Are We To Keep the Feast Days?
First of all, we need to realize that there are two different "Laws" that are talked about in the Bible.
One "Law" was the "Moral Law" (10 Commandments) that was in existence "before sin" entered the picture (Genesis 2:3; Romans 4:15; 1 John 3:4) . The other "Law" was the "Ceremonial Law" which was instituted "because of sin" .
These 2 Laws are totally different and distinct from one another. The Moral Law is the transcript of God's Character - it is as eternal as He is! It reveals His personality and unchangeable nature! This Law was written by God Himself on tables of stone and was placed "Inside" the Ark of the Covenant - on top of which the shekinah glory (the presence of God) sat. In other words, this Law was designed to last forever (Psalm 119) and it forms the "foundation" of the Throne of God!
The Ceremonial Law was added by God Himself as a "lesson book" or "object lesson" so-to-speak, to teach mankind about the Plan of Redemption. It consists of rituals and ceremonies that were types & shadows of a future event (Hebrews 10:1). This Law was written by the hand of Moses on parchment and was placed in a pocket on the side of the Ark of the Covenant (Deut. 31:26). In other words, this law was designed to last long enough to serve its purpose, but it is perishable (Hebrews 9) and can only sit by the side of the Throne of God.
Most people don't have trouble understanding that. The problem comes in when these two Laws are broken down into the "fine print" so-to-speak.
The "fine print" of these two Laws were called "Statutes, Judgments, and Ordinances."
The "Statutes & Judgments" of the Moral Law are specifications that form a wall of protection around the Moral Law. For example, the Moral Law says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Ex. 20:14) But then there are other "statutes & judgments" that give more of the fine print of that 7th Commandment - such as, "Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her." (Lev. 18:20 and all the other sexual rules listed in that chapter)
The "fine print" of the Ceremonial Law included not only the sacrifices themselves, but all other "statutes" and "ordinances" that applied to the "types" and "shadows" of things to come. In this law were all the ceremonial washings, the various rituals of the sanctuary service, the ordinances of meat and drink offerings, the rite of circumcision, and the feast days. All these things were types and symbols pointing to something else - and the need for the literal observance of these things was fulfilled by the death of the Lamb of God on Calvary.
That doesn't mean that they lost their meaning - they still revealed how God had led His people in the past, but once the Ultimate Sacrifice had been offered, their literal observance was no longer necessary. Today, we can look back to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
Col 2:14-17 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Deut. 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
“As the sons of Joseph made preparation to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, they saw that Christ made no movement signifying His intention of attending. They watched Him with anxiety. Since the healing at Bethesda He had not attended the national gatherings. To avoid useless conflict with the leaders at Jerusalem, He had restricted His labors to Galilee. His apparent neglect of the great religious assemblies, and the enmity manifested toward Him by the priests and rabbis, were a cause of perplexity to the people about Him, and even to His own disciples and His kindred. In His teachings He had dwelt upon the blessings of obedience to the law of God, and yet He Himself seemed to be indifferent to the service which had been divinely established.” DA 450
“Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.” DA 652
Jesus did not seem to put much stock in the feasts because that system was coming to an end and He was establishing a new system.
“One after another inquired about the strange event that had taken place. Hitherto the Most Holy Place had always been most sacredly guarded from intrusion. It was left in sacred solitude. Only once a year was it entered, and then by the high priest. But now a curious horror is seen on many countenances, for this apartment was open to all eyes. At the very moment that Christ had expired, the heavy veil of tapestry, made of pure linen, and beautifully wrought with scarlet and purple, had been rent from top to bottom. The place where Jehovah had met with the priest, to communicate His glory, the place that had been God's sacred audience chamber, lay open to every eye--a place no longer recognized by the Lord. Many who at that time united in the services of the Passover never again took part in them. Light was to shine into their hearts.” 12 MR 418
“When the Saviour yielded up His life on Calvary, the significance of the Passover ceased, and the ordinance of the Lord's Supper was instituted as a memorial of the same event of which the Passover had been a type.” PP 539
“In the last passover our Lord observed with his disciples, he instituted the Lord's supper in place of the passover, to be observed in memory of his death. No longer had they need of the passover, for he, the great antitypical Lamb, was ready to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Type met antitype in the death of Christ.” YI 5/1/1873
“As we had before us the emblems of our dying Lord, and were about to commemorate His sufferings, this brother arose and said that he had no faith in what we were about to do; that the Lord's supper was a continuation of the Passover, and should be partaken of but once a year. These strange differences of opinion rolled a heavy weight upon me. I saw that many errors were being presented as truth. It seemed to me that God was dishonored…My accompanying angel presented before me some of the errors of those present, and also the truth in contrast with their errors. These discordant views, which they claimed were in harmony with the Scriptures, were only according to their opinion of Bible teaching; and I was bidden to tell them that they should yield their errors, and unite upon the truths of the third angel's message.” LS 111
“This was the last time that Christ was to keep the feast with His disciples. It was really the last Passover that was ever to be kept.” Story of Jesus 95
“The ceremonial law was thus given to Moses, and by him written in a book. But the law of Ten Commandments spoken from Sinai had been written by God Himself on the tables of stone, and was sacredly preserved in the ark. There are many who try to blend these two systems, using the texts that speak of the ceremonial law to prove that the moral law has been abolished; but this is a perversion of the Scriptures. The distinction between the two systems is broad and clear. The ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice and His priesthood. This ritual law, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” PP 365
The feasts all point to Christ. The Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits all pointed to His sacrifice; the Feast of Weeks, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles all point to His priesthood.
“The Lord Jesus was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. Its imposing rites were of divine appointment. They were designed to make the worship of God impressive, and to teach the people that at the time appointed One would come to whom these ceremonies pointed. But the Jews exalted the forms and ceremonies, and lost sight of their object. The traditions and maxims and enactments of men hid from them the spiritual lessons that God intended to convey. These maxims and traditions became an obstacle to their understanding and practice of true religion. And when the reality came, in the person of Christ, they did not recognize in Him the fulfillment of all their types, the substance of all their shadows. They rejected the Antitype, and clung to their types and useless ceremonies.” ST 11/3/1898
Jesus was the fulfillment of ALL their types and shadows. The feast days fall under this category.
“The gospel of Christ reflects glory upon the Jewish age. It sheds light upon the whole Jewish economy, and gives significance to the ceremonial law. The tabernacle, or temple, of God on earth was a pattern of the original in Heaven. All the ceremonies of the Jewish law were prophetic, typical of mysteries in the plan of redemption. The rites and ceremonies of the law were given by Christ himself, who, enshrouded in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, was the leader of the hosts of Israel; and this law should be treated with great respect, for it is sacred. Even after it was no longer to be observed, Paul presented it before the Jews in its true position and value, showing its place in the plan of redemption and its relation to the work of Christ; and the great apostle pronounces this law glorious, worthy of its divine Originator. That which was to be done away was glorious, but it was not the law instituted by God for the government of his family in Heaven and on earth; for as long as the heavens shall remain, so long shall the law of the Lord endure.” ST 7/29/1886
“We have yet to learn that the whole Jewish economy is a compacted prophecy of the gospel. It is the gospel in figures;” 5MR 210
All the ceremonies of the Jewish law were prophetic, and typical!
“In this ordinance, Christ discharged his disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any virtue; …It was Christ's desire to leave to his disciples an ordinance that would do for them the very thing they needed,--that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah.” RH 6/14/1898
“The slaying of the Passover lamb was a shadow of the death of Christ. Says Paul: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." 1 Corinthians 5:7. The sheaf of first fruits, which at the time of the Passover was waved before the Lord, was typical of the resurrection of Christ.” GC 399
“In the days of the apostles the most foolish heresies were presented as truth. History has been and will be repeated. There will always be those who, though apparently conscientious, will grasp at the shadow, preferring it to the substance. They take error in the place of truth, because error is clothed with a new garment, which they think covers something wonderful. But let the covering be removed, and nothingness appears.” RH 2/5/1901
“God gave a clear and definite knowledge of his will to Israel by especial precepts, showing the duty of man to God and to his fellow-men. The worship due to God was clearly defined…God's people, whom he calls his peculiar treasure, were privileged with a two-fold system of law; the moral and the ceremonial. The one, pointing back to creation to keep in remembrance the living God who made the world, whose claims are binding upon all men in every dispensation, and which will exist through all time and eternity. The other, given because of man's transgression of the moral law, the obedience to which consisted in sacrifices and offerings pointing to the future redemption. Each is clear and distinct from the other. From the creation the moral law was an essential part of God's divine plan, and was as unchangeable as himself. The ceremonial law was to answer a particular purpose of Christ plan for the salvation of the race. The typical system of sacrifices and offerings was established that through these services the sinner might discern the great offering, Christ. But the Jews were so blinded by pride and sin that but few of them could see farther than the death of beasts as an atonement for sin; and when Christ, whom these offerings prefigured, came, they could not discern him. The ceremonial law was glorious; it was the provision made by Jesus Christ in counsel with his Father, to aid in the salvation of the race. The whole arrangement of the typical system was founded on Christ… The law of types reached forward to Christ. All hope and faith centered in Christ until type reached its antitype in his death. The statutes and judgments specifying the duty of man to his fellow-men, were full of important instruction, defining and simplifying the principles of the moral law, for the purpose of increasing religious knowledge, and of preserving God's chosen people distinct and separate from idolatrous nations. The statutes concerning marriage, inheritance, and strict justice in deal with one another, were peculiar and contrary to the customs and manners of other nations, and were designed of God to keep his people separate from other nations…In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern the everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law. Christ…recognized the claims of the Jewish law until his death, when type met antitype …Without the death of Christ all this system was meaningless. The Jews reject Christ, and therefore their whole system of religion is to them indefinite, unexplainable, and uncertain. They attach as much importance to shadowy ceremonies of types which have met their antitype, as they do to the law of the ten commandments, which was not a shadow, but a reality as enduring as the throne of Jehovah. The death of Christ elevates the Jewish system of types and ordinances, showing that they were of divine appointment, and for the purpose of keeping faith alive in the hearts of his people.” RH 5/6/75
The statutes and judgements that are still in force and are to be observed, are the part of the “torah” that define and explain the 10 commandments, the "fine print" so to speak. There were other statutes that were symbolic of the covenant with God, that were "types," object lessons, that had a spiritual meaning. An example would be circumcision.
“After the crucifixion, it was a denial of Christ for the Jews to continue to offer the burnt offerings and sacrifices which were typical of his death.” ST 7/29/1886
“The council had, on that occasion, decided that the converts from the Jewish church might observe the ordinances of the Mosaic law if they chose, while those ordinances should not be made obligatory upon converts from the Gentiles. The opposing class now took advantage of this, to urge a distinction between the observers of the ceremonial law and those who did not observe it, holding that the latter were farther from God than the former. Paul's indignation was stirred. His voice was raised in stern rebuke: "If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." The party maintaining that Christianity was valueless without circumcision arrayed themselves against the apostle…God urged him out to the great work of preaching Christ, and him crucified; circumcision or uncircumcision was nothing…These divisions in regard to the ceremonial law, and the relative merits of the different ministers teaching the doctrine of Christ, caused the apostle much anxiety and hard labor.” Sketches from the Life of Paul 121, 122
“There were those in Paul's day who were constantly dwelling upon circumcision, and they could bring plenty of proof from the Bible to show its obligation on the Jews; but this teaching was of no consequence at this time; for Christ had died upon Calvary's cross, and circumcision in the flesh could not be of any further value. The typical service and the ceremonies connected with it were abolished at the cross… the shadow ceased in the substance. Paul was seeking to bring the minds of men to the great truth for the time; but these who claimed to be followers of Jesus were wholly absorbed in teaching the tradition of the Jews, and the obligation of circumcision.” RH 5/29/1888
“As a result of this council, the brethren had united in making definite recommendations to the church concerning certain rites and customs, including circumcision.” AA 400
The early church did not consider the ordinances of the Mosaic law a salvational issue, which must be referring to feasts and other ceremonies because sacrifices were considered “a denial of Christ”.
One argument that is given is that you should replace the word translated “law” with the word “Torah” which, it is claimed, means the first five books of the Bible. If this is the case, then what about the word “Torah” that is used in the first five books? One of many examples : Gen 26:5 “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws (torah).”
If “torah” always means the first five books of the Bible, and this is how it is proved that the feast days are still binding; How did Abraham keep the feast days, when they were not even given until more than 400 years later?
Col. 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”
Deut. 31:24-26 “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished…Take this book of the law (torah), and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.”
Obviously the word “torah” can mean different things depending on the context of the verses!
Gen 1:14 “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons,H4150 and for days, and years:”
H4150 mo‛ed - properly an appointment, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): - appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed).
The word “mo’ed” is used to emphasize a set time (for feasts, childbirth, birds migrating, harvestime, etc.), not as a trigger word for observance of a feast. (see Jer. 8:7, Gen. 17:21, Hosea 2:9, etc.)
Another point to be made is that the feast days are ALL referred to as the word “chag”
Passover - Ex. 12:14, Unleavened Bread – Ex. 23:15, Firstfruits – Ex. 23:16, Weeks – Ex. 34:22, Tabernacles – Deut. 16:13, etc.
The word “chag” literally refers to the sacrificial victim (Ex. 23:18). This implies that the feasts were extensions of the sacrificial animals and can not exist without the sacrifices!
“Erroneous ideas will be brought into the work, and presented as a part of the truth to the people; but everything that God has not connected with the truth will only serve to weaken the message and lessen the force of its claims. Satan is constantly seeking to divert the mind from the real work to a spurious work; and those who have but little experience in the dealings of God, are in danger of becoming bound about with overstrained notions, and of holding ideas similar in character to those which bound the Jews in the days of the Saviour's sojourn with men…They have independent ideas and will not receive counsel. They choose to follow their own course, until the third angel's message becomes a thing of minor importance, and finally it loses all its value. They hold another doctrine, opposed in principal to the doctrine of the Bible. They do not comprehend the nature of the work, and instead of leading the people to the firm platform of truth, they lead them to place their feet on the sandy foundations of error. They induce men to wear a yoke that is not the yoke of the meek and lowly Jesus… The doctrine of truth will be mingled with error, and the result will be that those who are taught will cherish error as they do the truth… It will be more difficult to reach and correct their errors, than to bring a company into the truth from the darkness of complete ignorance of the truth. It would have been better if they had not heard this mingling of the truth with falsehood… More harm can be done by one who has a mixture of truth and error, than many who teach the whole truth can undo and correct… It is the third angel's message that bears the true test to the people. Satan will lead men to manufacture false tests, and thus seek to obscure the value of, and make of none effect, the message of truth. The commandment of God that has been almost universally made void, is the testing truth for this time. The Sabbath of Jehovah is to be brought to the attention of the world… But all man-made tests will divert the mind from the great and important doctrines that constitute the present truth.” RH 5/29/1888
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." The spirit of bondage is engendered by seeking to live in accordance with legal religion, through striving to fulfill the claims of the law in our own strength. There is hope for us only as we come under the Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant of grace by faith in Christ Jesus. The gospel preached to Abraham, through which he had hope, was the same gospel that is preached to us to-day, through which we have hope. Abraham looked unto Jesus, who is also the Author and the Finisher of our faith.” YI 9-22-92
It is also a very significant fact that the Christians were not destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem. Both the first siege and the second siege and destruction happened at the time of two of the feasts. The Jews were gathered to observe the feasts, the Christians were not. The Jews were destroyed but no Christians were killed.
“Not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem…At the time of the siege, the Jews were assembled at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, and thus the Christians throughout the land were able to make their escape unmolested…Terrible were the calamities that fell upon Jerusalem when the siege was resumed by Titus. The city was invested at the time of the Passover, when millions of Jews were assembled within its walls.” GC p.30-32
The destruction of Jerusalem is a portrayal of what will happen at the end of time!!
Don't take me wrong, the Feast Days are very significant. They should be studied in depth, to learn the spiritual significance of them and what they were pointing toward. But to insist that they must literally be observed now, after the cross, is a denial (maybe unknowingly, but a denial just the same) of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Antitype of all those symbols.
If you follow a shadow of a tree across the yard to the tree itself - the shadow does not pick up and continue on from the other side of the tree. It ends at the tree! The tree is the substance of the shadow. So with the ceremonial law (including the feast days).
From what I have seen in people that I know personally, who are being deceived into observance of the feast days; there is a sequence of steps that they take - a sort of domino effect.
#1 They begin by using Ellen White to support their feast day ideas
#2 Then when they start running into quotes that do not seem to fit their ideas, they start saying, “Well, Ellen White didn’t have all the light on the subject. We are supposed to receive New Light.”
#3 After a while, they begin to question some of our foundational beliefs, and because sister White says so many things that do not agree with their ideas, they finally do away with her all together.
#4 At some point, they start questioning some of the statements in the Bible, and because they cannot make some statements fit, they abandon the KJV and start using other versions to back up their doctrines; and start toying with the idea of a “lunar Sabbath." They begin to start questioning what we call God, and this leads them on to start using the Hebrew terms for God (which is not bad, in itself - but then they get into this "Holy Name Movement" which rejects the name God and Jesus as of pagan origin), and they begin to believe that you will be lost if you refer to the Saviour by the name Jesus.
#5 The lunar Sabbath doctrine leads them to abandon the Seventh-day Sabbath and most of the other pillars of the Adventist church. They tend to become very Hebrew and Jewish in their mindset. Their religion becomes more and more of a "hollow formalism."
#6 Finally they reject the scriptures all together, and if they remain religious at all, it is a religion based on feelings and emotions.
And Satan smiles, because he has been successful!