So, it's the Fourth of July (in the U.S.A.)—big deal! Are national holidays like this really important?
National holidays may be civic, religious—or both. Examples of civic holidays are the many "Independence Day" celebrations—such as the Fourth of July in America and Bastille Day in France. Since 1810, Mexico's Independence Day has been celebrated on September 16. But Mexico's Cinco de Mayo celebration is very important to that nation as well, as it celebrates the victory of the Mexican army at the battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862. Said victory was important in maintaining Mexico's independence from European powers.
Virtually every nation has holidays marking significant historical events such as its founding date or its independence from foreign domination.
An example of a combined civic/religious holiday is the Passover of the people of Israel. The Passover celebration commemorates Israel's liberation from Egyptian bondage and the Exodus toward a national homeland. It also is a memorial of a covenant relationship established between God and the people of Israel.
The normal effect of a national holiday—especially marking nationhood or independence—is a unification of the people. National pride in a country can unify a people in times of economic adversity or acts of aggression by a neighbor country. National pride can also be exploited by aggressive leadership. But, is "national pride" evil? To answer this question, we must consider the Bible—the oldest reliable, credible source available to us.
The Bible does give the origin of nations in Genesis 10:1–32. God is the author of "nationhood." All nations are families that have grown large enough to possess and hold a territory. Ultimately, it is God who separated the nations into their respective territories. An example of national origins is found in the story of Abram.
(Genesis 17:1-8 KJV). God said to Abram: "'I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.' And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 'As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God'" (Genesis 17:1–8, King James Version).
Regardless of our national heritage, we should thank and praise God for our liberties and our national blessings. It is good for us to commemorate our national founding and origin—to remember our national roots.
For a greater appreciation of America's Independence Day commemoration, see our booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.