Wednesday, March 02, 2016

THE CONNECTION OF ASH WEDNESDAY AND LENT WITH THE JEWISH FASTS


Seasons of Repentance filled with prayer and fasting and seeking God's Face are highly important parts of our walk with God, although there are no Biblical Feasts that specifically call for this. That is why the Church has created the traditional time for this called Lent, and the Jews have created the traditions surrounding the Three Weeks, and the Days of Awe.

This is also why, whenever Jewish or Gentile believers in Christ say that Christians who commemorate Ash Wednesday and Lent are engaging in biblically false practices, they are not speaking the truth. Sadly, however, these sorts of false doctrinal disputes are rampant in the Church and in Messianic Synagogues today. That is why we need to remember that some Messianic Synagogues and Christian Churches are deeply flawed, and ALL churches and synagogues are flawed in one way or another because human beings are notorious for allowing truth to be mixed with varying degrees of error due to sin. We also need to remember that there is enough of the truth in some of the most deeply flawed Churches to still be called Christian, and in some of the most deeply flawed synagogues to still be called Messianic.

Our objective then, is to lead people in these imperfect Churches and synagogues to a have a better understanding of the Gospel of Salvation, and the Gospel of the Kingdom. Unfortunately, some believers in the wayward churches like the Catholic Church are not encouraged to read their Bibles, so they only know the "not necessarily biblical" doctrines of their Church by heart, rather than what the Word of God says. So, as a way to reach the lost among them, we would be wise to quote all the relevant Scriptures that uphold our position, rather than merely sharing some truth in a way that sounds like an attack. That way, we are more likely to reach people, and to not get kicked out of groups. I learned this the hard way after getting kicked out of many groups on Facebook, and in various online forums.

One of these truths is not really a truth at all, however, and this is true of many supposed truths that specifically attack any and all of the Christian high holy days. One of the oft-repeated claims among some legalists and Judaizers is that Ash Wednesday is not a biblically sound holy day, nor is Lent a biblically mandated fast. But I would beg to differ. A cursory examination of the various rituals and themes in the Bible show that repentance, fasting and prayer are all biblically-sound things that believers are called to do occasionally to keep themselves on the straight and narrow path that leads to everlasting life, and that is what people are called to do during Lent.

Much for the same reasons, the Jews have a three-week period of mourning before the commemoration of the destruction of God's Temple in Jerusalem on the 9th of Av. Although it is not recognized as such, the 9th of Av is analogous to Good Friday, which commemorates Christ's death on the Cross, or the destruction of the Temple of His Body. So the 40 day fast of Lent that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter or Resurrection Sunday has a Jewish counterpart that also is not Scriptural in the sense that God did not directly tell the Jews to have three weeks of fasting and prayer between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, nor did God tell the Jews to commemorate the destruction of the Temple.

Of course, there are some Biblical Feasts and commemorations that we are specifically called to do by God. Just as Jews are called to commemorate the lambs that were offered to pay for their sins and save their lives from the curse of the Angel of Death on the first Passover, Christians are called to be witnesses to the truth of the need for Christ's death as the Lamb of God. In fact, Christians partake of Communion, or the Lord's Supper because Yahshua or Jesus specifically asked His followers to do so in order to remember what He was willingly about to do for them on the Cross.

The nine days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur are also considered to be a time for repentance, fasting and prayer. But this period of repentance was not a specifically mandated part of the Mosaic Law. Nonetheless, like the Lenten season in Christianity, the fasting and prayer connected to the Days of Awe are traditions that make sense - especially given the importance of the Day of Atonement, which also has a connection to Christ's death on the Cross.

It is said that on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, if our names are not written on our Heavenly Father's Book of Life, we are not destined to be resurrected into everlasting life on the last day, but are instead doomed to destruction. And this is exactly why Christ died! Christ died so that He could pay the blood price for our sins, and we could inherit everlasting life and have our names written in the Book of Life through belief in Him. So though we receive this gift by faith in Christ, the Jews must fast and pray and repent to obtain this temporary favor from God.

Without Christ, the Jews must prostrate themselves before God every year to obtain a poor reflection of the salvation that believers obtain when they agree to believe in, love and follow Christ, and they receive the Holy Spirit. For believers in Christ, the Spirit of God is the Seal of God's promise of our Salvation, and our direct link to the throne of God - a link that unbelieving Jews have sadly lost. So you see, Ash Wednesday and Lent are not evil or wrong. There is some truth to be found in them, and that is the fact that we all need to fast and pray and repent at times, and to remember why Christ had to die for our sins. If we do not, our walk of faith with God and Christ would not be much of a walk!

Your Sister In Yahshua,
Helena Lehman​ of
The Pillar of Enoch Ministry​
Ministry Web Site: http://pillar-of-enoch.com


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