Should WE be Observing Them?
Question: In the New Testament, are the churches instructed or commanded to observe the Jewish feasts, sabbaths, ordinances, or dietary laws, which were given to Israel in the Old Testament?
It may surprise you to know that this became a HOT, hot topic in the early years of the church.
The apostles and others were confronted by this burning question as the Good News spread across Asia.
Let's see about the Jewish apostles and what they did or did not write in the New Testament scriptures for us to believe and do.
The Holy Spirit spoke through the writer to the churches in Galatia:
Then we need to read what he wrote "these things" were in order to know His Will, and those commands to teach are in the preceding passages.
and the commandments of the Lord and Saviour
through your apostles:
1Corinthians 14:37 If any man thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual,
let him take knowledge of
==> the things which I write unto you,
that they are the commandment of the Lord.
that Christ never gave as commandments through the apostles to the church.
The problem of the law and grace in the church.
As it happened in the early church as they transitioned the covenants and began to live New Testament life.
Let’s read what the (Jewish) apostolic writer said in Acts 15
saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.
How did they resolve this controversy with the law as an “issue” and debate among the churches?
The apostle (Luke) wrote about this important meeting:
6) And the apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider of this matter. (following Moses' law)
7) … Peter rose up, and said to them, Brethren, you know that a good while ago God made choice
among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8) And God, who knows the heart, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit,
even as he did to us ( Jews)
that you (the pharisees that believed and sought to make the gentiles keep the law of Moses in vs.5)
should put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples
which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
-it was the LAW of the OLD Covenant of course, remember verse 5?
“certain of the *sect of the Pharisees who believed*,
saying, It is needful to circumcise them,
and to charge them to keep the law of Moses
in like manner as they.
“WE (Jews) shall be saved … in LIKE MANNER as THEY (the gentiles)”.
Witness James, another apostle, the brother of Jesus speaks to the assembly:
19) Wherefore my judgment is that we (Jews) *trouble not* them from among the Gentiles turn to God…
What kind of "trouble" was he referring to?
24) Forasmuch as we have heard that certain who went out from us have
---> troubled you with words,
---> subverting your souls;
---> to whom we (Jewish apostles) gave no commandment;
The apostle James, one of the Jews who were given
“the commandments of the Lord”, said to the assembly regarding people who were “troubling” the disciples, and “subverting” their souls, went on to say about the people bringing Christians back under law:
"to whom we gave NO SUCH COMMANDMENT"?
“ certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying,
It is needful to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses."
and from what is strangled, and from blood.
The apostles and the elders, brethren, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch
and Syria and Cilicia, greeting:
For as we have heard that certain who went out from us have troubled you with words, *subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment; (*subvert means to trouble, upset. Evidently gentiles became alarmed by the legalists imposing the many laws, ordinances, and commands for the Law of Moses)
---> to lay upon you no greater burden
---> than these necessary things:
and from fornication; from which if you keep yourselves, it shall be well with you.
Fare you well.
So they said "NO GREATER BURDEN"
from all the laws, ordinances, commands, and statutes from the Law of Moses where we find the feast laws, tithing laws, Sabbath laws, stoning law breakers, animal sacrifices, and more????
Brother, this was THE place and time to either affirm matters of the law or free the disciples from them! And letters in writing were sent out to the churches with the "decrees" of the apostles and elders from Jerusalem.
If you are a bit shaken, go back to Acts 15:5 one more time to see what the problem was.
Then go forward to verses 28-29 to conclude what the HOLY SPIRIT, the apostles and elder who knew a thing or two from Jesus wrote.
What is significant is what they purposely left out.
Flesh circumcision omitted.
Sabbath observance was left out.
Mandatory feast observances according to the law were abolished,
-especially the three required feasts to be kept in Jerusalem, and not somewhere else.
- the complex dietary laws were dropped (except blood).
-they did not even tell the churches they had to learn the Hebrew names or language!
there was no debate. The saints did not argue, contend for the law, or accuse Paul of being a heretic.
Here was their reaction:
Gal 5:9 A little leaven (from the law) leavens the whole lump.
for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written
in the book of the law to do them.
But there are still many today who would “trouble” the disciples and “subvert your souls”, and teach contrary to what the Jewish apostles wrote “as seemed good to the Holy Spirit”.
I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ
unto a different gospel;
7) which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you,
and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Heb 7:18 For there is VERILY (indeed-truly) A DISANNULLING OF THE COMMANDMENT
going before the weakness and un-profitableness thereof,
by which we draw nigh unto God
never wrote a command to keep the feasts, sabbaths, dietary laws,
circumcision, tithing, or the many matters of the 613 ordinances in the Old Covenant law.
having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us,
which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross;
having *abolished* in the flesh the enmity,
even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;
that he might create in himself of the two (Jews and gentiles)
one new man, (in Christ)
so making peace
Acts 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees to keep,
that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
Fare ye well.