OBSERVANCE OF THE JEWISH FEAST DAYS BY CHRISTIANS?
Advocacy of observance of the Jewish Feast Days is becoming a very serious problem within the SDA community. It is a distraction from the true preparation to meet our God. The Sanctuary and the anti-typical Day of Atonement is the foundation doctrine of Seventh-day Adventism. What is required of us who look for the completion of the work of Jesus Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary is described in Leviticus 16:29-31:
29And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: 30For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. 31It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. (Bold emphasis added; Cf. Lev. 23:27-30; Num. 29:7.)
The Hebrew for “afflict your souls” conveys the sense of self-abasement; in other words, recognizing our true condition of sin in the flesh, and our total inability to cleanse ourselves. The cleansing is accomplished by the High Priest alone (colored underlined emphasis added; cf. Heb. 9:7.) The full meaning of this soul affliction and Sabbath rest is seen in Heb. 4:1-10:
1Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Colored emphasis added.)
What is the gospel according to Paul? It is stated in Eph. 2:8, among other of the Apostle’s epistles:
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Colored and underlined emphasis added; Cf. Phil. 2:13.)
The antitypical Day of Atonement calls for conviction of our need of cleansing, and total dependence on Jesus Christ our High Priest to accomplish the work.
Is there yet room for the observance of the Jewish feast days? The answer is emphatically negative. Those who advocate observance are unwittingly returning to the ways of the Judaizers in the early Christian Church. The feast days, perhaps with the exception of the Feasts of Trumpets and Tabernacles, met their fulfillment in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:
The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
1 Corinthians 5:7-8, "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 truth." (Colored emphasis added.)
The Feast of Firstfruits:
1 Corinthians 15:20, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (Colored emphasis added.)
The Feast of Weeks (or Pentecost / Harvest)
Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
The Day of Atonement
Hebrews 9:24-26, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Colored emphasis added; the beginning of Jesus Christ’s High Priestly ministry after His ascension.)
Hebrews 9:7,11, "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;" (Colored emphasis added; the antitypical Day of Atonement, established by prophecy to have commenced in October, 1844; continuing to this day, but prophetically soon to be completed with the final cleansing of the Remnant. Those who have studied Wm. H. Grotheer’s exegesis understand from the Bible that the judgment is in three phases – Most Holy to the Holy to the Outer Court where the ceremony of cleansing the people was accomplished. There is prophetic evidence that the judgment of corporate bodies in the Holy was finished in 1980. We have been in the sealing time of individuals since then. Cf. Rev. 3:16; 20-21.)
As to all of the Feast days, including those of Trumpets and Tabernacles, Paul makes it clear where the believer in Christ should stand:
Colossians 2:16-17, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." (Colored emphasis added.)
Colossians 2:20; “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.” (Colored emphasis added.)
When Jesus Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper he said:
Luke 22:19-20, "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
A threefold meaning can be seen in the Lord’s Supper - past, present, and future:
A Memorial of Jesus’ death on the cross
Luke 22:19-20 above;
1 Corinthians 11:26, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (colored emphasis added; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:28.)
A present relationship with Jesus Christ
1 Corinthians 10:16, "Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?" (Colored emphasis added; cf. Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:13; 3:1; Galatians 2:20; John 6:54, 56.)
A reminder to us of Jesus’ return
1 Cor. 11:26 above;
Matt. 26:29, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (cf. Luke 22:18; Mark 14:25.)
The Lord’s Supper is the institution that both confirms our faith in what Jesus Christ has accomplished for our salvation from sin, and points forward to His return and the establishment of His Kingdom, as was prefigured in the Feasts of the Trumpets and Tabernacles.