Archive for the ‘Messianic Musings’ Category

Videos About the Feast of Trumpets

We get to celebrate is Yom Teruah (translated to English as the Feast of Trumpets) tomorrow!  This is such an exciting feast, because it is the first feast of the year’s line-up that hasn’t yet been fulfilled.  We’re waiting on the fulfillment at the return of our King!

I’ve collected some neat teachings on this feast day here.

Each of these three teachers have slightly different interpretations of what exactly will happen on this feast day.  Given that its fulfillment is future, we only see dimly what might unfold.  So, I present these teachings for your consideration.  As in everything, we must test everything to the word and trust that our observance of this feast doesn’t require complete understanding, only a complete trust that His Word will prove to be perfect and true in the end.

First Fruits PT

I really enjoy this guy’s teachings.  They are short  (this one is only 5 minutes) and jam-packed with neat scriptural connections.  (Although sometimes he moves a bit too fast for me.)

In this teaching, he shows what trumpets are used for in the scriptures.  He draws an interesting conclusion about what the scriptures mean when they say that the Savior will return at the “last trumpet,” connecting the seven trumpet blasts of Revelation with the trumpet blasts that are to occur at the start of each month on the new moon.  He also shares some ideas about how the final fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will fall 1,000 years after the return of our Savior. I had never heard that theory until this video, but I think it could be a good one.



Jim Staley

Jim Staley is a great teacher for Christians who are just coming to learn about the feast days.

Here are some time-markers for this teaching

  • First 28 minutes are introduction.
  • Around the 28th minute mark he begins teaching on the fall feasts, specifically, Trumpets.


Mark Biltz

Mark Biltz does a great job of showing the connection between traditional Jewish understanding of the feast days and their actual fulfillment in Messiah. Our older brother Judah has some great insights into the scriptures!

Here are some time-markers for this teaching:

  • The first 12 minutes or so are a terrific recap of the prophetic nature of the spring and fall feasts.  He also gives some great information on God’s calendar as opposed to our Julian calendar.
  • Around the 13th minute he starts in on the specifics of the feast of Trumpets, making some really neat scriptural connections in relation to the blowing of trumpets.
  • Around the 3oth minute he brings to light serious warnings for the church.
  • Around the 38th minute he addresses the whole “no man knows the day or hour” issue.
  • At the 42nd minute he does a short teaching on how Song of Solomon relates to this feast. Contained in it is another serious warning for those who disregard the necessity of remembering the Biblical feast days.
  • Just before the 57th minute he makes a neat connection between our betrothal to the Savior and this feast.

The Yearly Passover Question: Beginning or the End of the 14th?

Passover blood on doorposts
Passover is the next big feast day approaching, and I am excited! Passover talk and study has already begun in our house.  One of the yearly questions that comes up is:

Was the Passover lamb killed at the beginning or the end of the 14th day?

This year, after taking a look at the Hebrew phrase “ben ha arbayim,” I have some new considerations in this debate.

What follows is my study on this phrase.  Much of what follows was brought to my attention through various teachings/papers.  I am so thankful to have access to people who have studied Biblical languages and have rolled these questions around in their minds longer than I have.  I will make note of those sources as I go.

Though I did gain insights through other people, I have, to the best of my ability, verified everything here.  I didn’t just take an idea and run with it.  I have learned that all humans are capable of error, and all must be tested against the word.  Interlinearbible.org and I are close friends. 🙂

Calendars…

Because I know the subject of calendars can be sensitive, I wanted to make clear my intentions in sharing my study.

1) I share it here for my own reference.  It works better than printing off a document, because here I can have links. (Plus, if you’ve ever seen my desk or filing cabinet you’d know I don’t need any other papers cluttering them up. :-P)

2) I share it here and ask others to check it over. I certainly have not “arrived” in understanding, so it’s always nice to get a few people older in the faith to check my thoughts to be sure everything is lining up with scripture. Again, it’s easier to share a link than to print out a paper.  And the links within my study can be followed and verified more easily this way.

One More Word at the Outset

With that said, I want to present one other, very important thought before jumping in.  One of the papers I read on this subject, written by George Tabac (whom, for the record, I do not know a thing about other than his thoughts on this topic) concluded with these words, which I thought were very appropriate:

The purpose of this study is to strengthen our faith by harmonizing all the Scriptures on the subject. For unless we could answer in our minds each of the points raised, we would feel uncomfortable, for the Scriptures must be harmonious. We trust the study is beneficial to this end.

But, may we always remember what is of greatest import each year as we approach the memorial season: partaking of the emblems, applying the preciousness of what they symbolize to ourselves, participating with all our brethren in our Lord’s ransom merit for our justification, communion in the cup of sin offering experiences, and the opportunity to renew our consecration vows and, with renewed determination, to complete them.

Amen!

And now for the study…

Ben Ha Arbayim

“Ben ha arbayim” is translated “at twilight” or “between the evenings.”

It is a variation of the root word “erev.” This specific variation occurs 11 times, all in the Torah.

  • 5 times it references Passover
  • 1 time it references meat in the wilderness
  • 1 time it references the alter of incense
  • 4 times it references the daily sacrifice

I looked up each of the verses that contain this word in order to see if I could learn when exactly “ben ha arbayim” occurs in the day – at the beginning or at the end. (Remember that the beginning of a new day, according to Yahweh, is when the sun has set. See Leviticus 23:32)

The First Five Occurrences Regarding Passover

1) Exodus 12:6

and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight (ben ha arbayim).

2) Leviticus 23:5

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight (ben ha arbayim), is Yahweh’s Passover.

3) Numbers 9:3

On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight (ben ha arbayim), you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.

4) Numbers 9:5

And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight (ben ha arbayim), in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that Yahweh commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did.

5) Numbers 9:11

In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight (ben ha arbayim)they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

These Passover instructions don’t shed much light on exactly when “twilight” is.  Is it at the beginning of the 14th or the end?

Two theories

There are two theories (that I know of, anyway) on this subject:

1)  The Passover lamb was killed after the sun had set below the horizon, but while there was still light – a time between sunset and dark.  This theory places the lawful Passover at the beginning of the 14th.

2) The Passover lamb was killed after noon (when the sun begins the process of going down or “setting”) and sunset (when the sun drops below the horizon).  This theory places the lawful Passover at the end of the 14th.

This graphic gives a good visual for the two theories here:

Ben ha arbayim

The question is: Which of these theories is right? Do any of the other occurrences of this phrase (ben ha arbayim) shed any light on it?

One Occurrence Regarding Meat in the Wilderness

6) Exodus 16:12

I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight (ben ha arbayim) you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am Yahweh your God.

This doesn’t give us much insight. Yahweh could have provided the meat at the start of the day – when the sun had set below the horizon, but there was still light.  OR He could have provided the meat at the end of the day – when the sun was in the process of going down, but hadn’t yet gone below the horizon.

One Occurrence Regarding the Alter of Incense

7) Exodus 30:8

and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight (ben ha arbayim), he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before Yahweh throughout your generations.

This doesn’t give much insight either. Again, it could be that Yahweh wanted the lamps set up at the start of the day – when the sun had already set below the horizon.  OR He could have wanted them set up  at the end of the day – the afternoon when the sun was in the process of going down, but hadn’t yet set.

The Last Four Occurrences Regarding Daily Offerings

These verses are a very important part of this puzzle.

8) Exodus 29:38-39

Now this is what you are to offer on the altar: two lambs a year old, regularly, every day. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the second lamb you shall offer at twilight (ben ha arbayim).

9) Exodus 29:41

The second lamb you shall offer at twilight (ben ha arbayim), and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to Yahweh.

10) Numbers 28:3-4

Tell them, “This is the offering made by fire that you are to bring to Yahweh: male lambs in their first year and without defect, two daily as a regular burnt offering. Offer the one lamb in the morning and the second lamb at twilight (ben ha arbayim);

11) Numbers 28:8

The second lamb you shall offer at twilight (ben ha arbayim). Like the grain offering of the morning, and like its drink offering, you shall offer it as a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to Yahweh.

In these instructions we have more information about when exactly “ben ha arbayim” is.

Two lambs have to be offered each day:

  • One has to be done in the morning.
  • The second has to be done at twilight (ben ha arbayim), which must be before the end of the day.

Though some translations say one has to be done in the morning and the other has to be done at twilight, this is an incorrect translation.  The specific Hebrew word used is “second” – an ordinal number.

So, “between the evenings” takes place on the same day as the morning sacrifice, before that day ends. It cannot be the second sacrifice if it is made after sunset, because then it would be the first sacrifice of the day.

Here is another helpful graphic I came across to illustrate the timing of the sacrifices:

Two Daily Offerings

Elijah’s Sacrifice

There is another section of scripture that bears second witness to the idea that the evening sacrifice would have been before the sun set below the horizon. 1 Kings 18 tells about the show-down between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal. By paying close attention to the timing of the events, we gain more insight into what time of day the evening sacrifice was made.

26 They [the prophets of Baal] took the bull he gave them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon. They said, “Baal, answer us!” But there wasn’t a sound or an answer. So they danced around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah started to make fun of them. “Shout louder, since he is a god. Maybe he’s thinking, relieving himself, or traveling! Maybe he’s sleeping, and you have to wake him!”

28 So they shouted louder. They also cut themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed. (This is what their ritual called for.) 29 In the afternoon they continued to rant and rave until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no sound, no answer, no attention given to them.

Recap: From morning until noon, the prophets of Baal appealed to their god to consume the sacrifice they had prepared on their altar.  At noon, Elijah started to make fun of them.  They made their appeals with more fervor until the time for the evening sacrifice.

In the meantime, Elijah was preparing his altar. We’ll resume with the story at verse 36:

36 When it was time to offer the sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward. He said, “Yahweh Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make known today that you are Elohim in Israel and that I’m your servant and have done all these things by your instructions. 37 Answer me, Yahweh! Answer me! Then these people will know that you, Yahweh, are Elohim and that you are winning back their hearts.”

38 So a fire from Yahweh fell down and consumed the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dirt. The fire even dried up the water that was in the trench. 39 All the people saw it and immediately bowed down to the ground. “Yahweh is Elohim!” they said. “Yahweh is Elohim!”

So, at the time of the evening sacrifice, which we know to be at twilight (ben ha arbayim), Yahweh sent fire to consume his burnt offering. (Which is awesomely cool.  Our God is incredible!)

Now let’s see what transpired after twilight to get clues as to how much time there was from twilight until darkness.

40 Elijah told them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let any of them escape.” The people seized them, and Elijah took them to the Kishon River and slaughtered them there.

41 Then Elijah told Ahab, “Get up, eat, and drink. It sounds like a heavy rain is coming.” 42 Ahab got up to eat and drink.

Elijah went to the top of Carmel and bowed down on the ground to pray. 43 He said to his servant, “Please go back to Mount Carmel, and look toward the sea.”

He went up, looked, came back, and said, “There’s nothing.”

Seven times Elijah told him, “Go back.”

44 After the seventh time the servant said, “A little cloud like a man’s hand is coming from the sea.”

Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and leave before the rain delays you.’”

45 Gradually, the sky grew darker with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. Ahab got into his chariot to go back to Jezreel. 46 Yahweh’s power was on Elijah. He hiked up his robe and ran ahead of Ahab until they came to Jezreel.

I’m going to borrow the bullet points summarizing the activities done between twilight (ha arbayim) and darkness from another article on this same topic.

  • The capture of the prophets of Baal by the people of Israel (I Kings 18:40).
  • The execution of the 450 prophets of Baal by the Brook Kishon (I Kings 18:40).
  • Elijah’s message to King Ahab to eat and drink because rain was coming (I Kings 18:41).
  • Elijah’s climb to the top of the 1,600+ ft. Mount Carmel (I Kings 18:42).
  • Elijah sending his servant to look toward the sea seven different times (I Kings 18:43).
  • The sighting by his servant on the seventh look of “a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising out of the sea” (I Kings 18:44).
  • The blackening of the sky due to clouds (not night!) as heavy rains began to fall (I Kings 18:45).

Conclusion

Based on this understanding of the evening sacrifice given in Exodus, Numbers, and 1 Kings, we can interpret Exodus 12:6 as:

And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the afternoon of that 14th day, as the sun is going down, but before sunset.

I still have more studying to do to figure out whether Yeshua’s last meal was a Passover meal or not.  But for now, it seems reasonably clear to me that the Passover lamb was to be killed at the end of the 14th and that Yeshua’s death at 3pm on the 14 day of the month was a perfect fulfillment!  Here is another helpful resource regarding this topic:

Was the Last Supper a Passover Meal

I wish blessings to everyone preparing their hearts to partake of this incredible appointed time!

Not Even One Righteous?

romans-3_10

We have a friend in our fellowship who often says, “All doesn’t always mean all.”  I’ve had a good time jesting with him about it, but I didn’t clearly understand what he meant until today when I had a personal encounter with this phenomenon.

I was curled up on my bathroom floor with my Bible. (Yes, it sounds like a strange place to read, but it was warm and cozy on the carpet in there, and I could turn the light on without risk of waking anyone else.)  I had just prayed that God would open His word to me and teach me something new.  Then I began the book of Romans. My faith is still often so small, because I was floored when I realized He heard me and had responded within minutes.  What an awesome God we serve!

The main revelation came as I read this well-known passage in Romans 3:

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (quoting from Psalm 14:1-3)

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” (quoting from Psalm 5:9)

“The venom of asps is under their lips.” (quoting from Psalm 140:3)

“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” (quoting from Psalm 10:7)

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” (quoting from Proverbs 1:16, 3:15-17)

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (quoting from Psalm 36:1)

How I Have Historically Understood These Verses

These verses seem to say that every human being is unrighteous.  Not one person understands.  Not one seeks for God. Not one does good.

The Problem

But I’ve always had a problem reconciling this passage with others like these:

  • “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous.” (Hebrews 11:4)
  • “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation.  Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)
  • “And they (Zechariah and Elizabeth) were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” (Luke 1:6)

If no humans are righteous and none seek after God, how do we explain Abel, Noah, Zechariah and Elizabeth?

The Context of Romans

As I reflected on what Paul had been talking about in the first three chapters of this book, something began to click.

He’s been talking about ungodly, unrighteous people who suppress the truth.  And he’s been directing his audiences’ attention to the fact that these ungodly people aren’t just Gentiles. Sure, some of them are Gentiles.  Some sin without the law and will perish without the law (Romans 2:12).  But there are also those Gentiles who, though they don’t have the full law, recognize enough truth in the things that have been made and do what the law requires (Romans 1:20 and 2:14).  On the other hand, there are plenty of people who do have the law and don’t do it (Romans 2:17-24).  Jews were not immune to being unrighteous evildoers, as it seems some of them supposed.

“Are we Jews any better off?” Paul asks in 3:9. “No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written.”

He then goes on to present those various quotes, mostly from Psalms.

It seemed to me that one of Paul’s main points was that unrighteous evildoers are made up of both Jews and Greeks. So, was he really trying to say that all humans are worthless, unrighteous, and unable to do good? Or was he trying to say that all groups of people – both Jews and Greeks – have unrighteous evildoers among them?

I figured I could probably gain some insight by going back to the psalms Paul quoted. I was interested to know whether David believed that every human being is worthless.  Did he believe that not one person understands? That not one seeks for God?

David’s Perspective in Psalm 14

I started with the first reference Paul made, Psalm 14:1-3.

It begins:

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.”

Interesting! David is specifying a group of people – fools.  Maybe what Paul and David were trying to say was that among the fools, there is none who does good.

I continued to read.

“The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.  They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”

Hmm… Maybe my theory was wrong after all.  David seems to be saying every human, all the children of men, are corrupt.

I continued.

“Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?

Aha! There it was again! He started off defining the group of corrupt people as fools, and now he’s defining them as the evildoers.  But, is there another group of non-evildoers or is he classifying the whole human race in this category?

I continue again.

“There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.  You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.”

There it is!  There are two distinct groups – the evildoing fools and the righteous.

But What About Psalm 5?

I went to the next psalm Paul quoted.  Psalm 5:4 gave me more clues :

“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”

So David is presenting this group of evildoers again.  But are all humans a part of this group?

“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.”

A few verses later, David says,

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”

How beautiful! David doesn’t count himself among this group of evildoers.  In fact, he counts himself among the righteous.  They are not righteous because of their merit, but because they love the name of the Lord and because they take refuge in him. They will enter God’s house because of God’s abundant, steadfast love. Stunning!

At this point I was pretty confident that when David said they all had turned aside, he didn’t actually mean all. He meant that all of the fools had turned aside.

The Rest of the Psalms

The rest of the psalms that Paul quoted supported this understanding.  There were always two groups.  One group was full of arrogant, evil, lying, bloodthirsty, deceitful, boastful, violent people who renounced the name of Yahweh.  The other cried for mercy, valued the steadfast love of God, took refuge in the shadow of His wings, and knew that light and life were found with God.

Conclusion

Unless further study sheds additional light on these verses, I believe that Paul and David were not saying that every single human is unrighteous and worthless.  They were saying that every single fool is unrighteous and worthless.

Paul was trying to get the Jews to see that they were not immune from being unrighteous. And Gentiles were not automatically unrighteous.  Just as both can be under sin, so can both receive the blessing of having their sins covered (Romans 4:7-12) Both can be established in righteousness through faith in the Messiah (Romans 3:21-26).

Maybe we’ve been fools at one time, but we have the ability to change camps. We can join the camp of righteous Abel, Noah, Zechariah, and Elizabeth.  We can cry out for mercy, take refuge in the shadow of His wings, find the steadfast love of God, and receive light and life that belong to the Almighty through the blood of the perfect Lamb who took away the sins of the world.

What a merciful God! What a beautiful gospel!

No More Mosaic Law? Shadow/Substance (Colossians 2:16-17)

This is part of a series that began here.

Adjusted Colossians 2

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink,
or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”

Colossians 2:16-17

What the Verse Seems to Say

Don’t let anyone judge you for eating foods that were once considered unclean or for not keeping feasts or Sabbaths.  They were merely a shadow of things to come.  Since the substance is Christ, if you have Him, you have all you need.

The Problems

This interpretation requires re-working lots of other scriptures where we see the apostles and new disciples adhering to the dietary law and keeping the feasts even after the Savior’s death.  It also makes Paul, who kept the feast days, even “hastening to be in Jerusalem” for them (Acts 20:16), seem a bit hypocritical.

Aside from being hypocritical, this understanding of Paul’s words makes him a heretic when we consider that the Father warned that only false prophets would speak against His commandments (Deut 13:1-5). For the sake of brevity, we’ll look only at a few of His commandments on the topic of His Sabbaths:

  • “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.” (Exodus 31:13)
  • “Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” (Isaiah 56:2, but the whole chapter highlights how important the Sabbath is to our heavenly Father.)
  • “Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.” (Ezekiel 22:26)

By God’s own words, those who profane His Sabbaths profane Him.  This makes it all the more critical that we rightly understand Paul’s words here in Colossians.

The interpretation that God’s instructions are no longer important doesn’t fit with the larger context of the Bible.  It also doesn’t fit with the context of the second chapter of Colossians.

Context of Colossians

In Colossians 2:6, Paul begins by telling the Colossians not to be taken captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world.  He doesn’t want them to follow human traditions.

Are the feast days and Sabbath human traditions? Hardly.  In the verses quoted above, we saw God refer to “MY Sabbaths.”  In Leviticus 23, He clearly says, “these are MY appointed feasts.” They are our Father’s days.

So then what kind of human tradition is he warning the believers about? In verse 18 he tells us: asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind. In verse 23, he mentions asceticism again.

Asceticism

Merriam-Webster defines asceticism as “practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline.” This definition precisely matches Paul’s warnings in this passage.

The ascetic philosophy and empty deceit says, “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” (v 21).  These rules, based on severity to the body, are merely “human precepts and teachings” and “self-made religion,” not at all based on the word of God. They only have “an appearance of wisdom” (v 22-23).

Instead of walking in these ascetic ways, Paul wants the Colossians to walk in Christ, rooted and built up in Him (v 6-7). He wants them to hold fast to Christ, the Head (v 10, 19).

So, we have Paul warning about the danger of this ascetic philosophy and of not remaining rooted in Christ between verses 6 and 23.  In the middle, we’ve got verses 16-17 where Paul seems to be saying not to worry about keeping God’s days anymore.  But how exactly does asceticism fit with the feasts and Sabbath? Were the ascetics judging the Colossians because they weren’t keeping the dietary laws or because they weren’t keeping the feast days?

A closer look at the Greek

I am no Greek scholar, but when I watched this 15 minute lesson on the Greek construction of this passage and then tested it by looking at it for myself on interlinearbible.org, it made perfect sense why Paul was discussing being judged on the feasts and Sabbath in the middle of a discussion on wrong ascetic behavior.  And it all hinges on a couple of conjunctions.

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Another Small, But Critical Word

Another point in the Greek that isn’t made in the video above is regarding the Greek conjunction “de” translated as “but” in verse 17. (These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.)  This word can also mean “yet,” “and,” “moreover,” “indeed now.”  So, instead of making the two parts of the sentence seem to contradict each other, the writer could very well have intended to show the connection of the two thoughts.

A Literal Translation

After looking closely at the Greek, this literal translation emerges:

Do not, therefore, let anyone judge you in eating and in drinking
either in part of a feast, or a new moon, or a Sabbath,
which are a shadow of the things to come, yet the body is of Christ.

The Greek is clear. The Sabbaths, new moons, and feast days are valuable because they point us to what is still to come. They are not a shadow of things that WERE to come. They are a shadow of what IS to come – future tense.  Just as Christ precisely and perfectly fulfilled each of the spring feast days during His first coming, He will also precisely and perfectly fulfill each of the fall feast days during His second coming.

The substance of the Sabbath, new moon, and feast days belong to Christ Himself.  He is the body of these appointed times, and Paul wants the believers to hold fast to Him. The Colossians had no reason to be ashamed of these God-given days. In fact, they should stay firmly connected to them.

The eating and drinking associated with these joyous days were not to be abandoned as the ascetics would lead them to believe.  The believers should not let anyone judge them for how they eat or drink, either in partaking of a feast or a new moon or Sabbaths.

Rich Symbols

It is true that the feast days are shadows and symbols that point to Christ.  Many symbols are made rich with Christ’s meaning, but this doesn’t negate the necessity of the symbol. Churches use the symbols of baptism and communion.  Just because we understand deeper meaning when we understand how the symbol points to Christ doesn’t mean we then toss the symbol.  We continue to use the symbol as we celebrate all meaning that God always intended.

Woven Scripture

I love it when all the different parts of scripture the kids and I read each day end up weaving together to paint a perfect and beautiful picture. Check this out:

Last week, in Deuteronomy 28 and 29, we read about the blessings that would come to God’s people if they loved Him and obeyed His instructions.  We also read about the curses that would come to them if they stopped loving God and disobeyed His instructions – curses like losing wars, not having rain or enough food, being sick, etc.

Today, in 1 Kings 8, we read Solomon’s prayer as he was dedicating the newly built temple. He spoke of a future time when God’s children would be defeated in war, lack rain, experience famine, and disease because they sinned against God’s instructions.  They would experience the curses God promised in Deuteronomy, but Solomon asked God to hear the people’s prayers when they repented by confessing their sins and walking rightly before Him again in love.

And then, we read 1 John 1:7-9. Verse 9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He’s saying just what Solomon said!

Is that not cool?!

We are God’s children, the children of Israel. The Bible is the story of every believer.  It hasn’t changed, except that we can now see a few things clearly.

  • We can see the means by which our heavenly Father forgives us – the blood of the spotless Lamb, Yeshua.
  • And we can see the means by which He cleanses us from all unrighteousness – the Spirit that Ezekiel prophesied would empower us to walk in His statutes and to carefully obey His rules (Ezek 36:27).

HalleluYAH!

No More Mosaic Law? Thus He declared all foods clean (Mark 7:18-19)

This is part of a series that began here.kosher pig

“Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?”
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)

Mark 7:18-19

What the Verse Seems to Say

He declared all foods clean.  It’s simple. For lovers of bacon, this verse seals the deal.  You are forever allowed to enjoy pig products in any form you’d like. Actually, you can enjoy any of the animals previously forbidden by God – shrimp, clams, lobster, dogs, rats.  They’re all clean.

The Problem

The problem is that the Father clearly says otherwise throughout the scriptures.  He very specifically lays out which animals He created for food and which He doesn’t want us eating or even touching.  For the sake of brevity, we’ll look only at the mentions of pigs:

  • And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you. (Leviticus 11:7-8)
  • I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good,  following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks;who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig’s flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels. (Isaiah 65:2-4)
  • Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the LORD. (Isaiah 66:17)

The problem is worsened when we consider that the Savior Himself said that the words He spoke were not His but the Father’s who sent Him (John 14:24). His words become downright heretical when we consider that the Father warned that only false prophets would speak against His commandments (Deut 13:1-5).

The Surprise

When I started studying whether the food laws had been lifted by the Savior in the New Testament, this was one of the primary verses I needed to address.  I went to one of my trusty online study tools, InterlinearBible.org, and was blown away by what I found.

The sentence, “Thus He declared all food clean” is NOT in the original text!

Check it out for yourself.

What it says is that food enters into the belly, then into the latrine, thereby purifying all the food.

The word translated “purifying” is the Greek word katharizo, which according to Strongs Concordance means “cleanse, purge, purify.”

He is simply describing the digestive process. You eat food, then purge it.

The Context

The beginning of chapter seven lays out the context and helps us to understand what the exact topic of conversation is.

Some Pharisees, who adhered to a very strict, totally man-made system of hand-washing, saw that Jesus’ disciples ate without washing their hands at all. This made them indignant.

It’s important to note that God never outlined any method of cleansing hands before eating.  Our Savior and His disciples were not breaking any God-given instruction. But the Pharisees were professional extra-Biblical rule-makers. And they were furious when anyone refused to follow them.

Our Savior responded with scathing rebuke:

“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!”

He was telling His disciples that eating with unwashed hands would not defile them.  It was the contents of our hearts that defile us.  People like the Pharisees who left the commandments of God to chase after their own traditions were the defiled ones.

What Was Not Up For Discussion

The definition of what counted as food was never in question.  God only created certain animals to be eaten. Everyone involved in this conversation was on the same page on that issue.

Can you imagine what the Pharisees’ response would have been if He had said what most believers think he said?! Overturning the Father’s dietary laws would have definitively made him a false prophet.  And doing so right after chastising the Pharisees for abandoning the law would have been just plain weird.  No need to continue testing Him or looking for false witnesses to testify against him.  The whole crowd would have been up in arms.  This would have been a much bigger issue than our Bibles present.

Conclusion

The Savior did not challenge Mosaic law by changing the definition of food.  He merely challenged the man-made notion that eating with dirty hands would defile you.

For further study, here are two more posts you may enjoy.

No More Mosaic Law? Introduction

The Law - hand drawn

A while ago I wrote about my secret inner struggle.  For those who haven’t read it, the short version is that my understanding of the scriptures was fractured for years.  I saw two different sides of my Bible and had nothing more than a very vague notion of how to reconcile them.

How did the law of the Old Testament really fit with the New Testament?

How did obedience and grace relate?

Why were things that were such a big deal to God on the left side of my Bible suddenly treated like they were no longer important to Him on the right?

There seemed to exist no legitimate hope of finding truly satisfying answers to my questions.  Sure, I had the standard responses down, but they weren’t comprehensive enough to keep questions from reappearing.

The turn in events came when I began listening to my inner count.  That was the first moment I had hope for lasting peace and reconciliation of the scriptures.  That was when the answers first started coming. As I approached the scriptures with this fresh sense of hope, I found that they were making sense like never before.

Interestingly, it seemed like the majority of the Old and New Testament presented the Mosaic Law in a very favorable light. But then again there were lots of New Testament verses that seemed to paint the law in a very UNfavorable light. Believing that the Bible cannot be contradictory, I pressed into these verses. As I did, I found some very interesting things.

Being the total nerd that I am, I’ve been putting all my findings together into these posts.  I figured there must be some fellow believers out there interested in checking them out. (Surely I’m not really the only one with questions about these verses, right?)

As I complete posts about each individual scripture, I’ll link them below.  They most likely won’t be done in order, and I can’t guarantee that I’ll get to them in a timely manner.  I’ve been sitting on about a dozen half-completed posts for months now.  I’m hoping that by publishing this initial post, I’ll get into gear and finish what I’ve started.  😛

Things that our Savior did/said that seem to contradict the Law of Moses

  • John 5:18 – “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath …”
  • John 8:1-11 – “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Things other people did/said that seem to contradict the Law of Moses

  • Acts 15:19-20 “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.”
  • Acts 20:7 – “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread…”

Things Paul did/said that seem to contradict the Law of Moses

  • Romans 6:14 – “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
  • Romans 7:4 – “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.”
  • Romans 10:4 – “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
  • Romans 14:5 – “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”
  • Galatians 5:4 – “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justifiedby the law; you have fallen away from grace.”
  • Ephesians 2:14-16 – “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”
  • Colossians 2:14 – “…by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
  • 1 Timothy4:4 – “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving”

Things that scholars today do/say to contradict the Law of Moses