Q&A with the author II
Michael J. Miller, The Hijacked Elephant
[The author has written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines, as well as television documentaries and award winning educational films on varied topics including local, national and international politics, economics, medicine, history, the marine environment and theology among others. He has degrees in political science, history and theology. This is his second elephant book. --The Publisher]
- Please elaborate on the significance of the Old Testament/New Testament duality of the three times a year that a feast was to be kept unto the LORD.
- I belong to a Christian church that observes the holy days, which are discussed in The Hijacked Elephant. These days were given as a sign between God and his people. Yet you say on page 142, that Christians no longer need observe these days. Why not?
Ironically, while Christianity is ignorant of these stated times and, consequently, gives no credence to them, they are more important for Christians than ever before. As chapter six of The Blind Man’s Elephant thoroughly explains, the indigenous Christian nations of the world now comprise the House of Israel. Together, with the House of Judah, they make up all Israel today.
“Three times you shall keep a feast unto me in the year” is first mentioned in Exodus chapter twenty-three. The first of the three times of the year was in the spring beginning with the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, followed by Pentecost or the summer harvest, and then thirdly, the Feast of Tabernacles which begins with the Day of Trumpets in the autumn.
The Passover marked the night when the angel of death passed over all the children of Israel and killed the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. Upon leaving Egypt in haste, the children of Israel had no time to prepare bread normally, as in a leavened loaf, but instead only took with them unleavened, or flat, bread.
Israel was freed from bondage to the Egyptians. This is the actual occurrence in the history of Israel. This event was to be commemorated annually by all Israel as a remembrance of their deliverance from bondage when Christ took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, much like a parent would take his child by the hand to safely cross the street.
As the apostle Paul plainly made it clear in the first century to the Christians in Corinth, which is fully applicable to Christians today, “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” [See the Feature article, The Tie That Binds].
The physical observance of the Passover/Days of Unleavened Bread was to continue throughout their generations for all twelve sons of Israel, not just with the one son Judah, the Jews. Let’s fast forward to the first coming of Christ.
Both in the Old Testament and the New [Deut 18; Acts 3], we read, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall you hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” This was Christ. Moses presented the law covenant to Israel. Christ is fulfilling the law covenant for Israel.
Christ clearly stated, “Think not that I came to destroy the Law and the Prophets; I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” The Law and the Prophets, the first two divisions of the Old Testament, were given to all Israel. They were not given to the gentiles of the world. Just as a road map represents a real world road, so, too, the three times of the feasts in the law covenant served as a physical map of real future events to be fulfilled on a spiritual basis by Christ, the Seed of Abraham. This is the duality of the three feast times. And it was intended this way from the beginning as Moses said. While Christians need to know and understand this, we remain as blind sheep, “the wool pulled over our eyes.”
The biggest roadblock for Christianity, who mistakenly believe they are just a bunch of gentiles, is in thinking that the significance of these high holy day feasts stopped on the last page of the Old Testament. They didn’t. Only their physical observance did. In fact, their significance greatly increased for all Israel when Christ began their spiritual fulfillment on our behalf with his death and resurrection. It was now a matter of grace and faith with the Abrahamic covenant, and no longer a matter of keeping physical ordinances of the law covenant given by Moses. We live in a new age.
So, from the very beginning these high holy days, physically observed during three times of the year, would point to a higher fulfilling of the three feast times by Christ on a spiritual level, currently on behalf of Christians in our age. This is the message of the Biblical record when considered holistically. It’s all one story for all Israel, not just the descendants of one of Israel's sons, Judah, as is the common Christian misconception.
As Paul explains in the New Testament, "And for this cause, he [Christ] is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." This plainly says that Christ, the Redeemer, died for the sins of those who were under the first testament. Who was under the first testament? Israel or the gentiles of the world? It is exactly as Christ plainly said. "I am only sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." Ultimately, his death and resurrection will apply to the House of Judah as well.
The fulfilling of the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread by Christ occurred under the terms of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant was still in force. All our sins were covered by Christ’s death once, and for all Israel. The daily sacrifices of bulls and goats were passed over. We were out of bondage to sin, the transgression of the law covenant given by Moses.
It was Christ’s death and resurrection that opened the door for the Abrahamic covenant by fulfilling the terms of the law covenant. A testament only comes into effect upon the death of the testator. The next two feast times of the year, spiritually speaking, were to take place under the new covenant, not written upon stone, but upon our hearts by the Spirit of God. The age we now live in is the second of these three times; the time between Christ’s first and his second coming or the last days as it is referred to prophetically.
Remember, the law covenant delivered by Moses to the children of Israel was a bridge between the Abrahamic covenant and his Seed, meaning Christ. Yet that bridge, in particular the three times a year Israel was to keep a feast unto the LORD, was temporary, pointing the way to Christ’s fulfilling these days. As the apostle Paul noted, “For the Law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.”
This is another marker for Christians to know that they are indeed the lost sheep of the House of Israel in this age. These times of the feasts tell us Christ's story which has been unfolding for Christians the past 2000 years or so, “… which God ordained before the ages for our glory.” Christ came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, and as he said, “I am sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” If Christians are, by definition, the followers of Christ, shouldn’t we be aware of what our savior actually said, and is doing for us?
The second time of the year for these feasts was the summer harvest or Pentecost. This occurred historically in the land promised to Abraham, but only after the lawgiver Moses had died, and the children of Israel passed over the river Jordan into the promised land led by Joshua, a descendant of Joseph, the kingly line of the House of Israel.
Christ’s death and resurrection covers our debt to the law under the terms and conditions delivered by Moses. Christ established new terms. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; for by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified.” [Gal. 2:16].
Fifty days from the last weekly sabbath after the second high day of unleavened bread, the Comforter, or Holy Spirit of God was sent. As Peter said on that first day of Christianity 2000 years ago, “Therefore let all the House of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ … Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you [of the House of Israel] be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” As the apostle John noted regarding the remission of sins, "... for sin is the transgression of the Law. And you know that he [Christ] was manifested to take away our sins ...." Sin being the transgression of the Law, then with whom was the law covenant made, the children of Israel or gentiles? Therefore, whose sins was Christ manifested to take away, gentiles' or Israel's? Christians are descendants of Abraham, Isaac and his son, Israel.
Christ is spiritually fulfilling the Law and the Prophets during these three times on our behalf that we might have a greater life, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. As Paul explained it to the Christians in Rome, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
Now, we have a Redeemer who bought us back from the bondage to the law covenant with payment of a ransom, his life, and has taken us over the “river Jordan” to a better covenant, which was established on better promises” with a better spirit, the Spirit of God. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, “But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the ages for our glory.” “For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, unless you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel [the House of Judah], until the fullness of the nations [Greek, ethnos, meaning here the nations of the House of Israel] be come in. And so, all Israel shall be saved.” Paul is explaining that when the nations of the House of Israel were divorced from God, they lost their national identities and their status became the same as any gentiles before God. Therefore, no other people needed redemption [a buying back of something lost] except the lost sheep of the House of Israel. However, the children of the seed of Abraham are, individually in this age, which is the second feast time, restored to their place before God to a better covenant by Christ. Yet, the House of Judah will be blind to Christ as the messiah until Christ has fulfilled the second feast time for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. Then, at the third feast time, nationally all Israel will once again be joined in a new covenant.
Pentecost 2000 years ago marked the beginning the second of the three times of the Old Testament ordinance that was fulfilled, but it was the first to be fulfilled under the terms of the new covenant. It is the time we now live in. And it will continue until the second coming of Christ. It is a personal time of reconciliation as opposed to the third feast time which marks the national atonement of all Israel when Christ returns establishing a new national covenant.
In the New Testament we read, “For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, said the Lord.” [Heb. 8:8, 9]
This third feast time, which begins in early autumn, physically was commanded to Israel upon leaving Egypt. It will be fulfilled beginning with Christ’s return, and includes, as well, the Millennial peace and the two resurrections. Just as coming out of Egypt marked a new beginning for Israel, so too, shall Christ’s second coming mark a new time for all Israel, a spiritual fulfillment of the “Feast of Tabernacles,” the third time of the year when Israel was to keep a feast unto the LORD.
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” This is a prophecy in Zechariah referring to the fulfilling of the third time of the feasts yet in our future, after the return of Christ.
Thus, what Christ commanded to Moses for the children of Israel to observe physically three times a year, is the blueprint for Christ’s spiritual fulfillment beginning with his first coming, as a prophet and savior, and culminating in his return as king, establishing the kingdom of God on Earth. It is all one story. It’s just that the characters are only part way through the story, which continues to confuse many Christians because we don’t take Christ at his word when he said, “I am sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” Once we fully grasp this, the pieces of our puzzle fall into place.
While Christ has fulfilled two of these three feast times on our behalf to date, Christianity hasn’t a clue that he has done so, much less what this means for us. But, it's not without reason. Errantly, we participate in “times and feasts” that have been changed. “And he [Antichrist] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and Laws ….”
Regarding the changing of times and Laws, the JFB commentary on Daniel chapter seven, verse twenty-five says, “…change times--the prerogative of God alone ( Dan 2:21 ); blasphemously assumed by Antichrist. The “times and Laws” here meant are those of religious ordinance; [three] stated times of feasts [MAURER] … He [Antichrist] shall set himself above all that is called God ( 2Th 2:4 ), putting his own “will” above God's times and Laws ( Dan 11:36, 37),” or above God’s stated times of feasts.
We should ask ourselves, "Why would the Antichrist seek to change stated times and feasts of Israel? Unless, of course, these stated times of feasts have great relevance for Christians?" If these feasts of Israel have no spiritual significance for Christians, then, it stands to reason that Daniel's chapter seven would not reference the Antichrist, but an Antimoses.
None of the three stated times of feasts of God occur in winter, symbolically, and appropriately the dead season of the year, as does the most prominent day celebrated by “Christianity.” Who is it that changed God’s stated times and Laws of the feasts, thereby deceiving Christians into observing days whose roots are based in pagan traditions?
If we’re too apathetic and lukewarm to care for the truth anymore, surely we are worn out. Christ warns us, the last church era before his return, “So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Ending up, metaphorically speaking, in the old spiritual spittoon, is more commonly known as the Apocalypse, or the time of Jacob’s [Israel’s] trouble. “… and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation ….”
As stated at the beginning, Christianity gives no credence to these three stated times of feasts fulfilled by Christ on our behalf, yet they are of greater consequence for Christians than ever before. [See the Feature article, Three Temple Ages Make A Plan].
I belong to a Christian church that observes the holy days, which are discussed in The Hijacked Elephant. These days were given as a sign between God and his people. Yet you say on page 142, that Christians no longer need observe these days. Why not?
RA, Indiana, USA
That’s a fair question to ask. If there were days required of us to physically observe, it would be these, and not the counterfeits Christianity blindly accepts today. However, the critical point to acknowledge is that Christ said he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets because he broke the law covenant he made with the children of Israel.
Keep in mind, the law covenant was not made with the patriarch Israel, but with Moses and all the children of Israel. The law was added 430 years after the promise of the Abrahamic covenant. Therefore, the covenant made with Israel was that of Abraham, and not Moses. [See the Feature article, Abraham's Seed And Heirs]. The two covenants are mutually exclusive of each other as the Apostle Paul made abundantly clear. Christians are beholden to only one of them, not bits and pieces from both. Christ, in his prerogative, has taken the entirety of the old one upon himself, and given us a completely new one in its place as promised. [See the Feature article, The Tale Of Two Covenants].
The Seed of Abraham, Christ, therefore, purposefully subtracted us from the law covenant equation. The observing of the holy days delivered by Moses was an integral part of the law covenant, which today is null and void, as is any required observance. We live in a new age, the age of faith in Christ through the Spirit rather than the age of Moses and works of the law. But this is not to say the holy days have no relevance. They do, but their relevance exists on a higher, spiritual level, which cannot be attained by our observance, but only by Christ spiritually fulfilling them. When we come to realize which covenant was delivered by Christ to Christians upon his death and resurrection, we realize the times of any required observance of the holy days on our part during the Christian age are over. The observance of the Feast of Tabernacles mentioned in Zechariah 14 occurs in the Millennial Age, after the end of the Christian Age and the return of Christ to establish the kingdom of God on Earth.
Under the terms of the law covenant of Moses, the children of Israel were debtors to do the whole law, which meant they were required to observe all holy days by sacrificing bulls and goats, etc. I doubt your church does this. Yet under the terms of the law covenant, these works cannot be separated from the observance of these days as written in the Law and Prophets. The burnt sacrifices were to be offered continually on all these days. If we must observe these days, then we must offer sacrifices as Moses commanded the children of Israel. "Whatever I command you, observe to do it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it." [Deut. 12:32]. This is what is written in the Law.
Therefore, we cannot pick and choose points in the law to observe as the apostles made abundantly clear. There is no middle ground with a little bit of this and a little bit that. We either observe the law according to the covenant made with Moses and the children of Israel or live in faith per the Abrahamic covenant of Christ. But it's totally one or the other. In truth, however, the law covenant made with the children of Israel no longer exists as is made plain in the writing of the prophet Zechariah. [Zec. 11:10-14].
It is imperative we clearly understand who is fulfilling the Law and the Prophets during our age: is it A- the children of Israel, B- individuals of the church, or C- Christ? Of course, it’s Christ who said, “Think not that I have come to destroy the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Many people read this and think because Christ said he didn't come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, he means some parts of the Mosaic law covenant are still binding. This is incorrect. Otherwise, his death was in vain.
As we no longer are required to offer burnt sacrifices as commanded the children of Israel according to our legal obligations under the law covenant, we no longer are required to observe these days. The two are explicitly tied together in the Law. Just as Christ took it upon himself to be our sacrificial lamb, so that we no longer need offer burnt sacrifices, he has also taken it upon himself to fulfill the holy days so that we no longer are required to observe them. Christ is fulfilling the Law on our behalf.
By definition, we cannot fulfill the holy days by any means under any circumstances. Christ, by his sacrificial death, broke the law covenant with his people. Christ has taken it upon himself to fulfill these days, and indeed the entire burden of the law, which is no longer binding on Christians. "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage [of the law covenant]." [Gal. 2:4].
The prophecy concerning Christ’s death and the breaking of the law covenant in Zechariah eleven is clear, “And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD. And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” This is confirmed in the gospel of Matthew. [Mat. 27:9].
The Law and the Prophets, the first two divisions of the Old Testament, still stand. We need to realize, however, that the Book of the Law contains both the promises of the Abrahamic covenant, and the Mosaic law covenant. When Christ said he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, this includes both his breaking the law covenant, as we just read, and giving us a better covenant built upon better promises. This is the reason why he said he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms.
It is the law covenant, the legal contractual obligation that required the children of Israel to keep ordinances of the law, that Christ broke. As promised, Christ broke that contract and took over our responsibility to the law. Christ paid off our bad debt [sin] with his death. In place of our old debt, we have been given a new covenant by Christ, based on faith not works of the law, which makes us debt free. How is it, then, we still are required to pay off our old debt if Christ already has paid it on our behalf and released us from all our legal obligations to do so?
Who of us, having had our home mortgage debt paid off on our behalf, would still insist we needed to make payments to the bank? In point of fact, we could not make any payments. Neither the obligation [law covenant] nor the debt [sin, "the wages of sin is death..." Rom. 6:23a] still exist. In place of a mortgage debt [death], we have a fully paid deed [life]. "... but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." [Rom. 6:23b]. Otherwise, our salvation is dependent upon our perfectly keeping the ordinances of the law under the terms of the old covenant. [See the Feature article, And It's Still A Mystery].
Therefore, if we accept Christ's sacrifice as reconciliation for our sins in place of bulls and goats, then we must accept his fulfilling the holy days on our behalf as well. [Heb. 2:14-17]. Who has fulfilled the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost? Who is it that will fulfill the Day of Trumpets? The answer isn't us. The answer is Christ. If Christ is fulfilling these days, what are we doing? If we insist we have to observe the holy days, then we must observe the command to sacrifice bulls and goats. Otherwise, our actions say we trust and accept Christ's sacrifice for our sins, but we don't trust and accept him to fulfill the holy days on our behalf despite the fact he already has fulfilled two of the three appointed times.
Thus, it is important to distinguish between the Abrahamic covenant and the law covenant contained in the Book of the Law. The Abrahamic covenant was made with Abraham and his Seed, Christ. The law covenant that was later added was made with the children of Israel. "What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, [not forever as it had a timing factor] until the Seed [Christ] should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator." [Gal. 3:19]. Christ broke one covenant, paid our debt and gave us a better one. He is fulfilling that which is written in the Book of the Law concerning both covenants. So, which one do we have today?
Second, on whose terms is Christ fulfilling these days? Is it Moses or God? The correct answer is God. If it is God’s, then it is according to his calendar or counting of times. Remember, when Moses received the law ordinances for the holy days, he also received the calendar to go with it. [Ex. 12:1, 2]. Prior to Moses receiving the observance of days for the children of Israel, Abib [Nisan] had been the seventh month in the civil calendar year. It was then made to be the first month in the new calendar.
Ask yourself, when Christ fulfilled the Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost, did he fulfill the Day of Trumpets later that same calendar year? No. The last holy day fulfilled by Christ was Pentecost when God sent the Holy Spirit in Christ’s name about 2000 years ago. As there are only 150 days or so between Pentecost and Trumpets, it is very apparent God is not operating according to the holy day calendar given to Moses. Nor should we, as Christians of the Abrahamic covenant.
The calendar changed from Abraham to Moses. So we should not be surprised that the calendar is changed from Moses to Abraham’s Seed, Christ. When Christ began fulfilling the holy days, he, too, began with a new calendar, which in our case defines the spiritual beginning and length of God’s “year.” As the next day to be fulfilled by Christ is his return on the Day of Trumpets, we cannot celebrate that day until it occurs as we are operating under the terms of God’s calendar or year, and not that of Moses. Thus, not only is Christ spiritually fulfilling the holy days on our behalf, we don’t even know when the next one will occur. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
Let’s take a for instance. If someone came to you on a Wednesday afternoon, some time before Moses’ calendar day of Trumpets and asks if you celebrate the holy days, you would answer yes.
Then that person says, “Great. I want to as well. How about I come by your house tonight and we celebrate the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread?”
You’d probably answer, “I’m sorry, but we can’t do that.”
“Why not,” he’d ask?
“Because according to Moses, those days occur at the beginning of spring. Not now.”
“Okay, then how about I come over tonight and we celebrate Trumpets?”
“ Well, we can’t do that either. That’s not for a while yet.”
“But I thought you guys celebrated the holy days?”
“We do. It’s just that they occur at an appointed time. It’s not something we do everyday.”
In this age of the Abrahamic faith covenant, we are in the same situation theologically, rather than in the age of the Mosaic law covenant as in the example above, unless of course, you are bound under the terms of the law covenant, which, in reality, is not even possible. [See Zec. 11:10-13]. There are no more appointed times to observe or celebrate until the next appointed time to be spiritually fulfilled by Christ at his return. For those who are led by the Spirit of God, we are on that Wednesday afternoon sometime before Trumpets in God’s calendar year. No physical observing of the Day of Trumpets according to the Mosaic law covenant calendar, regardless of how sincere and righteous it may be, will result in the return of Christ and the establishing of the kingdom of God. It’s just not going to happen. Any required observance of days is of the law covenant, which no longer exists. Therefore, how can we be required to observe that which no longer exists? There is only one covenant to live by. The covenant made with Abraham and his Seed, Christ.
The children of Israel under the law covenant of Moses were commanded, “Three times you shall keep a feast unto me in the year.” That covenant was broken by Christ. The children of Israel’s physical observance of these three times was just a shadow of their spiritual fulfilling by Christ, just as the spirit of man is a shadow of the Spirit of God. Yet, who of us would give up the Spirit of God within us to go back to the spirit of man? And who of us would go back to physically observing these days in the law covenant rather than have Christ spiritually fulfill them on our behalf?
In fulfilling the Law on our behalf, Christ has spiritually fulfilled the Days of Unleavened Bread, the first feast time in God’s year. He has fulfilled the day of Pentecost, the second feast time. Theologically, then, in this age we are living in the second of times fulfilled by Christ. So who is it that requires us to go back to physically observing days and give up our liberty in Christ? And for what purpose? Do we not trust Christ? Is he made perfect by our observance?
We are now living in the summer harvest of the lost sheep of the House of Israel sometime after the fulfilling of Pentecost and before the fulfilling of the third time, the Feast of Tabernacles, which begins with Trumpets. Rather than focus on physical annual observances of the holy days as delivered by Moses, we need to focus on the time we live in fulfilled by Christ, which is the spiritual age of the summer harvest. There are no more holy days to be fulfilled until the “fullness of the children of the House of Israel be come in.” Christ was not sent except to the lost sheep of the House of Israel to whom Peter addressed his remarks on that Pentecost day, fulfilling the second feast time.
Christ has given us liberty not available under the law covenant. As Paul explained it to those in the church in Galatia, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [the law covenant].” Our physical observance of any days commanded by Moses is being entangled with the yoke of bondage ... again. We are not to do it. If we do, it means we do not understand what Christ meant when he said “I have come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.” Then, it is as Paul told the church, “Christ is become of no effect unto you.” To state it colloquially, “Duh, you don’t get it.”
Christ is the Seed of Abraham, not the seed of Moses, as it clearly says in Matthew 1:1. This provides us with a big clue as to which covenant is for Christians. If, for any reason, we must physically observe the appointed days given by Moses, then our actions annul the death of Christ. If we annul the death of Christ, there is no justification by faith. And if there is no justification by faith, we are in bondage under the works of the law. As no one is perfect according to the contractual terms of the law covenant, we are all condemned before God.
It is not of the truth saying we must observe days delivered by Moses. Doing so, our actions are an expression of our lack of faith in Christ. We are essentially saying that Christ’s fulfilling of these days isn’t good enough, so being more righteous and knowledgeable than others, we have to return to Moses to observe these days ourselves. We can’t say with our lips that we accept Christ in faith, and then physically observe days given to Moses, especially after Christ already has spiritually fulfilled the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost, the first two feast times, according to God’s timetable. Either we have received the Spirit of God through faith in Christ or we are children of Moses with the spirit of man through observances of the law. There is no middle ground.
This is what Paul’s letter to the Galatians is all about. Remember, the physical descendants of the House of Israel in the first century very likely would have thought they would have to observe the holy days as had their forefathers. Paul had to explain to them that Christ is fulfilling these days on our behalf. Under the law, we cannot be made perfect through works of the flesh. So Paul plainly told them, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.” [Gal. 5:6].
Paul also said. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of sabbaths ....” [Col. 2:16]. This is a reference to those of the circumcision [House of Judah] judging those of the uncircumcision [House of Israel; see again Gal. 2:4]. Yet neither in the flesh avails anything. No works of the flesh justifies anyone, including observing days of the law covenant. Thus, nothing is gained. It is vanity and self-righteousness.
Paul is telling us, we are no longer required to observe any terms of the law covenant. Otherwise, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” [Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10]. Paul wrote this in the first century when the Abrahamic covenant was in full force. He makes it very clear that it’s all or nothing. It's not a hybrid with bits and pieces from both. Otherwise we are, not might be, cursed. I know for a fact your church doesn't observe everything as it is written in the law covenant because it is not possible to do them today. As Christians, why would we choose bondage and a curse rather than the liberty Christ has given us? Would we prefer living in prison or living free?
Of course, some will point out that Christ and the apostles observed the feasts according to the law. And this is correct. It was required under the law covenant prior to his death and resurrection. And it is correct that it probably took some time, in those pre-twitter days, for the apostles to spread this truth that Christ was fulfilling the Law and Prophets on our behalf especially as those of Judah would continue to physically observe the law covenant days throughout the Roman Empire according to the Moses calendar. There was a period of adjustment and understanding as we can read in Acts eleven regarding circumcision. However, the apostle Paul didn't feel the need to spell this out in writing until 52 CE when he wrote to the backsliding Christians in Galatia. [See the Feature article, The Good News Colour Revolution].
Christ fulfilled the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread under the terms of the law covenant, which were in place until the death of the testator, Christ. “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.” [Heb. 9:16,17]. This is why Christ and the disciples observed these times of the law covenant during Christ's lifetime.
But what testament or covenant came into effect after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ? The law covenant or the covenant of Abraham? Recall, Paul told the Christians in Galatia, “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed [of Abraham] should come to whom the promise was made ....” “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith [by promise to Abraham] is come, we are no longer under [the law covenant of Moses] a schoolmaster.” [Gal. 3:19, 24, 25]. Which covenant is of Christ? Abraham's. It doesn't get much clearer than this.
It is important, theologically, to understand that Moses, the lawgiver, did not cross over the river Jordan into the land given by promise to Abraham. The first Pentecost, or summer harvest, which came to mark the first day of Christianity, could not be celebrated until after the children of Israel farmed the land given to them by promise from God. And that occurred after Moses, the lawgiver, was dead. The children of Israel were led across the river Jordan by Joshua; a descendant of Ephraim, the kingly line of the House of Israel. Joshua means “Yehovah is salvation ...” as does the name Jesus.
Christ’s death under the terms of the law covenant resulted in the fulfilling of the first of the three feast times, the Days of Unleavened Bread, which historically occurred coming out of Egypt, before all Israel crossed the river Jordan. The symbolism should be clear enough. Moses, the giver of the law covenant, was dead. In this sense, he was a temporary bridge to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. He was not the bridge to lead the children of Israel over the river Jordan into the promised land of “milk and honey.”
And spiritually, neither is the Mosaic law covenant able to lead the lost sheep of the House of Israel to the kingdom of God. It is of promise and therefore it must be of faith in Christ as the Seed of Abraham. As Joshua, not Moses, physically led the children of Israel, with the spirit of man, into the promised land, so too Jesus Christ is spiritually fulfilling the days that will lead Christians, with the Spirit of God, to the coming of his kingdom. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. It is of the Spirit, which is where our focus should be daily as Christians. Thus, the covenant of importance to Christians is not the law covenant of Moses, but the covenant made with Abraham and his Seed, Christ.
To answer the question posed that Christians descended from the House of Israel no longer need observe days given by Moses, whether they were to be observed annually, monthly or weekly, Paul states the answer very clearly.
“O foolish Galatians! Who has brought evil on you feigning praise that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law [covenant], or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” [Gal. 1:1-3]. Are we made perfect by the keeping of days commanded to Moses under the law covenant? No, of course not.
So, what is our answer to be? It really can’t be any clearer than how Paul explained it to those in the church at Galatia. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” Physically requiring the observing of days given by Moses, for any reason, are works of the law, plain and simple. What profit, then, do we gain by any works of the law? There is no profit, indeed no truth according to Paul, in returning to any of the observances of the law covenant when our faith is in Christ. Holy day observances are required only under the terms of the law covenant, which Christ broke. If our faith is not in Christ, then we return to the bondage of Moses. It is all one or the other.
We need to focus on the fact that Christ has fulfilled all the terms of the law covenant on our behalf. He broke the old law covenant and has given us a new covenant based on faith. And we need to fully understand that we are living, spiritually, in the second of times, according to God’s calendar, the time between Christ’s fulfilling Pentecost and his fulfilling Trumpets, the Christian age. Our faith in Christ has granted us liberty. We need not return to any yoke of bondage under the law including the observance of days delivered by Moses. Any person who does is, as Paul explained, “a debtor to do the whole law,” which is impossible.
When we are weak in the spirit, then we return to the bondage of Moses, wherein Paul asks of us, “Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.” [Gal. 5:8]. Who does that leave then?
When we are strong in faith, we can completely accept that Christ is fulfilling the Law and Prophets on our behalf, “Standing fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.” Lacking faith, however, we try to retreat to the law covenant, which has been broken and no longer exists. Therefore, which one is it, Christ or Moses who is our mediator of a better covenant established upon better promises that by faith leads us to the kingdom of God?
© copyrighted material 2007-2017. www.redshoe.com All rights reserved.
Notice to readers. All redshoe generated articles may be hyperlinked or copied to PDF format for use as long as no editing or alteration of content is made.