By S. Leonard Tyler
A series of holidays is approaching, and for the most part we expect to enjoy and appreciate them. They afford the working class (which most of us are) a time for relaxation, recreation, visitation, or whatever. Everybody needs some time off from the regular routine of things to re-vitalize his mind and body. In fact, it is good that holidays come around once in a while for a vacation.
Man has right to set aside a day or week for a national holiday or season. He has the prerogative to dedicate it to some person or event worthy of national recognition. Man must also prescribe the law by which this is to be commemorated and all citizens, everything else being equal, have the privilege of sharing in the celebration. Holidays give relief, rest, recreation and needed vacations. We should use them wisely.
Man does not have the prerogative to establish Holy Days nor to make laws to govern divine appointments. This prerogative belongs only to God. Holiness is predicated of God and only through His divine appointments can anything be holy unto Him. Man can become holy only through complete commitment to God’s Will. If and when man speaks for God without instructions from God, he speaks presumptuously and usurps the authority of Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-2) to his own alienation from God (2 John 9). A presumptuous voice is and has always been denounced as fatal in the Bible (please read: Num. 15:30-31; Deut. 18:20; Ps. 19:13; Matt. 15:3, 9; 2 John 9:1; 1 Peter 4:11).
Christ is the absolute, all sufficient and only mouthpiece and mediator between God and men (Matt. 28:18; Heb. 1:2; 1 Tim. 2:5). His word is revealed in the New Testament (Heb. 7:12, 22:28, 8:6-13, 12:25). If the New Testament teaches it, it must be accepted regardless of any other voice (Acts 4:19-20, 5:19). If the New Testament does not authorize it, it must be rejected with the same determination and confidence. Notwithstanding, there are many religious festivals and holy days celebrated without Biblical authority. These are man made and traditionally bound but have no scriptural foundation (Matt. 15:3, 9). Any individual or group conforming to traditional practices and doctrines of men, should not even claim the Bible as their complete and only standard of measurement.
The Roman Catholic Church has established and celebrates many religious festivals and holy days. However, she does not accept the Bible as her complete authority. She boldly, blatantly and confidently refutes, denies and rejects the Bible as a sufficient and final guide. She vehemently denies that one can even understand what is revealed in the New Testament. The Roman Church must explain it and claims infallibility in so doing.
Mr. Richard Brennan translated Mr. L.C. Businger’s History of the Catholic Church with a sketch of the Church in America by John Gilmary Shea and on pages 101 and 102 he states,
“The seven most important festivals of our Lord are his Nativity, or Christmas Day; his Circumcision; his Manifestation to the Gentiles or Epiphany; his Resurrection or Easter Day; his Ascension into heaven; the Descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost or Whitsunday, and the feast of his Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar, or Corpus Christi. Christmas was celebrated certainly as early as the year 140 (Think, the last apostle died about 95 A.D. SLT.), although at that time it was kept on the sixth of January, together with the festival of the three kings.”
He states that in 340 Pope Julius I, ordered a thorough research to establish a definite date and accepted December 25, 340. This was some 245 years after the death of the last apostle and the completing of the New Testament.
We might also note: Not a single one of these seven most important festivals are taught or were kept by Christians in the New Testament as the Roman Church prescribes and keeps them. Any doctrine coming from the Roman Catholic Church is just as human as coming from any other religious denomination. Human traditions and commandments are just as human coming from one human as they are coming from another human or any conclave of humans. The Roman Catholic Church assumes the prerogative and usurps the authority to speak just as authoritatively as the New Testament. Listen to their own questions and answers.
29. From whom alone can we know the true sense of Holy Scripture?
We can know the true sense of Holy Scriptures from the Church alone; because the Church alone cannot err in interpreting it.
30. May no one, then, presume to explain the Scripture contrary to the interpretation of the Catholic Church?
No; for this would be as if he understood the Scripture better than the Holy Ghost, who inspires the Church with the true meaning of it.
31. But is the meaning of the Holy Scriptures not clear in itself, and easy to be understood by every one?
No; for the Holy Scripture is a Divine and mysterious book .
32. Is it not, then, true that the Bible and Traditions, both infallibly interpreted by the Church, are the right Rule of Faith.
33. Is it enough to believe only those doctrines which are contained in the Holy Scriptures?
No; we must also believe Tradition – i.e., those revealed truths which the apostles preached, but did not commit to writing.
34. Can the Church also suppress holy days? As she has full power to institute holy days, so she has also a right to suppress them . . . (Complete Catechism of the Catholic Religion, from the German of Jospeh Deharbe, S.J., pp. 79-80, 215).
The Roman Church tells what the apostles did not write and she also interprets what they wrote – And No Questions, Please! Yes, the Roman Church claims absolute authority over all people religiously. There is no wonder, to me why many in the Catholic Church are rebelling and hold strong aversions to the infallibility of the Church and its Pope.
The Roman Church can have whatsoever she wants. She calls the names and sets the standards by her own self-acclaimed but pseudo-right. You can only answer “Yes Sir,” and submit to her commands.
Holidays? Well and good, so long as they are used in right living for good.
Holy days? Never! Unless they are ordained and revealed in the New Testament.
Therefore one may keep a holiday as a holiday by visiting, giving gifts, eating turkey, hunting eggs, trick or treat, or whatever within reasonable bounds.
Holy days belong to the Lord and must be ordained by Him. If anything is ordained of God for His people, the New Testament must authorize it.
Paul wrote the Galatians, “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid ofyou, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Gal. 4:10). It is one thing to keep certain days or eat certain foods for one’s own pleasure and fancy but essentially another to bind it upon the Lord’s church as a religious observance (Rom. 14:5-23).
Man needs faith sufficient to accept God’s appointments as all-sufficient and to observe them with his whole being, soul, and body, with complete confidennce and fulfilment. “Faith which worketh by love” is what counts with God (Gal. 5:6). Herein peace, unity, accomplishment, joy and salvation are all enjoyed without the disruption, division and heartache brought about through commandments and traditions of men (Matt. 15:3, 9; 1 Tim. 6:3-6). Herein is salvation’. What more can one expect? Religion is not for carnal, selfish fun and for frolic. It is to bind one back to God (2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 2:16). Saving faith moves one to commit himself completely to God’s way with absolute confidence and contentment.
The first day of the week is fhe,Lord’s day (Rev. 1:10). The early disciples met, partook of the Lord’s supper, gave of their means, and worshipped .God (1 Cor. 11:23-31; Acts 20:; 1 Cor. 16:2). This is the/time, the first day of the week, that the Lord’s people met to commemorate the Lord’s death until he comes again (1 Cor. 11:26).
Why is not the Lord’s way /sufficient? Holy days belong unto the Lord. Man dare not invade the Lord’s prerogative to establish and bind holy days upon the Lord’s people (2 John 9). Man can make, design, and observe holidays but Holy days belong unto the Lord.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 14, pp. 234-235
April 5, 1979