Good text for the proper feast to keep: 1 Cor 5:8 "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
David Clayton posted in Feast-Days: Are They Binding After the Cross?.
STAND FOR THE TRUTH
Satan hates the truth. Suddenly even those who profess to believe the truth about God are becoming enemies of the truth.
What is the problem? The problem is that they object to the truth that Jesus Himself lives in the believer!! This is so strange that it is almost unbelievable! We are being told that it is “pantheism” to believe that Christ Himself lives in a person. “Jesus,” they say, “is in heaven in the most holy place of the sanctuary, and God the Father is sitting on a throne in heaven. God and Jesus (they say) cannot be in more than one place at the same time.”
“Instead, (they say) it is a third power, distinct from the person of the Father and the Son who actually is with us.” This is a strange idea. These brethren say, it is not a third being (because they don’t believe in a Trinity), yet somehow it is a third person, insomuch that it is not the actual presence of the Father, but rather His representative! What confusion, this is indeed even worse than the Trinity!
Why would any Christian be so limited in his thinking, so ignorant of what the Bible teaches as to make such an antichrist statement? Who are we to say what God can, or cannot do? When have we become so expert that we are able to define God’s activities and limit Him, even in DEFIANCE OF WHAT THE BIBLE CLEARLY TEACHES!
THE BIBLE SAYS:
God fills heaven and earth (Jer 23:23-24)
Heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him (1Kgs 8:27)
Anywhere we go, He is there (Ps 139:7-12)
Christ is in us, unless we are reprobates (2 Cor 13:5)
The gospel is, “Christ in you.” (Col. 1:27)
Our fellowship is truly with the Father and His Son (1 John 1:3)
Jesus says, “I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
Jesus says, “I in them and You (the Father) in me. (John 17:23)
And on and on. There are many more verses which say the same thing. How can people become so learned, so legalistic, so closed-minded and parochial, so limited in their thinking that they deny the very plainest statements of the Bible because of some supposed statements of Ellen White where she warned J.H. Kellogg that he was getting into pantheism? Does Ellen White’s statements mean that suddenly the truth of the Bible has become a lie?
May God help us, all His true children to be students of the Bible. It is time to stand against the encroaching legalistic spirit which denies the plainest truths of God’s words. This kind of spirit is what results when men study doctrine, but do not know the author of that doctrine.
“When the Savior yielded up His life on Calvary, the significance of the Passover ceased, and the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was instituted as a memorial of the same event of which the Passover had been a type.” ("Patriarchs and Prophets," p. 539).
“In the place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed, He (Christ) instituted a
memorial service, the ordinance of feet washing and the sacramental supper, to be observed through all
time by His followers in every country. These should ever repeat Christ’s acts, that all may see that true
service calls for unselfish ministry.” ("Signs of the Times," May 16, 1900, Quoted in Evangelism, p.
What did God tell them? "Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes." Isaiah 1:13-16. Then He says, "Come now, and let us reason together. I want to forgive you, but it has to be on the right basis. I want to forgive you, and I will. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow."
HERE IS THE FEAST WE ARE SUPPOSED TO KEEP IN THESE LAST DAYS OF EARTH'S HISTORY:
1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
2And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even CHRIST OUR PASSOVER is sacrificed for us:
8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11But now I have written unto you NOT TO KEEP COMPANY, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator (idolator=Trinity believers and other pagan god worshipers), or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with SUCH AN ONE no NOT to EAT.
12For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
Are Christians to Observe the Feast Days ?
Should Christians observe the Feast Days? Those promoting the Feast Days will not say it is required, but say it is something you can make extra special; and will be a link for you from the Old Testament to feast keeping in heaven. These people use old manuscripts and certain statements to ‘prove’ we need to continue portions of the ceremonial law that they feel are to be observed forever.
I have been given much ‘evidence’ from feast keepers to prove we need to keep the Feast Days now. I have not been convinced of their evidence and arguments. In the last four years I have seen those advocating the need of keeping the Feast Days continue grow and amalgamate with other non-feast believing ministries. As with other similar new truths, in God’s providence and timing, He has clearly revealed the real issues here.
Below are inspired references I have not seen addressed by the Feast Day people.
Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages. DA 652:2
The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that, year by year, as the children should ask the meaning of this ordinance, the history should be repeated. Thus the wonderful deliverance was to be kept fresh in the minds of all. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance [the Lord's Supper not Feast Days] is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds. DA 652:3
Jesus had appointed to meet His disciples in Galilee; and soon after the Passover week was ended, they bent their steps thither. Their absence from Jerusalem during the feast would have been interpreted as disaffection and heresy, therefore they remained till its close; but this over, they gladly turned homeward to meet the Saviour as He had directed. DA 809:1
In the Galatian churches, open, unmasked error was supplanting the gospel message. Christ, the true foundation of the faith, was virtually renounced for the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism. The apostle saw that if the believers in Galatia were saved from the dangerous influences which threatened them, the most decisive measures must be taken, the sharpest warnings given. AA 385:2
To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life is still as pleasing to the unrenewed nature as it was in the days of these Jewish teachers. Today, as then, there are false spiritual guides, to whose doctrines many listen eagerly. It is Satan's studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God. In every age the archenemy adapts his temptations to the prejudices or inclinations of those whom he is seeking to deceive. In apostolic times he [Satan] led the Jews to exalt the ceremonial law and reject Christ; at the present time he induces many professing Christians, under pretense of honoring Christ, to cast contempt on the moral law and to teach that its precepts may be transgressed with impunity. It is the duty of every servant of God to withstand firmly and decidedly these perverters of the faith and by the word of truth fearlessly to expose their errors. AA 387:1
The brethren hoped that Paul, by following the course suggested, might give a decisive contradiction to the false reports concerning him. They assured him that the decision of the former council concerning the Gentile converts and the ceremonial law, still held good. But the advice now given was not consistent with that decision. The Spirit of God did not prompt this instruction; it was the fruit of cowardice. The leaders of the church in Jerusalem knew that by non-conformity to the ceremonial law, Christians would bring upon themselves the hatred of the Jews and expose themselves to persecution. The Sanhedrin was doing its utmost to hinder the progress of the gospel. Men were chosen by this body to follow up the apostles, especially Paul, and in every possible way to oppose their work. Should the believers in Christ be condemned before the Sanhedrin as breakers of the law, they would suffer swift and severe punishment as apostates from the Jewish faith. AA 404:1+
Paul and Barnabas soon after returned to Antioch in Syria, where they again labored for some time; and many Gentiles there embraced the doctrine of Christ. But certain Jews from Judea raised a general consternation among the believing Gentiles by agitating the question of circumcision. They asserted with great assurance, that none could be saved without being circumcised and keeping the entire ceremonial law. LP 63:1 [Sketches From the Life of Paul, 1883] [Doctrine of Christ, meant accepted teachings of Christianity, while the Jews advocated the need of keeping the ceremonial laws].
This was an important question, and one which affected the church in a very great degree. Paul and Barnabas met it with promptness, and opposed introducing the subject to the Gentiles. They were opposed in this by the believing Jews [Jews that accepted teachings of Christ] of Antioch, who favored the position of those from Judea. The matter resulted in much discussion and want of harmony in the church, until finally the church of Antioch, apprehending that a division among them would occur from any further discussion of the question, decided to send Paul and Barnabas, together with some responsible men of Antioch, to Jerusalem, to lay the matter before the apostles and elders. There they were to meet delegates from the different churches, and those who had come to attend the approaching annual festivals. Meanwhile all controversy was to cease until a final decision should be made by the responsible men of the church. This decision was then to be universally accepted by the various churches throughout the country. LP 63:2
Upon arriving at Jerusalem, the delegates from Antioch related before the assembly of the churches the success that had attended the ministry with them, and the confusion that had resulted from the fact that certain converted Pharisees declared that the Gentile converts must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses in order to be saved. LP 63:3 [Note; the issue here is more than just circumcision and animal sacrifices]
The Jews were not generally prepared to move [change] as fast as the providence of God opened the way. It was evident to them from the result of the apostles' labors among the Gentiles, that the converts among the latter people would far exceed the Jewish converts; and that if the restrictions and ceremonies of the Jewish law were not made obligatory upon their accepting the faith of Christ, the national peculiarities of the Jews, which kept them distinct from all other people, would finally disappear from among those who embraced the gospel truths. LP 64:1
The Jews had prided themselves upon their divinely appointed services; and they concluded that as God once specified the Hebrew manner of worship, it was impossible that He should ever authorize a change in any of its specifications. They decided that Christianity must connect itself with the Jewish laws and ceremonies. They were slow to discern to the end of that which had been abolished by the death of Christ, and to perceive that all their sacrificial offerings had but prefigured the death of the Son of God, in which type had met its antitype rendering valueless the divinely appointed ceremonies and sacrifices of the Jewish religion. LP 64:2 [? Is Feast Day a ceremony?, how can ‘end’ and ‘abolish’ mean to continue? How can some take these plain clear statements and say Paul promoted and kept the Feast Days?]
Paul… knew that the typical ceremonies must soon altogether cease, since that which they had shadowed forth had come to pass, and the light of the gospel was shedding its glory upon the Jewish religion, giving a new significance to its ancient rites. LP 65:1
[Paul] tried to allay prejudice, and win souls to the truth. He refrained from urging upon the Jews the fact that the ceremonial laws were no longer of any force. He cautioned Timothy to remove any occasion for them to reject his labors. He complied with their rules and ordinances as far as was consistent with his mission to the Gentiles. He would not mislead the Jews nor practice deception upon them; but he waived his personal feelings, for the truth's sake. LP 161:1 [Here we see Paul’s wisdom in working with the Jews to win them.]
With the Gentiles his manner of labor was different. He plainly informed them that the sacrificial offerings andceremonies of the Jews were no longer to be observed, and preached to them Christ and Him crucified. LP 161:2 [Why are we to observe the ceremonies of the Jews?]
In the Galatian churches, open, unmasked error was supplanting the faith of the gospel. Christ, the true foundation, was virtually renounced for the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism. The apostle saw that if these churches were saved from the dangerous influences which threatened them, the most decisive measures must be taken, the sharpest warnings given, to bring them to a sense of their true condition. LP 190:1
[Paul] did not find fault with their observance of forms and ceremonies, but showed that while they maintained the ritual service with great exactness, they were rejecting Him who was the antitype of all that system. LP 276:3
Additional references- LP 63:1; 64:1; 66:2; 68:1,2; 69:1,2; 71:1; 103:3; 105:1; 121:1,3; 122:2,3; 161:2; 188:2; 192:2; 195:1; 208:1; 211:1,2;212:0,1; 213:2; 226:1; 236:1; 237:1; 242:1.
[SDA Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-25] In this ordinance, Christ discharged His disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any virtue; for type was meeting antitype in Himself, the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances that pointed to Him as the great and only efficacious offering for the sins of the world. He gave this simple ordinance that it might be a special season when He Himself would always be present… 5BC 1139:5; RH 6-14-1898:15
This ordinance does not speak so largely to man's intellectual capacity as to his heart. His moral and spiritual nature needs it. If His disciples had not needed this, it would not have been left for them as Christ's last established ordinance in connection with, and including, the last supper. It was Christ's desire to leave to His disciples an ordinance that would do for them the very thing they needed--that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah. Eating of the body, and drinking of the blood, of Christ, not merely at the sacramental service, but daily partaking of the bread of life to satisfy the soul's hunger, would be in receiving His Word and doing His will. RH 6-14-1898:16; 5BC 1139:6
Those adhering to the keeping of the Feast Days, are wanting to reinstitute the ceremonies, and saying the sacrifices and circumcision were the only issues, in the New Testament, that the Apostles had to contend with. The evidence of those keeping the Feast Days reminds me of the non-Sabbatarians evidence from the scriptures that is used to justify non- worship. How much clear evidence do they have to neglect to find a few texts that could possibly support their evidence?
Some Scriptural references; Jewish Feasts and Christian gatherings. Note; the comments in the [brackets] are my comments and have deleted the [brackets] for the supplied words in the KJV.
• John 5:1- there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [No mention of Jesus participating in the festival, he healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda]. No where does the scriptures state ‘feast of Christians’.
• John 6:4- the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
• John 7:2- Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. [Jesus did not mention the need of attending the festivals.]
• John - Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. :21- Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. [Jerusalem, the place where all male Jews were to observe the ceremonial laws]. :22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. :23- But the hour cometh, and now is [during Christ’s time], when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. [No specific place or time mentioned].
• Matt 27:50- Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. :51- And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. [also Luke][The renting of the temple veil by the Father, opened the earthly sanctuary, thus the sanctuary and its services were not longer sacred].
• Heb 9:8- … the first tabernacle was yet standing: :9- Which was[past tense] a figure for the time then present [past tense when this was written], in which were offered [past tense] both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; :10- Which stood [past tense] only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed [on them] until [limited time] the time of reformation [true Sacrifice]. [Paul never mentioned these ceremonies being obligatory after the true sacrifice]
• Acts 15:5- But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
• Acts - Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we [the Christian council] gave no such commandment. [This is the response of the council that discussed and determined if the law of Moses was still to be observed]
• 1Cor 5:7- … Christ our passover is sacrificed [margin- slain] for us.
• Eph - Having abolished [past tense] in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.
• Heb - Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
• Dan - Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins [Hebrew chattah #2403, often translated ‘sin offering’], and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
• Dan - And He [Christ] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation [offering] to cease...
• Col - Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; :15- And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. :16- Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday [1859 observe a festival- feast], or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: :17- Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
• Col - Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, :21- Touch not; taste not; handle not; :22- Which all are to perish with the using; after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Why continue to observe the type when the antitype has come? Those who continue the ordinances deny the antitype [true sacrifice] of what they pointed to.
If one is not killing Passover sacrifices, they are not keeping the law as Moses gave it. If they are not observing the Passover at Jerusalem, they are not observing the Jewish law as Moses gave it.
• Gal 4:9- But now, after that ye have known God [accepted Christ], or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? :10- Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. :11- I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. [Paul is concerned if they have accepted the Gospel of Christ]
• Heb 10:1- For the [Mosaic] law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image [shadow]of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. [why offer an imperfect sacrifice when the true has been offered?] :2- For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. :3- But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. :4- For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. :5- Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: :6- In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hast had no pleasure. :7- Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. :8- Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; :9- Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. :10- By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
• Acts - But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. If the feast was required for all males [Deut ; 1Kings ], why did Paul not say; we must… when we return?
• 1Cor 16:8- But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. [Paul wanted to attend, no counsel for the Christians to observe the day].
• Luke - And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: :16- For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. [This Passover was not the typical Old Testament Passover, it was the first Lord’s Supper, known as Communion. It is the Lord’s Supper, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb that Christ will lead out in heaven].
There are other similar texts that are used to support continuance of Feast Days, but I have seen no command in inspiration where Christians are to observe these festivals. The Adventists Messianic Jews do not advocate keeping the festivals. They study and teach lessons about the festivals as did our pioneers, but they do not advocate the necessity of observing the festivals.
Biblical use of ‘Forever’
• Johah 2:6- [Jonah] went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. [- Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.]
Exodus 21:6- Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever. [Is this person still serving his master?]
• 1Chron 28:4- The LORD God of Israel chose me [David] before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever… [many other examples can be cited, but forever means as long as the nature of the subject allows]
I recently heard a Feast Day presenter giving his analysis of Col 2:14-17. He went to great lengths preserving the continuance of the new moons, feast days and feast Sabbaths. He claims the shadows pointed forward to the cross and a shadow from the cross to new moons and Sabbaths in heaven. He said to get rid of the shadow you have to cut the tree down. Is he saying you need to cut the cross? His conclusion was, the only thing that was nailed to the cross is our sins. I do not believe that was what Paul was addressing here.
I have not seen any evidence from scriptures or the Spirit of Prophecy where we are to keep the feast days at a particular time. At the time of the year of this writing, there are two feast day gatherings being held in America. They are both held during the same time for Passover, since this is the Jewish Passover feast time. This teaching like sacredness, life after death, and the trinity were considered and rejected by the pioneers of the Adventist Church. And to use their writings to promote the Feast Days is an abomination. To use inspiration to compile certain text for a teaching is not new, Ellen White had to constantly deal with those who did this in her day and she warned against using inspiration to prove teachings that were contrary to what the authors believed. [see 3SM 81]
The Feast Day people are promoting their findings as new light. There is no question, there is new light (understanding) that will be discovered, but it will be built upon existing light. “Through all these centuries the truth of God has remained the same. That which was truth in the beginning is truth now. Although new and important truths appropriate for succeeding generations have been opened to the understanding, the present revealings do not contradict those of the past. Every new truth understood only makes more significant the old.” RH 3-2-1886:6
I have reviewed their information on new light, I did not see this reference or a similar one, in fact they left open any biblical interpretation you may come up with that could be considered new light. We know this has resulted in thousands of Christian denominations all claiming they are following the Bible as their authority, even though they have different and opposing teachings.
I have noticed the correspondence I have had with Feast Day leaders who are promoting the Feast days, have made light of the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy, even mocking her statements. I have heard some say Ellen White was wrong about some of the counsels. We need to be very careful what we say and what influence we have upon others, because this may turn some feeble soul wholly against Christianity.
In correspondence with one Feast Day presenter on another topic, he would not accept the counsel of the Scriptural and Spirit of Prophecy references I was giving him because of his preconceived restrictions he had on the topic that conflicted with inspiration. He was rejecting clear inspired statements and forming this beliefs within his predetermined restrictions.
He also had problems with those who came to their meetings that were sharing things they did not believe. He said go out and get your own following. We do need to respect others and their ministries, but we need to realize we not only have a right but a duty to share, not force what we have learned with others. We know Paul and Christ Himself did this; knowing it would cause disruption. I would not advise anyone to cause a disruption among believers on the Sabbath at gatherings, but Christ our example, often healed on the Sabbath, even at the temple, knowing it would cause contention.
THE JEWISH FEAST DAYS
The Jewish holy days
involved sacrificing animals yet God never delighted in this. The
sacrifices and the days were to keep in mind the evil results of sin and
point forward to Christ who would take our sins upon Himself and die in
our place. This study presents several lines of reasoning which show
that Christ has abolished the Jewish holy days and that Christians ought
not to observe them.
What purpose did the Jewish holy days have?
The holy days were
commemorative of events in Israel’s past and, like the animal sacrifices
and the entire earthly ministry, they were designed to point forward to
Christ’s life, death, and ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (Heb
The ceremonial ordinances
were written in a book by the hand of Moses and were distinct from the
moral ten commandments which were written on stone by the finger of God.
The moral law defines sin, the ceremonial law explained how Christ was
going to deal with sin.
What relevance do the Jewish feasts have for the Christian?
While being commemorative the Jewish holy days also pointed forward to Christ:
1. Passover - Christ’s death for us. 1Cor 5:7 “...Christ our PASSOVER is sacrificed for us:”
2. 7 days of Unleavened bread - Christ’s holy life.
3. Firstfruits - Christ
presenting Himself before the Father following His resurrection. 1Cor
15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the
FIRSTFRUITS of them that slept.”
4. Pentecost - The
outpouring of God’s Spirit. Acts 2:1, 4 “And when the day of PENTECOST
was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place...they were
all filled with the Holy Ghost.”
5. Trumpets - End-time warning message.
6. Atonement - Christ’s cleansing ministry in Heaven’s Most Holy Place.
7. Tabernacles - The saints’ time tabernacling in heaven.
The feasts were to be
fulfilled on the very day. So Christ died as our Passover on the very
day of the Passover (14th Nisan) Rested in the Tomb (15th Nisan) Arose
as the Firstfruits and presented Himself in Heaven (16th Nisan). He also
fulfilled the details. e.g. None of His bones were broken just as with
the Passover lamb. (Exo 12:46; John 19:36).
The moral law existed
BEFORE sin. The ceremonial law with all the ceremonial holy days was
added AFTER sin and illustrated how Christ would deal with sin.
What happened to these ordinances and feast days of the Old Covenant?
When Christ, to which they had pointed, died, the holy days, along with the entire Levitical ministry, was abolished:
“Having ABOLISHED in his
flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in
ORDINANCES; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making
“Ordinances” refer to the
rites & ceremonies of the Jewish ceremonial law. See Heb 9:10
margin; Exo 12:14-17). Christ abolished the Jewish ordinances, some
which only a circumcised Jew could observe, and which had created a wall
of partition (Eph 2:14) and an enmity between Jewish and Gentile
By His death in the middle of the 70th week (Daniel 9) Christ caused the “sacrifice and oblation TO CEASE.” (v 27).
Christ made an end of sins
(Dan 9:24). The word translated “sins” (Heb. chattah) is frequently
translated “sin offerings.” Christ ended the sacrificial system when He,
the One to whom all the sin offerings pointed, died. To confirm that
Christ ended the sacrifices and offerings we read:
“...in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation TO CEASE,...” Dan 9:27.
“BLOTTING OUT THE
HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES that was against us, which was contrary to us,
and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [And] having
spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly,
triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or
in drink, or in respect of an holyday [Gr. heorte, feast, festival], or
of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: Which are a shadow of things
to come; but the body [is] of Christ.”
In view of the fact that
these holy days, meat offerings, drink offerings, and ceremonial sabbath
days [See Lev 23, esp. v 37-38] were only “shadows” pointing to Christ,
and as Christ has blotted out these ordinances, Christians are no
longer to observe them. We are not to be concerned if others condemn us.
Paul and the other apostles labored to show this, and resolutely
withstood those Judaizing teachers who declared that Christians were to
keep the ceremonial law. Though some continued to keep the Jewish holy
days Christians should not. Note: The sabbaths here mentioned were the
temporary ceremonial sabbaths which were “besides” the eternal moral
seventh day Sabbath (Lev 23:38).
Feasts OF THE JEWS
“...a feast of the Jews” John 5:1.
“...Passover, a feast of the Jews.” John 6:4.
“...the Jews’ feast of tabernacles.” John 7:2.
The fact that the disciple
John said these feasts were “OF THE JEWS,” show that the feasts were
JEWISH and NOT CHRISTIAN. In contrast the Bible never says that the 7th
day Sabbath is “of the Jews” because it is for ALL MEN (Mk 2:27).
The phrase, “King of the
Jews,” doesn’t show Christ to be only a Jewish king because the phrase
was given by a Roman ruler, not an inspired Christian disciple writing
Jesus foretold that the Jewish holy days were no longer going to be kept:
A woman said to Jesus, “Our
fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in JERUSALEM is
the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman,
believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall NEITHER in this mountain, nor
yet AT JERUSALEM, worship the Father.” (John 4:20-21).
According to the ceremonial
law Jewish males had to worship AT JERUSALEM on three of the Jewish
feasts (Deut 16:16; 1Kings 14:21). Jesus’ words, “neither...at
Jerusalem” showed that the law of the Jewish feasts, which required male
attendance at Jerusalem, was to be abolished. John 4:22-23 shows that
this would occur in Christ’s time. Indeed the ceremonial law was blotted
out when Christ died.
How did God show that the sacrifices and oblations were no longer of significance after Christ’s death?
God tore the curtain in the
sanctuary when Christ died. (Matt 27:50-51; Luke 23:45). The Levitical
system was then made redundant.
In Heb 9:8-10 Paul speaks
of the various sacrifices, offerings & ordinances in the PAST TENSE
which stood until the time of reformation
“The Holy Ghost this
signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made
manifest, while as the first tabernacle WAS yet standing: Which [WAS] a
figure FOR THE TIME THEN PRESENT, in which WERE offered both gifts and
sacrifices, that COULD NOT make him that did the service perfect, as
pertaining to the conscience; [Which STOOD] only in meats and drinks,
and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed [on them] UNTIL the
time of reformation.”
Note that Paul speaks of
the Jewish meat offerings & drink offerings, washings and ordinances
as HISTORY and PAST, NOT PRESENT.
(a) The time THEN present, (past tense) but NOT NOW present.
(b) That WERE OFFERED, (past tense).
(c) Which COULD not, (past tense).
(d) Which STOOD, (past tense), but are no longer standing.
(e) UNTIL the time of reformation came and they are now no longer standing.
“Wherefore if ye be dead
with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in
the world, are ye subject to ordinances...”
Why continue to observe the
type when the antitype has come? Those who believe that Christ
fulfilled the ordinances ought not to keep them.
If one is not killing
Passover lambs etc. one is not keeping the law as Moses gave it. One
either does it as Moses gave it or one is not doing it at all. On what
basis can anyone keep the Jewish feasts while ignoring the rest of the
Jewish ceremonial law?
Is the observance of the Jewish holy days commendable or worrying?
In Galatians 4:9-11 Paul
spoke to those who would continue to observe these shadows saying, “But
now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn
ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to
be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I AM
AFRAID OF [or FOR] YOU, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
The abolishing of the Mosaic system by Christ was foretold
Ps 40:6-8 “Sacrifice and
offering thou DIDST NOT DESIRE; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt
offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I
come: in the volume of the book [it is] written of me, I delight to do
thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.”
Paul explains this in Hebrews:
“For the law having a
shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things,
can never with those sacrifices which they offered YEAR BY YEAR
continually make the comers thereunto perfect...Above when he said,
Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for sin thou
WOULDEST NOT, neither hadst pleasure [therein]; which are offered by the
law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. HE TAKETH AWAY THE
FIRST, that he may establish the second.
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE [FOR ALL]. Heb 10:1-10.
Notice that the YEAR BY
YEAR offerings (e.g. The ANNUAL Passover etc.) have been TAKEN AWAY by
the ONCE FOR ALL offering of Christ.
Can Christians keep the
annual Passover as a memorial and claim that on that day they
‘sacrifice’ Christ as their Passover sacrifice?
The Passover required that A
SHEEP be sacrificed ON THE DAY. As Christ died ONCE for all (Heb 10:10)
He cannot be any repeated ANNUAL sacrifice for those who continue to
keep the annual Passover.
The Holy Spirit confirms that the Jewish holy days are ended:
Certain Jewish converts
taught “That it was needful to circumcise them [Gentile converts], and
to command [them] to keep the law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5, 24). As a
result the Apostolic Council sat and concluded that the Gentile converts
did NOT need to be circumcised or keep the law of Moses which Peter
described as an unbearable “yoke.” (See Acts 15, esp. v 10, 28). Take
note that this was the decision of the Holy Spirit and the Apostles
But the council spoke only
of Gentiles, what about Jews? Eventually it was recognized that if the
Gentiles could be saved without observing the Jewish feasts, contained
in the law of Moses, then so too could Jewish Christians.
As one had to be literally
circumcised in order to observe the literal Passover (Exo 12:48), and as
Christians don’t have to be literally circumcised, it is clear that
they don’t have to keep the literal Passover, otherwise they would have
to be literally circumcised.
Type met antitype in the death of Christ and to continue with the types is a denial of Christ
The following comments summarize the Biblical evidence presented:
“After the crucifixion, it
was a denial of Christ for the Jews to continue to offer the burnt
offerings and sacrifices which were typical of His death. It was saying
to the world that they looked for a Redeemer to come, and had no faith
in Him who had given His life for the sins of the world. Hence the
ceremonial law ceased to be of force at the death of Christ.” E.G.
White, Signs of the Times, 29 July 1886.
“Christ was standing at the
point of transition between two economies and their two great
festivals. . . . As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He
instituted IN ITS PLACE the service that was to be the memorial of His
great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to PASS AWAY
forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His
followers in all lands and through all ages.” E.G. White, The Desire of
“Christ ate the Passover
supper with His disciples just before His crucifixion, and the same
night, instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s supper, to be observed in
commemoration of His death. Up to this time the Passover had been
observed to commemorate the deliverance of the children of Israel from
Egypt. But IN ITS PLACE He now left an ordinance to commemorate the
events of His crucifixion.” E.G. White, Signs of the Times, 25 March,
“When the Saviour yielded
up His life on Calvary, the significance of the Passover CEASED, and the
ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was instituted as a memorial of the same
event of which the Passover had been A TYPE.” E.G. White, Patriarchs
and Prophets, 539.
“In this ordinance [The
Lord’s Supper], Christ discharged His disciples from the cares and
burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These
no longer possessed any virtue; for type was meeting antitype in
Himself, the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances that
pointed to Him as the great and only efficacious offering for the sins
of the world... It was Christ’s desire to leave to His disciples an
ordinance that would do for them the very thing they needed--that would
serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had
hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel
made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult
to Jehovah.” E.G. White, 5 Bible Commentary, p1139-1140.
“Paul did not bind himself
nor his converts to the ceremonies and customs of the Jews, with their
varied forms, types, and sacrifices; for he recognized that the perfect
and final offering had been made in the death of the Son of God...” E.G.
White, Sketches From the Life of Paul p105.
Church History and Jewish holy days
Truth is determined by the
Bible alone. Though some sects may have observed the Passover others did
not. The post-apostolic church debated whether Christians needed to
observe the Passover. The evidence presented here shows that the
non-observance of the Jewish feasts by Christians through the centuries
was the correct.
(a) The ceremonial holy
days were “Jewish” and not Christian (John 5:1; 6:4; 7:2). Christians
are not subject to Jewish holy days.
(b) Christians would not
honour Christ by observing the Jewish holy days today, as the feasts
were to point forward to Christ, not back, and “ceased,” were
“abolished,” and “blotted out” when Christ died (Col 2:14-17; Eph 2:15).
(c) The New Testament
speaks of the holy days as having a purpose in the past which was to
last until Christ came. (Heb 9:8-10).
(d) The apostle Paul asks why Christians would subject themselves to the Jewish ordinances. (Col 2:20).
(e) The apostle Paul feared that he had laboured in vain for those who continued to observe the holy days (Gal 4:9-11).
(f) Jews who keep the holy days look for a Messiah to come. Christians should not appear to be doing the same.
(g) One either observes the
Passover etc. as God gave it (including animal sacrifice) or one is not
observing it at all. The Passover required that a sheep be sacrificed
on the day. As Christ died ONCE for all (Heb 10:10) He cannot be any
part of an annual Passover.
(h) The Holy Spirit agreed
that the Gentile converts were not to keep the ceremonial aspects of the
Mosaic law which Peter called an unbearable yoke. (See Acts 15, esp. v
5, 10, 28).
(i) The Lord gave the new
ordinance of the Lord’s supper to replace the old ordinance of the
Passover. Unlike the Passover, the Lord’s supper is not an annual event
but an occasional memorial of Christians’ continuous feast on the Word
and Christ. It may be held as often as we choose. (1Cor 11:25-26).
In Rom 15:4 we see that
some found giving up the literal feast days hard. We can only pray that
they see their fulfillment in Christ and find freedom. Praise God that
we no longer need to kill innocent animals or go on weary annual
pilgrimages as some of the Jewish holy days required. Christ has brought
in a better ministry with better ordinances - the very ministry the
ceremonial system and holy days foreshadowed.
Does the following indicate that we should observe the Feast of Tabernacles?
"Shall not the people of
God more frequently have holy convocations in which to thank God for His
rich blessings?” E.G. White, Counsels To Parents, Teachers, and
Students, page 343.
Note: Holy convocations
simply means holy gatherings. There is no mention of observing Jewish
feasts. Obviously the brethren were having holy convocations because the
text speaks of having them “more frequently.” The brethren were not
observing any Jewish holy days so that which they were to have “more
frequently” were not the Jewish holy days but simply holy gatherings.
“Well would it be for us to
have a feast of tabernacles, a joyous commemoration of the blessings of
God to us as a people.” E.G. White, Patriarchs & Prophets, p540.
Note: “A” feast, not “THE”
feast. The context shows that the feast spoken of here was to
commemorate the experience of OUR CHURCH just as the feast of
tabernacles had commemorated the experiences of Israel. Some believe
that the annual church camp meetings would fulfill this counsel.
The Jewish holy days are
sometimes used in the New Testament to give the timing of events. Paul
attended some of the Jewish holy days where he no doubt showed those
attending that the feasts pointed to Christ. No New Testament reference
to the Jewish holy days shows that the apostolic church observed them.
This is consistent with all the passages showing that Christ has
abolished and blotted out the ceremonial ordinances.
One passage sometimes used to argue that the Feasts have not been abolished is Exodus 12:
“...ye shall keep it
[PASSOVER] a feast by an ordinance FOR EVER...And ye shall observe [the
feast of] UNLEAVENED BREAD...by an ordinance FOR EVER.” Exo 12:14, 17.
The word translated
“forever,” (Heb. olam) is used elsewhere in the Bible. The Bible’s use
of this word shows that in Scripture it does not always mean without
Jonah was in the whale “for ever,” (Jonah 2:6) i.e. 3 days.
The servant served his master “for ever,” (Exo 21:6) i.e. as long as both parties lived.
Gahazi contracted leprosy “for ever,” (2Kings 5:27) i.e. as long as he lived.
David was to be Israel’s king “for ever” (1Chron 28:4). i.e. as long as he lived.
Aaron and his sons served forever (1Chron 23:13), i.e. as long as they lived
As applied to God “for
ever” means as long as God shall live - i.e. eternally. We see that for
ever (Heb. Olam) means as long as the nature of the subject allows.
The Passover was to last
till Christ. Lambs will not be sacrificed and eaten throughout all
eternity! Neither will Christ be repeatedly crucified every year for
“Christ died once for all.” (Heb 9:28; 10:10).
"For as the new heavens and
the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me. . . And it
shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one
sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith
Does this mean that we will be keeping the Jewish holy days the new earth?
It does not mention keeping
any Jewish holy days. All that it says is that we will keep the Sabbath
and that from one new moon to another (monthly) we will go up to before
the Lord, probably to eat the 12 manner of fruits that the tree of life
Acts 2:1 “And when the day of PENTECOST was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
This does not state that
the church is to continue observing Pentecost. The mention of Pentecost
is to give the timing of the events. Pentecost, of all the feast days,
attracted more pilgrims from distant lands. The dangers of travel by sea
and land in early spring (Acts 27:9) resulted in fewer pilgrims from
foreign lands attending either the feast of Passover or Tabernacles. The
large numbers of foreign pilgrims attending Pentecost made it the
perfect time to share the message of Christ with representatives of many
nations. Thus on the very day of Pentecost God gave His church the gift
of tongues in order to reach those assembled at Jerusalem from many
Acts 12:3-4 “And because he
[Herod] saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter
also. (Then were the days of UNLEAVENED BREAD.) And when he had
apprehended him, he put [him] in prison, and delivered [him] to four
quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter [Gr. pascha,
PASSOVER] to bring him forth to the people.”
This does not state that
the church was observing the day, it merely gives us the timing of the
events. The phrase “Then were the days of unleavened bread,” are in
parenthesis and give no indication that Peter or any other Christians
were observing the day.
Acts 18:21 “But bade them
farewell, saying, I must by all means KEEP this feast that cometh in
Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed
(a) This verse (Acts 18:21)
mentions a feast that occurred “IN JERUSALEM.” There were three feasts
which required ALL Jewish men to go to Jerusalem, the place God chose
(Deut 16:16; 1Kings 14:21). The fact that Paul LEFT THE BRETHREN to go
to Jerusalem shows that the Christian brethren were NOT observing the
(b) We know that the
brethren would not be going to Jerusalem because Paul would have to
“return” in order to meet them later. Paul’s return is described in Acts
(c) As the Christian
brethren were NOT KEEPING THIS JEWISH FEAST we may ask why did Paul say
“I must keep it?” There is actually a question over whether Paul said
this at all. Some manuscripts omit the phrase, “I must by all means keep
this feast that cometh at Jerusalem. For example the R.S.V. translation
reads, “But on taking leave of them he said, ‘I will return to you if
God wills,’ and he set sail for Ephesus.” Acts 18:21. Several
translations omit the phrase, “I must keep this feast,” such as the
N.I.V.; R.S.V.; Amplified.
(d) One thing certain is
that PAUL DID NOT SAY that “WE must keep it.” This is powerful. Were
Christians expected to keep it surely Paul would have said, “WE.” He did
not, because we are not.
(e) Even if the disputed
phrase is accepted it still fails to teach that Christians observed the
Jewish feasts as has been shown. One of the meanings of the word
translated “keep” (Gr. poieo) is “to make a thing out of something.”
Paul, as an evangelist, was saying to the brethren who were NOT
attending the feast, “I Paul, must by all means make something out of
this feast that cometh in Jerusalem.” Paul, as his manner was, desired
to make an evangelistic opportunity of it.
Acts 20:6 “And we sailed
away from Philippi after the days of UNLEAVENED BREAD, and came unto
them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.”
This does not state that
the church was observing the day. The reason they stayed until the
festival was over is not stated but it was about this time in the Spring
that shipping resumed in the Mediterranean. No doubt they explained to
those observing the feasts that the feast pointed to Christ. None of
this proves it to be a Christian festival.
Acts 20:16 “For Paul had
determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in
Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the
day of PENTECOST.”
This does not state that
Paul or the church was observing the day, only that Paul wanted to be
there on that day. Just why Paul wished, if possible, to be in Jerusalem
is not stated. No doubt Paul would have used the feast as a wonderful
evangelistic opportunity revealing that the feasts pointed to Christ.
Paul determined to be there but there is no suggestion that the other
Christian brethren hasted to be there in order to observe the feast.
Acts 24:14 “But this I
confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship
I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the
LAW and in the prophets:”
Paul BELIEVED all the Old
Testament, as do we, but this does not show that Paul was observed the
ceremonial holy days when He said this.
The ceremonial law demanded circumcision yet Paul taught that literal circumcision was nothing (1Cor 7:19; Gal 5:6).
Acts 27:9 “Now when much
time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the FAST was
now already past, Paul admonished [them],”
This does not state that
the church was observing the day. The mention of the feast is to give
the timing of the events here recorded. The fast is evidently the Day of
Atonement in late October when approaching winter weather made sailing
dangerous in that part of the world.
All males had to appear IN
JERUSALEM for the feast of Tabernacles (Deut 16:16; 1Kings 14:21) which
occurred 5 days after the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:27-34). The fact
that Paul was at this time was sailing around the Mediterranean
indicates that he was not an observer of the feast of Tabernacles.
1Cor 5:8 “Purge out
therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are
unleavened. For even Christ our PASSOVER is sacrificed for us: Therefore
let us KEEP THE FEAST, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of
malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and
This does not state that
the church was observing the literal events on the literal day. On the
contrary it shows that Christ was the One to Whom all the Passover lambs
had pointed. Christians keep the feast in its antitypical form, not on
an annual day but continually. Not with literal unleavened bread but
with lives unleavened with sin. Not with an annual sacrifice but with
the once for all sacrifice of Christ. Not applying blood over literal
doors yearly but applying Christ’s blood to our hearts continually.
Trusting that in the closing scenes of earth the angel of death will
pass over us.
“Let us keep,” or rather “Let us continue keeping,” our lives always free of the leaven of wickedness and malice.
Paul in Rom 15:5 showed that observing the literal feast days was no longer necessary.
1Cor 16:8 “But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.”
All this states is that
Paul wished to tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. It contains no counsel
for the brethren to tarry also. No command for Christians to observe the
Luke 22:15-16 “And he said
unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you
before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof,
until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Does this show that the
Passover will not be fulfilled until the kingdom is set up at the Second
Coming? Will Christ keep a Passover in heaven with His redeemed saints?
This Passover was the last
Passover and the first Lord’s Supper. What feast will he Lord keep with
His redeemed saints in heaven? It is the Lord’s supper that Christ said
He will eat with His disciples at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb when
the Salvation will be fulfilled completely. Christ will not be serving
dead lambs in heaven!
THE FEASTS, NEW MOONS AND SABBATHS OF THE HEBREWS.
Enumeration of the Hebrew
festivals - The passover - The pentecost - The feast of tabernacles -
The new moons - The first and second annual sabbaths - The third - The
fourth - The fifth - The sixth and seventh - The sabbath of the land -
The jubilee - None of these festivals in force until the Hebrews entered
their own land - The contrast between the Sabbath of the Lord and the
sabbaths of the Hebrews - Testimony of Isaiah - Of Hosea - Of Jeremiah -
Final cessation of these festivals.
We have followed the
Sabbath of the Lord through the books of Moses. A brief survey of the
Jewish festivals is necessary to the complete view of the subject before
us. Of these there were three feasts: the passover, the Pentecost,
and the feast of tabernacles; each new moon, that is, the first day of
each month throughout the year; then there were seven annual sabbaths,
The passover takes its name
from the fact that the angel of the Lord passed over the houses of the
Hebrews on that eventful night when the firstborn in every Egyptian
family was slain. This feast was ordained in commemoration of the
deliverance of that people from Egyptian bondage. It began with the
slaying of the paschal lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month,
and extended through a period of seven days, in which nothing but
unleavened bread was to be eaten. Its great antitype was reached when
Christ our passover was sacrificed for us.
The Pentecost was the
second of the Jewish feasts, and occupied but a single day. It was
celebrated on the fiftieth day after the first-fruits of barley harvest
had been waved before the Lord. At the time of this feast the
first-fruits of wheat harvest were offered unto God. The antitype of
this festival was reached on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of
Christ, when the great outpouring of the Holy Ghost took place.
The feast of tabernacles
was the last of the Jewish feast. It was celebrated in the seventh
month when they had gathered in the fruit of the land, and extended from
the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of that month. It was ordained
as a festival of rejoicing before the Lord; and during this period the
children of Israel dwelt in booths in commemoration of their dwelling
thus during their sojourn in the wilderness. It probably typifies the
great rejoicing after the final gathering of all the people of God into
In connection with these
feast it was ordained that each new moon, that is, the first day of
every month, should be observed with certain specified offerings, and
with tokens of rejoicing.2 The annual sabbaths of the Hebrews have been
already enumerated. The first two of these sabbaths were the first and
seventh days of the feast of unleavened bread, that is, the fifteenth
and twenty-first days of the first month. they were thus ordained by
"Seven days shall ye eat
unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of
your houses. . . . And in the first day there shall be an holy
convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation
to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every
man must eat, that only may be done of you."
The third in order of the
annual sabbaths was the day of Pentecost. This festival was ordained as
a rest-day in the following language:-
"And ye shall proclaim on
the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall
do no servile work therein; it shall be a statute forever in all your
dwellings throughout your generations."
The first day of the seventh month was the fourth annual sabbath of the Hebrews. It was thus ordained:-
"Speak unto the children of
Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month,
shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy
convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein; but ye shall offer an
offering made by fire unto the Lord."
The great day of atonement was the fifth of these sabbaths. Thus spake the Lord unto Moses:-
"Also on the tenth day of
this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement; it shall be an
holy convocation unto you. . . . Ye shall do no manner of work; it
shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your
dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict
your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto
even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath."
The sixth and seventh of
these annual sabbaths were the fifteenth and twenty-second days of the
seventh month, that is, the first day of the feast of tabernacles, and
the day after its conclusion. Thus were they enjoined by God:-
"Also in the fifteenth day
of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye
shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days; on the first day shall be a
sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be sabbath."
Besides all these, every
seventh year was a sabbath of rest unto the land. The people might
labor as usual in other business, but they were forbidden to till the
land, that the land itself might rest.4 After seven of these sabbaths,
the following or fiftieth year was to be the year of jubilee, in which
every man was to be restored unto his inheritance.1 There is no
evidence that the jubilee was ever observed, and it is certain that the
sabbatical year was almost entirely disregarded.
Such were the feasts, new
moons, and sabbaths, of the Hebrews. A few words will suffice to point
out the broad distinction between them and the Sabbath of the Lord. The
first of the three feasts was ordained in memory of their deliverance
from Egyptian bondage, and was to be observed when they should enter
their own land.
The second feast, as we
have seen, could not be observed until after the settlement of the
Hebrews in Canaan; for it was to be celebrated when the first fruits of
wheat harvest should be offered before the Lord. The third feast was
ordained in memory of their sojourn in the wilderness, and was to be
celebrated by them each year after the ingathering of the entire
harvest. Of course this feast, like the others, could not be observed
until the settlement of the people in their own land. The new moons, as
has been already seen, were not ordained until after these feasts had
been instituted. The annual sabbaths were part and parcel of these
feasts, and could have no existence until after the feasts to which they
belonged had been instituted. Thus the first and second of these
sabbaths were the first and seventh days of the paschal feast. The
third annual sabbath was identical with the feast of Pentecost. The
fourth of these sabbaths was the same as the new moon in the seventh
month. The fifth one was the great day of atonement. The sixth and the
seventh of these annual sabbaths were the fifteenth and twenty-second
days of the seventh month, that is, the first day of the feast of
tabernacles, and the next day after the close of that feast. As these
feasts were not to be observed until the Hebrews should possess their
own land, the annual sabbaths could have no existence until that time.
And so of the sabbaths of the land. These could have no existence until
after the Hebrews should possess and cultivate their own land; after
six years of cultivation, the land should rest the seventh year, and
remain untilled. After seven of these sabbaths of the land came the
year of jubilee.
The contrast between the
Sabbath of the Lord and these sabbaths of the Hebrews1 is strongly
marked. 1. The Sabbath of the Lord was instituted at the close of the
first week of time; while these were ordained in connection with the
Jewish feasts. 2. The one was blessed and hallowed by God, because that
he had rested upon it from the work of creation; the others have no
such claim to our regard. 3. When the children of Israel came into the
wilderness, the Sabbath of the Lord was an existing institution,
obligatory upon them; but the annual sabbaths then came into existence.
It is easy to point to the very act of God, while leading that people,
[ On this point Mr. Miller
uses the following language: "Only one kind of Sabbath was given to
Adam, and one only remains for us. See Hosea 2:11. `I will also cause
all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths,
and all her solemn feasts.' All the Jewish sabbaths did cease when
Christ nailed them to his cross. Col.2:14-17. These were properly
called Jewish sabbaths. Hosea says, `her sabbaths.' But the Sabbath of
which we are speaking, God calls `my Sabbath.' Here is a clear
distinction between the creation Sabbath and the ceremonial. The one is
perpetual; the others were merely shadows of good things to come." -
Life and Views, pp. 161, 162.]
existence to these
sabbaths; while every reference to the Sabbath of the Lord shows that it
had been ordained before God chose that people. 4. The children of
Israel were excluded from the promised land for violating the Sabbath of
the Lord in the wilderness; but the annual sabbaths were not to be
observed until they should enter that land. This contrast would be
strange indeed were it true that the Sabbath of the Lord was not
instituted until the children of Israel came into the wilderness of Sin;
for it is certain that two of the annual sabbaths were instituted
before they left the land of Egypt.1 5. The Sabbath of the Lord was
made for man; but the annual sabbaths were designed only for residents
in the land of Palestine. 6. The one was weekly, a memorial of the
Creator's rest; the others were annual, connected with the memorials of
the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt. 7. The one is termed "the
Sabbath of the Lord," "my Sabbaths," "my holy day," and the like; while
the others are designated as "your sabbaths," "her sabbaths," and
similar expressions.2 8. The one was proclaimed by God as one of the
ten commandments, and was written with his finger in the midst of the
moral law upon the tables of stone, and was deposited in the ark beneath
the mercy-seat; the others did not pertain to the moral law, but were
embodied in that hand-writing of ordinances that was a shadow of good
things to come. 9. The distinction between these festivals and the
Sabbaths of the Lord was carefully marked by God when he ordained the
festivals and their associated sabbaths. Thus he said:
"These are the feast of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, . . . . BESIDE the Sabbaths of the Lord."
The annual sabbaths are
presented by Isaiah in a very different light from that in which he
presents the Sabbath of the Lord. Of the one he says:-
"Bring no more vain
oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and
sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity,
even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my
soul hateth; they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them."2
In striking contrast with this, the same prophet speaks of the Lord's Sabbath;-
"Thus saith the Lord, Keep
ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my
righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and
the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from
polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the
son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak,
saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people; neither let
the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto
the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me,
and take hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house
and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of
daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut
off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord,
to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants,
every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of
my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them
joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices
shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a
house of prayer for all people."
Hosea carefully designates the annual sabbaths in the following prediction:-
"I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast-days, her new moons, and HER sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts."1
This prediction was uttered
about B.C. 785. It was fulfilled in part about two hundred years after
this, when Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Of this event,
Jeremiah, about B.C. 588, speaks as follows:-
"Her people fell into the
hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and
did mock at HER sabbaths. . . . . The Lord was as an enemy; he hath
swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces; he hath
destroyed his strongholds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah
mourning and lamentation. And he hath violently taken away his
tabernacle, as if it were of a garden; he hath destroyed his places of
the assembly; the Lord hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be
forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the
king and the priest. The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath
abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the
walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the Lord,
as in the day of a solemn feast."
The feasts of the Lord were
to be holden in the place which the Lord should choose, namely,
Jerusalem;3 and when that city, the place of their solemn assemblies,
was destroyed and the people themselves carried into captivity, the
complete cessation of their feasts, and, as a consequence, of the annual
sabbaths, which were specified days in those feasts, must occur. The
adversaries mocked at her sabbaths, by making a "noise in the house of
the Lord as in the day of a solemn feast." But the observance of the
Lord's Sabbath did not cease with the dispersion of the Hebrews from
their own land; for it was not a local institution, like the annual
sabbaths. Its violation was one chief cause of the Babylonish
captivity; and their final restoration to their own land was made
conditional upon their observing it in their dispersion.
The feasts, new moons, and
annual sabbaths, were restored when the Hebrews returned from captivity,
and with some interruptions, were kept up until the final destruction
of their city and nation by the Romans. But ere the providence of God
thus struck out of existence these Jewish festivals, the whole typical
system was abolished, having reached the commencement of its antitype,
when our Lord Jesus Christ expired upon the cross. The handwriting of
ordinances being thus abolished, no one is to be judged respecting its
meats, or drinks, or holy days, or new moons, or sabbaths, "which are a
shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." But the Sabbath
of the Lord did not form a part of this handwriting of ordinances; for
it was instituted before sin had entered the world, and consequently
before there was any shadow of redemption; it was written by the finger
of God, not in the midst of types and shadows, but in the bosom of the
moral law; and the day following that on which the typical sabbaths were
nailed to the cross, the Sabbath commandment of the moral law is
expressly recognized. Moreover, when the Jewish festivals were utterly
extinguished with the final destruction of Jerusalem, even then was the
Sabbath of the Lord brought to the minds of his people.
Thus have we traced the
annual sabbaths until their final cessation, as predicted by Hosea. It
remains that we trace the Sabbath of the Lord until we reach the endless
ages of the new earth, when we shall find the whole multitude of the
redeemed assembling before God for worship on each successive Sabbath.
BY J N ANDREWS
THE second chapter of
Colossians teaches that the hand-writing of ordinances has been blotted
out and nailed to the cross. many produce this scripture as proof that
the ten commandments are abolished. We inquire, therefore, Is the
hand-writing of ordinances the ten commandments? Let the following
1. The hand-writing of
ordinances is here represented as having been blotted out by the
shedding of Christ's blood. If this hand-writing of ordinances is the
ten commandments, it follows that the blood of Christ was shed to blot
out the prohibition against other gods; the prohibition of graven
images; the prohibition of blasphemy; the commandment to hallow the
sanctified Rest-day of the Lord; the first commandment with promise; and
the prohibitions of murder, adultery, theft, false witness and
covetousness! Would the Infinite Law-giver give his own Son to die for
such a purpose?
2. But to teach that
Christ died to blot out the moral law, is to deny the plainest facts.
Because that the law of God which was holy, just and good, condemned the
whole human family, and showed that all mankind were sinners, and under
its just sentence, God provided a method of redemption by which he
could be just, and yet could justify him that believeth in Jesus. This
did not consist in sending his Son to destroy the law of the Father; but
it consisted in this, that the Son of God should take upon himself
human nature, and offer up his own life a ransom for many; thus making
the great propitiation through which guilty man may come to God and find
pardon for the transgression of his holy law. Rom.iii,19-31;
Matt.xx,28; 1Pet.ii,24; Isa.liii,10. Having done this he returned to
his Father and became a great High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary
before the Ark containing his Father's law. Whoever, therefore, repents
of his transgression, and comes to God through this "Advocate with the
Father," may find pardon for all his sins. This view of man's
redemption is based on the plainest facts of scripture, and presents the
character of God in a light in which mercy and truth meet together, and
righteousness and peace kiss each other. Ps.lxxxv,10,11. Well might
Paul exclaim when presenting this great subject, "Do we then make void
the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law."
3. But what is it that is
abolished in consequence of the hand-writing of ordinances being nailed
to the cross? We answer, Meats, drinks, feast-days, (for this is the
literal rendering of the word,) new-moons and Sabbaths, (plural.) Thus
upon the very face of this text is found the most decisive evidence that
Paul was not referring to the ten commandments. For it is absurd to
believe that Paul should speak of the abolition of the ten commandments,
and as the consequence of that abolition, should speak of certain
unimportant things as having been done away, which, by the way, were
never contained in the decalogue. It may be objected, that the
decalogue contained the Sabbaths (the word is plural) which are here
abolished. We answer, Not so. The decalogue contained but one Sabbath
of the Lord. But besides the Sabbath of the Lord, embodied in the
fourth commandment, the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus presents four
annual Sabbaths, associated with the feasts and new moons of the typical
system. The Sabbath of the Lord "was made FOR man," but these Sabbaths
connected with the new moons, &c., are said to be AGAINST him.
Mark ii,27; Col.ii,14. It is not the Sabbath (singular) associated with
the precepts of the moral law, that is here referred to, but the
Sabbaths (plural) associated with their feasts and new moons.
Lev.xxiii,24,32,37-39. The one was made at creation, the others in the
wilderness of Sinai.
4. But while it is plainly
stated in Col.ii, that the hand-writing of ordinances, or shadow of
good things to come, is abolished, it is elsewhere in the New Testament
plainly stated that the royal law, embodying all the ten commandments,
is yet in full force. No one can deny this who will carefully read
James ii,8-12. And the fact is distinctly stated that the violation of
one of the commandments makes the transgressor guilty of all. It
follows therefore, that the hand-writing of ordinances, and the royal
law of ten commandments, are two distinct codes.
The reasons presented
demonstrate the fact that the ten commandments are not referred to in
Col.ii. But those who seize this scripture to prove the abolition of
the decalogue, generally point with triumph to the expression, "holy
day," which occurs in verse 16. "If the term, Sabbath-days," say they,
"refers to the ceremonial Sabbaths, [Lev.xxiii,24-39,] the term, holy
day, must certainly designate the Sabbath of the fourth commandment."
The fact that some, who have the means of knowing better, have applied
this expression to the Sabbath, renders it proper that this perversion
should be exposed.
This word is translated
from hoorte, which occurs twenty-seven times in the Greek Testament.
Twenty-six times it is rendered, in our version, feast, and once, viz.,
Col.ii,16, it is rendered holy day.
Matt.xxvi,5. they said, Not on the feast day.
xxvii,15. at that feast the governor was
Mark xiv,2. they said, Not on the feast day,
xv,6. Now at that feast he released unto
Luke ii,41. at the feast of the Passover.
42. after the custom of the feast,
xxii,1. the feast of unleavened bread
xxiii,17. release one unto them at the feast.
John ii,23. at the Passover in the feast day,
iv,45. at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.
v,1. there was a feast of the Jews:
vi,4. a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
vii,2. the Jews' feast of tabernacles was
8. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast;
10. went he also up unto the feast,
11. Jews sought him at the feast,
14. about the midst of the feast.
37. that great day of the feast,
xi,56. he will not come to the feast?
xii,12. were come to the feast,
20. to worship at the feast:
xiii,1. before the feast of the Passover,
29. need of against the feast;
Acts xviii,21. by all means keep this feast
Col.ii,16. or in respect of an holy day,
It is thus rendered by several lexicons:
"Heorte, a feast or
festival, holiday." Liddell and Scott Robinson's Lexicon gives the
same. "A solemn feast, public festival, holy day." Greenfield.
Col.ii,16 is thus rendered in different versions:-
"Let no man, therefore,
judge you in meat, or in drink or in respect of a festival day, or of
the new moon, or of the Sabbaths." - Donay Bible.
"Wherefore, let no one judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a festival, or a new moon, or of Sabbaths." - Macknight.
"Let no man therefore judge you in food, or in drink, or in respect to a holy day, or the new moon, or the Sabbaths." - Whiting.
"Let none therefore judge
you in meat, or drink, or in respect of a feast day, or of the new moon,
or of Sabbath days." - Wesley.
"Let no one therefore call
you to an account about meat and drink, or with respect to a festival,
or a new moon, or Sabbaths." - Wakefield.
therefore manifest that the Apostle used this word to designate the
Jewish feasts - the abolition of which he here teaches. The Sabbaths and the feast days of the Jewish ritual expired with that ritual; but
the Sabbath of the Lord, hallowed before the fall, abides, with the
other precepts of the moral law, throughout