It is now “mother’s day,” and right now there are 276 Nigerian girls who have been abducted nearly a month ago (April 14) by militia men from the Boko Haram terrorist network in Africa. Truly our prayers go up on behalf of the girls and their parents! It is a crime of our times on a global scale wherein children are exploited, and girls in particular, have become the bargaining chips for the international sex trade and human trafficking. Today the world celebrates motherhood and all that it stands for, nurturing, caring, sacrificing, sharing, and the ultimate delivery of a child to society who one day might very well “rule the world,” borrowed from the age-old truism that “the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” But today also, there are many parents in Nigeria grieving at the loss of their children, children who were simply seeking an education to improve their chances of having a more rewarding future than that which many of their ancestors have known.
My aim in writing this article is not so much to discuss the political nature of these missing girls, but instead seeking to draw attention to the explosive cultural acceptance and global reach of Parent’s day among an host of other special days, such as New Years, Valentine’s, Easter, Veterans, Mother’s, Father’s, Independence, Columbus, Thanksgiving and Christmas, to mention some of the more familiar ones, at the exclusion of God’s holy appointed days. I will demonstrate that the most High, YHWH, also has His special days, and while our human-invented and highly commercialized days, cited above, have attracted global attention and acceptance, His Holy Days are simultaneously ignored, denigrated as legalism and broadly condemned by Christianity—the very stewards of righteousness who were collectively commanded by the Holy Spirit to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1: 3 NASB.
In this regard then, I want us to examine that which was “once for all handed down,” or delivered to the saints, who thereby became the repositories and divine protectors of the sacred trust which “was once for all time” bequeathed unto the saints.
To avoid any misunderstandings, let me be clear: I believe we should honor our parents and our spouses, our children, and our friends (neighbors), in a meaningful and tangible way, and whenever the opportunity avails itself, we should use it to build our social and spiritual bonds. What I am projecting however, is the penchant for Christians, in general, to avoid God’s holy commands in preference for church-appointed holidays. Ancient Israel had other commemoratives than the ones ordained in the Torah, and heaven was well-pleased with this. Even Christ, when He walked as a man among men, participated in one of these non-Torah-appointed festivals—“the feast of the dedication” (Hanukkah)—John 10: 22. So yes, let’s recognize thanksgiving and Parent’s days, but let us never forget God’s Holy Days.
The Motive Behind These Days
We must be aware of the principal motivation behind these man-made, special days, that there is a central mission at hand, which is to prop up, and give special notice to Sunday as a day to be revered and commemorated among all earth’s inhabitants. To be clear, Christians are given an explicit command to “honor” their parents, not just on one day of the year, but on an ongoing basis. We are given a high moral standard in the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.” Ex. 20: 12, WEB.
This is a commandment with promise of long life, to those who so honor their parents. Most readers ignore, however, the last part of this verse—“the land” which YHWH offers. While the focus of this article is not the kingdom of glory, it must be broadly stated here that the promise of “long life” is attached to having a life in the kingdom of God—“the land” which the Almighty proffers to the righteous nation—the saints who faithfully keep his commandments.
“Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.” Prov. 20; 20, AKJV. More literally stated, the passage now reads, “Whoever dishonorshis father or his mother, his lamp [life] shall be put out in obscure darkness.” We now see that the honoring of our parents is a salvific and redemptive command, offering either eternal life or eternal death, depending on how we treat its implementation in our lives.
We know that our parents feel special when they are called upon with notice from their children on Mother’s day, for the women, and Father’s day for the men, and more of this should go on, not just on an annual basis, to satisfy the greed of the commercial world, but on an on-going and regular basis, to satisfy the requirements of YHWH’s commandments. As Christians, we have a higher moral obligation to demonstrate to the world that we are Christians by our love—“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35.
From what we have seen here, there is explicit directive in the Bible, to give special recognition to our parents, in season, and out of season, to demonstrate our horizontal relationship—love to humanity. In these Ten Commandments too, is another requirement of special remembrance, a requirement which most Christians who profess to teach the “handed down” faith, willfully choose to ignore and forget. This command comprises the vertical relationship in our spiritual journey—love to Deity.
I want to call special attention here to the Sabbath, for our handling of the question of parents honoring is no less obligatory than our Saviour’s command to “remember” and honor Him on His holy day. In the face of the special days to honor parents and the saints, humanity has, as it were, lost sight of God’s holy Sabbath day—the golden clasp of creation and redemption, and Satan would have it thus.
“8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Ex. 20: 8-11, NASB.
It should be noted that this command opens with the word “remember,” or conversely “do not forget.” So in a more practical way, the great YHWH is directing us accordingly: “Do not forget the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” It is right here where most of Christianity falls down and appeal to the traditions of men, rather than the explicit commandments of God. I have earlier stated that this commandment—the fourth, has both creative and redemptive applications to it.
The creative connotation is explicitly stated in the passage, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” (Ex. 20: 11, first part). In as much as we honor our parents when we give respect to them, and have special seasons of recognition to their nurturing us and sacrificing on our behalf, we in like manner “honor” our God when we respect his holiness in directing our lives, when we respect His right to have a day for himself in which he chooses to share with us! This concept seems radical to most of the protestant world, and is labeled as heterodox or legalism, while parents’ days and saints’ days are considered orthodox and antinomianism—without law.
The Sabbath also has redemptive appeals, from the very tenor of the command, “therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Ex. 20: 11, last part). The Sabbath is blessed by YHWH and declared holy by Him, and thus extends holiness to those who truly honor Him in this simple act of loving obedience. Of this memorable day which clasps and seals the work of creation, the Bible record is clear: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.” (Gen. 2: 3, first part.). In God’s Word Translation, this verse is more emphatically stated, “Then God blessed the seventh day and set it apart as holy.” The Sabbath, then is a “set apart” day for a “set apart” people—a sanctified people!
The Sabbath, being a day of “rest,” also portends the rest we have in Christ from our travail in a world of sin. It was to this “rest” He spoke, when He declared “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11: 29, ERV). This “rest” is the rest of redemption, the rest we have when we are complete in Christ. To this “rest,” the Bible also enjoins upon us the sobering command: “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Heb. 4:11.
As with the 5th commandment which proffers a blessing to those who honor their parents, likewise the 4th commandment extends a blessing to the obedient child of God: “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” Isa. 56: 2.
A more modern translation renders this verse thusly: “Blessed are all those who are careful to do this. Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong.” NLT.
Friend, do you want to really receive divine favor and blessing? The answer is simple—honor YHWH’s laws, and depart from evil. We honor his law by exercising simple godlike obedience, and we depart from evil by having that law written in our hearts—the hallmark of the new covenant! Here is what David said:
“8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. 9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Ps. 119: 8-11.
So the secret to keeping ourselves from doing wrong, is to hide YHWH’s commandments in our hearts. Jesus Christ himself being the “Word of God”—the divine Logos (John 1: 1, 2), the truth breaks forth more clearly that we hide God’s Word in our hearts, by allowing the divine Logos—Y’shuah, to come within our hearts and live out His holy life in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. When Christ lived on earth, he kept the Sabbath “as His custom was” (Luke 4: 16), and when He comes and lives in us, He will likewise lead us to obeying all his commands, for they “are not grievous” (1 John 5: 3), or burdensome.
“13 If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” Isa. 58: 13-14, NIV. It certainly is not a mark of legalism to be obedient to our Creator, is it?
That Which Was “Handed Down” To The Saints
Since the Christian Church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, [with] Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone,” (Eph. 2: 20), the question must now be asked: what is it that they have collectively “handed down to the saints” once and for all time? Did they leave for us, Christmas Day, New Years, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Parents Day (Mother’s & Father’s), All Saints Day, Thanksgiving Day, Sunday as the Sabbath, among other church-appointed and globally recognized holidays? Though many Christians are loath to doing so, I believe the candid reader can honestly state without equivocation, that none of the above-mentioned days of Christian import have been “handed down” to us by the prophets, Jesus Christ or the apostles themselves. This being true, we must here ask other pertinent questions: From whence came these church holidays or holy days? And more importantly, in terms of holy days, which are the ones that were “handed down” to us by the three principals mentioned in Eph. 2: 20? The correct answer to these questions will lead us on the path of rediscovery, a rediscovery which will be as real to us as was the doctrine of Justification by Faith to the early Protestants of the 16th century.
The Apostle Paul has often likened the Christian’s life to the relays of the Greco-Roman Olympiads of his days, and has left on record, these inspiring words: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Heb. 12:1.
In the Olympics, one of the most emotional parts of the games is the relays, the science of which is the effective passing of the baton from one athlete to another. Those who master this feat in human athleticism and ultimately win their respective games, must have a number of things correct: (1) They must correctly transfer the baton from the exhausted athlete to the one standing in wait, (2) the waiting athlete must carry to the finish line the same baton that was “handed down,” or delivered at the start of the race, (3) the transferred baton must be carried with a sense of urgency and duty while the athlete endures the grueling competition from the fast-stepping thuds of their challengers for the prize, and (4), it is utterly pointless for an athlete, even with Bolt-like speed, to break the finish line without the baton in hand, and expect to win the prize! Such an athlete would be disqualified for that race.
My objective here is not to give the mechanics of good baton transfers in a competitive athletic relay, but to learn from this man-made sport the value of the sacred treasure with which we have been entrusted, and commanded to earnestly contend for, as we faithfully transmit it from one generation to the next.
There are today many Christian apologists who will lisp Jude 1: 3, and present themselves as the defenders of the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints, yet they break with impunity God’s holy commandments, “and teach men so,” (Matt. 5: 19!), and expect for their wilful transgression to be specially honored of Christ, and called “great in the kingdom of heaven!” It is high time then for us to examine the baton of purported truth we see in the Christian world today, and determine if it is the same baton of truth which was “handed down” by the three principals in this life-enduring relay. To do this, we must examine the record of what they taught and practiced, and compare it against what we have today. If there is a “different baton” of truth today, we must take one more step—determine where, when and by whom the change has occurred.
In Leviticus 23, there are some important “convocations” listed by our Creator, of which He takes ownership, and commands us to commemorate to His name’s honor and glory. These He transmitted to the Prophets, and when Jesus Christ came, He too observed them, and taught them to His disciples. For His parting message to them, He gave the following commissioning words for all times, till “the end” of the age:
“(19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Matt. 28: 19, 20.
Of interest here, is the observance of “all things” whichHe has commanded us to “observe” and “teach.” Did they include all the special church appointed and highly commercialized days we now see afoot, or do they contain God’s Holy Days that are now largely forgotten by the church and the masses? Let us see the record:
The Holy Days In Lev. 23
- The Festival of Sabbath: “(2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. (3) Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (4) These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
- The Festival of Passover: “(5) In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover.”
- The Festival of Unleavened Bread: “(6) And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. (7) In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein… (8) in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.”
- The Festival of Wave Sheaf: “(10) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (11) And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”
- The Festival of Weeks, or The Feast of Pentecost: “(15) And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: (16) Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; … (21) And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.”
- The Festival of Trumpets: “(24) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, in the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (25) Ye shall do no servile work therein.”
- The Day of Atonement: “(27) Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. (28) And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.”
- The Feast of Tabernacles: “(34) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. (35) On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein…on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you… it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (37) These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations…everything upon his day. (39) Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath… (41) And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.”
When Was This Baton Of Truth Changed?
With the above catalogue of divinely appointed holy days, which were “handed down” to us by the Founder of our faith, clearly identified, we must now consult church history to see when this order had been changed, and if He authorized it. The evidence is clear that somewhere along the path of time, since the death of the faithful Apostles, the sacred baton of truth has been switched on us, and a new baton has been extended to the church in its place! The Christian Church was set apart as the trustees to whom was bequeathed this sacred trust—the divine baton of truth, to be kept unsullied from the encroachments of heathenism, the superstitions of paganism or the denegation of modernism. Till her glorious presentation on the grand coronation day for all saints (2 Tim. 4: 8), the saints are to walk in the light of “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 14: 12). But alas! Those commandments have been changed and otherwise tampered with by an interloper, who is no more pious than were the Scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s days!
This new baton, which many who are ignorant hold as “the original”, operates at the exclusion and absolute negation of YHWH’s Holy Days! We know this to be true simply on account of the fact that this verily might be the first time the reader has confronted these divine requirements, which have been laid down by the Almighty One in the Scriptures, given for all true worshippers to observe. And since these divinely appointed Holy Days are very unfamiliar to Christians in general, and have been relegated by theologians as “Jewish feasts” in particular, we must again ask the question: By Whom, Where and When were these holy assemblies removed from the liturgical calendar of the Christian church? I believe I have found the answer, and will now share it with you, in hopes that it will not simply give you an intellectual ascent to the confession of truth, but a heart surrender to the Author of Truth. Here is the record:
April 26, 1902
Dear Friend: Your note was forwarded to me here where I reside at present. …I still offer $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me, from the Bible alone, that I am bound under pain of grievous sin to keep Sunday holy. We keep Sunday in obedience to the law of the Catholic Church. The Church made this law long after the Bible was written; hence the law is not in the Bible. The Catholic Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the Jewish Festivals.
Those who deny the authority of the Catholic Church and obey only the Bible must answer correctly the following: 1. Where does the Bible teach that we must keep Sunday holy; 2. Where does it teach that we must keep Sunday once a week and not once a year like Christmas; 3. Where does it teach that we must keep Easter always on the 1st Sunday after the full moon of the Vernal Equinox; 4. In Lev 23 you find 7 holy days binding as strictly as the Sabbath. Where does the Bible say that they are abolished? … Here also you obey the Catholic Church and not the Bible.”
Signed, T. Enright CSSR. The Mission Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, Detroit, Michigan. [Italics and emphasis added.]
So, we see in this letter how Cardinal Enright has correctly informed us that it was the Roman Catholic Church (his own denomination), “long after the Bible was written,” that has been the responsible party for these changes in the Christian Church’s worship calendar. In other words, the Church of Rome has deliberately changed the baton that was “handed down” by the fathers to the Saints for future ages! Prophesy has actually placed us on alert that such a day would have come. Speaking of Papal Rome, the Lord through Daniel declared: “He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.” Dan. 7: 25, NLT. In light of this prophecy, it is worth repeating a line from the Cardinal’s letter, juxtaposed with the prophetic pen of Inspiration:
|“The Catholic Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the Jewish Festivals.”||“He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws.”|
Do you see how the “he,” of Dan 7: 25 accurately forecasts the mission of the Roman Catholic Church, who has accepted responsibility for having “abolished” what is today represented as “Jewish Festivals”? The evidence is clear also, that what is today pawned off as the original baton of truth, handed down by the three principals in Eph. 2: 20, is a false baton, one that was “changed,” and when we get to the finishing line we shall be disqualified by the Master, on the grounds of having ran a bogus relay, so to speak. In more accurate Biblical language, this is how the Founder of our Faith sees it:
“(11) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: (12) and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” Matt. 22: 11, 12, KJV.
The servant was rendered “speechless” because he knew his master’s will and failed to do it—he wilfully refused to correctly attire for the sumptuous wedding feast. There is another wedding festival to which we are invited, and Christ is calling you today, he is calling me today to start our wedding festival dress rehearsals, and in our obedience to His Torah, we will have honored all His requirements.
“(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” Matt. 7: 21-24, KJV.
Since we are saved unto good works, let us be obedient to all that he has taught us in Lev. 23, and teach men so, for said He, “ye shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
On the question of whose authority changed the holy appointed festivals which were handed down to the Church by the three principals in Eph. 2: 20, here is the Roman Catholic Philosopher and patron saint, Saint Thomas Aquinas:
“As to the Sabbath, which was a sign recalling the first creation, its place is taken by the Lord’s Day, which recalls the beginning of the new creature in the Resurrection of Christ. In like manner other solemnities of the Old Law are supplanted by new solemnities because the blessings vouchsafed to that people foreshadowed the favours granted us by Christ. Hence the feast of the Passover gave place to the feast of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection; the feast of Pentecost when the Old Law was given, to the feast of Pentecost on which was given the Law of the living spirit; the feast of the New Moon, to the feast of the Blessed Virgin, when appeared the first rays of the sun, that is Christ, by the fullness of grace; the feast of Trumpets, to the feasts of the Apostles; the feast of Expiation [Day of Atonement], to the feasts of Martyrs and Confessors; the feast of Tabernacles, to the feast of the Church Dedication; the feast of the Assembly and Collection, to the feast of the Angels, or else to the feasts of All Saints.”—Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Question 103, Of The Duration Of The Ceremonial Precepts, Article 3. [Added]; Also found in The “Summa Theologica” of St. Thomas Aquinas, Volume 6, pp. 233-234; also at: Google Books
Saint Thomas’ theology, you see, is a direct repudiation against and replacement of, the divinely appointed holy convocations called forth in Lev. 23. In obedience to that command, I dutifully urge you to take pause and contemplate all that we have discussed up to this point, and make a Joshua-like commitment to yourself and to the Most High, YHWH: “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.” Jos 24:15.
There is a lot of competition going around these days, and the seekers of attention are self, at the exclusion of the Creator—the God of heaven and earth—YHWH. At its core, sin is defined as self-worship, by our installing another Deity between us other than YHWH, thereby making a god out of ourselves in rivalry to Him. And this principle has led an entire generation in disobedience to His commandments, statutes and judgments.
Today, you and I have the opportunity, and yea, the high calling to change the Church and the World for Y’shuah’s sake. As a denomination, we did this with the Sabbath, at a time when the general Christian world called the first day of the week the Sabbath. We can start now, with the rediscovery of the original baton of truth, by giving heed to all his commandments and appointed times so clearly outlined for us in Leviticus 23. Let us start this tradition today, “and teach men so.” How wonderful to the cause of truth and righteousness if the World Church should today embrace the totality of the Torah in its theology and practice! There are some shocking beneficial results which will follow, among these will be a revival and reformation of true worship, a respectful name for Christianity, a revival of primitive godliness, the evangelization of the world, and the ushering of the Messiah’s Kingdom of glory. The days are coming, and yea, they are at the doors when this prophecy will be fulfilled:
“Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” Nahum 1: 15.
Let us hasten that glad day, by His grace—the day when Judah keeps her solemn feasts, the day when “the wicked,” the tares, are no longer comingled with the righteous, the day when YHWH’s kingdom is restored! O Christian, perform your vows and “keep His solemn feasts!”
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