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TO FEAST OR NOT TO FEAST?
Christ was the foundation and antitype of the whole Jewish economy of sacrifices, ceremonies, feasts, etc. All these symbols or types pointed, as a shadow, to Christ. When He was crucified in 31 AD or "cut off" in the midst of the last week--3 1/2 years after He had begun His gospel ministry--type met antitype. Thus Christ caused the sacrifice, oblation, feasts, and all the other types in the Jewish economy to cease to be literally kept and performed.
These ceremonies and types were given to point forward to Christ as being the Messiah. But since Christ has already come, and type has met antitype, these types would only possess spiritual significance, and not the command to be literally kept; they would continue pointing to Christ, but would not bear the penalty of sin if not literally kept. And any today who advocate that God's people must literally resume keeping any of the Jewish economy's types, are actually denying that Christ is the Messiah, the antitype of all in the Jewish economy!
Christ realized He was the antitype of the Jewish feasts, etc., and hence, during His ministry, He did not keep many of the feasts; yet Christ was not a commandment breaker--He was "without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
"As the sons of Joseph made preparation to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, they saw that Christ made no movement signifying His intention of attending. They watched Him with anxiety. Since the healing at Bethesda He had not attended the national gatherings." Desire of Ages, p 450.
"Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy, which was a symbol prescribed in type for the religious faith and obedience of all people" Manuscript 130, November 27, 1901 (Manuscript Release #499, p 1).
"We have yet to learn that the whole Jewish economy is a compacted prophecy of the gospel. It is the gospel in figures..." Manuscript 130, November 23, 1897 (Manuscript Release #313, p 1).
"They (Jews) did not realize that type met antitype in the death of Jesus Christ....they could not see the perfect fulfillment of the Jewish economy, instituted and established by Christ and pointing to Him as the substance." Fundamentals of Christian Education, p 398.
"Judaizing teachers were opposing the work of the Apostle (Paul), and seeking to destroy the fruit of his labors....
"Thus the emissaries of Judaism succeeded in alienating many of the Christian converts from their teacher in the gospel. Having gained this point, they induced them to return to the observance of the ceremonial law as essential to salvation....Christ, the true foundation, was virtually renounced for the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism." Life of Paul, p 188-90.
There were also differences between the feast sabbaths and the seventh day Sabbath. On the feasts sabbaths booths of tree branches (during the feasts of tabernacles) could be built (Leviticus 23:39-42). Or you could prepare or cook your food (Exodus 12:14-20). But on the seventh day Sabbath not even sticks were to be gathered (Numbers 15:32-36). Also on the seventh day Sabbath all of you food was to be prepared and cooked on the sixth day, or the preparation day, before the seventh day Sabbath (Exodus 16:33). Also the feast sabbaths were written by the finger of Moses and placed in the side of the ark of the testimony (Deuteronomy 31:26) showing that these were temporary. While the seventh day Sabbath was written by the finger of God and placed in the middle of the ark of the testimony underneath the mercy seat (Exodus 30:5 and Exodus 40:20) showing that these were eternal. So clearly the feast sabbaths and the seventh day Sabbath are not the same. The feast sabbaths were a shadow or type to be done away with at Christ's death, while the seventh day Sabbath was not a shadow but was to continue on after Christ's death.
And yes Paul did state, "Let us keep the feast" (1 Corinthians 5:8). But keep it, how? Literally or spiritually? It was not literally but spiritually because he continues, "Neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
And yes Sister White writes that well would it be for the people of God at the present time to have a feast of tabernacles (Patriarchs and Prophets, p 540). But was she stating that we should keep this feast today literally or spiritually? The whole context here is the great benefit that the children of Israel received because they associated together. So she said, "We sustain loss when we neglect the privilege of associating together to strengthen and encourage one another in the service of God and we decline in spirituality." Patriarchs and Prophets, p 540-541.
Ellen White did not advocate keeping the feast days literally today, but advocated not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together on other days than just the Sabbath day. She referred to the blessings received when God's people associated together anciently as an example. That is why she states in Testimonies, vol 6, p 39-40 that the holy convocations today for God's people are not the literal convocations or feast days of ancient Israel but are the camp-meetings. So camp-meetings for God's people today are the equivalent of the feast days, or the holy convocations, of ancient Israel.
Now some will then state that it was only the animal sacrifices or offerings that were done away with and that is why we still keep the feast days today. But circumcision was not an animal sacrifice, nor was it an offering. It was a law or type to be performed just like the feast or other non-sacrificial types until the anti-type came. And after Christ's death circumcision then took on a spiritual meaning, meaning to circumcise your hearts. And the same with the feasts. They are very important spiritually today, pointing to Christ as the Messiah and His ministry, but are not literally to be kept under the penalty of sin.
So just like with the law of circumcision being advocated anciently, if any come unto you today telling you that, Ye must keep the feasts and keep the law, they are only troubling God's people with words, and are trying to subvert and Judaize souls. And you can quote to them the same words in Galatians 5:1, 2 that you are to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free and that you are not to be entangled again in the yoke of bondage. "And behold I say unto you that if ye keep the feasts Christ shall profit you nothing." There is no harm in transposing the word feasts for circumcision because it's the very same principle found in Galatians 5:1, 2.
If any one today keeps the feasts Christ shall profit you nothing, and your spiritual exercises are an affront and insult to God!
"...Christ discharged His disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any virtue; for type was meeting antitype in Himself, the authority and foundation of all Jewish ordinances...
"It was Christ's desire to leave to His disciples an ordinance that would do for them the very thing they needed--that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah." Bible Commentary, vol 5, p 1139-1140.
Anciently, each feast day occurred at a specific time each year, and corresponded to the work of the high priest in either the first or the second apartment of the sanctuary. There was to be no feast day which overlapped onto another feast day (i.e. the feast of Tabernacles being celebrated during Passover), but each had their specific set period corresponding to the sanctuary service. Since Christ, our High Priest, has entered into the second apartment, or the most holy place, in the heavenly sanctuary, signalling that we are now in the antitypical day of Atonement, then for anyone to advocate that we should keep any other feast day during this antitypical day of Atonement, are seeking to overlap feast days. Thus they are actually denying that we are in the antitypical day of Atonement, and are declaring that Christ is no longer interceeding in the most holy place! So today, there are to be no feast days celebrated while Christ is interceeding in the most holy place during this antitypical day of Atonement! But after Christ's ministerial work is ended, and the antitypical day of Atonement is ended, and we are living on the new earth, there is recorded that we will resume keeping certain feast days--such as the feast of the New Moon (see Isaiah 66:23).
Besides, we are in captivity and strangers in this world until Christ comes to free us and take us to heaven, and then give us the new earth after the wicked are forever destroyed by the cleansing fire of God. Anciently, the Jews could not keep the feasts while under captivity, but resumed after they were freed and in their promised land. The same today!
"During the captivity of the Jews, they could not be observed; but when the people were restored to their own land, the observance of these memorials was once more begun." Desire of Ages, p 447.
Do you want to be held in bondage to the types in the Jews religion and continue hindering the gospel of Christ, or do you want to be free in Jesus Christ--the Antitype--and work to spread the true gospel and hasten the coming of our Saviour?
"Some in the church were still striving to mold Christianity after the old customs and ceremonies that were to pass away at the death of Christ....They saw that they had been held in bondage by the Jewish customs and traditions, and that the work of the gospel had been greatly hindered..."
Life of Paul, p 211.