THE SABBATH AND HOLY DAY QUESTION
THE challenge was recently given, “Why don’t seventh-day Sabbath keepers also keep all the Feast Days recorded in the Old Testament?” Well, some do and I am one of them.
Paul the Apostle tells us in Colossians 2:16-17 not to allow anyone (Jewish or otherwise) to judge Christians about how they keep New Moon, Feast Days or Sabbaths. The Jews continuing their quest to bring Christianity into the folds of Judaism would want Christians to keep these days in the Old Testament sense but Paul tells us that the reality is Christ. The Old Testament events were merely foreshadows of the real meaning of these feast days and here, briefly, is how.
PASSOVER AND THE DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
Exodus 12:1-20 tells of the first Passover and following seven days when no leavened products were to be eaten - the Israelites in their flight had no time to allow the bread to become leavened and rise. In the New Testament Paul tells us how to keep the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, I Corinthians 5:7-8. (No slaughtered lamb or kid is required as Christ has fulfilled this role, John 1:29).
We take the bread and wine (also the foot-washing ceremony) at this time on the anniversary of Christ’s betrayal, (I Corinthians 11:23-29) and celebrate His resurrection to become our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) by observing the Days of Unleavened Bread when we only eat unleavened products to symbolise our putting OUT of sin and putting ON of Christ’s unleavened (i.e. sinless) character. To do this we also need the help of the Holy Spirit which brings us to:
THE FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS/PENTECOST/WHITSUN
Tradition has it that the Ten Commandments were given to ancient Israel on the Day of Pentecost. God wrote these on two tables of stone but it was always His intention that they be written on our hearts and minds. This requires the Holy Spirit to be combined with our human spirit to give us the mind of Christ, our perfect example. Acts 2 records the Holy Spirit arriving from Heaven on this day and converting the disciples. Paul was still keeping this day, (1 Corinthians 16:8). Persons who do not want to keep “Old Testament” days seem to have no difficulty in observing this day.
THE DAY OF TRUMPETS (NEW MOON OF ThE SEVENTH MONTH)
Anciently a day for blowing of trumpets and still today by Jews the blowing of the shofar, the trumpet of war. The book of Revelation records seven trumpet blasts which precede Christ’s return - truly terrible times into which we must now be heading culminating in the seventh trumpet which heralds the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the translation of the living in Christ into eternal life (Revelation chapters 8,9 and 10:7; also I Thessalonians 4:15-17).
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
Leviticus 16 shows the lots being cast to show which goat is “for the Lord” and which the “goat of removal”. Confusion has arisen over the meaning of the goats but the New Testament revelation shows plainly that the slain goat “for the Lord” reiterates Christ’s death and the goat taken away depicts Satan being removed from man’s presence for the duration of the thousand year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:1-3), the latter event yet future. Was it necessary for God to show which goat was which? All peoples, including true Christians, to a greater or lesser extent are spiritually drunk on Babylon the Great’s wine of deception (Revelation 17:1-6) and we must all “come out of her” (Revelation 18:4)
FEAST OF TABERNACLES AND LAST GREAT DAY
This period of eight days was to remind the Israelites that God caused them to live in tents in the wilderness when they left Egypt (Leviticus 23:39-43). After the saints are given the Kingdom at Christ’s return (Daniel 7:27), the whole world comes under Christ’s sacrifice after Satan’s removal, typified by the two goats of the Day of Atonement. Then follows the wonderful millennium. The Feast of Tabernacles (as well as God’s other feasts) was to be a time of general rejoicing just like the millennium (Deuteronomy 16:13-15) when there was abundance for all. At the end of this feast came an eighth “solemn” day (Numbers 29:35). At the end of Christ’s thousand-year reign comes the general or “Great White Throne” judgment with the “unsaved” dead being given their chance of salvation followed by the destruction of all evil persons in preparation for the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21 and 22, Revelation 20:11-15).
This is just a short resume of the holy days of the Old Testament and their New Testament application - found mainly in Leviticus 23. A few additions: Easter is a corruption of the New Testament Passover and formed the earliest post-New Testament period controversies. It was called the “Quarto-decimani” controversy. (See Encyclopaedia of Britannica, 11th edition under “Easter”). Polycarp urged Anicetus of Rome to keep the 14th (or quarto-decimani) of Abib Passover AS HE HAD RECEIVED FROM THE APOSTLE JOHN, instead of Easter. Forty years later Polycrates urged the same of Victor of Rome. Roman apostasy eventually won. Luke wrote in the book of Acts to Gentiles mainly, though preserved for our instruction today, and he used Biblical feast days as benchmarks of time.See Acts12:3-4 and Acts 20:6 (Days of Unleavened Bread), Acts 20:16 (Pentecost), Acts 27:9 (the Fast of Day of Atonement). Would he have used these days as benchmarks if the Gentile Christians did not know what he was talking about?
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