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Verses

Are NT believers obliged to observe the OT feasts?

Hello O,

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The feasts are listed in Leviticus 23. These feasts of the Mosaic Law, were also known as sabbaths because God’s children were not to do any work on these holidays. These laws were given in addition to the seventh day Sabbath of God’s Moral law –Ten Commandments (Leviticus 23:37-38; Exodus 20:8-11). The Israelites were God’s official representatives to the world. But when they rejected Christ, their status as the official representatives of the true religion was transferred to the Christian church (Matthew 21:43), of whom many Jews decided to become a part of. After the crucifixion, it was no longer necessary for the children of God to engage in the ceremonies of the Mosaic law (Galatians 2:16).

“Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. 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” (Colossians 2:14-17).

At first, this distinction between Christianity and Judaism was not too well understood. Many Jewish converts believed that Christianity was simply Judaism to which had been added belief in Jesus as the Messiah, but they did not have a clear perception of which of their feasts actually had been fulfilled by Messiah. They maintained that the Gentiles should be circumcised and keep the Jewish ceremonial system in addition to their acceptance of Jesus Christ.

The Jerusalem Council was requested to settle this matter (Acts 15). The council judged against the claims of those that pushed the Mosaic law on the Gentiles and for the health laws regarding meats, idols, and fornication. But not all seemed willing to accept the decisions of the council. So, Paul spoke to the Galatians and Ephesians teaching that the system of Judaism was now obsolete: “having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace” (Ephesians 2:15). The ceremonial law of Moses was abolished. The ceremonial law which pointed to Christ naturally came to an end when Christ fulfilled its types. And Jewish civil law had already largely passed away with the passing of the nation’s sovereignty.

But the moral law of God (Ten Commandments) is as eternal as God Himself and can never be abolished (Luke 16:17). This law existed from the very beginning, or at least as long as sin existed (Romans 3:20). Paul made this clear “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). When speaking of the end of circumcision Paul added, “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters” (1 Corinthians 7:19).

In His service,

ProofDirectory Team

 

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