PART 1 - WHY EKKLESIA REPLICATES “THE LORD’S APPOINTED TIMES” by Doug Krieger (Another in a Series on Ekklesia) An Introduction to the Topic at Hand:
You might be wondering how the New Testament Ekklesia is related to the major”Feast Days” of the Lord—aka, “The Lord’s Appointed Times” (Lev. 23). Especially, since Paul’s reflections on Christians’ and their relations to the following: “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival (aka “feast day”) or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance (lit “the body” or “reality”) is of Christ” (Col. 2:16-17). This is all the more affirmed when, again, Paul makes it abundantly clear in Romans 14: “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. LET EACH BE FULLY CONVINCED IN HIS OWN MIND. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks” (Romans 14:4-6). When I originally wrote this two-part series for Commonwealth Theology’s blog (which tends to be a bit more “heady” in its presentation), I pondered on the resurgent rise in Christian interest in celebrating the “Lord’s Appointed Times” now taking place within large swaths of the Body of Christ. Critics are perplexed—why celebrate such “feast days” when we have the “reality in Christ” in any event; and, by the way, isn’t this nothing more than keeping Jewish laws and regulations; after all, don’t we have the New Testament? Why fool around with “signs and symbols” when today’s “Temple” is the very Body of Christ? Some will go so far as to suggest: “We really don’t need much of the Old Testament because it was written for the Jews; besides, the only way it can be understood is by reading the New Testament.” The put down of the Old Testament gets more severe in certain circles where of late we’ve heard: “We really don’t need the Old Testament with the Old Covenant and its “rules and regulations” - so, why keep any of these feast days or, for that matter, the Sabbath day when every day should be celebrated—we can worship on any day of the week!” I’m not here in this little introduction to convince anyone to celebrate these feast days, or be regulated by the new moons or keep the Sabbath from sundown on any given Friday until sundown on Saturday. I have my own preferences—and that’s what I’m talking about: LET EACH BE FULLY CONVINCED IN HIS OWN MIND. There are a whole lot of “doubtful things” out there in the Bible (Rom. 14:1) but there’s a whole lot of DISPUTES over these doubtful things which separate believers into various “camps.” Who ever heard of giving your brother or sister the “benefit of the doubt” on these “doubtful things?” No, if you’re not worshiping on the Sabbath Day you’re under the Mark of the Beast! Sunday worship is BEAST WORSHIP! That little “gracious outburst” is spoken of by whole denominations—in case you didn’t know. Now, my preference, if I could be blunt, is to keep the Sabbath and to be gracious with anyone else who doesn’t—so there. Mark of the Beast? Nonsense! Did the Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and then the Council of Laodicea in 363-364 AD eliminate and even forbid Christians to worship on Saturday AND forbid them to “hang out” with Jews, let alone celebrate any of their “feast days” when Christians had their own “Holy Days” like Christmas, Easter and what not? They sure did; and in doing so, virtually put Jews in a “theological ghetto”—a complete social, cultural, and tragic separation lasting until the present day (with some breaks in the barriers so erected now and again). What Paul is calling for in Romans 14 is for believers to “receive one who is weak in the faith”—however one considers such a one as weak. It’s a plea on his part for “brotherly tolerance” — the Ekklesia is a place where such “diversity of practice” should be the norm. Some who worship on the Sabbath as Saturday and some who do not—both can meet any time together on either day and gather as brethren. Listen up—this is the bottom line: “ . . . and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God . . . do you subject yourselves to regulations—’Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,’ which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh . . . since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the NEW MAN who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Col. 2:19-23; 3:9-11). We’ll never have Ekklesia—real fellowship in Christ—if we’re “all the same” (e.g., we only meet with those who don’t eat pork). Do you truly think that a bunch of Barbarians (and there are some amongst us) enjoy being around a group of sophisticated Greeks who deem intense study of the Word of God a much sought after goal of the believer, when Barbarians (no offense here) can’t wait for the real action with wild worship and dancing before the Lord as a “divine art form” of the most profound exercise? Ultimately, there can be NO discrimination in the Body of Christ—and, by the way, Sunday mornings, especially in the West, are still the most racially-divided places you’ll find around these parts. You bet we’ve got to do better than this—that’s why the Ekklesia should be one of the most diverse habitats whenever it comes together—and, if it isn’t, then we should pray it happens the sooner the better; while finding opportunity to experience such diversity as exemplary of being “in Christ!” Now, how does all this introduction fit into our enjoyment of Christ in “The Lord’s Appointed Times?” Much, in every way—first notice, the description abides: These are still “The Lord’s Appointed Times”—His Feast Days—this is still His Calendar—and for good reason. For one, if these feast days are “a thing of the past,” then why, pray tell, are we and the nations going to celebrate them as follows: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16)? And, if they were so unimportant, why was it that Jesus frequented the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles and even the Feast of Dedication throughout John’s gospel and the other gospels? Well, you say, Jesus was Jewish, and just “fit right on into” the culture of His day. That somewhat superficiality is meaningless, for “ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). Brethren, allow me, we believers have been ripped off by placing these feast days either in theological obscurity or as part and parcel of our nigh 2,000 years in “forbidding all things Jewish” to enter into our “Christian house!” It is time we began to examine more closely what this Hebrew Sacred Calendar is all about and why we should hold it in esteem, far more we ever have, because it truly reveals the Lord’s eternal plan and purpose for the ages . . . .
THE “HEBREW SACRED CALENDAR” - THE 7 MAJOR FEAST DAYS & THE FEASTS OF DEDICATION
Again this brevity was (in the main) released on Commonwealth Theology, Tishri 1 – the Beginning of the Jewish Civil New Year (please view the Hebrew Sacred Calendar) will have passed (this was released around the end of September, 2019). It is celebrated on the Hebrew/Gregorian (somewhat of an admixture) calendar date, this year, beginning on Sunday evening (6 P.M.) on September 29, 2019 and extending until Tuesday’s commencement at 6 P.M. on October 1, 2019 (a 24-hour time frame on the Hebrew Sacred Calendar). . . thus begins the CIVIL NEW YEAR on the Jewish Calendar . . . but we haven’t quite made it to HAPPY HANUKKAH . . . Say, WHAT? Yes, these two feast days are “divinely connected”—we’re going to find out how that “comes down” when Jesus in John’s Gospel attended both feast days between John 7 and John 10, most amazing. We’ll get to the 24/25th Day of the Ninth Month (the month of Kislev) in a moment (viz., the Feast of Dedication)—but since the Civil New Year begins so soon (1 Tishri on the Hebrew Calendar) it is good that we examine the “prophetical issues” arising from the Fall Feast days—tracing the dates from 1 Tishri (Feast of Trumpets) to 10 Tishri (Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur) through to 15 Tishri (Feast of Tabernacles) – known as the High Holy Days on the Jewish Calendar…but we still haven’t made it unto 24/25 Kislev some 70 days beyond 15 Tishri (i.e., 15 days left in the 7th month of Tishri + 30 days in the 8th month of Cheshvan + 25 days into the 9th month of Kislev for a total of 15 + 30 + 25 = 70 days).(See End Note #1) Also, please note, the “day one” was the “evening and the morning” (Gen. 1:5) wherein the “day one” begins at sundown and extends to the next sundown; so, if the 24th of Kislev begins around 6:00 PM in the “evening” - then, it will extend unto 6:00 PM the next “day” which will in turn commence the new day of the 25th of Kislev at that time—so, often, we’ll see a “day” expressed, on behalf of the Gregorian calendar as 24/25 because whatever day we are considering on the Gregorian Calendar and comparing it with the “Jewish” or “Hebrew Festival Calendar” it must be “spliced” into a “two-day” happening. Therefore, when we read in Haggai the Ninth Month and the Twenty-fourth Day of the month, we actually have the 24/25th day of the Ninth Month. Therefore, in that 70 days is betwixt the terminus of the High Holy Days (15 Tishri) unto 24/25 Kislev—there is more than an obvious connection; therefore, 1 Tishri was a logical starting point in unraveling this “prophetic potential.” The 70th Week of Daniel and the multitude of “70s” throughout Scripture should signal to us that “something’s going on here” of immense significance. Thus, we begin, “at the beginning” of 1 Tishri but start the “countdown” to 24/25 Kislev at 15 Tishri (The Feast of Tabernacles or Nations) which is the final “Divinely Ordained Seven Feast Days, with the Feast of Tabernacles being the final and seventh such Feast Day on the Hebrew Sacred Calendar…but this “70” bears our attention in that “something else is going on here” as well. The Hebrew Festival Calendar (aka, the “Hebrew Sacred Calendar”) has of late experienced a revival of interest among Christians – Christians who have recognized their association as Ephraim (those “lost among the nations” or Gentiles) with Judah (viz., the Jewish people). That’s a rather loaded introduction which is as mystifying as the secondary title (which I did not use): THE HEBREW SACRED CALENDAR & THE ANTICHRIST. Naturally, arising in the hearts and minds of well-meaning believers in Yeshua, are these “festival days” – such as the spring feast days which start after the commencement of the “Religious Year” on 1 Nisan (in the spring) (NOTE: We shall dispense in attempting to synchronize the present Gregorian Calendar days with those of the Jewish Calendar days and simply use the “Prophetic Calendar” and the 30-day “prophetic month” or 360-days in a “Prophetic Year” – each of the 12 months being 30 days or 12 X 30 days = 360 days). And, yes, we are keenly aware that it was at the time of King Hezekiah of Judah’s “life extension” of some 15 years around 711 B.C. in which the luni-solar calendar was extended from 360 days to 365.2425 days.
Expanded Hebrew Festival Calendar with Christian Dates of Significance
The “Civil Year” on the Hebrew Calendar commences on 1 Tishrei (during the fall); whereas, 1 Nisan is in the spring of the year. Nisan is the commencement of the “Religious Year” on the Hebrew Calendar—thus, there are “two New Years” on the Hebrew Calendar—all divinely designed around harvests, early and latter. The first Passover in Egypt—Exodus 12—made Nisan, instead of the Seventh Month, the First Month; and, Tishri became the Seventh Month instead of the First Month. In Noah’s day the month of Tishri was the First Month and Nisan was the Seventh Month; therefore, when one examines the record they will find very significant time frames wherein, for example, when Noah’s Ark landed on the Mountains of Ararat it states: “Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat” (Gen. 8:4); therefore, this was the month of Nisan. On 17 Nisan Jesus was resurrected from the dead (Saturday/Sunday evening)—thus, when Peter proclaims “that ark [Noah’s Ark] is Christ” (1 Peter 3:18-22) we see that His resurrection from the “death waters” was foreseen when Noah’s touched the dry land which had been raised from the judgment of the waters which covered the earth. The Seven Sacred Feast Days of the Hebrew Calendar There are seven feast days (lit. “appointed times’) accorded divine and perpetual celebration. They are considered as an “everlasting ordinance” – to wit: “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance” (Ex. 12:14-15). Please note: The Hebrew calendar day commences at 6 P.M. on any given day so that a date of 13 Nisan “flows into” 14 Nisan on the same Gregorian day; therefore, a Hebrew day is sometimes seen as 13/14 on the Gregorian calendar day but on the Hebrew calendar it is simply 14 (Ref. “The EVENING and the MORNING were the first day”—Gen. 1:5). The Seven (7) Divinely Ordained Feast Days are:
Passover (Pasach or Pesach) – 13/14 Nisan – Exodus 12:1-14; Lev. 23:4-5; Numbers 9:1-14; 28:16; Deut. 16:1-7