Feasts, Fulfillment & Confusion
Happy Passover to all of my Judeo-Christian friends!
Passover: An Everlasting Ordinance
Now before you go all hyper-grace, anti-Old-Testament on me like one random tweeter, let’s do what I always do: take it to the Word.
Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. (Exodus 12:13, 14 emphasis mine)
Twice in the above passage it states the longevity of the feast celebration. And later in verses 17 and 24, God via Moses, re-emphasizes that this is to be a continual, ongoing celebration and remembrance.
It doesn’t say keep the feast until you decide not to.
It doesn’t say keep the feast until I send the Messiah.
It doesn’t say keep the feast until this dispensation [of the Law] is over.
You SHALL keep it as a feast...throughout your generations...an everlasting ordinance.
Hmmm, He didn’t mince words did He?
Friends, we are to keep the feasts of Israel. Why?? Because they’re not the feasts of the Old Testament: they’re the feasts of God. And He changes not (Malachi 3:6).
Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: “The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.” (Leviticus 23:2)
Passover in the New Testament
In the Gospels, we see Jesus celebrating the Passover with His disciples (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-38; John 13:1-17:26). And as a Jew, He would have kept the feasts with all the other Jews in Jerusalem three times a year. And funnily enough, Jesus didn’t say, “A new commandment I give you: do away with Passover and the other feasts!” No! He upgraded the feast.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)
What was once known as Passover the the Israelites is what we Christians celebrate as the Lord’s Supper a.k.a. Communion. And I might point out, we still eat the “unleavened bread.” Sounds Jewish if you ask me!
And Jesus didn’t stop there. Not only did He upgrade the feast in name, but He did so in act. Whereas the Jews had to take a literal lamb and slay it on a yearly basis, Jesus became the eternal Passover Lamb.
Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb.” (Exodus 12:21)
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)
(See also Revelation 5:6, 12-13.)
The infinitely divine foresight of God foresaw the need for a permanent fix to our sin-sick situation. Pretty little earthly lambs wouldn’t cut it forever.
Later, the Apostle Paul expounded on this upgraded feast:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (I Corinthians 11:23-26)
And we see another common thread: the continual “keeping” of this ordinance.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
And therein lies the answer to the eternal Feasts question:
We are to celebrate it. We are to celebrate it as often as we want. And we are to celebrate it until Jesus comes back.
The Fulfillment of the Old, Upgrade to the New
This should be a pretty easy concept to digest, but with all of these false doctrines and replacement theologies floating around, people run from the Jewish feasts and overall connection to the people and the Old Testament like it’s the plague. (That is, until David or one of the prophets says something they like. Then they claim it like nobody’s business. *smh*)
The truth of the matter is. The Church doesn’t overshadow, negate, cancel out, override, or eradicate the Jewish people’s position in God’s eye or the ongoing importance of the Old Testament.
The New Testament does not negate the Old Testament, it fulfills it.
Grace does not negate the Law, it fulfills it.
The spirit of the Old Testament and the Law--which is the Spirit of God--remains the same. Which is why the apostles continually referred to it.
...But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:15-16 quoting Leviticus 11:44, 45; 19:2, 20:7)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. (Matthew 23:23 referring to Genesis 14:18-20, Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18:24, Nehemiah 10:35-38, Malachi 3:10, etc.)
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose... But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.’” (Acts 2:14-18, 14-21 for full context, quoting Joel 2:28-32)
And just in case you still have any qualms about it, Jesus flat out says this:
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20 emphasis mine)
The Church vs. Israel
Bottom line: the Church will not be ready for Christ’s return until it fully embraces Israel and the Feasts of God. Remember, salvation is first to the Jews. AND THEN everyone else.
...For salvation is of the Jews. (John 4:22)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
And it is through the Jews, namely Abraham, that we are blessed.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise….
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ….And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:13-18, 26-27, 29)
We as God’s children cannot effectively “find our way” to heaven if we try to discredit, forsake, and overlook God’s other child--our brother, Israel.