Feast of Tents!

Feast of Tents began today! Okay, so it’s not really called Feast of Tents, it is called Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, but essentially the term tent is accurate since tabernacle means dwelling and sukkahs are temporary shelters. Thus, Feast of Tents is understood by our daughter who expresses great joy in the simple hanging of blankets and sheets!

Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Deut. 16:13‭-‬15 NIV

“ ‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest. On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’ ”

Lev 23:39‭-‬43 NIV

If setting up temporary tents for a week sounds labourous, consider what the Israelites went through as they traveled by the couple millions through a desert! “That was the best camping trip ever”…said no Israelite ever! Have you read through the account lately? I’ll remind you what it entailed…travelling, complaining, people dying, Moses praying, God revealing His glory…repeat 10 times…or something like that. It wasn’t exactly the finest moment for the Israelites nor did it seem joyful in the moment, yet hindsight is 20/20 and the Jewish people recognize how God sheltered and provided all the way to the promised land.

Feast of Tabernacles is to be a joyous celebration of God’s provision and protection. So, go ahead and share the story with your kids as you build some amazing tents. Remind them that our home here on earth is temporary like a tent and that Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven. Here are a couple links to help explain Feast of Tabernacles to your kids.

Jumpin Jerusalem – Sukkot

Livin in a Booth – Music Video

Blessings,

Jenn and John

What’s for Dinner this Rosh Hashanah?

It’s already the Friday before Rosh Hashanah and I’m just now menu planning. Last year, I spent weeks browsing Pinterest for apple recipes, decor and kids crafts. To be honest, our family celebrated Rosh Hashanah a month ago when it was rumored that Israel erroneously added a month to make it a leap year despite the barley harvest being ready. Between some following the solar calendar and others the lunar calendar, really only God knows what day it really is! Interestingly, if you read the rules regarding observing the Passover, in Numbers 9 God allowed Israelites to observe the Passover (called a second Passover) exactly a month later if circumstances prohibited them from being able observe the official Passover the month prior. What a gracious God to recognize that we are only human and though He has set an appointment, such as the Passover, He is willing to delay for our benefit. Perhaps the same will be true for the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). If He delays keeping the Feast it is for our benefit as His desire is for none to perish, but all to come to Him through repentance. So, have you been in a time of repentance? Is the Lord waiting for you to confess that stronghold in your life? If you have been reading Psalm 27 every day, you will have noted that the Lord is to be our stronghold. Often the word “stronghold” is seen in a negative light. It has almost become synonymous with the word addiction and an addiction by definition is anything you keep returning to. Therefore, Psalm 27 remains in perfect context describing the Lord as our stronghold. Our prayer is that you are holding strong to Him and experiencing the blessing of repentance and victory in Jesus.

Rosh Hashanah follows a solomn time of reflection and repentance. It is a 180 shift in emotion met in joyous celebration. Nehemiah concluded the rebuilding the city’s wall with a Rosh Hashanah celebration and encouraged the people to rejoice and delight in what must have been a very promising and happy new year!

On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding. Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.”

Nehemiah 8:2‭, ‬9‭-‬10 HCSB

Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah meals are saturated in honey, apples and pomegranates. The sweetness of the food is a symbol of a sweet new year and the joy of the Lord. Honey reminds us of the promised land that flowed with milk and honey. The Israelites had to wait much longer than a year to enjoy the sweetness of a promised land, but once there it certainly did not disappoint. 

Pomegranates…oh how I do not like pomegranates! Sorry, but way to much effort for only a miniscule amount of sweet juice. Has anybody ever tried to count the seeds? Even though pomegranates can contain between 200 to 1400 seeds, Jewish legend taught there were 613 seeds representing the 613 mosaic laws…equally as annoying I’m sure. I much prefer going to the store and buying a bottle of Ocean Spray Pomegranate juice! The juice, therefore, could be equated to the age of grace. Jesus fulfilled all 613 laws and now offers the juice of His hard work on the cross to each of us.

So, as you plan your Rosh Hashanah meals, keep these ingredients in mind. We will be enjoying garlic honey crockpot chicken with rice, sweet glazed carrots, pomegranate ginger ale punch, and upside-down apple cake! 

Shana Tova!

~Jenn and John

The Jewish Wedding

If you have been following along, you know that we have been equating the Feast of Trumpets with the marriage of the Bride (the church) to Christ (the Bridegroom).

…the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

Matthew 25:10

 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Ephesians 5:25

The thing about weddings is that every culture has their own traditions. I can assure you that American weddings differ from Chinese weddings or African weddings, etc. Furthermore, in the American culture there is trendy freedom for a Bride and Groom to deviate from tradition and add their own personal touches. So, it can be very easy to have a distorted view of what the marriage of the church to Christ might look like depending on what culture you are accustomed. That is why we would like for you to watch this video that details what the traditional Jewish wedding entailed. Since Jesus is Jewish and explained things or taught parables that reflected the relevant Jewish culture He was within, we must learn from our Jewish roots to better understand the scriptures and picture of the coming wedding. Hope you enjoy!

The Jewish Wedding

Love,

John & Jenn

Fall Feast Rehearsals

It has been a while since we have blogged…it’s been a little busy around here as many of you can surely relate. But, before we break down each fall feast in their beautiful details of foreshadowing and future fulfillments, we would like to briefly share the fun we have had these past few weeks in celebrating them this year.

Feast of Trumpets

As we shared in prior posts, Feast of Trumpets begins when the new moon appears. It begins the Jewish new year and since it is the only feast that falls on a new moon, it is also referred to as the unknown day and hour. It’s a feast with a little bit of mystery because when you read through Leviticus 23, all the other feasts have several components and instructions. Feast of Trumpets, on the contrary, is simply a day of blowing trumpets. It is the only feast that has over a hundred trumpet blasts with four specific rhythmic blows. The first is an awakening blast and the last is just that…saved for last and known as the last trump!

For many reasons found in scripture and in conjunction with Jewish culture, Feast of Trumpets is considered to be the future marriage of Christ to His Bride…the church. In order to get married, it only makes sense that Christ would have to first come get His Bride…referred to as the rapture, or snatching up, or catching away. We will examine the support for this in later posts.

So, how did we celebrate Feast of Trumpets? We continued to use the shofar app on our phones, but John found a live webcam of the Western “Wailing” Wall in Jerusalem and we tuned in for a couple days and got to hear the real shofar blasts throughout the day! It was a beautiful and sad experience. Beautiful because theses Jewish people are really wanting to seek repentance and blessing through their prayers for a sweet new year and sad because they have misunderstood and rejected Christ who offers both. Without a temple, we can only imagine the hopelessness they must feel.

We ourselves looked for the new moon (even in the middle of the night), but Wednesday came and went, Thursday came and went, but not a sliver of the new moon appeared. Friday morning we packed up and left for the Northern California coast where John had the honor of officiating a wedding for our friends. It was a perfect way to spend Feast of Trumpets as we anticipate Christ coming for us His Bride! Every Feast of Trumpets is a rehearsal for the marriage of the Lamb. Every marriage between a godly man and woman is a tangible, experiential glimpse of Christ’s love for us. Witnessing a wedding reminded us of how we felt before our wedding…excited beyond words and a little nervous about the unknown of how life was going to be different as two become one. It is with the same excited yet anxious expectation we await the second coming of Christ.

McDaniel Wedding-378

Day of Atonement

Ten days after the new moon is seen, Day of Atonement begins. The day is initiated with a 25-hour fast, prayer, 5 services, sacrifice for atonement and wearing white to symbolize purification. There is much significance in the foreshadows and future fulfillment of this day too, which we will dedicate to a post of it’s own. The day is regarded as God’s final judgment, thus is why it is considered the holiest Jewish day of the year. To be honest, we admit we did not observe this feast as the Jews do. We actually got carried away with a limited opportunity to remodel our kitchen. Here’s where irony enters. We bought a new home a year and a half ago and immediately noticed flaws and blemishes with our kitchen. We eventually discovered major construction mishaps that actually posed safety risks. With some investigation we found out that the kitchen was constructed by an unlicensed felon! For a whole year, we sat in disgust every time we looked at all the imperfections of our kitchen. Long story short, we finally were allotted time and resources to fix the structure and paint over the cosmetic issues. We spent our entire Day of Atonement working furiously. We hardly ate anything (maybe a granola bar for lunch) and ended up covered with white paint. Our cabinets now serve as a visual reminder of atoning…making right what was wrong. We certainly do not mean to take the day lightly, we revere His holiness and our need for atonement. However, we claim the blood of Jesus as the once and for all atonement for our sins. If we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive.

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Feast of Tabernacles

Last but not least, Feast of Tabernacles is an exciting feast full of rejoicing! To describe it’s celebrations in very simple terms, it is a cross between a wedding reception (think lots of food, people, music) and the Olympics (think torch, lights, nations). But, yes you guessed it, we will post all the fun details in another post. If you have been following the blood moons, then you know that the second blood moon in the 2014-2015 tetrad fell on Feast of Tabernacles. The blood moons serve as book ends for the feasts this year. The first blood moon fell on the first feast (Passover) and the second blood moon on the last feast. This will also happen in the same manner next year.

Before bed October 7th, we set our alarm for 3:30am. We awoke just before the fullness of the lunar eclipse. Because our entire Bible study has been following the feasts and studying Revelation together, we knew they were planning to watch too. We sent out a mass text that read, “Wake up, O sleepers and look at the moon!” Only close Bible study friends allow you to text sarcasm at 3:30am! We got texts back immediately stating they were already awake. One family even woke up their four children (the youngest just 7 months old) and sent us a picture of all them in the backyard on a blanket. It was in that moment I felt so excited to be a part of something so big and together with other believers. It was a special time of watching and waiting together.

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It also just so happened that we were gifted tickets to a King & Country concert at a local church for the next evening. Jenn felt like the only one present crying just 3 songs into the concert overwhelmed by such joy in being together with others as we sang and danced in worship to God. It was a beautiful rehearsal for the millennial and heavenly unity and praise we get to participate in one day.

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During the dinner reception at the wedding we attended during Feast of Trumpets, we had the privilege of sitting next to and talking with a lovely couple about the feasts of the Lord. As we were discussing Feast of Tabernacles, the gal shared how she and some family friends have celebrated with a progressive dinner party. If you’ve never done a progressive dinner party before, it is a group of people who alternate hosting each course of dinner. So, appetizers would be at one house, main course at another house and dessert at yet another house. The significant symbolism is that Feast of Tabernacles is a reminder of temporary dwelling. Therefore, a progressive dinner party also achieves the same feeling of temporary dwelling as you travel from home to home. So creative and something we would love to plan for next year!

 

We would love to hear if and how you celebrated the fall feasts in comments below. Stay tuned for posts digging deeper into the Biblical historical, foreshadowing and future fulfillments of these fall feasts.

Blessings,

– John & Jenn

Feast Five – Feast of Trumpets

Have you ever been on a roller coaster ride and experienced the anticipation that the ride is about to begin? As you travel up the hill hearing the clanking of the chains, you arrive at the top, butterflies in your stomach, and there is this split second of silence.  You hold your breath as you go over the hill, then the train drops and everyone starts to scream with either great joy or much fright!  In the same way, Feast of Trumpets is an appointment that God has set for future events; and we should anticipate it with great excitement, wonder, reverence and awe.  For those who have been observing Teshuvah (repentance), this is why the shofar (trumpet) is not to be blown on the day before Feast of Trumpets…it is the silence before the big event!  It is a reminder to wait and anticipate if this will be the year the heavenly shofar will be blown.

Trumpets

Feast of Trumpets has many names.  Most Jewish people of today call it Rosh Hashanah or Yom Teruah.  It is the festival in the Bible known as the Blowing of Trumpets.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.  You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’”

Leviticus 23:23-25 (NKJV)

And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets.

Numbers 29:1

The trumpet used is not like what we know today as a trumpet, rather it is a ram’s horn called a shofar.  The shofar is used to announce the beginning of festivals, to assemble people, muster troops, warn of danger, and for coronations.  So there are many meanings for this very mysterious day known as the Feast of Trumpets.  Listed are some of the many names and themes for this day:

  1. Teshuvah (repentance)
  2. Rosh HaShanah (Head of the Year, Birthday of the World)
  3. Yom Teruah (the Day of the Awakening Blast (Feast of Trumpets)
  4. Yom HaDin (the Day of Judgment)
  5. HaMelech (the Coronation of the Messiah)
  6. Yom HaZikkaron (the Day of Remembrance or memorial)
  7. The time of Jacob’s (Ya’akov) trouble (the birthpangs of the Messiah, Chevlai shel Mashiach)
  8. The opening of the gates
  9. Kiddushin/Nesu’in (the wedding ceremony)
  10. The resurrection of the dead (rapture, natza1)
  11. The last trump (shofar)
  12. Yom Hakeseh (the hidden day)

The reason this day has so much significance is because it is the next feast yet to be fulfilled, and many believe it will be the day of the rapture, more accurately described in the Bible as “the gathering” or “catching away”.  It marks the Jewish New Year and begins the Days of Awe also referred to as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Daniel’s 70th week, the Day of the Lord, or the Tribulation.

feastsmenorah7  

Because Feast of Trumpets begins based on the sighting of the new moon, it spans two days (48 hours). Therefore it is called the unknown day because no one knows the day or the hour it will start.  Two witnesses are assigned to look for the new moon outside the walls of Jerusalem and report to the head of the Sanhedrin when it has occurred.  It is at this time that the new year is declared and the trumpets begin sounding.

Four different types of blasts are sounded on Feast of Trumpets (awakening, warning, repentance, the last trumpet) with a total of 100 or more blasts.  It comes on the first day of the month of Tishri.  Tishri usually falls sometime during September or October.  To those of us who believe in Jesus as our Messiah, Feast of Trumpets has great prophetic significance.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NKJV)

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NKJV)

This will be the time when the Lord will come for His own.  Jesus will descend through the heavens and catch away those who are true followers to be with Himself.  While we don’t know the day or the hour, we do know the season.  Even though it has yet to be fulfilled, we are still in the period between Pentecost and Feast of Trumpets in God’s prophetic calendar.  So I encourage everyone to look up during the Feast of Trumpets and be on the watch.  This could be the year our Lord comes for His bride!

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NOTE:  We could give much more detail and explanation, but because today begins the Feast of Trumpets we encourage you to continue in an attitude of Teshuvah.  In the coming days leading up to the Day of Atonement (October 3), continue to read Psalm 27 and sound the trumpet every day as a reminder of God’s desire for you to make your ways like His ways.

Peace and Happy New Year!

John & Jenn

 

The Spring Feasts

Even though we are coming up to the fall feasts of the Lord, we thought we should give a brief (very brief) overview of the spring feasts. When we see how incredibly accurate Jesus fulfilled the spring feasts during His first coming, it gives us more hope and assurance that He will faithfully fulfill the fall feasts in the same manner. We desire to celebrate and remember the feasts of the Lord since they unfold the plan of redemption for all mankind (whether Jew or Gentile).

Think of celebrating these feasts every year like you would your birthday. You certainly are not being reborn every birthday going back to 0-years-old; rather you are remembering what has already been fulfilled in your past years and looking forward to what is still to come. Even if you don’t celebrate, that doesn’t stop the clock and delay the fulfillment of things to come!

Leviticus 23 explains all 7 feasts of the Lord.

Sabbath

Feast One – Sabbath

We’ve already covered the significance of the Sabbath and the command to keep it holy (Read more here).

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Feast Two – Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread

The First (Foreshadow) Passover and Unleavened Bread:

The Israelites best knew Passover as the night they took lambs blood and applied it to their doorposts as prescribed by God in order for death to Passover them and their household. Their freedom to leave Egypt and worship the one true God was granted that night, which is why they were instructed to eat their Passover meal in haste ready to go. Though they typically enjoyed leavened bread, this night they had no time to let the dough rise. For 7 days following Passover they were to leave out the leaven so that their bread would bake quicker by the heat of the sun as they travelled. Instructions for preparing the Passover meal were specific (See Exodus 12). One requirement was to take an unblemished lamb (do not break it’s bones), kill it at twilight, apply it’s blood to the doorposts, roast it in a fire with the unleavened bread and serve it with bitter herbs.

The Fulfillment:

In short, Jesus is the perfect unblemished Passover lamb (without sin). His blood was shed on two wooden posts (the cross) to atone for sin so that eternal death now passes over those whose hearts are covered by His blood. In His thirst He was offered a drink from bitter herbs. He died exactly at twilight and when the soldiers saw He was already dead, they did not break His bones like they did the other criminals in order to speed up their death. He was taken off the cross in haste because a high Sabbath (a.k.a. Passover) was coming with the setting of the sun and no work, even a burial was not permitted on such a holy day. He descended into hell to preach the good news, like unleavened bread in the fire of hell.

The Continuation Today:

We are to continue celebrating Passover with unleavened bread and wine as symbolic elements to remember Christ’s sacrificial fulfillment for us as we proclaim His death until His return.

…took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Jesus Himself even said He will share the Passover with us again when He returns!

And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 22:15-16

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Mark 14:24-25

Paul also urged the Corinthians to keep the Passover and feast of unleavened bread knowing the deeper meaning and richness in Christ’s fulfillment. He challenged them to get rid of the leaven (sin) in their lives, which is only possible for those in Christ.

For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8

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Feast Three – Feast Firstfruits

The First (Foreshadow) Feast of Firstfruits

The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”

Exodus 13:1-2

After their deliverance from Egypt, the Israelites were to consecrate {make or declare (something) sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose} every firstborn. This was to be a reminder that God is the one who saved all the firstborn sons from death and delivered the Israelites from their slavery.

The Fulfillment:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Corinthians 15:20

God offered His one and only son as the perfect sacrificial lamb to die on the cross once and for all. Though He died, He conquered death and rose 3 days later as God’s firstborn son and now anyone who is in Christ is freed from the slavery of sin and is promised resurrection.

 The Continuation Today:

To this day, Christians celebrate and remember the risen Christ as our firstfruit by tithing a tenth of their income and giving of their spiritual talents. When we give and tithe, we declare the hope of our own resurrection.

weeks

Feast Four – Feast of Weeks

The First (Foreshadow) Feast of Weeks:

Seven weeks after Passover, the Israelites found themselves in the Desert of Sinai and Moses went up to meet God on the mountain. Exactly 50 days from their deliverance from Egypt, Moses descended with the 10 commandments (God’s law) to provide, protect and set them apart as a holy people.

The Fulfillment:

In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles who began to speak in other tongues (languages). It was the beginning of the end of days. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to teach and remind us of everything Jesus had said.

The Continuation Today:

The Holy Spirit has put the law on our hearts and written them in our minds. No longer is the law written in stone, but on every heart.

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

“This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”

Hebrews 10:15-16

In sum, Jesus came and perfectly fulfilled the spring feasts at His first coming. The fall feasts are just a day away. Could this be the year they are fulfilled?

John & Jenn

The Case to Keep the Sabbath

This past Sunday we were just talking about Chick-fil-A’s founder, S. Truett Cathy before his passing away on Monday. We were still discussing the case to keep the Sabbath (See past post: Feast One – Sabbath) and of course, it led us to think of him. His bold, nationally-known practice to keep the Sabbath should and has been an inspiration for Christianity, especially within the workplace. Thankfully, we are still allowed to practice this religious freedom of Sabbath-keeping.

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Why is it that some Christians do not believe they have to keep the Sabbath?

 

Myth #1: Jesus broke the Sabbath, so we no longer have to observe the Sabbath.

Scripture Says: “Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.” John 9:16

It was actually the Pharisees that claimed Jesus broke the Sabbath. To make such a claim is to mar Jesus as a sinner, which He certainly was not! He is perfectly blameless. In fact, He kept His Heavenly Father’s command fulfilling it through active demonstrations of what the Sabbath should look like. He only broke what the Pharisees declared restricted Sabbath practices.

 

 

 

Myth #2: The Sabbath is an old testament law that Gentiles are not expected to observe.

Scripture Says: “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” Acts 15:19-20

Some reference this verse to excuse Gentiles from having to observe the Sabbath because they claim if it were really that important, it would have been included in this text. That is poor rational. Many of God’s commands were excluded from this letter to the Gentiles. How about do not murder, do not steal, do not lie? Those are also missing commands that surely are not irrelevant or permissible for a Gentile Christian. This passage was dealing with Jewish leaders who were afraid the pagan Gentiles would bring their pagan practices into their church and degrade the overall morality of God’s people. Therefore, they wanted the Gentiles to prove they were true Christian converts by being circumcised before having fellowship with the Jews. Because the new Gentile believers were unaware of God’s ways, Jewish law and customs would be burdensome and furthermore, were unnecessary for salvation. A compromise was needed so they could all feel comfortable being in fellowship with each other. The case was made that the Gentiles were being saved and circumcised by the Holy Spirit and in time may be convicted to a higher moral law not for salvation, but because of salvation. Therefore, the Gentiles were given commands only in regards to food and sex so that they would be welcomed into fellowship with the Jews and the ministry of Jesus Christ would continue without lawful restraint. The Gentiles, though pagan, most likely already knew it was wrong to murder, steal and lie. They may have been willingly abiding to those laws already which is why you don’t see the need to discuss such things in this text. Similarly, the Sabbath is not necessarily missing here to be presumably irrelevant in matter. In fact, the Gentiles coming to faith may have been wanting to observe the Sabbath by going to hear teaching in the synagogues leading to this need to set some ground rules for appropriate behavior in mixed ethnic, religious company in the synagogues.

Scripture Says: And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27

Again, Jesus was arguing with the Pharisees and declared that the Sabbath was made for man (mankind). Despite what we think should or shouldn’t happen on a Sabbath, the Sabbath is still to be observed because it was created specifically for us to observe. Note this was from the new testament.

 

Myth #3: You can choose to observe the Sabbath or choose to observe every day like a Sabbath.

Scripture Says: “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.” Romans 14:5-6a

If you read this passage and assume the “days” mentioned are referring to the Sabbath, then this verse can easily appear as if Christians are allowed to observe or not observe the Sabbath as long as they are convinced in their own mind. However, these days are referring to days of fasting. If you read the entire passage, it is talking about those who abstain from eating meat (convinced they are not allowed) and those who eat freely (convinced they are allowed). This was a debate between Christian Jews and Gentiles each with their own customs. They each had certain days they fasted for the Lord and what they felt they were or were not permitted to eat. Fasting is not associated with the Sabbath, so this passage is in no way implying that we rightly choose whether to observe or not observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made and declared by God, not one person or another in his own mind. However, a day of fasting is typically supposed to be a private matter between you and God (Matthew 6:16-18), which is why this scripture says to do as you are convinced, but privately without arguing as everyone was simply wanting to honor the Lord in their days of fasting.

 

Myth #4: You are not to judge people concerning the Sabbath.

Scripture Says: “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 2:16-17

Many have interpreted this verse to mean that you should not judge a Christian for whatever they choose to eat, drink and celebrate because as long as it’s centered around Christ it’s all okay. This very verse that is used to persuade some into thinking that there is no judgment for those who choose to observe the Sabbath or not, is the very verse that declares the important fulfillment of such things as the Sabbath. Keep in mind that this verse was written after Christ suffered the cross. The law no longer required sacrifices, but they were still encouraged to celebrate the Feasts of the Lord (some of which began at the new moon while others were considered High Sabbaths) without fear of judgment now because there was no more condemnation for those in Christ. The Christian Jews especially understood that these Feasts of the Lord were shadows of Christ’s first and second coming! Things to come…there are still things to come and as we celebrate the Feasts of the Lord (including the Sabbath) we are looking forward to His return!

 

Fact: The Sabbath is a God-given gift to believers who desire to seek obedience with a promise of physical and spiritual rest. When we observe a Sabbath rest, we are proclaiming our freedom in Christ and awaiting His eternal promise of rest! May we live our lives in bold declaration to others that God gives rest to His people…even if we don’t own a Chick-fil-A. 🙂

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Hebrews 4:9-11

 


*Disclaimer* God defined the Sabbath as the 7th day. Many Jews count day one of creation to be Sunday, which makes Saturday the Sabbath and remains consistent with God’s appointed times throughout the Bible. Many Christians began to celebrate the Sabbath on Sundays in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection occurring on a Sunday. Because we (John and Jenn) are in ministry, which in it’s nature requires us to work Sundays and some Saturdays, we take our Sabbath rest on Fridays. We are not so legalistic to think God is displeased that we observe a Sabbath rest on a Friday, but we recognize that the original Sabbath is Saturday. However, calendars have not remained consistent throughout history and your guess is as good as ours in determining which day is the “true” Sabbath. We simply hold to the Biblical principle “work 6 days and rest on the 7th” in whichever way that lands for us and for you. In keeping with repentance, we ask the Lord to forgive us if we have not kept His Sabbath holy.


John & Jenn