Meditating on the Word
“In His law he meditates day and night” Psalm 1:2
“Meditating on the Word,” edited by Wayne Burger, is a work of the church of Christ, which meets at 11873 Springs Rd. Unit #250, Conifer, CO 80433. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: coniferchurchofchrist.com
Vol. 15 No. 10 March 8, 2015
Traditions and Holidays
Under the Law of Moses the Jews had several different holidays and feast days they were to observe (Leviticus 23). When Jesus died on the cross He removed the Law of Moses (Ephesians 2:14-15). Because the Jews had observed these holiday for centuries, it was difficult for some of them to give up those holidays. Therefore they wanted to bring them into the church and bind them on Christians. Paul condemned Christians for observing those holidays. He wrote, “You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain” Galatians 4:10-11. He also said, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” Colossians 2:16. Those holidays were fulfilled in Christ. Because they were fulfilled, they are not to be observed or bound today. But, about this time each year the broad spectrum of Christianity begins to promote special holidays. We need to understand that these are holidays that the traditions of men have devised and that they do not come from the Bible. Below are some modern day holidays and what they symbolize.
Fat Tuesday – “Fat Tuesday is the traditional name for the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It is more commonly known as Mardi Gras, which is simply Fat Tuesday in French. It gets its name from the custom, in many Catholic countries, of marking the day with feasting before the fasting season of Lent begins” A Dictionary of Catholic Terms. The Bible speaks nothing of this activity. In today’s society it is a very sinful festival.
Ash Wednesday – “The seventh Wednesday before Easter; the first day of Lent for most Christians; the day after ‘Fat Tuesday,’ or Mardi Gras. It is frequently observed as a day of fasting and repentance for sin. In some churches, ashes are placed on the foreheads of worshipers on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of their mortality. The words of God to Adam in the Bible are often used in the ceremony: ‘dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return’” The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 3rd Edition. The Bible does not authorize such activity.
Lent – “The Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fast-ing, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection,” Mary Fairchild “Christianity Expert.” Again, the Bible doesn’t say anything about Christians observing a time of fasting or giving up some particular item for a certain period of time.
Maundy Thursday – It comes from the activity of Jesus washing the disciples feet on Thursday night before He was crucified the next day. It comes from the Latin term mandatum (commandment). It is the ceremony of washing the feet of poor people as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet on that night. This is reenacted in some churches on Thursday before Good Friday, Collins English Complete and Unabridged Dictionary. The Bible records Jesus’ activity on that night, but again, there is no authorization for Christians to engage in such activity.
Good Friday – “The Friday before Easter, observed as a commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged. The term originated “from good in Middle English sense of ‘holy,’ and especially of holy day or seasons observed by the church (early 15c)” Online Etymology Dictionary. Again, the Bible tells of the events which took place on that day, but does not say that the day is to be remembered with any sort of special activities or recognition.
Palm Sunday – “The Sunday before Easter. It is celebrated by Christians to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem five days before his crucifixion. On that occasion, the people of Jerusalem laid palm leaves in his path as a sign of welcome. Palms are carried or worn by worshipers in many churches on Palm Sunday, The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, third edition. Again, the Bible does tell about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the fact that people did place in front of Him palm leaves as well as articles of their clothing. But, God did not command us to reenact those activities.
Easter – “An annual Christian festival in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, as calculated according to tables based in Western church on the Gregorian calendar and in Orthodox churches on the Julian calendar” Collins English Complete and Unabridged Dictionary.
Although the Bible puts a great deal of emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus, it does not authorize setting aside one particular Sunday in which that great event is to be honored. Every Sunday is of equal importance. God expects Christians to assemble to worship Him every Sunday, not just that one particular Sunday (Hebrews 10:25). The way the Bible authorizes us to honor the resurrection of Christ is by being baptized. Christ died, was buried, and arose from the grave. A person reenacts that when he dies to sin, is immersed in water for the forgiveness of those sins and is then raised up out of that watery grave to walk a new life (Romans 6:3-4).
The Christian Age in which God has authorized the Christianity system of honoring God, has been practiced for about 2,000 years. Unfortunately, men have tampered with God’s plans. Through the years men have added their ideas. None of the practices mentioned above are authorized by God. Unfor-tunately, many people have grown-up practicing such traditions so long that they think they originated with God. With everything that we do we need to ask, “Does God authorize this practice?” God does not authorize traditions of men, and in fact He condemns such practices. Jesus said, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” Matthew 15:9. Remember, the Bible teaches that whatever we do, we must give authority from God for doing that (Colossians 3:17). It is just as wrong to make a law that God hasn’t made as it is to break a law that God has made. Wayne Burger
“I See Wonderful Things”
Text: “And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
The following is a partial account of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb: The next day Carter started to drill a hole into the plaster door. In the foreground, Carter, Carnarvon, Lady Evelyn, and Callender waited anxiously. Carter made the hole in the upper left-hand corner and started to chip away at the opening. As the hole became larger, it allowed him to peer inside. Carter held the candle into the darkness and permitted his eyes to adjust to the warm ancient air that exited the tomb. This air made the candle flicker. The gold furniture became illuminated by the small candle. Carter stood frozen and looked with amazement. Lord Carnarvon who waited anxiously for any news quickly exclaimed, “Can you see anything?” Carter replied with, “Yes, wonderful things.”
When I read, in God’s word, of heaven I often think of this account. Revelation gives us a glimpse into heaven. Surely we must peer, with amazement, through that “hole of discovery.” There are other Biblical passages, as well, which give us small glimpses of heaven. All these should cause us to exclaim, “I see wonderful things.”
God has described to us, by way of earthly treasures, the beauty of heaven i.e. gold and all manner of precious stones.
We are also assured that suffering, pain, mourning and death will not be present there. In addition there will always be light and no darkness.
These are all real incentives for desiring to go to heaven but the most important thing, I suggest, is not so much how it will look, rather who will be there.
Those who overcome will spend eternity with God the Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ! Surely this is what Paul was thinking when he wrote, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23).
We are promised, “He that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Revelation 21:7).
The beauty and glory of heaven awaits. All that heaven holds can be ours. Not just to “peer at in amazement”, but to posses, to inhabit, to enjoy – in the presence of God, for all eternity.
Roy Allen Crutcher