My Chumash Visits Sunday School

Path of TorahSome people believe the 4 spring holidays (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Feast of Weeks/Pentecost) were fulfilled in Messiah’s 1st coming and that the 3 autumn holidays (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Booths/Tabernacles) will be fulfilled at his 2nd coming.

-from Sunday School study notes
for August 4th, “Leviticus 23, Feasts of Israel: God’s Picture of Things to Come”

Addendum, August 8, 2013: Derek Leman wrote an excellent blog post building on my theme called Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Feasts. Have a look.

I first talked about anticipating this lesson last week, and confessed feeling somewhat unsettled about facing the sermon and especially Sunday school. As it turned out, there was a mirror operating between Pastor Randy’s sermon and the Sunday School class I attended a few days ago. Both of them provided an image of Jesus “fulfilling” Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits during his first coming, Pentecost between his comings by the giving of the Holy Spirit, and “fulfilling” the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles when he returns (I’m using the more “Christianized” terms for the appointed times recorded in Leviticus 23).

But in Christian parlance, “fulfilling” something is just another way of saying “terminating.” I came to church on Sunday with my Christian Bible, my Chumash, my Siddur, and a notebook full of paper. In other words, I was “loaded for bear.” I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the sermon, but I was a little surprised to find Pastor Randy taking the “fulfilling” route, although he did stop short of saying that “fulfilling” meant “permanently doing away with.” I was also surprised, given that Pastor lived in Israel for fifteen years, that he used the term “Yahweh” as a substitute for the Tetragrammaton, the four letters in the Hebrew language that represent the most Holy Name of God (which is usually translated in Christian Bibles as “The Lord.”).

Frankly, I’m just stunned that the theology presented by the image I’ve posted titled “Biblical Holidays” (see the chart below) even exists (the chart in this blog post is almost identical to the one in Pastor’s study notes for last Sunday’s sermon). No one seems to be able to tell me where this chart and this doctrine comes from but it obviously is common. I don’t agree with it at all. It reduces the moedim to a set of bookmarks in the Bible that have no intrinsic value of their own but that simply exist to “point to Jesus,” and once they do, they’re history.

Actually, Pastor spent most of his sermon focused on Shabbat and only mentioned the rest of the moedim (eight in all if you include Shabbat) to provide some background. He again emphasized the necessity of a Shabbat (he spoke about Shabbat last week, too) but said that it didn’t really matter what day of the week it is. His Shabbat happens to be on Monday. He also emphasized that it’s the Biblical pattern for providing rest and relaxation, but he didn’t mention that at least for non-Jews, it is also a way to acknowledge God as sovereign Creator (Genesis 2:2, Exodus 20:11).

Certainly Jews take an additional meaning from Shabbat as a sign commandment related to their liberation from slavery in Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15). While relative to the Ten Commandments, I don’t think Christians are obligated to keep a Saturday Shabbat, there’s nothing really preventing us from doing so (and I can see many advantages for us if we did), but I don’t think it’s just a day of kicking back. Jewish observance of Shabbat emphasizes focus on and devotion to God. While Pastor doesn’t believe that Sunday could ever be his day of rest because it’s the day when he works the hardest, I have to wonder how Rabbis experience Shabbos, since they too are working but don’t have the luxury of assigning Shabbat to a different day of the week.

Don’t get me wrong. I think my Pastor is a terrific guy. He’s intelligent, well-read, well-educated, and a man of God. However, we do have points of disagreement.

After I was done twisting in my seat during the sermon, I confronted something similar in Sunday school. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to talk with the teacher before class began and to express my concerns. That “defused” me enough to reduce all of my questions and comments to just a few. I discovered that no one in class knew that Jews commemorate Shavuot (Pentecost) as the anniversary of the giving of the Torah at Sinai. The linkage between God’s revelation to the Jewish people through giving the Torah at Sinai, and then again much later in history, God’s revelation through the giving of the Holy Spirit, was really new.

I also managed to ask why Christians don’t Count the Omer (Leviticus 23:15-16) and forgot that no one there probably knew anything about it, even though it’s right in the text for the section of Leviticus we’re studying.

Jesus-Jewish-Feasts-FulfilledI keep forgetting just how different of a Christian I really am.

But actually the best part of the class happened after class. I got to talking to a few folks who were interested in this line of discussion and all of the pent-up “me” that I’d been holding back was able to be unleashed for twenty minutes or so. We finally had to leave when we realized that the lights in the church were being turned out (the place really empties out once classes are over).

I’m still trying to figure out where this theology of Jesus fulfilling certain “feasts” during his first coming and then fulfilling the rest at his second comes from. I found charts similar to the one I posted above only at three websites, none of which seem to be exactly “Christian kosher:”

Pastor is pretty conservative so I’d expect him to rely on conservative Christian sources for his information and graphics, but this one is throwing me for a loop. Where does it come from, who conjured it up, and how did anyone arrive at this “pattern?”

I thought I heard someone say that we get the list of festivals the first coming fulfilled by what Jesus quoted of Isaiah 61 in Luke 4 and the list of festivals his second coming will fulfill by the portions of Isaiah 61 he didn’t recite on that occasion. But does that make sense?

And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:17-21 (NASB)

I must be mistaken though, because I don’t see the mapping between the Luke 4 passages and the three festivals cited in the diagram. Here’s the larger section of Isaiah 61:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. But you will be called the priests of the Lord; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs. For I, the Lord, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense And make an everlasting covenant with them. Then their offspring will be known among the nations, And their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them Because they are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed.

Isaiah 61:1-9 (NASB)

I stopped copying and pasting after nine verses because I can’t see the mapping. I wanted to be thorough, but I can’t see a connection between this and the various “feasts” that are supposed to be fulfilled.

moshiach-ben-yosefMy Sunday school teacher offered a more simple explanation. Christ was crucified on Passover, was buried during the Unleavened Bread festival (which may not be true since he was buried before sunset…if he died on Pesach, it was still Pesach when he was buried), and rose as First Fruits from the dead. I’m sorry, but that seems like a pretty thin set of connections upon which to build an entire doctrine. Did I mention that the Feast of Trumpets is supposed to symbolize the Rapture, the Day of Atonement is supposed to symbolize the Return and Final Redemption, and Tabernacles is the Millennial Reign of Christ?

I can sort of see how some Christians might make those kinds of associations, but I have never, ever read any Jewish commentary that said the Messiah’s coming somehow “fulfills” any of those things. From a Jewish point of view, the Messiah comes, defeats Israel’s enemies, returns the exiles to their Land, restores Israel as the head of nations, rebuilds Jerusalem and the Temple, re-institutes the Temple service with Levitical Priests, and rules over Israel and the rest of the nations as King, establishing world-wide peace and tranquility.

It’s all pretty straightforward really with no theological hoops to jump through. Messiah does what he was expected to do back in Acts 1:6 and what Jewish people throughout history have been waiting for Messiah to come and do for thousands of years.

This week was the first of an eight-week series of sermons on Leviticus 23 that Pastor will be giving. Sunday school will be taking a different direction during those weeks, but I have a feeling I’ll be challenged at church for the next couple of months between how Pastor sees the function of the moedim and how I do. Fortunately, as I mentioned before, this did inspire an interesting conversation after class. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to share a little more about who I am and how I see things, not because I think I’m such a big deal, but because I just can’t help but believe there is a lot more to the Bible than what many Christians get out of it. I’d like the opportunity to offer a different perspective and ideally, a paradigm shift.

We’ll see how things go.

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33 thoughts on “My Chumash Visits Sunday School”

  1. I don’t suppose that anyone in your class managed to note the timing that is clarified in Yohanan’s besorah, showing that the trial, death and burial occurred before the Pesa’h began, that the death was concurrent with the sacrifice of the Pesa’h lambs (which does provide a Pesa’h connection), and that one of the reasons for haste in removing the bodies from the crosses was because of the impending holy day when all ordinary activity would cease and burial (or entombment) would be impossible. As it was, they didn’t even have time to complete normal burial preparations that include cleansing and dressing the body and anointing it with spices and fragrant oils, which last portion was the purpose for which the women were seeking access to the tomb on Sunday morning after the Pesa’h and its immediately subsequent Shabbat had ended. So the resurrection occurred during Hag Ha-Matzot (i.e., on the prophesied third day after the death). Of course, none of this resolves the common Christian tunnel vision that cannot see or acknowledge that such connections do not detract from the original reasons for which these holy days had existed for more than a millennium and continue to exist to this day some two millennia later, nor do they recognize that the significance of those connections depends on the original significance of these moedim.

  2. No, no one mentioned that point specifically so I’m not sure how well my Sunday school teacher is aware of the timing, except as it applies to what Jesus “fulfilled.”

    “…nor do they recognize that the significance of those connections depends on the original significance of these moedim.”

    It’s the original significance that I was trying to explain and how it carries forward across history to the present, as well as into the future and the third Temple which will exist when King Messiah returns. Intellectually, there was agreement that representatives of the nations who went up against Israel will be obligated to go to Jerusalem to observe Sukkot every year (Zechariah 14:16-19), but I don’t think everyone understood what that would mean in terms of the sacrifices or why the description for those services is so exquisitely detailed in our Bibles.

  3. Lol James, I see what you mean about being “thrown out” of church!

    I can’t say it’s insecurity, antisemitism, and ego that drives all Christians today in their elimination of “Jewish stuff”, creating tidy, anemic doctrines that bypass the historical reality (Shavuot and the anniversary of giving the Torah, for example) but that is what drove the Church Farhers who created this separation.

    Because of the legacy of the CF’s gross, hateful attitudes towards Jews, Christians are kept away from the heft of scripture, and just how amazing God really is, but they don’t know what they don’t know. I feel your frustration!

  4. Dr. Stuart Dauermann defined the term cryptosupersessionism as:

    …an unconscious and entrenched cluster of presuppositions held by those who, even when rejecting supersessionism, assume the expiration or setting aside of those identity markers that formerly applied to the Jewish people, effectively nullifying Israel’s unique chosen status in whole or in part.

    Certain doctrinal and theological attitudes are so ingrained in Christian thought that no one ever thinks to question what they are or where they came from…they just are.

    Only an “outsider” like me would encounter what most other Christians take for granted and go, “Huh?”

  5. Hi James. I think that you might find useful the following comments:
    1. In Leviticus 23, the Feasts (Strong H4150 moed From H3259; 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).) are also defined to be convocations (Strong miqra H4744 From H7121; something called out, that is, a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the palce); also a rehearsal: – assembly, calling, convocation, reading.)
    2. You could say then, that the Feasts can be considered as signals fixed in time that would serve as “rehearsals” for events to happen in the future.
    3. I would say that not all christians think that “fulfill” means “terminating” in every case and probably that was what the person you think you hear was trying to explain when he/she mentioned Luke 4. Yeshua came to fulfill the scriptures as he says so, but not to terminate (of course) “the release to the captives,and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed”.
    4. Just as you do, I also try to find out what Jewish people think, know and understand about the scriptures that I am studying so that I can have a better understanding myself, but I always keep in mind, that even as much as they have extensively researched the scriptures, as much as their commentaries are full of knowledge and so useful for us Gentiles of the 21st century, they still don’t know everything that it is to know about the Messiah… otherwise, they would know that Yeshua is the Messiah that they are wanting and waiting in their hearts. So, maybe they have not found the connection between the Feasts and Messiah yet… Besides, most Jewish research is not based or confronted against the Apostolic Writings (N.T.), and many Jews that have studied about Yeshua, have believed in Him as the Messiah! Blessed the Lord!
    6. When studying the Feasts, with point 2 above in mind, I have found alternative solutions to many interesting questions, such as :
    a) Did Yeshua really stayed in the heart of the earth 3 days AND 3 NIGHTS, as he clearly says in Matthew 12:38-40 referring to Jonah 1:17 ? Since from friday to sunday, there is NO WAY to count 3 nights…
    b) How come the jews went looking for Yeshua (John 11:54-57) 6 days before friday (that is on Shabbat) (John 12:1 and John 12:9) to Bethany (15 furlongs away from Jerusalem) (John 11:18) since that meant they had to break the Shabbat law of not being able to walk more than “a sabbath day’s journey” (Acts 1:12) Maybe, Yeshua didn’t die on friday…
    c) What about the account described by Mark 16:1 when the women went to buy sweet spices to annoint Yeshua’s body AFTER shabbat against what Luke 23:55-56 describes about the women preparing spices and ointments BEFORE shabbat…
    d) What happened to all the saints which slept arose after Yeshua’s resurrection (Matthew 27:50-53)? Did they died again later on? Did they died TWICE? (Hebrews 9:27) Where did they go?
    e) Why Yeshua said to Mary Magdalene “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father” (John 20:17) but later on, before his ascension (Acts 1:9), he commanded Thomas to touch Him? (John 20:27) What happened between those two events? Did Yeshua ascended to His Father? What for?

  6. James, I’ve heard (and generally agreed with) this type of “fulfillment” theology regarding the Feasts throughout my time as a messianic believer. Your thoughts, however, have brought me up short and made me think and for that I thank you. Too often I just operate on assumptions built on thin connections without truly delving into what the text really says and what the teaching is implying.

  7. Alfredo, I’m not saying that the moedim don’t have Messianic applications. Far from it. I just don’t think those applications reduce or invalidate their original or future purpose.

    You’re right, not all Christians think”fulfilled” means “ended,” but we need to be very careful with how we use such words. Traditionally, Christians hear “Jesus fulfilled the Law” as “Jesus ended the Law,” which causes all kinds of problems when we encounter believing Jews who continue to observe the Torah mitzvot.

    Oh, and Jesus wasn’t buried on Friday. That’s impossible. The problem is that in the text, we know Jesus was buried right before a Sabbath. Unfortunately, many Christians don’t realize that Passover (and the rest of the moedim) are also considered Sabbaths. They just think he must have been buried right before sunset on Friday night. However, if (such as in Mark 15) Jesus was on the cross at the time when all of the Jewish families were bringing their lambs to the Temple for the Passover offering, then he would have died the afternoon before the meal. The lambs wouldn’t be eaten until after sunset, when the Passover festival begins, which is a special Sabbath. Counting three days forward, Passover would come and go, the Festival of Unleavened Bread would have started and the weekly Sabbath would have started. When the weekly Sabbath ended (anytime after sunset on Saturday), Messiah would rise from the tomb.

    The empty tomb wasn’t discovered until near dawn the following Sunday morning. So as you see, it would be quite possible for Jesus to have been in the tomb three days and three nights, but not possible for him to have been buried right before sunset on Friday.

    ******

    Thanks for commenting, Mike. I’d still like to know the origin of the “fulfillment” doctrine as I described above. I really can’t figure out how it could possibly be based on scripture except maybe in the loosest possible sense.

  8. @alfredo — Ignoring entirely the later mistaken Christian tradition of “Good Friday”, Rav Yeshua’s last meal with his disciples was a Wednesday evening, followed by his arrest, then his trial Thursday morning the 14th of Nisan, followed by his execution that afternoon at the time when Pesa’h lambs were sacrificed, followed by his death and entombment while it was still Thursday and Pesa’h had not yet begun, counting the first of the days of his entombment, even though it was a very small portion of that day. Thursday evening 15 Nisan began the Pesa’h, which continued through until Friday evening, completing the first night and second day of entombment. The weekly Shabbat then followed Friday evening through Saturday evening, completing the second night and third day of entombment. Saturday night after Shabbat completed the third night of entombment such that, as of Sunday morning’s resurrection, Rav Yeshua had been “in the earth” for 3 days and 3 nights (counting the partial day at the beginning of the period, and perhaps counting also the partial day of Sunday morning, Sunday being the third day since the entombment period began. As I mentioned in my previous post, Sunday morning represented the first opportunity since the onset of the holy days (Pesa’h and Shabbat both being Sabbaths, together making one long Sabbath) when it could be possible to access the tomb. We can only guess when the women actually went shopping for spices before the long Shabbat, except that the need for them would have been a foregone conclusion by about midday Thursday after his trial, even though his death didn’t actually occur for another 3 hours. So, even if the spices were already on hand, they didn’t get to apply them until Sunday after the long Shabbat (though by then it was too late, anyway).

  9. “I just don’t think those applications reduce or invalidate their original or future purpose.” I fully agree with you. The Feasts continue to have a meaning, purpose and blessings for us to enjoy !

  10. @ProclaimLiberty IMHO, I would say that the trial happened on wednesday, being thursday the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Breads which is a great Shabbat, friday being a normal day so that the women had a chance to go and buy and prepare spices but not enough time to go to Yeshua’s tomb to anoint His body, then the weekly Shabbat came (saturday) (making Mark 16:1 being CORRECT since he is taking the first Shabbat as a reference, and Luke 23:55-56 ALSO being CORRECT since he is taking the second Shabbat as his reference) and Yeshua arose from the dead just before the beginning of the first day of the week. So the Lord’s day keeps on being Shabbat, as Yeshua did not arose on the first day of the week. And of course, when the women got to the tomb on sunday “then it was too late” as you say ! Blessed His Name !

  11. James,

    Sounds to me like you have an excellent opportunity setting up to ‘share’ the Fall Feasts with those who have questions and show interest in learning more depth… Not to go around the leadership of the church, but I’d simply drop the hints that you will be celebrating and look forward to the special set-apart time of the Father.

    As such, those who are interested will ask for more and you can open your doors to fellowship, share and teach…

    Also, as far as Pastor’s view of Sabbath: I was there, so there is hope. I’d ask him to truly reflect on Isaiah 56. Particularly verses 3-7. In the context that it was written, it means the seventh-day. Any other interpretation is adding to the Word.

    I choose the Word over the doctrines and explanations of men!

    Prayin’ for ya.

  12. Oh, forgot to mention, Zechariah 14:16-19…. You mentioned them, but take the reader on to verse 21 and the sacrifices are explicitly spelled out as part of the Millennial Temple service during the ‘Feast of Booths.’ Yep, that’ll throw a real wrench in most christian ‘theologies.’

    LOL!

  13. @alfredo — Nice try, but I guarantee you that no spice-sellers would have been available on a Friday between a Thursday Pesa’h and the weekly Shabbat. It would have been already ‘Hag Ha-Matzot and not an intermediate “common” day, thus extending the long Sabbath even longer. The women’s chances would have been better early Sunday morning to find an early-bird spice-merchant, because Sunday actually would have been considered a “common” day on which work could be done during the festival.

  14. Thanks, Pete. Pastor and I have already discussed this and I think the church will be building a sukkah this year. I don’t think Pastor has made a general announcement, but I suspect he will be soon. If it were up to him, I think he’d observe all of the moedim, but he has to be sensitive to the members who might become confused or upset if he abruptly did all that. Also, I think he wants to be careful not to send a message that Christians are “too Jewish,” so to speak.

    As far as inviting people from my church to my home as a “teachable moment” on sukkot, my wife would probably freak. 😉

  15. @ProclaimLiberty – I would not be so sure, since in Leviticus 23:6-8 if you read carefully, you will find that the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th, and the only two days that work of any kind is not to be done are the first and the seventh day of that seven day Feast, besides of course any weekly Shabbat that can happen within those seven days. Like I said, I think that Pesa’h happened on wednesday and NOT thursday, so friday would be considered a “common” day. Besides, if the women went on to buy/prepare spices on early sunday because of their “chances” being better, then either Mark 16:1 or Luke 23:55-56 would be wrong, and I just think that they BOTH are right in their writings, and the only way that they both can be right, is having a “common” day in between those two Shabbot.

  16. @ProclaimLiberty – By the way, I fully agree with you that “no spice-sellers would have been available on a Friday between a Thursday Pesa’h and the weekly Shabbat”. But I’m saying that Pesa’h happened on wednesday instead of thursday.

  17. Hi James. I fully understand when you say “As far as inviting people from my church to my home as a “teachable moment” on sukkot, my wife would probably freak.” LOL The same happens with me and my wife. She is somehow reluctant to have people at home, since she feels that this gives her more work to do in order to have our home in better shape for guests. (We have two little children that use our house as a big playground… lol) So, what we have come up to is to invite couples from our congregation to celebrate our Shabbat dinner on friday nights every now and then, and we talk about all sort of theological things… (like a I said before, sorry about my English, since I’m from El Salvador…)

  18. Alfredo, if I had to make a choice, I’d have to go with PL on this one. The sacrifice was offered on Nissan 14 but the festival, the actual eating of the Lamb didn’t begin until after sunset, or at the beginning of Nissan 15. Yeshua was buried on the 14th, right before the special Shabbat.

    You don’t have to apologize for your English. I admire bilingual people. No worries.

  19. Hi James,

    I hope my comment doesn’t disrupt the conversation here. I saw the chart you have listed above and I remembered that I had an old study guide ( from 1995 ) called “Milestones to maturity – growing in the laws of Grace”. The guide was part of a series of studies called the “Spirit Filled Life Bible Discovery Guides”. In this particular guide, it says that “The annual feast of Israel have significance for our generation today, as well as for the children of Israel”. It goes on to quote Romans 15:4 as well as Colossians 2:16 and 17.

    It ask the following questions:

    1) What was the prophetic role of the Feast of the Passover? (1 Cor 5:7)

    2) How did the Feast of Unleavened Bread foreshadow the believers deliverance from sin and bondage by Jesus Christ?

    3) Read 1 Cor 15:20-23. How did the Feast of Firstfruits foreshadow what would happen at Christ’s second coming?

    4) How is the Feast of Pentecost prophetic of the Church? (Acts 2:1-4)

    5) On the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies where He applied the blood of the sin offering to the mercy seat for the sins of the people (Lev. 16:14). How did this feast foreshadow the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    There are some more questions, but I was curious if this is what you were looking for.

    Rodney B.

  20. Hi Rodney. Thanks for commenting. Well, sort of. It tells me that in your 1995 study guide, this sort of doctrine was being taught, but I’m kind of curious where the whole idea that the moedim *must* have a prophetic role to be fulfilled by Messiah?

  21. James, you say “The sacrifice was offered on Nissan 14 but the festival, the actual eating of the Lamb didn’t begin until after sunset, or at the beginning of Nissan 15. Yeshua was buried on the 14th, right before the special Shabbat.” And I fully agree. That is not what I’m trying to explain to PL.

  22. James, I’m really glad you brought up this subject. I don’t know when I first heard that Jesus fulfilled and spring feast in His first coming and He will fulfill the fall feasts in His second coming, but I know it was a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve ever really seriously considered what that meant or where that doctrine or teaching came from. I will be doing some searching myself but I will be very interested to see what you and your readers come up with.

    I also love reading about your interaction with your pastor and the Sunday school class. It sounds like you are having a positive impact on both. I wish I could do what you are doing. My wife starting going back to church recently in the last few months. I have gone a couple times but can’t seem to get myself to go on a regular basis. I think possibly if it was more conservative I wouldn’t have so much of a problem. But it is Pentecostal and, although that is what my wife and I had always been a part of until we encountered the Messianic Jewish point of view, I now seem to have a problem with some of the teaching and practices. Maybe God will change me enough where I can have a positive impact like you are doing. At any rate I really enjoy your honesty in your blogs. Keep up the good work.

  23. Thanks, Mel. To be fair, it’s not just how and what I express in church, I’m getting a lot back out of it as well. Perhaps it’s better to say that God is having a positive impact on all of us.

  24. Ok James. Trying to clarify. Let’s start from the beginning, step by step.

    * Leviticus 23:5 Passover is an event on Nissan 14th. It is not considered a Shabbat. Meals can be cooked. Work can be done.

    * Leviticus 23:6-8 Definition of the 7 days Feast of Unleavened Breads, being the 15th and the 21st both Shabbats. (“High Days” or greek “megas” as John 19:31 writes)

    * Nissan 14th Tuesday night : Yeshua has His Passover dinner. Can’t have it the next day for obvious reasons.

    * Nissan 14th midnight between Tuesday and Wednesday: Yeshua is aprehended and brought to Annas, Caiphas and to the trail.

    * Nissan 14th Wednesday around 3pm : Yeshua expires.

    * Nissan 14th Wednesday before the day ends, around 6pm (depending on climate, stars appearing in the sky) : Yeshua’s body is buried.

    * Nissan 15th Wednesday sometime after 6pm : High Day Shabbat. 1st day of Feast of Unleavened Breads. Goes on all Thursday up to 6pm.

    * Nissan 16th Thursday sometime after 6pm : Common day within the Feast of Unleavened Breads. Mark 16:1 says the women went to buy sweet spices to annoint Yeshua’s body AFTER High Day shabbat (Nissan 15h). Luke 23:55-56 describes about the women preparing spices and ointments BEFORE weekly shabbat (Nissan 17th). Both accounts are correct. They are just having two different shabbats as reference. The women don’t have enough time to go and annoint Yeshua’s body, so they decide to go on the first day of the week. Two diffent shabbats with one day in between are the ONLY way for both Mark and Luke to be correct. I think that this part is very important, since an apparent conflict of accounts of events recorded by Mark and Luke, is actually the key to unlock what happened on that specific week. In God’s Word, nothing is written without purpose.

    * Nissan 17th Friday sometime after 6pm : Weekly Shabbat. No work is to be done. Goes on all Saturday up to 6pm.

    * Nissan 17th Saturday sometime before 6pm : Just before the Shabbat ends, Yeshua rises from the dead. Blessed be His Name! Yeshua is Lord of the Shabbat. Shabbat is still the Lord’s day. No resurrection on Sunday. No change of day of rest. (The fourth beast in Daniel 7:23-25 thinks of changing times and laws through the Roman Julian and Gregorian calendar, the establishment of Easter instead of the real Passover and the so called replacement of Shabbat for Sunday because an alleged resurrection happening on Sunday. No wonder Rome has insisted for centuries about good friday and resurrection on sunday, making many to forget how to count up to 3) So 3 complete days and 3 complete nights have gone by. Yeshua’s words in Matthew 12:40 happen just as He said it.

    * Nissan 18th Sunday before morning : Women go to the tomb, they find it empty. Yeshua has risen several hours earlier.

    I think this is what happened on that week.

  25. James, I remember that chart from the 70’s, so I am sure it predates 1995. I suspect it comes from Walvoord, DTS, or one of the big dispies, as it is ubiquitous among that camp. Dauerman is correct; this Judeophobic attitude seems to be simmering beneath the surface, even as they deny it is there. Someone called this, “The Ghost of Marcion.”

    Since the bible tells us that Elohim blessed the seventh day, not the idea of a day of rest, then why shouldn’t we just go that route? Okay, I’ll answer my own question. You only have to look at the church fathers and their admonitions to have nothing to do with the practices of those despicable Jews, as Christians were forced to work on the seventh day, lest they give the appearance of sympathy or agreement with Jews.

    It is true that a day of rest is an act of faith; that we will have provision along with getting done what we need to get done, even though we set aside one day for the Holy One. I suppose this is multiplication in the economy of heaven; one rests, yet accomplishes more, one gives, yet has more. But a step in the right direction of returning to the ancient paths, even if small and halting, is always a good thing.

  26. James said:

    “Hi Rodney. Thanks for commenting. Well, sort of. It tells me that in your 1995 study guide, this sort of doctrine was being taught, but I’m kind of curious where the whole idea that the moedim *must* have a prophetic role to be fulfilled by Messiah?”

    James, In the pentecostal / charismatic movement, most everything has a prophetic significance. Why its that way, I don’t know.

    RB

  27. Alfredo, just to throw a monkey wrench into the machine, here’s a comparison of the different theories of the timing of Messiah’s death as published at Wikipedia:

    The consensus of modern scholarship is that the New Testament accounts represent a crucifixion occurring on a Friday, but a Thursday or Wednesday crucifixion have also been proposed. Some scholars explain a Thursday crucifixion based on a “double sabbath” caused by an extra Passover sabbath falling on Thursday dusk to Friday afternoon, ahead of the normal weekly Sabbath. Some have argued that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, not Friday, on the grounds of the mention of “three days and three nights” in Matthew before his resurrection, celebrated on Sunday. Others have countered by saying that this ignores the Jewish idiom by which a “day and night” may refer to any part of a 24-hour period, that the expression in Matthew is idiomatic, not a statement that Jesus was 72 hours in the tomb, and that the many references to a resurrection on the third day do not require three literal nights.

    In Mark 15:25 crucifixion takes place at the third hour (9 a.m.) and Jesus’ death at the ninth hour (3 p.m.). However, in John 19:14 Jesus is still before Pilate at the sixth hour. Scholars have presented a number of arguments to deal with the issue, some suggesting a reconciliation, e.g., based on the use of Roman timekeeping in John but not in Mark, yet others have rejected the arguments. Several notable scholars have argued that the modern precision of marking the time of day should not be read back into the gospel accounts, written at a time when no standardization of timepieces, or exact recording of hours and minutes was available, and time was often approximated to the closest three-hour period.

    Now, if the “Last Supper” was authentically the Passover Seder, then Jesus must have been crucified after Passover began. If this meal wasn’t a Seder, then what was it? Did Jesus institute a new “sacrament” called “Communion” in this event?

    I’m just trying to illustrate that in comparing the different Gospel versions of the death of Messiah, the timing doesn’t line up.

    I reject Friday as being the day of execution and tend to favor Wednesday, but no definitive answer can be derived from the Gospel record. I can only conclude that each Gospel writer must have had a reason to present the facts somewhat differently based on the different audiences they were addressing.

  28. Rav Yeshua’s last meal was not the Seder. In fact, he introduced that meal with the remarks to his students that he really wished he could eat the Pesa’h with them that year (i.e., the next night), but there would be a slight problem. He then proceeded to conduct an orderly meal as a demonstration Seder in which he referenced symbols of the Pesa’h Seder in order to enhance their symbolism. Some have identified this last meal as a “seudat sium” (i.e., a concluding supper), which was a custom at the end of a course of study such as his disciples were now completing after three years with their master rabbi. Due to his arrest later that night, his disciples went into hiding and probably didn’t get to eat Pesa’h together that year anyway; but they remembered the symbolisms he taught that night in order to apply them in future seders.

    By the way, the invention of “Communion” only appears after Christianity divested itself of Jewish ceremonial trappings such as Passover. They needed some sort of ceremony in place of the obvious Passover connection to represent passages of scripture such as Rav Shaul’s instructions to the Corinthians.

    Other presumed discrepancies in the accounts about the timing may also be an artifact of the manuscript copying process, and it may be that the wrong copy of slightly divergent manuscripts was selected because those doing the selecting had some mistaken preconceived view about the timing.

  29. James: I think that there are two issues that we are trying to clarify.

    The first issues is about Yeshua’s death and burial. As I have said before, I don’t think we had back to back Shabbats on that specific week. I think there is a common day between the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Breads and the weekly Shabbat. This would take care of the apparent conflict between Mark 16:1 and Luke 23:55-56. So I think that Passover (Yeshua’s burial) was on Wednesday, High Shabbat on Thursday, common day on Friday, weekly Shabbat on Saturday. 3 days and 3 nights.

    The other issue is about Yeshua’s meal. ProclaimLiberty’s explanation is a very good possibility. But there are other theories going around…

    I guess we all have to wait for our Rabi to come back and explain it to us !

  30. @alfredo — I appreciate your wish to harmonize scriptures that appear to you to be in conflict. However, I do see one rather significant problem with positing a “common” day between the two shabbatot. If the merchants were available to enable the purchase of spices for the burial/entombment, what would have prevented the women from completing their task immediately? They were already late in performing the task due to the pre-Pesa’h need for haste, and they were in a hurry also Sunday morning. If they had found any opportunity between shabbatot, but had been stymied by something like inability to access the tomb, wouldn’t we expect the scriptural narrative to have mentioned it, especially if the time were again short because of the impending second day of Shabbat? Nonetheless, I do not believe that there is any conflict at all between Mk.16:1 and Lk.23:55-56. The Markan passage identifies their activities Sunday morning when they actually brought the spices to complete their task, and the Lukan passage merely describes that they saw where and how the body was placed, which could only be done shortly before Pesa’h — that they then prepared the spices and oils that would be needed (even though it appears that the Roman authorities sealed it with a stone and a guard before they had opportunity to apply them), and that they kept the Shabbat which would have been a doubled/long Shabbat consisting of Pesa’h and the weekly Shabbat.

  31. PS to alfredo — Sorry that I forgot to emphasize that the Markan passage does not say that they bought the spices after the Shabbat. Verse 1 says that they bought spices for the purpose, and verse 2 tells us that they went to the tomb early Sunday morning. It merely doesn’t say that they had been delayed for two days between the events of those two verses because of the long holiday Shabbat. It also doesn’t say that their Sunday morning visit to the tomb was the first time they saw it, and Luke tells us that they had, in fact, done so before starting to prepare the spices prior to resting on the Shabbat.

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