Lent, a character of antichrist?

John Gill, (a man after my own heart!) views the keeping of Lent and other non-biblical “holy days” as part of the antiwarhol_gillchristian system of religion.

To observe another passage, though not in this prophecy, yet delivered out by the same inspired writer, which predicts some of the notorious doctrines and practices of antichrist; it is in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 where the apostle foretells a departure from the faith in after-times, and the appearance of seducing spirits, who should teach doctrines of devils. The doctrines of demon-worship; like that of the heathens, their demons being a middle sort of beings between God and men, and mediated between them; and such are the angels and saints departed, the Papists direct men to pray unto; and which is called worshipping devils and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood (Rev. 9:20), forbidding to marry; matrimony, though God’s ordinance, and honorable, is forbidden popish priests, and celibacy is enjoined, under a notion of sanctity and purity; and which is the source of great debauchery and uncleanness among them: commanding to abstain from meats: as on Wednesdays and Fridays in every week, and during the quadragesima or Lent, the fast of forty days. And now whereas it is most clearly manifest, that all these characters of antichrist, and all these things predicted of him hundreds of years before his appearance, exactly answers to the Pope of Rome, and have been punctually performed; there can be no reason to doubt of the certain performance of what the same prophetic spirit has declared concerning his destruction; as that the Lord shall consume him with his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming; that is, by the spiritual and powerful preaching of the gospel, attended with the presence of Christ in the beginning of his spiritual reign; when the whole earth will be enlightened with his glory, and antichrist, and all antichristian darkness, doctrine and worship shall disappear; and the rather this is to be credited, since it receives confirmation from a prophecy of Isaiah, delivered many hundreds of years before this, in much the same language, and from whom the apostle seems to borrow his words; for speaking of Christ, he says, he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked: that wicked lawless one, antichrist: The Lord in his great zeal will perform this. THE SURE PERFORMANCE OF PROPHECY. A SERMON, Preached at a Wednesday’s Evening Lecture, in GREAT EAST-CHEAP, Jan. 1, 1755.

Gill considered the observance of Lent a reason to separate from the Church of England and the use of the Anglican prayerbook:

It directs to the observation of several fasts and festivals, which are no where enjoined in the word of God, and for which it provides collects, gospels and epistles to be read: the fasts are, Quadragesima or Lent, in imitation of Christ’s forty days fast in the wilderness, Ember weeks, Rogatian days, and all the Fridays in the year; in which men are commanded to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving. The festivals, besides, the principal ones, Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide, are the several saints days throughout the year; which are all of popish invention, and are either moveable or fixed, as the popish festivals be; and being the relics of popery makes us still more uneasy and dissatisfied with them. The DISSENTER’S REASONS FOR SEPARATING FROM The Church Of England, Occasioned By A Letter wrote by a Welch Clergyman on the Duty of Catechizing Children. Intended chiefly for the Dissenters of the Baptist Denomination in Wales


Another popish tenet, foretold by the apostle Paul as a part of the apostasy which would hereafter come upon, is abstaining from meats, (1 Tim. 4:3) and observing fasts, such as the Quadragesima or Lent, &c. and which quickly took place: the above mentioned ancient heretics, the Saturnalians, Ebionites, Gnostics, Marcionites, and Encretites, who were against marriage, were also for abstinence from meats

If I understand Gill correctly, he takes a strong stance against the observance of Lent for two reasons;

1) The observance is not commanded in scripture (easy enough) and therefore antichristian in origin, confirming prophecy about the raise of false religion that attempts to robe itself in Christian imagery, apostolic authority, the Bible, etc.

2) and, the practices accompanying the Roman Catholic observance of Lent, promotes the antichristian religion of self-righteousness by pretending to give merit for pilgrimages, the increase of the adoration of images and other such indulgences.

I agree with Gill.


11 thoughts on “Lent, a character of antichrist?

  1. Wow, I don’t believe even Calvin went that far? Note he wrote against Lent!

    Btw, we must define antichrist biblically, as one who denies the “Incarnation” and the full Deity of Christ! (1 John 2: 22-23 ; 5: 2-3). Roman Catholicism has not down this, at least theologically!

  2. Pingback: To Lent or reLent? This Lent I am giving up . . . reticence + more [Roundup: Barcellos, T. Chantry & J. Walker] | The Confessing Baptist

  3. Reblogged this on Feileadh Mor and commented:

    LENT? No, not for me.

    WCF 21.1 “But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.”

    Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
    A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word.

    Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
    A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself

    Q. 99. What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the Ten Commandments?
    A. For the right understanding of the Ten Commandments, these rules are to be observed:

    5. That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times.

    Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?

    A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

    Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment?

    A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.

    • I would disagree here, for Lent, the lengthening of days, in the period of thinking about those 40 days of our Lord’s Temptation in the wilderness is a sure spiritual reflection! There can be a fine line between Law and Gospel, for they are both close at times when seen in the depth of the Moral Law of God! Spiritual discipline is in a low practice today in the church. The reality about the negative here is always seen from the Roman Catholic practice, which has of course been legal and Judaistic. But, if we place Jesus Christ in the centre here, we can find solid and true spiritual ground!

      “Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified.” (Gal. 3: 1 ; see also verses 13-14, with verses 19-25).

      • Excellent points Father Robert.

        I thought about you Saturday…I was planning to visit the Anglican Parish I use to be a member of with my Grams.

      • jm: Thanks mate! Btw, we are close here, for I understand where your coming from with the whole legal ground of the Catholic Lenten practice! But as Luke 4: 1-25, and the great Temptation of Christ, it is rich with spiritual and theological ground for the Christian identity and discipleship! I.e. Proper Law & Gospel! 🙂

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