Questions About Religious Holidays

Questions About Religious Holidays
March 1, 2020
Passage: Romans 14:5,6
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This passage is speaking about holidays. There were holidays about the Greeks, and Romans, and perhaps even pagan holidays. There were questions regarding the eating of meat and specifically that which had been sacrificed to idols. 

  • Galatians 4:9-11

This passage gives us principles to consider regarding holidays. What can we learn about the holidays observed today?

You think about anything that people like, and there is a holiday set aside for that day. There of course are national holidays that are observed by government. 

Why do societies have holidays?

They began as holy days. 

  • Exodus 12:16

The Sabbath Day, observed weekly. 

  • Exodus 20:7

The Holy Day of Pentecost

  • Leviticus 23:15

The Day of Atonement

  • Leviticus 23:27

The High Priest went into the most holy place in temple when they went into the most holy place to make atonement for the people. This is the only day by the Law of Moses where they were required to fast. 

The Feast of Tabernacles

  • Leviticus 23:33

The Year of Jubilee

  • Leviticus 25:8

Of course because of the Roman Catholic holiday, The U.S. observes Easter, and even has begun to observe the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. 

There are other holidays in our country. There are days that honor presidents, and historical figures, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day. There are special days that we as a society recognize. 

Does the New Testament Allow for the Observance of Holidays?

In a sense it does. We are to give honor to those to whom honor is due. 

  • Romans 13:7
  • 1 Peter 2:17

Honor is to be given to those who are deserving of honor. There is nothing wrong with giving honor where it’s due. 

  • Romans 13:1
  • 1 Peter 2:13

New Years, Independence, Thanksgiving, in as much as the government gives time off for the observance of these, Christians can truly take advantage of those days. 

However, if the government required that citizens to observe holidays as religious holidays, then, it would be wrong for Christians to do so.

The Romans were required to observe the holiday of Emperor worship of Caesar as a god.

  • Acts 5:29

We do not have the authority to observe any holiday as a religion.

Not to be legislated as a Christian practice. 

There is only one day to be observed by Christians as a holy day.

The first day of the week. 

  • Acts 20:7
  • 1 Corinthians 16:1,2
  • Revelation 1:10

The first day of the week is our holy day. We have 52 of them each year. 

What Should Be Done about Christmas and Easter?

These two are the most observed as a religious holidays by the religious world. We find no authority in the New Testament to observe these days. There is no instruction to observe the birth of Christ. 

Jews didn’t really observe birthdays as a regular day. The birthday was typically observed by the pagans. But, not by the Jews. There is no instruction to observe the day of his birth in the New Testament.

Of course, we are to observe the death of Christ on the first day off the week. It is the weekly observation of his death and resurrection that we are to observe. 

Given the constant press of those claiming to be Christians saying we are to observe those days what are we to do? 

  • Romans 12:1,2

We're not to be conformed by worldly standards. If everyone on the world followed religious practice, it doesn’t mean we have to conform to it. Our righteousness comes from doing the will of God. 

  • Romans 10:1-4

The Jews were practicing many things not found in the law of Moses. They were binding where God had not bound, and loosing where God had not loosened.

They were going about inserting their own form of righteousness. The disciples, and even Jesus, were attacked by the Pharisees for not doing what the Pharisees were inserting.

What happens when we teach the commandments of men? What happens when we bind these days on Christians?

  • Matthew 15:9

It is vain, worthless, empty, when we worship in vain, by obeying the doctrine of men.

It does not mean we can't observe the secular. 

  • Acts 10:15

There is a difference between that which is holy, consecrated, and that which is common.  If something isn’t religious in nature, there is nothing wrong with observing the secular, common aspects. 

  • 1 Corinthians 3:21-23

If there are secular aspects connected to these holidays, there is nothing wrong with those things. All good things come from God. 

Every good and perfect gift comes from God. 

  • James 1:17
  • 1 Timothy 6:17

If we can use the things in the world without sin, we may do so.

  • Hebrews 5:14

The idea is to give principles regarding what to do in observance of religious holidays. To set authority as a Christian, or religious holiday, we don’t have the authority to do that. And, we aren’t to make our brethren to stumble. 

  • We do have the authority to observe the first day of the week. 
  • We have the authority to give honor where honor is due. 
  • We are to have respect for and obey the government. Acts 5:29
  • We have the authority to recognize the difference between secular and religious. 
  • We have the authority to recognize and enjoy God’s blessing.

When it comes to religious holidays the New Testament authorizes to worship God on the first day of the week. That is the only day we need to observance. That is the day in which our Lord arose from the dead. That is the day in which the culmination of God's salvation took place. He took sin upon himself, He died for our sins, so we can die to sin. He was buried in that grave and on the third day he arose from the dead and overcame death. We too have opportunity to overcome death. As a child we are born in innocence. We come to a point when we recognize right from wrong, then we are dead in our sins.

 Like Jesus was buried in the tomb we are immersed in water as he was buried in the tomb. As He rose again in resurrection we rise out of the water to walk a new life.

Jack McNiel, Evangelist


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