Reflections on Lent
According to the Lenten tradition, believers are required to fast from certain things for 40 days leading up to Easter. Where do we find a command to celebrate Lent in the Bible? Or examples of believers celebrating it? You'd be hard pressed to find any such examples because the practice of Lent didn't start until around 325 AD. However, what you will find in the Bible is an eternal command from God for believers to keep a day of fasting on Yom Kippur. You will also find an eternal command to count 50 days leading up to the holy day of Shavuot/Pentecost where we celebrate the giving of the Law and the Spirit.
Some similarities can be seen between God's commandments and Christian traditions. That is because syncretism has done a number on Christian practices over the years. And yet, when all is said and done we must ask ourselves if we end up forsaking God's commandments for the sake of clinging to man made tradition.
"You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the LORD." Leviticus 23:16
It even says it is to be a "statute forever" (Leviticus 23:21). Every spring, our family has enjoyed counting the days to Shavuot. It's a mindful time of introspection and anticipation toward Shavuot/Pentecost when we celebrate the giving of the Torah and the Holy Spirit.
The Biblical holy day of Yom Kippur is a day that is set apart for fasting and repentance. Both the native born and the stranger (gentile) were commanded to honor this holy/set apart day. It also states it would be a "statute forever".
"And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you. For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins. It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute forever." Leviticus 16:29-31
It's almost like humanity craves Creator's holy days so much that they take elements of them but end up changing them according to their preferences. Over time God's eternal holy days/set apart days have been forgotten, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This comes as no surprise to God though. It was prophesied that the antichrist would seek to change God's holy days and laws.
"As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time." Daniel 7:24-25
"And he said to them, 'Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.'" Mark 7:6-8
Good news: It's not too late to return to Creator's days and ways by following in the footsteps of Yeshua (Jesus). If you were to get a new computer, you'd want to read the manual to make sure you use it correctly and keep it functioning the way it should so that it can be used to its full potential. In the same way, we should seek to understand and use Creator's guidebook so that we, as His creation, can function properly and reach our full potential.