RPW - Purim and Passover

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C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Just thinking:

Question - if the RPW tells us that whatsoever God commands we do, and whatever He has not commanded we leave out, how do we deal with these two issues:

1) Esther insituted Purim and it was observed by the Jews.

2) Was Jesus practicing the RPW when He drank of the cups of blessing during Passover? (He insituted the Lord's Supper, it seems, by observing a Jewish tradition.)

Are these applicable to the RPW and why/why not?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by webmaster
Just thinking:

Question - if the RPW tells us that whatsoever God commands we do, and whatever He has not commanded we leave out, how do we deal with these two issues:

1) Esther insituted Purim and it was observed by the Jews.

Purim was akin to the days of Thanksgiving authorized in the Westminster Standards which is really like a civil holiday. It does not meet the standard of religious worship as covered by the Second Commandment.

See Brian Schwertley:

6. The "œFeast of Purim" Argument
Perhaps the most popular argument in support of human traditions in worship is based on the Feast of Purim. It is argued that the Jews without any command or special revelation from God made up their own holy day; therefore, the church can make up its own holy days such as Christmas and Easter.

There are a number of problems with this argument. First, this argument assumes without evidence that Purim was a special holy day like Christmas. The biblical text makes it abundantly clear that Purim was not a special religious holy day but rather was a time of thanksgiving. The events of Purim are: "œJoy and gladness, a feast and good day...and of sending portions to one another, and gifts to the poor" (Est. 8:17; 9:22 KJV). "œThere is no mention of any religious observance connected with the day."108 There were no special worship services, there were no ceremonies, there were no Levitical or priestly activities. Also, Purim"”unlike Christmas and Easter"”was not an admixture of pagan and popish monuments and paraphernalia with the religion of Jehovah. Purim should not be compared to popish holy days, such as Christmas, but to special days of rejoicing such as Thanksgiving day. The Westminster divines (who were champions of the regulative principle) used Purim as a proof text (Est. 9:22) authorizing occasional days of thanksgiving (cf. Confession of Faith 21.5, proof text a).

Second, Purim did not come about because the people or church officials got together and decided to make up a holy day. It came about because of a unique historical event in Israel´s salvation history. The festival was decreed by the civil magistrate (the prime minister, Mordecai, and the queen, Esther). Religious leaders had nothing to do with it. After the civil decree, it was agreed to unanimously by the people. Thomas M´Crie writes:

Did Mordecai, in proposing it, act from the private notion of his own mind; and, in confirming it, did he proceed entirely upon the consent of the people? Or was he guided in both by divine and extraordinary counsel, imparted to him immediately, or by some prophetic person living at that time? That the vision and the prophecy were still enjoyed by the Jews dwelling in Persia, cannot be denied by those who believe the canonical authority of this book, and what is contained in that of Ezra. We have already seen reasons for thinking Mordecai acted under the influence of the faith of Moses´ parents, from the time that he proposed his cousin Esther as a candidate to succeed Vashti the queen. There can be no doubt that he was raised up in an extraordinary manner as a saviour to Israel; and in the course of this Lecture we have seen grounds for believing that, in addition to his other honours, he was employed as the penman of this portion of inspired scripture. From all these considerations, it is reasonable to conclude that the feast of Purim was not instituted without divine counsel and approbation. Add to this, that the decree of Esther confirming it, it is expressly said, in the close of this chapter, to have been engrossed in this book, by whomsoever it was written.109

Note, the occasion and authorization of Purim are inscripturated in the word of God and approved by the Holy Spirit. Thus, Purim itself satisfied the requirement of the regulative principle as biblically defined.

Third, the notion that Purim proves that men are permitted to make up holy days whenever they desire cannot be true, for if it were, Scripture would contain a blatant contradiction. Not only would it contradict the passages which teach that we are not permitted to add to what God has authorized (e.g. Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:5; etc.); it also would contradict the book of Kings where God condemned King Jeroboam for setting up a feast day "œin the month which he had devised in his own heart" (1 Kgs. 12:33). Not even kings have authority to make up their own holy days. M´Crie writes:

To seek a warrant for days of religious commemoration under the gospel from the Jewish festivals, is not only to overlook the distinction between the old and new dispensations, but to forget that the Jews were never allowed to institute such memorial for themselves, but simply to keep those which infinite Wisdom had expressly and by name set apart and sanctified. The prohibitory sanction is equally strict under both Testaments: "˜What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.´

There are times when God calls, on the one hand, to religious fasting, or, on the other, to thanksgiving and religious joy; and it is our duty to comply with these calls, and to set apart time for the respective exercises. But this is quite a different thing from recurrent or anniversary holidays. In the former case the day is chosen for the duty, in the latter the duty is performed for the day; in the former case there is no holiness on the day but what arises from the service which is performed on it, and when the same day afterwards recurs, it is as common as any other day; in the latter case the day is set apart on all following times, and may not be employed for common or secular purposes. Stated and recurring festivals countenance the false principle, that some days have a peculiar sanctity, either inherent or impressed by the works which occurred on them; they proceed on an undue assumption of human authority; interfere with the free use of that time which the Creator hath granted to man; detract from the honour due to the day of sacred rest which he hath appointed; lead to impositions over conscience; have been the fruitful source of superstition and idolatry; and have been productive of the worst effects upon morals, in every age, and among every people, barbarous and civilized, pagan and Christian, popish and protestant, among whom they have been observed. On these grounds they were rejected from the beginning, among other corruptions of antichrist, by the Reformed Church of Scotland, which allowed no stated religious days but the Christian Sabbath. 110

2) Was Jesus practicing the RPW when He drank of the cups of blessing during Passover? (He insituted the Lord's Supper, it seems, by observing a Jewish tradition.)

Are these applicable to the RPW and why/why not?

Of course it must be remembered that Jesus not only never broke the RPW (he was sinless) but he had the authority to institute a sacrament which is exactly what he was doing on that particular occasion.

See this previous thread for additional discussion.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I remember a pretty heated discussion on this awhile back on the passover issue...would that apply to your question?
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot

Of course it must be remembered that Jesus not only never broke thRPW (he was sinless) but he had the authority to institute a sacrament which is exactly what he was doing on that particular occasion.

Yes great point Andrew! I never thought about that.

So too in Matthew 28:19 our Lord tells his disciples to "baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

[Edited on 9-17-2005 by poimen]
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Purim wasn't a holy celebration. Having cups of wine at Passover is not a violation of Passover ... it is normal to drink at a meal.
 

CalsFarmer

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
The Jews get stinkin drunk at this event; they believe it is righteous to be wasted!

http://members.aol.com/LazerA/purim.htm

[Edited on 9-17-2005 by Scott Bushey]

Now Scott, its not stinkin drunk .....:cool:

It is so drunk that one can not distinguish between Bless Mordechai and curse Hamman!

Of course one has to be pretty stinkin drunk....

I did Purim one time. It is NOT a festival for the faint of heart, stomach or head. Guess I am faint....;)
 
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