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    Thanksgiving Day (USA)

    Posted by Lev/Christopher on November 24, 2009 at 2:40am
    in Non-Biblical Festivals

    We are often asked what our view of Thanksgiving (on the fourth Thursday in November) is. Is it a pagan-inspired American festival or is is a harmless national festival that can be used to honour Yahweh? we discuss the issues raised in this thread.


    THANKSGIVING DAY: Oh No! Pagan Too?!

    By Bradley Richardson

    Edited by Avram Yehoshua


    (Endnotes in red. Click on the number to go to endnote. Click the BACK button on your browser to return to the article)

    Before getting into the actual history of Thanksgiving, which may shock and surprise many people, lets look at two arguments for keeping it:

    'I don't keep Thanksgiving Day as a holy day. It's a national day of giving thanks for what God has provided. It's not a holy day.'
    Isn't this the response many use for justifying Christmas and Easter? Many who observe those pagan days do not keep them as pagan holy days but observe them none the less. But is it right to keep them? The Catholic Church expects all good Catholics to be in church those days and Thanksgiving Day also. There are many Protestant churches that keep the day as holy too. (Holy literally means, 'set apart' and in this case, for religious observance, by attending church.)

    Thanksgiving Day is 'not from pagan times, hence, we are at liberty to keep it, and God will appreciate it.'

    God's Word commands us to not be like the pagans and heathens, to not worship Him like they do (Deuteronomy 12:28-32). Remember, pagan people set up their own or have their own 'holy days.'

    It's hard to understand one's stand concerning the right to keep Thanksgiving Day. Even if it didn't go back to pagan times, which it does, have pagan times ended? At some point the pagan 'holy days' were only a few years old. Did that make them anymore right then?

    Thanksgiving Day is not a day ordained or authorized by God for His People. Yet it is considered by many who love the Lord, to be a holy day. A lady, upon finding out that I didn't keep Thanksgiving said, 'Why, isn't it a Christian holiday?' And this woman doesn't even go to church! What kind of a witness to the Living God do they proclaim who observe days that God has not ordained, but pass it off as His? Is this not how the Pharisees acted, when they made up traditions that went against the Word of God, and proclaimed that the tradition was of God?

    Please realize how silly we sound when we tell someone not to keep Christmas and Easter, etc., because they're pagan, but that it's alright to keep Thanksgiving Day. Sure, God didn't say to do it, but He's sure to appreciate it.

    For those of us who keep God's Holy Days, found in Leviticus 23, please consider this: Just what is Thanksgiving Day? The Church proclaims it a holiday (holy day), for the purpose of giving thanks to God for the many blessings we have received, especially agriculturally. Quoting a 6 year old, after hearing the last line, he said, 'That's what we do for the seven days of Sucote (Feast of Tabernacles).' Out of the mouth of babes...

    Why do we need another fall harvest Festival?! God has given us Sucote (Lev. 23:33-44). It seems apparent that to keep Sucote, and then to keep, only 30 or so days later, another harvest day of thanks to God, is not only repetitious but very strange. Thanksgiving Day is an outright copy of Sucote. The Counterfeiter has struck again! Did you ever wonder why the majority of God's People don't keep the days He has designated as holy? The majority are deceived by Satan. The majority also keep Thanksgiving Day. For those of us whom He has called out of Babylon, this ought to be cause for concern.

    Most history books would like to convince us that Thanksgiving Day goes back to only Plymouth Rock in the 1600's. Plymouth Rock was not the first Thanksgiving Day though. (Ever wonder why Canada has a Thanksgiving Day also?) This pagan feast, honoring the agricultural gods, goes back thousands of years, in one form or another.

    'Thanksgiving Day, in the United States and Canada, a day set apart for the giving of thanks to God for the blessings of the year. Originally, it was a harvest thanksgiving, and while the purpose has become less specific, the festival still takes place late in autumn, after the crops have been gathered.' Indeed, it is probably an outgrowth of the Harvest-Home celebrations in England. Such celebrations are of very ancient origin, being nearly universal among primitive peoples.'1

    'The first Thanksgiving in the New World' (notice the wording, not the first, but just the first in the New World), 'however, was not merely a feast, there were prayers and sermons and songs of praise; and three days had gone by before the Indians returned to their forest and the colonists to their tasks.'2

    'In 1789...the Protestant Episcopal Church in America announced the first Thursday in November as a regular annual day for giving thanks.'3

    'It was not until 1888 however, that the Roman Catholic Church formally recognized the day.'4

    Throughout the country, 'but especially in New England, where the custom originated, the day is looked upon with great reverence.'5 (This sounds like a holy day, or a day set apart, to me. This is what happens on Christmas and Easter.)

    'Thanksgiving Day in Canada. The Dominion too, has an annual Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated in much the same way, with family reunions and religious services.'6 (Note well: 'religious services.')

    How can this be a religious day? Where does God tell us to celebrate it?

    'It is proclaimed by the Governor General as a harvest festival, but although it is a public statutory holiday, it is not traditional in date. Usually, it falls on the last Monday in October, but if harvest is especially early, an earlier date may be appointed.'7

    'When the corn crop was gathered in the fall of 1621, Governor Bradford decreed a day of Thanksgiving.'8 (Please note well the crop: corn. This will be important later in the paper.)

    'Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for the harvest and for other blessing of the past year...Gov. Bradford of Plymouth Colony ordered the day for feasting and thanks.'9

    'Although we have nationalized Thanksgiving, celebrations were held in ancient times to give thanks for the bountiful harvest. The Greeks honored Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, with a 9 day celebration; the Romans honored Ceres, Anglo-Saxons rejoiced with a feast to celebrate the reaping of the harvest; and the Jews have given thanks for the bountiful harvest with their 8 day Feast of Tabernacles.'10

    'Thanksgiving is a sports holiday...It is a religious holiday (welcomes the Christmas season), as well as a civil holiday (most offices and shops are closed).'11

    The writer called it a 'religious holiday.' Why are God's People keeping this day? Let us pull away and ask for His Forgiveness, for walking in a pagan day of giving thanks that Satan has set up.

    'Thanksgiving is...a giving of thanks for divine bounty. Churches of all denominations are open for services on this particular Thursday every year...Quite as important as worship on this day is the renewal of family ties.'12

    'Pilgrims and Indians, turkey and pumpkin pie are so much a part of the American tradition that it is hard for us to realize that the beginnings of Thanksgiving go back not only to the Old World but to the early world. The Pilgrims frowned on all the holidays of merry England and refused to celebrate even Christmas because they knew of its pagan origins.'13

    'In proclaiming a day of Thanksgiving after the crops were gathered and before winter set in, they may have taken a hint from the Old Testament, but they certainly did not know that they were acting in a tradition which went back to the time when men first began to sow and reap. Long before the dwellers by the Nile learned to measure the year, or dreamed of building pyramids, all people who grew grain gave thanks at harvest time to the beings who had given them their daily bread for the hard winter months. Moreover, these ancient farmers sensed in the changing seasons and in the cycle of seed to plant to seed again, the miracle of death and resurrection and turned their wonder at it into legends.'14

    'The Old Testament includes many references to harvest festivals...It is recorded that Moses gave instructions to the Hebrews for the celebrations of their harvest festival, which was called the Feast of Tabernacles.'15

    Yeshua (Jesus), observed Sucote (Tabernacles), every year of His life.16 And with good reason, for He gave it to His People Israel as a reminder of the food He provided for Israel in the Wilderness, the present harvest, and the spiritual Harvest to come, when God would feed His People from His Son.

    'Even before biblical times the ancient people of the Mediterranean Basin held festivals at harvest time in honor of the earth mother. The goddess of the corn ('corn' being the European term for any grain; Indian corn (American corn), is called maize), was always one of the most important deities in the hierarchy of the gods, and her child was the young god of vegetation.'17

    'The ancient Semites called the earth mother Astarte...The Phrygians called her Semele...The Minoans had an earth mother for each district. All these local deities were absorbed by the Greeks into the one great goddess, Demeter.'18

    'Besides eating, feasting, etc. the married women practiced special rites. Under the cover of night, the women spent the next day bathing nude in the sea and dancing and playing games on the shore. Then they fasted, sang songs, then feasted, sang, and had general gaiety. All this lasted over a period of several days.'19

    'The Roman harvest festival...was called the Cerelia, after Ceres, the Roman goddess of the corn.'20

    'With the acceptance of Christianity as the official religion of Rome and the conversion of the barbarians who had invaded the crumbling Empire, these pagan rituals were frowned upon and even forbidden by law. However, the peasants clung to them with a tenacity which has made the word 'pagan' (originally meaning simply 'a villager'), a synonym for 'heathen.' As late as the sixth century ... St. Benedict ... found the local peasantry worshiping Apollo in a sacred grove. Even after conversion, old habits and beliefs died hard, and the church was too busy trying to keep the flame of civilization alive to trouble with minor heresies.'21

    'The benevolent earth mother ... blended with the equally benevolent mother of Christ. Folk memory of local deities fused with the Christian tales of saints to provide patrons for villages, and the white robed goddess of grain lived on in various guises. To those who live close to the soil, the harvest has an emotional and religious significance ... their gratitude finds expression in rites in honor of the being who they feel is most closely related to fruitfulness; a being of warm earth, rather then cold heaven.'22

    'Even today a half pagan belief in the corn mother still survives among the peasant's in many parts of Europe.'23

    'The Pilgrims undoubtedly brought memories of such English harvest home celebrations with them when they came to the new world. They had also witnessed 'thanksgiving' ceremonies during their sojourn in Holland ... The Pilgrims themselves would have denied that the Thanksgiving feast in honor of their first harvest in 1621 was evoked by memories of the profane practices of the old world; however, all revolutionaries, political or religious, once their goal is accomplished, turn back to the patterns of the society in which they have been reared, and the Pilgrims, at the time of the first Thanksgiving, were no exception.'24

    Abraham Lincoln declared on Oct. 3, 1863, after Thanksgiving had become a national holiday, that all in the United States should 'set apart' and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.'25

    'The day is fixed by proclamation of the president. It is an annual festival of thanks for the mercies of the closing year, celebrated by prayers and feasting.'26

    'The earliest harvest Thanksgiving in this country was held by the Pilgrim fathers at Plymouth Colony in 1621. But long before the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving dinner, harvest festivals were observed in this country. Among the North Dakota tribes, the corn spirit was known as the 'old woman who never dies.'27

    'In Peru, the ancient Indians worshiped the 'Mother of Maize' and tried every year to persuade her to bring in another good harvest. In Europe, the Austrians also had a 'Corn Mother' doll, fashioned from the last sheaf of grain cut in the field and then brought home to the village in the last wagon.'28 (God uses the first sheaf to dedicate the forthcoming crop, which Satan draws attention to the last sheaf for next year's crop! (Lev.23:5-12) And Yeshua is said to be the First Fruits or First Sheaf of the Resurrection from the dead (1st Corin. 15:20: 'But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.').

    'In Upper Burma, the friends of the household are invited to the barn for a feast when the rice has been piled in the husks on the threshing floor. After a prayer to the 'father and mother' for a good harvest next year, 'then, much as we do, the entire party celebrates this year's harvest with a feast.'29

    A substantial portion of our ancestors came from England in 1621. Looking into English history we can determine why they celebrated this feast. 'Thanksgiving for the harvest is one of the oldest and the most joyous festivals that man has created.'30

    'Most of the pagan customs that gathered round the harvest season have either disappeared or have sunk under the weight of Christian disapproval and have radically changed. Today, the climax of the season is the picturesque but genteel harvest festival celebrated in churches.'31

    'However innocuous harvest rites are today, they are a relic of the great drama of the season when the fruits of the earth were collected and the means of life ensured for another year, and the thankfulness had a hidden stratum of cruelty.'32

    'The leading role in the drama was taken by Ceres, the Roman Corn Goddess. In Britain she was later known by several names: the Maiden, the Harvest Queen, the Kern or Corn Baby, the Kern Doll, the Ivy Girl, the Neck and the Mare. Sometimes she was simply the stalks of corn and sometimes she was represented by a sheaf dressed in many colored clothes which were decorated with flowing ribbons and the finest lace. Whatever her form, she dominated the banquets, harvest suppers, and merry making of early times.33 (Remember the wicker horn baskets holding vegetables, fruits, etc.?)

    'The Kern Baby' an image, 'was made either from the last of the corn left standing ... or from the biggest and ripest ears to be found in the fields. The spirit herself dwelt in the corn, and mere mortals shirked the responsibility of cutting her down. So, often the act was left to chance. All those present, threw their sickles at the lone sheaf from a respectable distance and thus no one could be said to have deliberately performed the act. In the depths of folk memory, there was still the awareness of the death and resurrection cycle. The vegetation deity of the remote past needed to be propitiated by a human sacrifice.'34

    'When the feast was over, the Kern Baby was taken to the farm house and kept there until the next harvest supper. The symbol of the previous years' harvest was ceremoniously burned in the farm yard.'35

    'The Kern Baby is by no means extinct, and can be seen in some churches as part of the harvest festival decorations, though she has been divested of her diving powers. At Little Walthem in Essex and Whalton in North Umberland for example, Kern Babies are attached to one of the pews, 'the custom of crying the neck,' once prevalent in the west of England, is still observed here and there, though now it is incorporated in the harvest festival held in the church. The origin of the word 'Neck' or 'Nack' is obscure. It may come from an old Norse word for sheaf or corn or it may have a connection with 'Nix', a water spirit that is supposed to be from where we get Old Nick, one of the Devil's names.'36

    'Crying the neck: while the laborers were reaping the last field of wheat, one of them went to each group of sheaves and selected the best of the ears, which he then tied up neatly, 'plaiting and arranging the straws most tastefully.' When the laborer's work was done and the last of the wheat cut, the entire company of reapers, binders and gleaners would from a circle round the man with the neck. He then stooped down, grasped the neck with both hands and held it near to the earth. The people surrounding him removed their hats and held them downwards too, a gesture of homage to the soil which had nurtured the crops.'37

    'Most countries had their own special way of celebrating the 'ingathering' but they all sprang from the same pre-Christian impulse, the act of sacrifice which had to be performed at the end of the harvest ... The cries when the neck was held up were originally the wails of death, and the shouting and dancing which followed captured the joy of resurrection.'38

    Now we are aware that most Americans do not follow the rituals described above. Yet, does that make Thanksgiving Day right for us to observe? Is it acceptable for me to celebrate Christmas as long as I don't have a tree or yule log? Of course not. For Yahveh would not have His People to cling to any vestiges of practices that portray gods or spirits in food to be worshiped. We, who are coming out of worshiping Yeshua in the ways of Babylon, do not need to cling to a poor copy of what our God has given us in Sucote. Our need to thank Him for His Provision has already been ordained by God in the Feast of Tabernacles.

    Does Man have the right or the authority to ordain days of thanks to God? Or, has Man been given that authority by God? Yahveh answers whether or not Man can make his own religious days in counter-distinction to His, whether in ignorance or rebellion, when we see that the first king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, set up a day of festivity in the 8th month, the 15th day (approximately about the time Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States). Sucote occurs in the 7th month on the 15th day; generally mid-October. In the book of 1st Kings 12:26-13:5 we read:
    'And Jeroboam said in his heart, 'Now shall the kingdom return to the House of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the House of Yahveh at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam, King of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam, King of Judah.'

    'Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, Oh Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.'

    'And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.'

    'And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the Sons of Levi.'

    'And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel, the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the Children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.'

    'And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the Word of Yahveh unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the Word of Yahveh, and said, 'Oh altar, altar, thus says Yahveh; Behold, a child shall be born unto the House of David, Josiah by name; and upon you shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon you, and men's bones shall be burnt upon you.'

    'And he gave a sign the same day, saying, 'This is the sign which Yahveh has spoken; 'Behold, the altar shall be torn, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, 'Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.'

    'The altar also was torn, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the Word of Yahveh.'
    Jeroboam not only set up golden calves to be worshiped in place of Yahveh, and ordained ordinary men to the priesthood (the Levites having left the northern kingdom, not wanting to take part in the idolatry), but please notice the wording of the Scriptures in relating how the new feast came to be. The King James says that Jeroboam set up a feast in 'the month which he had devised of his own heart.' The NIV states, 'a month of his own choosing.' And we see that Jeroboam instituted a feast 'like the festival held in Judah' (1st Kings 12:32).

    Yahveh was angry with Jeroboam for doing this. The picture is very clear. We should not ignore the word of God in showing us that it was a substitute festival which would occur a month after Sucote, the time of 'Thanksgiving.'

    Is it possible that Jeroboam was instituting in the northern kingdom the 'Thanksgiving' of his day? He had lived outside the Land of Israel in the days of King Solomon and had come into contact with the pagan celebrations of the people in Egypt (1st Kings 11:40). Was he just 'borrowing' from them? It is Satan who copies with the intent of leading God's People astray. The Prophet Daniel spoke of Satan changing the 'times and the Law' in Daniel 7:25:
    'And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.'
    Thanksgiving Day was not acceptable to God 3,000 years ago. How could it be such today? The faithful general Joshua, was instructed to keep all the instructions that God had given to Israel, so that he and his sons after him would be blessed by Yahveh forever, doing what was good and right in the Eyes of Yahveh his God:
    'When Yahveh your God has annihilated in front of you the nations that you are to dispossess, and when you have dispossessed them and made your home in their country; be careful you are not caught in a trap: do not imitate them once they have been destroyed in front of you, or go inquiring after their gods saying, 'How did these nations worship their gods?, I will go and do the same.'

    'This is not the way for you to behave towards Yahveh your God. For Yahveh detests all this and hates what they have done for their gods; even burning their sons and daughters in the fire for their gods.'

    'Whatever I command you, you must be careful to do. You shall not add to, nor take away from it.' (Deuteronomy 12:28-32)
    If the ancient pagan peoples celebrated their form of Thanksgiving Day, why do Christians observe it? We must separate ourselves from all pagan days and walk in the Way of the God of Israel. For He has called us out of darkness, into His marvelous Light. He is our God and we must follow Him. When we celebrate His Holy Days, we reflect to the world the True God who provides for our every need. When we celebrate pagan holy days 'in honor of Jesus' we present a distorted and perverted picture of the One who is Truth.

    World Book Encyclopedia, 1942 Edition, article entitled, Thanksgiving Day.
    Special Days: History, Folklore, and What Not by Sharon Cade, 1984.
    We Gather Together: The Story of Thanksgiving, by Ralph and Adeline Linton, 1949.
    Deut. 16:16: 'Three times in a year shall all your males appear before Yahveh your God in the place which he shall choose; in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles,...'
    We Gather Together: The Story of Thanksgiving, by Ralph and Adeline Linton, 1949.
    Organic Gardening and Farming, Nov. 1975, page 132ff, the article entitled, Thanksgiving Day.
    A Year of Festivals: A Guide to British Calendar Customs, by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd, 1972.


    Should You Celebrate Thanksgiving Day?

    Thanksgiving Day, as celebrated in North America, is a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings enjoyed by these nations and their citizens. However, to many people, its meaning is lost. It has become simply another day for huge meals, dinner parties, get-togethers or reunions. What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

    Turkey dinners, cranberries, candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and family gatherings—these are all commonly associated with most Americans’ and Canadians’ yearly celebration of giving thanks—Thanksgiving Day!
    In the United States, Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday of November. In Canada, it is the second Monday in October. On this holiday, a Thanksgiving meal is prepared with all the trimmings; families gather together and talk, while others watch a game or a parade filled with pilgrims, Indians and other colonial figures. Some families may even have their own yearly Thanksgiving traditions.
    What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Do you picture a time of thankfulness towards God—or is it merely one of eating, partying or watching football?

    Sadly, the latter is what Thanksgiving has become to most. They have forgotten why the day was established. Its meaning has slowly deteriorated, and is now almost completely lost under a cloud of media hype, sales pitches, marketing tactics and blitz commercialism.
    While many are familiar with the traditional representation of the original Thanksgiving, it is helpful to examine the purpose for which it was first celebrated. By doing this, the day’s meaning will be firmly established.
    The Origin of Thanksgiving Day
    In August 1620, the Mayflower, a 180-ton ship, set sail from Southampton, England. After difficulties with the vessel, resulting in her return to port, finally the voyage began. Her 103 passengers were to become some of the founding pilgrims of the United States of America, and the creators of one of this nation’s most popular holidays.
    The True Church – Identifying It (Part 1)
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    After weeks of plowing through the tumultuous Atlantic waters, battling strong winds, pounding waves and a number of problems with their vessel, the pilgrims spotted Cape Cod, off the coast of Massachusetts. The stormy weather was brewing so strongly, that they had arrived there by accident. Their intended location was off the Virginia coast, where other pilgrims had begun colonies.
    Before anchoring at Plymouth Rock and disembarking to explore the territory, the pilgrims devised the “Mayflower Compact.” This was to serve as the basis for governing their new colony, where all would have the freedom to worship God as they chose.
    The Compact stated: “We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord King James…Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant, and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony: unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names; Cape Cod, the 11th of November…” (Winslow, Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, 1622).
    The next few months would prove to be difficult and trying. Of the original 103 pilgrims, only 56 survived the first, long, bleak New England winter. Often, two or three people would die in one day due to infection and sickness.
    But, with the approaching of spring came new hope. The survivors built homes and planted crops. They made friendships with local Indian tribes, and traded with them. The passing of winter allowed the pilgrims to labor and produce, causing the colony to flourish.
    After reaping their first harvest in the fall of 1621, the pilgrims dedicated a day for thanking God for the bounty He had blessed them with. They had endured the many hardships that came with pioneering a new land. They toiled through building an entire colony from what was simply wilderness. They were at peace with their neighbors. And they were especially grateful for their harvest. This allowed them to gather and store plenteous food and crops for the long and brutal winter ahead.
    Their governor, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving towards God. They prepared a great feast to enjoy with family and friends—both from within the colony and with neighboring Indian tribes.
    The following quotes demonstrate Mr. Bradford’s and the colony’s gratitude and thankfulness for God’s protection and blessings:
    “Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element.”
    In reminiscing upon the colony’s success, Mr. Bradford continues, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled has shown unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of [God] have all the praise.”
    Clearly, the pilgrims of the Plymouth colony gave God all the credit for all that they had. Notice the many references to God, and their acknowledgement of how He granted them so many blessings. The pilgrim’s beliefs were firmly entrenched in the realization of God’s presence and intervention in their everyday lives. Thanksgiving Day began because of this belief. It is a day dedicated to giving thanks to God for the many things we often take for granted today.
    Over the years, many colonies did keep Thanksgiving, but they kept various other days of thanksgiving, at different times of the year. It is a popular misconception that the pilgrims kept Thanksgiving on the same day each year following the first celebration in 1621, and that the other colonies began keeping that same day. In truth, it was a tradition always used to highlight and show gratitude for important events, such as bountiful harvests, victories in battle, etc. Whenever these took place, the colony called for the celebration of a day of thanksgiving.
    In the late 1700s, during the American Revolution, the Continental Congresses suggested the yearly observance of a day of national thanksgiving, in hopes to unite factious states.
    In 1817, the state of New York adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual holiday. By the mid-1800s, other states likewise adopted the practice. In 1863, President Lincoln appointed it as a national holiday, and gave a Thanksgiving proclamation. Each president since then has issued a proclamation, announcing the celebration of this day.
    Is Thanksgiving Day Biblical?
    In examining the origins of popular holidays, some may wonder if Thanksgiving Day is a biblical holiday, or whether it is rooted in paganism, as some have claimed.
    Though not specifically mentioned in the Bible, Thanksgiving is different from most other national holidays. In fact, many nations celebrate their own unique harvest festivals. Deceived by Satan (Rev. 12:9), the world at large is cut off from the true God. Therefore, it should not be surprising that even such harvest festivals occasionally become tainted with the worship of heathen deities. Although such ancient festivals were usually influenced by paganism, history shows Thanksgiving Day as practiced in North America was unique. The originators of this day focused upon giving thanks for an abundant harvest, sorely needed for survival.
    Being centered on giving thanks to the Creator is a major distinction in origin that separates Thanksgiving Day from holidays tainted with pagan origins, such as Easter, Valentine’s Day, Christmas or Halloween. (Refer to our booklet God’s Holy Days or Pagan Holidays?)
    But does God allow Christians to participate in holidays even if they are not associated with paganism?
    To find the answer, we must examine God’s Word—the Holy Bible. God has allowed the recording of certain scriptural accounts so that those who diligently search it can find the answers to their questions.
    John 10:22 records Jesus Christ being present at a Jewish celebration called the “Feast of Dedication.” This day was a yearly anniversary of the purification of the Temple at Jerusalem (in about 165 B.C.) after it was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes. This was not a day of riotous parties or celebrations. It was a national holiday commemorating a respectable and solemn event. This account clearly shows that Christ Himself was with the Jews as they gave thanks to God on this special day.
    In the book of Esther, we read that through the inspiration of God, Mordecai and Esther established the “Feast of Purim.” This day was a yearly commemoration of the Jews overcoming persecution from Haman, the prime minister of King Ahasuerus.
    Notice Mordecai’s and Esther’s proclamation, confirming the keeping of this day: “And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim” (9:28-29).

    These days were not to be observed with the same degree of honor and reverence as God’s Holy Days, which represent specific parts of His Master Plan of salvation. Rather, these celebrations were simply for remembering important national events.
    The examples of Christ, Mordecai and Esther show that God permits that customs commemorating honorable moments in national history be kept—but only if they are kept in control, done in a proper manner and kept free of any pagan influence!
    Although not directly mentioned in Scripture, Thanksgiving Day is a holiday specifically based on biblical principles and commands. It was to be a day to spend with family and friends, honoring and thanking God for the bountiful blessings He provides.
    King David wrote in the Psalms, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms” (95:2). “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name” (100:4). And, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endures forever…Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (107:1, 8-9).
    The apostle Paul wrote, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6). He also said, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20).
    These great servants of God gave thanks, and recorded their examples for us to follow today. Thanksgiving should be done regularly. In fact, God even commands that we do so.
    Sacrifices of Thanksgiving
    In the Old Testament, God’s people were required to sacrifice animals (such as lambs, rams, goats, etc.), and offer them as burnt offerings to Him. These sacrifices took place in conjunction with repentance for sins, and asking for God’s forgiveness. Sacrifices took place regularly, and served as a constant reminder of obedience towards God.
    Yet God did not require sacrifices because it pleased Him. In fact, it was done to picture the ultimate sacrifice that was yet to come—Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29). At Christ’s death, the ritualistic practices that were part of the Old Covenant were done away. Christ’s sacrifice and shed blood truly washed away humanity’s penalty for sins—death.
    However, God still requires the offering of a certain kind of sacrifice today.
    Psalms states, “I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord” (116:17), and, “Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay your vows unto the most High” (50:13-14).
    These verses clearly explain that God has no need of “the flesh of bulls, or the blood of goats” that would be offered in a sacrifice. Instead, He wants us to offer Him sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise!
    David understood this, and even appointed certain Levite priests the specific duty of thanking and praising God: “And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel” (I Chron. 16:4). I Chronicles 23 further explains the Levites’ duties. Verse 30 states that they were to “stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at even.”
    Today, God wants—and expects—from us these same sacrifices of thanksgiving through our actions and prayers. Recall what Paul wrote: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20). Paul further explains, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thes. 5:16-18).
    This is how we can give thanks to God each and every day! To be effective, our thanksgiving must be spontaneous and from the heart, rather than an expression of routine formality. Our article “The Keys to Dynamic Prayer” provides helpful points in how to properly and effectively praise God.
    The book of Daniel records a valuable lesson regarding learning to acknowledge God’s power. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, leader of one of the most powerful gentile kingdoms ever, believed that he had strength and wealth because of his actions. The king failed to realize that this power came from God—and His mighty hand directing world events and the flow of history. Because of Nebuchadnezzar’s ingratitude, God caused him to become as a wild animal, roaming the countryside and eating grass. This pagan king lived as a madman for seven years (Dan. 4:27-33).
    Finally, at the end of King Nebuchadnezzar’s life, he learned his lesson. Notice this sobering and insightful account: “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High [God], and I praised and honored Him that lives forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What do You?” (vs. 34-35).
    “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase” (vs. 37).
    Pride, arrogance and ingratitude prevented Nebuchadnezzar from grasping the full scope of God’s power. But through his trial, his pride was broken—and he came to see how puny and weak he and his kingdom actually were in comparison to God. If we do not acknowledge God’s might—as this gentile king did at the end of his life—and thank Him for it, then this account of Nebuchadnezzar should be taken as a personal warning!
    God—The Ultimate Gift Giver
    The pilgrims could never have imagined that America would become the global superpower it is today. The U.S. has continuously been at the forefront of economic prosperity, medical science, technology, food production, sanitation, architecture, space exploration, etc. Its citizens enjoy the freedoms of religion and speech. It allows individuals and families to emigrate from other countries, and enjoy these liberties. It is usually the first country—if not the only one—supporting other nations and peoples in need. And the income and standard of living for most Americans is still relatively high compared to other industrialized nations, though significantly less than its peak of about five decades ago.
    Yet Americans seem to have forgotten where those blessings came from!
    Consider: “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of hosts” (Hag. 2:8). Exodus 19 records, “Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine” (vs. 5).
    A quick reading of the Bible shows that God owns everything! He gives. He also takes away.
    James 1:17 further states, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” There are no variables with God; He does not change.
    The apostle James makes his point by comparing God’s promise of blessings to the source of the earth’s physical light—the sun. Depending on the time of day, cloud coverage and other deciding factors, the amount of light reaching the earth’s surface varies. For example, a tree, mountain or building may block light, which creates a shadow; smog and exhaust can cause less sunlight in a city, etc.
    However, variables do not apply to God.
    His goodness and blessings do not change from one day to the next, depending on His mood, cloud coverage or temperature. While there are conditions to receiving blessings, His promise of showering gifts for obedience is forever—constant—unchanging!
    Look at the world around you. If you live in the U.S., or another country descended from ancient Israel, you enjoy many blessings that other nations do not. But, although many live relatively comfortable and peaceful lives, many dangers come with this.
    Notice Moses’ grave warnings to Israel: “Then beware lest you forget the Lord, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deut. 6:12). Moses understood—and warned—that when people receive much, it is in their nature to become ungrateful and arrogant, and forget the source of their blessings—God!
    Christ’s admonition, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48), has been ignored.
    But not for long. Society will soon be caught unaware, like “a thief in the night.”
    America—The Strong?
    Because of the mighty promises God made to the patriarch Abraham millennia ago, the descendants of ancient Israel have never been part of the “brotherhood of poverty” so many in the Third World are in. We have never had to face the grim prospects of famine or pestilences sweeping our countryside, or many hundreds dying on domestic soil.
    Nevertheless, this same national power, prestige and wealth have caused many to become blind to where these blessings came from. The general national attitude is one of arrogance and pride, no longer feeling the need to show gratitude towards God the Provider. Although Thanksgiving Day is celebrated yearly, the practice of giving thanks—as the pilgrims had originally intended—has all but disappeared!
    In 1974, a Senate member proposed a resolution to declare April 30 as a “National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer.” The purpose of this day was to repent for “national sins,” modeled after Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day.” (Interestingly enough, President Lincoln believed that the Civil War was the punishment for the nation’s sins. In order to receive forgiveness from God, he issued this national day of fasting—much like the king of Nineveh did in the book of Jonah, chapter 3.)
    However, the resolution was overturned. Members of the House, and even some of the Senate, did not approve the use of the word “humiliation.” Many cynics equated the term “repent for national sins” to Americans feeling sorry or ashamed for the wealth and prosperity of the nation. The purpose of the resolution, as originally introduced by President Lincoln, was ignored—even ridiculed. The cynics even concluded that there was no need to repent for anything!
    If that was the world in 1974, one can only imagine how much worse this nation has become—decades later!
    In 1630, John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, gave a moving speech entitled “A Model of Christian Charity” to the passengers of the 350-ton sailing vessel, the Arbella. Winthrop believed that through humility toward God, they would prosper.
    He said, “We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make other’s conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God…and will command a blessing upon us in all our way. So that we shall see much more of his wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies…
    “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world…” (emphasis ours).
    These are strong words. They accurately portray the condition of our nation today!
    The Bible foretells that because America has forgotten God—and dealt “falsely with Him”—no longer recognizing that He is the great Provider, He will “withdraw His present help from us.” The very blessings now taken for granted by so many will be stripped away. Millions will go into a time of great suffering because of the dangerous and deadly sin of ingratitude. Only through God’s great mercy will this country avoid becoming “a story and a by-word through the world.” (To learn more about the identity of the U.S. and the UK in prophecy, read our book America and Britain in Prophecy.)
    Carefully read and soberly reflect on the many prophecies describing this terrible time of national punishment.
    But this need not include you! You can avoid being one of the perpetrators of this national shortcoming and sin.
    Making Thanksgiving Meaningful
    To most nations, the concept of celebrating Thanksgiving Day is viewed as a holiday that is meaningful for North Americans, although certain other nations have similar harvest festivals.
    However, the act of thanksgiving towards God should be done everywhere—everyday—by everyone! It is not just an American holiday; neither should it be limited to one day a year.
    As Thanksgiving Day approaches, ponder and consider the many wonderful blessings you enjoy. Be grateful for these wonderful benefits. (To learn more read our article “The Sin of Ingratitude.”) Realize that these material blessings were not given to us because of anything we have done—we do not deserve them. God has bestowed them on us—simply because of His mercy, and His promise to Abraham, the father of the faithful (Gal. 3:6-9).
    Before you and your family enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, or begin watching a parade or football game, be sure to take time to truly thank God in prayer and thought for the national wealth, power and prestige He has given this nation.
    While there is still time, make sure that you and your family are not partaking in the nationwide, unthankful attitude. Be sure to give thanks to God in the same heartfelt, sincere manner that the pilgrims did on the first Thanksgiving in North America!

    Happy Thanksgiving


    From a Daily Illini Editorial, 11/20/95

    "Ah, Thanksgiving. There's nothing like going home to visit your folks, watching pro football, eating more food than you see in the average month at school and starting your shopping for the upcoming, commercialized holiday.

    "But this week, as you drool at the sight of the traditional turkey with your relatives, you can either sit quietly and talk only when asked your major, or impress them with some facts about the true historical context of Thanksgiving. Consider these two myths and facts:

    "* Myth: Thanksgiving was a holiday initiated by the early Pilgrims, who invited Native Americans to share in their bounty.

    "Fact: Thanksgiving had its origins in autumn harvest festivals celebrated by eastern tribes of Native Americans. The modern American Thanksgiving dates back to 1863, when Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday."

    "Additionally, it was the Pilgrims who were apparently in need of assistance when they first arrived here. One colonist's journal tells of Pilgrim sailors stealing from Native Americans as soon as they arrived in the New World. Other journals tell of Pilgrims plundering Native Americans' fields and robbing their graves.
    "Daily Illini Online -- UIUC -- 1995/November/20 Copyright (c) 1995 Illini Media Company, all rights reserved."

    The following are sources John D. Keyser compiled under the above title, about the pagan roots of Thanksgiving Day, the following from the book, Holidays Around the World, by Joseph Gaer:

    " 'We often think of Thanksgiving as an American holiday, begun by the Pilgrims in Plymouth in 1621. At that time, so the story runs, the survivors of the Mayflower passengers celebrated their first harvest in the New World with a feast to which Governor Bradford invited the Indian Chief Massasoit and ninety of his braves.

    'That was the first Thanksgiving Day in the New World. But actually a thanksgiving for the annual harvest is one of the oldest holidays known to mankind, though celebrated on different dates. In Chaldea, in ancient Egypt and in Greece, the harvest festival was celebrated with great rejoicing. The Hindus and the Chinese observe the gathered harvest with a holiday. And the Jews celebrate the ingathering of the crops as enjoined upon them in Torah.

    " 'The Romans celebrated their Thanksgiving early in October. The holiday was dedicated to the goddess of harvest, Ceres, and the holiday was called Cerelia.

    " 'The Christians took over the Roman holiday and it became well established in England, where some of the Roman customs and rituals for this day were observed long after the Roman Empire had disappeared.

    " 'In England the 'Harvest Home' has been observed continuously for centuries. The custom was to select a harvest queen for this holiday. She was decorated with the grain of their fields and the fruit of their trees. On Thanksgiving Day she was paraded through the streets in a carriage drawn by white horses. This was a remnant of the Roman ceremonies in honor of Ceres...the Pilgrims brought the "Harvest in" to Massachusetts.' (Little, Brown & Company, Boston, 1953. Pps. 159- 160)." [The harvest queen represented the Queen of Heaven, mentioned in the Bible as idolatrous and Semiramis.]

    Marian Schibsly and Hanny Cohrsen in their book, Foreign Festival Customs and Dishes:

    " 'Giving thanks for the bounty of Providence is a practice as old as mankind and widespread as the human race. Long before the Christian era, harvest gods were worshipped with curious and varied rites. Customs now in use at harvest festivals have their counterparts in pagan countries; in many cases their origin and their significance is shrouded in mists of antiquity. The American Thanksgiving Day is usually ascribed to the Massachusetts colony of pilgrims, who, in gratitude for their first harvest on American soil, devoted the day of December 13, 1621 to praise and rejoicing. [Actually ran 3 days]

    'The idea underlying such a celebration did, however, not originate with them. Thanksgiving day -- by that or some other name -- was known to virtually all the people who have come to America since 1492 and is known to those now coming...it becomes apparent that a day of thanksgiving is a custom in almost all the countries of Europe. It usually has to do with the harvests -- with the planting of crops or their gathering -- and therefore is observed in rural districts rather than in cities. (American Council For Nationalities Service, N.Y. 1974. P.46).' "


    Diana Appelbaum's book, Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, An American History:

    'Neither created intentionally nor copied from a paradigmatic 'first Thanksgiving,' the new celebration was a synthesis of four distinct and ancient traditions, elements of which united in the unique cultural milieu of Puritan New England to give birth to Thanksgiving. The newborn Thanksgiving holiday had a Puritan "mother" from Connecticut, a Pilgrim "father" from Plymouth and, for "grandparents," four traditions from the old world.

    'New Englanders came from Old England, where the Harvest Home -- one of the 'grandparents' of Thanksgiving -- was celebrated. The Harvest Home was a holiday on which the villagers joined together to bring the last loads of grain from the fields and share a merry feast when the work was done. English villages followed local harvest customs; some dressed a maiden in white to ride atop a loaded cart as "queen of the harvest". Others fashioned a figure from the grain itself to be robed in a white gown and set in the center of a circle of rejoicing farmers.

    'There was sufficient taint of idol worship and evidence of licentious behavior in the old English Harvest Home for Puritans to reject the custom summarily. They recoiled from these remnants of the pagan customs that predated Christianity in England, but memories of the harvest feast lingered all the same.

    'The Puritans' shunning of the ancient Harvest Home left a void in the New England year that might not have been problematic had a similar attitude not been extended to other holidays. But the Puritans had disapproved of so many causes for celebration that a holiday vacuum existed in the young colonies.

    'All Saint's Day had been swept off the calendar along with Christmas and Easter, on the grounds that these mixed "popish" ritual with pagan custom....Remaining to New England were three holidays -- Muster Day, Election Day and the day of the Harvard Commencement.' (Facts On File Publications, N.Y. 1984. Pps. 18-20)."

    Notice that the Puritans trying to obey God (though not fully) were left with only 3 holidays to observe and a holiday vacuum. They were, of course, ignorant of YHWH's Holy Days which should be observed exclusively.

    'Like the Harvest Home, Christmas -- another of the old-world "grandparents" of Thanksgiving -- was remembered but not celebrated by the Puritans. The practice of designating the day of 'Jesus' birth, and especially of making merry on that day, were viewed as one of the grave errors of the churches of both Rome and England and as a departure from the purity of the early church. Celebration of Christmas was so disparaged in the seventeenth-century Bay Colony that the General Court forbade laborers taking off from work on that day under penalty of a five-shilling fine. Not until the nineteenth century did New England relent in this attitude and the Congregational churches began to observe Christmas -- but Massachusetts was two centuries old before that happened. In the early years, everything associated with Christmas was rejected out of hand; even the lowly mince pie, eaten in every household at Christmas, was banished from the Puritan kitchen as being unholy food at any time of the year.

    'The spirit of Christmas, however, was sorely missed, and during the 1600s, when Thanksgiving was becoming a popular festival, small pieces of the English Christmas crept into the celebration of the Yankee Thanksgiving. Those quintessential English Christmas dishes, plum pudding and mince pie became as indispensable a part of the Thanksgiving menu as turkey and pumpkin pie itself. (Page 24).

    'Thanksgiving Day, our unique American holiday, ought not to be confused with still a third 'grandparent,' the special days of Thanksgiving proclaimed by civil authorities in Europe and throughout the American colonies. When some stroke of extraordinary good fortune befell a nation, the civil authorities often declared a day of thanksgiving and prayer, marked by special services in every church...declarations of this sort were familiar to the first settlers on these shores. Coronado, Popsham and the settlers at Jamestown, Plymouth and Boston acted in this tradition when they held their "first Thanksgiving."

    'Settlers in both New Amsterdam and Plymouth were familiar with the Dutch custom of celebrating October 3 as a day of thanksgiving commemorating the independence of Holland from Spain. English settlers recalled that the Anglican church marked November 5, the anniversary of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, as a day on which thanks were given that the scheme to blow up Parliament had failed. Puritan New England undoubtedly drew upon the tradition of civic thanksgivings in creating the new holiday.' (Page 25).

    'Fourth "grandparent" to the American Thanksgiving Day was the tradition of individual Puritan congregations declaring days of thanksgiving and prayer. The Puritans rejected all ecclesiastical hierarchy in favor of the sovereignty of the congregation. Authority equivalent to that belonging to Catholic or Anglican bishops was vested in Puritan congregations, which has sole power to ordain clergymen, admit or excommunicate members and declare days of fasting and of thanksgiving. Like the proclamations of civil authorities, congregational thanksgiving days were declared for special causes.' (Page 25).

    'The Thanksgiving holiday born in Puritan New England in the 1630s and 1640s was shaped by four traditions -- the Harvest Home, Christmas, proclamations of civic thanksgiving and congregational days of thanksgiving and prayer....other features of the holiday developed in Connecticut. The Connecticut River valley towns of Wethersfield, Windsor and Hartford were settled in 1635 and 1636 by families from Massachusetts Bay who shared with their sister colony a thoroughgoing dedication to Puritanism. The church in each town followed the established, Puritan custom of holding days of public thanks or of prayer and fasting as the occasion warranted, but the leaders of the colony departed from tradition by proclaiming a day of public thanksgiving each autumn in gratitude for general well-being and for the harvest just gathered. Although records from the early years are incomplete, a proclamation of thanksgiving for September 18, 1639, survives, as do proclamations for 1644 and for every year from 1649 onward.

    'This was the crucial innovation. The entire Western world shares the custom of special thanksgivings for special causes, and as we have seen, individual Plymouth Colony congregations sometimes held harvest thanksgivings followed by a festive meal. When Connecticut made Thanksgiving Day an annual festival for general causes, however, a new holiday was born. Thanksgiving in Connecticut was held every autumn, not for special reasons, but in gratitude for the ordinary blessings of the "year past"and for the "fruits of the earth".' (Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, An American History, by Diana Karter Appelbaum. Pps. 28-29)."

    As mentioned in earlier articles, Thanksgiving Day is intertwined with Christmas, beginning the Christmas sales season and countdown of shopping days left. The Christmas parade with Santa Claus, an imitation of Christ, and many floats depicting toys is presented then. Mrs. Josepha Hale, who pushed the acceptance of Thanksgiving Day as a holiday, also promoted the merry celebration of Christmas with frivolity, which before in the USA was observed more as a holy day only. Again, a day to worship God as Thanksgiving Day is not necessarily acceptable with God since the same claim could be made for Christmas and Easter which are clearly pagan.


    A goose used to be the main course for harvest festivals and was replaced by the more common turkey in America with the Indians first. These birds representing the sun god or the Son of god, an imitation of the Son of God slain for others. Actually the symbols derived all the way back to Nimrod and Semiramis. Words from Wilkinson, an Egyptologist:

    'The goose,' says Wilkinson, 'signified in hieroglyphics A CHILD OR SON;' and Horapollo says (i.53, p.276), 'It was chosen TO DENOTE A SON, from its love to its young, being always ready to give itself up to the chasseur[hunter], in order that they might be preserved; for which reason the Egyptians thought it right to revere this animal.' (Wilkinson's Egyptians, vol. v., p. 227)."

    Pumpkin is used as a symbol for the sun and is also prominent in Halloween, replacements in the Western Hemisphere. The sacred goose of Europe was used if available, but turkeys were more prevalent so were substituted for them with the same idea derived from pagan harvest festivals.

    "Chopped Up Meat & the Death of Osiris!

    "According to Diana Appelbaum, 'Of the infinite variety of pies, two, the pumpkin and the mince, are intimately associated with Thanksgiving dinner.... There is no more quintessential Thanksgiving dish than mince meat pie, and yet, unlike the native pumpkin pie, mince meat was a tradition borrowed from the Christmas feasts of merry old England. Puritans in both England and America banned Christmas; the "high-shoe lords of Cromwell's making" frowned on all of the ancient Yuletide customs: "Plum broth was Popish, and mince pie--that was flat idolatry!"

    'But by the early 1700s, mince pie was enshrined in the New England Thanksgiving menu.' (Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, An American History, pps. 270-27l)."

    "The chopping of the meat was an ANNUAL RITUAL and REPRESENTED THE CHOPPING UP OF OSIRIS' BODY by Shem!"

    "John Brand Bourne thinks the original of both these customs [the harvest feast and the revelry that followed] is Jewish, and cites Hospinian, who tells us that the heathens copied after this custom of the Jews, and at the end of the harvest offered up their first fruits to the gods. For the Jews rejoiced and feasted at the getting in of the harvest. (Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, George Bell & Sons, 1908. P. 16.)."

    "Marian Schibsby and Hanny Cohrsen also noticed the Thanksgiving-

    Tabernacles connection--'Many centuries before a day for nationwide thanksgiving and prayer was established in this country, the Jewish people observed such a custom. One of the most important Jewish festivals is that of the "Feast of Tabernacles," also called the "Feast of Ingathering" or "Succoth," which begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the month of Tishri -- that is sometime between the last week of September and the middle of October. It marks the end of the harvest "after that thou hast gathered in from thy threshing floor and from thy wine press" (Deut. xvi, 13,16, RV) and is a season of joyousness and gratitude for the bounty of nature in the year that has passed.' (Foreign Festival Customs and Dishes, American Council for Nationalities Service, N.Y. 1974, P.53).

    "Let me repeat what author Robert Schauffler said about the Grecian THESMOPHORIA: 'The harvest festival of ancient Greece, called the Thesmophoria, was akin to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.. It was the feast of Demeter...' In Rome, the same feast occurred in October and began with a fast day -- the pagan equivalent of the Day of Atonement!

    'On their return a festival occurred for three days in Athens, sad at first but gradually growing into an orgy of mirth and dancing. Here a cow and a sow were offered to Demeter, besides fruit and honeycombs. The symbols of the goddess were poppies and ears of corn, a basket of fruit and a little pig. The Romans worshipped this harvest deity under the name of Ceres. Her festival, which occurred yearly on October 4th, was called the Cerelia. It began with a fast [Day of Atonement?] among the common people who offered her a sow and the first cuttings of the harvest. There were processions in the fields with music and rustic sports and ceremonies ended with the inevitable feast of thanksgiving.' (Thanksgiving, Dodd-Mead, 1957. Pages 12-13).

    "Why am I stressing this THREE-DAY FESTIVAL TO CERES in Rome and Athens? Because the Pilgrim Fathers OBSERVED A THREE-DAY THANKSGIVING during the fall in 1621!!"

    "Diana Karter Appelbaum CLEARLY brings this out in Thanksgiving, An American Holiday, an American History:

    'The first autumn, an ample harvest insured that the colony would have food for the winter months. Governor Bradford, with one eye on the divine Providence, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to God, and with the other eye on the local political situation extended an invitation to neighboring Indians to share in the harvest feast in order to guarantee that the feast served to cement a peaceful relationship; the three-day long meal was punctuated by displays of the power of English muskets for the benefit of suitably impressed Indian guests.' (Pages 7-8).

    "It is interesting to realize that Edward Winslow, an 'historian' among the Pilgrim Fathers, would have written about the religious services held in those fall days if it was a day of thanksgiving to God, but HE MENTIONED NO SUCH THING! Instead, Diana Appelbaum states that 'Oysters, clams and fish rounded out the abundant, but far from epicurean feast that the celebrators would have been more likely to call "harvest home" than a "thanksgiving" celebration.' "

    'A day of Thanksgiving was not an idea unique to the early settlers in America. The Pilgrims were well acquainted while in England with annual Thanksgiving celebrations, which had been known throughout history as an ancient and universal custom.

    'In fact, the first Thanksgiving was more like a harvest festival, with none of the accounts mentioning any giving of thanks in solemn, religious piety as it is usually imagined. In keeping with long-standing English custom, Thanksgiving was filled with "revelry, sports, and feasts." ' (Myth information Extraordinary Collection of 590 Popular Misconceptions, Fallacies and Misbeliefs. J. Allen Varasdi)"

    Is the eating of pumpkin pie, turkey or other food items used as pagan symbols in Thanksgiving necessarily wrong? No, only if utilized as part of the holiday or associated with it. There is the distinct difference between eating these foods as ordinary ones and partaking of a pagan rite, even though in the guise of a godly holiday whether in its season or not.

    Though mincemeat pie is another matter derived strictly from pagan worship. I've seen the filler at the grocery store already mixed, available any time of the year. Eating meat and vegetable pies is normally all right. Though we should avoid anything which reminds us of association with customs of the heathen, as singing of Christmas carols of which a few sound rather godly. The song, Jingle Bells, is usually sung around Christmas time, and though not having anything to do with Christmas, might in the minds of some be part of the holiday. God recommended, actually ordered Israelites to destroy the accouterments of pagan practice. Which would help keep them from handling the objects and bring back the customs to mind.

    De. 12:30 Take heed to yourself that you do not be snared by following them, after they are destroyed from before you; and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.



    There are some groups in 'Christendom' that call Thanksgiving pagan, they attempt by any means to associate it with some sort of ancient Satanic holiday, but can it be done? No, not honestly. The following eight questions concerning Thanksgiving will establish the fact that Thanksgiving is NOT PAGAN!

    QUESTION #1. Is having a harvest festival of thanksgiving wrong?

    NO, God taught the Children of Israel to keep two feasts to give thanks for their harvest. Since the beginning of time, man has given Thanks to their “GOD” for their yearly harvest. “The answer must obviously be "No," because God Himself {Commanded his people} to keep Pentecost and Tabernacles, both of which are harvest festivals. He must see a positive purpose in them to require two during each year.” John W. Ritenbaugh Forerunner, October-November 1996

    QUESTION #2. Did Pagans also have harvest festivals?

    YES, the ancient Romans dedicated October 10 to the goddess Ceres. The pagan Roman Church in the Middle Ages decorated church buildings between September 19 and October 1. St. Martin’s Day followed on November 11; these were all types of Harvest Festivals, and these dates, like the rest of Rome’s holy calendar was based on the pagan customs of the people.

    QUESTION #3. Does the fact that Pagans also had harvest festivals, make all harvest festivals wrong?

    NO, both God’s people and pagans have celebrated harvest from the beginning of time. The pagan’s harvest festivals were wrong because they gave thanks to false gods. The peculiar customs the pagans used to honor their ‘gods’ during their festivals are disgusting to Jehovah; and it IS wrong to borrow these customs in an attempt to honor Him.

    QUESTION #4. Is the date of the American Thanksgiving Pagan?

    NO, President Lincoln appointed the fourth Thursday of November 1864 as a day of National thanksgiving, and since that time each president has annually followed his example.

    QUESTION #5. Is ‘Thanksgiving’ a ‘False Church’ Festival?

    NO, the American Thanksgiving is not tied to any Church denomination; and it’s authority rests upon the state. It is a National holiday.

    QUESTION #6. Are all national holidays wrong?

    “At this point, we need to consider whether it is sin for those who have made the covenant with God to celebrate a national holiday. Zechariah 8:19 gives us some immediate insight into this.

    Thus says the LORD of hosts: "The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace."

    Here are four fasts established by the Jews, none of which has anything to do with God’s plan. The fast of the fourth month (9th of Tammuz) marked when the Babylonians entered Jerusalem; that of the fifth month (9th of Ab), the destruction of the temple; that of the seventh month (3rd of Tishri), the murder of Gedaliah, a governor of Judah; and that of the tenth month (10th of Tebeth), the beginning of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem. God nowhere says that they are evil, that He hates them or that to observe them is sin. In fact, the prophecy in which these fasts appear shows not only God’s approval of keeping them, but also that He will turn them into feasts of joy rather than fasts of sorrow.” (IBID)

    QUESTION #7 Is it wrong to observe a holiday that GOD did not specifically set aside in Leviticus 23? Should God’s people proclaim and establish national holidays?

    “And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar. . . . [T]he Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants. (Esther 9:20-21, 27-28)

    The context explains that they celebrated these days with feasting, rejoicing and sending of presents to one another and to the poor! They established this national holiday on their own authority without any condemnation from God.” (IBID)

    Also, John 10:22-23 shows Jesus walking in the Temple area in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication. Today, the Jews call this feast Hanukkah. It is the national celebration of the rededication of the Temple by the Jews at the end of the Maccabean revolt. It was not set aside by GOD but by the government of the Jews.


    For my own response to this line or reasoning, see Our Last Hanukkah: The Gospel vs. The Sword

    Pagan Roots of Thanksgiving
    Feast Day Has Roots in European and Native American Paganism
    © Jill Stefko


    Nov 6, 2007

    Pilgrims and Wampanoagans celebrated the first Thanksgiving. The tribe had its own feast day. Future Pagan immigrants brought their harvest festivals to America.

    It's taught that the Pilgrims established Thanksgiving, to share their abundant harvest with local Wampanoag Tribe, “People of the Dawn.” They were gatherers, hunters, farmers and fishermen. The colonists arrived in December and endured hard times, barely surviving. Colonists recorded Indians were robbed and their fields were plundered, most likely because of this.

    Wampanoag Tribe Helping Pilgrims Leads to Thanksgiving

    Wampanoagan Samoset came to help the colonists, but his command of the English language was limited, so he later brought Squanto, who knew English well, to teach the Pilgrims survival skills. He taught the immigrants how to grow beans, corn, squash and other crops, using fish as a fertilizer. Squanto showed them which plants were poisonous and those used for healing. He taught the people how to obtain sap from maple trees, dig for clams and other skills.

    The Pilgrims celebrated the first New World harvest. Leader Captain Miles Standish invited Chief Massasoit and 90 braves, including Squanto and Samoset, to join them in 1621. Thanksgiving was not the first feast celebrating harvest. Pagans had festivals giving thanks for bounty.

    Native American and Pagan European Thanksgiving Roots

    The Wampanoag had their own harvest celebration in which they gave thanks for abundant crops to Kiehtan, the Creator. They believed corn, the most valued crop, was a gift from him. The tribe expressed gratitude to the spirits of the game for the animals they killed for food.

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    By the time Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1861, other Europeans had settled in America and brought their traditions, some Pagan, with them. Harvest festivals were celebrated by Europeans. Romans celebrated Cerelia by giving thanks to Ceres, Goddess of Harvest. Celtic and Anglo/Saxon Pagans celebrated Lughnasadh and Mabon, the first and second harvests. The Greeks gave honor to Demeter during the Thesmophoria. The New Englanders’ Pagan ancestors celebrated Harvest Home, the first reaping of crops, in August. There was a silent time for gratitude and reflection, followed by singing and dancing after which a joyous feast was held.

    First Thanksgiving Feast

    There are only two brief contemporary accounts written by Edward Winslow and William Bradford of the menu. According to these, celebrants ate venison, fowl, corn, fish and wheat breads. It is likely that rabbit, eggs, shellfish, barley, beans, squash, carrots, onions, peas, cabbage, cheese, pumpkin and Indian puddings, nuts and cornbread were on the table because these foods were available in 1621. There were no pies because the colonists didn’t have ovens. Potatoes weren’t served.It’s been written that Quadequina, Massasoit’s brother, treated the celebrants to popcorn. This has been refuted because Indian corn doesn’t pop well. It’s possible that popcorn, although poorly made, was served.

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    Pagan Symbolism of Thanksgiving
    Celebration Days Have Their Own Symbols and Traditions
    © Jill Stefko


    Nov 10, 2007

    This late November holiday evokes images of turkeys, maize or Indian corn, pumpkins, wheat stalk decorations and cornucopias. Why do they represent this holiday?

    Many holiday customs and legends are based on those of the Pagans. Christmas: trees, Yule logs, holly, ivy, presents…. Easter: eggs, rabbits, flowers…. Hallowe’en: trick or treat, Jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghosts…. And each celebration has its own traditional food.

    Pagan Influence on Thanksgiving Menu

    Some might think it’s stretching the imagination to also tie in Thanksgiving with Pagan customs, but both Christian and Pagan religions give thanks, respectively, to God and their deities for the harvest. The Pilgrim’s holiday is at the end of the gathering season.

    Christians celebrated Lammas, the first harvest, by going to church in August, leaving loaves of bread on altars and giving thanks. Michaelmas, honoring the archangel St. Michael, was held on September 29th. Festivals of gratitude were held near or on the Sunday of the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the date of the autumnal equinox, usually occurring in September, sometimes in early October.

    Native Americans had celebrations of reaping bountiful crops. As Pagan Europeans immigrated, they brought their customs of harvest festivals: Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain. Both Pagan traditions, featuring special foods, later influenced celebrations of the American Thanksgiving.

    Meats of Thanksgiving

    Venison: Deer symbolizes innocence and gentleness. The doe represents subtlety and gracefulness; the stag, purification, independence and pride.
    Turkey: Called Ground Eagle by some tribes, is symbolic of harvest and shared blessings of Mother Earth.
    Rabbit: Although not mentioned in accounts of the feast, was one of the foods available to the Pilgrims in 1621. Rabbit’s and hare’s keynotes are new life, fertility, intuition, balance and rebirth.
    Thanksgiving's Vegetables, Fruit and Grains

    Apples: The Celts attributed the powers of rebirth, youth and healing to this fruit.
    Beans: The Three Sisters in Native American legend were Maize or Indian corn, beans and squash. After corn, oldest sister, was planted, beans were next so their vines could grow around cornstalks, then squash, the youngest, which grew close to the earth. The way they grew is symbolic of cooperative community survival and mainstays in the tribes’ diets.
    Maize and Cornmeal: Ceremonies were held for both planting and harvesting corn. The New England tribes’ spring Green Corn ceremony was to ask for bountiful harvest. In August, also the month of the Celtic Lughnasadh, the Green Corn celebrated the first harvest. Cornmeal symbolizes fertility, healing and powers of people, animals, rituals and objects.
    Pumpkin: Represents sun and, according to some Native American tribes, symbolic of personal power.
    Wheat: Wheat celebrated abundance and was used in rituals to give thanks and pray bounty would last until the next year.
    Thanksgiving Cornucopia's Symbolism

    The horn of plenty was a Native American basket shaped in the form of an upside-down tornado, filled with vegetables. It signified harvest’s abundance when shared and thanks given to the deities. Indians brought these to the Pilgrims to alleviate their fear of scarcity.

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    PRO (Nazarene)

    SOURCE: http://nazarenespace.ning.com/profiles/blogs/is-thanksgiving-a-pagan

    By James Trimm

    The Pilgrims were a splinter group from the fringes of the Puritan movement. Many of them were leaving a Britain which was too politically difficult for them, to start a “perfect” new world.

    The first feast lasted 3 days and celebrated their first harvest in 1621,which, thanks to a little help from their native American friends, was abundant.

    Thanksgiving as a “holiday” come from a cross between a conventional harvest festival and the relief of the Pilgrim Fathers when, after serious hardship which had whittled their numbers down from 105 to 43, they finally realized their settlement was going to make it.

    Thanksgiving was influenced in part by the English and continental European Harvest festivals popular in the Puritan movement, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty, English and European harvest hymns sung on Thanksgiving weekend and scriptural lections drawn from the biblical stories relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.

    President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. U.S. Presidents annually declared a Thanksgiving Day each year on the final Thursday of November. In 1938 F.D.R. broke with this tradition, moving Thanksgiving to the next-to-last Thursday in November.

    On October 6, 1941 the U.S. Legislature passed a joint resolution setting this last-Thursday date for the holiday beginning in 1942. But, in December of that year the Senate passed an amendment requiring that Thanksgiving be observed each year on the fourth Thursday of November (This was sometimes the last Thursday and sometimes the next to last). On December 26, 1941 F.D.R. signed the bill into law, for the first time making the date of Thanksgiving a matter of federal law.

    Thanksgiving is not of pagan origin, it originates from the Puritan pilgrims who were influenced by the biblical harvest festival of Sukkot.

    James Trimm
    Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim

    The final assesment of any Holiday might rightly be discerned as intent. The notion of taking a thing of ignomy and turning into something worthy is not a pagan concept, but a fundamental attribute of the hight calling of those who would be known as Yisrael. A reason given for a minyan of 10 men is to overturn the infamous evil report when the people should have entered the land according to Abba's time and season. Indeed there is no mitzvot at all w/o proper kavannah, so the heart condition always matters. Y'shua Himself commanded us to be joyful and approach the Kingdom as little children. I for one am full up on so called holy days attended by dour and joyous attendees even if it does happen to be on one of the set apart time schemes which are highly contested in our exile as they were even in the 2nd temple period.

    Would you by any chance apply the same logic to Christmas and Easter? As for good intent, I have heard a rumor that the road to hell is paved with it. If their are dour faces ("dour and joyous" - I assume you meant "joyless"?) at a bona fide moed but joyful ones at, say, Christmas, do we ignore the mandated one and head for Satan's Hills, or do we work on the hearts of the people who are at the right place at the right time with the wrong intent and with joyless countenances? I guess this is somewhat rhetorical (as I'm not trying to pick a fight) but we have to start somewhere. I find that sabbaths, new moons and 7 annual festivals give me plenty to do and plenty to meditate on spiritually - and I stopped celebrating St.George's Day (the nearest to your Thanksgiving) years ago...besides you can be arrested in some parts of England for doing it and be accused of offending the 'Muslim Brits'.

    R. Keith Stoner said:
    The final assesment of any Holiday might rightly be discerned as intent. The notion of taking a thing of ignomy and turning into something worthy is not a pagan concept, but a fundamental attribute of the hight calling of those who would be known as Yisrael. A reason given for a minyan of 10 men is to overturn the infamous evil report when the people should have entered the land according to Abba's time and season. Indeed there is no mitzvot at all w/o proper kavannah, so the heart condition always matters. Y'shua Himself commanded us to be joyful and approach the Kingdom as little children. I for one am full up on so called holy days attended by dour and joyous attendees even if it does happen to be on one of the set apart time schemes which are highly contested in our exile as they were even in the 2nd temple period.

    I think the real issue is whether or not "harvest festival" equals Paganism. Especially when three of the major festivals (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles) are harvest festivals. If we invalidate Thanksgiving on that issue, then we must invalidate these three.

    As far as I know, Thanksgiving is a day when the pilgrims thanked God for getting them through the winter. There doesn't seem to be a shred of Paganism attached to it (aside from the cornucopia, but that seems to be a relic of ignorance and less one of ill intent -- in fact, aside from art work, I've rarely seen one -- it isn't central to the holiday like the Christmas tree is to Christmas).

    Its likewise true that Pagans kept harvest festivals, but none of the Pagan ones seem to line up with or are even near the fourth Thursday of November. This is significant, because it only goes to demonstrate that the two aren't as analogous as alarmists might have you think.

    Likewise, as one article states, Yahweh DOES sometimes sanction human holidays:

    Thus says the LORD of hosts: "The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace" (Zechariah 8:19).

    The question seems to be one of intent and whether or not the day is truly Pagan. In this case, I would argue its not.

    Finally, Christians are free to participate in non-Pagan dinners among unbelievers:
    If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience (1 Corinthians 10:27 ESV).

    I have to preface that "non-Pagan" because earlier in verses 14-24 Paul says not to participate in sacrifices. But, according to Paul, one is free to eat meat which may or may not have been sacrificed because it belongs to God anyway, so long as that freedom doesn't cause one to stumble. Participation with demons through sacrifices is contrasted with participation with the Lord through the Eucharist -- we are commanded not to participate in the sacrifice itself.

    So while I would readily argue that Christmas and some elements of Easter are participation with demons, Thanksgiving seems to be kosher. I think a Christian is free to celebrate it (and possibly should) because to do otherwise could create an unnecessary stumbling block for non-believers.

    I broadly go along with most of your reasoning but with a couple of concerns:

    1. You cannot create an equivalence between three of the Seven Annual Festivals and then effectively say "take your pick". Yahweh mandated the moedim, He did not mandate Thanksgiving. Now I realise that you are not in harmony with this ministry over the festivals, though you apparently believe you are required to observe two of them.

    2. You compare Thanksgiving with the four minor Judahite fasts (I have just written an article on that, BTW) - but again, Yahweh confirmed these through a Prophet (Zecharian) - He has never done so for Thanksgiving.

    So whatever Thanksgiving may be it cannot be viewed on par with either the 7 Annual Festivals or with the 4 minor fasts. The former have Scriptural mandate by prophets with a clear calling (with signs following).

    Our view is that if we want to celebrate harvest, Yahweh has already given us moedim with which to do so with scriptural patterns tied up to our redemption. Inasmuch as harvest is linked to religious observance in the Divine Mind, Thanksgiving would then become a religious observance.

    There are, in my view, two more important questions:

    A. What is Yahweh's view when it comes to nations appointing their own national appointments? Are we as believers obliged to observe them?

    B. What of observances that have no religion connotations? Are we free to observe them?

    One thing that has struck me negatively about Christmas has always been the cultural pressure to observe it and the CONDEMNATION when one does not, as though some sacred taboo has been broken (which I firmly believe has). Would, for example, an American who refuses to observe Thanksgiving be regarded- in any degree - as 'unpatriotic' or even 'traitorous'? Personally, I react most strongly against any kind of compulsion when it comes to observances which might have even so much as a smack of religion because I wish to obey Yahweh, not men.

    To give an example. I have no problem observing (in the UK) what we call Armistice Day which falls on the day that WW1 ended. I do so to remember the sacrifice made in battle for the welfare of nations, whether the wars were righteous or not (most aren't - they are driven by the Banksters). I see nothing wrong with some types of national holiday. I also see nothing wrong with families gathering together to celebrate annually, which happens both at Christmas and Thanksgiving. It is all to easy to manipulate something good (like family togetherness) and accuse people of being "anti-family" simply because families gather together to observe certain traditions. I am not anti-family - far from it. I think family gatherings are excellent BUT I will not be pressured into gathering with families in order to fulfill some man-made family observance. The argument is made that we can attend but be neutral about or hostile to the religions enactments taking place around us. I don't buy that - it's impossible - because you are being asked to endorse not mere family but something else too - you can't avoid not doing so if you are going to open up and enter into the "spirit" (and that's the big red flag) of things.

    As Messianics we have the Festivals as the central point for family centredness but within the context of Messiah. I think it is right we should, if we can, try to gather with non-believing family members to strengthen the ties there but not JUST for it's won sake, but for witness too. But I think such reunions are best served as spontaneous, non-religious and non-mandated gatherings. In practice, it is true, most will not do that. Many gather because it's "done" and for no other reason. Motives are complex. Maybe each family should have a "family day" and each clan a "clan day" - I don't know. I just hate mixing Yahweh's Truth with man-made tradition.

    Finally, Derek, you spoke of certain observances as being "kosher" - like evolutionists who speak of the "creation" (because there's really no other way of putting it), you refer to things "kosher" and yet apparently do not feel the need to observe kashrut on the physical plane. Just thought I would mention that because cleanliness is next to godliness in every dimension of the creation :)

    DR said:
    I think the real issue is whether or not "harvest festival" equals Paganism. Especially when three of the major festivals (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles) are harvest festivals. If we invalidate Thanksgiving on that issue, then we must invalidate these three.
    As far as I know, Thanksgiving is a day when the pilgrims thanked God for getting them through the winter. There doesn't seem to be a shred of Paganism attached to it (aside from the cornucopia, but that seems to be a relic of ignorance and less one of ill intent -- in fact, aside from art work, I've rarely seen one -- it isn't central to the holiday like the Christmas tree is to Christmas).
    Its likewise true that Pagans kept harvest festivals, but none of the Pagan ones seem to line up with or are even near the fourth Thursday of November. This is significant, because it only goes to demonstrate that the two aren't as analogous as alarmists might have you think.

    Likewise, as one article states, Yahweh DOES sometimes sanction human holidays:

    Thus says the LORD of hosts: "The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace" (Zechariah 8:19).

    The question seems to be one of intent and whether or not the day is truly Pagan. In this case, I would argue its not.

    Finally, Christians are free to participate in non-Pagan dinners among unbelievers:
    If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience (1 Corinthians 10:27 ESV).

    I have to preface that "non-Pagan" because earlier in verses 14-24 Paul says not to participate in sacrifices. But, according to Paul, one is free to eat meat which may or may not have been sacrificed because it belongs to God anyway, so long as that freedom doesn't cause one to stumble. Participation with demons through sacrifices is contrasted with participation with the Lord through the Eucharist -- we are commanded not to participate in the sacrifice itself.

    So while I would readily argue that Christmas and some elements of Easter are participation with demons, Thanksgiving seems to be kosher. I think a Christian is free to celebrate it (and possibly should) because to do otherwise could create an unnecessary stumbling block for non-believers.

    DR said:
    I think the real issue is whether or not "harvest festival" equals Paganism. Especially when three of the major festivals (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles) are harvest festivals. If we invalidate Thanksgiving on that issue, then we must invalidate these three.

    As far as I know, Thanksgiving is a day when the pilgrims thanked God for getting them through the winter. There doesn't seem to be a shred of Paganism attached to it (aside from the cornucopia, but that seems to be a relic of ignorance and less one of ill intent -- in fact, aside from art work, I've rarely seen one -- it isn't central to the holiday like the Christmas tree is to Christmas).

    Its likewise true that Pagans kept harvest festivals, but none of the Pagan ones seem to line up with or are even near the fourth Thursday of November. This is significant, because it only goes to demonstrate that the two aren't as analogous as alarmists might have you think.

    Likewise, as one article states, Yahweh DOES sometimes sanction human holidays:

    Thus says the LORD of hosts: "The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace" (Zechariah 8:19).

    The question seems to be one of intent and whether or not the day is truly Pagan. In this case, I would argue its not.

    Finally, Christians are free to participate in non-Pagan dinners among unbelievers:
    If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience (1 Corinthians 10:27 ESV).

    I have to preface that "non-Pagan" because earlier in verses 14-24 Paul says not to participate in sacrifices. But, according to Paul, one is free to eat meat which may or may not have been sacrificed because it belongs to God anyway, so long as that freedom doesn't cause one to stumble. Participation with demons through sacrifices is contrasted with participation with the Lord through the Eucharist -- we are commanded not to participate in the sacrifice itself.

    So while I would readily argue that Christmas and some elements of Easter are participation with demons, Thanksgiving seems to be kosher. I think a Christian is free to celebrate it (and possibly should) because to do otherwise could create an unnecessary stumbling block for non-believers.

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