Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

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Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby Maverick » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:19 am

I've been studying Galatians for the past few weeks and Galatians 4:10 popped out at me for the first time. I've copied it below with context from the ESV, because that's the version I'm reading:

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forcesd ? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

Galatians 4:8-11


I'm wondering what Paul meant by observing these special days. The first thing I thought of was of course the various feast days from the Old Testament. Taken in the context of Galatians as a whole, with some "Judaizers" (hope I spelled that right) trying to corrupt the Gospel Paul taught by teaching circumcision and the old covenant, this makes sense to me--that the special days and all that don't matter. Just wondering what some of the wise men on this forum think about this passage.

Also, if what Paul is saying is that Christians shouldn't be concerned with days and events, then why do many Christians put such emphasis on the "holy days," the blood moons, the Shemitah/Shmita year, the Sabbath/Sunday debate, etc.?
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby Petros » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:38 am

People is people. The instincts and hormones are never converted while the body lasts.

Call no man Father? Catholic and Orthodox.

Don't focus on taboo foods and actions? Almost everybody.

And so on.

He knew who he was making when he spoke the word.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby natman » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:10 am

I think that many of the feasts and holidays, even the Sabatarian days, weeks and years were FULFILLED in the advent of Christ. Christ is our "sabbath" in Whom we may rest. I think this is part of what Jesus meant when He said, "I have come not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it." (Matt 5:17)

Also, like many today who attend church out of a sense of "religious DUTY" ("Can't miss church on Sunday or God will smite me.... or worse, my neighbors might think I am a BAD christian.") rather than out of a sense of wanting to spend time with the Lord, in His Word, in communion with the One Who spoke and the Universe LEPT into existence, listening, praising and worshipping Him out of love for what He has DONE for us and what He promises to DO for us.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby jochanaan » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:30 pm

As a Christian Sabbath-keeper, this passage has often interested me, since it seems to speak against observing any special days at all. However, experience has shown that the Sabbath concept is a good one whether you believe in the Bible or not. I seem to recall reading that some societies have tried a ten-day cycle rather than a seven-day one, and it just didn't work; somehow we require one day in seven to rest and refocus. And as long as we're setting aside one day in seven--and the three great monotheistic religions on Earth all do--I figure we might as well set aside the day God originally set.

But--and this is the crucial point--we should not do this in order to assure our right standing with God; instead, we should do it as a loving response to His love and grace for us--and mostly because it's a good thing to do. :)
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby Petros » Thu Sep 17, 2015 1:24 pm

The sabbath - most cultures keeping "weeks" of 4 - 10 days [the goal being to divide into lunar months] do not seem to have anything like the sabbath. While the lord's day cycle has worship / fellowship as a major purpose, I have always seen the sabbath sensu stricto as comparable to the nap imposed on the little kiddies whether they think they need it or not to rest and recharge. Comparable to the cyclic leaving a field fallow and ultimately the jubilee.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby jay_p » Thu Sep 17, 2015 1:40 pm

The sabbath is meant to be a day of Rest, in fact that idea carries through all of God design. Hence the Jubilee years, and the Grand jubilee years. Wether you observe "holy days" that were (at the time) pagan festivals or not is probably open to some interpretation, it is important to rest. God himself set the example by resting on the 7th day. That was done for US so that we might rest. God himself has no need of rest.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby jochanaan » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:36 pm

jay_p wrote:...Wether you observe "holy days" that were (at the time) pagan festivals...
Given that it was the "Judaizers" who were "seducing" the Galatian church away from freedom and back into legalism, it was most likely the Levitical feasts that were being observed.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby naturaldon » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:08 pm

Mav, oddly enough, I just read this yesterday and dug a bit on those words, "days, months, seasons, and years." It reminded of the words in Genesis 1:14, where God created time (signs and seasons and days and years, which begs the question, 'how long was a day before this verse,' but that's another discussion altogether). I'm still considering it but for now I do agree with the general sentiment here that Paul was referring to the Galatians reverting back to practices required by the Law, and he feared for them over it, sort of like I fear for my family and friends who believe they are going to heaven because they are good. That's my 2 bits worth.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby prairieboy » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:09 pm

Petros wrote:People is people. The instincts and hormones are never converted while the body lasts.

Call no man Father? Catholic and Orthodox.

Don't focus on taboo foods and actions? Almost everybody.

And so on.

He knew who he was making when he spoke the word.


Too true. That is also why we are told to walk by faith, and not by sight. While our five senses tell us that we are the same person that we always were, the Word tells us that we are a "new creation, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." All of the special observances belong to the appeal to the five senses. That is not to say that there is no value in them, just that they have no direct bearing on my righteousness. If I have a job where I have to work Sundays, and/or Saturdays, I could decide not to go to church at all, but I would be well served to find some group (of like minded believers) with whom I could meet on Tuesday, or Wednesday. This isn't legalism, just the knowledge that I really NEED the encouragement of fellowshipping with others. I can worship by myself, but there is a power in corporate worship that is not there when I am alone.

Many of us are pretty busy on Sunday; getting ready for church, brushing up on the Sunday school lesson, ushering, Sunday afternoon football, that it would be a very good exercise in self-discipline to observe the Sabbath for a month or two. Devoting our Friday evenings and Saturdays to God would be a powerful spiritual discipline/sacrifice much like fasting is.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby Maverick » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:08 pm

I'm liking the discussion here and glad to hear what you all have to say. Some very insightful comments. I tend to agree with what you all have generally stated, that Christ fulfilled the Old Law (Torah) and that with that we no longer have to observe all the various feasts and holy days. I hear people like Jonathan Cahn and Mark Biltz preaching about the Jewish feasts and holy days as they relate to Christianity and major world events--maybe there's some overlap with the world events, but I don't think anything major happened on 9/13/15 (supposedly the end of the Shemitah year).

On the flip side, I find it interesting that "Christians" in the past created Christmas, Easter, and other holy days (many more for the Catholics) that I haven't found any Biblical backing for. From my reading, I think both Christmas and Easter were created to coincide with Pagan festivals. I'm not advocating abolishing Christmas or Easter, but I am of the belief that every day should be both Christmas and Easter (especially Easter!) for a Christian. In other words, that we should remember Christ's sacrifice every day. This is something I'm working on in my own spiritual journey.

Another thing I sometimes hear is that "Jesus observed the Passover with the disciples, so we should observe Passover too." Is that logical? I have a hard time rationalizing this, especially since Jesus fulfilled the law upon His death, when the veil was torn in two; he had the Last Supper with the disciples before His death.

Someone a long time ago in a Sunday School class talked about how France tried a 10-day week and it didn't work because (I think) the animals started dying from lack of rest. I can't find any proof that that's what really happened, though, but I don't doubt it.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby Petros » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:32 pm

I should be inclined to say that it is not quite true that Christianity "took over" pagan feasts, though you hear that a lot, both from Yucch Christians! folk and from I the Only Pure Christian folk.

The orbits of earth and moon and the rotation of the earth give us important rhythms [which Genesis suggest exist as a metronome. The solstices and equinaxes are natural set points, and attract feasts.

So - Passover is a Spring event. The crucifixion and resurrection were timed for Passover, not as an appropriation, but, if you believe a lot of informed discussion, because the Passover was set up as it was with the salvific episode in mind.

So Christians working with Germanic tribes celebrate in the Spring, and - surprise - the tribes have their own Spring event, ther two get kind of melded in the popular mind, and the Pasch takes on the name of the Germanic Spring Goddess. I don't see this as cynical clerical appropriation, just the natural rhythm of big feasts combined with the natural associations of people not all of whom - unlike us modern sophisticates - were as focussed in and immersed in theology as we might like.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby Bare_Truth » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:19 pm

I would like to suggest that we consider the Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary (JFB) on Galatians 4:10 as I think it may shed some useful insight. I have underlined the part that I think may be most relevant
JFB wrote: 10. To regard the observance of certain days as in itself meritorious as a work, is alien to the free spirit of Christianity. This is not incompatible with observing the Sabbath or the Christian Lord's day as obligatory, ]though not as a work (which was the Jewish and Gentile error in the observance of days), but as a holy mean appointed by the Lord for attaining the great end, holiness. The whole life alike belongs to the Lord in the Gospel view, just as the whole world, and not the Jews only, belong to Him. But as in Paradise, so now one portion of time is needed wherein to draw off the soul more entirely from secular business to God (Col 2:16).


So I take it that JFB are taking the position that Paul is warning the Galatians that the observance of these days is not somehow "magical" in the sense that observing them earns some sort of special credit to the practitioner or curse to the non-practitioner, but rather that the behavior and symbolism in the observance of these days is beneficial to the practitioner, in that such assembling together for fellowship and instruction and memorial promotes Christian Growth. That such observance is a tool and not a goal in and of itself. That one is not more meritorious before God because of an unblemished record of showing up for those occasions but rather that they grow more mature in partaking with their fellows on such occasions.

It would appear that the JFB position is much more in tune with:
Quoting Jesus in Chapter 2: Mark wrote: 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

I.e. the sabbath was made for the benefit of mankind not for mankind to have a work to do to maintain the sabbath.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby Petros » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:49 pm

Quite.
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby jochanaan » Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:34 pm

Bare truth, that is my understanding also: not that we should cease doing good works including observing regular days of rest, worship and celebration, but that our relationship with God consists rather of His loving, saving grace towards us without any works on our part. :)
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Re: Days and months and seasons and years--oh my!

Postby natman » Sun Sep 20, 2015 7:35 am

jochanaan wrote:Bare truth, that is my understanding also: not that we should cease doing good works including observing regular days of rest, worship and celebration, but that our relationship with God consists rather of His loving, saving grace towards us without any works on our part. :)


Another slight detour down the rabbit holes of life... I would add, "... Without any 'required' works on our part."

Although we are saved by grace and not by works, James tells us that "faith WITHOUT works is a dead faith." (James 2). Therefore, just as Jesus presented an example to us, we will WANT to do good works, even on the Sabbath, out of respect and love for our great Lord and Savior.
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