God sent His people, Israel, into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, but with these “statutes and judgments” in Moses’ final declaration to them:
“These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:1-6 NKJV).
The people in that land were pagans and idolaters who worshiped the Creation rather than the Creator. They worshiped the various “gods” which supposedly represented the powers involved in life on Earth. God did not allow His people to simply adopt, nor adapt, the Canaanites’ religious practices as worship to Him. All of: “the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,” “their altars,” “their sacred pillars,” “their wooden images,” “the carved images,” were to be “utterly” destroyed so they would have no influence among the Israelites, whatsoever. Only the specified worship in the manner God described would be acceptable to God. The Israelites were not to be allied to the worship proscribed by the seasons, but that which was determined by God.
After the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the kingdom of Christ was established on earth, the Gospel of Christ was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). While in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14:8-10), but then the idolaters sought to worship both Paul and Barnabas:
“Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:11-18 NKJV).
God’s inspired Apostle Paul stopped any idolatrous practice from being used as an explanation for, or an application to, Christianity. There is nothing in idolatrous teachings or practices which should be admitted or accepted by Christians.
Catholicism, whether Roman or Greek, has incorporated idolatrous practices and seasonal calendars into what they call “Christian,” when all they have done is find some Scripture or event in Christ’s life with which to “tag” what would otherwise be a rejected practice. The disciples were called “Christians” by God first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but Catholicism has spread the term, like an umbrella, over practices of paganism and idolatry. No Christian in the New Testament ever celebrated an “Easter,” “Christmas,” “Lent,” “Seder,” or any of the 40 days of mishmash found on today’s religious calendars, which are mistakenly termed a “Christian Calendar.”
No denomination is “Protestant” that follows Catholicism’s religious calendar. “Seder” is simply a re-creation of the Jewish Passover, which Jesus died to remove (Colossians 2:14-16); “Yule” is from witches, “Eoster/Ishtar” is from idolaters, and “Fertility rites” demonstrated by rabbits and eggs, are the very things forbidden by Paul (Galatians 4:8-11); and “Lent” is hypocritical display of a misunderstanding of “fasting” condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:16-18). The Lord’s death, represented in the Lord’s Supper, must be kept free from the impurities of falsehood (1 Corinthians 10:15-22). Everyone who keeps special days on a religious calendar did “not so learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20).
To be a disciple of Christ, one must believe the historical and factual evidence of His life found in the New Testament (John 20:30-31; 21:25) and obey His command to be baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The only events in Christ’s life to be memorialized are: (1) His death, burial, and resurrection first, when a sinner repents and is baptized into death, Romans 6:1-6, then raised “in newness of life”; and secondly, when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and (2) the day of His resurrection remembered each week when Christians assemble (“the first day of the week,” Luke 24:1-9; Acts 20:7). There are no other special or seasonal days for Christians, according to the New Testament. “The churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) never observed a religious calendar that would lead them into apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), because those who follow such stand contrary to inspired truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). “The churches of Christ salute you” but we salute Jesus Christ above all.
—–John T. Polk II