The New And Improved Law (part 3)

Ten CommandmentsAbout three weeks ago I posted my continuing  thoughts about the law of God. I posted, The New And Improved Law (part 2). There I stated that the Old Covenant, with all of its laws, regulations, animal sacrifices, etc., contained within it, has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ and replaced with a new and better covenant.

I strongly focused on the word fulfill and briefly analyzed what Jesus meant about it when He said…

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.(Matthew 5:17).

Had Jesus said at that very moment, “Yes, I came so
that you do not have to keep the law any more”,
He would have been, at that moment, in great trouble
because He, Jesus Christ, a Jew in the flesh, was
still under the law.

I also stated that specific laws cited in the Old Testament
called the Ten Commandments are part of the Old
Covenant and they have been fulfilled by Christ when
He died on the cross.

The Old Covenant also includes certain holy days that God
said, at that time in the Old Testment, must be kept holy
by Israel. These are all listed together in Leviticus 23.
Question: How did Jesus Christ  fulfill these holy
days? That is the main topic of this post.

Why did I devote a lot of time on this issue on the Old Covenant? Answer: Because, as a Christian, I kept these days of Leviticus 23 for over twenty-five years. I used to firmly believe that you must observe “the truth” about any and all of the Old Covenant holy days and avoid observing days such as  Christmas, Easter and Good Friday which I considered and condemned to be purely pagan. I no longer think this way.

For several years, as a Christian, I observed the time periods listed on this chart except for Hanukkah and Purim.

The Old Covenant Days of Leviticus 23 and Why I Observed Them
1) The Sabbath Day  (Leviticus 23:3)
++It was primarily due to hearing other Christians’ belief regarding the seventh day Sabbath Day being the fourth commandment that I left the Roman Catholic Church  I was attending. I then reasoned that not only the Sabbath Day should be observed but all of the holy days listed on Leviticus 23. Why? Because most of them are sabbath days. What is a sabbath day? It is a day when you basically: 1) rest your mind and body away from the daily grind and 2) abstain from working on any form of employment or self-employment that produces personal income.

2) The Passover  (Leviticus 23:5)
++ The ancient Israelites were commanded to observe it by killing, roasting and eating a lamb without blemish; without deformities. It was to be the first born and choicest lamb of the flock that was chosen and killed by each family of the tribes of Israel. Although this day was not a sabbath day of rest from employment, it was a day mandatory for the Israelites to religiously observe. The meaning of this day is obvious.  Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb. Therefore, Jesus fulfilled this day.

3) The Feast of Unleavened Bread   (Leviticus 23:6-8)
++For one week during this particular feast, I abstained from eating any edible items that contained leavening agents that cause foods such as bread to rise or puff up. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the forgiving and removal of sin. Therefore, Jesus Christ fulfilled these days.

4) The Day of Pentecost  (Leviticus 23:15-22)
++It was on this holy day of the Old Covenant that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples who were in a room in Jerusalem. It was on this day that the church, the body of Christ, was officially formed (Acts 2:1-4). Therefore, Jesus Christ, when He died and rose again sending His Holy Spirit fulfilled this day.

This feast day of Trumpets was characterized by the blowing of the shofar.

5) The Feast of Trumpets  (Leviticus 23:23-25)
++It will be at the  last trumpet sound  (Rev. 11:15; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16) that the dead in Christ shall rise, as well as those who are alive and believe in Jesus at that time. This day always falls around September – October each year. It is also known by the name, Rosh Hashanah.

6) The Day of Atonement  (Leviticus 23:2-32)
++TThis  day pictures mankind being “at one” with God by the atoning blood of Christ. I used to believe that Satan was to be bound up in the future as stated in Revelation 20:1-3 which will cause the world to be at one with God once again. But now I understand that it is only Jesus Christ who is involved with this day and He alone has fulfilled it.

7) The Feast of Tabernacles and the The Last Great Day  (Leviticus 23:33-43)
++These days last for one week. I used to travel to convention sites to observe these days. I would book a hotel room for the week and attend special church services. One time I camped out (Wisconsin Dells) in order to keep this festival. These days  picture  Jesus Christ and His millennial reign as He dwells upon the earth as the King of kings, and Lord of lords. It also shows how the rest of humanity will be given their chance for salvation under Christ.

Under the new covenant, at the present time, we Christians are not commanded to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Again, why? Because Christ has fulfilled the Feast of Tabernacles of the Old Covenant law. How? Well, according to  John 1:14 (The Living Translation),  Christ tabernacled among us, this world, when He was born from the virgin Mary.  After Christ died we, the children of God, have become the tabernacle or temple of God in whom the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Cor 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19). Jesus also now dwells in us (2 Cor. 13:5).

Since there were eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles which includes the Last Great Day, the day that Jesus also kept as a Jew (John 7:37 NKJV), here are eight verses that show that Jesus Christ lives in you and thus He has fulfilled these Old Covenant days of Tabernacles mentioned above:

1-  Romans 8:10
2 – 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
3 – Galatians 1:15-16
4 – Galatians 2:20
5 – Galatians 4:19
6 – Ephesians 3:17
7 – Colossians 1:27
8 – 2 Thessalonians 1:10

New symbols for the New Covenant

More Random “Why” Questions with Answers
1)    If Christ is our Passover and He is the Lamb of God who was slain on the Passover and Christ fulfilled that day, why not we Christians therefore observe this day? Answer: Because Christ is our Passover and He is in us. In other words, why try to keep a day holy by continuing observing it when Jesus Christ, who is holy, has already fulfilled it?

2)    If Christ has fulfilled the days of Unleavened Bread mentioned above by cleansing us of our sins on the cross, why not keep these days of Unleavened Bread holy by putting out all leaven out of our houses and not working for income according to the Old Covenant law? Answer: Because Jesus Christ, who is
sinless and resides in us, has fulfilled these days
once and for all time.

3)   If the Holy Spirit began being greatly poured out on the day of Pentecost about 50 days after the resurrections of Christ (Acts 2), why not keep this day holy today?  Answer: Because the Holy Spirit, who of course is holy is within us. And because Jesus Christ, who is holy and who also resides in us, has already fulfilled it.

4)    If, however, the Feast of Trumpets, the day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles have yet to be fulfulled, why isn’t the Christian church overall observing these days today? Answer: Because Christ has indeed fulfilled these days which occur in the fall. How? Read on.

My Wrong Premise
Did you notice something about questions 1- 4 just above? Did you notice how I used the word fulfilled as how Christ already fulfilled these holy days?

Let me repeat this verse: Luke 24:44

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

Yes, Christ fulfilled the Law which pictures Him that is found in the Old Covenant.

He fulfilled all prophecies given by the prophets concerning Him that are found in the Old Covenant.

He fulfilled the Psalms concerning Him that are found in the Old Covenant.

These three:  the Law, the Prophets and the Writings are portions found in the Bible – especially in the Old Testament (Genesis to Malachi). Where I was wrong was in my misunderstanding regarding the holy days and interpreting the word fulfilled outside of its intended meaning. I did not closely follow the context how this word was being used regarding the holy days of Leviticus.

In other words, I was looking at the holy days given to the Israelites in Leviticus 23 as prophecy. Christ did not fulfill these holy days in the same manner He did with the prophecies concerning Him in the Prophets. The holy days of Leviticus, including the seventh day Sabbath were just that, days established by God to be kept by the Israelites. They are not prophecy which were yet to come which the Messiah was to fulfill, but technically, days which the Israelites were to observe annually.

Certain DAYS of the Old Covenant were fulfilled as well as prophecies and writings found in the Old Testament.

Yes, yes, yes they all picture Jesus Christ. But He, in this case, has fulfilled them, as days – not as prophecy. I know I am sounding redundant here because I want to emphasize that the New Covenant is not about days, it is about grace and Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior.

But you may ask, does not the Bible foretell that certain nations will keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the future after Christ returns? The Bible does state that certain countries will one day gather to fight against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-14, Joel 3:1-2) It also tells us that Jesus Christ will win this battle, “for the LORD Himself will fight for His people” (Zechariah 14:3)! Following the battle, the survivors from these attacking nations will once again go up to Jerusalem – not to make war but to worship the LORD of Hosts, demonstrating their submission to the King of kings. As prophesied in Isaiah 2:2-3

“In the last days … all the nations will stream to Jerusalem. And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’”

Apparently, God is going to re-institute the Feast of Tabernacles into His new calendar for the world to follow (Zechariah 14:16). See my post, God’s Future Calendar (part 2).

I must stop here. I could not help but be carried away by this topic. If any of you are keeping these days just mentioned, please do not become angry with me. I am not trying to separate you from the church you are currently attending. I am just expressing myself as an apologist. The points covered in this post are how I will respond to any questions a non-believer may pose regarding the holy days of the Old Covenant. You will not be condemned by me (or God, for that matter) if you keep the Sabbath or any of these days found in Leviticus 23 as defined in the Old Covenant.

Again, it is not about days. It is about Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law, the prophets and the Writings.

One area I did not discuss above was how did Jesus Christ fulfill the seventh day Sabbath. Most of you Christians know the answer and therefore worship on other days such as on Sunday. But I do have thoughts I want to share with you, God willing, at a later date. Please stay tuned.

Homework Question
Is there any symbolism or future significance to Moses smashing the tablets of the Law at Mount Sinai and God issuing him a new set (Exodus 32:19)?

 

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