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Thanksgiving, YEA or NAY?

Ah, Thanksgiving — you can almost smell the turkey roasting in the oven…

Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday, a traditional day of gathering with family and friends, of sharing a bountiful meal and giving thanks to the Almighty.

At least, that’s the romantic notion of it The reality is, that after a token 10-second prayer of “thanks” to whichever “god” that particular household serves, the Thanksgiving activities begin, that includes an afternoon of TV football, mapping out Black Friday shopping and getting an early jump on Christmas decorations. Absent from the table conversation will be ANY topic pertaining to the Bible, you can know that. All of these things are problems for various reasons, but, let us cut to the chase and talk about the REAL problem with Thanksgiving.
I’d like to use three historical stories to make the point:

Exodus 32
Moses had been called to Mt. Sinai to meet with YHVH, the Holy One of
Israel. In Moses’ absence, the Israelites got restless. Fearful that the
people might mutiny and return to Egypt…
“ …Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the
ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them
unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in
their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their
hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten
calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up
out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before
it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to
YHVH. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt
offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat
and to drink, and rose up to play.” (Exodus 32:2-6 KJV)
So, Aaron announced a man-made religious feast that was dedicated to
the Almighty. This was not a feast authorized or commanded by YHVH,
but was devised from the heart of Aaron, with a little idolatry thrown in.
YHVH viewed it as corruption (Ex 32:7), a turning aside from “the way”
commanded (Ex 32:8), and His anger waxed hot against the Israelites
for this great sin (Ex 32:10)

I Kings Chapters 11-14
The kingdom of Israel was united under King Solomon, but later divided
into two kingdoms. The southern kingdom of Judah was ruled by
Rehoboam (son of Solomon) and the northern kingdom by Jeroboam, (a
servant of Solomon). Jeroboam was told that YHVH would be with him IF
he would be obedient to His law and commandments. (I Kings 11:38)
However, Jeroboam chose to do that which was right in his own eyes.
Fearful that the Israelites would return to Jerusalem for worship (I Kings
12:26-27), he made calves of gold, built altars in Bethel and Dan, raised up
houses of high places and made priests of non-Levites, (I Kings 12:28-31)
But, there is one more thing Jeroboam did that is pertinent to this study.
Instead of keeping Sukkot, a biblical harvest festival held in the seventh
month of Tishri, as commanded by YHVH (Leviticus 23:34-44):
“ … Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day
of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered
upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he
had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places
which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in
Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which
he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the
children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.”
(I Kings 12:32-33)
Jeroboam committed the same sin as Aaron, by creating a man-made
religious feast dedicated to the Almighty. It was a counterfeit Sukkot,
“like unto the feast that was in Judah.” (I Kings 12:32)
This was NOT a feast authorized by the Almighty, but was devised from
the heart of Jeroboam, with a little idolatry thrown in. This was another
turning aside from “the way” commanded and YHVH’s anger waxed hot
against the Israelites. The house of Jeroboam was prophesied to be cut
off (I Kings 14:14), Israel would be smitten and scattered (I Kings 14:15).
because of the “sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to
sin.” (I Kings 14:16)

Having departed from England in 1620 and bidding adieu to the Anglican
church’s false doctrines and dogmas, the Pilgrims (called Separatists)
set out for the New World. Allegedly, they desired religious freedom to
worship according to scripture.
Their dedication to this purpose is evident., for many of the early law
codes in Puritan New England were based on Torah. For example, in
“The Jews Come to America,” the historians, P. Masserman and M.
Baker., note that “half of the statutes in the Code of 1655 for the New
Haven colony had their origins in Torah law, while only three percent
derived from the Christian Bible.”

So, 1 the Pilgrims not only knew of Torah, they knew of Sukkot – and it’s
probable that, while in Amsterdam and Leiden, the Pilgrims witnessed
the Sukkot celebrations of the Sephardic Jews, some of whom had
migrated to Holland after the Spanish expulsion in 1492.

2 The Pilgrims
may have also appreciated the concept of family gathering and
thanksgiving as bedrock of the Feast day.
Clearly, the Pilgrims were familiar with Torah, so, it’s difficult to
understand what happened next.
Perhaps because the Pilgrims considered themselves to be the “true

3 or “Christian Israel”

4 OR, perhaps, the Pilgrims wrongly
perceived the biblical Sukkot as a “Jewish” Feast day only (and not for
Gentiles) OR perhaps the timing of the biblical Sukkot was not
convenient for them~~~

1 Celebrating the Secular Sukkot by Rabbi shammai Engelmayer,
2 Sukkot – The Harvest Holiday and Thanksgiving, Tori Avey, 2018
3 Thanksgiving’s Founders Who Loved the Bible, But Not the Jews by Tuly Weisz,
4 Puritans Were More Jewish Than Protestant by Hugh Fogelman,

All we know, is that the Pilgrims chose to set up their OWN religious
feast day (that resembles the biblical Sukkot), in a time of their OWN
choosing, dedicated to, as one writer put it, “the Christian God”…
“At the end of the harvest of 1621, the pilgrims decided to celebrate.
The pilgrims brought with them both religious and secular customs from
their homeland. Among these customs was the tradition of a secular
harvest festival and the tradition of a religious holy day of thanksgiving.
These were two separate celebrations for the original pilgrims, but it is
important to remember that BOTH celebrations had strong religious
overtones. Even the secular harvest celebration ALWAYS included a
religious component of thanks to the Christian God who had provided
the harvest. But in addition to this celebration, the pilgrims also
dedicated a day of thanksgiving that was purely religious in nature.“

  • The Truth About the Origin of Thanksgiving 5
    Why would a national holiday like Thanksgiving, that many continue to
    celebrate as a “religious” holiday, bring such controversy in these end of
    days? The simple answer is that folks are awakening to TRUTH and are
    testing the spirit behind these holidays.
    “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether
    they are from Elohim, because many false prophets have gone out into the
    world.” (I John 4:1 KJV)
    The Holy Spirit leads us to truth, while deceiving spirits lead us away
  • Yeshua (John 14:6)
  • The Word (John 17:17)
  • The Law (Psalm 119:142)
  • The Commandments (Psalm 119:151)

5 The Truth About the Origin of Thanksgiving,

Here are some things we might want to consider before digging into that
pumpkin pie…

1) Aaron, Jeroboam and the Pilgrims all committed the same sin, that of
initiating a religious feast day of their own making. This was (and is)
considered sin and corruption by YHVH – that which incurs His wrath
2) Like Jeroboam, the Pilgrims shunned the biblical Sukkot and chose to
set up a facsimile of the feast day, independent of what YHVH
as to when and how we are to celebrate His harvest festival.
3) Man is not authorized to ADD or SUBTRACT from the Word
4) We are to be obedient to the Word, follow His Feast days, His
commands, His way
5) Thanksgiving is a “Christian” Sukkot if you will, a full repudiation of
YHVH’s commanded Feast of Tabernacles, a deliberate choice to do
that which is right in one’s own eyes
6) Thanksgiving is, quite possibly, anti-Semitic. There is historical
evidence that the Pilgrims embraced Replacement Theology,
believing themselves to be the “true Israel”
7) Like Cain, who brought an offering to YHVH that was not
accepted (Gen 4) or like Nadab and Abihu, who brought strange fire
to YHVH that was not accepted (Lev 10), we are not allowed to
worship YHVH as we see fit
Perhaps the moral of the story is this, we can start well and finish badly,
if we veer off the narrow path and embrace teachings and traditions that
do not come from YHVH.
Let us repent and return to YHVH
Let us do Bible things in Bible ways
Sharing the truth in love

1) Edward Winslow,
2) Puritans Were More Jewish Than Protestant by Hugh Fogelman;
3) Sukkot – the Harvest Holiday and Thanksgiving; tori avey
4) Celebrating the Secular Sukkot by Rabbi Shammai Engelmayer
5) The Truth About the Origins of Thanksgiving
6) Christian Pilgrims Celebrated Sukkot in the New World by Kathryn A. Frazier
7) The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Pilgrim Hall Museum,
8) The Truth About Thanksgiving; What They Never Taught You in School by Richard
Schiffman, Contributor, HuffPost, 11/21/11
9) Was Thanksgiving Based on Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles?
10) “Sukkot is considered a model for Thanksgiving,” Jewish Holiday Traditions by
Burghardt, Citadel Press, 2001
11) “The Pilgrims based their customs on the Bible” New Jewish Holiday Cookbook by
Gloria Kaufer Greene (Times Books, 1999)
12) “They knew that Sukkot was an autumn harvest festival and there is evidence that
they fashioned the first Thanksgiving after the Jewish custom of celebrating the
success of the year’s crops.” Thanksgiving’s Sukkot Roots by Linda Morel, 2003

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