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True Thanksgiving vs. False Thanksgiving

In American history there are two "thanksgivings", one was a day based on scriptural guidelines where everyone went to religious services, sang to God and praised him. These were lead by Protestants and Catholics (ie, trinitarians) but the concept is scripturally sound. The other was an annual harvest celebration, marked by with a family gathering and a party.

A True Thanksgiving (God centered)

  1. Giving thanks to God in a manner prescribed in scriptures. (listed below)
  2. Gatherings are with those of like spiritual mind (a congregation of God, Psa 111:1)
  3. Activities are focused on offering thanks to God.

A False Thanksgiving (self centered)

  1. Giving thanks to "whomever" or "whatever" each person wants (Trinity, mother earth, etc...) (Deut. 12:30)
  2. Gathering with people that are not in the congregations of God, and do not know the true God. (2 Cor. 6:15)
  3. Activities that are focused on self, rather than thanking God. (Isa. 58:13)

Only three scriptural descriptions of  thanksgiving

There are only three ways in scripture describing how we are to give thanks to God. Singing and speaking, prayer and sacrifices. Where does the activities of Thanksgiving Day fit with these?

Speaking & Singing (also with music)

  • Eph 5:19,20 "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;"
  • Psa 111:1 "I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, In the company of the upright and in the assembly."
  • Hebr 13:15 "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
  • Psa 122:4 "To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of [fn]the LORD” An ordinance for Israel” To give thanks to the name of the LORD."
  • Psa 140:13 "Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence."
  • Psa 145:10 "All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You."
  • Psa 35:18 "I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty throng."
  • Neh 12:8 "the songs of thanksgiving"
  • Neh 12:27 "..with hymns of thanksgiving..."
  • Neh 12:46 "...songs of praise and hymns of thanksgiving to God."
  • Psa 26:7  "...proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving"
  • Psa 42:4 "With the voice of joy and thanksgiving..."
  • Psa 69:30 "I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving."
  • Psa 95:2 "Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms."
  • Psa 100:1 "A Psalm for Thanksgiving. Shout joyfully to the LORD..."
  • Psa 100:4 "Enter His gates with [fn]thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him..."
  • Psa 147:7 "Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;"
  • Isa 51:3 "Thanksgiving and sound of a melody."
  • 2Sa 22:50  "I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the nations, And I will sing praises to Your name."
  • Jer 30:19;1Ch 16:7,8; 1Ch 16:34,35;1Ch 16:41;1Ch 25:3;2Cr 9:12;2Ch 20:21;2Ch 30:22;2Ch 31:2;Ezr 3:11;Neh 12:24;Psa 7:17;Psa 9:1;Psa 18:49;Psa 30:4;Psa 30:12;Psa 33:2;Psa 44:8;Psa 54:6;Psa 57:9;Psa 75:1;Psa 79:13;Psa 86:12;Psa 92:1;Psa 100:4;Psa 105:1;Psa 106:1;Psa 106:47;Psa 109:30;Psa 118:1;Psa 118:29;Psa 136:1,2,3,26;Psa 142:7;Isa 38:19;Jer 33:11;Rom 16:4;Col 1:3;1Th 5:18;Psa 6:5;Psa 45:17;Rev 4:9;Rev 11:17;Luk 2:38;Luk 17:16;Rom 6:17;1Cr 15:57;2Cr 2:14;2Cr 4:15;2Cr 8:16;2Cr 9:15;Eph 5:4;Col 1:12;1Th 3:9;


  • Lev 22:29 "When you sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD,"
  • Psa 50:14 "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving"
  • Psa 107:22 "Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving..."
  • Psa 116:17 "To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving"
  • Jer 17:26 "...bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of the LORD."
  • Jon 2:9 "But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving." (sacrifice by speaking)
  • 2Ch 31:2;Psa 54:6;Psa 107:1,8,15,21,31;Psa 108:3;Jer 33:11;

Prayer & Speaking to God

  • Phl 4:6 "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.."
  • Dan 6:10 "...on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God,"
  • Mat 15:36  "and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks,"
  • Col 4:2 "Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;"
  • Rev 7:12 "...thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever."
  • Psa 118:19,21,28;Psa 119:7;Psa 119:62;Psa 138:1,2;Psa 139:14;Isa 25:1;Dan 2:23;1Cr 10:30;Col 1:3;1Th 1:2;1Th 5:18;2Th 1:3;2Th 2:13;Psa 52:9;Mat 26:27;Mar 8:6;Mar 14:23;Luk 2:38;Luk 22:17;Luk 22:19;Jhn 6:11;Jhn 6:23;Act 27:35;Rom 7:25;Rom 14:6;1Cr 11:24;1Cr 14:16-18;2Cr 1:11;Eph 1:16;Col 3:17;
What is absent from the scriptures is giving thanks by feasting, self enjoyment or gathering with people outside of the congregations of God.

Thanksgiving Prophecies

All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD, When they have heard the words of Your mouth.
Psalms 138:4

Consider how this prophecy will be fulfilled. A festive celebration with a world that does not know the true God or through singing, prayer and open praise to God?

Then you will say on that day, "I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me. "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation." Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. And in that day you will say, "Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted." Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 12