Month 8:30, Rosh Chodesh Preparation Day, Year 5935:230 AM|
Rosh Chodesh Preparation Day
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 25 November 2011
How Should a Believer View It?
It's been a couple of years since we last had a discussion on the American celebration called Thanksgiving when we looked at the pro's and con's of this festival from the biblical perspective without coming to any definite conclusion - you can read up the discussion here before continuing. As Thanksgiving fell on a sabbath this year (yesterday) I thought we would address this subject the day after and come to a final conclusion.
Those this issue interests the most, Messianics, are divided about the permissiveness or non-permissiveness of celebrating this secular festival (it's a non-issue for most Evangelicals who have a low regard for Torah). The same arguments used in justifying Christmas celebration are pretty much used in the defence of Thanksgiving - it's a family occasion, an opportunity to get together at a time when the family might not otherwise do so (except at Christmas), it was established by Christians, it's an integral part of American history, culture, and tradition, and so on. One thing we can be absolutely certain of: there will always be 'reasons' - and 'reasonable' ones at that - for justifying any observance.
We need not make this complicated at all for the simple reason that Yahweh does not. He has already commanded us to observe His moedim or appointments and also warned us to neither add to, not subtract from, them:
This means that the only national and/or religious festivals a true believer is commanded by Elohim (God) to observe are:
"You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the mitzvot (commandments) of Yahweh your Elohim (God) which I command you" (Deut.4:2, NKJV).
While reviewing some of the articles that were posted for consideration and discussion about thanksgiving in the past Ning group, one author shared the following:
- 1. Rosh Chodesh (New Moon, Yahweh's Day, including Fathers' Day, Day of the Prophets);
- 2. Shabbat (the 7th day creation Sabbath, resting in Messiah, including Mothers' Day);
- 3. Pesach (Passover, including the Birth of Messiah - the real 'Christmas' - and the Death of Messiah);
- 4. Chag haMatzah (the feast of Unleavened Bread, including Set-Apart/Holy living);
- 5. Yom haBikkurim (the Day of Firstfruits, including the Resurrection of Messiah - the real 'Easter');
- 6. Shavu'ot (the feast of Pentecost/Weeks, including the baptism of the Ruach/Spirit - the real 'Pentecost');
- 7. Yom Teruah (the Day of Trumpets/Shouting, including the Second Coming);
- 8. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement, including the Judgment);
- 9. Sukkot (the feast Tabernacles/Booths, including the Millennium, Heaven, Thanksgiving, the harvest Festival, etc.);
- 10. Shemini Atseret (the Last Great Day, New Beginning & Start of the Millennium);
- 11. The Sh'mittah (Sabbatical Year rest of the land every 7 years); and
- 12. The Yovel (Jubilee every 50 years, including Universal Graded Salvation, etc.).
Indeed, as Yahweh inspired and granted truth through that young child, He has already commanded feasts (in His time and tavnith/pattern), to give thanks and rejoice in Him for the increase He has given agriculturally (and otherwise) in our lives. Why should we choose to keep a moed or feast that was not commanded or given by Him, but by men, rather then keeping with full and obedient levatot (hearts) the moedim and mitzvot (commandments) He has given us, including the true Scriptural thanksgiving feast of Sukkot?
"For those of us who keep God's Holy Days, found in Leviticus 23, please consider this: Just what is Thanksgiving Day? The Church proclaims it a holiday (holy day), for the purpose of giving thanks to God for the many blessings we have received, especially agriculturally. Quoting a 6 year old, after hearing the last line, he said, 'That's what we do for the seven days of Sucote (Feast of Tabernacles).' Out of the mouth of babes..."
The Pilgrim Fathers of America, though perhaps well meaning, were none-the-less in error because they still believed certain lies concerning Torahlessness, including the lie that Yahweh's appointed Sukkot feast had been done away with. With not believing or understanding that they should observe Yahweh's feasts (in common with Catholicism and Protestantism), they invented their own Harvest Festival. However well-meaning the pilgrims may have been though, Yahweh's commandment not to add to, or subtract from, what He has commanded (including His feasts and appointed times) remain and stand with us today. If we accept Thanksgiving Day then we are forced to accept every lawless feast ever invented by man, including Hanukkah which began as a late Sukkot and then became embellished with Pharisaic lies and myths and made - by human fiat - into another 'festival of Yahweh'.
What this then boils down to is the pretended authority of a lawless church verses the Toqef (Authority) of Yahweh's Own Davar (Word), the Bible. Yahweh says: observe the Feast of Sukkot for 8 days starting on the 15th day of the seventh biblical month and ending on the 22nd day. The church says observe it for one day on 24 November according to the Roman pagan calendar. So what will you choose?
We have a brazen example of this dupilication and paganisation of Yahweh's festivals closer to home in the Tanakh (Old Testament):
Here the apostate King of Israel makes his own festival just as Aaron had done in Sinai, taking the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), re-inventing it by making it a pagan Egyptian observance, and then transferring it from the 7th month to the 8th. This is, sadly, one of the hallmaks of apostate Ephraim-Israel! Just look at the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant religious calendars and you will see they have changed every single Feast of Yahweh by both re-inventing them and transferring them to different days. This was done deliberately from the earliest times in order to be 'different'. It was a political move.
"Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there. Also he went out from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his lev (heart), 'Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then the lev (heart) of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.' Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!' And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. He made shrines on the high places, and made cohenim (priests) from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made. So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense" (1 Kings 12:25-33, NKJV).
One messianic writer has rightly pointed out that Thanksgiving Day is now no longer a uniquely 'American' day - Canada and other countries observe it too. Why is it accepted outside the USA? Because as a thanksgiving harvest festival, it is a universal observance in all cultures. There is, of course, nothing wrong in having a thanksgiving harvest festival. Where the problems arise is where you thank the wrong gods, observe it at the wrong time and do so in the wrong way, thereby not honouring the true Elohim (God) of the Bible, Yahweh.
Thanksgiving Day fails on many counts and a careful study of its historical origins reveals that it is, in reality, an example of religious syncretism (mixing religions) just as Christmas is - it is a mixing of the biblical and the pagan just like all false observances. Yahweh forbids religious syncretism again and again in Scripture - it was the major cause of Israel's and Judah's apostacy. And you have seen how Rehoboam, apostate King of Israel, reworked Yahweh's Harvest Festival and turned it into an abomination that would eventually lead to Israel's conquest and deportation by the Assyrians.
This mutated 'Sukkot eventually devolved into Zeus worship as a full-fledged pagan festival. Just look at the symbols associated with Thanksgiving Day. Look at the one at the top of this devotional and you will see a 'horn of plenty' or 'cornucopia', known as the Horn of Amalthea, the goat goddess of nourishment, who broke off her horn which then filled with food and drink to nourish the baby Zeus. (And in case you have forgotten who Zeus is, he is one of the names of Satan).
Did you know that a different variation of American Thanksgiving Day was originally observed on the 15th day of the 8th month? Abraham Lincoln changed it to 24 November, whether consciously or unconsciously, we cannot tell. Why did the invisible powers move him to do that? For the same reason the powers that influenced Rehoboam caused him to move it from the 7th month - to disguise its true identity.
What happened to Jeroboam for his 'little sin' of religious syncretism?
What happened to Israel because of Jeroboam's sin?
"And it was so, when he became king, that he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam anyone that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according to the word of Yahweh which He had spoken by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he had sinned and by which he had made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he had provoked Yahweh-Elohim of Israel to anger" (1 Kings 15:29-30, NKJV).
The same fate awaits Western countries who claim to worship Yahweh and follow Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), whether it be America (West Manasseh), Britain (Ephraim), Germany (East Manasseh), France (Reuben), Holland (Zebulun), Norway (Benjamin), Denmark (Dan), Sweden (Naphtali) or any other Israelite nation. That is why these nations are on the edge of collapse. Moreover, there will be no return of any part of Israel to the Holy Land until all these sins have ceased.
"For Yahweh will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the River, because they have made their wooden images, provoking Yahweh to anger. And He will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who made Israel sin" (1 Kings 14:15-16, NKJV).
Many find it hard to believe that Thanksgiving Day is full of pagan customs. I have already mentioned the 'horn of plenty', a Native American basket shaped in the form of an upside-down tornado. Some might think itís stretching the imagination to also tie in Thanksgiving with Pagan customs, but Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Pagan religions give thanks, respectively, to their deities for the harvest. The Pilgrimís holiday is at the end of the gathering season. Catholics celebrated Lammas, the first harvest, by going to church in August, leaving loaves of bread on altars and giving thanks. Michaelmas, honoring the archangel St.Michael, was held on September 29th. Festivals of gratitude were held near or on the Sunday of the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the date of the autumnal equinox, usually occurring in September, sometimes in early October. Native Americans had celebrations of reaping bountiful crops. As Pagan Europeans immigrated, they brought their customs of harvest festivals: Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain. Both Pagan traditions, featuring special foods, later influenced celebrations of the American Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day does not go back to 1600 but much earlier to the reign of Rehoboam, albeit in a considerably mutated form, for pagan festivals are constantly changing, blending with local pagan customs whereever they are transplanted. Yahweh's festivals are never to change, except when the original types are fulfilled in Messiah. The true believer already has his Thanksgiving Day and it is called Sukkot, free of pagan clutter and therefore accepted by Yahweh. If your main concern is about family reunions (itself a good thing), then either convert your family to the true emunah (faith) and celebrate Sukkot together with them or make a special effort to gather at some other day that does not require the approval of state, 'church' or society.
Satan takes our good intentions - such as those of the Pilgrim fathers - and persuades us to modify His Law in direct disobedience to Yahweh. Idolatrous spirits attach themselves to these mutated festivals as anyone who has tried to abandon Christmas or Easter will testify. Trying to honour Yahweh by abandoning the traditions of our forefathers has a way of provoking hostility, sometimes violent. Doing what is right before Yahweh, and not before men, is what makes us righteous before Elohim (God).
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but Yahweh weighs the levatot hearts" (Prov.21:2, NKJV).
 Miscellaneous authors from our 2009 Ning Discussion
 Yahushua ben Moshe Eliyahu, The American Thanksgiving: It Came From the Pilgrim's, Right?