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Are You Living in The Shadows?

Monday, May 30th, 2016

I sometimes come across Christians who put a greater emphasis on the Old Testament Feasts, the Torah, and various other Old Covenant issues (always using Hebrew names for God and Jesus) than they do on the death and resurrection of Jesus. They often say Christmas and Easter are holidays with a pagan origin and they won’t celebrate them. I would include the Hebraic Roots Movement (HRM) in this, but it is certainly not limited to them.

As a Pastor who has a great concern for God’s New Testament people, and for those who currently do not yet know the salvation of Jesus, I want to say that I think this emphasis is “religious” and wrong. It’s actually extremely disrespectful of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

The Scriptures clearly teach that the Old Testament feasts are only shadows of what is fulfilled in Christ.

Colossians 2:15–17 (CEV)15 There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory. 16 …Don’t let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival. 17 These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real! (emphasis mine)

Hebrews 10:1 (ESV)1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities…

Christians in the early church immediately began to celebrate Christ’s fulfillment of the Passover by changing their main day of worship to Sunday in order to commemorate the day Christ rose, no longer calling Saturday the Sabbath, and by sharing in communion following the example of Jesus. There was no going back to the Feast of Passover. It had been fulfilled. Those who insist on celebrating the feasts and who leave off the incarnation of Christ (Christmas) and the death and resurrection of Jesus (Easter) are living in the shadows! And the Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. There is no longer any reason to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost as an Old Testament Feast.

Now, if one wants to appreciate our Hebrew heritage and learn from it, then Feast re-enactments are fine. I have enjoyed Seders on several occasions. However, it’s only an appreciation of my heritage, NOT my daily emphasis under the New Covenant! My daily emphasis under the New Covenant is Jesus and what He did in fulfillment of all the shadows of the Old Covenant!

Now, it is also true that the dates the Church celebrates Christmas and Easter were to some degree (not totally) planned to counteract pagan celebrations occurring in the days when the Church was settling on the dates when they would celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. And some trappings around these dates even today have pagan origins (can you say Easter bunny). HOWEVER, the main point has nothing to do with that! Much of that can be harmless and we especially should not bother to focus on it. The MAIN point is this: The Church needs to HONOR the Lord Jesus Christ and celebrate NOT the Old Testament Feasts, but HIS birth, death and resurrection! If you are NOT doing that then you are DISRESPECTING our Lord and Savior and you are NOT proclaiming the gospel!

So, the only question is when you will do that? I think the best choice, regardless of how exactly accurate the dates are (it doesn’t matter really), and whether you fully like the names chosen for those days, is to celebrate on the days set historically by the Church. AND, those are also the best times to reach out to a lost and dying world with the truth of what Jesus did for them! The whole Body of Christ is emphasizing it at that time! I have noticed that those who get caught up in the “shadows” tend to be the least effective in winning people to Christ. This is similar to the religious Pharisees of Jesus day. They were ineffective, while with Jesus “the common people heard Him gladly!”

So, the shadows are gone! Past! Fulfilled! The light has come! The gospel has been opened to not just the Jews, but to every person of every nation and ethnicity on planet Earth! All people! Let’s let our light shine! And by all means, let’s RESPECT our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, CELEBRATING and PROCLAIMING His birth, death and resurrection; His incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection!

Are you part of a church that does that? I hope so! That’s the gospel!

 

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