All Jewish Festivals Are Fulfilled!
By Daniel T. Silvestri
Dear Mr. Chumney October 1998
I have been on the Messianic Judaism trail because of the deeper insights, into Christianity, gained through the study of the Jews, their faith and culture. I continue to study these things because of the richness and depth it reveals of our salvation. However, in my opinion it is a fruitful road to the point that it glorifies Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, God incarnate, the fulfillment of the promises - NOT AS A JEW! This is not meant to be, in any form, an anti-Semitic statement. I have heard it said that Jesus is our Torah, and I have no problem with that, but I am bombarded with ‘Torah is Jesus’ and therefore we enter into a study of the law of Moses, and the rabbinical writings, and things of the Old Covenant. Although there is some spirituality mixed and woven throughout, for the most part, it becomes a study of "tradition" and things written on tablets rather than the heart. Ironically it is the "orthodox" Jews that miss Yeshua as Messiah. Things have not changed that much.
Now we might say that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, therefore we must study to find out what He fulfilled. This sounds agreeable, but do we sometimes lose sight of that which fulfills (Jesus) for the object of fulfillment (Torah)? Jesus is the way, the truth, the light. Much of the approach to these studies would suggest ‘Torah is the way, the truth, the light’.
Jesus certainly was a Jew, probably about as Jewish as you can be and he only ministered to Jews and there is no mention of spreading Judaism. We know that He kept the festivals. Many Biblical verses are pointed out that reveal Paul’s ‘Jewishness’ and the fact that he kept the festivals. However, it is also exceedingly clear that he did not endorse the Jewish traditions onto the newly accepted gentiles. The letter to the Galatians explicitly bears this out, as well as the Jerusalem counsel in the book of Acts. He did not instruct them in Torah, circumcision, festivals, etc.. "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" (Col. 2:16,17). Rather he instructed them "in Christ". Why? Christ was fulfilling the law, not men, not Judaism. Obviously this was a period of transition. Both covenants existed side by side as did Ishmael and Isaac (Gal. 4) so Paul had to very carefully not condemn Judaism, from which salvation has come out of - but simultaneously not place the Judaic yoke onto the gentiles. This point is made crystal clear repeatedly in the New Testament writings. What is the message here? I believe it was to keep the law and the traditions for those who were Jewish, at that generation, and yet not apply a pattern of these traditions (from which salvation grew out of) to the newly accepted gentiles. Never do we see anything preached but the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it meaningful that the N.T. is written in Greek, the accepted world language at the time, rather than Hebrew?
In addition, Paul makes it exceedingly clear that ALL are made ONE in Christ. There is no difference between men, women, Jew, Greek, etc. Christ is the "all in all". Jesus came to reconcile us as one to God in the Spirit. Today, one is "of Israel" if he is circumcised of the HEART. Is salvation of the Jews? Yes, of course. Without God’s promise to the Jews, there is no salvation for anyone. The gentiles are PARTAKERS of what is given to the Jews, and what has come through them as a nation and people. Is this a reason to thank the Lord if we are a Jew? Not unless you live in the Old Testament, because back then Jews were the only ones "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen" (Rom. 9:4,5). Today it makes no difference what sex or race or position in life you hold. It is of the Spirit. Today the fountain of living water is given freely and flows to all people of all nations.
My Bible tells me that we are in the New Covenant and the laws (Torah, if you wish) of God are written on the human heart. That is what God said, and that is what I believe, period. Paul said, "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away" (IICor. 3:6,7). Paul also said, "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law" (ICor. 15:56). Now, to be sure, there are also many verses that tell us to obey the laws of righteousness. How do we reconcile these?
The answer is Jesus Christ. Not Torah, Not tradition, Not "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. Didn’t Jesus say, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Mat. 22:37-40)?
Now I realize many are into a whole eschatological framework where Christ is coming back to the physical earth and that is why He is restoring the land of Israel. People are talking about a temple being built, and the red heifer and so forth. Arguably the most Jewish book in the New Testament, the letter to the Hebrews, makes it clear through shadows and types and Jewish idiom and speaking of earthly things, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect" (Heb. 10:1). The Hebrews letter makes it clear that animal sacrifices were never acceptable to God, but the blood of Jesus was complete. The letter also says that Abraham looked for a heavenly country and was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. God has made that spiritual city above (the New Jerusalem) which Paul calls "the mother of us all" because the Sinai Jerusalem is in bondage with her children (Galatians 4). The letter to the Hebrews says, "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing" (9:8) It also says that Jesus is made way (is our way) into the holiest place. The letter says that He is in the very presence of God for us. Jesus says, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2,3).
So the most Jewish book of the New Testament reveals to me an incredible amount concerning Christ and my salvation. I don’t see ANYTHING about a new EARTHLY temple or animal sacrifices. I don’t see anything about an EARTHLY Jerusalem being restored. I don’t see anything built by human hands. The entire letter talks about eternal things, in the heavens, made by God, not temporal, but eternal. Jesus says He goes (to the right hand of the Father IN HEAVEN) to prepare a place that we might be where He is. Later Paul says, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (IICor. 5:1). Hebrews says Jesus will "appear" (it doesn’t say "return") a second time for those who look for Him without sin to salvation (9:28). Doesn’t this match the typology of the high priest on the Day of Atonement "reappearing the second time" to let the people know the sacrifice was accepted? Has the sacrifice been accepted?
Getting back to the Torah. Paul makes it exceedingly clear that no one is saved by the keeping of the law.
"But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2:14-16). We know that Abraham was justified by faith before the law was given.
Going to Israel, preaching the Gospel to the Jews, learning how to read and speak Hebrew, studying the Jewish feasts and traditions, attending synagogue or church, giving to the poor, loving your neighbor, NONE of these things bring salvation. Great eschatology doesn’t give us salvation, nor do I think it takes it away. Jesus Christ is the entire focal point of our salvation.
Paul said, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col 1:3). Jesus said, "I am not of this world" (John 18:23). Abraham, whom was given the promises, "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Heb. 11:16). Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56).
So here many of us are waiting for Christ to "appear" on the earth. Paul said, "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual" (ICor. 15:46). Is there any reason to believe "first that which is natural, afterward that which is spiritual, and then the natural again?
Mr. Chumney, I have read your book on the festivals of the Messiah. It was one of the most informative and exciting book I have read. As a gentile, I had no idea about the exacting and precise manner in which Yeshua met the O.T. prophecies as revealed through the Jewish Festivals. Your book was VERY informative, making me aware of MANY things that were "Jewish" of which I had no clue. When I read your book I had absolutely NO IDEA how the Jews could have missed THEIR Messiah! It seemed UNBELIEVABLE!
So how is it that you, being a "Jew" have sight for this? The nation of Israel certainly doesn’t. They do not allow Christian citizens. They are having problems even deciding who is a "Jew". But let us return to the Festivals. You believe the last three Festivals are yet to be fulfilled by Jesus. You believe Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot are yet in the future. The implications of this belief would suggest:
I believe the captives have been set free, the dead "in Christ" are in heaven, and those of us believeth on to Jesus have already passed from death to life, and we have been raised up and seated with Christ in God’s heaven. God’s promise in Jeremiah has come to pass and God tabernacles with men. I highly suspect that you believe these things as well, but maybe not. My question is, "How much more "cross" do we need?"
What do YOU think ?
Date: 03 Feb 2007
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