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Friday, October 21, 2011

Is Thanksgiving Pagan?

By Maria Merola

In a nutshell, we will learn from this blog, that the early settlers, the pilgrims banned Christmas & Easter within their communities, as they were carrying on Protestant Reformation principles. They also kept the biblical feasts, and Thanksgiving as The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).

Scripture also refers to this time of year as “The Feast of Ingathering,” when the harvest is brought in at the end of the agricultural year (Exodus 23:16; 34:22).

Throughout my life, I have read many historical accounts about the early American Settlers who came over on the Mayflower from England to America. Some historical accounts have tried to make the Pilgrims appear to be brutal, merciless killers of the Native American Indians. However, there are other accounts which reveal that while they were not a perfect people, for the most part, they were people who revered the Holy Scriptures and obeyed the Torah (Mosaic Law).

Ever since I was a child in the Catholic School, I can remember being told that the Pilgrims were “witch-hunters” who performed ruthless executions of those found to be practicing divination. While I don’t doubt that some of these accounts could be true, I have also been aware of the fact that the Jesuit order of Catholic Priests in the Vatican have been notorious for trying to discredit the Protestant Reformation ever since the 1500’s. The Jesuits aka “the Illuminati” have re-written our Public School history books to make the Pilgrims appear to be savages. They want to discredit the Protestant Reformation and the early Reformers for their stand against the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits want to make it appear that the Pilgrims were not obedient to the Scriptures and that they were wrong to rebel against the authority of the Pope. And so there is a hidden agenda I believe to discredit the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower.

I honestly believe that both sides (Pilgrims and Native Americans) were not 100% innocent and both sides were partially wrong in many instances. There were Pilgrims who probably unjustly killed the Indians, but there were probably an equal amount of killers in the camp of the Native Americans as well. The Native Americans have been proven in recent years to be “lost tribes of Yisra’el” and yet many of them engaged in pagan idolatry, and sun-god worship. I would venture to say that the Pilgrims had what they would call “biblical” reasons for exterminating some of the Native Americans, as they probably saw themselves like the Ancient Yisra’elites coming into the “Promised Land” and they probably viewed the Native American Indians as “idolaters” who bowed to graven images and smoked peace pipes in an act of worship to their pagan sun-gods. According to Exodus 22:18, it is written “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Based on this commandment, the Pilgrims thought that they were obeying the commandments of YaHuwaH when they exterminated any Native American Indian who worshiped a graven image or smoked peace pipes to their deities. The Pilgrims probably thought of themselves as the chosen Covenant people who followed the scriptures, while the Native American Indians were viewed to be like the Canaanites who were occupying the land that was rightfully promised to them.

In reality, many of the Native American Indians as well as the Puritans were both descendants of the Lost Sheep of the House of Yisra’el.  If only they could have recognized one another as such, perhaps there would have been more unity between them and less fighting. Regardless of “who is right and who is wrong,” I will not try to decipher. I tend to believe that there was probably sin on both sides (Native Americans & Pilgrims).

Thanksgiving Holiday: Pagan or Biblical?

There are some people who want to purport that Thanksgiving Day is another pagan holiday meant to commemorate Nimrod. They say that it is the same day that the witches celebrate on September 21st called “Mabon” but this is not even close to the truth. First of all, we are shown in scripture that there is no “bad time of year” to give thanks to YaHuWaH for the things he has given us throughout the year. To those who would say “where is the word Thanksgiving found in scripture?”  There are several places in scripture where we are commanded to give thanks:

Wayyikra (Leviticus) 7:12 If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.

Wayyikra (Leviticus) 7:13 Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings.

Wayyikra (Leviticus) 7:15 And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning.

Wayyikra (Leviticus) 22:29 And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto YHWH, offer it at your own will.

NehemYah (Nehemiah) 11:17 And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.

NehemYah (Nehemiah) 12:8 Moreover the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, which was over the thanksgiving, he and his brethren.

NehemYah (Nehemiah) 12:27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.

NehemYah (Nehemiah) 12:46 For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto Elohiym (God).

Tehillim (Psalm) 26:7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all your wondrous works.

Tehillim (Psalm) 50:14 Offer unto Elohiym (God) thanksgiving; and pay your vows unto the most High:

To those who want to associate Thanksgiving with Mabon, let’s see what YaHuWaH says about celebrating The Feast of Tabernacles  or “Ingathering” at the Harvest Time:

Shemoth (Exodus) 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of your labours, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labours out of the field.

Shemoth (Exodus) 34:22 And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.

Now just because Satan is a copycat and a counterfeiter, whose form of Harvest should we celebrate in the Fall? Satan’s Mabon or the Feast of Tabernacles? Just because they happen to fall around the same time of year, are we supposed to no longer celebrate the Feast of Ingathering or Harvest unto YaHuWaH?

Now, I celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles each year according to the Biblical Calendar, but so what if we celebrate an American Tradition that is meant to honor YaHuWaH and give thanks to him? Are all traditions against Torah? Does Thanksgiving violate the word of Yah?

I cannot find one thing pagan about Thanksgiving.

Mabon is celebrated in September not November, so there is no connection here. The first thing I want to do is illustrate that the Pilgrims were very conscientious about not violating Yah’s word, and they would NEVER have celebrated a pagan holiday known as “Mabon” but instead, they were careful to keep all of the Holy Feasts of YaHuWaH. This is why this argument does not hold water, and it is apparent that our history books have been re-written to discredit the Pilgrims because of their stand for the truth of scripture.

The Origins of Thanksgiving

The “Thanksgiving” we now celebrate (a feast of togetherness between the Native Americans--was not the original gathering). It is true that Squanto and his fellow Native Americans helped the Pilgrims to grow crops and get sap from trees and survive the harsh winters of what would become New England. But the very first harvest feast that these two peoples enjoyed was not called Thanksgiving. Rather it was a celebration of the fall harvest, when vegetables were pulled from the ground and off stalks and made ready for a big meal.

Pilgrims and Native Americans dined together at the same tables, yes, and they played games together and demonstrated their bow-and-arrow and musket-shooting skills to each other. But they didn't call it Thanksgiving until 1624.

That year William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth Colony, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving that was really a day of fasting and prayer. (Remember, fasting is when you don’t eat. So, Thanksgiving started out as a day of not eating.) And the day the members of the Plymouth Colony celebrated this day of fasting and prayer in thanksgiving was November 29th.

So we have two ideas coming together: a day of thanksgiving for the fall harvest, on which people fasted and prayed, and a great feast to celebrate the bounty of the fall harvest. Since both activities celebrated the same thing--the fall harvest—it’s only natural that they eventually merged (like so many other American holidays).

This merged celebration continued informally through the years, until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday of November a national holiday called Thanksgiving.

The Early Settlers and Pilgrims were Torah Observant followers of Messiah

In the 1600’s it was against the law in America to celebrate the pagan holidays instituted by the Papacy (i.e. Christmas, Easter etc.). These were handed down from the Tower of Babel and made to look “Christian” by Constantine in the 3rd Century, but they never were meant to honor the true God of Yisra’el. They were always meant to commemorate the pagan sun gods who were always reincarnated each December 25th. YaHuW’shuwa (Jesus) was then “lumped in” with all of those false Messiah’s, even though he was born on the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall.

It was not until the Papacy began to take on a stronghold in American life, that the “falling away” began in America, and gradually since the 1900’s, Protestant Churches began to adopt the customs of the Papacy (Beast of Revelation 17). Prior to the 1900’s, most Protestant Churches did not keep Christmas or Easter.

Hence, today, we have deviated greatly from what the Protestant Reformers fought so hard against in order to gain freedom from the Papacy and all of it’s Babylonian customs.

Another “Reformation” is in order again today, and I believe it will begin when those who are part of Yah’s Remnant will “come out of her” (Revelation 18:4) pertaining to the Mother of Harlots, and her false Baal worship religion that she has masked to look “Christian.” Let’s give thanks to the Creator of Yisra’el, YaHuWaH, who came in the flesh as YaHuW’shuwa our Messiah!

At this website, evidence is provided about the Early American Settlers who came over from England on the Mayflower. These Pilgrims were Torah Observant and would have nothing to do with the Papacy or the customs of Rome.

Early Settlers Kept the Seventh Day Sabbath

It has been reported that the first Sabbath-keeper in America was Stephen Mumford who came as a missionary from London in 1664, and brought the opinion with him that the whole of the ten commandments, as they were delivered from Mount Sinai, were moral and immutable; and that it was the anti-Christian power which thought to change times and laws, that changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week (Andrews, pp. 498-499).

Although it is not commonly taught, some of the Puritans kept the Sabbath.

In a book by Dr. Samuel Kohn, chief Rabbi of Budapest, Hungary, in the late 1800s provided this information:

Already around the year 1530 Sabbatarians emerged in Bohemia Sabbatarians (Subbotniki), or Judaizers also arose soon thereafter in Silesia, Poland and Russia; in the latter, where they were frequently confused with the Jews in the second half of this century, remain until today. We meet similar sects around 1545 among the Quakers in England. Several leaders and preacher of the Puritans, imbued with the Old Testament spirit, likewise raised the issue of reinstating the day of rest from Sunday to Saturday (Kohn S. Translated by T. McElwain and B. Rook. Sabbatarians in Transylvania. Christian Churches of God, Wooden (Australia), 1998, p.10-11).

Here is another report which also reports that once in America, there were Sabbatarians among the Puritans (as well as the position against Christmas, which is also a Church of God position):

Strange as it may seem, in the early history of America there was an attempt at suppression of Christmas spirit. The stern Puritans at Plymouth, imbued with the rigorous fervor of the Old Testament, abhorred the celebration of the orthodox holidays. Their worship was on the Sabbath (Saturday), rather than Sunday, and Christmas in particular they considered a pagan celebration. Later immigrants attempted to observe Christmas as a time of joy, but were suppressed. Governor Bradford, Elder Brewster, Miles Standish and other leaders were firm against the yuletide spirit as we know it today (Sprague H. Letter from the editor. St. Joseph, Mo., Daily Gazette, December 1934 as cited in Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day). 1990 reprint, p. 265).

In addition, those Puritans even had the Native Americans observe the Sabbath as well:

... Adopt the Puritan pace and mode of work, which meant long days of agricultural labor. Insisting upon the gendered division of labor favored by the English, the missionaries urged the Indian men to forsake hunting and fishing in favor of farming. The Indian women were supposed to withdraw ... had to rest and worship on the seventh day, the Sabbath. Praying towns did not appeal to those Indians who belonged to the largest and most autonomous bands, principally the Narragansett (Taylor A. American Colonies : The Settling of North America; The Penguin History of the United States, Volume1, Hist of the USA. (Paperback) Penguin, New York; Reprint edition, July 30, 2002).

That some of the Puritans kept the seventh-day Sabbath should not be a surprised as the Church of God includes in its ancestry (see articles The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 and The Pergamos Church Era), people who were called the Cathari (from the Greek word, katharoi, meaning pure).

Michael Scheifler provides insight into historic facts about the Early Settlers in America

Christmas Banned by Protestants after the Reformation

On this website we see that the Reformers and the Pilgrims fought to keep these pagan holidays of Christmas and Easter out of the church, yet these pagan customs in our Apostate American Churches have prevailed:

The Pagan History of Christmas
by Dr. Joel Ehrlich of Hebraic Renewal

“…We find in the Catholic encyclopedia that Christmas was not even among the earliest church festivals. It was not until the latter part of the fourth century that the Roman Church began observing December 25th as Jesus’ birthday. By the fifth century A.D., the Roman Church ordered the birth of Messiah to be forever observed on December 25th. At the time of this decree, the Roman Church knew full well that the pagan religious cults throughout the Roman and Greek worlds celebrated the pagan sun god, Mithra, on this self-same day. This winter festival was known as the Nativity of the Sun. It was also known in the Roman Empire as Saturnalia [another name for sun worship].

*Note: In 46 BC, when the Roman “Julian Calendar” was adopted, December 24th was the shortest day of the year. Therefore, December 25th was the first annual day that daylight began to increase. Thus, the origin of the REBIRTH or Annual Birthday of the Invincible SUN.

In accordance with the Roman “Julian calendar,” the “Saturnalia” festival appears to have taken place on December 17th; it was preceded by the “Consualia” near December 15th, and followed by the “Opalia” on December 19th. These pagan celebrations typically lasted for a week, ending just before the late Roman Imperial Festival for “Sol Invictus”(Invincible Sun) on December 25th.

In 1582 A.D., Roman Catholic Pope Gregory the XIII caused the current “Gregorian Calendar” to be adopted, in order to eliminate the solar time shift error introduced by the “Julian Calendar.”

By December 1582 A.D. the shortest day of the year had shifted 12 days on the Roman “Julian Calendar” to Wednesday, December 12, 1582. However, the Original December 25th ‘Birth Date’ was retained for all pagan Sun gods by the Roman “Saturnalia” and “Sol Invictus” traditions; which were now called the “Twelve Days of Christ Mass.”

On the new Roman Catholic Gregorian calendar the shortest annual day was numerically shifted back 10 days to the 22nd of December, where it remains to this day; while the original order of the days of the week remained unchanged. Therefore, Wednesday, December 12th, 1582 A.D., became Wednesday, December 22nd, 1582 AD, and the True Sabbath Day remained unchanged. YHWH, the Only True YHWH, would never have allowed The True Messiah to be born on or near the December 25th birthday period of the pagan sun gods; during the time in which virgins were sacrificed, murder was commonplace, and orgies the norm. This would be an entirely unacceptable association.

The winter festival was very popular in ancient times, and marked a time of rejoicing and festivity. Much of our present day customs involved in the Christmas season are a direct inheritance of the Roman winter festival of Saturnalia. These days involved gift giving, colored lights to ward off evil spirits, festive meals, and of course, decorated trees.

The present day Christmas tree also goes back to the worship of sacred trees in the ancient Babylonian system. The green evergreen symbolized the incarnate Baal coming to life through the incarnate baby Tammuz. The custom of decorating and worshiping trees spread throughout the known world, with the variety of tree used selected according to the natural growth of each area of the world. The Druids worshiped the oak tree; the Egyptians worshiped the palm tree, while in Rome it was the fir tree.

There are at least ten references in the Bible warning that these green trees were associated with idolatry and pagan worship. Jeremiah 10:1-4 details the Yisra’elites following the very pagan customs practiced today with the Christmas Tree…

…The reason Yah warns against the worship of the signs of heaven in association with this custom is that it was associated with the worship of the sun. The very term, Christmas, comes from the sacred Christ-mass, where the Pope in the role of the High Priest of the mystery Babylon religion introduces the people to the concept of trans-substantiation. Using the wine and round wafers to reflect the life of Baal, the sun god, the name of Jesus replaces the ancient pagan custom. The wine and wafers are now said to be the transformation of the actual blood and body of Messiah within the person who ingests them. People, thereby, relive again and again the death and resurrection of the incarnate god…It would surprise most Christians to learn that the history of the church is filled with historic battles over these very doctrinal issues. Many of the reformation movements in the church made drastic attempts to get away from these pagan holidays.

Calvin, in 1550, instigated an edict concerning church holidays. A ban was passed against observing various church festivals, which included Christmas. In a tract on the necessity of reforming the church, Calvin exclaimed: “I know how difficult it is to persuade the world that YHWH disapproves of all modes of worship not expressly sanctioned by His Word.”

John Knox, in the Scottish reformation, repeatedly confronted the Catholic Church, contending that true worship must be instituted by Yah, not derived from the traditions of men. At the heart of his argument was an appeal to Torah, especially, references to Deuteronomy 4 and 12, which state that one must not add to nor subtract from Yah’s word.

John Knox, History of the Reformation in Scotland, 1950, Vol. 1, page 91 states the following: “That YHWH’s word damns your ceremonies it is evident; for the plain and straight has not commanded your ceremonies… “Not that thing which appears good in your eyes, shall you do to YHWH your Elohiym, but what YHWH your Elohiym has commanded thee that do you; add nothing to it; diminish nothing from it.”

Christmas and Easter Banned from the Church of Scotland

David Calderwood [1511-1651], representing the Scottish ministries, asserted in reference to Christmas and Easter: “The Judaical days had once that honor, as to be appointed by YHWH Himself; but the anniversary days appointed by men have not like honor. This opinion of Christ’s nativity on the 25th day of December was bred at Rome.”

David Calderwood then exposed the Roman claims made for the 25th of December as the day of Messiah’s birth. He argues that the Apostles never ordained it. He said the following: “Nay, let us utter the truth, December-Christmas is a just imitation of the December-Saturnalia of the ethnic [heathen] Romans, and so used as if Bacchus [another name for the sun god], and not Messiah, were the Yahweh of Christians.”

George Gillespie [1613-1649], a premier Scottish theologian, wrote in a book published in 1637 called A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded Upon the Church of Scotland. “The holidays [reference to Christmas and Easter] take a severe beating on a number of accounts. Sacred significant ceremonies devised by man are to be reckoned among images forbidden in the second commandment in regards to worshiping idols.”

The English Puritans fought to ban the worship of Christmas and Easter. They resorted to Galatians 4:8-11, which many Christians have used to say that it is referring to Yah not wanting believers to worship Jewish holidays. However, this is wrong on several accounts:

1. These scriptures are specifically referring to a people brought near to Yah through Messiah, who were former pagans.

2. Apostle Paul himself, as detailed throughout the book of Acts, worshiped YHWH ordained feasts.

3. If we were taking these scriptures as an argument for Messiah doing away with Torah, then this would put it in direct conflict with YaHuW’shuwa’s statement in Matthew 5:17, where he stated he did not come to do away with Torah, nor the prophets. In Galatians 4:8-11 Paul speaking by the Holy Spirit wrote to the Galatians that they were still observing pagan feasts which kept them in bondage:

Galatians 4:

8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not Elohiym, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. (Obviously referring to pagan holidays)

9 But now, after that ye have known Elohiym, or rather are known of Elohiym, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. (Pagan feasts)

11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

History records that when the Puritans came to power in England, Parliament, in June, 1647, passed legislation abolishing Christmas and other holidays. In this legislation, they wrote the following: “For as much as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, and other festivals, commonly called holy days, have been here-to-fore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holy days, be no longer observed as festivals.”

The American Puritan movement took an even stronger stand against these pagan holidays. Samuel Miller, a Puritan and professor of history and church government at Princeton Seminary, stated in 1896 in his book, why Presbyterians reject the holy days of Christmas and Easter. He stated that “the Scriptures were the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and that no rite or ceremony ought to have a place in the public worship of YHWH, which is not warranted in Scripture. Not only does the celebration of non-biblical holidays lack a scriptural foundation, but the scriptures positively discount it.” [Miller, pgs. 65, 74]Presbyterians were not the only ones who maintained a strong stand against Christmas, as there were many other Christians who held to similar convictions. As a matter of fact, the famous preacher, Charles Spurgeon, stated in a sermon given on Christmas Eve, December 24th 1871, the following:

“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or English; and secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, it’s observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.” [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1971, pg. 697]

Opposition to these church holidays remained in American Presbyterianism through the latter half of the 19th century. Speaking following the Civil War, historian Ernest Trice Thompson wrote the following:

“There was no recognition of either Christmas or Easter in any of the Protestant churches, except the Episcopal and Lutheran. For a full generation after the Civil War, the religious journals of the South mentioned Christmas only to observe that there was no reason to believe that Jesus was actually born on December 25th; it was not recognized as a day of any religious significance in the Presbyterian Church” [Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians In the South, 1973, Vol. 2, pg. 434.] FSCG Note: Alabama was the USA State to recognize Christmas, and did not do so until 1836. [“Tidbits,” Cheyenne, Wy. 82007, Burchett Publishing, Issue #271]

It was not until the turn of the 19th century that various Christmas customs began appearing in Presbyterian churches. There began to be reports of: 1) Frivolities like Saint Nicholas in children’s Sunday schools. 2) Use of Christmas trees and other festivities.

The appearance of Easter and Christmas in the official calendar of the Southern Presbyterian church did not actually occur until the late 1940s and 1950s, as a work of growing apostasy in the church. Even so, as late as 1962, the Synod of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland stated that they rejected the celebrations of Christmas and Easter [History of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, 1893-1970, pg. 383].Christmas has clearly brought an infusion of paganism into the church that was initially prohibited among all of Yah’s people…..”

Below, you will find a teaching from my Messianic Rabbi friend Adam J. Bernay. Adam shares how the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower kept all of Yah’s Holy Feast days (Leviticus 23) to include the Feast of Tabernacles (which later on became Thanksgiving). The Pilgrims kept “the Feast of Ingathering” and proclaimed a “thanksgiving” according to the Calendar of YHWH on the 15th day of the 7th Hebrew month (generally around September/October depending on the moons). Later on, Abraham Lincoln changed the date to the last Thursday in November and made it an official American Holiday. More than likely Abraham Lincoln was not even aware that the Pilgrims were celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in the Hebrew month of Tishri (in Autumn), and so he simply chose a random date whereby we would “give thanks” as a nation to YaHuWaH.

The Hebraic Origins of Thanksgiving
By Adam J. Bernay

This was my opening segment on Saturday’s BEYOND SALVATION RADIO SHOW and also one of my THREE teachings at Sabbath services (a triple blessing this week):

This coming week, families and friends all across America will sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner, with only the faintest idea why they’re doing it. In most schools, the history told is a very simple one: the Pilgrims, having survived their first winter in the New World, held a feast to celebrate their first harvest, and invited the local Natives to join them. Which is true, as far as that story goes. But, as is the case with history, the full story is actually a lot more interesting…

We should begin by asking ourselves, who were the Pilgrims? The standard answer – that they were people who fled England so that they may live and worship as they pleased – is also true, as far as it goes. But what was the problem with living and worshiping as they pleased? What shocking breach of English Christian society did they commit on a regular basis?

The answer – the full answer – is that these Anabaptists were what I call on my show Torah Observant. They kept the “Law of Moses,” as their Anglican cousins said. They worshiped not on the first day of the week but the seventh. They didn’t eat pork, shellfish, blood, or anything else forbidden in the first five books of the Bible. They didn’t keep Christmas or Easter, and they did keep Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Day of the First Fruits, Pentecost, the Day of Blowing the Trumpets, the Day of Atonement… and, most importantly for today’s discussion, they kept the Feast of Tabernacles, called in Hebrew Sukkot.

How do we know this? Well, there are many historical proofs one may offer. First off, you might not know that America was not their first destination when they left England. No, first they went to Holland, where there was full and complete religious freedom. In Holland were not only Jews – including a large group of Sephardic Jews, Jews from the Spanish-speaking countries, in this case specifically from Spain, from where they’d been forced to leave during the Spanish Inquisition – and beyond Jews, there were other Torah Observant Christians! They stayed in Holland for some years, and then came to the New World, where they set up a government and society based on not English common law, but on the Laws of the Bible. Here is a quote from “THE JOURNAL OF THE PILGRIMS AT PLYMOUTH, IN NEW ENGLAND, IN 1620” as edited by Dr. George B. Cheever, Doctorate of Divinity, a famous Christian pastor during the early 1800s, and prolific Christian author:

Now it is remarkable that in the first great instance of capital legislation in this country, our Pilgrim Fathers went not to the laws of England for their guidance, but to those of YHWH. On this point Dr. Bacon of New Haven has written admirably. “What system of legislation should the colonists take in founding a New World? They could not instantly frame a new system; it must be the work of time and experience. Should they take the laws of England? Those were the very laws from which they fled. Those laws would subject them at once to the king, to the parliament, and to the prelates, in their several jurisdictions. The adoption of the laws of England would have been fatal to the object of their emigration.”

They could not take the Roman civil law; but they had a code of laws in every man's hand in the Bible, laws given to a community emigrating, like themselves, from their native country, for the great purpose of maintaining in simplicity and purity the worship of the one true Creator YHWH.

Like the Yisra’elites of old, they were to be a people surrounded by the heathen, and intermingled among them, and needing the influence of laws framed with a special reference to such a corrupting neighborhood and intercourse. Like the Hebrews also they were a free republican people, and needed laws for a community where there was no absolute power, where there were no privileged classes; laws, whose aim should be that equal and exact justice which is the only freedom. …

Dr. Bacon well remarks that “the greatest and boldest improvement which has been made in criminal jurisprudence by any one act since the dark ages, was that which was made by our fathers, when they determined that the judicial laws of YHWH as they were delivered by Moses, should be accounted of moral equity, and generally bind all offenders, and be a rule to all the courts.”

So, we see, that they lived by “the laws of YHWH as they were delivered by Moses,” which would include the keeping of a particular harvest festival known in English as the Feast of Tabernacles – or Feast of Booths, depending on your translation. We know they had three days of actual celebrating, which are the same as the three days during the Feast when all work is stopped and the focus is fully on celebrating YHWH’s Bounty.

And finally, on last bit of historic proof, one based on a bit of language. You may have had the dish they created, a mixture of harvest vegetables called Succotash. Well, knowing that Succotash is a compound word, and knowing that Englishmen have a tendency to drop the H’s at the beginnings of words, we can see that this fall delicacy began life as the Pilgrims’s “Sukkot Hash.” Cool… huh?


  1. Great post! Thank you for all the links... we will be using them this month =) I just found your blog... it is nice to "meet" you. May your day be filled with abundant joy in HIM =)

  2. Great writing, Maria! I'll be sharing it!