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What does Ellen White say about the keeping of feasts?

Q17: What does Ellen White say about the keeping of feasts?

(29) : "torah" : teachings.

Hypothesis: What parts of the torah was abolished by Jesus on the Cross?

Introduction: Many Christians of all denominations are confused over torah, and the amount of torah completed by Jesus in Scripture. Some say the entire torah of the Old Testament is no longer binding for Christians living in the New Testament times. Some say the feasts in the torah should still be respected? Some say the judgements should still be respected?

First let's see how Jeff Benner sees torah:-

Strong's 8451.

The Ancient Hebrew meaning comes from "The active hand points from the Head of the Teacher. Behold!"

the child root "torah" means

"The marked secure Head. Behold the Teacher!"

From Jeff Benner: QUOTE: “A parent’s Torah is a set of teachings, or instructions, to train and bring the children to maturity, to set them on the correct path. If the child is obedient to the instructions and guidance, he receives praise. If the instructions are violated out of disrespect or defiant disobedience, the child receives punishment. However, if the child desires to follow the instructions out of loving obediencebut falls short of the expectations of the parent, the child is commended for the effort and counseled on how to perform the instructions better the next time. In contrast to this, a “law” is a set of rules that if not observed correctly will result inpunishment and there is no room for teaching.ENDQUOTE”

Ellen White agrees the term "torah" is the "Teachings" one should go.

{AH 16.3} Teach the children and youth to respect themselves, to be true to God, true to principle; teach them to respect and obey the law of God. These principles will control their lives and will be carried out in their associations with others. They will create a pure atmosphere--one that will have an influence that will encourage weak souls in the upward path that leads to holiness and heaven.

The word Torah comes from the root meaning in which a teacher or tutor points to on a blackboard, the way or directions of life one should travel. They are not laws with strict penalties, but simply attitudes and moral ethics of which directions are best for us.

The Ancient Hebrew word about "Torah" tells us more meaning:- "The marked secure HEAD. Behold the Teacher!" is about Jesus as our tutor leading us to Jesus our Saviour.

Ga 3:24 Wherefore the law "torah-teachings" was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

  • Ga 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

    Therefore the teachings was our school teacher written in the Bible to bring us to our Saviour Jesus Christ, that we might be made upright by our firmness in the school teacher's teachings. But now our firmness has come, we need no longer written records of the school master, we have the direct person of the teacher Himself.

    So if Jesus recorded Himself in Scripture with pictures, similes, commandments and teachings, why would Jesus remove parts or whole principles of torah when dying on the Cross? In short, Jesus didn't.

    The main purpose for Jesus coming to Earth was to complete His promise for sin-offering. The sin-offering is a solution for sinners wanting eternal life, but it comes with the price of eternal death, so one is exchanged for the other, and this infinite trade of mercy could only be achieved by a member of Elohim, for on ly infinity could satisfy infinity and raise Himself from eternal death, if He Himself coming as the sin-bearer, did not sin Himself. What risk of love on behalf of sinners! So the principles of Torah Jesus came to complete are to do with sin-offering. Ellen White terms sin-offering "ceremonial law" which in English has confused many.

    {LHU 147.1} After Christ died on the cross as a sin offering, the ceremonial law could have no force. Yet it was connected with the moral law, and was glorious.

    Many of the teachings of sin-offering came to completion on the Cross, as the Sin-offering finally became lifted up on the Cross. Jesus the Lamb of GOD took away the sin-offering of the world.

    Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages. {CCh 298.2}

    Notice Ellen White does not say Passover was abolished but renewed and in its place the same older ordinance that took place on Passover, is renewed and replaced with the Lord's ordinance at the same time the older ordinance was being completed with symbols of sacrifice. The renewed ordinance continues to point forward as did the older ordinance, as another simile of type requiring anti-type. The memorial of Jesus' blood moving over those choosing salvation would now point forward in time to the wedding feast, the final celebration of the Lamb that was slain for all who chose to enter into the sin-offering of grace.

    Mt 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

    The older festival is renewed with the younger festival, and yet both where similes of the blood sin-offering of the Lamb slain from the foundation of world to offer a solution to sinning.

    Heb 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

  • Heb 9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

    These verses tell us that Jesus had to make changes to Torah and live by those changes BEFORE He died, making it easy to see what actually changed with regards to salvation through Torah. So the principle of changing Passover ordinance to Lord's ordinance is the only principles of Salvation Jesus changed before His death on the Cross, and this serves as an example to approach the Torah of salvation. This tells us we are to look for principles of application, for the wine of salvation is to be placed in a new setting, as new wine-skins are used to hold the wine, not old wine-skins. Some think the wine (a symbol of doctrines) was changed: no it was not the wine that was changed, but the settings into which the wine would be placed, while the older principles are to be preserved.

    During the night of Passover Jesus took not animals as symbols but bread and wine as symbols for sin-offering, and this is the only changes in principle to the salvation system through Torah. We no longer sacrifice animals for sin-offering, because Jesus in our sacrifice, the Lamb of Elohim that took away the sin-offering of the world.

    The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the day of atonement. {CCh 348.1}

    The blood of Jesus did not cancel sin or abolish the system of recording sinning in the heavenly sanctuary, or even the feast days on earth that point to appointed times in the heavenly sanctuary, all this was still preserved after Jesus death on the Cross as shown here in Ellen White's messages.

    A succinct presentation of the preservation of all torah-teachings of salvation begins:-

    (1) The Judgements are still part of the Torah of salvation

    God's favour toward Israel had always been conditional on their obedience. At the foot of Sinai they had entered into covenant relationship with Him as His "peculiar treasure. . . above all people." Solemnly they had promised to follow in the path of obedience. "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do," they had said. Exodus 19:5, 8. And when, a few days afterward, God's law was spoken from Sinai, and additional instruction in the form of statutes and judgements was communicated through Moses, the Israelites with one voice had again promised, "All the words which the Lord hath said will we do." {PK 293.1}

    Exodus 21 to 23 are additional judgements, are in fact application to interpreting the Ten Commandments attitudes of love. When earthly judges make 'acts of laws' they are broad and confusing, so judges write and record 'applications to law' and these examples actually dictate the judges decisions, often above the 'acts of law', which have no examples of how it is to be interpreted, until an application is decreed.

    But He did not stop with giving them the precepts of the Decalogue. The people had shown themselves so easily led astray that He would leave no door of temptation unguarded. Moses was commanded to write, as God should bid him, judgements and laws giving minute instruction as to what was required. These directions relating to the duty of the people to God, to one another, and to the stranger were only the principles of the Ten Commandments amplified and given in a specific manner, that none need err. They were designed to guard the sacredness of the ten precepts engraved on the tables of stone. {PP 364.1}

    The judgements are similes of the Ten Commandments, showing specific applications to how we should keep the commandments of love in the Decalogue.

    RH.1875-05-06.010 In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern the everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law.

    The judgements were to magnify the moral law, and are still part of the Torah-teachings of salvation.

    (2) Let us keep the feasts...

    "CT.371.001 Shall we not keep holy festivals unto God? Shall we not show that we have some enthusiasm in His service? With the grand, e nnobling theme of salvation before us, shall we be as cold as statues of marble? If men can become so excited over a match game of cricket, or a horse race, or over foolish things that bring no good to anyone, shall we be unmoved when the plan of salvation is unfolded before us? Let the school and the church henceforth have festivals of rejoicing unto the Lord.-- Special Testimonies on Education, pages 77-82.

    Is this "not a single word about keeping feasts unto God" as some claim ? or is the attending of "games" a "holy festival", an opposing simile to the "holy festivals" of God ?

    Upon the retreat of Cestius, the Jews, sallying from Jerusalem, pursued after his retiring army, and while both forces were thus fully engaged, the Christians had an opportunity to leave the city. At this time the country also had been cleared of enemies who might have endeavored to intercept them. At the time of the siege, the Jews were assembled at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, and thus the Christians throughout the land were able to make their escape unmolested. Without delay they fled to a place of safety,—the city of Pella, in the land of Perea, beyond Jordan. {GC88 30.4}

    Some could say the Christians were not keeping the Feast of Tabernacles ? But they were keeping it, they were practising the fleeing into the mountains during Jacob's tribulation, and for them Jacob's tribulation arrived. Notice the Jews did not catch the significance of keeping the Feast of Tabernacles and were lost inside city during the Jacob's Tribulation experience. The feasts were supposed to be practical examples of practising future events.

    This was the last time that Christ was to keep the feast with His disciples. It was really the last Passover that was ever to be kept. For the lamb was slain to teach the people about Christ's death; and when Christ, the Lamb of God, should be slain for the sins of the world, there would be no need of slaying a lamb to represent His death. {SJ 95.2}

    Jesus introduced on the night of Passover renewed symbols of His death and blood, not with Lamb's flesh and blood, but from the fruits of plants, the blood of grapes and the flesh from wheat, are now renewed symbols of the Lord's renewed ordinance. Thus we are to look into renewed spiritual and literal applications for feasts unto Jesus, in the new wine-skins of application.

    “Anciently the Lord instructed His people to assemble three times a year for His worship. To these holy convocations the children of Israel came, bringing to the house of God their tithes, their sin offerings, and their offerings of gratitude. ....“In the days of Christ these feasts were attended by vast multitudes of people from all lands; and had they been kept as God intended, in the spirit of true worship, the light of truth might through them have been given to all the nations of the world.....“If the children of Israel needed the benefit of these holy convocations in their time, how much more do we need them in these last days of peril and conflict! And if the people of the world then needed the light which God had committed to His church, how much more do they need it now!” {6T, 39-40

    The feasts of Jesus serve two meanings

  • (1) They practice future events so we are ready when they come
  • (2) they allow our attitudes of gratitude to respond to His love.

    “A great work is to be accomplished by our camp meetings. The Lord has specially honored these gatherings, which He has called "holy convocations." {6T 70.3}

    The camp meetings is a simile of a Feast of Tabernacles.

    “If our camp meetings are conducted as they should be, they will indeed be a light in the world. They should be held in the large cities and towns where the message of truth has not been proclaimed. And they should continue for two or three weeks.” (6T, 33)

    “Every individual should be upon the ground the first day of the meeting, prepared to remain until the closing service...One full week is none too long a time to devote exclusively to the service of God, having the mind withdrawn from worldly interests and concentrated upon spiritual things; but to abridge the one week to two or three days is robbing God of time which should be spent in his service.” [RH 07-10-79 para. 3] p. 137, Para. 4, [1879MS].

    Notice the simile of camp meetings is to have a length of time as the Feast of Tabernacles did in olden times.

    “Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine.” (Deut. 16:13)

    “God requires no less of His people in these last days, in sacrifices and offerings, than He did of the Jewish nation. Especially should those whom God has prospered render to Him the things that are His... {2T 574.1}

    What is an offering ? The "olah" offering was a voluntary offering designed to show gratitude for Jesus sin-offering solution for sinners.

    Le 1:3 ¶ If his offering be a burnt sacrifice "olah" of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.

    “Let all who possibly can, attend these yearly gatherings. All should feel that God requires this of them. If they do not avail themselves of the privileges which He has provided that they may become strong in Him and in the power of His grace, they will grow weaker and weaker, and have less and less desire to consecrate all to God. Come, brethren and sisters, to these sacred convocation meetings, to find Jesus. He will come up to the feast. He will be present, and He will do for you that which you most need to have done.” {2T 575.2}

    Let's us come to the feasts of Jesus to show our gratitude for His love towards us.

    “Do you want to find Jesus? He is at the feast. You may find him here. He has come up to the feast. There are men and women that have brought him with them; and now we want you to press through, and touch the hem of his garment, that you may receive of the virtue that is found in him, and triumph in the God of your salvation.” {RH, August 17, 1869 par. 5}

    Some say the feasts are ceremonial for they were part of the sin-offering process? and thus done away with? The sin-offering process is about Jesus being our Sin-bearer firstly and secondly about our response to the Sin-bearer who is saving us, post continuous sense. Have we reduced the grace of sinning to just a quick prayer of forgiveness and all our sinning and our gratitude of attitude rests upon a single simple humble prayer of penitence? The entire Torah teachings of the Bible show us our response to Jesus as our love works to show our appreciation for His love, not because we are saved by our works of love, but because our works of love, demonstrate our response to His LOVE.

    One could use the same excuse not to read our Bibles more and more every day because we are already saved by Jesus, so we need on ly continue to worship Him, and all is well for our soul. No matter how small your faith is in Jesus, and how few seconds your read His word or pray to Him, you will find your love will grow and you find yourself wanting to drink more and more for blessed are they who are hungry and thirsty for Jesus. Shalom

    (3) The disciples of Jesus continued to keep the feasts..

    Lord's Ordinance (Passover under renewed name) remember sin-offering

    1Co 11:20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

  • 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
  • 1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
  • 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
  • 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

    Paul is condemning the practice of eating the Lord's supper as if hungry rather than as attitude of gratitude for Jesus body shed for our sinning, symbols of sin-offering. Many of us get sick because we are not properly empowered with Jesus, when the angel of death passes over the door posts of our soul.

    Lord's Ordinance points forward to Wedding Feast
  • proclaim the Lamb for sin-offering until He comes..
  • be the Christian tree bearing His fruit
  • A simile of Jesus offering grapes and wheat.

    Practice every week this ordinance (practising humility, mourning what we have lost ; and meekness of prayer) as did the early Acts Church. We are vegetarians eating plant fruits, not animal's blood, which are similes of the power of Jesus passing over us granting us ongoing life, until we all gather around His wedding table feast eating an array of fruits in heaven.

  • Unleavened bread - remove all sinning

    1Co 5:7 ¶ Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 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.

    He proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 12:3)

    We sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 20:6)

    We need to practice this feast regularly for in our modern times we are guilty of too much eating, and eating more simply and less of it, is a great way to practice this feast. Our biggest sin for many of us to remove is appetite, and this yeast propensity awakens us all into sinning in other areas.

    Unleavened Bread points forward to final quickening process
  • proclaim GOD's quickening until He comes..
  • remove all wilful sinning..
  • remove all sinful propensities..

    Practice regularly this ordinance (practising eating less, reducing the power of appetite, and empowering the will to pray); praying for the quickening powers of the Holy Spirit will empower you to overcome all known wilful sinning and sinful propensities in your life.

  • First fruits - sharing Jesus character in us with others

    But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20)

    He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:18)

    They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)

    First fruits points forward to final resurrection
  • proclaim Jesus' resurrection until He comes..
  • remember the power of resurrection
  • celebrate we serve a risen Saviour..

    Practice this ordinance at appointed times(inviting all to a banquet of celebrating the risen Christ); praying for others to experience what makes Jesus different from all others religions.

  • Pentecost - receiving the latter rains of torah teachings

    When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1)

    Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost. (Acts 20:16)

    But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost. (1 Corinthians 16:8)

    Atonement - attitude for gratitude when we are judged

    Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. (Acts 27:9)

    Pentecost points forward to final rains
  • proclaim final rains of Holy Spirit in last days..
  • remember other rains of the Holy Spirit
  • practice being of one accord until it comes

    Practice this ordinance at appointed times(inviting all to an assembly of one accord); praying for us all to receive the latter rains of salvation power.

  • The Jews called Atonement the great fast.

    Trumpets - watching the lasts days as three angels warnings blast

    Re 14:6 ¶ And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

    Not mentioned in Acts, or the wanderings of the disciples, this feast points to the time of the end.

    Atonment points forward to final finish of Jesus judgement
  • proclaim the investigative judgement of mankind
  • are we right before our Judge?
  • practice the sin-offering correctly

    Practice this ordinance at appointed times(inviting all to an assembly of solemnity); praying and fasting.

  • Tabernacles - practicing fleeing into the mountains

    Mt 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

    The Christians in Jews times were found fleeing while this feast occurred and thus literally came in their time..

    Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)

    Tabernacles points forward to Jacob's Trouble
  • proclaim the final time of trouble
  • Do we trust Jesus to sustain us in trouble?
  • practice living in the mountains

    Practice this ordinance at appointed times(inviting all to an assembly of living with less); praying for Jesus to sustain us.

  • Final Hebrew evidence of feasts

    In the Creation GOD made two lights for appointed times...the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night.

    Ge 1:14 ¶ And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons "mow'ed", and for days, and years:

    But on the seventh day GOD created the week, a special time slot found only by counting time, not based on any signs, showing this ceasing time was special to GOD having no natural means to signify time, as the weekly cycles of time is not based on any natural celestial movements of heavenly bodies.

    So why are feasts associated around appointed times of moon cycles? Because they are associated with agricultural activities of planting food and harvesting food. This concept of planting the seed of salvation and later harvesting the fruits of salvation is a common theme for love. Love when started in a person must be completed with fruits of that love, otherwise there was never love to begin with.

    Let's translate the Hebrew correctly from the beginning so the reader has no bias towards the passage:

    Strong's 4150.

    The Ancient Hebrew reads "The flowing secure Eye sees through the door"

    Jeff Benner sees this word meaning "appointment" or "company meeting at certain times".

    The author reads the meaning of "mowed" as "appointed times" with various contexts as an appointment, a meeting time, a seasonal time or a "company meeting at certain times".

    Le 23:1 ¶ And the LORD "Son-Yahweh" spake unto Moses, saying,

  • 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the "mowed" "appointed times" of the LORD "Son-Yahweh", which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my "mowed" as "appointed times" .
  • 3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath "shabbath" of rest"shabbathown", an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

    The first thing you will notice the the Weekly Sabbath is a special appointed time.

    Le 23:4 ¶ These are the "mowed" "appointed times" of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their "mowed" "appointed times".

    Then the passage continues going through various appointed times for coming to Jesus. Only in the appointed times of Tabernacles is there an actual reference to a feast "chag".

    Le 23:41 And ye shall keep it a feast "chag" unto the LORD seven days in the year.

    Some the the appointed times have sin-offerings involving an animal sacrifice, so there are many changes to be made in order to understand the new settings Jesus had in mind when He came to renew salvation in different applications of love. There is a general principle though for celebrating the appointed times of Jesus:

    Col 2:16 ¶ 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:

  • 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

    We are not to judge how we celebrate festival appointed times, as long as we do our best in loving GOD as we live by the light we know. We live still under the shadow of Jesus, who is to come. But until the Second Coming, the shadow of His presence over us covers us with His love, and we are to respond to that love. coming together as a larger family at His appointed times.

    Conclusion: The disciples kept the feasts of Jesus. Some say they were only keeping them because it took time for the Hebrew cultural habits to die out, or they were only doing it to witness to Jews and call them to repentance. Perhaps. Maybe they were keeping the feasts because it is a work of love that cannot help but to respond to Jesus' love for us.

    Ellen White's life was also in accord with feasting keeping. If the Day of Atonement was a feast day kept according to Ancient Hebrew times in 1844, why do we not contin ue to observe the solemnity of the event during this judgement process, say every Sabbath?

    Traditionally the camp meeting is a simile of the feast of Tabernacles, and should be a practice for living in the mountains in tents during Jacob's Trouble, not spending a holiday away in mod cons.

    The Lord's Ordinance is the Passing Over of our life from death unto life through the blood of the Lamb that was our sin-offering for our sinning, and we proclaim with gratitude the love of Jesus for us and look forward to the wedding table where we shall weep with joy at the feet of Jesus! This ordinance was practised every Sabbath by the early Christians, perhaps they were a little more in love with Jesus then we are today?

    We should be upholding all the Torah teachings for these teachings only look out for our health, our well being and allow our love to respond in practical ways of serving others.

    Further studies:

    A detailed look into all the Torah-teachings of Jesus catching their spiritual significance on the principles of love across the Old Testament and the New Testament. You be the judge whether these Torah-teachings are still useful defining our love response today.

    If the feasts were done away with in the Old Torah by the New Torah, we would expect many teachings in the New Torah to be different from the Old Torah, but this is not the case when you look to the Torah-teachings across the entire Bible.

    Torah-teachings of Jesus

    Ellen White theme

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