|Galatians 4:9-11 |
9 But now that you have known God, or rather are known by God, how can you turn again to the rules and traditions of the world's culture. Do you wish to be in bondage again?
10 You observe days, and months, and times, and years.
11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored among you in vain.2
2 But now that you have known God, or rather are known by God, how can you turn again to the rules and traditions of the world's culture. Do you wish to be in bondage again? You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored among you in vain. Now here you may see, observing of the Jewish days, months, times, and years, is condemned by Paul. In addition therefore, any religious group that observes any day differently than all days is following the traditions of the world, and that is a bondage to the world.
But now that you have known God, or rather are known by God, how can you turn again to the rules and traditions of the world's culture. Do you wish to be in bondage again? Gal 4:9
Even so, when we were children, we were in slavery under the elementary rules and traditions of the world's culture. Gal 4:3
Regarding observing special days, Paul was tolerant, allowing one man to esteem one day above another, and another to esteem every day alike, and similarly about foods, and not to judge one another; "But let him, he said, be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Yet to those Galatians, among whom he had labored intensely, he condemns the observation of days, months, times, and years; and he condemned Gentiles becoming circumcised in hopes of attaining righteousness. While observation of a day is a matter of individual conscience, (in which one should be fully persuaded), for a group of believers to observe a special day is definitely wrong, and a form of religion, which is condemned by Paul: But now that you have known God, or rather are known by God, how can you turn again to the rules and traditions of the world's culture. Do you wish to be in bondage again? You observe days, and months, and times and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored among you in vain. Gal 4:9-11. And if your church leader says you should observe certain days, or certain foods, you are listening to a false prophet; as Paul says: "Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days." Col 2:16. So an individual can choose to celebrate certain days; but the church, as policy or rule, cannot; for that is a form of law. If necessary, the Lord will tell that individual continuing to observe certain days, which ones to stop; thus maintaining freedom of individual conscience.
Because the early Quakers were arrested, assaulted, fined, and had their goods seized for keeping their shops open on "Holy Days," (called holidays now), George Fox wrote extensively how the observation of days was against true Christianity and scripture. The following is extracted from one of his many writings on this subject:
We have greatly suffered both imprisonments, and the spoiling of our goods, because we could not observe your holy-days, as you call them, and for opening of our shops we have been much assaulted by the rude multitudes, and sometimes our goods have been spoiled, and we are cast into prison; especially, because we could not observe [close our shops] that you call Christmas day. Now was not Christmas day set up by the Papists, and also your Candlemas, and Michaelmas, and Childermas, and Lammas, were not all these masses set up by the Papists, and not by Christ and his apostles? and are they not their relics of Popery? And did the apostles command that the christians should observe Easter, the Jews' passover, or Whitsuntide, the Jews' Pentecost, in the gospel day, in the new covenant and testament?
And again, did Christ and the apostles command the christians to observe circumcision, and the epiphany, and the purification of Mary, St. Matthew's day, Ash Wednesday, the Annunciation, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Mark the evangelist's day, Philip and Jacob's day, and Holy Thursday, St. Barnabas, Trinity Sunday, John Baptist's day, Peter and James's day, Bartholomew's day, Simon and Jude's day, All Saints' day, Andrew's day, Thomas's day, Stephen's day, John the evangelist's day, and Innocents' day, and Paul's day of his conversion, and that they should observe all these days in their several months and years; where did ever Christ and his apostles give the church command to observe these days, times, months and years? for the apostle Paul said, ‘I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.’ Acts 20:27.
Now, where did the apostle in all the counsel of God declare to the church of Christ, that they should observe these days before mentioned, in their times, months, and years? No, was not the apostle Paul so far from telling the church of Christ to observe Christ's day, or any of the apostles', or his own, that he said, ‘O you foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth,’ ... And also he said. ‘Are you so foolish having begun in the spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? But now after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, or rudiments, whereunto you desire again to be brought into slavery? You observe days and months, and times and years;’ the apostle said, ‘I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.’ Gal 3:1-3, 4:9-11.
But all you Protestants, consider, is not God, and Christ, and his truth and name more dishonored and blasphemed upon your holy-days [today called holidays], as you call them, than any other day in the week, when all are let loose to sports and plays, and all manner of vain pastimes, as they call it, and drunkenness, looseness, lightness, wantonness, oaths and profaneness, out of the very bounds of sobriety, modesty, and christian moderation, which should be showed forth by all the true christians? And those who turned again to the weak elements and rudiments, to which they were brought into slavery, in their observing days, months, times, and years; this was not a christian gospel practice in the new covenant; but a gospel and christian testimony and judgment, against those who did do so. And the apostle said, ‘Stand fast therefore in your liberty in which Christ has made you free, and do not become entangled again with the yoke of slavery,’ as some of the Galatians were; even going back into the Jewish circumcision, besides their observing of days, times, months, and years; and so it could not have been the spirit of God that led into such things. For the apostle calls them fools, and said, ‘Who has bewitched you, that you have begun in the spirit, and think to be made perfect in the flesh.’ And therefore I desire you in the spirit of meekness, that you may reform, and be reformed out of these weak elements and rudiments, which brought people into slavery in the apostles' days; and therefore they must also bring people into slavery now; for which you have no command from Christ, nor his apostles, but their testimony against them. Therefore I desire you may be reformed by the spirit of God into the primitive reformation, the apostles' testimony, practice, and judgment, and to stand fast in the liberty, where Christ makes free out of slavery, and not to force others to that which brings into slavery.
And did ever the Jews observe Abraham's day, or Isaac's, or Jacob's, or Moses', or Aaron's, or Joshua's, or any of the prophets of God's days? Though Abraham saw the day of Christ, and rejoiced, yet he did not say it was an outward day that he saw and observed, nor call it Christmas day, which you have from the pope, and not from Abraham, Christ, nor his apostles. As dark and as blind as the Jews were, yet we do not hear that they observed any of the days before mentioned, in the old testament. But Herod who observed his birthday, and made a feast to his lords and high captains, etc. and when the daughter of Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod, that he said, he would give her whatsoever she would ask, and her mother counseled her to ask John Baptist's head, which was given her in a charger; and here are their fruits of their dancings, and their bloody feast, to slay the just, though we do not hear that Herod, nor any, either in the old or new testament, had any command either from God or Christ so to do. Neither have the christians from Christ or his apostles to observe their days, birthdays, or others: for the apostle said to the Galatians that were turned again to the weak elements and rudiments, whereunto they had been brought into slavery, who observed days, and months, and times, and years, they did not obey the truth in that, before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth, and crucified among them. And do not they crucify Christ among them now, that observe days, months, times, and years? And do not they persecute and spoil the goods of those who obey the truth, and imprison those who cannot observe their days, times, months, and years? Look over all Christendom, I pray, both Protestants and Papists, and see if that birth born of the flesh, has not been persecuting that birth born of the spirit. Gal 4:29.
And where did ever Christ or the apostles command Lent to be kept, and Shrove-Tuesday, and many more holy-days, as you call them, that might be mentioned? And is not there a great deal of rudeness and wickedness committed on that day you call Shrove-Tuesday, throughout the land? And is it not time for you to reform from these heathenish and Popish customs, by the spirit of sobriety and modesty, and that your moderation may appear, that you are christians in nature and deed. I pray, be not offended with such true christians, as cannot in conscience observe such things. And have you not received the names that you give to most of your days and months, from the heathen and Papists, and not from the prophets, Christ, or his apostles? And were not the old pagan Saxons in their idolatry, the first that brought in the names of the days after this manner, and these called christians have retained them to this day.
In addition to the so-called religious holidays, (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc), the same applies to "cultural holidays" such as those observed in the USA: Labor Day, Independence Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, New Year's Day, Halloween, Columbus Day, President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Valentine's Day, Cinco de Mayo, etc.
If you are not yet convinced that the Lord disapproves celebration of special days, assuming you are waiting on him persistently, expect Him to eventually give you explicit commands regarding the cessation of days you continue to observe.
Having read the history of Christmas and Easter, we had given them both up years ago without being commanded. The first holidays that the Lord commanded me to forego were USA Independence Day and Thanksgiving. We gave up Independence Day immediately and resolved not to celebrate Thanksgiving again. As Thanksgiving approached, my sister called and said that she was traveling to my mother's for Thanksgiving, and that we should come too. I decided to go and arrive in the evening after the Thanksgiving dinner; so I made flight reservations accordingly. I didn't inform my sister until a few days before Thanksgiving; when I told her my expected arrival, she said they would simply make the dinner to be later after my arrival. In error I decided to go ahead and fly there. Our flight had a stop and change of planes in Dallas where there was a storm of sleet, snow, and freezing rain. Airport personnel delayed the connecting flight while they sprayed the plane's wings and engines with a deicer. As the connecting flight was accelerating on the runway, suddenly an engine exploded, apparently from ice in it. We returned to the terminal, and waited several hours for another plane to become available. The second plane was also deiced. Hoping to compensate the passengers for the significant delay, free alcoholic drinks were served as we waited for take-off. As the plane was taking off, it also had an engine blow up on the runway; this time there was a significant smell of fuel in the cabin. Passengers, some drunk, were going bonkers in fear; one drunk woman, directly across the aisle from me, fumbled for cigarettes and lit one in the midst of the fuel fumes as she cried out for her estranged ex-husband. I got up, took the cigarette from her, and extinguished it; then I spoke sympathetically to her to calm her down until the stewardesses came and took over. We returned to the terminal and were told we would have to spend the night in Dallas because another plane was not available until the next day. As we stood in line waiting to receive motel and meal vouchers, one of the passengers who has secured his vouchers came back along the line and stood directly in front of me, (but not looking directly at me), and angrily shouted, "someone was not supposed to be on this flight." Fortunately no one was hurt, just inconvenienced. The airline and airport were very puzzled as to why the engines blew up; they sent both engines to the airline's headquarters for analysis.
Since that time, we have not wavered in giving up all holidays, including the last command to forego birthday get-togethers of our sons, daughters-in-law, and even our young grandson.