Wednesday, February 22, 2012 (All day)
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[Steve Myers] Why would you celebrate Ash Wednesday and Lent ? This is the season for that. Many people are celebrating Ash Wednesday today and yet don't really realize some of the implications of what it really means. Is it really a biblical day that you need to keep? Is it one you celebrate? Is Lent a period of time that's biblical? Did the New Testament Church keep those days?
[Darris McNeely] Ash Wednesday marks the 40 day period leading up to Easter Sunday and the celebration of Easter in the Christian world. It's this 40 day period that somehow is supposed to connect with the 40 days periods within the Bible of temptation or testing and trial.
[Steve Myers] In fact, one of them was the fact that Christ fasted 40 days, but it's not connected with Lent in any way. It wasn't even at this time of the year that He did that.
[Darris McNeely] Nor is Easter of course mentioned within the Scriptures at all. The Easter Sunday traditions have nothing to do with biblical practice and God's commands for our observance. But, there are a number of connections that Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday—and we were talking about that yesterday—have to pagan celebrations and pagan origins, which, you know, I know a lot of people today really don't care that things are pagan, but I think we do need to care because God cares. In the book of Ezekiel chapter 8 He does talk about a practice that the Prophet Ezekiel was pointed to that God was saying was something that was an abomination to Him. And it was people weeping in the temple for Tammuz. In Ezekiel 8:14, Ezekiel writes, "He brought me to the door of the North Gate of the Lord's house and to my dismay women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz. And He said to me, 'Have you seen this O son of man? And turn again you will see greater abominations than these.'" Now some scholars, I think rightly do connect this to some of these celebrations of the risen God, the risen Savior and this particular practice of weeping for Tammuz does have pagan origins.
[Steve Myers] Whose mother was Ishtar, where the… ( Depending on the story Tammuz was the husband or the son of the goddess Ishtar. )
[Darris McNeely] Right.
[Steve Myers]…word Easter comes from that. So there are definitely connections historically to that.
[Darris McNeely] But the point is God says these are abominations. And what's interesting when you go on down to verse 17 He says, "Have you seen this O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence and then they return to provoke Me to anger" (Ezekiel 8:17). The point is, these pagan celebrations, of which Tammuz is only one that plagued ancient Israel and of which we have more, the modern origins and counterparts today in these celebrations of Easter and Ash Wednesday, really are abominations to God. And they lead to a way of life that creates so many other problems that are at the root of the violence and the problems that we see as a part of world—that people, politicians, philosophers and theologians cannot find solutions to. But God says they're abominations and that's why it's important, that's why these pagan issues are so critical for people to understand.
[Steve Myers] They are detestable before God. And so a challenge to you, look these things up. Check them out. What did the New Testament Church practice when it came to these things? They had nothing to do with Easter. They had nothing to do with Lent. They had nothing to do with Ash Wednesday. But what was a proper fast? What were the days that they kept? You'll find something very interesting if you begin to check those things out.
[Darris McNeely] It's time that you do. That's BT Daily . Join us next time.