Recently I came across a documentary called the way. On the documentary came a series of burning question. Here are the questions that were discussed 

If Jesus lived A Perfect Life
     1. Why do we keep a different day as Sabbath?
     2. Why don’t we celebrate the same Holidays
     3. Why don’t we eat the same foods? 
     4. Why don’t we keep the same Law?

Throughout the documentary, there was a lot of attacks of Pagan additions into Christianity, an attack on Easter, Sunday worship. It also had an emphasis on keeping the Sabbath, keeping the feast of the Old Testament as well as the keeping of the the Mosaic Diet Law

Where I Stand In The Matter?
Interestingly I was in the middle between the “churchianity” as described by the documentary and the views of “The Way International”

I admit that the Christianity of the modern day is a far cry from the Christianity that was practiced by the Apostles. Personally, I wanted to return to the Christianity taught by Jesus and the apostles. However, the conclusion that I draw is very far from what these people advocate.

My church and I are Sabbath keepers, but we choose to keep the Sabbath as taught by Jesus in the gospel. For the one we follow is the Lord of the Sabbath. We keep the Sabbath under the covenant of Christ. The method that it was kept is slightly different from the Mosaic Covenant. Here are some articles I have written previously regarding this 

Remembering the significance of the Sabbath

A Contrast Between Law And Grace (Part 2/2)

At the same time, we kept the Law that was kept by Christ. In particular I am referring to the ten commandments. The ten commandments are moral obligations that preceded mosaic law. They are narrated by God to Israel on Mount Sinai. These commandments form the basis and the Spirit of the law of Moses.

There is a recent trend in Christendom to go back to the original language.  Among these people, there were many who wanted to  “Return to the Hebrew roots”. The main proponents of this camp claims that since Jesus led a perfect life. There is a need to celebrate the same holidays as him, eat the same food as him.

Why don’t we celebrate the same Holidays As Christ?

But I view the matter very differently, unlike what the documentary suggests, I do not take my stand base on the writing of the church fathers. The conclusion I draw came from my own Hebrew Root and my understanding of how the Mosaic covenant works.

Luke once mentioned in his gospel. 

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets,
  He expounded to them in all the Scriptures
  the things concerning Himself.”- Luke (Lk 24:27)

From here we know that much that was written in the Mosaic Law are about Christ. When Jesus came on earth, he is not there to abolish the Law of Moses, in fact he came to earth to fulfil it. 

“These are the words which I spoke
  to you while I was still with you,
  that all things must be fulfilled
  which were written in the Law
  of Moses and the Prophets and
  the Psalms concerning Me.”- Jesus (Lk 24:46)

“Thus it is written, and thus it
  was necessary for the Christ to
  suffer and to rise[from the dead
  the third day, and that repentance
  and remission of sins should be
  preached in His name (Jesus)  to
  all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”- Luke (Lk 24:46-47)

All the statutes, feast days and sacrifices are concerning Christ. They are meant as prophecies about Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. When Christ died on the cross, he had fulfilled all the requirements in the Mosaic Covenant.

These feasts were  meant to teach the people concerning Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. When Christ came to die on the cross, he had fulfilled  all the requirements written under the Mosaic covenant

That is why when I read the Torah I do not approach it with an attitude that  that it was partially fulfilled. Rather, I would look hard and understand the purpose and the details of each of the feast to see how the sacrifice of Christ made them obsolete. I studied into the Torah to see what it says concerning Jesus.

While everyone in the documentary felt that the fall feast of the Lord are not fulfilled. I have discussed each and everyone of these feast and its fulfilment in these blog articles

1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)
4. Feast Of The Tabernacles (Part 4)

The Need For observing The Law Of food

In the same way, the law of food is given to the Israelites as a means of differentiating them from the gentiles. Base on the Torah, the purpose of the the separation of the clean and unclean animals are clear.

“I am the Lord your God, who
  has separated you from the peoples.
  You shall therefore distinguish
  between clean animals and unclean,
  between unclean birds and clean,
  and you shall not make yourselves
  abominable by beast or by bird, or by
  any kind of living thing that creeps
  on the ground, which I have separated
  from you as unclean.
  
And you shall be holy to Me, for I the
  Lord am holy, and have separated you 
  from the peoples, that you should be Mine.”- YHWH (Lev 20:24-26)

The Mosaic Covenant practice the separation of clean and unclean animals base on the fact that God had separated Israel from the people. That is the reason why they need to distinguish between clean and unclean animals.

But this separation had ended when the salvation of Christ comes upon the gentiles. Peter talked about this in the council of Jerusalem

“Men and brethren, you know
  that a good while ago God chose
  among us, that by my mouth
  the Gentiles should hear the word
  of the gospel and believe.
   So God, who knows the heart,
  acknowledged them by giving
  them the Holy Spirit, just as He
  did
to us, and made no distinction
  between us and them, purifying
  their hearts by faith.” – Peter (Acts 15:7-9)

This is why now in the Covenant of Christ, whoever who receives Christ had to accept Baptism for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38). Baptism removes these separation

For as many of you as were
  baptized into Christ have put
  on Christ. There is neither Jew
  nor Greek, there is neither slave
  nor free, there is neither male nor
  female; for you are all one in Christ
   Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then
  you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs
  according to the promise.”- Paul (Gal 3:27-29)

So ask yourself in the spirit of the Covenant of Christ, is there still a need for these distinction? I have written on this topic extensively here.

The Shadow Of The Old Testament (Part 5 , Part 6)

The Need For A Better Covenant

In the past, those who transgress against the Law will be judged by God. For the Law of Moses offers no solution to sin. Animals are sacrificed continually before God. Feast after feast, year after year. The Tabernacle need to be purified with blood again and again for it was dwelling in the midst of unclean Israel.

To prevent Israel from sinning, God made it a point for the Law to be read to the people every 7 years, complete with the blessings to those who keep it and the curses to those who transgress against it.

Yet in the midst of all these, we read of the repeated failure to keep the Law of God by Israel. The problem did not lie in the law of God, but it lies in the weakness of Israel to keep the Law of God. That is why we read of the many times where God judge the people for their sin and cursed Israel for their unfaithfulness to keep the old covenant.

The only man close to perfect is King David. Even David transgressed against the commandment of God when he took the wife of Uriah the Hittite. As the result, he had to face the curse of God and be judged for his sin. He paid the consequences as he encountered the rebellion of Absalom. The sword never departed from his house.

Those who kept the Law did not have their sin forgiven. They died in their sins, they are able to prevent themselves from sinning if they remind themselves of the Law of God. But yet they will constantly find themselves transgressing against the Law of God facing the judgement from God.

That is why God promise to sign another Covenant with Israel. As he promised through Prophet Jeremiah

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
  when I will make a new covenant with the
  house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
  not according to the covenant that I made
  with their fathers in the day that I took them
  by the hand to lead them out of the land of
  Egypt, My covenant which they broke,
  though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.””" – Jeremiah (Jer 31:31-32)

In this new Covenant, everyone will know God personally, where God will forgive them of sins.

“I will put My law in their minds, and write
   it on their hearts; and I will be their God,
  and they shall be My people.

   No more shall every man teach his neighbor,
  and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the
  Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least
  of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord.
   For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I 
  will remember no more.”

The Way

Interestingly, Christianity was not known as Christianity during the time of the Apostles. The term Christians was first use in Antioch (Acts 11:26) . The first Christians made a distinction between themselves and their Jewish counterparts who practice the Torah. Paul made this distinction in his speech before Felix the governor.

But this I confess to you, that
  according to the Way which they
  call a sect, so I worship the God
   of my fathers, believing all things
  which are written in the Law and in
  the Prophets. I have hope in God,
  which they themselves also accept,
  that there will be a resurrection of
  the dead,  both of the just and the unjust.”- Paul (Acts 24:14-15)

Paul called Christianity “The Way”. He acknowledge that he is worshiping the God of his fathers.  The way makes use of the same Torah that are used by the Jewish counterpart. The practitioners of The Way, emphasise on Baptism in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin(Acts 19:5). It believes in the speaking of tongues as evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts19:6-7).  It believes that the Kingdom of God had already come. (Acts 19:8)

But many who were in the synagogue who read the Torah spoke evil of “The Way” (Acts 19:9). If Paul emphasised the following of feast , and the keeping of the diet law, why would fellow Jews who are Torah believing speak against it?

If the followers kept all of the Law of Moses, why would there be a Jerusalem decree? The matter of contention is very obvious

“But some of the sect of the Pharisees
  who believed rose up, saying, “It is
  necessary to circumcise them, and
  to command them to keep the law
  of Moses.” – Luke (Acts 15:5)

I do not deny the fact that it is recorded in the bible that the apostles kept the feast. The scriptures did record of them keeping the feast. (I Cor. 16:8-9). These occurrence happen after they believed in Jesus Christ. But did they keep it as a requirement of the way of Christ? or did they keep it simply because they were Jews? Most importantly, did they teach others to keep it? If it is so, why did the Christians not gather in Jerusalem for the feast?

The Promised Grace That Preceded The Law Of Moses

When God first appeared to Israel on Mount Sinai, he gave the 10 commandments to the children of Israel directly. However, the children of Israel was unable to draw near to God, they were terrified of God. Moses recorded their words in Deuteronomy 5.

“Surely the Lord our God has
  shown us His glory and His
  greatness, and we have heard
  His voice from the midst of the fire.
  We have seen this day that 
  God speaks with man; yet he still lives.

   Now therefore, why should we die?
  For this great fire will consume us;
   if we hear the voice of the Lord our
  God anymore, then we shall die. 
   For who is there of all flesh who has
  heard the voice of the living God
  speaking from the midst of the fire,
  as we have, and lived?

   You go near and hear all that the Lord
  our God may say, and tell us all that
   the Lord our God says to you, and
  we will hear and do it.” –Israel  (Deut 5:24-27)

The reaction of Israel saddened God. So he instructed Moses

“I have heard the voice of the words of
  this people which they have spoken to you.
  They are right in all that they have spoken.

   Oh, that they had such a heart in them
  that they would fear Me and always keep
  all My commandments, that it might be
  well with them and with their children forever!

   Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.

  But as for you, stand here by Me, and I will
  speak to you all the commandments,
  the statutes, and the judgments which you
  shall teach them, that they may observe
  them in the land which I am giving them
  to possess.’ ”- YHWH (Deut 5:28-32)

That is why the law was given to Moses, and Moses had to teach the children of Israel. Moses recalled the words of the Lord in this incident once again in Deut 18

“They are right in what they have spoken.
    
I will raise up for them a prophet like you
   from among their brothers. And I will put
   my words in his mouth, and he shall speak 
   to them all that I command him.
    And whoever will not listen to my words
   that he shall speak in my name, I myself 
   will require it of him.””- YHWH (Deut 18:17-19)

These words were spoken before Moses even penned a single line of the Law of Moses. For only after the promise of the Prophet is given then Moses went up mount Sinai and received the Law. That Law is what this documentary calls “The Law”

When you think about this suddenly the words of John comes alive.
“"For the law was given through Moses,
  but grace and truth came through
  Jesus Christ.” – John (Jn 1:17)

Before Moses recorded the commandments,  the statutes, and the judgments he received from God. God had already promise that he will raise another prophet like Moses. At that time, people are to obey the words of that Prophet. Whoever who disobey that prophet will be judged by God. These verse are one of the earliest prophecy of the coming of Christ.

They are also the reason why I would rather follow The Way as taught by Jesus. Which included the commandments given by God at Mount Sinai.

Conclusion

While I respect the dedication of the people in their effort to keep the words of God, as well as their passion to return to the Way which is prescribe by the Apostles. lets us understand that the Apostles attitude and view towards the Torah is very different from the Jews of their time.

Christ had taught his disciples personally before he ascended to Heaven, he taught them what  the Torah says about him and how he fulfilled the Torah. After Jesus was taken up to heaven, his disciples taught the teaching and Instruction of Jesus. They performed baptism, to pray for the Holy Spirit, to break bread(Holy Communion) on the daily basis. That is because those are the instructions of Jesus.

The disciples often gathered on Sabbath and they studied the word of God. In those days, they look hard at the Torah to find prophecies concerning Christ. They preached that Jesus Christ is the messiah  and it is through his name that everyone is saved. Just as what Peter said to the Sanhedrin

“Nor is there salvation in any other,
  for there is no other name under
  heaven given among men by which
  we must be saved.”-Peter (Acts 4:12)

If we indeed want to follow the way. Let us keep the words of Christ and understand from the Torah how Christ had fulfilled all of its requirements. Let us study the Torah in depth to find Christ from within the Torah.

May God help us to find “The Way”. May we all return to the way that God had intended.

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