Sunday, September 23, 2012

Should Christians keep the Entire Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, or Are We Stricly Under Grace?

I have been in a debate lately about whether or not the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law of Moses have any relevance for Christians. Some were of the opinion that they are not relevant to Christians as we have been “freed” from the Law. They took the stand that the Law was essentially eliminated when Christ died, and therefore it is not beholden upon us to keep not only the entire Law of the Torah, but we do not need to keep the Ten Commandments, as they are no longer applicable.

First it must be determined whether or not the Ten Commandments are on a par or the same as the rest of the judgments and laws that God gave the people. God gave the Ten Commandments directly to the people at Mount Sinai (Exodus 20). He wrote the Ten Commandments upon two tablets and had Moses put them in the ark when it was built. Deuteronomy 5:22 “These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.” Moses broke the first tablets in anger when the people built the golden calf, but God wrote another set. Deuteronomy 10:2 “And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.” Only the Ten Commandments or the testimony as God calls it were put in the ark.

God gave four titles to the laws He gave. He called some commandments, which by definition are “divine laws”, some were statutes, which by definition are either “written laws by a legislative body (or in this case God)” or “the rules of an organization or institution (or in this case, a nation)”. Judgments, are defined as “a divine sentence (punishment) or decision by a court.” and ordinances are "authoritative orders, customs established by long practice, rites, or regulations".  Exodus 15:26 "And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee."  Leviticus 18:4-5 "Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD."  It can be seen that indeed when one looks at all the laws that they more or less do fall into these four categories. The ones which are divine laws or commandments are the ones we know as the Ten Commandments. They are divine laws. Eternal laws of a perfect spiritual state, not rules or regulations of an organization (or nation), court judgments, or customs or rites. Christ in fact was able to divide and reduce these ten commandments into two categories - love of God, and love of neighbor. Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Notice that first Christ is not referencing all the laws as being commandments - for example the hygiene laws do not really fall into the love your neighbor category. He is clearly referencing the Ten Commandments. And according to Him, all of the laws and prophets can be summed up and hang upon these Ten Commandments, which can really be reduced down to two, love God and love your neighbor as yourself. So when Christ tells us “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15, He is not speaking of all 613 laws, He is speaking of the Ten Commandments.

The first four commandments have to do with loving God. We are not to have any other Gods before Him, we are not to make any graven images, we are not to take His name in vain, and we are to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. The last six have to do with loving our neighbor. We are to honor our fathers and mothers, we are not to kill, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness or covet. These six things cover most any sin that we can commit against other people. When Christ reduced these down to just love God and love your neighbor, He was not eliminating the Ten Commandments. Matthew 5:17-18 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Christ was fulfilling the commandments. In other words, He was keeping them perfectly, something we cannot do. He fulfilled the obligation to keep the Law (meaning the Ten Commandments) perfectly for us. Now, some might say, it wasn't just the Ten Commandments He kept, He kept the entire law perfectly. No. He did not. He did not stone the adulteress woman, thereby breaking that law, and not only that He incited others to break it too. The only Laws He kept perfectly were the Ten Commandments, thereby verifying that these are the only Laws that are still in effect as something we are to try to keep. Now, because Christ kept them perfectly, and He lives in us, we are free to be able to keep the Law, not under obligation, but by love. Do we keep it perfectly? I don't know anyone who can claim to have, 1 John 1:10 “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us,” but we find it much easier to try to keep it while we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And we have God's forgiveness awaiting us when we ask for it, after committing a sin. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In Matthew 5:19 Yeshua said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” He is speaking of the commandments, the Ten Commandments, not the entire body of law of the nation of Israel. We are to continue to teach the Ten Commandments. Should we not want to teach these commandments? What do they teach? They teach us to love God and neighbor. So why would people want to abolish them by saying we are now free in Christ and do not need to worry about them. We are free to what – hate God and neighbor? That is the alternative to these commandments. They are about love. We are not under the threat of God's retribution to keep them, what we are free to do is keep them out of love. That is what our freedom is all about. Not being released from keeping the laws, but free from the burden of sin that comes from not being able to keep them. We are now free to keep them through Yeshua. Christ gives us a new heart so we can keep them and not have the burden of sin and God's wrath hanging over our head.

Let's take a further look at the law to see why we cannot, not just do not, keep it. Many of the 613 laws have to do with the temple, (including those about the priesthood) and without a temple it is impossible to keep these laws. When God destroyed the temple, He knew these laws could no longer be kept. So right off the bat, we can eliminate the hundred and some laws right there. Other of the laws are geared toward government and civil law keeping and the judicial system. When Israel was a nation, these were the laws of the nation, but we are told by God that we are to obey the laws of our own nation, so these laws are not incumbent upon us. Romans 13:1-7 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” A perfect example of this truth is the fact that we legally cannot go out and kill adulterers (there would be a great decrease in the population) or false prophets (although we might be better of if the latter were disposed of) or our rebellious children (yes, that was what you did with a wayward son who was rebellious, a drunkard, and glutton – do you want to do that, all ye lawkeepers? We would be killing a lot of children in this day and age.) Were we to do that, we would most rightfully find ourselves in jail at best (and executed at worst) for premeditated murder. We could not use the excuse that this is God's Law, so therefore we must obey it. We would be in disobedience of the clear teaching in Romans. These two things are in direct opposition to each other unless you realize that the civil laws of Moses were for a nation only as their governmental law, and not a spiritual mandate for the sake of obedience to God. Jesus Himself broke the law mentioned above when He did not stone the adulteress with the crowd, and in fact got them to not stone her also. So He not only broke the law, He incited others to do the same, which is an added sin if these laws are non-negotiable. Instead He offered a better way. He offered her love and forgiveness.  Further He showed that these laws were not always God's desire, and that He would sometimes prefer we not keep them.  For instance the law on divorce.  God gave a law allowing divorce and how it should be handled, but what did Christ say? Matthew 19:3-8 "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."  God prefers that this law never be used.  He gave it to them not because He wanted them to keep it, but because they were so hardhearted that He had no choice, as He had to protect the women.  Many of the laws were given for that reason.  Do you really think God likes people enslaving other people?  Or do you think He wanted to exercise some control over a bad situation that was going to exist whether or not He approved it? 

So the laws concerning the temple are impossible to keep,  some of the laws imposing court sentences are not viable or legal for us to keep, and some laws God does not really want us to keep. He prefers that we act in love. What about the other laws? The laws of kosher were lifted by the Council of Jerusalem, although the mandate to not eat blood or animals that are strangled is still in effect for all of God's people. Acts 15:19-20 “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” As Gentiles did not have kosher laws, since kosher was not specified along with the other restraints, there is no reason for them to only eat kosher animals. They were used to eating any animal. The argument is often made by lawkeepers that they already understood that kosher was required, because they were taught the law. If that was true, then why the need to specify not eating blood or things strangled? Those things automatically are included in the laws of kosher. This is picking out just a few requirements out of the kosher laws for them to observe. This clearly indicates that they are not keeping kosher, and that they need not keep kosher.

Further we are told in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” This passage speaks of the “latter times” which is now. It is telling us that people will depart from the faith and embrace doctrines of devils. We can certainly attest to that having come to pass today. Forbidding marriage is a big deal in one denomination. This also mentions people who say you should abstain from meats. There are only two ways to interpret this part. Either this refers to vegetarianism, as that is popular today, or it may be referring to people who say you must abstain from non-kosher meats, as it makes no sense for anyone to say that you should abstain from kosher meats. Who would have a problem with that? So this either refers to all meats or non-kosher meats. How does Paul respond to their doctrines? He first calls these mandates doctrines of devils, which means he is against them. Then in regard to meats, he says that every creatures is good and nothing to be refused, as long as we receive it thankfully and sanctify it by prayer. Torah law advocates would tell us that this is referring to every kosher animal, not actually every creature. But that is not what it says and it would not make sense. If people are saying you are not supposed to eat or abstain from non-kosher, and Paul is calling that a doctrine of devils, then when he says all creatures are good, he means all non-kosher animals. If taken the other way, that this refers to vegetarianism, then one can twist it to read into it that this is speaking of kosher animals, but then one is adding to the Scriptures, which would be breaking one of the Laws that lawkeepers are so adamant about keeping. 

Noah was given permission to eat any animal he wanted to eat. And this is in spite of the fact that Noah did know about clean and unclean animals, as God had him take seven, not two of every clean animal on the ark. Genesis 9:3 “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Clearly Noah was not given the restriction of kosher, as he could eat anything that moved. Unclean animals move. But just as the mandate was given that we are not to eat blood, so Noah was given this mandate. Genesis 9:4 “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” From Noah until Moses, people could eat any creature, just as again we are allowed to eat any creature. As Jesus said in Matthew 15:11-18 “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” God is far less concerned with what goes into our stomachs, as it comes out the other end, than He is about what is in our hearts.

I have left the most controversial passage for last. In Acts10:11-16 we read “And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.”

For years this has been taken literally and used as a text to say that God was giving Peter permission to eat any food. Others take the spiritual stand on it and say that it was not referring to the animals, but to the Gentiles as being unclean and now God would make them clean through Christ's blood. The only problem I have with that is a Scripture that backs up the first literal interpretation. And as anyone who reads my blog knows, I always go with the face value interpretation whenever I can. The problem is this passage. Galatians 2:11-14 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” Paul was clearly accusing Peter of forsaking the Torah laws. He was living and eating as a Gentile. The difference between Gentile and Jewish eating was that one is kosher and one is not. Peter was no longer observing kosher laws. He understood, just as said in Acts, that we are no longer under the laws of Moses, including the kosher laws. He was simply afraid of being judged and criticized when the Jews came to town.

What about the holy days – the new moons, feast days, etc. As the new moon had to be declared by two witnesses to the temple, before that holiday could be announced, again we have a problem. We may know through science when that new moon begins (and even that we have changed. To them the new moon was the first sighting of the moon, not the lack of it), we cannot do it according to the law, for there is no temple. But further, we are given a better way, just as Christ gave us a better way with forgiveness instead of getting retribution or execution. Paul tells us in Romans 14:5 “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Colossians 2:16 “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.” Here we have another verse that tells us that we should not let others judge us in what we eat or drink, but we are also told this about holy days also. We are told that as long as we do it through conscience, whether we observe these holy days or treat every day alike, it is unimportant with respect to obeying God. It is what you determine to do, as long as you are persuaded that what you are doing is Biblically correct.

Now comes the tricky part. Some people believe this mention of sabbaths is speaking of observing the weekly Sabbath, and some people believe that this is speaking of the feast sabbaths, as it is used in the plural sense. Equally some believe the idea that it is acceptable to esteem every day alike means that you can ignore the weekly Sabbath (not just the feast sabbaths) and treat every day the same if you wish. Is that what these verses are really saying? Have even the Ten Commandments been lifted by these verses? No. Christ made it quite clear that we are to keep His commandments, and the weekly Sabbath is one of them. The weekly Sabbath preceded the giving of the Law by over 2000 years. Some like to debate this as it is not given as a law to Adam, but it can be shown otherwise. This is because the weekly Sabbath was established at creation. Genesis 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” These verses tell us that God established the weekly Sabbath in the first week of creation. He sanctified it or set it apart as holy. Was it just for Himself that He did this, or did He also include man in this sanctification process. Yeshua tells us in Mark 2:27 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” The Sabbath, the weekly Sabbath, was made for man. If it was made for man, would not God have informed Adam of this and expected him to enjoy taking the day off? The argument is given that this law was not given until Moses, so nobody was expected to keep it. None of the laws were given before Moses. Is this exactly true? What about sacrifices? Were not those laws about clean and unclean animals and sacrifices given at the time of Moses? Well, let us look and see.

Genesis 4:3-7a “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?

Genesis 7:2 “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.”

Genesis 8:20 “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Genesis 22:2,8, 13 “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of....And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together....And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”

But we know from the Cain and Abel story that people only offered animal sacrifices, which explains God's rejecting Cain's sacrifice, right?

Genesis 35:14 “And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.”

It seems that the problem was not necessarily Cain's offering, but his attitude of a rebellious heart. God told him in Genesis 4:6-7 “And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” It wasn't necessarily the sacrifice, as God wanted other sacrifices as well as blood, it was his sinful rebellious heart.

So people knew not only to give God burnt animal sacrifices, but to offer drink and oil oblations. But this only came with the giving of the Law didn't it? Obviously not.

Well, how about Moses? He didn't know about sacrifices until God told Him when He gave Him the commandments, right?

Exodus 10:25 “And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.”

Wait a minute. This was before the last plague was poured out on Egypt. That was before the giving of the Law. They had been sacrificing to God?

Well, what about tithing. That law surely only came with the giving of the Law. Not necessarily.

Genesis 14:18-20 “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

So far we have discussed other laws that were not part of the Ten Commandments, sacrifices and tithes. What about another one of the commandments? Thou shalt not kill. Cain broke that commandment, and he knew he had done wrong, because he tried to pretend he knew nothing about it. And on top of that God punished him for it and made it clear that if someone were to kill Cain they would be punished. In other words, thou shalt not kill. Genesis 7:8-15 “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”

Clearly there were rules that God gave mankind that preceded the Laws of Moses, but were reiterated when God gave Moses the laws. It is not just their actions above that show it, God tells us this.  Genesis 26:5 "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Abraham was given a charge, commandments, statutes, and laws long before Moses, which is why he knew to tithe. God had been telling His people what He expected of them, even though it was not written down in the Bible for us to see. He tells us this. So what about the Sabbath? Was it not a new thing to the Hebrews? They only first heard about it from Moses, didn't they? Well, let's see what God says.

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Wait a minute. Remember? How do you remember something that has not existed before this and of which you have had no knowledge? You do not. The argument comes, but remember can mean memorialize. Okay, let's say it does, for indeed that is also what is meant here. They are both to remember that God had declared the seventh day sanctified at creation and to memorialize the Sabbath by doing what? Keeping it holy, just as had been explained right from the beginning. They knew about the Sabbath, just as they knew about sacrifices and tithes. In fact the rule about not gathering manna on the Sabbath preceded the giving of the law, so they knew what the Sabbath was. It is just that it was not written down as a law that they must observe until God gave it at Mt. Sinai. Just as the other things had not been written down. How can we know that they knew about it? First God tells us that Abraham knew His commandments, laws, and statutes, so it is safe to assume that He told others as well.  Then it so happens that we know ancient Babylon and Sumeria observed a seven day week. Why? There is no reason under the sun, except to memorialize the creation week, that there should be a seven day week. It was brought over from before the Flood by Noah, who knew about it. God gave Noah one week, seven days, in which to load up the ark and get things ready to go once it was completed. Genesis 7:4 “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” What happened on that seventh day? Noah got to rest. He got a Sabbath. Genesis 7:10, 16 “And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth..... And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

If it is not enough that it has been shown that the Sabbath preceded the law and it has always been God's intention that it be observed by people, and that Yeshua told us that if we love Him we should keep His commandments, of which the fourth is to remember the Sabbath (the original one of creation) and keep it holy, we have Yeshua telling us that He expects that those of us that will go into the tribulation to be observing it. What? Yes, there is no pre-trib rapture (see my articles on that if you espouse a pre-trib belief, it may open your eyes), and those of us that are still alive when the tribulation begins are told that we should pray that it not start on the Sabbath. Matthew 24:20 “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.” But Yeshua was talking to Jews in Judea, not to us. It is true that it will be those in Judea that will have to flee to the mountains, but who is He speaking to? He is speaking to believers in Him. His disciples or followers, not unbelieving Jews. Of course, you say, the Messianic Jews are observing the Sabbath, they are Jews. Okay, and what did God say about us? Galatians 3:7, 29 “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham......And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” So we are Abraham's seed and are spiritually grafted into spiritual Israel. If Messianic Jews are observing the Sabbath, why are we not? We should be. I have an entire article telling the history of how the Church came to worship on Sunday instead of the Sabbath. It is something that requires serious consideration if you are not keeping the Sabbath and say you love the Lord. I would recommend reading it.

When it comes to the Feasts of God, I believe everyone is aware of the fact that the resurrection is celebrated on the pagan goddess Eastre's holy day, not on God's holy Feast day of Firstfruits, which was the Feast that Christ fulfilled when He arose on that day. Christianity does not celebrate Passover, which was His crucifixion, nor does it celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits as God created these feasts to be celebrated. The church has pre-empted God's holy day and substituted a pagan one instead, putting the event of God's fulfillment of His holy day on a pagan goddess's day. As for Christmas, it has been found through studies that Christ was born at the time of the Fall Feasts, not on the birthday of the pagan bull-headed god Mithras, which is the day everyone celebrates Yeshua's birth. Nor do we celebrate the Fall feasts, of Rosh haShanah (Feast of Trumpets – Yehsua crowned King) Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement, Second Coming, Day of the Lord, Resurrection/rapture) and the Feast of Tabernacles (The Wedding Feast – OUR wedding feast). Since we still await the fulfillment of these feasts in Christ's Second Coming, would it not be appropriate for us to at least consider that they are more relevant for us to celebrate as a Christian holy day than the day of a pagan god's birthday?

As for it being mandatory to celebrate these feasts and sabbaths, we were already told by Paul that if you do it and are persuaded that you should, great. And if you don't and are persuaded it isn't necessary, great. Just be convinced in your own mind and don't judge others. As these feasts are, by law, supposed to be celebrated in Jerusalem and require temple sacrifices, unless you live in Israel, you cannot even keep half of the requirement in keeping it correctly. Nobody can keep it correctly, for there is no temple and no sacrifices. God destroyed the temple, because the sacrifice of a Lamb at Passover had been finally and ultimately made for all mankind. Any more sacrifice at this time would be redundant. The gospel had to go out into the world, Israel had to be punished for her rejection of her Messiah, and sacrifices, which had never taken away the sins of people, were no longer necessary. Neither were the many civil laws of the nation. Until Israel lives under a theocracy again, these laws will not be effective. When they do, then God's government will enact His laws again. Every nation needs laws and justice and that is what these many laws are about. The temple will again be rebuilt and the religious laws can be met. The world will be a wasteland, and the population small, so probably the kosher and hygienic laws will be necessary to keep the people healthy. There is no saying if God will change some of the existing laws of the Torah, but that is not necessary for us to know now.
Having shown that we are expected to live by the Ten Commandments, (including the Sabbath) not under the obligation of legalism, but as Christians freely living out our lives by loving God and loving our neighbors through Yeshua ha Mashiach, I now want to say that if someone freely wants to observe as many of the laws and Feasts of God as possible, because they want to express their love for God this way, go for it. There is no prohibition against doing this, as long as you do not make it an obligatory thing for either yourself or others. It is not the means of salvation, and it does not guarantee more blessings (as some insist) than merely living a life of love for God. As you cannot keep them according to the law in many cases, keep them in spirit as much as possible, but do not insist that others keep them or they aren't “good” Christians. The only laws that do matter are the Ten Commandments, so that is something we need to try to teach others. Other than that, we do, as those who are against law keeping say, have freedom in Christ. Not as a license to sin, but as having freedom to keep the Commandments.

Romans 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”

Romans 6:1-2, 12-22 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?.....Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

We are free from sin to follow righteousness or in other words, the Ten Commandments in which righteousness is encapsulated. If we want to be servants of righteousness, the Commandments are our guide and we need to follow them. God has told us how He feels about sacrifices and all of this law keeping. Hosea 6:6 "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."  God wants us to show mercy and love, and study to know Him rather than just blindly obey a list of rules, many of which are not even possible to keep.  These laws were given to keep a hardhearted people in line, because without them they would not show each other love or compassion,  but we now have been given a better way. We have Yeshua living in our hearts and His love can change us. It writes the spirit of the law on our hearts, so that we don't need a list of rules if we abide in Him.

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