Reverend Father Gabriel Osu was quoted as making the following remarks in Wednesdays edition of vanguard newspaper dated 6th of march, 2008 that Ash Wednesday takes its name from the blessing and distribution on this day of ashes, the ancient traditional sign of mourning and sorrow, and as sorrow for sin and of repentance. He said it was also the first day of lent, the beginning of the 40 day fasting period for Christians.
But this sentence, Ash Wednesday as the first day of the lent is not found in our Holy Bible.Again, strewing of ashes on the forehead into the discreet sign of cross is not found in our Holy Bible.He and some other leaders of some churches still fail to say the root and where they get it from to theircongregation.What happened on a Wednesday that there were ashes into the sign of cross on the foreheads and what is the source of the information? Again, some people do not go to work early and lose money and their customers.Some refuse to eat meat. Some don?t go to their offices in time and may answer query from their employers.
Holy Bible is revealing. Encyclopedias are also revealing.Books are revealing.
No ash mentioned in Bible was used as a discreet sign of cross on the foreheads.It was an ancient jewish tradition. It was associated with mourning, dangers, temptation, sorrow, penitence and repentance along with fasting. During those times, the jews were normally in sackcloth and poured ashes on their heads and bodies. When they had purification ceremony (numbers 19), animal was killed, the ashes were put in the water and they poured the water all over their bodies. Thereafter, they washed their clothes and bathe themselves signifying that that evening they will be cleansed of their defilements and sins.
Esther 4v1-3, Job2v8, Isaiah 61v3 etc clearly state that it is associated with mourning,sorrow and temptation.
It was because of the pretence and hypocricy that was later associated with the ceremony that God went against it and told them the kind of fasting he wants from them. Isaiah 58v1-14 clearly states it.In verse 3, they told God they have fasted while being in ashes, and why is he not impressed? They also said they have done so much penance and he does not even notice it. In verse 4, God asked them, what good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarrelling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. From verse 6-14, God told them the kind of fasting he wants from-You will free those you wrongly imprisoned and stop oppressing your workers,share your food with the hungry people, welcome poor wanderers into your homes etc. people around are wicked to their fellow people,but put ashes in the sign of cross on their foreheads to deceive the public.Hypocrites!.
In Matthew 6 v 16-18,Jesus Christ told His appostles, when you fast,comb your hair and wash your face.Don?t make it obvious as the hypocrites do,then no one will suspect you are fasting,except your Father, who knows what you do secretly and will reward you. He did not ask them to be in ashes like the hypocrites-religious leaders and Pharisees (Matt23v13). Some christians fast when the situation and reason don?t arise in the face of their continuous crimes while remaining hypocrites which is a reflection of bad teachings by their leaders.
In matthew 9v14-17, Jesus Christ told disciples of John the Baptist that his Apostles are not fasting because they are not mourning,but they can fast when he is taken away from them. Then they be in pain for not staying with Christ again.
Encyclopedias America, and Britannica I consulted are revealing.There was one of the mystery religions which was the worship of mithra that was common in Ancient World.There were different signs of this pagan god that were common in Ancient Rome,Babylon etc.One of the signs of mithra was the sign of cross formed by the elliptic and the celestial equator.This sign was put on the foreheads of new initiates after their baptism into the mysteries of mithra.We can now see that ashes and water are used into the discreet sign of cross on foreheads that are not Biblical and are camouflaged with Biblical record of fasting and baptism.
Study the Holy Bible very well and ask your Church leader questions on what you practice and things that are unbiblical.
? Chukwuma Odionu