Thursday, April 5, 2012

Observing Days

For so long, my lack of care for traditions made me feel a bit of an outcast. Everyone I know is steeped in tradition.  Some people ooze tradition from every pore. I grew up with no traditions to speak of.  After I was married, the addition of traditions in my life always felt artificial to me. 

After reading and studying the Scripture, however, I found out that it was not I who had it wrong, but the world who had it wrong.

Am I saying the traditions of men are all wrong?  It depends on the tradition.  Some of our family traditions have been tucking our children in every night, reading them stories, fixing pancakes on Saturday morning and going golfing together.  These are family traditions. 

Christmas, Easter, Passover, Good friday, these are religious traditions.  These are the ones that, ironically enough, are biblically wrong!

This month many will celebrate what we call "Easter".  Some, knowing the pagan roots of Easter/Ishtar will call it "Resurrection Day". 

There will be festivities and feasts.  In many homes, there will be Ham dinners  (ironically, a forbidden meat for Jews), bunnies, egg hunts and dyed eggs.  Anyone in opposition to these pagan aspects of the holiday will be brushed off as "legalistic".  After all, it is all in fun. 

I recently learned the history of dyed eggs for Ishtar/Easter and it's nauseating and abominable. Look it up. It has to do with infants and blood. (shudder)

We have never dyed eggs. Not for any particular reason. It's just that dying eggs has always seemed like a rather abnormal thing to do. Why do so many do it?  Why is our country so immersed in traditions of men that we mindlessly follow weird acts? 

Let's look at what scripture says. The Bible is the final authority on every matter.

The entire book of Galatians is about Paul's astonishment at the newly converted Christians who were so soon turned to "another gospel".  Their big crime?  Observing days. Holding one day over another.

Galatians 4:9-10  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?  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

Why did they these new Christians turn back to observing days, months, times and years?  The desired to. They wanted to. It made them feel good.  It gave them some kind of satisfaction.  But what did Paul call it?  Weakness and bondage. This is what the word of God says, it is in context and it is relevant for today. But there's more.

Let's take a look at what God says concerning days.

Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalms 96:2 Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.

2 Corinthians 6:2 behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Clearly, every day is precious and meaningful before the Lord.  So shouldn't it be for us?  There is no biblical ground or call to hold one day above another.  In fact, it is a sign of weakness of faith.  

Romans 14:1,2,5 1)Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2)For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 5)One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Note: the Apostle Paul is not teaching us that it's okay to do these things. He is teaching how to handle those people who do them because those who do are weak in the faith.  Notice also his warning that we (as believers) recieve them BUT not to doubtful disputations. In other words, dispute over the issue could lead someone to doubt, which would be even worse.

Did Jesus command us to observe his birthday, Easter or any other day? No. No where in the gospels will we find the traditions of men a part of Jesus' commands.  In the following passage, Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees for their traditions.

Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

Notice that in order for them to hold the tradition of men, they had to lay aside the commandment of God. Could this be what we are doing in our culture today?  Are we so enraptured by traditions that we lay aside God's commands?

Reading each of the gospels will reveal what Jesus taught. And he taught many things, but observing days was not one of them.

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Later in the book of Acts concerning the newly converted Gentiles, Paul commands that the laws of the Jews did not apply and lists basically three things that should be observed for a Christian. 
Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

I heard a new one this week - Maundy Thursday!  What in the world?  I had to go look it up.  I couldn't find it in the bible. Hmmm.  Then where did it come from?  Who cares?  If it is not in Scripture, do Christians have any business following it? 

What is happening? People seek traditions rather than God.  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Christmas.  Even passover is a Jewish tradition that we have no business observing.  Some assert (argue) that the ten commandments haven't passed away and we still follow those. But the bible says that it's not the law passed away - I passed away. And dead men don't observe days.

Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

What is the ONE thing that God has called ALL of his people (Jew and Gentile) to observe? 

1 Corinthians 11:24-26 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

The only "observance" we're told to do is remembering the Lord through bread and wine for his awesome sacrifice for our sins.  This is the only observance we are given in scripture.  It's important to note that there is nothing in scripture  - anywhere - that indicates transsubstantiation as taught in catholicism. Scripture is clear: the bread and wine are symbols of his body broken for us and his blood shed for us.  They are not mystically transformed into his body and blood or that would be cannabalism which is a sin.

So in light of scripture, celebrating certain days above others is NOT taught.  We do it from traditions of men.  It does not please God. It does not make him smile and say 'isn't that cute'. 

However, Scripture DOES teach that we are to recieve those weaker in the faith who DO observe days. 

I am still in the process of learning myself.  We "celebrate" Christmas with a tree and gifts but only as a pleasant and decorative occasion like decorating with pumpkins and cornstalks in the fall. We don't symbolize the tree, presents, etc.  And I'd give it all up in a heartbeat if my husband wanted to. But I am not his boss. It is better to have a happy home and accomodate our husbands in love than make a stink and cause derision.

Ladies, please don't read this and then start nagging your man. It is not our job to lead our husbands.  That is strictly Jesus Christ's business and I suggest you don't mess in it other than in prayer and petition. 

I have done both and prayer is BY FAR the most effective approach! :)  I've prayed and given God my concerns and then watched God work in our lives.  A man's life is holy ground.  It is God's territory and a reverant woman is wise to leave it up to God.  (And pray, pray, pray!)

So, if your man wants to do Easter up big (though I have noticed that it is mainly women who make a big tadoo over it) then honor his wishes.  You will be following the Apostle Paul's advice in Romans 14 and God's command in 1 Corinthians 11:3.  Your children will not care either way.  All they know is they either have a happy home or a troubled one. Make yours happy. 

If he cares not one way or the other, then it is your heart that needs the change.  If you have been enlightened to the heart and desire of God through His word, then it may be you who has layed aside the commands of God to follow the traditions of man.  I would encourage you to put away the bunnies and eggs.  My prayer is that this year God would move through my husband to put away the xmas tree and tinsel.

But either way, our hearts are what God is looking at.  He knows when a woman is really into it, or just following her husband for the sake of peace. I choose to serve the Lord. There is no day above another. THIS day is the one that matters because it's the only one we have. Serve the Lord heartily this day!

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.


A Godly Homemaker said...

i love this post too! you explained things so well and it's a subject i have studied for a long time without a satisfactory conclusion. yet you made a light bulb pop on! thank you! i am so glad i found your blog :)

Simply Keeping Home said...

Thank you! :)

Rose said...

Maundy is Latin for Washing of the Feet. John 13:1-17 mentions Jesus performing this act. Specifically, in verses 13:14-17, He instructs them, 14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet." 15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." 16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him." 17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." It is not anything that Christians should be wary of because Jesus did was his apostles feet during his last meal with them. God bless, Rose

Simply Keeping Home said...

Thank you for that definition, Rose! :) I agree, there is nothing to be wary of washing one another's feet, spiritually or physically. However, no matter what language it's in, it would still fall under the category of holding or esteeming one day over another. And that's what we are to be wary of. Because every day is a day to wash one another's feet. Every day is resurrection day for a believer. Every day is the day of Salvation. At least, that is what the Bible says. :) God bless you and thank you for your input!