A little Q & A before my R & R


Walk in Wisdom - Gleanings From the Scripture
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Recently, I received the following question. I thought the question
and the answer might be a good topic to look at. And since I am
heading off on vacation next week, and won't be back until July 9th
(God willing) a change of pace seemed like it might be in order as
well. A kind of vacation here and now.

Read on!

Question: As someone who has observed the seventh day Sabbath for
almost 40 years, I have found John Reisinger's "Tablets of Stone"
book extremely interesting. I have recently been challenged on my
beliefs and until read the book I have felt compelled to stick
with my Sabbath observance.  [This has] certainly given me
something to think about. However, I do have a question relating to
the festivals of Leviticus 23 (of which the Sabbath is listed as
first). Although we cannot, of course, observe those festivals in
the same way as the ancient Israelites, Paul does seem to suggest
that the Corinthian church should observe the feast of unleavened
bread (I Corinthians 5:7, 8).  In addition, it would seem that the
Feast of Tabernacles will be observed after the return of Christ
(Zechariah 14).  Do you have any comments?

Sincerely

A Reader

Dear Reader:

Your notice of the reference in 1 Cor. 5. to the feast of unleavened
bread is a correct one. However, I think a close look at the
application itself brings the answer to the surface. Note, that
Paul's reference to leaven in this context is not physical leaven,
but spiritual leaven. He clarifies this by identifying the "leaven"
he is after as: "malice and evil," while contrasting that with the
"unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." Thus he makes the feast
itself typological of Christ and His work, and not a feast to be
relegated to external practice on a specific date. We are to partake
of Christ our Passover Lamb at all times and in all places. And to be
celebrating a perpetual feast in His honor.
It cannot be imagined that Christians ought to purge out malice and
evil only at special times or seasons - for these are to be put away
from us at all times. See Eph. 4.31; Col. 3.8; Titus 3.3 & 1 Pet.
2.1 as examples. Christ being crucified "once for all time" (Heb.
10.12) we are to live in the ongoing fulfillment of the OC types.
They were repeated year after year. His sacrifice is not. Since it
has been brought to fulfillment, to fullness, we now rest in it
completely.

In terms of whether or not the Feast of Tabernacles will be
re-instituted after Christ's return - this is a question rooted
in a particular eschatological view. The question I would have to
ask, is how we can project a reinstatement of types and shadows,
once the fulfillment of those types and shadows has arrived? Gal.4
and Heb. 6 would especially seem to militate against that idea.
As Baruch Maoz writes to Messianic Jewish believers: "We are
Jewish and therefore naturally adhere to our national customs.
But we are not free to do so as a matter of religious obligation,
because to do so is to act as if Messiah had never come, or as if
He came and made no difference." How much more then Gentile
Believers who were NEVER under the Mosaic covenant at all?
Thus my answer to our reader, and a reminder to keep ourselves
living THIS side of Calvary, and in THIS covenant, not the one
granted to Israel for their government under Moses. Many in our
day have succumbed to a trend in Evangelicalism to find some sort
of new richness or meaning in recreating the Jewish festivals and
feasts - like having Passover Seders. But the truth is, these are
always a retreat back into the shadows - never into the Light -
who is Christ. To quote Baruch Maoz once again: "We must not
worship God in terms of the Mosaic covenant, because we must not
worship Him as if the Messiah had never come, never died, never
rose and never freed us from the ceremonial stipulations of the
covenant God made with our [i.e. the Jewish] people through Moses.
Paul insists it is impossible to to live consistently in the
Spirit and to keep the Torah at the same time."
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4 thoughts on “A little Q & A before my R & R

  1. Hi Reid!..I hope you enjoy (or have enjoyed, depending on when you read this!) your holiday. I was reminded reading this entry of that book I mentioned to you in an email back a bit…Dale Ratzlaff’s “Sabbath in Christ”. As an ex-SDA 7th day sabbath keeper, Dale’s book may be very helpful…it was this book that really got me thinking about the nature of the new covenant.

  2. Thanks Phil – I leave today (the 19th), and since my daughter got me a gift card for books for Father’s Day – I will have to look for Ratzlaff’s book!

    See you when I get back.

  3. An interesting discussion on Sabbath and how it applies in today’s rather complex schedules. Thanks for the engagements of more sides than one for those who see the value in God’s dessign for rest – and at the same time recognize the disasters of a humanly fixed program to accommodate that value.

    It reminds me of the quiet Christ felt in the boat – as he rested while the others panicked. On the other hand I see the accusations from folks who wanted to many tight laws and tried to show Christ up for healing and helping others on a day they’s designated for sabbath rest.

    Somewhere in-between is the wisdom and spirit of Christ for rest we all need and freedom that allows us to be human in a fast paced world. Again thanks!

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