KEEPING THE FEAST DAYS
(Contributed by Wm. E. Caloudes)
Keeping the feast days is an insult to Jehovah
This ordinance [the Lord’s Supper and Foot Washing] 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 [the feast days with their associated ceremonies] would be an insult to Jehovah. Review & Herald, June 14, 1898. Brackets supplied.
The End of the Jewish Economy of Types and Shadows
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. (Romans 3:21 KJV)
For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. (2 Corinthians 3:9-11 NKJV)
The priest went through the ceremony of his official work. He took the child in his arms, and held it up before the altar. After handing it back to its mother, he inscribed the name "Jesus" on the roll of the first-born. Little did he think, as the babe lay in his arms, that it was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. The priest did not think that this babe was the One of whom Moses had written, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you." Acts 3:22. He did not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay in the priest's arms; and when he enrolled the child's name, he was enrolling the name of One who was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. That name was to be its [the Jewish economy’s] death warrant; for the system of sacrifices and offerings was waxing old; the type had almost reached its antitype, the shadow its substance. Desire of Ages, page 52. Brackets supplied.
Were the temple ceremonies to last forever:
The gospel of Christ reflects glory upon the Jewish age. It sheds light upon the whole Jewish economy, and gives significance to the ceremonial law. The tabernacle, or temple, of God on earth was a pattern of the original in Heaven. All the ceremonies of the Jewish law were prophetic, typical of mysteries in the plan of redemption. The rites and ceremonies of the law were given by Christ himself, who, enshrouded in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, was the leader of the hosts of Israel; and this law should be treated with great respect, for it is sacred. Even after it [the ceremonial law] was no longer to be observed, Paul presented it before the Jews in its true position and value, showing its place in the plan of redemption and its relation to the work of Christ; and the great apostle pronounces this law glorious, worthy of its divine Originator. That which was to be done away was glorious, but it was not the law instituted by God for the government of his family in Heaven and on earth; for as long as the heavens shall remain, so long shall the law of the Lord endure. Signs of the Times, July 29, 1886.
What were the feast days to teach those who would study them:
Through the teachings of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before all nations, and all who would look to Him should live. Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption. Acts of the Apostles, page 14.
Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy, and in all his specific directions regarding the ceremonial observances, these were distinguished from the Decalog. They [the ceremonial observances] were to pass away. Type was to meet antitype in the one great offering of Christ for the sins of the world. Signs of the Times, July 29, 1897. Brackets supplied.
The Lord Jesus was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. Its imposing rites were of divine appointment. They were designed to make the worship of God impressive, and to teach the people that at the time appointed One would come to whom these ceremonies pointed. But the Jews exalted the forms and ceremonies, and lost sight of their object. The traditions and maxims and enactments of men hid from them the spiritual lessons that God intended to convey. These maxims and traditions became an obstacle to their understanding and practise of true religion. And when the reality came, in the person of Christ, they did not recognize in Him the fulfilment of all their types, the substance of all their shadows. They rejected the Antitype, and clung to their types and useless ceremonies. Signs of the Times, November 3, 1898.
Paul did not approach the Jews in a way to excite their prejudices. He did not run the risk of making them his enemies by telling them the first thing that they must believe on Jesus of Nazareth; but he dwelt on the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament Scriptures, which testify of the Messiah, of his mission and his work. He led them on step by step, showing them the importance of honoring the law of God. He also gave due honor to the ceremonial law, showing that Christ was the one who instituted the whole system of sacrificial service. After dwelling upon these things, evincing that he had a clear understanding of them himself, he brought his hearers down to the first advent of Christ, and proved that in the crucified Jesus the specifications of the ceremonial law had been fulfilled. He showed them plainly how the light from the cross of Calvary gave significance and glory to the whole Jewish economy. Gospel Workers (1892), page 300.
What ceremony was to take the place of the Passover after Jesus’ death:
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 [the Passover’s] place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival [the Passover] of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service [the Lord’s Supper] which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages. Desire of Ages, page 652. Brackets supplied.
Was the Passover meal the only thing that changed about the Passover after the Cross, or could the Lord’s Supper be celebrated at any time during the year – that is, not only at the appointed time of the Passover, which was the first feast of the old covenant – because it was a completely new service which Jesus instituted just before His death to take the place of the Passover:
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament [covenant] in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:25 KJV) Brackets supplied.
In instituting the sacramental service to take the place of the Passover, Christ left for His church a memorial of His great sacrifice for man. "This do," He said, "in remembrance of Me." This was the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. The one [the Passover] was to close forever; the other [the Lord’s Supper], which He had just established, was to take its place, and to continue through all time as the memorial of His death. Review and Herald, June 22, 1897. Brackets supplied.
Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Heb. 8:1, 2.
The question, What is the sanctuary? is clearly answered in the Scriptures. The term "sanctuary," as used in the Bible, refers, first, to the tabernacle built by Moses, as a pattern of heavenly things; and, secondly, to the "true tabernacle" in heaven, to which the earthly sanctuary pointed. At the death of Christ the typical service ended. The "true tabernacle" in heaven is the sanctuary of the new covenant. The Faith I Live By, page 202.
He thus 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.
With the Gentiles his manner of labor was different. He plainly informed them that the sacrificial offerings and ceremonies of the Jews were no longer to be observed, and preached to them Christ and him crucified.
The apostle in his labors encountered a class who claimed that the moral law had been made void, with the precepts of the ceremonial system. He vindicated the law of ten commandments, and held it up before the people as a rule of life. He showed that all men are under the most solemn obligation to obey that law, which Christ came to make honorable. He taught that Christ is the only one who can release men from the consequences of breaking the divine law; and that it is only by repentance for their past transgressions, faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and a life of obedience, that men can hope to receive the favor of God. Sketches from the Life of Paul, pages 161 to 162. Emphasis supplied.
He [Paul] did not find fault with their observance of forms and ceremonies [open criticism was not his method in dealing with Jewish rituals], but showed that while they maintained the ritual service with great exactness, they were rejecting Him who was the antitype of all that system. Sketches from the Life of Paul, page 276. Brackets supplied.
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. The age of clearer light and knowledge had now come. And although the early education of Paul had blinded his eyes to this light, and led him to bitterly oppose the work of God, yet the revelation of Christ to him while on his way to Damascus had changed the whole current of his life. His character and works had now become a remarkable illustration of those of his divine Lord. His teaching led the mind to a more active spiritual life, that carried the believer above mere ceremonies. “For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it. Thou delightest not in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, page 105.
In addition to the tables of testimony which were given to Moses in the mount, he there received the ritual or ceremonial law…
It is this law of ceremonies, which was to find its fulfillment in the death of Christ, when type should meet antitype, that is so frequently in our day confounded with the moral law of ten commandments, which was engraven by the finger of God upon stone, and which is as enduring as the throne of Jehovah. Signs of the Times, July 15, 1880.