Thursday, September 20, 2012

High Holidays

I encourage our churches to return to the bible and attempt to restore the practices of the first churches.  All of Jesus' first disciples were Jewish, and most disciples probably for the first century were Jewish.  As such, they continued to study the bible we call the "Old Testament," and they used it to teach Jesus (whom they call Yeshua).  They also celebrated the holidays instituted for God's chosen people.  Today we call these "Jewish Holidays."  But the truth is that most so-called "Christian holidays," like Easter & Christmas are really just pagan holidays modified by Roman Catholicism.  So I try to encourage everyone who is a disciple to study and (hopefully) celebrate the "Holy Days" commanded by Yahweh in His Torah.  

One group who does this very thing is a church in Jerusalem who is mostly Jewish disciples of Jesus, and also interested in restoring the primitive church, and they faithfully adhere to the Jewish Holidays.  The rest of this post is from the lead Rabbi at that church.  This is something he said last weekend, just before Rosh Hashanah (New Year).  Next post I'll include something he wrote about Yom Kippur, which is upon us.  

Read what our brother Joseph wrote: 

The High Holidays are upon us.  We are now in preparation for Sunday evening celebration of Rosh HaShana with the congregation.  The celebration of the Holiday together is always a high point of fellowship for the congregation.  It is an opportunity to do things together that we don't do every week in the worship service.  We read the holiday texts from the Word of God and we eat the traditional foods and say the prayers and blessings with all of Israel.  Of course Yeshua is in everything and it is all about Him in everyone of the Biblical Holidays.  Peter says that all the prophets prophesied about the Messiah, and the Rabbis say the same thing.  Paul said in Colosians 2:16-17, that the Holidays and the Sabbaths are all a shadow of the things to come, that is the return of the Messiah. A part of the restoration process is to re-read the Word of God with a fresh view and with the intention to discover truth, God's truth revealed in His Word.  If the words of the Apostle Paul in the letter to the Colosians are true we need to re-read and re-learn some of the false traditions inherited from the Catholic Church and passed on to the Evangelicals, i.e. the attitude that is diametrically opposed to Paul’s' Words. Let us note what Paul says in Colosians 2:16-17, 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.”
 Let us take this text from Colosians apart and look at it:
  1. Paul says: Let no one judge you.  In fact Christian History especially during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition the doctrine developed that it is wrong and in fact a heresy for anyone who believes in Yeshua to keep anything from the Torah!  Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism were burned at the stake if they celebrated Sabbath or any biblical holiday.  Many Christians totally ignored the instruction of the Apostle Paul:  “Let no one judge you.”  They judged and many continue to judge anyone, Jew or Gentile, who celebrates any of the Biblical Holidays.
  2. Paul in this text mentioned the following things: food, drink, festival, new moon, and Sabbath. All these thing are deeply significant for the Jewish Identity.  These are some of the main expressions of Jewish Identity.  The last words that we have from Paul are in Acts 28:17, and in the text there Paul states to the leaders of the Jews in Rome that he has done nothing against the Jewish Nation or against the traditions of our Forefathers.  This means that Paul was keeping the Sabbath and Holidays and dietary laws and traditions.
  3. Paul states in Colosians that all these thing, the food, drink, sabbath, festivals, are a shadow of the things that the future holds and the substance of all these things is of the Messiah.  In other words these Jewish signs of identity are significant in the Messiah.  If something is a prophetic sign of the future and a substance of what is in the Messiah Yeshua – should we respect it and enjoy it or condemn it?  Should Jewish disciples of Yeshua judge the Gentile disciples for not keeping the Festivals and Sabbaths or New Moons, or for eating bacon for breakfast?  The answer is obviously, No – don't judge one another concerning these things.  Should someone judge someone who is not eating bacon or celebrating the holidays and the sabbaths and the new moons?  No, – don't judge one another concerning these things.
  4. These occasions that present the shadow of the things to come are great opportunities to tell the world who is going to be coming and what is going to be happening and what our human existance and the future of our world going to be like.  The Word of God is a map for History and it speaks of what happened in the past and points out to the future that is all in the Messiah Yeshua.
 In conclusion these words of the Apostle Paul in Colosians chapter 2 are of great importance and in fact they teach the very same thing that Paul teaches in Romans chapter 14 and it is worth going there and reading it.

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