The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"Where and when did the custom of observing Lent originate?" R.S.
Believe it or not, Lent was observed 4000 years ago! The apostle Paul commanded the Gentile-born Christians to cease observing it! Many have supposed Lent is taught in the Bible. But they have never looked into the Bible to see what the Bible really says! The Lenten season is a period of 40 days abstinence, beginning on "Ash Wednesday." The word "Lent" comes from the old English word "Lencten" meaning the "spring" of the year. (Encyclopaedia Britannica.) The Lenten celebration was originally associated with the spring of the year. But today it begins in the winter! How did this confusion originate? Here is the answer: "As long as the perfection of the primitive church [the inspired New Testament Church] remained inviolable," wrote Cassian in the fifth century, "there was 120 observance of Lent; but when men began to decline from the apostolical fervour of devotion... then the priests ill general agreed to recall them from secular cares by a canonical indiction of fasting... " (Antiquities of the Christian Church, Book 21, chapter 1.) Fasting, or abstinence from certain foods, was imposed after the days of the apostles — by the authority of the priests! Lent is not of apostolic origin! It did not originate with Christ! It entered the Christianity of the Roman World in the second century. It entered at the same time that Easter d id! Lent is always associated with the pagan Easter! Lent is mentioned in the Old Testament. "Lent," remember, "seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz" — the pagan Babylonian Messiah. The month of June was named in honor of the false Babylonian Messiah. Forty days p receding the feast of Tammuz (usually celebrated in June) the pagans held their Lenten season! Ezekiel describes it vividly in Ezek. 8:13-14: "He" — the Lord — "said also unto me, 'Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.'" Notice that God calls what Ezekiel is about to see an ABOMINATION. What does the prophet see? "And, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz!" They wept for Tammuz, the false Messiah of the pagans! That weeping preceded the pagan festival in honor of the supposed resurrection of Tammuz. Fasting was joined with weeping FOR A PERIOD OF FORTY DAYS before the festival in honor of Tammuz. The period of weeping and semi-fasting fell during springtime. That is why the word Lent means "spring!" Lent is a continuation of the pagan springtime custom of abstaining from certain foods just prior to celebrating a fake resurrection! And God calls LENT a" ABOMINATION! That is why Christ and the true New Testament Church never observed it! Paul forbad Christians to observe these pagan "times" or "seasons" (Gal. 4:9-10). Surely, some will say, the people today are sincere — but so were the pagans! They didn't know better! Observe what God says He will do to those who refuse to repent of this abomination: "Is it a light thing... that they commit the ABOMINATIONS which they commit here?.. Therefore will I also deal IN FURY: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice" — of course they pray to God — "yet will I not hear them.'" (Ezek. 8:15-18.) But what if Easter and Lent are ancient pagan festivals. Isn't it still all right, if we use them to honor CHRIST? That's the way people reason today. Let GOD answer that question: Jesus Christ — the Word of God — spoke to Moses to warn the people not to follow these customs of the heathen. Here is what Jesus Christ said: "Take heed... that thou enquire not after their gods, saying: 'How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.' THOU SHALT NOT DO SO UNTO THE ETERNAL THY GOD; FOR EVERY ABOMINATION TO THE ETERNAL, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods" (Deut. 12:30-31). Here is what God says — it doesn't matter what we think — but it DOES MATTER what God thinks. He calls these pagan Easter and Lenten customs abominations. No wonder the apostles did not teach the early spirit-filled New Testament Church of God to observe these traditions of men! Is it any wonder that Jeremiah was inspired to write: "Learn not the way of the heathen... for the customs of the people are vain"? (Jer. 10:2-3.) Jesus left us an example of what we ought to do — and that example is not Easter or Lent!
"You goofed on 16th Century history by saying Christmas was restored in 1554 by Mary, Queen of Scots! (Short Questions, January issue.) "You are obviously referring to Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, who reigned from 1553 to 1558, and earned the nickname 'Bloody Mary' because of her persecution of non-Catholics." M. W. C, Bristol, Va.
Our apologies for copyreader's error. Mary Tudor is right. She deserves the infamous title, "Bloody Mary," and it was her zeal which reinstituted the pagan custom of Christmas and New Year's observance after a twelve-year interregnum. To set readers straight, we quote the Protestant Dictionary, page 209: "Mary (1553-1558), aided by a sympathetic episcopate, and by a House of Commons secured to her side, repealed all Edward's doctrinal reforms in one week (1553), all Henry's constitutional to another (1554), but when she sought to eradicate the Scripture doctrine by the stake" (religious persecution) "she brought upon herself the condemnation of history and the appellation, 'Bloody Mary.'"