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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Emor 31-4


Levítico 23:1-22

Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. 'There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD. 'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:

Lev. 23:2-4 NIV

Whose are the appointed feasts?

The Eternal revealed to the sons and daughters of Israel his appointed feasts. The Hebrew word translated as "appointed feasts" is moadimמועדים, and in singular moedמועד. This word has a double meaning of a fixed time and place. As far as I know, the English word “meeting" comes from this Hebrew word. The main idea with this term is to have an encounter in a specific period of time and in a specific place.

These are, in the first place, the Eternal's feasts, not Israel's. The Eternal revealed to Israel which are His feasts and then gave the sons and daughters of Israel the right and responsibility to proclaim them in the times set by the Torah in this chapter and to have sacred assemblies – in Hebrew mikraei kodesh, מקראי קדש – in each one of them.

In this chapter there are two types of appointed times - the weekly Shabbat and the annual feasts, all belonging to the Eternal. Shabbat is the day of the Lord. The moadim hide great spiritual and eternal secrets. The one who celebrates, keeps and studies them will be able to receive deep revelations about the Eternal's redemption plan through the Messiah. All these feasts are messianic in essence, including Shabbat.

If these appointed feasts belong to the Eternal, all who belong to the Eternal, Jews and non-Jews may celebrate them, each group in its own level. The sons of Israel have the authority to proclaim them and so the others will have to respect these announcements. This means that when the Rabbis establish the days and times for these feasts it will be respected in heaven and those redeemed from among the nations who were grafted in the heavenly olive tree will have to celebrate them in the time established by Yehuda, who still has the scepter to rule (Gen. 49:10).

The sons of circumcision are obliged to celebrate these feasts and those redeemed from among the nations are invited to celebrate them in a similar way, though they don't need to do it exactly the same way.

In 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 Paul writes to the saints in Corinth who weren't Jewish: “Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Messiah, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” (NIV revised) The people from Corinth were invited to celebrate the feast of unleavened bread. However, they couldn't eat the Passover lamb itself, due to two reasons: they were not in the covenant of circumcision in the flesh (Ex. 12:43, 48-49) and they weren't in Yerushalayim where the temple was. That is the only place where lambs of Pesach are allowed to be sacrificed.

If those grafted in from the nations, disciples of the Messiah, are invited to celebrate the sacrificed heavenly Passover (Messiah) during the feast of the unleavened bread, how much more should they celebrate the other feasts? If Pesach (Passover) and Chag HaMatzot (the feast of the unleavened bread) are called "the feast of the Jews" (John 5:1) being only for the circumcised, also could be celebrated by the uncircumcised in the flesh – but circumcised in the Messiah; then the circumcised-in-the-heart gentiles not only could, but should celebrate the rest of the Eternal's and the Messiah’s feasts.

However, the gentile saints do not have the same obligation as the Jews. The penalty for breaking Shabbat is death for a Jew, but it is not for a non-Jew because Shabbat is not a sign of the covenant for him (Ex. 31:13), but a remembrance of the creation and acknowledgment of the Creator's sovereignty over his life and time (Ex. 20:8-11).

A non-Jewish saint who does not celebrate the feasts is not punished for it, but he misses such an amount of blessings that if he knew them he wouldn't have wanted to miss them for anything.



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