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Paul’s Imprisonment

“You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality” (Acts 21:20-25).

When the Apostle Paul and his traveling companions arrived in Jerusalem in 57 CE for Pentecost, with the gifts from the churches of Greece and Asia Minor, the brethren “welcomed them gladly” (Acts 21:17). The next day he and his companions met with James, the presiding apostle at Jerusalem, and the headquarters elders. The sense of it is that this was a private meeting. Paul gave a full report telling “in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry” (Acts 21:19). The response by James and all the elders as recorded in Acts 21:20-25 deserves some thoughtful analysis. Luke appears to have summarized various comments and advice into a single overall statement as follows:

Introduction

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Lecture

  1. Second Apostolic Tour
  2. Ancient Corinth
  3. Third Apostolic Tour
  4. Arrest at Jerusalem
  5. Herod Agrippa II

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Conclusion

Is it okay to keep Thanksgiving?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Here’s an answer from our Personal Correspondence Department, courtesy Mr. Gary Ehman…

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your question concerning the relationship between the national holiday of Thanksgiving and the Bible.

To begin, there is no direct connection between the United States national holiday on the fourth Thursday in November, and God’s biblical Holy Days. Most people recognize the first Thanksgiving as taking place in December 1621, when the Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate the bountiful harvest they had reaped. In addition, the day did not become an official day of observance until the presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863, where he declared “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Interestingly, through Lincoln’s words, we can see a nation that once professed God to be the true God, and denounced secular teachings. In essence, there was a link between the day of Thanksgiving and God. However, there is no direct biblical command pertaining to the fourth Thursday in November, and God continues to be removed from the picture in our nation today.

Conversely, God has detailed for us His Holy Days which are to be kept in accordance to scriptural outline. The Feast of Tabernacles in the fall designates a time of thanksgiving for blessings obtained throughout the year, and the great spiritual harvest still to come (Deuteronomy 16:13-15). Furthermore, God tells us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

While the United States national holiday of Thanksgiving is not directly commanded in the Bible, we can certainly praise God and give Him thanks, at any time, for the blessings He has bestowed upon us.

If we can be of any further assistance, please let us know.

PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT