This article was pieced together from Gwen Shamblin’s recent Thanksgiving talk at Remnant Fellowship.
Let it be said first that I am very appreciative of our founding fathers for leaving an oppressive religious situation in Europe and making the journey to help start this country. I am also all for the concept of a day being set aside to give thanks- for every day should be about giving thanks and praise to God Almighty!
Greetings to those far and wide! It is 2011 and the weekend for Thanksgiving – a day recognized by the nation. God sets holy days, and he is the one who set memorable lasting ordinances that explain history and commanded us to remember and celebrate the festivals for generations to come. The commands of Holy Days have been written out in Leviticus 23 and have been restored and observed by a scattered remnant for over 3000 years in various orthodox synagogues and churches throughout the world. When following the Holy Scriptures a true holy day would be adorned with processionals, singing, feasting, tithing, shouts of joy and shouts of praises with branches held high to glorify and celebrate the God most High and his miraculous and marvelous acts.
Now, how did the American Thanksgiving get started –the present holiday defined as “Turkey Day” with pumpkin pie and sweet potato casseroles, pilgrims and Native-Americans and football and parades, etc? Tradition has it that the original pilgrims set apart a new day in the fall to thank God for their first harvest gatherings after they came to this new land in 1621. History varies from historian to historian, depending on one’s perspective. Likewise, the history on Thanksgiving is debated, depending on who you read. Different authors say that there was evidence that it could have been celebrated before 1621 and Canada celebrates this same thing on Columbus day with a different history. American history teaches that the Native Americans came and taught the early settlers how to fish and brought them seeds and taught them how to grow vegetables. I am sure those people taught them much, but I don’t believe the hardy seafaring travelers of a 3 month voyage across an ocean didn’t know how to fish. So when you read anything – you must think critically for the Father of lies likes to rewrite history. Notice that American historians are even more shackled with the burden of avoiding religious discrimination. Since I am free from the fear of man, it is easier to read between the lines. I propose that the pilgrims did not ordain a new day in the fall to celebrate God but rather it was simply the continuation of the age old lasting ordinances set aside or ordained by God thru Moses 3000 years ago – this was the Feast of Harvest – the Ingathering – an event their forefathers had passed down to each generation.
Upon the safe arrival of the Saints -these grateful worshipers of the English orthodox church – which to this day celebrates the Feast of Harvest – were simply following the tradition of their righteous ancestors who gathered the first fruits and gave praise to God. They came to this land to be able to worship God and they held the word of God in high esteem- so it follows that these righteous people would not have stopped an ordained Feast of Harvest that they had observed all of their life.
The Holy Day has changed names and meaning. The number one way Satan robs glory to God is to copy and completely take away the true message and meaning – he copies everything to dilute the power of the church. So the roots of the present day American Thanksgiving festivities did not start in 1621 but rather 3000 years ago, but the present Thanksgiving holiday evolved from 1621 to what is now called “turkey day” and centers around family, football, parades and shopping, dressing up like pilgrims and binges on thanksgiving foods. It has changed from a Holy Day to a Holiday – from worshiping God to worshiping self indulgence, food and family. How did this happen in such a short period of a history of a people that migrated to worship God – an evolution that would have horrified the early pilgrims who laid their lives down for God to rule on earth as He does in heaven?
Here is something most people don’t realize. The US was founded 140 years past when the Pilgrims landed – but not by just Christians – or strictly on Judeo-Christian principles as you might think. How do you know? Let’s take a look. I have witnesses with my own eyes what religious persecution produces – either people whose hearts are more devoted than ever or men and women who are atheist ordeist. American forefathers came from Europe from a powerful dominate clergy who was joined with a tyrannical government. Remember Constantine had begun the first church and state combination. Over the centuries various clergy and government would throw detractors in jail or even persecute or burn them at the stake. By the 1600’s Religious persecution was unbearable. This persecution produced not only atheist but also God fearing anti-religious philosophers called deists. These philosophers such as Descartes, Voltaire, Bacon and Locke are a part of what is called the European Enlightenment. You can at least have some sympathy for Deist as they witnessed the hate of hades that lives in false religions. For example, Giordano Bruno was convicted of being a heretic because he disagreed with the Trinity and the Virgin Birth and stated that the earth is not the center of the universe. For exercising his God-given reason Bruno paid the heavy price that the superstition of false religion demanded – he was burned alive. This growing group of anti religious thinkers called themselves Deist. A Deist is defined as an individual who believes in God as creator of the universe – but since seeing the intolerance of false religion these men became opposed to organized religion and religions that have revelation through a man, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah witness, etc. “Belief in God + reason = Deism”… “God gives us reason not religion”.
Enlightenment philosophers saw no need for the revelations, rituals, and dogmas of Christianity and the other revealed religions. Deists are opposed to the mysterious and felt like the miraculous stories in the bible are simply manipulations of the clergy. All Deists were opposed to witch hunts and were avid supporters of freedom of speech and thought, and thus that included freedom for people to choose their religion. This made America attractive to the oppressed throughout the world. So, likewise, many migrated to America besides Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, and Deists. Most American citizens nowadays do not realize that many founders of our country- Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine were called Deists and they were advocates of the enlightenment authors. Thomas Paine wrote THE AGE OF REASON. (pictured) These were the men that wrote the Constitution, and in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship written under the administration of John Adams it actually states that “America is not founded on Christian Religion”. If you think about it, neither God nor Jesus Christ nor Moses is mentioned in any of the founding documents and Deist philosophies such as a strong belief in freedom of religion and separation of church and state were emphasized. The newly established Government deliberately set up a division of power of church and state or government with elected positions that served short terms to hopefully dilute power so as to avoid the problems they had experienced in Europe.
Again, great effort given to separate the powerful church and the powerful government. So in case the church had become corrupt – this government did not have to cower to a Central or predominate religion and therefore, Priest, Pope or Preacher. The forefathers wrote in constitutional rights to ensure that one central religion would not dominate. The original leaders had good intentions but what they didn’t know is that over time the deist emphasis would set the stage for other concerns. The war is spiritual, not flesh and blood.
Now with these facts in mind let’s revisit the historical evolution of this day… there is evidence that in 1621 the early pilgrims were observing a feast of harvest and gave praise and thanks to God. One hundred and forty years later… George Washington, a Deist and political and military leader of the new United States of America led the American victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775–1783. He also presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787. He and the Continental Congress were the first to appoint “Holidays” and the first they called “Thanksgiving” as a victory celebration honoring the defeat of the British at Saratoga. The Continental Congress proclaimed annual Thanksgivings from 1777 to 1783 and encouraged the separate states to follow suit, but in 1789, both President Washington and the Houses of Congress established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789, for all states to observe. When the Presidency changed hands, the emphasis would vary. President John Adams wanted Thanksgivings in 1798 and 1799. President Madison, in response to resolutions of Congress, set apart a day for thanksgiving at the close of the War of 1812. Madison declared the holiday twice in 1815. And governors of 25 states issued proclamations appointing a day of thanksgiving. The Deist emphasized reason over religion but what they left out in their reasoning of opposing organized religion is that they set up a nation and a constitution that copied a religion of revelation – Judaism.
To start with, they copied Israel’s governmental set up – three separate ruling bodies – the judicial, the executive and the legislative divisions – which is a copy of Israel’s government – the executive functioned like the King, the judicial functioned like the prophets of the day who made overall judgments on the Kings decisions and tried difficult cases, and the legislative functioned like the Levites or priesthood – which were servants and keepers of the law. And many of the early politicians ironically – the deist who looked down on clergy, used religious rhetoric to unite the nation, thus playing the role of both clergy and politician.
In the address that George Washington gave when he established the first holiday, he stated… “[quote]I recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service ofthat great and glorious Being…”[/quote] When read in detail – you see that the devotion and thankfulness were to be directed primarily toward the U.S. Constitution, which helped with promotion of religious freedom. In addition, Washington emphasized “self sacrifice in the name of the nation”. George Washington was and still is one of the most beloved and popular Americans and these speech/sermons seemed so hopeful because it looks like a crossover – the religious leader is a Christian – but if you look closely, the speeches were actually promoting prayer and self-sacrifice for the physical nation and government, and not the expansion of the kingdom of Christ in the hearts of man. Politicians should not take sacred words, concepts, and icons that belong to God alone. They should not copycat holy days and concepts of self sacrifice and take them and transfer them to a physical country. It robs the church of its purpose and transfers the religion, the praise, to man instead of God – to constitutions versus a holy Covenant, and self-sacrifice to a nation rather than the kingdom of God. For a group that applauds reason – why cannot they see that they have simply created a new religion called “the US of America” with now religious sounding songs and ritual of pledges of allegiance to America and not the church? The fruit of a government plagiarizing and robbing the sacred rituals and ordinances and copying the holy sends people horizontal and not upward. It also leaves the people financially robbed and emotionally empty and drained because the country never gives back – it is a false god. No wonder America is confused – you worship the government at school and denominations on the weekend – polytheism keeps you half hearted and wears you out. Many people have clearly made the US an idol. The churches have clearly lost power in this country and mainstream secular churches have always been encouraged to support the government decisions even when it does not line up with scripture. I have seen preachers change their views due to government pressure. So what did de-emphasizing organized religion over government get us – an enormous and powerful government – no matter how short the appointments may be. In 200 years, the seeds of deism has given birth to more selfishness, an ever increasing statistics of faithlessness, empty church pews, and a nation more obese and in debt than ever in its history – full of lust for food, drugs, sexual sins and anti-authority.
The government becoming the church is no different than a church allowing the leaders to become politicians – the fruit is bad. When leaders do not support true religion, in the end the people will not be served. Our government has many divisions – democratic, republican, the judicial, the executive and the legislative and military divisions, as well as the individual states and local governors. Without directing people to the humility of Christ, there is a creation of a natural vie for power and natural vie for credit permeates every division. Notice the bi-partisanism in this country. That is why our legislation for essential bills and laws are at a standstill. “No church” religion has allowed greed for credit to rise to the top. So that’s why this holy day has turned to a holiday of bingeing, shopping stampedes, and endless hours of football. As this nation picked up their new traditions, God’s Holy Feast of Harvest has been set aside and forgotten, even by American churches.
What should it be? Perhaps the pilgrimage of the early pilgrims was for good reason to be free from tyranny so that you can freely worship God – but God warned… “My people perish from a lack of knowledge.” Satan and his forces traveled with the pilgrims and Columbus across the ocean. Traveling half way around the world will not get away from Satan and selfish desires. Like was said before, I am all for days and weeks and months assigned to thanksgiving – for every day should be a day of thanks and to praise God. And I am appreciative that our founding fathers hated the tyranny of false religion and therefore emphasized freedom of religion, which has remained to this day. People still immigrate to this country for that very reason.
Paul said in Romans 13 that we should support and pray for the existing leaders. Praise God that our taxes actually do provide for the people… schools, infrastructure, roads, highways, police, military, and help for the very poorest part of society. We have been most blessed as God has led these leaders. Yet a true thanksgiving is defined by worship of God – and the first Thanksgiving declared for holy people or for our holy God was set up by God through Moses thousands of years ago, and as far as I am concerned to give thanks for establishing the church through Jesus Christ outweighs everything. The major emphasis should be thanks we give for the freedom to worship no matter where we are and thankfulness for wars won spiritually right in our own hearts. It is good to recognize the pilgrims and Columbus but we need to praise God for Jesus who didn’t just come across the ocean – He came from all the way from heaven to establish the New Jerusalem, to establish the city of peace, to establish a beautiful nation.
This is not an ordained pilgrimage to God and so this weekend is a good time to be used to reach out – to family or friends. This time should be used to practice the religion that you claim you support – Christ’s church – a time to serve. If you are having people in the world over to your house – do not fret about things, the place, the clothes, the decorations, the food – I’m telling you, no one is going to remember you over the years for any of that. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried about too many things. Mary has chosen the better thing” – to be focused on God, to be holy, to be upright, to be joyful, to be off yourself and onto God. Save your energy for the interaction. When you are around those that don’t have this connection, the only thing that you can do is be holy. Imagine yourself like Job or the Apostle Paul or Queen Esther walking in and being righteous and up right, above reproach – no lust of the stomach, lust of the heart, lust of money – or lust to talk or get attention. Don’t be deceived – the world will always use religiosity and usher in false worship – with its false humility and sermons. Man taking what is sacred and giving it to the unsacred will not be blessed. It is one thing for a government to call upon the church for prayers – King Darius did that, but he supported the rebuilding of the temple and knew of its power to bless the nation. What the deists did not seem to understand is that there is a difference between false religion and true religion. We can’t throw out religion all together. Pray that false religion will diminish, that the true church has a revival, and that this government will wake up and remember the good of supporting true religion.