Paraskevidekatriaphobia = the fear of Friday the 13th!
It’s astonishing to me just how many believers in our Lord Jesus Christ still harbor a lingering queasiness about this particular date. Though the Christian has no basis whatsoever to be afraid of a date on the calendar this particular superstition does seem to have its origins in Scripture!
The word itself is actually derived from two Greek words “Paraskeví” (Friday) and “dekatreís” (thirteen). With the extension “phobia” (fear) we now have the word “paraskevidekatriaphobia” (fear of Friday 13th). But the connection to scripture goes deeper than just the fact that it’s word components are Greek in origin.
The number 13 fell into a dark area as Judas was viewed as the 13th person at the Last Supper: i.e. Christ, plus the twelve apostles. The number 12 it was argued was a perfect number of completeness. There were 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 hours on a clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 gods of Olympus, and so on. The number 13 just threw this whole system out of balance!
Friday was also bad enough in itself because it was on a Friday that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified! Put them together and you’ve got a day of disaster to be avoided at all cost!
But God is not the author of such superstitious fear. Many wonderful things happened on Friday and around the number 13. I imagine some of the same folk who fear Fridays are also among those who chime T.G.I.F. at the end of every work week. And it’s always nice to get a baker’s dozen (13) of some delicious baked goods. And the teaching of scripture is sternly clear:
Lev. 19:31 – “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.” (See also Deut. 18:10-12)
Gal. 4:8-11 – “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.”
Col. 2:20-23 – “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?”
1 Tim. 4:7 – “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness”
2 Tim. 1:7 – “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Other theories on the origin of Friday 13th also exist from the Norse goddess of fertility “Frigga” to stories of the arrest of the legendary Knights Templar on a Friday 13 in 1307. But for the Christian this date holds no more terror than the Easter Bunny. God is on His Throne and no man-made superstition can ever budge Him one particle!
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