were folks mentioned in the Bible who thought Christians needed to be Jews first, even going so far as to demand converts be circumcized, in order to be saved. Your thinking is the exact same thing, minus the circumcision, apparently. You seem to think that in order to be true Christians, we need to act like Jews. News flash; we don’t.
I suggest you actually research Christian history and theology and then get into a REAL Christian church. I have a recommendation of one; it’s based in Rome and has over 1.3 billion members =3
Want to know something that will benefit you spiritually? Receiving Christ’s Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. Nothing beats it. =)
Just quoting ST Paul.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
[Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Oh. I observe Passover because Christ, our Passover died for us. I observe the feast of unleavened bread because it pictures our journey out of sin, spiritual Egypt. Observe Pentecost because it pictures the formation of the church of God. You get the idea.
Who decided your days were better than the bible days?
This isn't talking about the Lord's holy days.
Amazing. You're willing to let anyone else observe any days they want as long as they do it to the Lord, but if I advocate actually keeping the days the Lord created and kept then somehow that's bad. Can you see the logical fallacy there?
Who decided a heretic like Armstrong, who you apparently follow, had more authority than the Church Jesus Christ founded and commissioned to continue His teaching mission?
Arguments like this make me wish the Protestant Revolt never happened. Would have saved us a ton of trouble in the long run, especially from neo-Judaizers.
The Lost Tribes of Israel
"What Lost Tribes?" you might ask. Why, the Lost Tribes of Israel, of course. You remember them: taken away by their Assyrian conquerors, roaming from here to there, finally settling in . . .
Well, maybe we shouldn't get ahead of the story. Come to think of it, maybe we have no choice, since the booklet under review, "The United States and Britain in Prophecy," gives away the answer in its title. Yes, according to the author, Herbert W. Armstrong, the Lost Tribes of Israel are none other than the British and Americans of British descent.
Armstrong first published this booklet in 1954. It was reprinted in 1987, a year after Armstrong's death, by the religious organization he founded, the Worldwide Church of God, which is making a comeback from a series of scandals that rocked it in the late seventies and early eighties.
You might recall the excommunication of Armstrong's son and heir apparent, Garner Ted Armstrong, who was given the boot because of his philandering and who promptly went out and started his own church, the Church of God, International.
You might even recall that financial troubles forced the Worldwide Church of God to sell off many of its properties and that 35 dissident ministers broke off to form their own church, alleging financial irregularities by both Armstrongs.
But we're not giving an overview of the Worldwide Church of God in this tract. We're just looking at one of the chief doctrines of this church, what is commonly called British Israelism, the idea that the Lost Tribes of Israel are really the descendants of Anglo-Saxons, which is to say the British and Americans whose ethnic origins are found in Britain.
This beguiling doctrine had been around for decades before Herbert W. Armstrong founded his church in 1933, and it appeals, naturally enough, to those of British heritage. After all, who wouldn't want to be a member of the chosen nation (assuming there is one)? And that, in Armstrongism, is precisely what the Anglo-Saxons areGod's chosen nation, where can be found the direct descendant of David and, even today, David's throne.
The United States and Britain in Prophecy opens with this epigraph: "The prophecies of the Bible have been grievously misunderstood. And no wonder! For the vital key, needed to unlock prophetic doors to understanding, had become lost. That key is a definite knowledge of the true identity of the American and British peoples in biblical prophecy."
Only the first sentence of this epigraph is strictly correct, and a good share of the grievous misunderstanding is by people who swallow the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong. The Argument Begins
The Argument Begins
"We know Bible prophecies definitely refer to Russia, Italy, Ethiopia, Libya and Egypt, of today. Could they then ignore modem nations like Britain and America? Is it reasonable?"
This is how the argument begins, and notice what kind of argument it is. If these lesser countries are mentioned in Scripture, would it be fair for God to ignore us, important as we are? (We won't discuss here the premise that these other, modern day countries are, indeed, mentioned in Scripture.) You might call it an argument by pride.
Never fear, says Armstrong. "The fact is, [the British and Americans] are mentioned more often than any other race. Yet their prophetic identity has remained hidden to the many." Why is that? Because the Bible doesn't refer to them by their modem names, but by an ancient name. And what is that name? None other than the name Israel.
"Hold it! " you say. The people who came from Israel are Jews. Britons and Americans, for the most part, aren't Jewish. How can the Worldwide Church of God claim otherwise?
Easily. "The house of Israel is not Jewish! Those who constitute it are not Jews, and never were! That fact we shall now see conclusively, beyond refute."
Then comes a history lesson. Israel, as you will recall, was divided into two nations. The southern kingdom was called Judah, the northern Israel. Until the division all these people, who came from twelve tribes, were known as Israelites.
After the division, the people in the southern kingdom, who carne from two tribes, were known as Jews, the word Jew being derived from the word Judah. The people in the northern kingdom, Israel, came from the other ten tribes.
"Certainly this proves that the Jews are a different nation altogether from the House of Israel," claims Armstrong. "The Jews of today are Judah! They call their nation 'Israel' today because they, too, descend from the patriarch Israel or Jacob. But remember that the 'House of Israel'the ten tribes that separated from Judahdoes not mean Jew ! Whoever the lost ten tribes of Israel are today, they are not Jews!"
"By the year 721 B.C., the House of Israel was conquered and its people were soon driven out of their own landout of their homes and citiesand carried captives to Assyria, near the southern shores of the Caspian Sea!" So it was in 721 that the Lost Tribes got lost. The Year Nothing Happened
The Year Nothing Happened
Had they remained faithful to God, all would have been well. "But, if they refused and rebelled, they were to be punished seven timesa duration of 2,520 yearsin slavery, servitude, and want." They did rebel, and their punishment extended from 721 B.C. to A.D. 1800.
And what remarkable thing happened in 1800 (the election of Thomas Jefferson not counting)? Well, nothing in particular, but it is from that date, says Armstrong, that Britain and America became world powers, the first, at that time, politically, the second economically (and later politically).
If you think this is convoluted reasoningthe 2,520 years, for example, are calculated by multiplying the seven years of punishment by 360, the number of days in the ancient year, on the principle that each day of punishment really stood for a whole year of punishmentjust wait until you read the remainder of the argument in The United States and Britain in Prophecy. It's enough to note here that Armstrong determines from Scripture that the Lost Tribes ended up on islands in the sea, and these islands are northwest of Palestine.
He points out, for instance, that the forty-ninth chapter of Isaiah begins with, "Listen, O isles, unto me." Do you see how this suggests the British Isles? "Take a map of Europe. Lay a line due northwest of Jerusalem across the continent of Europe, until you come to the sea, and then to the islands in the sea! This line takes you direct to the British Isles!"
(The skeptic might note that the line first comes to the Aegean islands, which are also in the seathe Mediterranean Seabut this would mean the Greeks are the Lost Tribes, which, as Churchill would say, is something up with which Armstrong would not put.) Linguistic Legerdemain
Do you want more proof? Armstrong has it. "The House of Israel is the 'covenant people.' The Hebrew word for 'covenant' is brit. And the word for 'covenant man,' or 'covenant people,' would therefore sound, in English word order, Brit-ish (the word ish means 'man' in Hebrew, and it is also an English suffix on nouns and adjectives). And so, is it mere coincidence that the true covenant people today are called the 'British'? And they reside in the 'British Isles'!"
Good grief! No linguist would take this seriously. Did Armstrong really believe that ish in English is derived from Hebrew? Maybe he did. Obviously his many followers do. But they should be a little less credulous when it comes to coincidences in languages. It's easy to "prove" that two entirely unrelated languages come from the same source or at least one from the other.
Take, for instance, Latin and Japanese. Here 's "proof" that one is derived from the other: In Latin, the word for "go" is ite, as in the dismissal at Mass: Ite, missa est. In Japanese, the word itte means "going," as in the phrase, itte kimasu, "I'm going and returning" (said when leaving the house and the equivalent of our "See you soon"). Notice how similar the words are in sound: ite, itte. And notice the nearly identical meaning. The conclusion: Japanese is derived from Latin, or Latin is derived from Japanese. What logic! What erudition! What nonsense!
What logic! What erudition! What nonsense!
Armstrong couldn't resist this kind of argument. It was bad enough to suggest that the word "British" is Hebrew, but he also made another claim: If you take the name "Isaac," you see it's easy for someone to drop the "I" when speaking quickly and to end up with "Saac" as the name of the patriarch. He had descendants, of course, and these may be called "Saac's sons," from which we get the word "Saxons."
"Is it only coincidence," asks Armstrong, "that 'Saxons' sounds the same as 'Saac's sons'sons of Isaac?" This doesn't even qualify as a coincidence, since Armstrong had to make up the nickname of "Saac" in order for the "coincidence" to exist. Another Remarkable Coincidence?
Another Remarkable Coincidence?
He found other coincidences. When the Lost Tribes were scattered, he says, they "brought with them certain remarkable things, including a harp and a wonderful stone called "lia-fail," or stone of destiny. A peculiar coincidence is that Hebrew reads from right to left, while English reads from left to right. Read this name either wayand it still is "lia-fail." Another strange coincidenceor is it just coincidence?is that many kings in the history of Ireland, Scotland, and England have been coronated sitting over a remarkable stoneincluding the present queen. The stone rests today in Westminster Abbey in London, and the coronation chair is built over and around it. A sign once beside it labeled it 'Jacob's pillar-stone.'"
(This line of reasoning may not be one of Armstrong's best. After all, one could note that not only Hebrew and English are read in different directions. Japanese can be read right to left, and Gaelic is read left to right, so maybe this speculation really proves the stone brought by the Lost Tribes is none other than the Blarney Stone.) We'll rush to the end of the booklet, where we find proof that "Almighty God fulfilled his promises to the descendants of Joseph in these latter years since 1800. Take these examples of recent history." The examples given are industrial statistics nearly forty years old.
"Total world petroleum output in 1950 was almost 3,800 million barrels. Of this total the United States alone produced more than one half nearly 52 percent. Together, the British Commonwealth and the United States produced 60 percent of the crude petroleum."
Similarly, "the British Commonwealth and America produced three-fourths of the world's steelthe United States alone produced almost 60 percent in 1951. The United States produced one and one-third times as much pig iron as all other nations combined."
When "The United States and Britain in Prophecy" was reprinted in 1987, why weren't updated figures used? Because the United States and Britain no longer produce a preponderance of oil, steel, or pig iron.
Most of the world's oil comes out of the Middle East, and steel mills have been closing in America over the last two decades. Most of our steel, and the great majority of the world's, is produced in countries, such as Korea, that weren't major producers forty years ago.
If the Worldwide Church of God had used updated figures, a reader might be inclined to think the Lost Tribes ended up in Saudi Arabia and Korea. Armstrongism's Appeal
What makes the position this book espouses so attractive? It feeds on nationalism. ("I'm of English descent, and now I see that I'm right in the thick of things, biblically speaking.") It supports ethnic prejudice. ("Thank God I'm not ItalianI never liked Italians anyway, and now I see they aren't descended from the Lost Tribes and so are only secondary players in the divine drama, which is something I always suspected.") It seems to be based on a sophisticated understanding of Scripture. ("Armstrong provides lots of citations, and I can't find fault with his argumentsthey're so convoluted they must be right.")
But, still, it's wrong, no matter how satisfying it might seem to some."
St. Paul provides the perfect smackdown for neo-Judaizers, doesn’t he? =)
Again,why are you so angry cause people want to exercise our Christian liberty and keep the holy days of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Again, one man thinks some days of more importance than others. Another man considers them all alike. Let every one be definite in his own convictions. If a man specially observes one particular day, he does so to God. The man who eats, eats to God, for he thanks God for the food. The man who fasts also does it to God, for he thanks God for the benefits of fasting. The truth is that we neither live nor die as self-contained units. At every turn life links us to God, and when we die we come face to face with him. In life or death we are in the hands of God. Christ lived and died that he might be the Lord in both life and death.
Why, then, criticise your brothers actions, why try to make him look small? We shall all be judged one day, not by each others standards or even our own, but by the standard of Christ. It is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. It is to God alone that we have to answer for our actions.
Wow you too? Do you hate the holy days of the Lord Jesus Christ...serious question.
Great! You're okay with me keeping the holy days of Jesus and advocating that others do the same....appreciate your Christianity!
Because your bizarre cult (which doesn’t even recognize the doctrine of the Trinity) is trying to inject Jewish ritual law into Christianity and I’m not going to stand for it. Also, because your soul is at risk because you remain separate from the seven sacraments of our Lord, which he entrusted to His Church, not Herbert Armstrong.
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