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FEAST-DAY SABBATHS?

by

Bud Alavezos

BudLCarolA@aol.com

 

 

          History repeats itself. 

Presently there is an issue facing God's people and to a great extent separating fellow believers. 

During Paul's ministries Judaizing Christians caused dissent by insisting that converts from the Gentiles be circumcised and keep the ceremonial law.  This same controversy can be seen today.  Many sincere Christians have very strong opinions concerning the feast days.  This feeds into Satan's plan to promote disunity and discord, thus he can achieve his goal which is to divide and destroy God's people.  God desires that His people be unified in order to finish His work, but this can only be achieved as men unite under essential truth.  Unity can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit by those who have a love for the truth. 

 

"If we teach the truth according to our own ways, we shall see that there will not always be perfect harmony as there should be. But if we teach the truth as it is in Jesus, we shall teach it in the spirit of the true Educator; and we will not have various opinions, and cling to our own ideas with tenacity, but we will see eye to eye. And while we thus teach, believing that Jesus will help us to present the truth as it is in him, then we may expect his help, and we will have it." RH May 10, 1887

 

Those who compose the hundred and forty-four thousand will be in complete harmony.    

 

           As in the times of the apostles men today teach for doctrine the commandments of men. 

"The devisings of men's minds will invent tests that are no tests at all, that when the true test shall be made prominent, it shall be considered on a par with the man-made tests that have been of no value. We may expect that everything will be brought in and mingled with sound doctrine, but by clear, spiritual discernment, by the heavenly anointing, we must distinguish the sacred from the common which is being brought in to confuse faith and sound judgment, and demerit the great, grand, testing truth for this time . . . "  {2SM 14.3}

 

"Never, never was there a time when the truth suffered more from being misrepresented, belittled, demerited through the perverse disputings of men than in these last days. Men have brought themselves in with their heterogeneous mass of heresies which they represent as oracles for the people. The people are charmed with some strange new thing, and are not wise in experience to discern the character of ideas that men may frame up as something. But to call it something of great consequence and tie it to the oracles of God, does not make it truth. Oh, how this rebukes the low standard of piety in the churches." {2SM 15.1}

 

"Men who want to present something original will conjure up things new and strange, and without consideration will step forward on these unstable theories that have been woven together as a precious theory, and present it as a life and death question." Letter 136a, 1898.  {2SM 15.2}

 

ARGUMENTS FAVORING THE FEASTS OF LEV.23

 

          Many feast keepers believe that the feasts were established at creation and are a part of the moral law, therefore are binding on Christians today.  These feasts, include the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread ("a statute forever through-out your generations in all your dwellings." Lev 23:14), Pentecost, 50 days after the waving of the firstfruits (also "a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations." verse 21), the Feast of Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement followed by the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths ("a statute forever in your generations"...vs. 41). 

 

Attention is drawn to Zechariah 14:16-19 "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles... the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles." as well as Isa. 66:23 "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."

 

          The argument is that these statutes were to be for their generations forever: i.e. the Israelites kept these feasts (Lev.23), Jesus kept the feasts (John 7:2, 37), Paul kept the feasts (Acts 18:21) and that the apostles kept the feasts which they suggest is supported by Acts 15; specifically verse 21, as well as 1 Cor. 5:8.  And, finally according to Isa. 66:23 these feasts will be kept in heaven forever.   According to their reasoning the only ceremonies abolished at the cross were circumcision and the sacrifices.

 

          The Ellen G. White quote most often used in support of these feast days is found in Patriarchs and Prophets, page 540. 

 

"At these yearly assemblies the hearts of old and young would be encouraged in the service of God, while the association of the people from the different quarters of the land would strengthen the ties that bound them to God and to one another. Well would it be for the people of God at the present time to have a Feast of Tabernacles--a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God to them."

 

          WERE THEY ABOLISHED AT THE CROSS WHEN TYPE MET ANTITYPE?

 

          It would seem that these are formidable arguments favoring the keeping of these feast days, but let's examine a few other scriptures which give a decidedly different picture.  The apostles were constantly faced with aggressive Judaizers who sought to impose circumcision and certain ordinances of the Mosaic Law (ceremonial law) upon the Gentile Christians.  Notice Acts 15:5 "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, that it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses."  Again Acts 15:24 "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, [Ye must] be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no [such] commandment:"

 

           Paul dealt with this issue in "every church he founded or visited."(Life of Paul, p.121) Circumcision is addressed in the book of Galatians where the issue was legalism vs. righteousness by faith; however notice that these Judaizing Christians not only insisted on circumcision, but keeping the law as well.  The obvious question arises; what law?  It could not have referenced the moral law (the 10 Commandments as well as the statutes of the Mosaic law which guarded them) as the apostles upheld the "perfect law of liberty" (James 1:25, 2:8-12, Rom. 3:31, Acts 24:14 and Acts 25:8). 

 

TWO TYPES OF LAWS

 

          The statutes given by Moses included certain civil laws, the Decalogue [Ten Commandments], statutes directly connected to the Decalogue, and the ceremonial laws.  Notice this comment concerning both:

 

"In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the Ten Commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon men in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law." {1BC 1104.6}

 

            The difference between the moral and ceremonial laws is that the moral law, which looks back to creation and is a transcript of His character, has been and will be forever binding upon all creation; whereas the ceremonial laws consisted of shadowy types pointing back to redemption from slavery in Egypt as well as to future redemption.  These shadowy types were given only after the entrance of sin.  Speaking of these laws God's servant states, "God's people, whom he calls his peculiar treasure, were privileged with a two-fold system of law; the moral and the ceremonial. The one, pointing back to creation to keep in remembrance the living God who made the world, whose claims are binding upon all men in every dispensation, and which will exist through all time and eternity. The other, given because of man's transgression of the moral law, the obedience to which consisted in sacrifices and offerings pointing to the future redemption. Each is clear and distinct from the other. From the creation the moral law was an essential part of God's divine plan, and was as unchangeable as Himself. The ceremonial law was to answer a particular purpose of Christ's plan for the salvation of the race." RH May 6, 1875 

 

SHADOWY TYPES

 

          It should be noted here that prior to the Fall there was no need for a Passover, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement or Feast of Tabernacles in that they all point forward to redemption both at the cross and the second coming.  The obvious conclusion is that they are not part of the moral law in that they do not point back to creation.

           Had the law referred to in Acts 15:5 and 24 been the law of sacrifices (which were shadows as well), this would have been a denial that Christ our Passover had been sacrificed for us (1Cor 5:7), thus we can assume that these Judaizers were not insisting on the sacrifices.

 

          Paul addresses more of these shadows in Col.2:14-17 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.  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."

          The word "therefore" in the above quote indicates a previous argument.  In this case Paul is referring to his statement that Christ has blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against usDeut. 31:26 gives some insight as to what Paul was referencing.   "Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee."  These ordinances included civil laws, ceremonial laws, and statutes to uphold the moral law. However since the moral law was never blotted out or "taken out of the way" these sabbath days must refer to the ceremonial sabbaths.   In addition the moral law was never contrary to us.  Notice what God says about His law.  "To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" Deut. 10:13. How can one who truly loves God believe that His commandments are not for our good?  Lastly the moral law was never a shadow of things to come.   One must conclude that Paul is addressing the ceremonial laws including new moons and sabbath days.   Paul, in opposition to Judaizers, was telling these Colossians that they should not accept form in place of substance (Jesus is the fulfillment of the entire typical Jewish economy).  Notice his conclusion.  "Which are a shadow of things to come."

 

          Some have suggested that these sabbaths mentioned above include the fourth commandment.   However, as noted previously, the moral law was neither against us nor blotted out nor taken away nor a type or shadow.  Again RH Apr 22, 1902 "The moral law was never a type or a shadow.  It existed before man's creation and will endure as long as God's throne remains."  In addition, these Judaizers were promoting circumcision and the ceremonial law as more important than the moral law.  Notice "Thus the emissaries of Judaism succeeded in alienating many of the Christian converts from their teacher in the gospel. Having gained this point, they induced them to return to the observance of the ceremonial law as essential to salvation. Faith in Christ, and obedience to the law of Ten Commandments, were regarded as of minor importance. Division, heresy, and sensualism were rapidly gaining ground among the believers in Galatia."  {LP 188.2}

          In spite of the evidence, it is alarming today that some have elevated these feasts to a level with the Decalogue.

 

          Though Paul is primarily addressing circumcision in Galatians, his real issue is righteousness through faith in Christ alone; living by the promptings of the Spirit and not by works of the law; however notice Gal 4:9-11.  "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?   Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.   I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."  It appears that these Galatians had not only listened to the precept of men in regards to circumcision but the feast days as well.  Paul's argument here as in Col. 2:16, is addressing the Mosaic ceremonial statutes which include circumcision, the annual feasts and their sabbaths.   

 

           Jewish pride had separated the Jews from all the surrounding nations.  God's desired that all, both Jew and Gentile should have free access to Him through His Son Jesus.  However the Judaizers continually placed the ceremonial law as a barrier before the Gentile Christians.   Paul, speaking in Eph. 2:14-16 states "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." Here again these commandments (in the plural) were a separating wall between Jew and Gentile. Jewish pride insisted upon these ceremonial laws.

 

          Notice this statement from RH May 6, 1875 "The death of Jesus Christ for the redemption of man, lifts the veil and reflects a flood of light back hundreds of years, upon the whole institution of the Jewish system of religion. Without the death of Christ all this system was meaningless. The Jews reject Christ, and therefore their whole system of religion is to them indefinite, unexplainable, and uncertain. They attach as much importance to shadowy ceremonies of types which have met their antitype, as they do to the law of the ten commandments, which was not a shadow, but a reality as enduring as the throne of Jehovah. The death of Christ elevates the Jewish system of types and ordinances, showing that they were of divine appointment, and for the purpose of keeping faith alive in the hearts of his people." [until the cross, that is.]

          The above quote clearly indicates that the entire Jewish system ended at the cross when the veil was rent from top to bottom.

 

PASSOVER INSEPARABLY LINKED WITH CIRCUMCISION

 

          Surely the apostles must have realized an inseparable link between the feast days and circumcision along with the sacrifices and offerings that were an integral part of those feasts.  Notice Ex. 12:48 "And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof."  Does it seem reasonable in light of this verse to believe that circumcision has been abolished and not the Passover?  If so, why?

          Eze. 44:9 gives us a second witness; "Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that [is] among the children of Israel."

 

EARLY CHRISTIAN RESOLUTION

 

          James' admonition to the Gentile Christians was, "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." (Acts15:28,29).  Why is there no mention of the ceremonial laws, especially in light of the Judaizers insisting on the Gentiles being circumcised and keeping the law of Moses?  They noted that the Holy Ghost had already come upon the Gentile Christians without them having been subjected to the ceremonial system.   Here we see an appeal to unity vs. discord where the council set forth what they considered the basics for Christianity in a land devoted to idol worship.  Verse 21 is speaking of the moral law where the words of Moses were read every Sabbath.  Some would suggest that this speaks to the annual feasts; however in light of the above mentioned passages this seems very unlikely.

 

"A FEAST OF THE JEWS"

 

          Notice how John addresses the Passover.  John 2:13 "And the Jews' Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."  Two thoughts immediately come to mind.  The Passover was to be commemorated at Jerusalem, which we will consider later, and why was John, both a Jew and a Christian, calling it the Jew's Passover?  If it was one he observed, why would he not just say "the Passover"?  This same thought is expressed in John 11:55 "And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand".   John 7:2 states that the Jew's feast of tabernacles was at hand; however, the thought is even more explicit in John 5:1 which states, "After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."  Notice also John 6:4 "And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh".

 

          This wording, in light of the fact that Christianity was separate and distinct from the Israel, which had divorced themselves from God not only by being instrumental in the death of God's dear Son but in the fulfillment of the 490-year prophecy of Dan 9 in AD 34 at the stoning of Steven, is very significant and should not be taken lightly.

 

LORD'S SUPPER TO TAKE THE PLACE OF PASSOVER

 

            Notice this quote from the Spirit of Prophecy; "The symbols of the Lord's house are simple and plainly understood, and the truths represented by them are of the deepest significance to us. In instituting the sacramental service to take the place of the Passover, Christ left for his church a memorial of his great sacrifice for man. "This do," he said, "in remembrance of me." This was the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. The one was to close forever; the other, which he had just established, was to take its place, and to continue through all time as the memorial of his death. RH, May 31, 1898 par. 2}"

          A normal reading of the above statement would imply that the entire festival was to close forever to be replaced by the sacramental service.  Some suggest that only the sacrifices were discontinued when type met antitype and that the only change was that the bread and wine were substituted for the Passover lamb.  The subjects of the previous paragraph are the Passover festival and the sacramental service.  How can one suggest that the festival only included the sacrifices?  We've previously noted that the Passover and circumcision were linked by a statute.   What reason do we have to suggest that though circumcision and the sacrifices have met their fulfillment at the cross, nevertheless Passover, which is also a shadow, is still binding on God's people today?   Additionally the Lord's Supper is to be often commemorated.  Does this suggest we are to observe Passover more frequently?  Are we to commemorate the Lord's Supper only once a year at the time of Passover, then at the other times by itself?  We have been told this is not the case.  This seems inconsistent and confusing and God is not the author of confusion.

 

WHAT DOES GOD SAY?

 

          The Israelites had so polluted the typical system that God told them in Isa.1:13, 14 "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; [it is] iniquity, even the solemn meeting.  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear [them]." 

 

           Here we see that by the time of Isaiah Israel had lost sight of the shadows pointing forward to Christ, His redemption and deliverance, and that God, speaking specifically of their annual feasts, could not stand them any longer. 

 

However, He never used this language regarding His seventh-day sabbath.  Notice this example from Ezek. 20:13, "But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them."  Notice also verse 20, "And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I [am] the LORD your God."  Here again God calls them His sabbaths and not "your" new moons and "your" appointed feasts as He does in Isa.1:14

 

At this point we should see an obvious distinction between the feast-day sabbaths and the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.  Leviticus 23:37, 38 also distinguishes between the feast-sabbaths and the sabbath of the fourth commandment. "These [are] the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim [to be] holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD." 

 

          Hosea, speaking of these new moons and feasts, gives us an even stronger declaration.  Our SDA pioneers considered Hosea 2:11 the definitive argument in favor of abolition of these feasts. Notice, "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts".  Here again this is not language which God uses in reference to His seventh-day sabbath.  This verse relates directly to the subject under discussion.  God has caused these feast-day sabbaths to cease.

 

ADDITIONAL EGW QUOTES

 

          Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 406 provides an additional witness that these feast sabbaths are not included in the moral law.  "Their desire to return to the land of slavery had shown them to be unworthy of freedom, and the ordinance of the Passover, instituted to commemorate the deliverance from bondage, was not to be observed."  Had Passover been part of the moral law, God would never have commanded it not to be observed.  Do we desire to return to the land of slavery?

 

          Notice this statement concerning the Lord's Supper from RH June 14, 1898 "In this ordinance, Christ discharged His disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremoniesThese no longer possessed any virtue; for type was meeting antitype in himself, the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances that pointed to Him as the great and efficacious offering for the sins of the world."   Would this not include the annual feasts which were a shadow pointing to future redemption through Christ's sacrifice at the cross?

 

          Again in 5BC 1139 "In the place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed, He instituted a memorial service, in the ceremony of feet washing, and the sacramental supper, to be observed by His followers through all time and in every country."  Surely, in light of Rev. 22:18, 19 where we are not to add to nor take away from the word of God, we can discern between the terms "sacrifices" and "national festival".

 

          So why did Paul state in Acts 18:21 "...I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem." It would appear that he was intent on going to Jerusalem to keep the Passover.   He was.  The question is, why?  We have some insight from AA 388.  "Paul greatly desired to reach Jerusalem before the Passover as he would thus have an opportunity to meet those who should come from all parts of the world to attend the feast. Ever he cherished the hope that in some way he might be instrumental in removing the prejudice of his unbelieving countrymen, so that they might be led to accept the precious light of the gospel. He also desired to meet the church at Jerusalem and bear to them the gifts sent by the Gentile churches to the poor brethren in Judea. And by this visit he hoped to bring about a firmer union between the Jewish and the Gentile converts to the faith."

 

          Though for centuries Israel had been commanded to pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to keep the feasts, this seems to have been modified during the Christian dispensation.  We are told in AA 390 that Paul and Luke remained at Philippi to keep the Passover.  It is noteworthy that the other Christians decided to continue on to Troas to await Paul and Luke there.  From this scenario we can deduce two truths.  First: Passover was no longer confined to Jerusalem.  Also, the Passover feast was no longer morally binding on all Christians inasmuch as Paul's companions went on to Troas to await him and Luke.

 

          This seems perfectly logical in light of a quote from God's Messenger.   Speaking of the controversy concerning circumcision and the law in the early church Ellen White states, "After the decision of the council at Jerusalem concerning this question, many were still of this opinion, but did not then push their opposition any farther. The council had, on that occasion, decided that the converts from the Jewish church might observe the ordinances of the Mosaic law if they chose, while those ordinances should not be made obligatory upon converts from the Gentiles."  LP 121

 

          Some suggest that this statement refers specifically to circumcision and not the feast-days.   This indicates a limited understanding of the cultural context as well as of the statement itself.  The controversial issue was circumcision and to keep the law of Moses (Acts 15:5).  Not only would sacrifices be a denial of Christ but circumcision as well. (See Gal. 5:2)  That is the entire argument of the book of Galatians.  Paul was not the only apostle that understood this.  The leadership at Jerusalem did also, for God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), and that is why they said that it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us not to lay on the Gentile Christians any greater burdens than that they abstain from things offered to idols, things strangled, blood and fornication. (Acts 15:29)

 

"A STATUTE FOREVER THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS"

 

          One might wonder why these feasts were a statute for the Israelites and not binding on Christians today.  We have already noted that these feasts were types and shadows pointing not only back to deliverance from Egypt but also forward to future redemption which was accomplished through Christ at the cross when type met antitype.

          The term "forever" throughout scripture can be complicated.  In its simplest form however, it means "until it has completed its mission or task".  In the context of these feasts "forever" was qualified with the term "throughout your generations".   Literal Israel had divorced themselves from God at the cross and was no longer God's people, and the "generations" of literal Israel as God's peculiar people ceased at the cross.   "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly." Rom. 2:28

 

          Another argument, clearly presented in Louis Were's "Certainty of the Third Angels Message", is that we are in the dispensation of the Holy Spirit and as such we look for the spiritual or symbolic application rather than literal.  This thought is expressed in the rule of Bible interpretation used by many of the Reformers and our SDA pioneers as well.  The rule is that before the time period of the Cross you must look for the literal application of the prophecy.  After the Cross one must look for the spiritual application of the prophecy; but at the second coming you should expect the literal again.   When Christ returns we'll go back to a literal application of these prophecies. Examples can be seen in literal Israel, and literal Jerusalem, literal Babylon, and literal France and Egypt (Rev. 11:8). However at His second coming there will be a completed literal Atonement, and we can expect a literal Thousand Years, and a literal Feast of Tabernacles in heaven. 

 

          Another argument is that ever since Oct 22, 1844 we have been in the antitypical Day of Atonement, which is now taking place in heaven where Christ is ministering in our behalf.  It should be noted that during the Levitical feasts there were never two different feasts simultaneously taking place.  At present we are in the antitypical Day of Atonement and the blotting out of sin.  This should be the object of our supreme attention.  Celebrating other feasts at this time is a distraction and could be diverting attention from the third angel's message which is the message of the hour. 

 

Similarly, having a feast-day sabbath fall on Sunday would be sending a mixed message at a time when the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is being agitated.  Notice this comment from Letter 207, 1899  "There are those who need in their hearts the touch of the divine Spirit. Then the message for this time will be their burden.  They will not search for human tests, for something new and strange.  The sabbath of the fourth commandment is the test for this time." How can it be any clearer than this? 

 

Why are we entering into the same controversy that was settled two thousand years ago?                           We are living under the new covenant.  This is the entire focus of Paul's message.  Heb. 10:16-18 states, "This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin."  The entire system was abolished at the cross.  Notice verse 9, "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."  Our focus at this time must be the third angel's message, which includes the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment, and our own character development.  

 

ZECH 14:16-19

 

Zech, 14:16   And it shall come to pass, [that] every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 

  14:17   And it shall be, [that] whoso will not come up of [all] the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 

  14:18   And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that [have] no [rain]; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 

  14:19   This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 

 

Here we see a conditional promise that would have been fulfilled had Israel remained faithful to the covenant and been a light to the nations around them. However, it will meet its final fulfillment in heaven. 

 

Here again we need to recognize that since we are presently within the time period of the antitypical Day of Atonement we should not confuse the message of this time and hold to these other ceremonial feasts.

 

ISA. 66:22, 23

 

Isaiah 66:22   For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 

 66:23   And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. 

 

Again we see a conditional promise to meet its final fulfillment in heaven where Christ is, and where there will be a literal application.

 

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES vs. A FEAST OF TABERNACLES

 

          Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 540-541 states, "Well would it be for the people of God at the present time to have a Feast of Tabernacles--a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God to them." 

 

An unbiased reading would indicate this to be a suggestion, far from an injunction, which could easily find a fulfillment at Camp Meeting, and in fact in RH July 10, 1879 the annual feasts were pointed to as a parallel for our Camp Meetings today. Certainly it is overstating the intent of the author to suggest this to be a requirement of the moral law.

 

CONCLUSION

 

          The Ceremonial Law was a shadow of things to come.  It had no meaning prior to the entrance of sin.  Everything associated with it pointed to Christ who was the fulfillment of the entire Jewish economy; which included circumcision, the sacrifices, the new moons, the three annual feasts and their sabbaths.  The entire system (which was against us) was done away with (blotted out) at the Cross when type met antitype. 

 

Paul, speaking of this system to be done away, called it glorious (Jesus Himself had initiated it).  But the Jews had so lost sight of the meaning of the shadows by Isaiah's time that He could not stand their new moons and their appointed feasts (Isa. 1:13, 14).  Through Hosea (Hos. 2:11) God tells us that He will cause her new moons, her sabbaths and all her solemn feasts to cease

 

Paul tells us in Eph. 2:14, 15 that Jesus broke down the barrier between Jew and Gentile (law of commandments in ordinances, or the Ceremonial Law).  He tells the Galatians that they are becoming slaves to days and months and times and years (Gal. 4:10) as they turn from righteousness by faith (the new covenant) to a gospel of works (the old covenant).  In Gal. 1:8 he tells us if anyone preach any other gospel, let him be accursed.  In Col. 2:14-16 we are told that these new moons and sabbath days, which were a shadow of things to come and were against us, were taken out of the way at the cross.

 

          Many quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy have been presented indicating that the entire Jewish economy was a shadow pointing to Christ and future redemption, and as such was abolished at the cross.                        

 

          Finally,

"The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the test for this time." Letter 207, 1899

 

Words for us to consider

 

"As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error." MS 43, 1907