Archive for August, 2013

The answer to that question depends on the identity of “Israel”.

Just who is “Israel” in the eyes of Yahweh? Once that question is answered, we will know whether or not the Feast Days are only for Israel.

There can be no doubt that Yahweh commanded the children of Israel, that is, the offspring of Jacob, to keep His Holy Feast Days.

“And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of Yahweh, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.” (Leviticus 23:1-2)

Yahweh then continued to list all of His Holy Feast Days throughout Leviticus 23. 

Therefore, we know with certainty that the flesh and blood descendants of the patriarch Jacob, known as “Israel”, were commanded to keep Yahweh’s Feasts.

The question needs to be asked again; Who is Israel? Is Israel limited to the flesh and blood descendants of Jacob or does Yahweh have a broader definition of “Israel”?

Romans 9:6 reads;

“For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:”

To understand why the Apostle Paul wrote this, we must read what he wrote in chapter two. 

Romans 2:28-29 read;

“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of Elohim.”

Paul uses the term “Jew” as a designation for all Israel. Yahweh does not look upon the outward appearance, but inwardly, upon the heart. If a flesh and blood Israelite does not obey Yahweh’s laws, it renders his circumcision as uncircumcision as Paul stated in Romans 2:25-26.

“For circumcision verily profits, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?”

In other words, a circumcised Jew would become as an uncircumcised Gentile if he was found a transgressor of Yahweh’s laws. Conversely, an uncircumcised Gentile would become as a circumcised Jew if He obeyed Yahweh’s laws. 

Yet, it goes far deeper than that. For a Gentile does indeed become an Israelite through Messiah Yeshua. 

Let’s look at the Apostle Paul’s teaching concerning Israel in Romans 11.

“For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and you [Gentiles], being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree;” (Romans 11:16-17) 

Paul wrote about an “olive tree” that had some branches broken off. The branches were just as much a part of the olive tree as the root and trunk were. Therefore, when the wild olive branches (Gentile believers) were grafted in, they became just as much a part of the olive tree as the natural branches were. 

The question now is, “What does the olive tree represent?” 

“Yahweh called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of good fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he has kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. For Yahweh of hosts, that planted you, has pronounced evil against you, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.” (Jeremiah 11:16-17)

According to this passage in Jeremiah, Israel and Judah are a green olive tree. The Gentile believers were grafted into the olive tree of Israel and have become part of that tree. They partake of the same root and fatness as the natural olive branches (flesh and blood Israelites). 

“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” (Romans 11:25-26)

“Until the fullness of the Gentiles come in” to what?

The context suggests that the Gentiles “come in” to the olive tree of Israel. They become Israelites through the grafting in process.

Here is how the Apostle Paul puts it to the Ephesians:

“Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Elohim in the world: But now in Messiah Yeshua you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” (Ephesians 2:11-14) 

The Gentiles were at one time aliens from Israel, but now they are no longer aliens because they have become part of the olive tree of Israel. They were once strangers from the covenants of promise made with Israel, but now they are not because they are part of Israel through being grafted in. Gentiles were once separate from Israel, but now they are one with Israel through Messiah Yeshua. 

“Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of Elohim;” (Ephesians 2:19) 

This brings us back to our original question;

Are Yahweh’s Holy Feast Days Only For Israel?

The answer is Yes. They were originally given to Israel in the flesh which consisted of flesh and blood descendants of Jacob.

When Gentiles were grafted into the olive tree of Israel and made “partakers” of it’s root and fatness, they became partakers of the Feasts of Yahweh. 

The Feasts are not a burden imposed upon Gentile believers, but a blessing that they get to keep, celebrate and rejoice in. 

“For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3) 

The “commandments” in this verse include Yahweh’s Holy Feast Days.

“ 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, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Messiah.” (Colossians 2:16-17)

The Apostle Paul was warning the brethren in Colosse to not allow any man who was not part of the Body of Messiah to judge them concerning “an holyday”. All of Yahweh’s Feast Days are “Holy Days”. 

This passage makes it clear that the Gentile believers in Colosse were indeed keeping the Feasts and Sabbath.

The Apostle Paul also wrote to the Gentile believers in Corinth saying, 

“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

The “Feast” he told the Corinthians to keep was the Feast of Unleavened Bread which followed Passover. 

This Feast has great meaning for believers today in that it reminds us to remove the leaven of sin, hypocrisy and false doctrine from our lives.

It also reminds us of the great deliverance Yahweh provided for Israel in bringing them out of Egyptian slavery and of the great deliverance of each believer in Messiah Yeshua in bringing us out of this world and slavery to sin.

The Feast Days are such an incredible blessing for those that keep them. The spiritual applications to our lives provide us with the deeper truths of Yahweh’s Word and reveal to us His glorious plan of salvation through His Son Yeshua the Messiah.

The next Feast after Unleavened Bread is the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. This Feast points forward to the firstfruits of the wheat harvest (the harvest of souls at the resurrection). Gentile believers will be a part of that harvest and they need to see that in Yahweh’s plan of salvation. 

Then comes the Feast of Trumpets pointing to the coming of the “Day of Yahweh” in which Yahweh will judge this world. Gentile believers will learn how that will play out because they will see it in the plan of salvation revealed in this Feast.

The Day of Atonement comes next in Yahweh’s plan. This is the holiest day of the year on which we not only look back at Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice, but we look forward to the anti-typical Jubilee trumpet being blown to set the captives of death free from their prison, the grave.

Gentile believers will be among those set free. Until then, they will rejoice in that hope revealed in this Feast.

Following the Day of Atonement is the Feast of Tabernacles which points not only to the millennium and the one thousand year reign of our King, Messiah Yeshua, but it also points forward to the time when our Creator, Yahweh, will tabernacle among us. 

Gentile believers can rejoice in the hope that this Feast looks forward to.

Immediately following Tabernacles is the Last Great Day. It points to a time after the millennium when death and the grave are thrown into the Lake of Fire and the Spirit of Yahweh will be poured out without measure. 

Gentile believers can rest assured that they will receive that Spirit in its fullness as their blessed Savior had. 

Sadly, however, there are those who would teach us that these precious Feasts that reveal Yahweh’s plan of salvation are fulfilled and abolished. This, of course, is an impossibility in that a “shadow”, as Paul called the Feasts, cannot be fulfilled until the reality has come.

While Yeshua fulfilled the Passover lamb and both goats of Atonement, he has not fulfilled any of the other Feasts. 

We look forward to their future fulfillment as we rejoice in their shadow and the knowledge of what they portray.

Friend, I invite you to be a part of this great plan of salvation. If you don’t already know Yeshua and have not received him as your Savior, now is the perfect time to do so. Allow him to tabernacle with you and lead you throughout your life until his glorious appearing to take us home to be with him. 

If you do know him, then I invite you to embrace Yahweh’s Holy Feast Days and rejoice in them as Yahweh commanded. Live out Yahweh’s plan of salvation by living in the shadow of the Feasts. Allow the light of the Feasts to illumine your mind concerning future events and rejoice in the part that you will play in them.

Praise be to Yahweh for His matchless wisdom in revealing His glorious plan of salvation through His Holy Feast Days and for allowing Gentile believers to become part of Israel and partakers of these Holy Days!

HalleluYah!

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