Bible Charts And Diagram


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)
11. Jesus , The True Passover Lamb (Part 15)

Introduction

Before the coming of Pentecost where this study will end. Let us take a look at a very special ritual that is unique to the Mosaic Covenant. It is one of the most mysterious and the most unique of all the ordinances found in the Mosaic Covenant.

I am referring to the Ordinances regarding the red Heifer.  It is difficult to understand how water mixed with blood and ashes from a dead heifer could maintain the purity and the cleanliness of the people.

That is why many Rabbis tried to supplement the word of God by adding to the word of God to make sense of the ritual. Their obsession to explain the ritual gave birth to volumes of books. One of it is documented in the temple institute.

Even today there is still an obsession about the red heifer. I once come across a funding project to breed the  pure red heifer. Those who supported this believe that that will help usher in the  era of the Messiah.

My Approach In Looking At This

Instead of inventing Oral traditions which are claimed to be spoken by Moses. I would look solely into the Law Of Moses to see what the Red Heifer Is truly about.  I will not attempt to supplement the word of God with endless researches and just look at the rite as it is.

After examining the rite , its uses and process. We would compare the against the backdrop of the New Testament. This is necessary for to Christians, the Messiah had already came. His sacrifices is complete and it fulfilled the requirement of purification which was what the red heifer is used for. ‘

That is why to Christians, there is no need to breed a pure red heifer to create the water of purification. For the blood of Christ is sufficient to cleanse us from all sin and uncleanliness. Therefore, We will examine the effect of the right, and compare the rite of the Red heifer  with the sacrifice of Jesus.

Demystifying The Use Of The Red Heifer

Throughout the Mosaic Covenant (Torah) the heifer is only used in 2 places. Num 19 (the Israelite purification rite) and the rite for unsolved murder (Deut 21:4-6) these are 2 separate issues. The record in Deut 21 talks about the use of a Heifer, there is no requirement for it to be red. It is meant to atone for the sin of unsolved murder. It had nothing to do with Purification,

Today our focus will be primary on Number 19. Numbers 19 explains the use of the ashes created in this rite, 

1. It is meant use for purifying from sin (Num 19:9)
2. It is use to purify one who touches dead body (Num 19:11-15)
        a. The person must be sprinkled with the water on 3rd day and 7th day
        b. Any tent where a man died in it is unclean and must be sprinkled 
        c. Anyone who touches someone dead is unclean 7 days
3. They are to add the ashes and running water into to a jar for use (Num 19:17)
4. A clean man is to use it, sprinkle on the unclean tent with hyssop (Num 19:18) 
          a. Those who touch a slain man, or dead animals is to be sprinkled clean
5. Failure to do so will result to the person to be cut off from the people (Num19:20 )
         a. For he had  defiled the sanctuary of God.
         b. He is deem unclean.

So is there a scientific reason for doing this? Perhaps some of my old testament expert or Torah fan boys  could provide some scientific evidence how ash containing blood can clean something Winking smile 

But as far as I read from the Narrative of the scripture, this uncleanness is more about d sin rather than personal hygiene   Num 19:9 is very clear that the purpose of the this rite is to cleanse one from sin rather than physical uncleanness.

This rite is meant for atoning (covering sin) As we have shared before that nothing in the Mosaic Covenant is meant to forgive sin. Sins are merely atoned (covered) not forgiven. 

Manufacturing Of The Ashes

The entire process of producing this mystical ashes is a prophecy. It is meant to teach us about the coming sacrifice of Jesus.  Let us take a quick look at the process

We will talk about how this relate to Christian in the New Testament on our next post.  

In the series, we have explored quite a number of areas of the Old Testament

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 )

Introduction

In time past under the Mosaic Covenant, Priest had 3 duties to be done before the Lord Daily. So far we have discussed 2 of the duties. That is to burn incense and to light the lamp. Let us examine the third and final duty of Priest

“Now this is what you shall offer
  on the altar: two lambs of the
  first year, day by day continually.
 
One lamb you shall offer in the
  morning, and the other lamb you
  shall offer at twilight.

  This shall be a continual burnt
  offering  throughout your
  generations at the door of the
  tabernacle of meeting before the
  Lord, where I will meet you to
  speak with you. “ – YHWH (Ex 29:38-39,42)

The priest must offer sacrifices to the Lord every twilight and morning. Out of curiosity, I tabled out all the sacrifices mandatory in the Mosaic covenant. This would give you a rough idea of the number of animals that need to be sacrificed under the Mosaic Covenant in a typical Jewish year.

While it is a good thing to sacrifice, we need to ensure that our sacrifice is acceptable before God. If we read Genesis we will read of how Cain and Abel offered sacrifices before the Lord. But God esteem the sacrifice of Abel and rejected the offering of Cain.

But how do we make sure our offering is acceptable before the Lord? It is not about the quantity or the quality of the offering. But the offering must be done in accordance to the instruction of the Lord.

Every priest need to know the rules of the Lord regarding offering. The regulation of offering is recorded in details in the book of Leviticus 1. Let us look at the rules in details.

PT 1.1: Offering Must Be Without Blemish

“If his offering is a burnt sacrifice
  of the herd, let him offer a male
  without blemish; “-YHWH (Lev 1:3)

The first rule of offering is that the animal must be without blemish. A Burnt offering need not be bull and ram, the poor can offer the pigeon and the dove. But regardless of the animal, the offering must be good and without any physical defect. (blemish) . For if it is something we have rejected, how could we offer it to God?

We would never give something we do not like to our friends, all the more we need to respect and honour God, we need to offer the bet we have. Lets take a look at a practical example

Today there are some who claim they have no time for God. The fact is that they too have 24 hours just like every human.  We need to understand what they choose to spend their time on. For humans invest their time on things that matters. If God is unimportant, then they will not spend time on hm.

That is why on the other hand, we see people spending time in church despite their busy lives.. The reason behind their actions is because they treasure their time with God. They knew that time can only be found when they are alive.

Life is fragile and it can be lost, we need to consider the time given to us by God. While we live on earth God had given us time. Without life we will not have the time to enjoy the goodness and joy of life. We will not have the chance of meeting our friends or having a delightful conversation

Now God had given us 7 days a week, out of which for 6 days we could do what we want. Is it too much of God to ask us to spare 1 day on the Sabbath to worship him?  What is even more saddening is when we regard coming for worship as a waste of time. We do not know how to thank God for his gift of life, we have forgotten that life comes from God.

What Are Blemishes In A Christian Offering?

We need to learn to come before God and sacrifice to him. Our sacrifice must be one without defect. What do we mean by defect? Under the covenant of Christ, we no longer offer bulls and rams. What do we offer to God today?

The book of Hebrews tells us that we offer the fruit of our lips, and our worship to God. We offer up our prayer and praises, they are all offered up as we gather in service. How do we examine our sacrifice to see if it contains blemish?

“Draw near to God and He will
  draw near to you. Cleanse your
  hands, you sinners; and purify
  your hearts, you double-minded.” – James (Jas 4:8 )

There are Christians who tried to draw near to God often, they are zealous, but yet they cannot feel the presence of God. They felt that God did not help them, they start to murmur, they questioned why did God not draw near to them?

It appears as if the fault lies with God, but many a time the problems lies with men. We may have followed God instructions to come to church, but we have not forget to check if our offering is one with defects.

If we draw near to God, he will draw near to us. But if our sacrifice is with defect, how will God accept it?  James tell us to purify our hands as well as our heart. Perhaps we may not sin with our hands, but is our heart clean?  It is possible to spot unclean hands, but no one could see your heart.

That is why, if we are sinning, we ought to clean our hands . If our hearts is not pure, if we are double minded, we need to purify our heart as well.

There are also other blemishes we need to take note

If we come to make offering before the Lord, and there is a brother who sin against us and there is a conflict. Even though there may not be a fight, we need to reconcile with him.  WE need to make a resolve to destroy all hatred and grudge in your heart. Then our offering will be pleasing to the Lord.

Without a happy and sincere heart, it is difficult to worship God in spirit and truth. We often worship in the spirit, but do we worship God in truth? We need to keep the word of God, both in our hands and our hearts.

Pt 1.2: Willingness’ To Offer

“he shall offer it of his own free will” – YHWH (Lev 1:3)

There is another blemish that is often overlooked by Christians, that is our willingness to offer. Those who offer to the Lord must offer it willingly and not by compulsion. For we all like people to love us willingly and not out of compulsion.

If we ask our children to bring us a drink, and they do so with a sad and annoyed face. Can we drink it with gladness? But today if they give us a drink willingly out of love. Their action can warm our hearts.

God feels the same when he sees our worship. If we worship out of sincerity and willingness, he will be glad and happy. King David rejoice whenever someone tell him to go to the house of the Lord. Therefore we need to ask ourselves, is our offering made willingly and not out of compulsion?

Only a willing sacrifice can withstand the test of time. He will continue to offer even in the midst of opposition and failure.  He will not find excuses not to skip church. There are many who allow their emotion to stop them from coming to church. They find an excuse to skip church all the time.

But if we offer willingly, We will treat meeting with God like a date with our beloved. For if we are making a date with a bore and a nag, we would often find excuses to rain check the meeting.. That is a how worship by compulsion felt like.

That is why we need correct our attitude. For God do not  need our sacrifice. it is we who needed his blessing and his help. We did not come to church to patronise or to appease God. If our mind-set is correct, we will offer willingly to God.

PT 1.3: The Designated Place For Offering

“at the door of  the tabernacle
  of meeting before the Lord” –YHWH (Lev 1:3)

The offering must be done at the place defined by God. At that point of time it is at the tent of meeting. But this makes us wonder “Is it wrong to make offering at home? Did not Abraham offer at home in Genesis?”

Before the tabernacle is erected, Abraham built altars whoever he go. But now the tabernacle is erected. God had chosen for his name to dwell there. That is why Israelites from then on must follow God command and make offering at the door of the tabernacle. This is an important rule, something we tend to neglect its importance. 

“Take heed to yourself that you do
  not offer your burnt offerings in
  every place that you see;
 
but in the place which the Lord
  chooses, in one of your tribes,
  there you shall offer your burnt
  offerings, and there you shall do
  all that I command you.”-YHWH (Lev 17:8-9)

“But you shall seek the place
  where the Lord your God chooses,
  out of all your tribes, to put His
  name for His dwelling place;
   and there you shall go. “-Moses (Deut 12:5)

There are not the instruction of man, but the command of God. We are not to offer anywhere we deem convenient. Our offering must be done in the place where God had chosen.

But today Modern Christians may argue, isn’t your heart more important than the location of worship? But here it tell us that if one do not offer at the tent of meeting, he will be cut off from his people.  Is this so serious?

The bible records of an incident that happens somewhere in the history of Israel. There was a time where people built an altar in their own location. When the rest of Israel heard it, they gathered together and wanted to attack these people.

But why is there such a need to deal so severely with them? All they wanted is some convenience. Is there a need to gather your armies and kill them?

The Altar On The Other Side Of Jordan

“Now the children of Israel heard someone say,
   “Behold, the children of Reuben, the
     children of Gad, and half the tribe 
     of Manasseh have built an altar on the 
     frontier of the land of Canaan, in the
     region of the Jordan—on the children
     of Israel’s side.” – Joshua (Jos 22:11)

Here there records 2 and a half tribes come together and build an altar in a specific place. But the next verse tells us that the rest of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them. It makes us wonder why did they choose to go to war? Are there not more important things to do?

There are some sins that are personal that only affects individual.  If we punch a man in the eye, this will not affect others. But if one were to play with fire, he may set the house on fire. This act will create problems for our neighbours and the fire will spread. When that happen , everyone will be affected.  That is why everyone had the duty to stop the child form playing with fire.

Such is the sin committed by the children of Ruben

“but that you must turn away this
  day from following the Lord?
  And it shall be, if you rebel today
  against the Lord, that tomorrow
  He will be angry with the whole
  congregation of Israel. “-Joshua (Jos 22:18)

That is why Israel decided to stop them, for it is a serious matter. When the tribe of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh heard of this. They realise the seriousness of the misunderstanding. So they explain it to the rest of Israel

Jos 22: 24-28 : They explain it twice, that the altar is not built for sacrifice. They had not gone against God commandments and the conflict was resolved peacefully.

Resolving Conflicts Among Brethren

The story in the book of Joshua teaches us something about resolving differences . We need to listen well and allow the other party a chance to explain. Both parties that are involved must have the responsibility to explain himself.

Either parties cannot claim that their conscience is clear and there is no need to explain themselves. Nor can they say that God searches our heart, we just need to be accountable before God with a clear conscience.

If the sin is at an individual level, it is solely between us and God. There is no need to explain to anyone. There is no need for us to confess it before man. But if the sin effect the entire congregation, we may need to explain ourselves. For other may follow our examples and go against God. For not everyone had the same discernment as us. They may follow blindly and affect others in the church.

That is when we need to explain ourselves to others. This is to prevent misunderstanding and stop negative influence. The 2 and the half tribes saw the negative influence they had on Israel, so they took responsibility to explain themselves.  Anyone who is responsible will know that it is a moral responsibility that we need to do.

For our actions will lead affect the church. It may even affect churches across international boundaries. It will cost the faith of many, potentially affecting the next generation.

If we want our offering to be good, we need to abide by the regulation of the Lord. Then we need to make offering in the place where God had chosen. 

Is It Wrong To Observe Sabbath At Home and Not In Church?

Today there is no longer a need to offer animal sacrifice. The offering of the New testaments comes in the form of worship and hymn singing.  Must we only do it in church? Can we not do it at home? Are we allowed to choose a place of our own choice?

In the internet there were Jews who claim that Sabbath doesn’t centre around the Synagogue. The Synagogue should be use for Torah reading and other activities. they even advocate that Sabbath is about spending time with the family. It is not about coming to the Synagogue and listening to long boring sermon.

So they advocate the home as a place for Sabbath keeping, and Sabbath should begin at home. They went one step ahead and said that there is no need to come to church. They attack people who said that there is a need to come to church to keep the Sabbath.  Claiming that those who said this are advocating keeping the Law.

They went on to support their point by saying that true worship is not done in Jerusalem and Samaria, one must worship in Spirit in the truth.

Christian often focus on worshipping in the spirit, but we seldom focus on worshipping in truth. We need to worship in the truth, that is the word of God. Having a heart to offer doesn’t guaranty that our offering will be accepted.

Cain had the heart to offer, but why is his offering not accepted by God?

For he had offered against the command of the Lord, it is an offering that cannot redeem sin. It is good and right to keep the Sabbath. It is good to stop work and worship.

But Sabbath is also a time of convocation, for his believers to come together. It is not a mere gathering of friends, but it is Gods requirement for his people. They are suppose to gather before God and worship. They must perform the worship in the place where God choose.

Conclusion About Sabbath

The Sabbath begins at home, for it started when we are at home. But we need to come before God to worship. We need to keep our mood and our heart for service. We must never allow anything to affect our mood to service God.

Keeping it at home is against the word of God, for God said that during Sabbath you need to have assembly. If we choose not to go to church for service, we are going against God. That is what God commanded. If we fear God we ought to listen to God and offer according to his rules

We must gather in his house and worship together.

It is good to offer, but is our offering according to God word?

In the series, we have explored quite a number of areas of the Old Testament

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)

As we are talking about the lighting of Lamp, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah is round the corner. One of the typical celebration of Hanukah is to light up the Menorah to commemorate the dedication of the altar. Some may confuse this with the lighting of lamp in Part 9.  For this section I would like to side track from the issue of lighting the lamp to discuss Hanukkah.

Year 2016 is special as it is one of the rare time where the festival is very close to Christmas. Therefore there are religious teachers who are advocating and encouraging the keeping of Hanukah. One of the biggest proponent is Mr Nehemia Gordon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BrNaj16_WU

He advocates that Christians ought to keep Hanukkah because of what it stood for. Though he did not say that that had something to do with Salvation. His lectures debunked many of the traditions i have heard about the festival. Lets take a quick look at the Festival.

Hanukah Festival Basics

Basically  Hanukah or the “Feast of the Dedication” (Jn 10:22) is a Jewish national holiday that is not founded in the Mosaic Covenant. The root of this feast began after the death of Alexander the great  before the arrival of the Romans in Judea. In those days, the land of Judea is ruled by the Seleucids.  One of the Seleucid king known as Antiochus IV started a policy to stamp out Jewish practices and religion

A group of priest known as the Maccabees rebelled against the King. They managed to defeat the Greeks against all odds, they recaptured the temple and Jerusalem. They rededicated the Altar in the temple as the Greeks had defiled it.

There were a myth regarding this that was added by Rabbis later. 
There was a miraculous story of a single vial of oil that burnt for 7 days to purify the temple. The Jews burnt the oil on the 7 branch lampstand (Menorah) and the fire purified the temple. That is why many Jews today burn candles for 8 days to remember this event. But this story is not a fact. It was added in around the second century CE after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem 

Mr Gordon’s Lectures had talked about this extensively and I would not waste my time to repeat it here.

Christians and Hanukah

Basically this is what I think

1. Hanukkah is a Jewish national holiday, there is no link between the festival and salvation  

While the events regarding this is prophesied in Daniel and recorded in the book of Maccabees, there is no instructions from God to keep the festival . There is no necessity for Christians to follow this. 

2. Jesus did attend the feast of Dedication in Jn 10 but he did it because he was Jewish

Jesus did not instruct his disciples to keep this festival. He had given other instructions regarding salvation that we ought to follow. That is why it really doesn’t matter if we keep the festival or not. Basically my stand over the matter is the same as Pauls

“One person esteems one
  day above another; another
  esteems every day alike. Let
  each be fully convinced in his
  own mind. He who observes the
  day, observes it to the Lord;
 
and he who does not observe the day, 
  to the Lord he does not observe it.” – Paul (Rom 14:5-6)

3. It is ok to have traditions, but be mindful of its risk.

There is no need for us to add to what is taught by Christ and the apostles. We may think that creating a tradition can help strengthen our faith. But Pharisees and the Talmud were not created overnight. Every little tradition created had a potential to be misunderstood and abused. Worst still when others follow it and were not moved in the same way as the creator of this tradition.

Let us not start the process of creating our own Talmud by creating unnecessary instruction beyond what is instructed in the bible

Understanding  Dedication

As we read the myth about Hanukah, let us be clear about what is written in the law of Moses. The lighting of the lamp by the priest is meant as a statute before God. The lamps are not related to the Altar in anyway. (Ex 27:20-21).

The law of Moses did not specifically talk about how he dedicate the altar. But Num 7 tell us that just the dedication offering required 12days (Num7:10-84)

The Jews most likely took the example of Solomon and the instruction of Ezekiel to dedicate the altar for 8 days (2 Chron 7:9,Eze 43:26-27) . They would have followed the instruction of God to Moses as well (Ex 40:9-10).

Understanding  Purification

During the lecture there was a mentioned of Purification rite. IT is a known fact that in the law of Moses anyone who is unclean will remain unclean for 7 days. In the law of Moses, there were a few records of purification. Let us take a look at what is said.

Under the law of Moses a person can be made unclean when he encounter Childbirth, Have discharge, Leprosy or encounter death. God requires offering to be made to him for all the above except for death.  If one encounters death, he will need to be washed with the blood ashes of the Red Heifer . We will discuss the significance of the Red heifer later on in this series.

All these purification here are different from the purification of the altar as mentioned in Hanukah We need to differentiate between them

 

Paul And His Purification Rite

During the lecture Mr Gordon briefly mentioned about the fact that Paul perform the a purification rite. This was Recorded in the book of Acts 23. Interestingly, the dedication mentioned there had no relations with the dedication of Hanukah in any way,

The disciples in Jerusalem advice Paul to perform the rite. For there had been Rumours about him among the Jews in the Roman world.

“You see, brother, how many
  myriads of Jews there are who
  have believed, and they are all
  zealous for the law; 
  but they have been informed
  about you that you teach all the
  Jews who are among the Gentiles
  to forsake Moses, saying that they
  ought not to circumcise their children
  nor to walk according to the customs” – Disciples (Acts 21:20-21)

Therefore to debunk their rumours, they advise Paul to take part in the purification ritual the next day. This purification ritual is not related to Hanukah. For these men had taken a vow. They have to shave their heads and Paul had to pay for their expenses. (Acts 21:24)

What is this vow? It is likely that these men were Nazirites. (Ref Num 6:9-12). If a Nazirite encounter death near him, he will be declared unclean for 7 days. After that they were to shave their heads, and make sacrifices to the Lord before they can resume their vow as Nazirites. Whenever a Nazirite completes his period of vow, he is to shave his head and make sacrifices as well.  That practice was still practiced among the Jews during the time of Paul.

So Paul is not exactly bowing down to the Talmud, but he was in fact doing what was prescribed in the law of Moses. Paul had to do it to show the Jews that he has not forsake Moses and he kept the law of Moses.

Interestingly, the disciples repeated their decision made about the Gentiles in Acts 15

“But concerning the Gentiles
  who believe, we have written
  and decided that they should
  observe no such thing,  except
   that they should keep themselves
   from things offered to idols, from
  blood, from things strangled, and
  from sexual immorality.” – Disciples (Acts 21:25)

They have reiterated their stand about the gentiles needing to observe the law of Moses. Sadly when Paul follow their advice, the move backfired and he was arrested at the temple (Act 21:26-29)

It seems that Gods plan is for Paul to be captured so that he will eventually go to Rome. But that story is out of the discussion today.

Jesus And The Feast Of The Dedication

During the lecture Mr Gordon mentioned that even Jesus celebrated Hanukah. He is not wrong to say that, but Christians need to differentiate between requirements of the Mosaic Covenant, the custom and tradition of the Jews and the content of the New Covenant with Christ.

When Jesus is on earth, he is born as a Jewish man, and he kept some of the traditions of the Jews in his days. For example, he only came into the temple at the age of 12 (Bar Mitzvah). (Lk 2:41-42), that is a tradition of the Jews.

Jesus was circumcised on the eight day and his parent made offering of turtledoves(Lk 2:22-24), that is a requirement of the Law Of Moses.

Just because Jesus did those things, it does not mean that Christians ought to follow the tradition to do Bar Mitzvah for our own children, nor do we forbid them from coming to church until 12.  In the new testament, Circumcision in the flesh is not necessary, but the heart must be circumcise to obey God. That is why just because Jesus attended the feast of dedication it does not mean Christians ought to do it.

If there is one thing we need to remember, Jesus declared himself to be God on that day. He said “I and My Father are one.” (Jn 10:30) By declaring this so, Jesus is telling the world that he is the God whom the Jews worship. As the result, the Jews wanted to kill him for blasphemy.

Instead of mindlessly keeping tradition Hanukah, we ought to remember that Jesus is LORD and especially this that he had spoken

“I told you, and you do not believe.
  The works that I do in My Father’s name,
  they bear witness of Me.  But you do
  not believe, because you are not of
  My sheep, as I said to you.
 
My sheep hear My voice, and I know 
  them, and they follow Me. And I give
  them eternal life, and they shall never
  perish; neither shall anyone snatch
  them out of My hand  “ – Jesus (Jn 10:25-29)

According to Mr Gordon experience of reading the Old testament in 16:17 in the lecture he said

“But Kingdom of heaven is an ancient concept. When John the Baptist travelled through the land of Israel speaking about the kingdom of heaven. People wouldn’t say that "We do not know what that is.  We are Jews and we do not know about the kingdom of heaven"

No, when they heard about the Kingdom of heaven they said “We are looking forward to that when Yehovah comes down to earth and rules as the King of the World. Zechariah talks about him standing with one leg on either side of the mount of Olives and the Mount of Olives splitting in the middle. and he is going to be King on that day over the entire Earth”

What does the other half of the prophecy says? Says on that day he will be one, his name will be one”

Nehemia Gordon as a Karite understood that when the Messiah is Yehovah coming on earth and ruling as the King of the earth. In his case, he did not think that Jesus is the Messiah, therefore it is not surprising that he would prefer to call on the name of Yehovah. 

But Christians understood that the messiah had already come. That Messiah is Yeshua (Jesus) . We know form the gospel that before his birth , he instructed Mary to name him Yeshua (Jesus) . Right here on the feast of Dedication, he declared that he and the father are one. He is telling us that he is indeed YHWH who came to dwell in the flesh.

In another location he said “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (Jn 8:58)

John tell us that the kingdom of God is at hand. When Jesus come he preach the same as well. He promised the disciples that the some of them will see the Kingdom of God present with power. He also promised his disciples that some will not taste death till the see the Kingdom of God. (Mk 9:1, Lk 9:27) . He himself tell us that his kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18:36), that kingdom is within us (Lk 17:20). This kingdom is establish by God when the Holy Spirit first came on Pentecost

While many like to say that Christians had no Jewish roots, they have forgotten the fact that the first group of Christians are all Torah believing Christians. They may not be a Hebrew Scholar like Mr Gordon. But they are well aware of all the prophecies about the Kingdom of God.

These people can read the scriptures, but but they are able to see that the Messiah is Yeshua (Jesus) and they started to call on his name and not YHWH.

Had the scriptures changed? Why is it that those Jews are so willing to accept it? They read the same prophecies mentioned by Mr Gordon, but they are able to see Jesus in the scriptures. They even have the gall to make this declaration before the Chief priest.

“Nor is there salvation in any other,
  for there is no other name under
  heaven given among men by
  which we must be saved.”

That is because they understood that the Messiah is God himself dwelling among them. That is why they have no fear to call on his name and keep the new covenant establish by him. When they saw God allowing the gentiles who do not keep the Law receiving  the Spirit of God just like them. They made the Jerusalem decree that the gentiles do not need to keep the Law of Moses or be circumcised.

Jesus declared himself as YHWH during the feast of Hanukah. He also told them that he had seen Abraham. Today Karites like Mr Gordon, are unable to accept it. They are still waiting for the Messiah.  Even they understood that the Messiah is God himself coming in the flesh. Their only issue is that they refuse to accept Jesus as the Messiah.

But what about us today? Are we willing to accept that the Messiah is Jesus? Do we know that the Kingdom of the Messiah is already established? Can we accept that he is the one true God who had dwelt in the flesh? 

Conclusion

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival, it had special significance to the Jewish people. This article is not here to condemn Hanukah or downplay its significance to the Jews. In fact I want to take the chance to wish Jews a happy Hanukkah

As an Ethnic Chinese, we have our fair share of traditions about national struggle. Whenever we eat dumplings or row the dragon boat, we remember the Chinese Poet / Statesmen Qu Yuan. Whenever we eat moon cakes, we remember how the Chinese rebels use the moon cakes as a form of communication to stage an uprising against the Mongolian Empire. 

I think traditions by themselves are harmless and they serve as a good reminder of the stories of the past and the lessons learnt. But we need to be careful when it comes linking such tradition to our faith. We may choose to begin little traditions to build up our own faith. But when this tradition is passed down to the next generation. They will become mere ritual for these traditions may not move them in the same way as they have moved us.

Eventually when  everyone starts adding their own traditions, we create our very own version of Mishnah and Talmud. We end up creating countless of traditions that does not bring anyone closer to God.

Instead of fighting to create traditions, let us  choose to keep only the instructions of God and the commandments of God. Let us not add or subtract from it. Let us keep what God had entrusted to us purely and commit them to our next generation

Important Note:
1. The Author do not condone unhealthy life style or the necessity of going against Jewish diet law.
2. The Author is not saying eating fat, unclean meat is the great lifestyle to have
3. The Author thinks that the Jewish diet law is healthy lifestyle and beneficial to health.
4. But men in their own wisdom who tagged scientific research to supplement the word of God
5. By so doing, they had went beyond the word of God, added to the word of God

Introduction

So far in this series, we have looked at the following

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)

Recently, a colleague of mine showed me the website that advocates not eating of pork. The article that he was referring to sparked off to an interesting debate. It is one of the rare time when we see people of other faith advocating the importance of abstaining from pork

Out of curiosity i open the linked article, it seem to have originated from a Christian group that advocate the following of the Mosaic Law regarding clean and unclean animals. As the video began by making reference to Lev 11. The group is trying to make use of the video to explain why God wrote the law regarding food in Lev 11.

The issue of clean and unclean meat had always been a controversy in Christendom. Sometimes it spin up parody site such as “God hate shrimps.” It also drove many people to  work hard to provide scientific explanation to supplement the Law of God. It has also led to many crazy experiment in  YouTube as many well meaning Christian fought hard to justify the reason behind the dietary requirement.

Interestingly, those article seem to focus much on the dangers of unclean mean but did not attempt to explain scientifically how clean meat overcame those dangers. But I guess it is easier to find fault with something rather than discover benefits.  Perhaps they may have discovered to their horror that the same problem exist in clean animals and decide to omit the information in goodwill.

Clean And Unclean Animals In Torah

While everyone is busy condemning unclean meat and justifying the word of God via scientific methods. I have decided to look into the Torah to see how the Law of Moses talks about the matter.

In a nutshell, here are my discovery

1. The law of clean and unclean animals pre-dates the Torah and even Noah’s Flood
        a. God allow 7 pairs of clean animals, 1 pair of unclean animal into the ark (Gen 7:2-3)
        b. Eating of meat is forbidden in the pre-flood world (Gen 1:29)
        c. Abel kept sheep mainly for sacrificial purpose as that was how God taught Adam. 

2. After the flood, God gave all moving creatures to Noah and his descendent for food
        a. Men is allowed to eat every herb, land creatures, fish and birds (Gen 9:3)
        b. But the eating of blood is forbidden (Gen 9:4-7)

3. This remain so until God gave the Law where Israel must eat clean meat (Lev 11:46-47)
        a. Clean and unclean animals are determined by their physical traits
        b. These had nothing to do with Tapeworms or any scientific evidence we see on internet

In fact, if we study the reason and definition of unclean animals, you will realise God is very clear in his definition. Sadly man tried very hard to use human research and freak experiment to make explanation on behalf of God . But by adding our own perspective and research we have unknowing go beyond the words of God and his intended meaning.

Do Not Supplement The Word of God

While many Christians are careful not to take away words from the bible. God do not want us to supplement to what he is teaching. For God specifically said in the Torah

“You shall not add to the word
  which I command you, nor take
  from it, that you may keep the
  commandments of the Lord your
  God which I command you”- YHWH (Deut 4:2)

Trying to supplement the word of God with scientific research is a form of disrespect. For by so doing, we are effectively telling God that his command is unclear and unfair, and his revelations are incomplete. That is why we need to help it to reach perfection by adding our own words to Gods word.

Let us learn Gods definition of clean and unclean animals and let us learn to accept it as it is. Let us not be wise in our eyes, adding  unnecessary “Coke on pork”experiment to say something that the Lord have not spoken. For by doing we only damage our own credibility as many of these experiments are proven to be a hoax.

Let us return to the scriptures and understand God definition of clean and unclean animals and let us study the reason why one animal is regarded as clean while others are not.

Clean And Unclean Animal As Defined In The Mosaic Covenant

I have compiled the information as described in the law of Moses in this diagram below

In simple words here are the definition of clean and unclean animals according to the law of Moses

Question To Consider

Before I end off, here are some questions for my readers to consider

We would examine these in greater detail in the second part of this post,.

Introduction

So far in this series, we have looked at the following

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

According to Jewish Calendar, this evening marks the beginning of  feast of the Tabernacles.  Today let us look at the feast of the Tabernacles according to the Torah of Moses. In this article we would look at the feast from the following perspective

1. The Feast And Its Purpose
2. Priestly Sacrifice And Its Role In All Feast under The Mosaic Covenant
3. Tabernacles And The Wilderness Journey
4. Christ Fulfilment Of The Feast
The Feast And Its Purpose

Under the Mosaic Covenant there are 3 passages in the Torah that talks about the Feast Of The Tabernacles.

Lev 23:33-43  is the most detailed explanation of the feast. Let us look at the feast in details

1. There is a convocation (gathering) on the first day of Tabernacles (Vs 35,39)
2. For 7 days sacrifices are meant to be made to the Lord (by Priest) (Vs 36)
3. On the eight day there is another Convocation (Vs 36,39)
4. People are to rejoice using Fruit, palm, willows  (Vs 40)
5. All Native Israelites are to dwell in booths (Sukkot) (Vs 42)

God explained the need for dwelling in booth in his own words.

“that your generations may know
that I made the children of Israel
dwell in booths when I brought them
out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord
your God.’”- YHWH (Lev 23:43)

Other records of the feast is found in Deut 16:13-17 and the offering the priest ought to sacrifice in the feast are detailed in Num 29:15-40.

There are also other commands that are given to Israelites on sabbath year (Deut 31:10-13). they are to read the Law as a nation together.

Priestly Sacrifice In All Feast under The Mosaic Covenant

While today man Christian and Karite Friends are so hyped up about constructing Sukkot. One of the most important aspect of every feast of the Lord is often ignored. The most important aspect of all feast is sacrifice. In every of the Fall and Spring Feast Of Mosaic Covenant, they were tied to special sacrifices.  When you compared the amount of sacrifices made, the Feast Of The Tabernacle tops all the feast.

When God talks about the feast, he mentioned of the sacrifices before the constructing of sukkot. The purpose of the Sukkot is to serve as a reminder of the wilderness journey while the sacrifice is for God directly.

Here are all the feast and their sacrifice requirement as stipulated under the Mosaic Covenant

Note: This diagram did not factor freewill offering or the sacrifices of those attending the feast.

The reason why the feast of the Lord had sacramental effects came from the animal sacrifice.

Interestingly, the number  of animal sacrificed was the greatest at the feast of Tabernacles. It is the single feast with the most sacrifices is done. Have you ever wondered why is it so?  I can help remembering how Job would sanctify his children by sacrifice.

“It may be that my sons have
sinned and cursed God in
their hearts.”- Job  (Job 1:5)

Perhaps God is doing this to sanctify his children. For God is dwelling among unclean people.  He is using mandatory sacrifices to sanctify his people, for he know not everyone would come to offer sacrifices. The true sacramental effect of all the feast lies not constructing Sukkot or reading of he law. It is given through the sin sacrifice that is done every day during the feast.

According to part 3 .We understand that the tabernacle is sanctified during the day of atonement. For God instructed the high priest to purify the temple with blood. The feast of tabernacles happens 5 days after, you will notice that the amount of sacrificial animals was decreasing as the days goes by. the number of bulls fell from 12 on the first day to 7 on the seventh day. (Num 29:12-38)

The author of Hebrew talks about these sacrifices

“For the law, having a shadow
of the good things to come,
and not the very image of the
things, can never with these
same sacrifices, which they
offer continually year by year,
make those who approach perfect.

 For then would they not have
ceased to be offered? For the
worshipers, once purified, would
have had no more consciousness of
sins. But in those sacrifices there is a
reminder of sins every year.
For it is not possible that the blood of
bulls and goats could take away sin”- Author of Hebrews (Heb 10:1-4)

Prophet Samuel also tell us that God would rather want obedience more than sacrifices.

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
  And to heed than the fat of rams.
  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”- Samuel (Sam 15:22-23)

These sacrifices are meant as a reminder for sins, to teach Israel to obey the words of God. ‘

Tabernacles And The Wilderness Journey

God instructed Israel to build tabernacles and stay in them for 7 days. This action is meant to teach the younger Israelites the story of how God made Israel to dwell in booths. During that 7 days they would recall the stories of Israel and their 40 years in the wilderness.

Interestingly when God sent Moses before the Pharaoh he said

“‘Let My people go, that they may
hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”- YHWH (Ex 5:1)

God kind of regarded the entire Journey of the Israelites in the wilderness as a giant feast of the tabernacles. Interestingly most of  its participants did not survive the journey and enter Canaan.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites followed Moses into the wilderness. They followed Moses into the red sea, they had food and water provided by God. They were led by the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.  They suffered all the way to the land of Canaan, yet in the midst of those suffering God grace is shown to them .

The purpose of constructing the tabernacles is to serve as a reminder. This reminder is mentioned off by Moses in (Deut 8:14-17) . That is the spirit and the purpose for constructing the sukkot.

How Christ Fulfils the Feast Of The Tabernacles.

When Christ had sacrifice himself on the cross for us. There is no longer a need for us to perform any sacrifices as required by the law of Moses. By taking away the sacrifice, the sacramental effect of the feast is now made obsolete.

Paul in 1 Cor 10:1-11 drew parallel of the journey to our Christian life

Like wise today we as Christians were called out of Egypt and were baptised into Christ. We are lead by the Holy Spirit of God. We have manna in the word of God and we drink from the rock that followed us in the journey.  Instead of journeying towards Canaan, the modern Christian walk with Christ onto heaven.

Will we finish this journey?  Will we enter our promise land which is promised to us in the new covenant? That depends on the attitude we lead our lives in this world.

Let us not have the same unbelief as the wilderness pilgrims. For we know that almost 99.999% of them failed to enter the land of Canaan. They fail because they were unable to hold on to Gods promise and they were not willing to obey God when he told them to enter the land of Canaan.

Just as God called Israel out of Egypt to enter the land of Canaan . Christians are called out from the world by Jesus. To Christian, the world is just like the wilderness, it is a temporary dwelling for us. . As Christian we ought to keep the spirit of the Tabernacles, to believe in the salvation of Christ and obey him. We read how the majority of the people died in the wilderness and were unable to inherit that promise land. They did so out of unbelief.

At the same time let us remember that it is Christ who called out out to this wilderness. Even though it is difficult. God will help us with the journey. We need to bear with the difficulties we need to face in life. We may not need to build tabernacles but we ought to carry our cross to follow Christ.

The Tabernacle Of God Is Now On Earth

After the sacrifice of Christ is complete, he started the church. It is the heavenly Jerusalem. The Author of Hebrew described it in his book as he contrasted this Jerusalem with the Mount Sinai of Moses where men were not allowed to draw near to it

But you have come to Mount
Zion and to the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
to an innumerable company of angels,
to the general assembly and church
of the firstborn who are registered
in heaven, to God the Judge of all,
to the spirits of just men made perfect,
 to Jesus the Mediator of the new
covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling
that speaks better things than that of Abel.”-Author of Hebrews (Heb 12:22-24)

In the covenant of Christ, man do not need to set up a tents to encamp around the tabernacle. But the tabernacle of God is now among man. This heavenly Jerusalem. Instead of building physical tents. Let us rejoice for now the tabernacle of God is on earth

“Behold, the tabernacle of God
is with men, and He will dwell
with them, and they shall be His
people. God Himself will be with
them and be their God.
And God will wipe away every
tear from their eyes; there shall
be no more death, nor sorrow, nor
crying. There shall be no more pain,
for the former things have passed
away.”  -Voice From Heaven (Rev 21:3-5)

This is the eventually the state of the church at the end of this journey. May God will help us in this journey. He will lead us safely to the promise land. May we all finish our feast of the tabernacles. May we all enter the promise land at the end.

Introduction

According to the Jewish calendar, we have just passed the Day Of Atonement 2 days ago . It is the highlight of the fall feast. It is the most important day of the fall feast.

In Part 1 we had given an overview of the fall feast. We had talked about the feast of the trumpets. It was the day where the priest blew the trumpet as an announcement to gather the children of Israel  and to tell them to come up to Jerusalem for the feast.  

According to the law of Moses, the day of atonement is the only day where man can come before the presence of God. Interestingly, when Israel gather for the feast of unleavened bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The bible describes them as “appearing before the Lord” (Deut 16:16) . In English “appearing before” and “entering into" are different. In the Old Testament the people of God cannot come into the presence of God. They could only appear before him.

On the day of Atonement, only the high priest can enter into the presence of God. He does so once a year and it is on that day he confess the sin and iniquities of Israel and make atonement for these sin.  Atonement is different from forgiveness. This will be discuss in details later. 

Difficulty Of Drawing Close To God Under Mosaic Law

Under the Mosaic Covenant, it is difficult for men enter the presence of God. The rules concerning the day of the atonement was drawn out by God on the first day when his presence entered into the tabernacle.  The day when God first erect his tabernacle and dwell among man, death reigned on the first day when the son of Aaron perform their duties a priest.

That was the day  2 of the Lord’s priest were killed for dishonouring God. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron failed in their work as priest and offered profane fire before God. Lev 10 tells us that they burnt incense on their censor using fire not from the altar. This is in direct disobedience to od and God killed them burning them to death before all Israel.

After this incident, God forbade Aaron to enter the Holies of Holies as when he likes. The presence of God is hidden from man by a veil, and this is done for the safety of men. This separation is seen all over the Torah.

When God descended on Mount Sinai to speak to the children of Israel, the people must purify themselves,  even after that God had to create a boundary between himself and hte children of Israel. Even with the boundary, when God descended onto Mount Sinai and spoke to them, they were so terrified that they refuse to hear the words of the Lord.

When they sent Moses to speak to God on their behalf, Moses have to veil his face so that the glory of God have to be hidden from the children of Israel.

These boundaries are drawn by God for the safety of men. In those days serving God in the tabernacle could result to death. So the priest must wear bells (Ex 28:33-35) so that they can be heard while serving in the temple. The priest need to be tied to a rope just in case if he were to be struck dead by God. The people will be able to pull him out with a rope.

Significance Of The Day Of Atonement

The Day of Atonement is very important to the Israelites, for that is the day the temple is purified as it was set up in the midst of unclean people. (Lev 16:116). This is interesting for from here we can see that under the Mosaic Law, the tabernacle of God is in the midst of uncleanness.

Whenever a man offers a sin sacrifice before the Lord. They were in fact desecrating the tabernacle. There is a difference between how sin offering is done on the daily basis verses how it is done on the day of atonement.

The sin offering on the day of atonement is done to purify the temple, for the blood was brought into the veil and sprinkled onto the mercy seat. While typical sin offering requires the blood to be sprinkled before the veil.

The typical sin offering is offered when an individual committed unintentional sin against God. While the sin offering of the day of atonement is offered willingly for the sake of purifying the holy place and the altar.  

The blood from the sin sacrifice is used to sanctify the temple/tabernacle. It was not meant to ask for forgiveness from the Lord. It was also meant to cover the sin that were committed. These sins were carried away by a live goat. 

What Happens On the Feast?

The diagram below illustrate the procedures of the feast of atonement.

There are a few things we will notice.

1. The sin offering in the day of atonement is different from regular offering

2. The sin was carried away by the goat into wilderness, not forgiven

3. The Priest can only enter the presence of God this time. He is not allowed to enter the Holies of Holies at any time of the year

4. The priest and his helpers were made unclean because of the sin of Israel. They must cleanse themselves before entering the camp

The Principle Of Separation In Mosaic Law

Under the Mosaic law, God is dwelling among men. But his presence is confined onto the tabernacle. There is a separation between God and men. Man cannot draw close to God. They can only enter Gods presence once a year. This is so that they would not offend God with their uncleanness and be judged.

Under the Mosaic Law, the children of Israel is separated from the other Hebrews, such as Moabites, Edomite, Ammonites & Ishmaelite. Among the 12 tribes of Israel, the tribes of Levi is separated by God to serve him as priest. Among the Levites, only those who are without blemish can serve God as priest in the Holy Place. Only the descendants of Aaron can enter the Holies of Holies once a year.

Under the Mosaic Law there are separation between Clean and unclean, separation between Aaron, Levites, Israel, from the rest of the world. Separation is the principles found all over the Mosaic Law.

In part 2 we have discussed that God had will that eventually all these separation will be taken down when Messiah comes. Now let us look at how Christ fulfilled the Mosaic law through his death

Christ Fulfilment Of The Requirements Of Mosaic Law

At the death of Christ, when Jesus said “It is finished” there was a great earthquake. Matthew 27:51-54 records of a few things that happen. Firstly, the veil that separate between the Holies of Holies and the Holy Place as torn into two. Secondly, the vision of the ancient saints resurrecting started. All the people who died under the Mosaic covenant came back alive.

These two visions tells us two things.

Firstly. With the sacrifice of Christ. There is no longer a separation between man and God. All man can come before God and ask for forgiveness. The blood of Christ that is sprinkled onto the mercy seat is forever present. Man can now enter the Holies of Holies to ask for forgiveness without ending up like Nadab and Abihu who were judged by God on the spot.

Secondly, those who died under the Mosaic Covenant died in their sins. Their sins are not forgiven at the point of their death. That is why they died a sinful man without receiving salvation from God.  The day of atonement merely atoned (covered) their sins.  The blood of the bulls and ram can never take away sin. Their sin sacrifice are merely reminder of the sins they committed so often.

Their sins were only forgiven when Christ completes the sacrifice on the cross. Therefore when Christ died they were redeemed and they appeared before people. These saints forms the first fruits and were the first human beings saved through the sacrifice of Christ.

Prophecies Of The Covenant Of The Messiah

If we truly understand the fact that the feast of the Old Testament were merely prophecies of the new covenant that Christ will sign with men. We will appreciate the words of the Prophets better

Jeremiah 31:31-34 : God promised that he will sign a new covenant with Israel and Judah. It is a different covenant from the one made with their fathers in Sinai which is the Mosaic Covenant. In that New Covenant God will forgive them of sin. They will all know God and keep the law of God in their hearts.

In that new covenant God will no longer write on tablets of stone, he will write the law in their hearts.

The Lord had also spoken through Ezekiel that in those days he will give them all a new heart, and put his spirit into them. Eze 36:26-27, Eze 11:9.

God also prophesied that he will sign a covenant Israel, in that Covenant he will set his sanctuary among them. His tabernacle will be among them. (Eze 37:26-28) He will dwell in their midst and at that point of time, the nations will also know God. Fro Gods sanctuary will be in the midst  of nations as well.

We have examined many of the old testament prophecies regarding salvation of the gentiles in Part 2. So I would not repeat them here.

The Start Of The New Covenant

The Covenant of Christ was signed by Christ at the point of his death on the cross. When he died on the cross, his death fulfilled the Mosaic Covenant and brought redemption to all the people who died under the old covenant.

The Prophecy Of God cleansing the sin of Israel is now seen in Baptism where the sins of men are forgiven (Acts 2:38) . Whoever who are baptised are no longer separated from God. They were all children of God (Gal 3:26-29)

The prophecy of God dwelling among his people and in the nations is now seen when the Holy Spirit lives in the heart of men. It happened during the day of Pentecost and it happens to us today as well (Joel 2:28-29)

Today those who receive the Holy Spirit have the commandments and law of God written in their hearts. The Holy spirit will teach us the word of Christ write them in our hearts (Jn 16:7-15)

Under the new covenant, there is no longer a need for man to fear coming into the holies of holies. For at the point of baptism, the blood of Christ is sprinkled into our hearts. Our bodies became the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God resides in our heart. Our hearts is now the mercy seat. We have all entered into the Holies of Holies together with Christ.

That is why the Author of Hebrew tells us Heb 4:14-16

What Will Our Response Be?

The covenant of Christ is a better covenant than the covenant of Moses. The Mosaic Covenant cannot forgive sins nor can it bring salvation to anyone. They are a shadow foretelling the coming sacrifice of the Messiah.

Jesus told us that the Mosaic covenant testify of him, and he had fulfilled the covenant with his blood. Even Moses the law given talks about this new covenant. For he once said in the Torah

”The Lord your God will raise
  up for you a Prophet like me
  from your midst, from your
  brethren. Him you shall hear,
  according to all you desired
  of the Lord your God in Horeb
  in the day of the assembly, saying,
  ‘Let me not hear again the voice
    of the Lord my God, nor let me 
    see this great fire anymore, lest
     I die.’”-Moses (Deut 18:15-16)

Moses was talking about the day where Israel was unable to stand before the presence of God when he descended onto mount Sinai. Throughout the entire old testament, they have never been able to keep the law of God nor were they able to come close to God. For their uncleanness prevents them to do so.

Even the Tabernacle erected by God in their midst were constantly made unclean for it was standing in the midst of unclean people.  As the result those circumcised under the Mosaic Covenant were always afraid to draw near to God. They need to send Moses to speak to God on their behalf. Even though there are good man like David, they find themselves always falling short of Gods standard.

As the result God agreed with their suggestions for he knew they were unable to stand before him due to uncleanness. So he set up separation to protect them from his righteous judgement. God did it because he understood the weakness of man.

The Warning Of Moses 

But God was not satisfied with the state of this. Therefore he spoke through Moses saying 

“And the Lord said to me: ‘What
  they have spoken is good. I will
  raise up for them a Prophet like
  you from among their brethren,
  and will put My words in His mouth,
  and He shall speak to them all that
  I command Him. And it shall be that
  whoever will not hear My words,
  which He speaks in My name, I will
  require it of him.” – Moses (Deut 18:17-19)

Moses warned us the severity of ignoring and despising the covenant of Christ. Let us not despise the new covenant and insist on keeping  old traditions that were only meant as a shadow of the real covenant of God. Let us stop doing things that had no effect at all to salvation.

Let us learn the Moral standard of the Mosaic law and keep them. For it is the standard of God for discerning right and wrong. But most importantly let us  accept the new covenant that was prophesied in the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets.

May we all understand this and may we choose the covenant of the Messiah. 

Introduction

I realised that the fall feast had just started in Israel. While today the internet is peppered with countless of modern day studies by numerous scholars in academia, at the same time we have  many Christian scholars linking these festivals with the second coming of Christ. While all these excitement is generated within Christendom I wonder what is their significance to normal believers like me.

Before I continue I must admit, I am no scholar, I  do not know  the intricate process of playing around with ancient Greek and Hebrews text nor can I appreciate the excessive reliance & use of lexicons and ancient dictionaries by the modern academics.

First Things First

My approach when studying the fall feast is simple. My first rule is not to dwell on excessive speculations of the feast and their significance to the end day. Instead I choose  to focus on what the feast Is truly about, based on the objective of the feast as described in the law of Moses.

The second rule which I applied is to avoid linking the feast with other prophecies in the bible using keywords. With the help of modern website, it is now possible to run a key word search and pick up every verse in the bible that contains the key word. But appearance of the word in a verse doesn’t necessary indicate a link between the verses.

For example, the bible talks of many instances of the blowing of trumpet. Some are blown in battle, some in war, some for during  resurrection while some are used to herald the coming judgement of the Lord . These trumpets may not necessary have a link to the feast of the trumpet.
As far as I am concerned, I wanted to seek the meaning and the spirit of the festivals base on its definition in the Law Of Moses.

The Basic Principle Between Old And New Testament

As a Christian I believed in the words of Jesus.

“Do not think that I came to destroy
the Law or the Prophets. I did not
come to destroy but to fulfill.”- Jesus (Matt 5:17)

The author of Hebrews tells us

“For the law, having a shadow
of the good things to come,
and not the very image of the
things, can never with these
same sacrifices, which they
offer continually year by year,
make those who approach
perfect” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 10:1)
Throughout the book of Hebrews, the author of Hebrews compared and contrast the covenant made between God and Israel in the old testament to the covenant that Jesus made with both the circumcised and the uncircumcised.

The author of Hebrews talk about how the covenant with Christ is better than the former covenant of Moses. Whoever who approach God with the new Covenant would be made perfect and sanctified. In the Mosaic Covenant, God had to be veiled away and man can only approach God for atonement once a year. Under the covenant of Christ, our sin are once and for all forgiven and today the spirit of Christ dwells in the heart of the believers. The Holy Spirit became the counsellor to teach and help the members to achieve perfection.

This contrast is most plainly seen from the fall feast. That is why I feel it is worth our time to look at this feasts and see the difference between the two Covenant.

An Overview Of The Feast

The fall feast begins around the time of October this year, but due to the differences in calendar, they can start as early as September. It spans across a period of about 22 days. Besides celebrating the completion of the harvest. The fall feast also heralds the beginning of the sowing season, the season of the early rain. (Autumn rain)

Feast Of Trumpet

It begin with the new moon (AKA Rosh HaShanah) to most Christians it will be know as the Feast of Trumpets. On that day the blowing of the trumpets signals the beginning of the festivals. It is meant also as a reminder of Israel to finish their harvest and to go up to Jerusalem for the feast

Day Of Atonement

After 10 days from the trumpet, on the 10th of the month. There is an event known as the Day Of Atonement (Yom Kippur). In Hebrew, to Atone (Kaphar) is to cover. It is the appointed day for the high Priest to make atonement for Israel. This is a yearly event when the High priest would enter the Holies of the Holies where the presence of God is present.

There he will make sacrifices first for his own sin and the sin of his family. Then he will make sacrifices for the sin of Israel. He will enter the Holies Of Holies with the blood of the sacrifice and spinkle the blood on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant. As he depart from the temple, he would have to pour the blood on the altar to sanctify the altar.

It was the instruction from God that the high Priest to enter the sanctuary once a year. This rule was set after 2 Priests was killed by the Lord when they offered profane fire before the Lord. (Lev 10:1-17, Lev 16:1-2). These priests were killed on their first day of service, for they did not follow the command of the Lord.

The Day Of Atonement contains many prophecies regarding the Messiah, one I would dwell in greater details in later blog post

To prevent unnecessary deaths, God  only allowed Aaron to come into his presence once a year.

Announcement Of The Year Of Jubilee

The day of atonement is also used to declare the year of the Jubilee, it is a once in 50 years event where all debts, properties and payment are all forgiven. It is a day where all Israelites who are made a slave could get his freedom.

Feast Of Tabernacles

From the 15th – 22nd of the month marks the feast of the Tabernacles. The Israelites have to dwell in booths for 7 days. They are supposed to have a gathering on the 1st day and the 8th day of the feast. The purpose of the feast of Tabernacles is clear. It is meant as a re-enactment of the 40 years of dwelling in the wilderness. Lev 23:42-43. On the Sabbath years, which happens once every 6 years, they are suppose to read the Law of Moses. This serves as a reminder to the Israelites to keep the law of God.

The Feast And Their Sacrifice.

While the Christians of today like to talk about the things done on these festivals. We often neglect the fact that all these sacrifices are heavily tied to the sacrifices. The main sacramental effect behind the feast came from the many animals that are sacrificed during the festival.

I have compiled the dates for the fall feast base on the Jewish Calendar of 2016. I have also tabulated the number of sacrificed animals in the diagram below.

A Chart of ceremonies and sacrifices made during the fall feast

A Chart of ceremonies and sacrifices made during the fall feast

Indeed, the Children of Israel is suppose to come up to Jerusalem for the feast, but the main part of the feast was the sacrifices to be made to the Lord. During the fall feast , sacrifices are constantly made on the altar.

Base on the Mosaic law, the fall feast requires a total number of 280 animals to be sacrificed on the altar. On average, it would always be 1 animal killed every hour.  The animal sacrifices are made in the form of burnt r sin offering. By offering these animals, the sin of Israel was atoned.  This was the method used in the Old testament for forgiveness of sin.

We know from the author of Hebrews that the blood of Animals can never take away sins (Heb 10:1-4) they are only meant as a reminder of sin and cannot lead to forgiveness. All these sacrifices are symbols of the sacrifice of Jesus that is to come. All the feast of the Lord are prophecies that describes the salvation of Christ. They are not the solutions to sin. The offering of Jesus is the eternal sacrifice.

The Effect Of The Blood Of Christ For Atonement

After the death and resurrection of Christ ,  there is no longer a need to sacrifice on the feast days. Without sacrifices, the sacramental effect of the festival are lost. The feast no longer holds an effect to salvation.

What is more important is that these feast were a copy and image of what is to come. They are a copy of the reality that is happening in the spiritual realm. Today at baptism, the blood of Christ sanctifies believers. That is why in the new covenant there is no longer the need for the high priest to enter the Holies of Holies with blood. For today our high priest is Jesus, he had open a way for us to enter the holies of the holies. (Heb 10:19-21)

Since we can enter the heavenly sanctuary with Christ, that is why today as Christian we are given the right to come directly before God to ask for forgiveness. the blood of Christ will continue to wash us and sanctify us, as long as we repent with sincerity.

Since we can enter the heavenly sanctuary with Christ, why is there a need for us to continue the practice of walking into the physical sanctuary with blood?

The Location Of The Mercy Seat In The New Covenant

There is another significance of this in the last days. For God once promise through Ezekiel that he will dwell among man.  Ez 37:14. This prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to live in the hearts of the believers. From then on,  our heart is the mercy seat where the presence of God dwells.

In this new covenant with Christ there is no longer a need to enter the Holies of Holies to meet the Lord. For the Spirit of God had moved from the Holies of Holies in the temple and dwells in the hearts of man. Any Christian who received the H/S had the mercy seat and the presence of God with them. Therefore we are in the Holies Of Holies forever. Since we are always within the Holies of Holies, is there still a need for us to depend on the High Priest to enter Gods presence on our behalf?

This made the day of Atonement Obsolete, both in its role to forgive sin and its role in allowing man to enter the presence of God.

That is why the fall feast are no longer relevant to the Christians under the new Covenant.

Keeping The Spirit Of The Feast

That is why Paul remind us in Colossians

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink,
or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
which are a shadow of things to come, but the
substance is of Christ.”- Paul (Col 2:16-17)

That is why it really doesn’t matter if we want to do anything special on those days anymore.

However, Christians ought to learn from these feast and keep the spirit of these feast. For the Christians of today are part of this never ending feast in the presence of God. There are things that we ought to learn from the feast.

Blowing The Trumpet To Tell Others Of Gods Atonement

We are supposed to blow the trumpet and to declare the salvation of God to the rest of the world. Just like how the ancient Israelites blow their trumpet to signal the day of Atonement. We need to accept the baptism of the Lord for sins to be forgiven (Acts 2:38) For that is when the blood of Christ is sprinkled into our lives.

To Remove Our Heart Of Stone And Keep Gods Commandment

When our hearts are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our heart became the mercy seat of God where the spirit of God dwells within us. We need to take out the stone tablets in our hearts and allow God to put in the heart of flesh. We must allow the spirit of God to once again inscribe the commandments of God in our heart. For the Lord once said

“Then I will give them one heart,
and I will put a new spirit within
them, and take the stony heart
out of their flesh, and give them a
heart of flesh, that they may walk
in My statutes and keep My judgments
and do them; and they shall be
My people, and I will be their God. “-Ezekiel (Eze 11:19-20)

To Dwell In Tents, Living A Life With A Hope In Heaven

Let us keep the feast of the Lord every day in our hearts. Let us be prepared to suffer for Christ, let us be willing to put aside our worldly comfort to dwell in tents serving the Lord in the wilderness. Let us live our lives as if pilgrims living in tent, knowing that this world it only a temporary stop. Let us remember that the promise of God is waiting for us in the promise land. While we live in this wilderness, let us dwell in the wilderness in the world with contentment, walking in the Lord.

To Believe In The Salvation Of God

Most importantly, let us not die in this wilderness because of our unbelief, for many of the Israelites failed to enter Canaan because they refuse to believe that God will give the land to them. As the result they fall in the wilderness one by one. Let us learn to appreciate the promise and salvation of God, let us look onto the bronze serpent and live (Num 21:4-9, CF Jn 3:14-16). Let us be like Joshua and Caleb, who survived the journey from Egypt to Canaan and receive their inheritance.

Conclusion

If we are able to do all of these then we are forever keeping the spirit of the fall feast. Our hearts will always be the Holies of Holies, for we have already entered the heavenly sanctuary with the blood of Jesus. If we can do this we are keeping the fall feast on a dally basis.

May we all reach the promise land safely.

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