So far we have explored many aspect of Jewish Ceremonial laws in the Shadow Of The Old Testament Series

This is what we have discussed so far

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)
5. Clean And Unclean Meat (Part 5 , Part 6)
6. Burning Of Incense (Part 7, Part 8
7. Lighting Of Lamp (Part 9, Part 10 )
8. Offering Of Sacrifice (Part 11, Part 12)
9. Esther and Purim ( Part 13)
10. The Spring Feast (Part 14)

As Passover had arrived. Let us examine the prefiguration’s of the Passover lamb. Before we start, let us consider what we know from Part 14.

1. The Passover sacrifice is instituted under the Mosaic Covenant
2. It is used to commemorate the night, God  struck the Egyptians and deliver Israel
3. 1 Goat is offered on the day for sin offering on behalf of Israel

The Passover is full of prefiguration’s of Christ. Paul once described Jesus as the Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7)

Looking Deeper At The Passover Lamb

Throughout the instruction of Moses concerning the Passover lamb, you can see the similarity between Christ and the lamb

Point Fulfilment
1. Without blemish (Ex 12:5) Christ is perfect and sinless
2. ITs bones unbroken (Ex 12:44) Christ’s bones were unbroken in the crucifixion (Jn 19:36)
3. Roasted whole (Ex 12:8-9) Christ offers was one time and complete (Heb 9:11,15,27-28)
4. Eaten with unleavened bread
     and bitter herb (Ex 12:8-9)
Christ had to endure suffering affliction for our sake  (Is 53:5)
5. Its blood be painted on door
    post  (Ex 12:7)
His blood is the blood that saves us from certain death. Today Christians receive his blood through baptism
(ACts 2:38, Rom 6:1-4)
6. Eat with haste (Ex 12:11) Christians who follow Christ must be willing and prepared to leave our lives on earth and walk with God in the wilderness

 

As far as the feast of the Passover is concern, Christ had sacrificed himself and fulfilled all of the requirements written in the Law. His sacrifice is once and for all, and from then on Christians who follow his covenant is called out from the world and need to live a life on earth as a sojourner

Jesus And The Last Passover On Earth

Just before the ultimate sacrifices of Jesus on the cross, on that Last Passover under the Mosaic Covenant. Jesus did 2 things that he commanded his disciples to do.  It is important for after his sacrifice is complete. The era of the Messiah would be started and a beginning of a new covenant would have arrive. At the same time, the old Mosaic Covenant will be fulfilled.

The New Covenant of Christ comes with its own set of feast and ordinances , different from the ones that were given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Therefore, Jesus instituted 2 of the Most important sacraments of the New Testament on that Last Passover Night of the Old Covenant. In the past I choose to keep doctrinal issues out of my blog so that readers could read what we teach without any biasness.

But nowadays we have Hebrew roots movement that seek to force Christians to go back into keeping of the Passover like the Jews. Yet today they themselves could not keep the feast fully. They each keep to the feast on their own terms which are usually far from what the Mosaic Law requires.

Therefore in this article I would talk about the 2 institution briefly. If today so many from the Hebrew roots movement are willing to go through the difficulty to keep the Passover, which the Jews failed to keep in their thousand years of History.

I am pretty sure they are able to keep the 2 institution of Christ without much problem.
For they are the instruction of Christ and are much simpler compared to the Passover sacrifice.

But yet like the Israelites that they want to emulate. I am pretty sure that they would not be able to do it for they would be full of unbelief to trust the instruction of Christ to do it.

The Breaking OF Bread And Partaking of Cup

There was near Passover, when Jesus was preaching, he performed the great miracle of feeding the 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. Since that day, there was many who came seeking him. But Jesus said that they were there for bread rather than the truth.

So Jesus shared a truth with them, they must eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood for eternal life (Jn 6:53). At that time many disciples followed him no more, for they thought Jesus was talking about physically eating his flesh and drinking his blood. But Jesus explained later.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh
  profits nothing. The words that I speak
  to you are spirit, and they are life.” – Jesus (6:63)

This truth is only understood at the last Passover of the Mosaic Covenant when Jesus said this as narrated by Luke the Physician

“And He took bread, gave thanks
  and broke it, and gave it to them,
  saying, “This is My body which is
  given for you; do this in remembrance
  of Me.”- Luke (Lk 22:19)

‘’Likewise He also took the cup after supper,
  saying, “This cup is the new covenant in
  My blood, which is shed for you”- Luke (Lk 22:20)

While Protestant and Catholics fight over transubstantiation consubstantiation. I would simply say that when we bless the unleavened bread and the cup. They are the body and the blood of Christ.

Indeed physically they are unleavened bread and grape juice (for Passover regulations mandated that all leaven be destroyed.) But I believe the Words of Christ when he said, “this is my body”, and “this is my blood”. For I know that the word of God stand. 

Paul tell us that whenever Christians gathers to perform this sacrament. We are proclaiming the death of Christ to the world. 

“For as often as you eat this bread
and drink this cup, you proclaim
the Lord’s death till He comes.” – Paul (1 Cor 11:26)

Note that Paul did not specifically said that this have to be done on Passover only. According to the book of Acts the Early Christians followed the command of Christ, they do it often. Following the instructing of the Apostles.

“And they continued steadfastly in
  the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,
  in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” – Luke (Acts 2:43)

Foot Washing

On that night same night Jesus did instituted a new sacrament. It was recorded in the gospel of John

“rose from supper and laid aside His
  garments, took a towel and girded
  Himself.  After that, He poured water
  into a basin and began to wash the
  disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with
  the towel with which He was girded” – John (Jn 13:4-5)

Today many Christians understood this washing of feet  as a Jewish custom. In fact on Maundy Thursday, many Church leaders, including the pope will wash the feet of people as a ceremony. They did it out of tradition and they understood the teaching of humility behind the practice. But yet they fail to see its true implication as taught by Jesus

Indeed the Jews have a custom of washing the feet. It is done by a student for the teacher out of respect. It is also done by the mother / wife to her family as a sign of love. When there are guest arriving from outside, the master / servant will draw water from the cistern and wash the feet of the guest before they enter the house and eat supper.

But the act of Jesus is different, it was done in the middle of the supper. When the guest were all seated and eating halfway. In fact Jesus action baffled Simon Peter so much so that Peter asked Jesus

“Lord, are You washing my feet?”- Peter (Jn 13:6)

But Jesus answered him

“What I am doing you do not
  understand now, but you will
  know after this.”- Jesus (Jn 13:7 )

Simon well aware of his position as the student, he knew that he must be humble and his master cannot be washing his feet. That is why he rejected the action of Jesus. But Jesus gave him a stern warning

“If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” – Jesus (Jn 13: 8)

That is when Peter change his stand, and wanted to wash his head, hands and feet with the same water. Not long after that Jesus instructed his disciples to follow his example

“Do you know what I have done to you?
  You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you
  say well, for so I am.
 
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have 
washed your feet, you also ought to wash 
one another’s feet. For I have given 
you an example, that you should do 
as I have done to you.”- Jesus (Jn 13:12-15)

Later on the disciples kept this commandment wherever they go. The early church practiced this foot washing as a sacrament that follows right after baptism

According to the research of E. Peterson (Fruehkirche, Judentum und Gnosis, 1959, s 224-234), the disciples understood the relationship between the sacraments of foot-washing and water baptism after the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The disciples then performed the sacrament of foot-washing in Antiochia. Later on the practice was spread from Antioch to Milan through Barnabas who traditionally founded the church of Milan.

This practice were outlawed in 306 AD in the Council of Elvira. Where Canon 48 reads

Can 48. The custom of placing coins in the baptismal shell by those being baptised must be corrected so that the priest does not seem to sell for money what he has received freely. Nor shall their feet be washed by Priest or clerics

http://www.awrsipe.com/patrick_wall/selected_documents/309%20council%20of%20elvira.pdf

Despite the Canon, some bishop, particularly Ambrose of Alexandria ,  the Bishop of Milan (333-397). He was known to have defended the importance of the sacrament of foot-washing on many occasion. They insisted that this is the teaching of the apostles. They defied the orders of the council. The church in Milan continued the practice of foot washing as a sacrament until the 7th century. Then the practice of washing of feet after baptism finally disappeared.

Differentiating Between Teachings And Custom Of The Apostles

Today, many in the Hebrew roots movement claims that it is necessary to keep the old testament feast. The reason that are given varies group by group. In summary, most of their arguments are this

1. Polycarp and Eusebius both claim this
     a. Paul taught the disciples to Offer Bread and Cup on the passover 
         (Extracted Pionus, Life of Polycarp(Vol. 3.2, pp. 488-506).
     b. Philip the deacon and his daughters, Polycarp kept the passover 
         (Eusebius. (trans. 1890). Church History (Book 5, chapter 24:6))
2.Jesus kept the Passover as an example
3. Paul and the apostles were seen to keep the feast (I Cor. 16:8-9, Acts 18:21)

Indeed, there is no lack of evidence that shows the apostles keeping the feast as Jews. If the disciples could take the offering of bread and cup on a daily basis. What is so strange behind the fact that they did it on Jewish feast day?

If Christians need to keep these feast, why did the apostles only did it themselves? When Paul is travelling to keep the feast in Jerusalem on Acts 18, why did he not drag the entire church to travel with him to Jerusalem to keep the feast?  Why did he go alone?

While the apostles have own traditions, as long as these traditions are not contrary to the teaching of Jesus. They are free to do what they want within the boundary of the teaching of Christ.

The fact is that these people kept the feast on their own capacity. They did not enforce their traditions onto the church even though they may share it with their close apostles.

Indeed Polycarp and Eusebius may have identified that some of the apostles kept the feast. But Eusebius also record that once Anicetus came to debate with Polycarp about the practice. They both decided that this matter not be a reason to divide the church.

Church Historian Sozomen also noted
They faithfully and justly assumed, that those who accorded in the essentials of worship ought not to separate from one another on account of customs

Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica, 7.19 (NPNF2 1, pp. Wikisource-logo.svg 389–390).

The early church fathers know that these are just mere customs and they are not the same as the instruction of Christ. They agree to disagree on the issue on whether the breaking of bread must be done on Passover or not.

If this matter is something that is that important.Both Polycarp and Anicetus would have made a stand similar to what Ambrose did with regards to foot washing.

When Custom And Tradition Takes Over The Command Of Jesus

I once shared in Part 2 of this series that Traditions can be a double edged sword. Some traditions are able to exhort a certain group of people. But it would bear no meaning to many others who do not have the same understanding and background.

The disciples may have their own traditions, they may have done something that holds significance to them. But as long as it is not from Christ. There is no need to do it for the sake of traditions.

One traditions may be good for some but may not be good for others. Talmud and Misnah were not overnight creations. They are traditions and customs of some Rabbis who were passed down on top of what the Torah teaches. Over time more and more traditions pile onto it. There are only additions to it and never subtraction.

The final result of this process is a ritualised religion that is full of rules and tradition but devoid of the actual obedience to the word of God. While Christians of today condemned the Pharisees and Rabbinical Judaism for its endless Talmud and Takanot. Let us refrain from creating our own version of the Babylonian Talmud for the sake of the next generation of Christians.

Let us choose to be obedient to the command of Jesus and do what he instruct us to do.

Conclusion : The True Practitioner Of The Torah

To those who can really understand the Torah, and the significance of the feast and festivals as well as those who truly understand the Mosaic Covenant and how it works. They can see very clearly how the messiahs death fulfil all the requirements of all the Law of Moses. How the sacrifice of the Messiah made the Feast under the Mosaic Covenant obsolete 

They are able to see how the coming of the Messiah 2 thousands years ago had brought about a new covenant signed between God and man. Within that Covenant contains the blood of Jesus which cleanse man of sin. By so doing it had taken away the sacramental effect of the feast for now there is no longer a need to offer sin offerings every feast

They will understand that the new Covenant by the messiah is not the same as the covenant sign on mount Sinai. They are able to see how God through Jesus call out a group of gentiles and Jews who would keep the covenant of Christ

They will know that the spirit of God no longer dwells in temple but lives in the heart of man. That the Holy Spirit is meant to stay in men and lead man into the truth. That the Holy Spirit will teach men what Jesus taught. The Holy Spirit is poured out on both Jews and Gentiles alike regardless if they kept the Mosaic Law or not.

They will truly understand the significance of the Torah and what it meant to those who are saved.  How Christ had taken all the curse of the Law and wanted his followers to keep the Spirit of the Law which far exceeds what the physical interpretation of the Law.

They will not subscribe to  the extreme branch of Christianity who believes that since justification come through faith there is no longer a need to establish the Law of God in their lives.

They will not be deluded to take the sacrifice of Christ as a free pass to go sin but view it as a grace where man could repent and return to God when they failed to keep the moral standard of the Law as taught by Christ. They will repent from their sins and allow the blood of Christ to cleanse them once again so that they could continue in their quest to establish the Law of God

They will not hold on to obsolete and fulfilled feast that are fulfilled by Christ on the cross. Nor will they stubbornly choose to keep the Law on their own terms, doing it in the same tradition of disobedience  so commonly seen among the keepers of the Mosaic Covenant throughout the generations.  They will be able to keep the instruction and covenant of Christ while understanding and keeping the Spirit of the Law as taught by Moses.

They will not waste their time creating mindless feel good tradition that bears no effect on Salvation. Instead they will seize every opportunity to quickly tell others to follow Christ and have their sin forgiven. They will follow everything as taught and instructed by Jesus.

May we all understand the true Significance of the Law of Moses and understand the true requirement given to Christians.

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