Sunday, December 12, 2010

More on 'Should we celebrate Christmas or not?'






Did Jesus Christ And His Apostles Keep The Holy Days And All The Biblical Festivals?


Question: I'd rather celebrate the Holy Days Jesus Christ and the apostles observed.

God in His Word sets out many choices for us. Will we do things His way or our own? Will we worship Him as He tells us to, or expect Him to honor whatever religious practices we choose regardless of what His Word says? 

It's always good to ask the question, What would Jesus do? The answer, from the Scriptures, is quite clear as to what Jesus did. Jesus didn't allow His followers the option of adopting pagan practices in their worship. He and the apostles plainly kept God's Holy Days and festivals that we find recorded in Leviticus 23

As noted above, they kept the Passover (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Scripture shows they also observed the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). The New Testament Church itself was founded on the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), another biblical festival they clearly observed (Acts 20:16). They likewise kept the Day of Atonement (called "the Fast" in Acts 27:9) and the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 10)

Christmas, meanwhile, is totally missing from the biblical record. 

Most people don't know that the Bible includes a whole list of festivals that God commanded, that Jesus Himself observed and that the apostles and early Church were still keeping decades after Christ's death and resurrection. And unlike Christmas, these reveal a great deal about Jesus Christ's role and mission. 

Each one teaches us a vital lesson in what Jesus has done, is doing and will yet do in carrying out God's great plan for humankind. The differences between these and the tired old paganism and crass commercialism of Christmas is truly like the difference between day and night. Why not look into them for yourself?

ELOHIM YAHWEH YAHUSHUA BLESS US,THROUGH HIS HOLY SPIRIT. Let us stay in unity and love. Yahweh bless his children. 


A: See the apostles were born in Jewish culture and they were used to celebrating all the Feasts of the Old Testament as a part of the cultural background they lived. But not even once they expected the Gentiles [i.e. all people other than Jews] to follow them in religious observance. Even Apostle Paul once seeing the hypocrisy of Apostle Peter rebuked him face to face saying, "But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?" (Gal 2:14). Problems like these were faced by the Gentiles of the first century because the Church was born in a complete Jewish culture which the Gentiles never understood.  

Nearly two thousand years ago all the apostles came together and decided to proclaim the whole world of what they expected the Gentiles to do regarding all these Questions about keeping the Jewish Old Testament Law [i.e. which includes keeping Jewish festivals], hear what they said, "22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.  23 They wrote this, letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell." (Acts 15:22-29, NKJV)

These preceding Scriptures clearly shows that the Apostles and God the Holy Spirit expected all the Non-Jewish saints of the Church to "abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell." These are the only requirements to keep. Even these things they said to the Gentiles because mostly many came from totally idolatrous background and proselytized Jewish background. Their conscience were weak in regard to the food offered to idols along with the immoral life they once lived [i.e. before knowing Christ] during pagan festivities and some who were proselytized to follow Jewish law were also weak in their conscience in regard to blood and things strangled (1 Cor 10:27-29; Lev 17:14-16; Rom 14:20-22). Even this is not a rule but a principle they suggested to keep the Gentile saints from falling back in to the idolatrous and religious evil, rotten and wicked lifestyle of their past. So I would like to say again, "16 ... let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ." (Col 2:16). In other words when Christ has come in to your heart, all these things of traditions of the Old Testament has been fulfilled in Christ for you and you have become the temple of God in order to glorify God with all the things you do in sevice to Him (Matt 5:17-18; 1 Cor 6:18-20; 10:31). All the shadows of the Old Testament traditions and commands has become a substance of reality in the heart of all believers. Now we do not keep the law to please God, but by faith we directly serve God in proclaiming His Gospel in all the world as the redeemed kingly-priest's of God (Rev 1:5-6; 5:9-10; Matt 28:19-20). Praise the Lord!    

Again I respect your opinion, but it is not the absolute apostolic truth of the New Testament. If you do not want to celebrate Christmas according to what you believe, well and good go ahead Brother. But do not try to make it as a law and try to implement it on all the Body of Christ. As you said, May the Holy Spirit guide us all and let us stay united in LOVE as God's children. God Bless You!           



           


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the pieces of information. But I want to ask, should we celebrate Valentine's Day? And I also want to know if April Fool is one of our celebration because my Muslim friends concluded that Christians celebrate this. I am so sad about my lack of knowledge about all of this. I hope you can help me.

Anonymous said...

If Valentine's day is just "a day for the exchange of tokens of affection", it is good to share the love of God with our friends, family and our dear and near ones in a special day of fellowship. If it is seen as a day to date with some one and check whether we will fit in with that person, it is not good to be emotionally attached before marriage. God's way to become one flesh in spirit, soul and body is after our marriage and not before it. Definitely April Fool's day is widely recognized and celebrated as a day which tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness. The day is marked by the commission of good humoured or funny jokes, hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc. But sometimes jokes can seriously go beyond a naturally acceptable level to make people feel bad about themselves on that day. This may hurt or even cause accidents on that day as it had happened in the past. This may not be good as it has totally destroyed the purpose of being happy with people around us. It is better to say yes and no exactly, than to joke and cause hurt to people around us sinfully (Matt 5:37). So the next time you play April fool prank's on some one, make sure that you are doing it in a spirit of gentleness and good humor with out hurting them in any way. Blessings......

Abraham Israel

www.apostolicrevelation.blogspot.com

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