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15389Re: Occasional Fasts/Feasts are no grounds for Annual Holidays

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  • bob_suden
    Dec 30, 2006
      Greetings again Tim,
      > Tim-Although the ceremonial festivities are covenantally abolished
      > with the rest of the ceremonial laws, it is worth asking if some of
      > these festivities may remain remain morally fitting if not legally
      > binding.

      True, but they have already been asked and answered in the material you mentioned, which leads to the question again, have you read the material? Cason first, then Gillespie (and M'Crie on Esther if you can get your hands on him or Cartwright on the Feast of Dedication against the Rhemists in that it is pretty much the same argument: We may do,  because the Jews have done; we may do for Christ, because Christ has done for us.)

      >    The Jews were covenantally required to thank God annually for
      > reception of food for the next year in their festivals of
      > firstfruits, festivals that did not occur on the Sabbath (Lev. 23:11).
      > Now there is no doubt that today we are not obliged to offer such
      > sacrifices to God as a fulfillment of covenant stipulations, as such
      > actions would be Galatianism and heresy.
      > Yet, we must ask: does it
      > not remain equally fitting for us to thank God for the harverst we
      > receive each year? And does God not deserve to be specially thanked
      > for each harvest he provides apart from the regular service of
      > worship? And if the answers to both questions are "Yes" is it not
      > morally fitting to offer God an annual service of thanksgiving for
      > these blessings?

      But the answer is not yes to both or necessarily even one question. More than that, it is not morally and reasonably fitting to  celebrate  an annual  harvest day in the midst of a famine or as Cason mentions, observe an annual  national day of thanksgiving (harvest day)  in the midst of apostasy and backsliding. The spiritual man, never mind the natural is only too prone to turn on the autopilot of annual days, rote prayers etc. That is why they are forbidden. But that is exactly what is argued for.

      The modern national and civil "Thanksgiving Day" is deficient on this very ground. Our nation ought to be repenting in sackcloth and ashes, and praying God to withhold his fury against our sins. Instead, the annual civil Thansgiving perpetuates the idea that America is greatly beloved and blessed of God although we have nationally turned our backs to him and rejected his laws and commandments (CK&RF, p.38 fn.8).

      In other words, something like Is. 22:12,13 is applicable.

      And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
      And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.

      God providentially called for mourning, but Israel called for feasting, a harvest day.  And God did not approve, in that he wants the heart, not the external days, months and years, because if he has the heart all else follows. But we want to give him everything but, including annual days. It is not enough that the motive appears to be pure - our hearts are deceitful beyond knowing - but the end has to be right also. Adding man appointed annual days is not a right end.

      >     And if we are morally obligated to take such pains to thank God
      > for the giving of earthly food, how much more should we not so thank
      > God for the gift of his Son, by marking the day of his coming? After
      > all man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds
      > out of the mouth of God and pre-eminently that Word is Christ.

      Morally obligated is not annually obligated. That has not been proved. "Every word of God" assumes that the regulative principle is operative and Christ has already sufficiently provided for his church. Worship is a command performance, not a "bring your own" affair. Every word includes  "whatsoever is not commanded is forbidden." Deut. 12
      and the will worship of Col.2
      Likewise, God has ordained the first day of the week, which because of the resurrection of Christ, replaces the OT sabbath ordained at creation, in so much as it is the stamp of approval upon Christ's ministry. The sting of sin is death. All men are sinners and hence die. Yet Christ came to redeem sinners in his death, but did not die, rising from the grave. Hence his death accomplished its purpose in saving sinners from sin, roughly is the argument.
      Consequently the emphasis in Scripture is 1. not on one or two special days of the year, but on one day a week - "Easter" if you will,  not Christmas and 2. we may not be wiser than God and devise ways to help God beyond what he has already ordained, however reasonable it may appear to us.   A
      ssertions and opinions though, are not reasonable arguments.

      > > "2.  God has given his church a general precept for extraordinary
      > fasts
      > > (Joel 1:14; 2:15), as likewise for extraordinary festivities to
      > praise
      > > God, and to give him thanks in the public assembly of his people,
      > upon
      > > the occasional motive of some great benefit which, by the means of
      > our
      > > fasting and praying, we have obtained (Zech. 8:19 with 7:3).
      > Tim-I notice that Gillespie does not include Purim (Esther (:20:23)
      > in which an extraordinary deliverance was provided after fasting and
      > prayer. I wonder why the ommission.....??? Was it because the Jews
      > realized that this deliverance was so great it rightly deserved
      > annual rememberance??

      Mordecai was a prophet (though the first institution of Purim was civil) according to Gillespie in  Dispute 1993, NP, p.305
      Likewise McCrie, quoted by Cason says on the book of Esther:

      "Shall we suppose that Christ and his apostles, in abrogating those days which God himself had appointed to be observed, without instituting others in their room, intended that either churches or individuals should be allowed to substitute whatever they pleased in their room?[CK&RF, p.34]"

      But that is precisely what is being proposed and is essentially the height of arrogance, however unintended, because it presumes to steady the ark of God's worship in the light of what is right in our own eyes. Rather that God might open the eyes of our understanding to see what he has already provided for us in his instituted worship. We need no substitutes or additions.

      Cason ends  Chapt. 5 quoting a doubting Thomas:

      "There are times when God calls, on the one hand, to religious fasting, or, on the other, to thanksgiving and religious joy; and it is our duty to comply with these calls, and to set apart time for the respective exercises. But this is quite a different thing from recurrent or anniversary holidays. . . . . Stated and recurring festivals countenance the false principle, that some days have a peculiar sanctity, either inherent or impressed by the works which occurred on them; [as in we know that the 25th was the day of Christ's birth or that it should be observed even though God didn't tell us so?] they proceed on an undue assumption of human authority; interfere with the free use of that time which the Creator hath granted to man; detract from the honour due to the day of sacred rest which he hath appointed; lead to impositions over conscience; have been a fruitful source of superstition and idolatry; and have been productive of the worst effects upon morals, in every age, and among every people, barbarous and civilized, pagan and Christian, popish and Protestant, among whom they have been observed."[M'Crie in Cason, CK&RF pp.39,40, ul. added]"

      To man made days on the account of man made reasons, come also man made rites, man made pictures etc. and the end is even worse than the start.  But who  can bring a clean thing out of an unclean (Job 14:4)?  Man by his nature, even redeemed  is incapable of appointing anything for God's worship (place, hour, this chapter over that chapter are not of the substance of worship.)

      >  If it is
      > > said that there is a general command for set festivities, because
      > there
      > > is a command for preaching and hearing the word, and for praising
      > God
      > > for his benefits; and there is no precept for particular fasts more
      > than
      > > for particular festivities, I answer:  Albeit there is a command for
      > > preaching and hearing the word, and for praising God for his
      > benefits,
      > > yet is there no command (no, not in the most general generality) for
      > > annexing these exercises of religion to set anniversary days more
      > than
      > > to other days;
      > Tim-Gillespie has overlooked the question of whether or not Purim and
      > Hanukah are good examples to follow. In each case a most extreme
      > danger was present (Purim-national extinction, and Hanukah-
      > destruction of the covenant relationship between Israel and God) and
      > both deliverances were recognized as to be so great (in both cases
      > the covenant was kept Israel alive and preserved the covenat
      > relationship) as to rightfully merit annual observance.
      Again, it is generally considered that Mordecai was a prophet and had the authority to institute a day such as Purim. Further, one either admits, in the totality of Scripture and the reformed understanding of the Second commandment, that only what God has commanded or instituted, either explicitly, by approved example or by necessary consequences is permitted in public worship or they are necessarily forced to the conclusion that one may institute as they please in the worship of God as historically the Lutherans and Anglicans have done and you are essentially arguing. It is largely a repeat.  Likewise the cadre of supposedly reformed theologians and pastors such as Jordan, Frame, Schlissel, Leithart and particularly Gore who are ponying up the same "redemptive-historical" arguments re.  Purim, the Feast of Dedication etc. New redemptive events mean new songs or new/annual days celebrating that redemption/incarnation/fill in the blank. Where does it end? It doesn't/it ends in popery which is what it is in essence.

      > Since it is clear that it is as fitting fo us to observe an annual
      > thanksgiving for harvest ingathered as it was for the Jews,

      No, it is not clear. It is assumed or asserted. But an assertion is not an  argument, much less it has been shown to be wrong above. An annual thanksgiving sinfully assumes that every year there will be a harvest and not a famine. It is to take more than it professes to give and is the height of presumption, much more Scripture explicitly  forbids.

      James 4:13  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
      14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
      15  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
      Again, where in the word can we prove this  arrogant assumption that God owes us a harvest every year and that we need to/should have an annual day of thanksgiving? We can't and therefore not only is the statement erroneous, everthing  built upon it below is also mistaken.

      and since
      > the deliverance we have by Christ is so much greater than the
      > temporary survival provided by food, it is clear that it is fitting
      > that we glorify God by treating the coming of His Son to earth to
      > achieve our redemption (which began the inauguration of the new
      > covenant) and His acheivement of that redemption (which completed the
      > same) in a way equivalent to or even greater than the festival of
      > thanksgiving.

      While the first is true regarding the bread from heaven, the rest is a non sequitur. It does not follow, it has not been established. It has been assumed and is only in accord with the natural man or natural reasoning. If God had wanted that, we would have been informed of it in the scripture. Instead, we have a day of thanksgiving, once a week. To sincerely want to add to it is not scriptural. Rather it is will worship in principle, regardless if one  considers  their conscience clear on the matter. God simply  forbids it by saying we may not add to his worship. That's the real issue.

      Bob S

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