B2 High-Intermediate 18 Folder Collection
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Every year, millions around the world observe Lent. Unlike New Year's, Valentine's Day,
Halloween, Christmas and other popular holidays kept by billions, Lent is generally observed
by dedicated believers. For Catholics and many Protestants, the start of Lent signals
40 days of prayer, self-denial and confession, culminating at Easter.
But what is the truth of this period? Why is it so widely practiced throughout Christendom?
Does God command it? Did Jesus or the original apostles observe it? Did the New Testament
Church? What does the Bible teach about Lent? Prepare to be shocked by the facts from history—and
God's Word!
The World to Come. The Restored Church of God presents David C. Pack. Author of 80 books
and booklets. Editor-in-chief of The Real Truth magazine. Read by countless and growing
numbers in every nation and territory of the world. In a violent age full of bad news.
Answering life's greatest questions straight from the Bible, and announcing the wonderful
good news of the World to Come. And now, David C. Pack.
During the Lenten period, which lasts from Ash Wednesday in late winter to Easter, observers
abstain from certain foods or pleasures. Some give up bad habits like smoking or nail biting.
Others abstain from chocolate or a certain flavor of ice cream, keeping the others. Still
others try to help the environment by walking to work for 40 days instead of driving, or
they use Lent as a time for good works. In recent years, many have been encouraged
to put aside technology—MP3 players, cell phones, text messaging and the Internet. Let's
see: “The Turin [Italy] diocese is suggesting the faithful not watch television during Lent.
In the northeastern city of Trento, the church has created a 'new lifestyles' calendar
with proposals for each week of Lent.” Stopping pleasures and modern devices supposedly
imitates Jesus' 40-day fast in the wilderness, helps the believer understand Christ's suffering
and prepares one for Easter. On the surface, this practice appears well-intentioned,
and adherents seem sincere. But does God approve of it? Does it line up with His Word, the
only source of true spiritual knowledge? God says this to His servants: “The holy scriptures…are
able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture
is given by inspiration of God.” Before examining what the Bible says about
Lent, let's look at its customs, history and origin. Notice this: “The real aim of
Lent is, above all else, to prepare men for the celebration of the death and Resurrection
of Christ…the better the preparation the more effective the celebration will be. One
can effectively relive the mystery only with purified mind and heart. The purpose of Lent
is to provide that purification by weaning men from sin and selfishness through self-denial
and prayer, by creating in them the desire to do God's will and to make His kingdom
come by making it come first…in their hearts.” Sounds noble, but where did Lent come from?
How did it become so widely observed by mainstream Christianity?
Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon Lencten, meaning “spring” or “lengthen,” as in days
lengthening. The practice came from the ancient Babylonian mystery religion. Notice this:
“The 40 days abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian
goddess…Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary
to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz.”
Tammuz was the Babylonian messiah—an early counterfeit of Jesus Christ!
The Bible records ancient Judah worshipping him. Notice: “Then He brought me to the
door of the gate of the Lord's house…and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.”
You will see this was an abomination to God! The Feast of Tammuz was usually celebrated
in June (also called the “month of the festival of Tammuz”). Lent was held 40 days before
this feast, “celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing.” This is why Lent means “spring.”
It took place from spring to early summer. But why did the church at Rome institute such
a pagan holiday? Notice: “To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome,
pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated,
and, by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar [shifting Lent to earlier],
it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity—now far
sunk in idolatry…(as in so many other things) to shake hands.”
The Roman church replaced the God-ordained Passover with Easter, and moved the pagan
Feast of Tammuz to early spring, thus “Christianizing” it. Lent moved with it. Notice: “This change
of the calendar in regard to Easter was attended with momentous consequences. It brought into
the Church the grossest corruption and the rankest superstition in connection with the
abstinence of Lent.” Just before Lent, the pagans held a wild,
“anything goes” celebration to ensure they participated in enough debaucheries and
perversities before giving them up for Lent. Today, this same celebration is known as Mardi
Gras. Lent was never observed by Jesus or His apostles.
Jesus commanded His disciples to “Go you therefore, and teach all nations…to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Jesus did not command—or ever even suggest—His
disciples keep Lent or Easter. He did, however, command the keeping of Passover and the Days
of Unleavened Bread. In fact, during His last Passover, Jesus gave detailed instructions
on how to observe it, including the use of new symbols. (Read John 13:1 to 17 and Luke
22:19 and 20.) Now more from a previous source: “The festival,
of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third or fourth
centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the Romish Church,
and at that time was not known by any such name as Easter…[Passover] was not idolatrous,
and it was preceded by no Lent. 'It ought to be known,' said Cassianus, the monk of
Marseilles, writing in the fifth century, and contrasting the primitive [New Testament]
Church with the Church in his day, 'that the observance of the 40 days had no existence,
so long as the…primitive Church remained inviolate.'”
Lent was not observed by the first century Church! It was first introduced by the Roman
church during the Council of Nicea in AD 325, when Emperor Constantine officially recognized
that church as the state religion of the empire. Any form of Christianity that held to doctrines
contrary to the Roman church was considered an enemy of the state. (To understand God's
Church, read my book Where Is the True Church? -- and Its Incredible History!)
In 360, the Council of Laodicea officially commanded Lent be observed. Let's read:
“The emphasis was not so much on the fasting as on the spiritual renewal that the preparation
for Easter demanded. It was simply a period marked by fasting, but not necessarily one
in which the faithful fasted every day. However, as time went on, more and more emphasis was
laid upon fasting…During the early centuries (from the fifth century on especially) the
observance of the fast was very strict. Only one meal a day, toward evening, was allowed.”
From the ninth century on, strictness was relaxed. More emphasis was on performing “penitential
works” than fasting and abstinence. Let's see this: “Abstinence is to be observed
on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays of the year that do not fall on holy days of obligation,
and fasting as well as abstinence is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.”
On Ash Wednesday, priests apply cross-shaped ashes to foreheads to show repentance and
mourning. Today, Lent means fasting to forsake all sinful
ways. It is defined as a season “for penance, which means sorrow for sin and conversion
to God.” This tradition teaches that fasting and employing self-discipline during Lent
will give a worshipper the “control over himself that he needs to purify his heart
and renew his life.” But what does the Bible say about how a Christian
draws closer to God and purifies himself? First, God's Word shows self-control comes
from having God's Spirit working in the life of a converted mind. Notice: “Walk
in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance [or
self-control].” Fasting cannot produce godly self-control.
The Bible warns against using self-denial as a tool of growth, calling this will worship.
Let's read what the apostle Paul wrote: “If you be dead with Christ from the rudiments
of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances [that's
human ordinances], (touch not; taste not; handle not…) after the commandments and
doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility
[that's false humility], and neglecting of the body.”
God did not design fasting to be a tool for penance, meaning to “beat yourself up,”
or to develop will power. Let's read: “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for
a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth
and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is
not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy
burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to
deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out to your house?
When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own
flesh?” God's people humble themselves through fasting
to draw close to Him—so they can learn to think and act like Him—so they can live
His Way in all things. Fasting and prayer help in this process. Let's read this: “Submit
yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God,
and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts,
you double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning,
and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift
you up.” Also recognize the Bible teaches that true
Christians are purified—cleansed or set apart and made pure in God's sight—by
the shed blood of Jesus—not by self-denial. Notice: “If the blood of bulls and of goats,
and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the
flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself
without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
and “Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood
is no remission.” And finally: “Jesus…sanctif[ies] the people with His own blood.”
Faith also plays a role in the conversion process: “[God] put no difference between
us and them [Paul wrote, referring to the Gentiles in context], purifying their hearts
by faith.” Next understand that one cannot, by his or
her own power, create even the desire to do God's will. Although God has given mankind
free moral agency, plain Bible verses show that the carnal, natural mind cannot—will
not—submit to God. Notice: “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of
the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit…Because the carnal
mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
can be.” Only in a converted mind, actively led by His Spirit, can God, it says, work
“in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
Also recall that Lent adherents strive to make God's “kingdom come by making it
come first in their hearts.” This is an unbiblical concept taught by modern Christendom.
God is not setting up His kingdom in the hearts of men.
The World to Come will continue. In addition to the literature ordered with this program,
you will receive a free one-year subscription to The Real Truth! This magazine answers the
question, why so much bad news in today's headlines? It explains the root causes behind
the bad effects and points to the good news of the only possible solution—the soon-coming
kingdom of God! Your subscription is free with any literature order.
Directly related to Lent, what about Easter? Since two billion people keep it, supposedly
to honor Christ's Resurrection, the Bible must authorize it. Surely many verses mention
rabbits, eggs, egg hunts, baskets of candy, hot cross buns, Good Friday, sunrise services
and Easter itself—right? The Bible is the source of all things Christian—or
should be. Does it mention Easter? It does, but not as you think!
Acts 12 describes persecution against the Church, involving the brutal murder by sword
of the apostle James. Notice: “Then were the days of unleavened bread.” The early
New Testament Church was observing these feast days described in Leviticus 23. Next: “When
he [that's King Herod] had apprehended [Peter], he put him in prison, and delivered him to
four quarternions of soldiers [that's 16] to keep him; intending after Easter to bring
him forth to the people.” Is this Bible authority for Easter? No!
This passage is not talking about Easter. The word Easter is translated from pascha—which
derives from the Hebrew word pesach. There is no Greek word for Passover—and pascha
has only one meaning. It always means Passover. It can never mean Easter! So we find a Hebrew
word used in the Greek New Testament. Other translations, like the New King James, the
Revised Standard Version and the New English Bible, correctly use “Passover.”
Instead of endorsing Easter, Acts 12 in fact proves the Church was still keeping God's
Passover 11 years after Jesus' death! This becomes its own statement about the rejection
of Easter. No scriptures support Easter. None! There
are absolutely no verses, anywhere in the Bible, that in any way authorize or even permit
celebrating Easter! And God's Word says nothing about Lent, eggs, egg hunts, or baskets
of candy—although it does mention hot cross buns and sunrise services as practices God
condemns. You will later see this. The mistranslation of Acts 12 is a not-so-subtle
attempt to insert a pagan festival into Scripture to authorize it—just like the pagan Lent
was inserted into Christianity by Rome to authorize it.
So then, where did Easter originate? The vast majority of ecclesiastical and secular historians
know that Easter—and the traditions surrounding it—are deeply rooted in pagan religion.
Let's briefly examine the ancient roots of this widely observed holiday. Powerful
quotes demonstrate the true origin of the modern Easter celebration.
First is this admission: “The origin of the term for the feast of Christ's Resurrection
has been popularly considered to be from the Anglo-Saxon Eastre, a goddess of spring...[Also,
the name comes from] the Old High German plural for dawn, eostarun; whence has come the German
Ostern, and our English Easter.” Another source: “The fact that vernal festivals
were general among pagan peoples no doubt had much to do with the form assumed by the
Easter festival in the Christian churches. The English term 'Easter' is of pagan
origin.” And this: “On this greatest of Christian
festivals, several survivals occur of ancient heathen ceremonies. To begin with, the name
itself is not Christian but pagan. 'Ostara' was the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring.”
Sunrise services are mentioned in the Bible—but, again, not as you expect. The context is the
prophet Ezekiel being shown, in a vision, an important prophecy concerning the sins
of God's people in our time. Only briefly touched upon earlier, the next powerful verses
reveal God's plain condemnation of sunrise services, and what will happen to those who
dismiss or minimize His command. Let's read it: “Turn you yet again, and you shall see
greater abominations that they do...and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz [we saw
that earlier]...And He brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and…at
the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about 25 men,
with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and
they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then [God] said to me, Have you seen this...Is
it a light thing [or no big deal?]...that they commit the abominations which they commit
here? [Are you getting this?] For they...have returned to provoke Me to anger...Therefore
will I also deal in fury: My eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity...”
Observing sunrise services is serious to God! He so hates this vile practice that He says
He will ultimately destroy everyone who persists in what He calls “abomination!”
We now know Easter is the goddess Ashtaroth. Next we need to examine the Bible for what
God thinks of her. Notice this: “The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord...And
they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”
The prophet Samuel warned Israel, “Put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among
you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him only...Then the children of
Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.” Later, the prophet
Samuel reminded Israel of her history—that they would return to obey God, only to fall
back into idolatry time and time again! We have seen that God never instructed—but
rather actually commanded against—Easter. This includes the observance of traditions
surrounding Easter such as Lent. What seems so innocent is not innocent at all.
In place of God's seven annual Holy Days—outlined and commanded in His Word—men want to observe
their own holidays—and then tell themselves they are pleasing and worshipping the true
God. Jesus warned: “In vain they do worship Me,
teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” and added, “Full well [or knowing
full well] you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.” Every
year, two billion professing Christians around the world reject God's Word to keep men's
holidays! No wonder Jesus asked, “Why call you Me, 'Lord, Lord' and do not the things
which I say.” God told Israel: “You shall not walk in
the manners of the nations, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things,
and therefore I abhorred them...and you shall be holy to Me: for I the Lord am holy, and
have severed you from other people, that you should be Mine.” God commands His followers
to come out of the world and its Babylonish ways, saying, “Come out of her, My people,
that you be not partakers of her sins, and…receive not of her plagues.”
Worldwide disobedience comes with a terrible price. National punishment now lies just ahead
for the world's greatest nations—the ones who have been custodians of the Bible and
who should—and could—have known the truth you now know.
In the second Commandment—forbidding all forms of idolatry—and in other passages,
God declares He is a jealous God. He wants His people doing what He commands, not the
practices of false gods! God plainly instructs, “Learn not the way
of the heathen.” But most people do not fear God—they do not care what He says—and
He allows them to make their own decisions. Human beings are free moral agents—free
to learn or not learn what God commands—free to obey or disobey Him!
But woe to those who ignore the plain Word of the Bible, believing men can overrule God!
People can worship in ways that represent things far different from what they sincerely
believe or intend. When they have observed a custom for a long time they come to identify
with it, as though it were their own. They vest in it. When one tries to tell them the
truth—presenting facts, evidence, proof—and scripture—many become hostile—angry!—that
one would dare violate sacred personal beliefs. The proof is overwhelming that men's holidays—including
the unscriptural Lent—are human traditions—”commandments of men”—condemned by God! Yet the masses
keep them, anyway! God makes absolutely clear He does not want
us to mix His ways with any false ways. He declares, “What thing soever I command you,
observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” In other words, do
exactly what I say—nothing more, nothing less!
Be careful of anger at me. I merely told you what God says. Direct your anger at ministers
you trusted—who knew better and deceived you.
God declares in multiple places—and in crystal clear words for those seeking His view—that
He hates all customs associated with pagan celebrations. And we saw His plain words to
all who say they can mix wretched pagan customs with Christianity.
Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread were observed by Jesus, the apostles and the
New Testament Church—including Gentiles. God commands His people to keep them today.
(Read I Corinthians 5 verses 7 and 8). These booklets reveal much more: The True
Origin of Easter, Christ's Resurrection Was Not on Sunday, How Often Should the Lord's
Supper Be Taken?, as well as God's Holy Days or Pagan Holidays? They are crucial for
those who care what God thinks about days men think so special.
God is not the author of confusion. He did not institute Lent, an observance that ultimately
connects utter debauchery to the fictional resurrection of a false messiah.
God commands His people to follow Him—not the traditions of men. God's ways are higher—better—than
man's. (Read Isaiah 55 verses 8 and 9.) Men cannot determine for themselves right
from wrong or how to properly worship God. Why? Because “The heart [meaning the mind]
is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” and “the way of man is not in
himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.” Almighty God designed us and
gave us life. He teaches how we are supposed to worship Him.
Lent is a human invention—nothing more than a popular tradition of men—that has nothing
to do with God. God commands Christians to reject the traditions
of men and customs of a world led and deceived by the devil (II Corinthians 4:4 and Revelation
12:9). Observing Lent may seem right, but it is deeply rooted in customs that counterfeit
God's Plan. Men cannot “Christianize” or make these customs clean. Lent is no exception.
You face a choice: follow the masses who are listening to confused, deceived priests and
ministers. Or, open your mind—and your Bible—listen to God, and follow the truth.
Until next time, this is David C. Pack saying, “Goodbye, friends.”
This program was made available by Restored Church of God members and donors from around
the globe. Explore our vast library of literature and other World to Come programs, which are
all made available free of charge. To order literature featured in this program, call
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The Truth About Lent

18 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on February 26, 2020
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